Archive for the ‘Boston Life and Culture’ Category

Roxbury Highlands Tour – August 30 at 2 PM

Join me and several other talented Boston By Foot walking tour guides as we lead a special Tour of the Month of Roxbury Highlands.  The tour begins at 2 pm on Sunday, August 30 at Roxbury Crossing station on the MBTA Orange Line.

Practical vinyl siding side-by-side with full-on restoration to Victorian era.

We start in the Stony Brook valley and work our way uphill and through history to the top of Fort Hill, passing through Roxbury’s colonial town center at Eliot Square along the way.  Learn how Roxbury went from early colonial settlement to strategic military location to bucolic suburb to immigration destination to one of Boston’s densest neighborhoods.  See Roxbury Highlands continue to transform with ongoing restoration and new construction.

Photo of Alvah Kittredge house from 2007, you won’t believe what it looks like now!

The full description of the tour is on the Boston By Foot website where you can also pre-order tickets!

The Roxbury Highlands tour explores a remarkable neighborhood. Our tour travels through the center of colonial Roxbury:  Eliot Square, where the First Church proudly stands as the oldest wooden church in Boston. The Highlands flourished in the mid-19th century as a garden suburb with many pear and apple orchards.  There was even an apple named after the area – the Roxbury Russet.  We will see wonderful Greek Revival and Victorian houses along our route and discuss some of the amazing individuals who called this area home including Edward Everett Hale – author of The Man Without a Country, and Louis Prang – who printed the first Christmas cards in America.   Finally, we finish on top of the hill at the Roxbury Standpipe, in a lovely park which occupies the location of the Roxbury High Fort. Come explore with us!

More photos from the 2007 tour to whet your whistle for Sunday.

Photopost: A Visit to the MFA, part two

On my second visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, I began a slow and studious exploration of the Art of the Ancient World.  I had trouble making a connection with the art at first as there seemed to be no story linking them together.  Galleries adjacent to one another held Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman art.  Thousands of years, and thousands of miles, and thousands of cultures side by side.  But I did make a connection looking at the sculptures of ancient people and gazing into their eyes.  When face to face with a person it is hard to maintain eye contact, but here I could look into the eyes of humans who lived millennia ago and they had so much to say.  One Greek sculpture, Woman from a funerary monument, almost looked alive in her expression of grief.

To mix things up, I moved on to the Contemporary Art collections. Ancient art memorialized people and honored gods, but contemporary art asks you questions.  The descriptions, the writing on the wall, even the art itself ask questions.  Art here is more a reflection of the viewer, literally in the case of Untitled (Shu-red).  I spent more time that I should be willing to admit trying to take a selfie in its lacquered surface and finding myself delightfully disoriented.  Art also asks the tough questions, like “Why?” and “How can we let this happen?”  A sobering gallery collects artists’ responses to the 2011 earthquake in Japan.  The photographs and film here capture more pain and poignancy than any other news report.

There’s still much more to see and experience at the MFA, so I hope I return soon.

Previously:

2015 Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon

On June 7th, I rode in the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon for the third time.  I seem to participate every year, although it’s such a lovely event for a great cause that I need to commit to doing it annually.  I was joined by children Kay, who rode in to co-pilot’s seat, and Peter, who pedaled his own bike for the ten-mile ride.  The three of us were able to raise $615 which was part of the record $209,280 raised by a record 866 riders!  Our donation page is still open to receive more contributions should you be so inclined

When we first arrived at the starting point near Stony Brook station, we saw lots of bikes with brooms sticking off the back.  I thought maybe I’d missed out on a theme for the ride, but it turned out this was a fleet of bikes for a team called The Golden Sneetches.  After checking-in and eating breakfast, we got on line to start the ride and found ourselves behind our nextdoor neighbors who were also festively attired. Note to self: wear a costume next time.

The Bikes Not Bombs staff introduced our ride, warning us that there were steep uphills early on as we headed away from Jamaica Plain, but we’d be rewarded with a nice long downhill after the rest area.  The hills were tough for Peter who rides a single-gear Schwinn.  He complained about having to go up so much and asked repeatedly when we’d get to the rest area, but persevered and kept on pedaling.  Another wrench in the works was that near the halfway point of the ride, we ended up running into a charity 5K run!  A person from that other event insisted that we bike down a side street meaning that myself and a number of Golden Sneetches had to navigate a new route on the fly.

At last we made it to the rest area in Brookline and refreshed by orange slices and Gatorade, were able to carry on with the rest of the ride.  Not only was it mostly downhill, but Peter began to recognize the streets of Brookline as being close to home.  We pedaled past Allandale Farm and the Arboretum and back into central Jamaica Plain to finish the ride.  The kids received medals and we ate some lunch and played for a while before heading home for a much-needed.  Well, the kids were still full of energy, so they played with Mom while I napped.

A refreshing orange slice.

Finishers’ medals

Peter shows off his medal

Kay loves hula hooping (Thanks to Bikes Not Bombs for taking this photo and posting on Facebook)

Previously:

Support Bikes Not Bombs!

This Sunday, June 7,  I will be riding with my children, Kay & Peter, in the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon! Peter will be riding his own bike and Kay will be the co-pilot on my bike.  The Bike-A-Thon is always a fun event and it raise money for a terrific cause.

Based in Boston not far from where we live, Bikes Not Bombs serves two great purposes. First they collect and renovate bicycles to ship to developing communities in Central America, the Carribean and Africa. These bicycles help people meet crucial transportation needs with an easily maintained and environmentally friendly vehicle. Secondly, they help youth right here in Boston learn skills such as urban bike riding and bicycle repair that contributes to building their confidence and leadership skills. Please help us in our efforts by making a generous donation!

Donate now at our Bike-A-Thon page.

Memorial Day

The Monument in Jamaica Plain is bedecked in American flags for Memorial Day.    

     

Photopost: A Visit to the MFA, part one

For the first time in several years, I have a membership to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  I’m working on putting it to use by visiting the Museum and methodically but casually working my way through the galleries absorbing the art on display and sharing what I learn.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, I explored the third floor, home to the Museum’s collection of 20th-century art.  It is a quiet place in the museum even on a busy weekend.  A man pushing his sleeping child in a stroller along a window-lined corridor told me “This is the best part of the museum!”

I was impressed particularly by the MFA’s strong collections of 20th Century Art but African-American artists, Boston-area artists, and some who are both. Some artists I learned about for the first time that I’m really drawn to are Eldzier Cortor, Allan Rohan Crite, and Charles Sheeler.  In addition to a variety of modern paintings, sculpture and decorative arts, the third floor hosts an excellent exhibit of photography of Gordon Parks, who returned to his home town of  Fort Scott, Kansas for a photo essay in 1950.

Stopped for a selfie en route to the third floor.

El Fuego by José Clemente Orozco

Cercle du Blé by Matta (Roberto Sebastián Matta Echaurren)

 

Room No. V by Eldzier Cortor

Pigeons by John Sloan.

Big Wind In Georgia by Hale Woodruff

Room in Brooklyn by Edward Hopper

 

Old Brooklyn Bridge by Joseph Stella

Art Deco clocks.

The Pool Game by Jacob Lawrence

The Door by David Aronson

Venus by Fernando Botero

Deer’s Skull with Pedernal by Georgia O’Keefe

New England Irrelevancies by Charles Sheeler

The Arrangement of Things by Ross Bleckner with an appreciator of fine art.

Long May He Roar

Christopher, the lion at Franklin Park Zoo whose roars could be heard throughout the park died yesterday.  He was a family favorite.  Here are a couple of photos to remember him by.

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