The B-Side

July freebies you NEED to know 🤑

Plus: 🛍️ Prime Day deals

The B-Side
Welcome to The B-Side, the daily dose of news you actually want to hear. Katie Cole

It’s Tuesday, Boston.

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👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Offices turned apartments
  • ChatGPT beer
  • Prime Day deals

Up first…


The best events in life are free

Image: Ben Stas for The Boston Globe. Illustration: Emily Schario.

Break out your social calendar. Every month, we share our favorite free events happening around Boston.


Here’s what’s on deck for July:

🎭 It wouldn’t be a summer in Boston without seeing Shakespeare on the Common. The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s performance of Macbeth kicks off on July 19. And if it’s been a while since you read the play in high school, here’s a quick recap: There’s witches, there’s a prophecy, and there are ambitious people who murder each other to get to the top. Plus, you can bring in your own food for a DIY dinner and a show. Don’t forget a chair or blanket!

🍿 And keep that blanket on hand for all the free outdoor movies. You can see The Karate Kid and Jumanji at Revere Beach Theatre Thursdays this month; MatildaMinions: The Rise of Gru and Lightyear in the Pru’s South GardenDirty Dancing at Boston LandingThe Lost World: Jurassic Park with Coolidge on the GreenwayMidnight in ParisTalladega Nights, and The Secret Life of Bees on Sundays at Christopher Columbus Park; and many more.


💃 Looking to learn a new skill? Try salsa dancing! You can spend every Thursday night this month in Roslindale learning the steps at the Salsa in the Square series. You’ll get a basic Salsa lesson from Andres Giraldo, of Salsa y Control, followed by a night of dancing on Birch Street Plaza. But if you prefer to fly solo, the Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series has a beginner Salsa class today in the South End for a great workout. And don’t forget about The Superette’s Summer Salsa Nights.

😂 Improv Asylum is offering free shows every Wednesday through August. Improv may be unpredictable, but the North End comedy theater is guaranteeing you one thing this summer: free admission to Wednesday shows between July 19 and August 30. Tix normally range from $20 to $30, so it’s a steal. Free show times vary, so check for availability here.

🏋️ Free fitness classes on the Esplanade start up this week. The River Fit Summer Fitness series is back for its 13th year along the Charles with more classes than ever before. There’s everything from Broadway dance cardio, to sunset yoga, to running for beginners, and more. You can see the full class lineup and schedule here.


🎶 You can vibe out to vinyl at the ICA all month. The museum’s summer waterfront music series featuring Boston’s best vinyl-only DJs kicks off this Friday with Soulelujah. You can enjoy free music at the ICA’s Wine + Coffee Bar every Friday through August 25 (except First Fridays) from 5 to 9 p.m. And while this part isn’t free, they’ll be serving light bites, raw bar items, and natural wines selected by acclaimed sommelier Lauren Friel, of Rebel Rebel.



Shop small at The Current

Image courtesy of The Current

Trendsetters 🤝 Small Businesses. The Seaport’s retail pop-up series, The Current, is back for its 12th season by popular demand. From mouth-watering cupcakes at Baked by Melissa to trendy trinkets at Brave Daughters and Hart, the miniature shopping village has tons of unique offerings. Other retailers include Lifebloom’s botanical themed candle oasis, Olfactory NYC’s irresistible scents, and stylish fashion options from Municipal, Project Paulie, Inkerman, and Randolph. It’s all yours to explore now through August.


Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Suzanne Keiter/Globe Staff

🏢 Mayor Wu wants to turn downtown offices into apartments. The city announced a new pilot program incentivizing owners of underutilized office buildings to convert their spaces for residential use. The carrot? Reduced property taxes. For context, a 2022 report found that office space vacancy rates were around 20%. This program ticks off two of Wu’s big goals: creating more housing and increasing downtown foot traffic. Apps will be accepted this fall.


🦠 Today’s forecast may scream beach weather, but don’t get too excited. There are still 53 beaches closed across the state due to bacteria issues. And beaches aren’t the only places paying for the torrential rain we’ve had: The deluge that swept across parts of New England created “life-threatening” flooding in Vermont, prompting rescues and evacuations. You can see just how bad the flooding looked here.

🤑 Amazon’s Prime Day event kicks off today. The 45-hour flurry of deals from Mr. Bezos starts at 3 a.m. Although you (or a friend) need a Prime subscription to take advantage of most of the deals, there’s always a chance that prices drop lower during the event itself. Early Prime Day deals showed Fire Sticks for only $15$50 off AirPods, and up to $150 off Apple Watches. And if you consider yourself the savviest of shoppers, here are five ways to save even more during Prime Day.

🤖 Night Shift Brewing launched another beer made with AI. Owls In Boston IPA, the brewery’s second AI-inspired release, just dropped. This hazy IPA is packed with notes of orange citrus, pineapple, and fresh pine. Good ole’ Chat GPT and MidJourney were responsible for generating the recipe and designing the labels. There are 10 different label versions, including “Make Way For Owls” and “93 Traffic on the Zakim” (relatable), so each four-pack will be a surprise.


Cuckoo for coconut


Image courtesy of J.P. Licks

Finally, a new J.P. Licks flavor that won’t trigger your gag reflex.

After forcing pickle and everything bagel flavors on us against our will, J.P. Licks and local surf n’ turf spot Grill 23 teamed up to create a limited-edition coconut cake ice cream to commemorate the restaurant’s 40th anniversary. And in the words of Bake Off’s Mary Berry, it sounds “absolutely scrummy.”

The base is a creamy, coconut custard ice cream blended with sweetened and toasted coconut and loaded with pieces of cake. You can get it at all 17 J.P. Licks store locations for a limited time this summer.

💜 Thanks for reading! Special thanks to today’s sponsor Seaport for supporting local businesses and community journalism.

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