Posts Tagged ‘steve annear’

So much anxiety about “the others” these days, anxiety that is seldom based on knowing even one of those others!

That is why I found this story by Steve Annear in the Boston Globe so charming and important.

He wrote, “Mona Haydar knew that when she set up two signs outside a Cambridge library [in December] with the words ”Ask a Muslim’ and ‘Talk to a Muslim,’ she had to be prepared for strong opinions about her faith.

“But the Duxbury resident said the impromptu experiment led to a meaningful series of conversations about religion, politics, history, and sports. It was an experience that, even in a time of prejudice against Muslims, showed Haydar that ‘the community is loving.’

“ ‘We just wanted to talk to people and we didn’t see any harm in doing that,’ said Haydar. ‘We are just normal people. There is definitely fear [in America], and I want to talk about it, because it’s actually misplaced and misguided — I am really nice!’

“Holding a box of doughnuts and cartons of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, and wearing a traditional hijab, Haydar last Friday and Saturday planted herself alongside her husband, Sebastian Robins, outside the library for several hours each day.

“Haydar said that over the two days they spoke with more than 100 strangers. The initiative, she said, was inspired by a similar act, called Talk to an Iraqi, that was featured on ‘This American Life’ in 2008.” More here.

I’d say she gave a gift to the Cambridge populace, which although considered open-minded, is not monolithic. And she seems to have received a gift in return: the satisfaction of initiating an important conversation and of confirming that the majority of people are kind.

Photo: Mona Haydar
Mona Haydar and her husband, Sebastian Robins, stood outside of a library in Cambridge.

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Our mostly warm December has turned into a chilly January, and the Samaritan with the hats may find that his or her offerings are finally in demand.

In December, Steve Annear wrote at the Boston Globe that someone had been leaving hats, scarves, and mittens prominently displayed on Boston Common with a sign encouraging whoever might need them to help themselves.

“In an act of kindness, an anonymous person this week hung winter garments on six trees on Boston Common, welcoming passersby affected by the frigid temperatures to help themselves to items of clothing to stay bundled up.

“Tied to the trunks of the trees along the path heading toward Boylston Street are mittens, gloves, scarves, ear-warmers, socks, a pair of warm-up pants, and knit hats.

“A note placed on the ground that was written with a winter-blue-colored marker reads: ‘I am not lost. If you are stuck out in the cold, please take what you need to keep warm.’

“At the bottom of the sign was a drawing of a snowflake. …

“A city spokeswoman said that the Parks and Recreation Department will leave the clothes where they are, as long as they are not damaging the trees or other property on the Common.” More here.

Photo: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Scarves and gloves available if you need them.


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Here are some recent photos.

The totem pole is outside a Jamaica Plain (JP) coffee shop, where on certain days, people pay for the next person’s coffee. When I took my turn to “pay it forward,” the puzzled recipient said, “Gosh, I love JP.”

Next is a Red Line ball on High Street in Boston. Steve Annear reports at the Boston Globe that Lars-Erik Fisk  “used polycarbonate to shape the sculpture before he added a windshield, destination arrival sign, and headlights and tail lights to the sphere to capture the T’s look.” (Fisk also made the Green Monster inside the building.)

The second sculpture is on Franklin Street. The giant tree mural is on a Congress Street parking garage, near Government Center. The beautiful staircase is at the Massachusetts State House.

The Redcoat is at the North Bridge, as is the bittersweet on the gate. The dogwood and the Japanese Maple are at my house.











110115-lovely-orange Japanese-maple

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Today I sat on a shady bench next to Fort Point Channel and ate my Vietnamese noodles from the food truck. In front of me, floating on a green platform visited by cormorants, were two sheep — a big one and a small one. As the breeze and the tide nudged the platform, it turned slowly, showing the sculptures with different shadings and from different angles.

