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Arts Around Boston: The tools for finding your way around Boston

By Joel M. Rosenberg
Staff Reporter

So now you've been here a few weeks. Or a few years. Or too many years. What have you done since you've been here? Studied. Drank some. Slept. Probably not much. Well, it's not because there's nothing to do. It's time you checked out what this town has to offer.

There are a bunch of good places to get info on what's going on in Boston, Cambridge, and the suburbs accessible by T. The first and probably best place to look is The Boston Phoenix, which comes out every Thursday. Just this week they reduced its price from $1.50 to $1, but you can get exactly the same thing for free at college student centers (including our own) on Friday afternoons. The only thing they change is the title - the free copy is called B.A.D., which stands for Boston After Dark.

Just like a real paper, it has multiple sections, including a news section, which is where some of the club listings appear. It has a styles section complete with a dining guide, an adult entertainment section (always interesting), and, most useful, an arts and entertainment section, which lists everything from upcoming Hot Tix (great for learning when tickets for big shows go on sale) to movie reviews and club listings by night. Most clubs take out ads with upcoming shows as well, so it's a great resource considering it's at most $1.

Another good place to check is The Improper Bostonian. It's a less comprehensive biweekly paper (comes out Wednesdays, which it did last on Tuesday) that has reviews, articles on local happenings, and a live music listing that is better than the Phoenix's because bands' names - instead of the clubs where they are playing - are boldfaced. Aside from this, the Phoenix beats the Bostonian in most categories. The Improper Bostonian is less stylish and concentrates more on local politics, but it can be picked up on many streets around Boston and Cambridge and is available outside the main entrance to MIT at 77 Massachusetts Avenue, next to the newspaper machines.

Other places to look are The Boston Tab or The Cambridge Tab, which come out every Tuesday. They are usually in three sections: news, arts and entertainment, and a job supplement that is usually just thrown away. Boston and Cambridge have different news sections, but the arts and entertainment section is the same. It's definitely the worst for finding out what's going on everywhere, but it occasionally highlights some event that would otherwise only be footnoted in the other papers. They're basically community newspapers, focused mainly on local events.

There's also The Tech, which comes out on Tues-days and Fri-days. Different places like to advertise here. The Council for the Arts at MIT, as part of their "ongoing series of student arts excursions," makes available to MIT students free tickets to good stuff in Boston. The Cam-bridgeside Galleria advertised last week about a free Poe concert at the mall. The Tech also has reviews of new movies and campus happenings, like the Student Loan Art Exhibition (currently at the List Visual Arts Center, on the first floor of the Media Lab), where students can view artwork and enter a lottery to borrow a piece for the school year.

Tech Talk, which comes out every Wednesday, has a calendar for arts at MIT and a list of lectures and seminars, but not much for the local entertainment scene. And there's the Boston Globe Calendar which comes out with the Thursday paper, but it's better to get The Boston Phoenix if that is all you care about.

Next week: What there is to do in Boston.