Harvard Square Ghost Tour
If you’ve ever been in Harvard Yard, you’ve probably heard a tour guide going on about that John Harvard statue and its “three lies.” Snore, right? This tour, on the other hand, promising true tales of “gruesome murders and mysterious deaths”—and, of course, a touch of gallows humor—should satisfy those ready for a more juicier, spookier brand of Harvard lore.
Through Nov. 5, Meet at Harvard COOP, 1400 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, $20, cambridgehistoricaltours.org
There’s not much more American than the fair, with its rickety carnival rides, farm animals, gigantic vegetables, cotton candy, fried dough—you know what we’re talking about. There are only five days left for the Topsfield fair, but you can still catch performances from the tightrope walking Flying Wallendas, a demolition derby, and, tonight, The Village People.
Through Oct. 9, Topsfield Fairgrounds, 207 Boston St., Topsfield, $11-$25, topsfieldfair.org
Each year, an international assembly of activist street bands—groups who take the pomp and pep of your average football game/town parade marching band and subvert it with their own original music and emancipatory political spirit—descend on Cambridge and Somerville. Aside from the main parade from Davis to Harvard, there will be plenty of indoor and outdoor performances, and other fun stuff.
Oct. 6-8, various locations, Cambridge and Somerville, free, honkfest.org
FOOD AND DRINK
The Taste of WBGH Food and Wine Festival
This event claims to be the largest of its kind in New England, chock full of chef demos, classes to shore up your epicurean cred, “The Artisan Taste” with samples from some of the region’s best chefs, an international street foods cooking competition, a Brunch Bar for the most important meal of the day—oh yes, your taste buds will die of ecstasy.
Oct. 5-8, WGBH Studios, 1 Guest St., Boston, $30-$300, wgbh.org
Boston Brew Yard
City Hall Plaza hosts the Wachusett Brewing Company for one more Thirsty Thursday, with eight styles of beer, including four Boston sports tributes: Green Monsta IPA, Bella Czech Pils, Brewin’ American Pale Ale and Belgian White Mamba. There are also the Trolly Dog and Boston Burger Company food trucks, a performance from the band 1 Night Stand and no cover charge. Nice.
Oct. 5, 4 p.m.-8 p.m., City Hall Plaza, 1 City Hall Plaza, free, 21+, cityhallplazaboston.com
An Evening with Sarah Vowell
A longtime “This American Life” contributor, Sarah Vowell found a niche applying her grimly geeky wit to American history in books like “The Wordy Shipmates” and “Unfamiliar Fishes,” finding the roots of our national character in the weird and half-forgotten, the gruesome and bizarrely funny. She’ll talk here with MIT’s Seth Mnookin about the humor in history and other topics.
Oct. 5, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Compton Laboratories, MIT, 60 Vassar St., Cambridge, free, commforum.mit.edu
Not to knock the hilarious pleasures of the “Wicker Man” remake, but long before that, Nicholas Cage starred in a horror movie that was intentionally funny. In 1989’s “Vampire’s Kiss,” he plays a money-and-sex-obsessed yuppie whose mental health is declining. After yet another one-night stand, he becomes convinced he’s been turned into a vampire. It gets weird.
Oct. 6, 8 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, $11, mfa.org
First Fridays: Stylin’
The Institute of Contemporary Art’s monthly Friday night soiree is all about Fashion Week for October, with guests All Too Human, BAJA EAST and DJ Mike Nouveau. You’ll get a sneak peek at cutting edge fashion, have a chance to get a drink and get on the dance floor and check out the ICA’s always-cool galleries.
Oct. 6, 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston, $15, 21+, icaboston.org
Bruno Mars has never been shy about his Michael Jackson fandom, and, with his fresh-faced charm, impeccable, classicist pop R&B style and chart-busting power, he’s surely among the worthiest contenders for Jackson’s crown in the last 25 years. His last album, “24K Magic,” found him shedding some of his more eclectic tendencies for a laser-focus on the pure goodies.
Oct. 7-8, TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, ticketmaster.com
Singer Haley Williams’ unique star power always set Paramore apart, and may be a reason the band’s been able to evolve past emo-pop, even if, on their latest record, “After Laughter,” they’ve sort of time-travelled back to the ’80s. The first single “Hard Times,” takes up a bouncy Cyndi-Lauper-meets-Vampire-Weekend vibe, deeply retro and perfectly modern at the same time.
Oct. 7, 8 p.m., Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston, ticketmaster.com
Future Arts Festival
This three-day festival showcases an alternative-minded, international bevy of contemporary artists in all sorts of media, with a definite emphasis on the street art aesthetic. Some of the artists go only by street-style pseudonyms, like Flesh 031, Ultimate, Trespassion, Goopmassta and—our favorite—TofuSquirrel. There are DJs and live band performances throughout the festival, and also an Art Brunch.
Oct. 5 -Oct. 7, Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland St., Somerville, $15-$35, futureartsfestival.com
Game of Jones
Sex, conquest, betrayal, Machiavellian power plays involving all three, and oh, ice monsters—“Game of Thrones” is so grave and serious and over the top, it’s screaming out to be made fun of. Enter the crack comedy team at the Riot Theatre, vets of the local scene ready and willing to take up improv arms and slay the HBO’s prestige television dragon.
Oct. 7, 10 p.m., Riot Theater, 146A South St., Jamaica Plain, $5-$10, theriottheater.com