Bostonians enjoyed easy access for walking, biking, skating, playing and more on the outbound lanes of Huntington Avenue on Sunday, July 14th thanks to the Circle the City Open Streets program. Thanks to Walk Boston, I was able to participate in the event reviving my Boston By Foot Avenue of the Arts walking tour. A small but curious group joined me on the 90 minute walk from the Christian Science Center to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
After the tour, I met up with my wife and kids to take in more of the activities. My son Peter was drawn to the Super Soccer Stars activities at Northeastern University and happily played soccer with the coaches and rotating cast of children for about three hours. I had little trouble convincing my daughter Kay to be my copilot on a bike ride up and down the Avenue of the Arts. We enjoyed the Boston Cyclist Union’s demonstration cycle tracks, listened to a drum circle, watched dancers, heard a loud synthpop duo, rode alongside marching bands, and got high fives from passersby.
Despite scorching hot weather, it was a fun day out for all the family and something I’d love to see more often. Before I get to the photos, I have two quick, mild criticisms. First, the map and program didn’t seem to have enough helpful detail about the types of activities going on or even a good sense of where to find some things (for example, I think my tour may have had more people if they had a better sense of what it was and where to meet, but I also had this feeling looking for other activities). Second, the stretch of Huntington from Ruggles to Brigham Circle felt like the activity tents were spaced far apart. It’s also a less shady part of the road, unfortunately. It didn’t seem too welcoming to pedestrian activity and I didn’t see many people walking here. Maybe the activities should be grouped together more closely to lend it a better street festival vibe?
Peter makes a save with Super Soccer Stars.
Kay dribbles the soccer ball.
Now she wonders what’s going on at street level.
“Come on Daddy, bike bike bike!”
Sculptures and drummers.
Dancers at the MFA.
The women in the center sang a haunting tune.
Chalk art elephant.
Peter still guarding the goal
My copilot is tuckered out.
Cross-posted at my Boston Bike Commuter blog.
This Sunday, July 14, 2013, Circle the City and The Fenway Alliance present Open Streets on the Avenue of the Arts. From 11am – 4pm, Huntington Avenue will be closed to motor vehicles and open for fitness, yoga, bikes, dance, arts, kids activities, and walking tours AND MUCH MORE.
I’m particularly excited about this event because thanks to Walk Boston I’ve been invited to reprise my Boston By Foot walking tour of the Avenue of the Arts. Imagine a walking tour where we can step safely out into the street to take in new perspectives on the architecture and history of the institutions that line the avenue! And the best part is that the tour is free. If you are interested in learning more about the cultural institutions on Huntington Avenue, this is the day to do it.
As we walk along this cultural corridor we’ll explore the history of Huntington Avenue and learn about:
- landmarks created by two of the most remarkable women in Boston’s history: Mary Baker Eddy and Isabella Stewart Gardner
- not one but two acoustically perfect concert halls
- not one but two historical figures named Eben
- the oldest artificial ice sporting arena in the world
- Boston’s lost opera house
- the many innovations and contributions of the YMCA
- the site of the first World Series game
- expansion and development at Northeastern University, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- and much, much more
Meet at the Christian Science Center plaza on Massachusetts Avenue at 11 am for the 90 minute tour. And leave time to make a day of it because there will be plenty more activities to enjoy on our Open Streets!
Join SingPositive, JP! for our Spring Concert!
Sunday, May 19th, 4pm @ St. John’s Episcopal Church (1 Roanoke Ave.)
“Awake, My Soul” – celebrating spring, change, growth, and rebirth
with JP’s biggest intergenerational chorus and band
Songs from Mumford & Sons, Michael Jackson, The Muppets,
James Taylor, “Hair,” Peter, Paul and Mary, and more
Tickets available at the door or by emailing us:
$10/adults, $5/kids ages 2-16.
“Join” our Facebook event and invite your friends!
Spring descended on Jamaica Plain this past weekend with the annual Wake Up the Earth Festival presented by Spontaneous Celebrations. This was the 35th annual festival, an event that grew out of the “highway revolt” of the 1960s & 70s when local activists opposed the construction of highway infrastructure in Jamaica Plain & Roxbury, leading to the creation of the Southwest Corridor as a system of train lines, bike paths, and parks that we enjoy today. Ironically, some people who want to create new prioritized highway infrastructure for cars marched in this year’s parade which I guess shows that this festival takes all kinds. The festival itself was home to many tents of activists of many causes, food, games, and musical performances. My family and I sang a few songs with the intergenerational chorus SingPositive, JP in preparation for our concert on May 19th. We also danced to Maaak Pelletier’s jam band the Mystical Misfits as they played Grateful Dead classics. Finally, the potato sack slide down the hillside was great fun for everyone.
