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Beyond politics and baseball

Dorchester folks can’t live on politics and baseball alone.

Okay, maybe this October we could. But thanks to dedicated and imaginative neighbors who volunteer large amounts of their time for our collective benefit, we can feast ourselves on a bumper crop of other great takes right in our own backyard.

Last Sunday’s Irish Heritage Festival was a prime example. Led by organizers John O’Toole, Sean Weir, Mairin Ui Cheide, and others, the event was a huge success. The festival came after a year’s hiatus – further proof that these events are not easily done or financed – and was staged at a new location along Hallet Street. The family-friendly event was a huge hit and served as a reminder of the rich cultural connection this neighborhood enjoys with the people and traditions of Ireland. Congratulations to all who put it together.

This weekend offers another bite at the local apple – and this one will play out over three days and in more than a dozen venues across the neighborhood. The annual Open Studios is organized by the Dorchester Artists Collaborative, a multicultural collage of visual and performance artists who will swing open their doors to the public. The weekend kicks off on Friday evening with a reception at Codman Academy’s excellent Blackbox Theatre— where singers, dancers and spoken-word artists with take the stage starting at 7 p.m. Codman Academy is located at 637 Washington St., just behind the Great Hall in Codman Square.

The next two days will feature open houses at venues from Grove Hall to Cedar Grove, with more than 100 artists in the mix. A van will be available to shuttle visitors on a pair of loops connecting the various locations, which include First Parish Church, Walter Baker Lofts, the Strand Theatre, and the DAC’s excellent new headquarters on Washington Street: the Erick Jean Center for the Arts. A map of the locations was published in last week’s Reporter, but you can also access it online at dac-online.org

Events like these, which highlight our neighborhood’s rich and deep well of talent and diversity, deserve our support every bit as much as the major league baseball entry that’s currently treating us to a spectacular playoff run. The Dot folks who muster the energy, funding, and creativity to showcase our community in its finest possible light are our MVPs of the week.

– Bill Forry