Steve Annear at the Boston Globe says, “The installation, called ‘Who Wears Wool,’ was created by artist Hilary Zelson, and pays homage to the Fort Point area’s former wool trade. … Earlier this year, FPAC [Fort Point Arts Community] put out a request for proposals seeking an artist who could weave together a prominent display connecting the neighborhood’s arts community with residents and visitors.  …

“For the project, Zelson said she layered EPS foam — or expanded polystyrene — to create the bodies of the sheep. The layers are held together with a spray adhesive, and the sheep are bolted to the dock with an armature of steel rods. Once built, the sheep were covered in packing peanuts to create the look of wool, before the entire thing was covered with a white acrylic latex coating …

“Zelson started working on the project in August. The first six weeks alone were dedicated to planning, she said.

“ ‘Once I was able to get the foam to my studio, I was working seven days a week,’ she said. ‘It was probably a 300-hour project.’ … The project — from the 3D renderings to the welding to the stacking of foam — was documented on Zelson’s Instagram account”

More here.

What I see in my photo are a ewe and a lamb — and cormorants.

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Cambridge knows how to make artists feel welcome, even cherished. Recently the city had a poetry contest, and the winners are getting their poems embedded in the sidewalk.

Steve Annear writes at the Boston Globe, “Cambridge officials received hundreds of submissions from residents hoping to make their mark as literary legends through the city’s first-ever ‘Sidewalk Poetry’ contest this spring. In the end, only five scribes emerged victorious.

“In March, the city put out a call for poets to participate in the project. Winners were promised a permanent display space for their musings — the poems would be imprinted in the freshly poured concrete as Department of Public Works crews replaced sidewalk slabs cracked or damaged during the winter.

“The response was great, said Molly Akin, the Cambridge Arts Council’s marketing director. More than 300 submissions flooded in from writers ranging in age from 4 to 95, according to organizers.

“A special committee that included workers from the [Department of Public Works], representatives from the local libraries, members of the Arts Council, and Cambridge’s former Poet Populists helped select the finalists. …

“Below are the names of the winners, and their poems:

Rose Breslin Blake
Children, look up
Cherish those clouds
Ride grey ponies over their hills
Feed the shiny fish
Boo the big bear
Chase the gloomy giant
Giggle with the geese
Sing with the lambs
Cherish those clouds; they cherish you
Rest on their pillows.

Benjamin Grimm
I could not forget you if I tried.
I have tried.

Ty Muto
Your blue-green glances
My heart skips double dutch beats
Caught in your rhythm

Carolyn Russell Stonewell
Sun takes a bite of
mango as it sets.
Its last rays
run down my cheek.

Elissa Warner
A Mother’s Wish
Little boys, little treasures
Shine like lights from above
My son, my only one
My wish for you is that you wake
One day when you are old
And feel raindrops on your cheek
Tears of joy from my heart
For you to keep

More here.

Photo: Cambridge Arts Council

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Somerville, Massachusetts, is adding another innovation to its roster: bubble soccer. Sports don’t get much wackier than this.

Steve Annear writes at the Boston Globe, “A new form of entertainment is set to bounce into Somerville this fall, bringing a unique twist on conventional team sporting events.

“Beginning in September, the city will host a ‘bubble soccer’ league, a sport in which participants cram themselves into massive, inflatable balls and then use the air-filled bubbles to knock their opponents off their feet.

“Participants can’t move their arms while inside of the see-through plastic bubbles, and rely solely on their lower bodies to move a soccer ball into a goal.

“ ‘It’s a silly sport,’ said Matthew Aronian, co-director of MA Sports Leagues, the company bringing the team sport to Somerville. ‘But it’s getting bigger and bigger and more popular.’

“Bubble soccer is already being played in Norway, Italy, Austria, and other countries. There’s also a league in Chicago, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.

“Aronian said the game is fun to watch and play, as opponents send each other flying through the air. The bubble-wrap encasings are intended to prevent serious injuries during contact. …

“The game aligns with Mayor Joe Curtatone’s ‘bump factor’ theory that the community thrives when innovative people, ideas, and activities collide.