A peace sign and yin yang grow out of the hillside at Jamaica Pond’s Sugar Bowl.
Peace and flowers!
The Brendan Behan quote seems appropriate to the occassion.
Spanish banner for the festival.
Here comes the parade.
The stilt walkers always impress.
I’m pretty sure this woman participates every year.
The theme of the year is snakes and these folks won the Best Family Costume award.
Hula hooping is another big highlight of the festival.
Mobile percussion unit.
The wolf and the lamb dance in the street.
A rocking marching band and dancing stilt walker.
Scholars from my son’s school march.
The Mystical Misfits lead the dance.
More photos from the parade and festival on Universal Hub and JP Patch.
The songs in my head this week, of course, are the songs I’m rehearsing for a concert called Beck’s Song Reader Performed Live. The show is next Thursday, February 28, 2013 at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square (on the Red Line) at 8:00. Beck released his 2012 album Song Reader entirely as sheet music, and 150 of Boston’s best musicians, dancers, and performance artists will be presenting their interpretations of all 20 songs. My choir will perform an arrangement of one song a capella and provide accompaniment to four other songs.
Get your tickets now for $25/seat as this show is sure to sell out!
The choral centerpiece is a song called “The Wolf is on the Hill.” In this video, you may hear us rehearsing a couple of weeks ago. We sound even better now. At the end of this clip you can also hear a small portion of “Title of the Song” which is the grand finale of the concert.
The choir is also accompanying Sarah Ribdau and Peter Moore on their rendition of “Please Leave the Light On When You Go” and Peter Moore’s take of “Heaven’s Ladder”:
The choir is participating on a fifth song as well, “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard” by Molly Zenobia. This may be my favorite of all the songs I’ve heard, but you’ll have to take my word for it and come to the concert to hear it, because there is no demo.
Some other songs you will hear at the concert include:
- “Why Did You Make Me Care” by Mary Bichner:
- “Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings” by The Highland Drifters
- “Old Shanghai” by Mary Bichner
This barely scratches the surface, as there will be a dozen more songs plus choreographed dance performances for each number.
So buy your tickets now!!!
Next week, I will singing in a 50-person kick-ass choir as part of a concert called Beck’s Song Reader Performed Live. The show is next Thursday, February 28, 2013 at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square (on the Red Line) at 8:00. Beck released his 2012 album Song Reader entirely as sheet music, and 150 of Boston’s best musicians, dancers, and performance artists will be presenting their interpretations of all 20 songs. My choir will perform an arrangement of one song a capella and provide accompaniment to four other songs. Get your tickets now for $25/seat as this show is sure to sell out!
In the coming months I will be singing thrice weekly with a variety of organizations. It looks like it will be a lot of fun, although maybe a challenge for time commitments as well with rehearsals starting this week.
For the first time, I will be singing with the Mystic Chorale. The fall concert Pastures of Plenty – Woody Guthrie at 100 will take place Saturday, Nov 17, 8:00pm and (my birthday!) Sunday, Nov 18, 3:30pm at Tremont Temple in Boston. I’m looking forward to singing songs written and inspired by one of my all-time favorite persons.
My son and I will also once again be performing with SingPositive, JP. This multi-generational, family chorus will be making our sophomore outing with a concert themed on Optimism in Hard Times on Sunday, December 16th, 4pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain. If you are looking for a musical, community experience, I definitely recommend looking into SingPositive which is branching out into other communities in the Boston area.
Finally, my daughter and I will be attending regular classes of Music Together at the Children’s Music Center of Jamaica Plain. There’s no performance with this one but it may be the most fun. I enjoyed singing with my son when he was little and look forward to repeating the experience and introducing my baby girl to music and rhythm.
This post is partially shameless self-promotion to get you to come out to my performances, but I also hope that anyone looking for opportunities to sing and perform music in the Boston area (with or without children) will see this post. I highly recommend all of these organizations and suggest you check them out and get involved if you’re interested. If you know of any good singing and music activities in the Boston area, let me know in the comments.
My son and I journeyed to the Ecotarium for Free Fun Fridays. The Ecotarium is a science museum surrounded by outdoor compound including nature trails, animal exhibits, a playground, and even a train ride. We had a great time with the only downside being that my parochial Bostonian view found the drive to Worcester a bit too long.
Walking on air.
A fox named Sox.
Turkeys on the prowl.