Union Square Playlist Events

As part of the Union Square at Work/Union Square Playlist project, Charan produced over 25 concerts and events across the city of Somerville with an eye towards involving community members and reaching new audiences. You can find a full list of events here. A few samples are below:

Photo by Charan Devereaux

Photo by Charan Devereaux

Metal, Cars and Meat: Stories from Boynton Yards

The Somerville Museum, Somerville, MA

Joe Nissenbaum of Nissenbaum’s Used Auto Parts, local historian and retired Somerville firefighter Bob “Monty” Doherty, and Allen Talewsky from Talwesky’s/J&A Auto Parts joined together for a panel discussion about Somerville’s Boynton Yards neighborhood. The panel explored the area’s history of slaughterhouses, salvage yards, scrap metal and auto recycling. Nissenbaum’s and Talewsky’s have been owned and operated by the same families since the early 1900’s. Refreshments included sandwiches from Boynton Yards restaurant La Hacienda, founded in 1939 to serve local slaughterhouse workers.


Poster by Bill Miller

An Economic History of Somerville, MA

Aeronaut Brewing Company, Somerville, MA

Why did people first come to the city of Somerville--what were their goals and how were they employed? How did railways change the city? How has Somerville’s history as an industrial center contributed to its identity? How does the city’s economic history fit into the story of New England’s regional development? This talk with public historian Edward Gordon sold out Aeronaut Brewing Company and had interest from over 1,900 people on Facebook.

The talk was followed by a performance by the band Shepherdess. Post-punk/slack-psych band Shepherdess practices at Compound 440R in the former American Tube Works building in Somerville. The band’s most recent album is I’m Saving Myself for Shepherdess. Singer/guitarist Hilken Mancini is formerly of the band Fuzzy. Fuzzy's single “Flashlight” was recently named one of Rolling Stone’s “50 Best Songs of Nineties.” Baritone guitar/violinist Emily Arkin has performed in Somerville–based bands for over 15 years and chaired the Somerville Arts Council Board. Drummer Alison Murray met her band-mates via Girls Rock Campaign Boston. Mancini, Murray, and Arkin are leaders of GRCB, helping girls foster self-expression, confidence and collaboration through music education and performance.

Poster by Bill Miller

Poster by Bill Miller

Immigration and Somerville’s Economy: A Historical Perspective

The Welcome Project, Somerville, MA

Somerville is the most densely populated city in New England, and about a third of the city’s 80,000 residents were born outside the United States. This panel discussion explored the historical role of immigration in Somerville’s economy. Moderated by the Massachusetts Historical Society's Director of Programs Gavin W. Kleespies, the panel included public historian Edward Gordon, The Welcome Project's Executive Director Ben Echevarria and three members of Somerville's business community with immigration stories. How did immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Greece, Portugal and other countries participate in the local economy and shape early Somerville? Since the 1980's, immigrants have come to the city from all over the world including Central and South America, Haiti, and Cape Verde. How is Somerville’s history of immigration significant to the city’s identity? What can we learn from stories from Somerville’s business community? This panel was presented at the Welcome Project, which serves the city’s immigrant communities.


Poster by Bill Miller

“Beer in the Great War: Breweries, Wartime and the Prohibition Movement in Somerville and Beyond” with historian Dan Breen

WWI and early Prohibition-era music with celebrated violinist Matt Glaser

2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. As the U.S. joined the conflict, breweries strove to stay in business even as the tide towards Prohibition grew and the supplies of needed grain began to diminish. Rising anti-German sentiment further reduced the demand for beer. Come join us at Aeronaut Brewing Company to learn more about and how these dynamics impacted businesses in Somerville and across the country with historian and Somerville resident Dan Breen of Brandeis University.

The talk was followed by a special performance by celebrated jazz and bluegrass violinist Matt Glaser performing WWI and early Prohibition-era music. Glaser, a 20-year Somerville resident, served as head of the Berklee School of Music string department for more than 25 years and is founder and artistic director of the Berklee American Roots Music Program. Glaser's vast knowledge and experience in music has fueled collaborations with a wide range of artists, from cellist Yo-Yo Ma to filmmaker Ken Burns. Glaser was joined by Joe "Sonny" Barbato, a pioneering voice in jazz accordion.

A night of history and historical music with two Somerville residents.