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Posts Tagged ‘concord’

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When we lived in Minneapolis in the late 1990s, we would tell friends back in Massachusetts that we thought the Twin Cities theater scene was the best anywhere. They would say, “You mean the Guthrie?”

No, actually. We meant the many small, more-experimental theater groups that popped up everywhere.

Friday we were introduced to new one, TigerLion, which performed an outdoor “walking” play about Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson at the Old Manse. Above you see one of several stages and the warm-up team performing before the show. (Note also that the audience’s path to the next stage set is lined with apples.)

The highly physical acting style kept everyone from toddlers to adults entertained as did the whacky sound effects, wild locomotive and cabin-in-the-woods creations, and energetic choruses.

When the Royal Shakespeare Theater decided in the late 1970s that the best way to convey the uniqueness of Dickens was to recite chunks of his narration (as in their production of Nicholas Nickleby), I think they changed theater forever. The inventive TigerLion expands on the use of a chorus, at one point having it speak the conversation of the pantomiming protagonists — even the crunching of the apples they eat. (Really funny.)

The troupe wants audiences to delight in nature and save the planet from unchecked exploitation. From the website: “We celebrate human wisdom and the spirit of nature through creative works that awaken, inform, and delight. …

TigerLion Arts presents Nature, the mythic telling of Emerson and Thoreau’s mutual love affair with the natural world.  …

“A professional ensemble of actors takes the audience on a journey through the natural environment as scenes unfold around them. Bagpipes, ancient flutes, drums and rich choral arrangements are intricately woven into the experience. …

“This original work is collaboratively created with writer/actor Tyson Forbes, a direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“In today’s world, we are so estranged from our natural environment, and at TigerLion Arts, we feel that humankind must reconnect with nature in order to survive.  As oil spills into our oceans, as we race through our lives, as we look further and further outside ourselves for the answers, it is our hope that Nature can be a catalyst for our collective healing.”

More.

Photo: TigerLion
Energetic Minneapolis theater group recreating the interactions of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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Thursday I went over to the Hapgood Wright Town Forest to check out the latest iteration of the Umbrella Community Arts Center’s Art Ramble.

The center’s website says, “In honor of Henry David Thoreau’s 200th birthday, this exhibit encourages artists to create work that slows the viewer’s experience of the natural world.”

I enjoyed finding the art tucked away here and there in the woods, and I also enjoyed the beauties of the forest: a Great Blue Heron standing patiently in the middle of a pond where I could hear a bullfrog croaking, a beautiful fallen log with wavy lines, Indian Pipe fungi hidden among dry leaves.

The first of the art pieces that I chose to photograph was Mary Baum’s “Point of Entry,” a construction of mirrors covering a rock. Baum says that, in general, “her work deals with themes of belief and mysticism; the connection between the natural and spiritual worlds; and the relationship between magic and miracle.”

The second work I photographed was called “Forest for the Tree” and features small jars holding bits of tree arranged around a trunk.

Self-taught conceptual artist Heather Kapplow says the work “plays with the movement of consciousness or attention between the big picture and the more granular one (with its emphasis resting on the consciousness or attention of one particular tree). It exists as a liminal object, one that touches two worlds and acts as the passageway between. It allows the viewer to consider that there is more to our existence than what meets the eye.” (If you take children, you may want to find a way to translate artistspeak here and elsewhere around the woods.)

My favorite work was an array of “knotholes” by clay sculptor Liz Fletcher, who creates environmental art because she is “concerned about human impacts on the land.”

The title of her contribution is “Lovers of Life,” and features portraits of people who walked gently on the land, such as Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, and Black Elk, a Oglala Lakota (Sioux), who lived from 1863 to 1950.

Fletcher says, ” ‘Lovers of Life’ is an outdoor portrait gallery. Embedded within knotholes are images of people from various eras and cultures who devoted their creative energies to studying and protecting the natural world, and encouraging people to live in harmony with it. Knotholes on trees show where branches once grew out from the trunk. Knotholes are fine frames for these naturalists and spiritual leaders whose ideas have branched out across the world.”

I wrote about last year’s Art Ramble here.

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Mary Ann alerted me to a local art show co-curated by her artist friend Holly Harrison. I will be visiting this exhibit more than once — it’s a beautiful assemblage of artworks that incorporate words, and there’s a lot to read.

Included in the show “Inhabiting Words” are two needlework pieces by Liz Shepherd that I think will interest blogger KerryCan, given her recent post about a woman who stitched information for her citizenship test into a sampler. (Read it here.)

KerryCan wrote that the citizenship project “was created by artist Aram Han Sifuentes. Sifuentes, from South Korea, prepared for her own US citizenship test by embroidering a sampler of 100 questions and answers typical of the test questions, questions like, ‘What did Susan B. Anthony do?’ ‘Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?’ ‘What is the capital of your state?’ ” I think I should suggest this to a certain Cambodian ESL student who sews.

In Liz Shepherd’s creation for the Concord Center for the Visual Arts show, the topic is religion and its sometimes unintended consequences. Here she stitches ruminations by the late Christopher Hitchens.

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Well, we’re home and adjusting to the time change more easily than when we traveled east. Meanwhile, it occurs to me that I have a bunch of New England photos from both before and after our trip that I want to share. I call the first one “There Will Be Grapes.”

