ALLSTON ARTS TODAY
by Jessica Balunas
Allston is a town where, every corner you turn something new and interesting is brought to your attention. With music venues, world cuisines, and creative locals, this neighborhood is one thriving both artistically and culturally. The never ending options of food and incredible music scene foster an inclusive environment where all are welcomed. While Allston is very acclimated to these topics, it needs improvement in some other areas. The lack of art newsletters fails to keep the community in the loop, save for one that speaks strictly on local music. Also, while many people are involved in art, there are not many art activities open to the public to help encourage interaction and the sharing of ideas with the people in the community, and when they are, it seems to be restricted to the strong music scene rather than other mediums of art. Although Allston needs some improvement on it’s art scene, it has acquired a certain rhythm and “funk” that only Allston holds and can be found nowhere else.
Walking through Allston you are bombarded with a variety of food choices, exhibiting the different cultures that are present in the community. Walking down Harvard Ave there is Egyptian (Azama), Chinese (Kirin), Middle Eastern (Garlic 'n Lemons), and American (Steve's Kitchen), and that's just one street. If you go down Cambridge you will pass a well-known grilled cheese restaurant called Roxy's Grilled Cheese along with the famous Allston Diner and Twin Donuts. The amount of choices helps keep everyone happy and the quality of the food cannot be matched. Grasshopper is available for Vegans along with HiB3ar for some ice cream after your meal. If Allston is the best at something, it is food selection. You can come here and have the world at your finger tips, your taste buds jumping for some exposure to world cuisine!
While Allston doesn't have many art newsletters, they do have one that is extremely popular with the many college students that swarm Boston during the school year. The Allston Pudding is a local music magazine/blog that keeps Allstonians, and the surrounding locals, in the loop with the new and upcoming bands/singers in the music scene. Located in lower Allston, it keeps in touch with the thriving punk and rock scene. While it does a great job on it's own getting word out to the community, Allston could really benefit from one or two more magazines that talk about a variety of different mediums of art, such as painting and filmmaking, in order to appeal to the entire population.
Allston is filled with music and it is pretty hard to miss. Talking a stroll around town you pass so many different implementations of music and Allston is all about it. Brighton Music Hall is a popular spot for all Bostonians to go and see their favorite band play, as well as Paradise Rock Club. There are also a lot of bars that feature live music, but the most well-known is The Great Scott, right on the corner of Harvard Ave and Commonwealth Ave, where you can go on a Tuesday night listening to a local band. The atmosphere is incredible and really high energy, so if you are looking to sit down for a beer I would advise against it. Most of the Allston Music scene is mainly alternative rock, hard rock and sometimes electronic, but Lower Allston is known for it's underground punk scene by many collegiate locals. A really cool spot not many Allstonians are aware of is In Your Ear, a local record/CD/tape shop where you can find all genres and mediums of music you could possibly think of. Allston even has it's own recording studio right on Everrett St called Studio 52 where all of the bands you are going to see can record their albums and bring to their gigs. Overall, the music scene in Allston is incredible and with the Allston Pudding to back it up, the community is surging with rhythm.
While Allston is thriving with culture and artistry, it proved difficult to find activities to attend that helped the community get involved in it together. One that heavily impacted the town was Arts on our Avenues where a local artist, Gregg Bernstein, took children in local schools and brought them into Allston to paint murals on the sides of buildings. This adds a lot of character to Allston and has given it's hard exterior some color to show the roots of the town. There is also some Figure Drawing offered by local artists that people of all ages can attend. Another interesting thing to attend is called Pop-Allston, a building that features an in door skate park, a vintage market, and some yoga classes you can attend. they are still expanding and their Calendar is constantly being updated with new events that you can participate in.
All Photos taken by Jessica Balunas