The Arts Council’s Rachel Strutt On the Language of Food

Rachel Strutt, program director at the Somerville Arts Council, has always been interested in helping to amplify marginalized voices. She got her master’s degree in medieval art history at Tufts, studying the “people on the margins.” She continued with her passion of promoting people’s stories as a journalist, and eventually carried that drive to the […]


‘We Envision Gas Stations As Hubs of Environmental Advocacy’

You use reusable shopping bags. You recycle, and maybe even compost. You take the T whenever you can. But sometimes, driving is unavoidable—maybe your job is inaccessible by public transit, or maybe the bus never showed. You take your car, even though you cringe when you think of the impact non-electric cars have on the […]


The SheBoom Sisterhood

They have many names for themselves. “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Drums.” “The Rolling Crones.” A “post-menopausal percussion and vocal ensemble.” They are many things—women, activists, mothers. One was a realtor, another’s a former professor, and a third has written five books about Halloween. They came together haphazardly. “It’s a small world in Somerville and […]


Activist-essayist-poet Jackie Wang Tackles Incarceration

Local poet Jackie Wang will not be pigeon-holed. She’s a performer, the author of multiple radical zines, and a self-described “poetry-school drop-out,” “library rat,” and “trauma monster.” She’s also a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard in African and African American Studies, and, she cheerfully adds, “I also make music and films!” You may have heard her […]


Ellie Tiglao Brings ‘Narrative Cuisine’ to the Table With Tanám

“It’s important to tell your own food story.” That’s the driving force behind what Ellie Tiglao, one of Boston’s rising culinary talents, describes as “narrative cuisine.” Her new restaurant, Tanám—slated to open in Bow Market in late summer—blends artistic inspiration and historical awareness to create intimate and memorable dining experiences. A career scientist with a […]


Somer Fest Variety Show Heads to ArtFarm

What is Somer Fest? Think of it as a variety show: It’s rap, it’s magic, it’s comedy. Zoë Reiches and Stephond Goler—a married couple and co-curators of Somer Fest—have been putting on their variety shows for years under the moniker “Thorpe Street Presents…” Reiches is a semi-professional, part-time magician, and Goler moonlights as the rapper […]


Meet Fluffy, Creator of Community at the Mystic Learning Center

You matter, and your community has your back. That’s the fundamental message Florence Bergmann has tried to impart to thousands of East Somerville children over the past 45 years through her work at the Mystic Learning Center (MLC). MLC works to break the cycle of poverty by providing a safe, low-cost space for kids and […]


Ignite! Festival Returns to Union Square

The annual Ignite! Festival will return to Union Square on Saturday for a night of food, cultural exchange, performances, and fire. Designed to “showcase the incredibly delicious and diverse food landscape of Union Square”—according to Rachel Strutt, cultural director for the Somerville Arts Council—the festival weaves together dishes from the fabric of the city. There […]


How the Bicycle Committee Is Making Our Streets Safer

A recurring theme in our conversation with Ken Carlson, the chair of the Somerville Bicycle Committee, is the championing of “good frustration.” “People who aren’t used to biking in a place that has decent bike facilities will come and say to me, ‘Wow, I really love biking in Somerville,’” Carlson says. “My response is yeah, […]


Mobile Library Pops Up in Union

The public library’s on the go through Aug. 6, bringing a mini version of the library to Bow Market. A collection of about 60 to 100 books—staff favorites from various departments—can be checked out thanks to a computer system that lets librarians check out books and sign people up for library cards. A “DIY corner” […]


Lee Erica Palmer Inspires State Legislation

While most elected officials can vividly recall the blood, sweat, and tear-soaked path to completing their first campaign for office, Lee Erica Palmer couldn’t have been more prepared for her initial run as school committee representative for Ward 3 in 2015. “Unlike a lot of first-time candidates who can be surprised by what it takes […]


Sofar Sounds Brings Hyperlocal, Secret Shows

Sofar Sounds, a network of intimate concerts in more than 400 cities worldwide, is pushing a new type of music experience—one that is personal rather than distant, focused rather than chaotic. “Our founding principle [is] respecting music, listening to musicians, supporting them as much as we can, and giving them the focus and attention that […]