The yellow and white tulips have since died off, but the yard they graced has a floral display that keeps on giving.

My three shadow pictures feature the North Bridge in Concord, Mass., a wildly exuberant dogwood, and a vase of spring flowers.

Two antique child vehicles are on the porch of a home furnishings store.

The life forms by Korean sculptor Jaeok Lee at the Concord Center for the Visual Arts completely captivated me. The artist has written about making the tiny cabinet objects while experiencing health challenges that kept her from other projects.

“The healing quality of nature also motivates my work,” Lee says. “A few years ago, I developed an illness that doctors could not diagnose. While going through various diagnostic tests, since I did not have much energy, I started working with very small objects.

“I would go out to my garden for inspiration and would start to pinch small forms of seeds, pods, berries and flowers. Over the course of one year, I made thousands of small pieces that filled a Chinese medicine cabinet that I bought from an antique shop a few years ago.

“I named the project ‘Making my own medicine.’ The simple act of pinching the forms has been a healing experience that gave me enormous hope for my recovery.”

More at her website, here.

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Photo: Military Friends Foundation
Joining the Tough Ruck marathon means carrying a heavy load for 26.2 miles to raise money for the fallen and injured and their families. Acknowledged by the Boston Marathon.

I was out for my ordinary walk on Saturday when I soon realized I was accidentally in the way of a new kind of marathoner: soldiers carrying heavy rucksacks on their backs. They were pushing hard as they were at mile 25 of a 26.2-mile marathon.

The signs saying “Tough Ruck” didn’t tell me much, so when I got home, I looked on Google to see what this was all about.

From the website: “We are a group of military and civilians whose sole purpose is to Ruck in honor and in memory of our Fallen Service Members, Police, Firefighters and EMTs, while raising funds to support military families in times of need.

“We will walk a 26.2 mile course with our Rucks.  Military Friends Foundation is proud to announce the continuation of our partnership with the Boston Athletic Association, the National Park Service and the Old Manse for 2017.

“On April 15, 2013, the Tough Ruck members were at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and joined the first responders to help those that were injured by the horrific blasts. They truly exemplify the best of what our Nation is. …

“Each year Ruckers are awarded the first of the official Boston Marathon Medals and receive recognition from the Boston Athletic Association.

“Tough Ruck participants are made up of any member of the Armed Forces currently serving, Veterans, First Responders, or Civilians. This extends across borders and is an open invite to our allied brothers and sisters around the world.
Regardless of a Rucker’s branch of service, rank, or position, each Rucker is a person who has volunteered to band together and do something to honor our Fallen Soldiers. …

“Ruckers push themselves and are an exemplar of drive, determination, and motivation. We ask each Rucker to push him or herself to their max potential and NEVER GIVE UP. Ruckers leave all egos, negative attitudes, and apathy at the start line. You are a member of a team. …

“When you register you will be asked to select one of three a divisions.  Ruck sacks will be weighed in prior to the start time and immediately after crossing the finish line.  You will NOT be permitted to ruck if your ruck sack does not weigh in at a minimum of 15 pounds.

“Military Division – Open to all active military and veterans and retirees.  Each Rucker will wear a: blouse, trousers, safety belt, regulation issued boots, and a ruck/assault pack/regulation pack issued by branch of service.  The minimum weight in the military division is 35 pounds.

“Heavy Weight Division – Ruckers in the heavy weight division will carry a minimum of 35 pounds at weigh in and at the finish line.

“Light Weight Division – Ruckers in the light weight division will carry a minimum of 15 pounds at weigh in and at the finish line.”

I didn’t realize something was up until I heard people clapping and cheering them on outside the Colonial Inn. I love the symbolism of sharing a heavy burden.

Read more here.

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My latest photo round-up includes several from family members plus examples of my own fascination with shadows and light.

The first picture is from Erik’s mother in Sweden. I love that a Swedish gingerbread house was rendered in red board-and-batten style. Next is a funny sign about Norwegians that my husband shot in Concord. Then we have Suzanne’s photo of proto-skiers and another funny sign, this time in Vermont.

The old barn is next to the Ralph Waldo Emerson homestead. The house being torn down is the haunted one I have described before. Tearing it down revealed that it was actually haunted by a raccoon.

The six light-and-shadow photos depict a stuffed animal in bright sunlight, our front gate after a recent storm, Plato’s Idea/Form of a trash can and recycling bin, three green windows, chairs in the pocket park, and a surprising pattern of light on a window blind.

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Photos with meaning. Well, maybe not all these photos have meaning. Some exist for their own sakes.

The first, from my backyard, captures two things I love — fall colors and shadows. The second shows the Concord River flowing through Minuteman Park; the third, shadows on the monument at the North Bridge.

The restaurant with the kitchen facing the street is a delightful new entrant to the celebrated Providence restaurant scene. It’s on Westminster Street and is called Bao Bao.

The winged creature on a Boston building looks like a gryphon to me. Do correct me if I’m wrong. Next is a rhino outside the Museum of Fine Arts museum school. That’s followed by the amazing cloister of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and an illuminated manuscript from a current exhibit in the new wing.

Finally, I couldn’t capture the whole Leonard Cohen lyric on the sidewalk in Wayland Square — would have had to stand in a busy street at rush hour. But it’s from his song “Anthem” —

“Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.”

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