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Twice a week, Sasha Patkin reviews Boston-area cultural events, art exhibitions and restaurants, as part of the Independent Review Crew.

More about Patkin.

By Sasha Patkin - 9/26/23 - 4:12 pm
 Loaded Latkes with smoked salmon and dill sour cream

Loaded Latkes with smoked salmon and dill sour cream. Photo by Sasha Patkin.

“Knish Happens," "Love you a latke," "Almost Kosher," and "Got Matzo Balls?"

Zaftigs in Brookline knows its brand, and its tongue-in-cheek T‑shirts are as iconic as the fresh takes on Jewish cuisine that it serves. Read more.

By Sasha Patkin - 9/17/23 - 11:50 am
Eggplant Rollatine

Eggplant Rollatine. Photo by Sasha Patkin.

If you have ever read or watched a fantasy adventure, you are no stranger to the wonderful world of magical dining spaces. Whether it was a dark tavern or a school great hall lit up with millions of candles, you wanted more than anything to eat there. Or at least, we wanted to!

Enter Antique Table Lynn, which offers from-scratch Italian cuisine and an atmosphere worthy of any reader’s imagination. The menu features pan-Italian dishes and innovative daily specials (example: Pork Belly and Watermelon). Read more.

By Sasha Patkin - 9/11/23 - 10:13 pm
Little Amal surrounded by lanterns on Harvard campus

Little Amal surrounded by lanterns on Harvard campus. Photo by Sasha Patkin.

Why do people throw their energy into art when there are so many real and terrible things happening in the world that also deserve attention? This was one of the many questions which flitted across my mind as I sat on a bench in Harvard's Science Center Plaza Thursday night. Read more.

By Sasha Patkin - 9/8/23 - 11:30 am
Host Sar at the mic.

Host Sar at the mic. Photo by Sasha Patkin.

"And next up, Tony!" called the host of Trident Booksellers's Poetry Open Mic Night.

Instead of one person standing and walking toward the mic to read a poem as had happened all evening, two people got up from a table at the back of the café. One of them ducked to the side, and started filming on her phone as Tony approached the mic. Read more.

By Sasha Patkin - 8/31/23 - 4:10 pm
Wyn and the White Light perform at Sofar Boston HQ

Wyn and the White Light perform at Sofar Boston HQ. Photos by Sasha Patkin.

The last time I went to a concert it was too loud, tall people stood in front of me the whole time, and canned beers cost $15. While there's a time and place for every experience, and there can be something wonderful about being crammed in one place with thousands of fans and watching your favorite act through a giant LED stage display, sometimes you want a cozier, more intimate setting.

I've been meaning to check out a Sofar Sounds concert for years, but was never quite sure what to expect, which is entirely by design. Based on the premise of hosting secret concerts in unique venues, Sofar promises a serendipitous and intimate concert-going experience. Read more.

By Sasha Patkin - 8/30/23 - 9:43 pm
Rose Christian's painting Nevermore

Rose Christian's painting Nevermore. See it larger. Photos by Sasha Patkin.

Teen artist Ashanti Dejesus's paintings hung on the wall at the Artists For Humanity's Big Summa' Show - two moody-blue paintings of underpasses, their details sponged away to abstraction but their rainy tone familiar to any city dweller. Next to both, little cards on the wall marked their price as $1,600 each and, beneath that, hand-scrawled, all-caps notes that read "SOLD."

“Oh, these kids are for real," I thought. Read more.

By Sasha Patkin - 8/22/23 - 11:43 am
Maravilla's flight across the United States as a child

Maravilla's flight across the United States as a child. Photo by Sasha Patkin. See it larger.

Our experience of art doesn't solely consist of the impression we get in the moment as we stand in front of a painting or sit in the audience of a performance. It's also infused with all of the prior experiences, traumas, and memories we carry with us everywhere; they continue to reverberate through our mind and inform the way we see the world well after we've left a museum or theater. Read more.

By Sasha Patkin - 8/18/23 - 12:37 pm
'Antoine’s Organ' by Rashid Johnson on display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

"Antoine’s Organ'" by Rashid Johnson. See it larger. Photo by Sasha Patkin.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of my favorite museums in Boston, which has to do with its unique history (who doesn't love an unsolved art heist or a quirky female philanthropist?), its hodgepodge and personalized way of displaying art (mixing genres and time periods exactly as Isabella wanted, and mainly unlabelled), its curation of everything from European bench pews to sculptures to personal letters, but most of all its constantly-blooming courtyard garden, which constitutes the heart of museum in every respect. Read more.

By Sasha Patkin - 8/17/23 - 1:43 pm
Crying Thaiger's house mock-duck curry

Crying Thaiger's house mock-duck curry. Photo by Sasha Patkin.

Co-written by Kelley McLaughlin.

The first thing you notice when you enter Crying Thaiger Rustic Thai Kitchen in Malden is that the walls are painted black. But that doesn't mean it's dark inside – the hip and edgy dark walls are colorfully decorated with metallic vintage Thai advertisements, and two distressed wooden accent walls work in concert with wooden tables and touches throughout the restaurant of popping, sunshine yellow to give the space a delightfully modern, quirky Bohemian feel. Read more.

By Sasha Patkin - 8/16/23 - 2:29 pm
Detail from one of Gu Wenda's pieces on display

Detail from one of Gu Wenda's pieces on display. See it larger.

Ed. note: Starting today, UHub will be posting Boston-area reviews of local cultural happenings and restaurants by Sasha Patkin of the Independent Review Crew, a new initiative of the nonprofit Online Journalism Project. Let us know what you think!

The introductory video to Gu Wenda's "United Nations" exhibit, currently on display in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, states that a single strand of hair contains enough DNA to identify one of us from a billion of us. When the Chinese-born artist creates his pieces from the combined hair of thousands of people, therefore, his work becomes a collective portrait that both transcends and unites the singular human experience.

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