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Posts Tagged ‘harvard square’

Who wouldn’t love Harvard Square? Although too many sights there are troubling, the square also offers a nonstop showcase of wonders. It’s kind of a mirror of human experience.

The last time I was in Harvard Square, I was meeting Minnesota friends for dinner. I ended up arriving at Harvest restaurant a few minutes after them because I simply had to stop and listen to this musician-inventor play his bellowphone.

From Len Solomon’s About page: “Classically trained musician, inventor, and one-man-orchestra Len Solomon performs a unique recital of music and comedy.

“The one-hour show features your favorite symphonic compositions, arranged for Dog Whistles and Bicycle Horn, plus a chromatic pipe organ devised from plumbing parts and coat-hanger wire, and of course, the ingenious Majestic Bellowphone: a musical masterpiece of Medieval technology! …

“Len majored in guitar and early music at Antioch College, and followed that with two years of playing guitar in a country-rock band in Idaho. He finally gave up the glory of playing for drunkards in bars five nights a week, and went to work for 10 years as a professional cabinetmaker in the Boston area. In 1983, in his Cambridge basement, Len built the Majestic Bellowphone, and he took it to the streets along with his 5-ball juggling routine, taking his place among the ranks of classic Harvard Square street acts.”

Click to hear the callioforte and bellowphone.

081816-inventor-plays-music-Harvard-Square

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My childhood friend Caroline, now living in Colorado, writes, “As a person who has spent her life designing and building housing, I am pretty convinced that we need to figure out how to house more people closer to downtown areas rather than contributing to endless low density sprawl and destruction of open spaces.

“To this end Tom and I attended the first ever YIMBY (yes in my backyard) conference that was held here in Boulder in June. It is a movement driven primarily by millennials and I am forwarding this invitation to a lecture in Cambridge in case it piques your interest.”

It does pique my interest.

As anyone who has read the incredibly moving Evicted (by MacArthur award winner Matthew Desmond) knows, housing is one of the most critical issues, if not the most critical, for domestic policy today. Housing ties to everything else.

So here’s the opportunity for people in the Greater Boston area: Jesse Kanson-Benanav (chairman of A Better Cambridge) is giving a talk September 14 at 6:30 p.m. for the Cambridge Historical Society on the Yimby movement.

Click this EventBrite link to sign up.

This month we’re asking ‘What is a YIMBY?,’ with the help of Jesse Kanson-Benanav, Chair of A Better Cambridge.

What’s our goal?

The Cambridge Historical Society wants to facilitate dynamic conversations about the housing issues facing Cambridge residents today with a historical perspective.

Where and why?

We are heading out to meet you in the city. The historic Hong Kong in Harvard Square is the perfect setting to bring your friends (or make new ones), grab a drink, and settle in for some engaging conversation about our 2016 theme, “Are We Home?”

Tickets:

$5 members/ $10 non-members

Questions?

Email us at rprevite@cambridgehistory.org

or call 617-547-4252

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I had dinner with friends at Harvard Square’s Casablanca last night.

Hadn’t seen them in ages. Their older son is moving to New York City with his family this summer. A key attraction is an experimental “international” school opening in Chelsea in the fall. My friends’ granddaughter will start in the new middle school and their grandson in the new elementary school.

Avenues School is the brainchild of publishing whiz Chris Whittle, best known for his not-so-successful Edison Schools. He puts that experiment in a positive light on the Avenues website, saying that it helped to spark the charter school movement. My friends say that experienced and inventive educators from all over have rushed in to help with Whittle’s new global approach to education.

“Begin by thinking Avenues Beijing, Avenues London, Avenues São Paulo, Avenues Mumbai,” says the website. “Think of Avenues as one international school with 20 or more campuses. It will not be a collection of 20 different schools all pursuing different educational strategies, but rather one highly-integrated ‘learning community,’ connected and supported by a common vision, a shared curriculum, collective professional development of its faculty, the wonders of modern technology and a highly-talented headquarters team located here in New York City.”

Erik went to an international school in Wales, a United World College, and made lifelong friends from many nations. As Avenues plans to do, United World Colleges has campuses in different countries. The one in Wales is for high school, but other UWC schools are, like Avenues, preschool to 12th grade, even beyond. Kim Jong-Il’s grandson attends the one in Bosnia!

 

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We went to Honk! in Somerville today. A few uncomfortable-looking masons and many counterculture bands marched to Harvard Square. It was a hoot. So nice to see these offbeat ’60s types are still springing up. All is not lost! The name of one band may give you a sense of where they are coming from: The Extraordinary Rendition Band. The Institute for Infinitely Small Things joined forces with the Occupy Boston contingent.

Represented below are Nomad Rights (a Tibetan group), unions (including the Postal Service), Darfur activists, and the Puppeteers Co-operative.

  

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The young lady mechanical doll on the soap box stands like a statue.

 

 

 

 

 

If someone offers a bill, she flutters her eyelashes, blows a kiss, waves her fan, bows, and turns back into a statue. She is usually in the same spot when I walk to the playwriting class on Thursdays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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