“ ‘While bubble soccer isn’t exactly the type of bump factor he means, folks bouncing off one another in giant, inflatable orbs fits right into Somerville,’ said Somerville spokeswoman Denise Taylor in an e-mail.” More here.

Photo: Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff
What does it look like? Here, players compete in the Chicago Bubble Soccer league.

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I fear we may have missed the Blessing of the Bikes today. I just saw Steve Annear’s article about it in the Boston Globe.

“Helmets can help save cyclists’ lives in the event of an accident on Boston’s busy streets,” he writes, “but local clergy members are taking safety measures one step further Friday by blessing people’s bikes and headgear on the plaza in Copley Square using a special mix of holy oil and chain lube.

“ ‘It’s a spiritual decision to make the choice to take a bicycle instead of a car — something that expends more energy — so we want to affirm that healthy and holy decision for all the people in the city who do this,’ said Rev. Laura Everett, one of the organizers of the ‘Blessing of the Bicycles’ event.

“The ceremony, which will take place in front of Trinity Church, is in conjunction with Bay State Bike Week and National Bike to Work Day. Everett said Friday’s event will include special prayers for both cyclists and their bikes. …

“They will finish the ceremony by anointing each bike with a concoction of holy oil and bike chain lube. …

“Everett teamed up with the Boston Cyclists Union, the Rev. Nancy Taylor from Old South Church, the Rev. Patrick Ward from Trinity Copley Church, and Abbi Holt from Hope Central Church for the blessing.”

More here.

 Photo: Rev. Laura Everett

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Photo: dornob.com
Train car converted to church. Lots more such churches at dornob.

The artist who tweets @FortPointer clued me in to this Boston Magazine today, which asks what should happen to the old Mass Bay subway cars that are being taken out of service.

Steve Annear reports, “The MBTA is gearing up to sign a contract with a Chinese manufacturing company to procure hundreds of Red and Orange Line train cars so they can replace the current fleet of vehicles that have been traveling down the tracks for decades. …

“According to the T, the train cars—they’re replacing 152 Orange Line vehicles and up to 138 Red Line vehicles—will go up for sale, and the highest bidder can do whatever they want with them.

“Like most transit systems, the MBTA typically sells old cars for scrap to the highest bidder. ‘But we also like to preserve a bit of MBTA history by donating a retired car or two to the Sea Shore Trolley Museum in Maine,’ said T spokesman Joe Pesaturo. …

“ ‘Someone buy four of them and open an Orange Line Deli,’ one person suggested on Facebook.

“Another tossed a different idea into the ring: ‘I’d like to put one in my back [yard] for the ultimate ‘man cave.’

“These ideas might sound far-fetched, but stranger things have happened to retired train cars.” Good examples in the photos and also here.

Photo: io9.com
 Soo Line caboose, built in 1090, turned into a vacation home in 1976 in Pennsylvania.

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I saw these fiddlers a couple times while waiting for the evening train to Porter Square. For weeks there were tweets: “Who are those guys?”

Steve Annear at Boston magazine got the scoop. “Two former Berklee College of Music students have made a full-time job out of playing contemporary music on their violins for the swarms of passengers that crowd the platforms of the MBTA each day.

“After meeting in 2009 outside of the school, violinists Rhett Price and Josh Knowles got together and decided to form a two-piece ensemble and perform songs while standing on the Boston Common. But when winter got too cold and their fingers ‘started to get stiff,’ Price says the pair turned to the T for a busker’s permit so they could share their songs with riders traveling on the underground transit system.

“ ‘It’s been amazing. I was really nervous at first—we were nervous about playing on the T in general, and we didn’t think any one would give us any money. But there are people who come up and [request songs],’ says Price. ‘This is what we do right now to pay bills.’ …

“Price says he and Knowles play at three stops throughout the week, including North and South Stations, and at the Harvard Square stop. In a few weeks, they’re kicking the public transportation appearance up a notch, and will travel to New York City to play for riders there.”

Um. Forget about New York. Spend more time at South Station, please.


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