All posts filed under: doings

ghettotainment: problematizing cultural tourism

I just heard a great story about “LA Gang Tours” on All Things Considered.  Run by former gang members, the company takes tourists on a journey through South Central in an air-conditioned bus that stops at sites important to thug culture such as the local jail, a graffiti lab, and the LA river.  The idea behind the company is nothing new: a community’s attempt to harness the power of tourism (the hope of lots of money and a little increased awareness) to promote economic development in a place that is struggling.  From LA Gang Tour’s website: “The mission of LA GANG TOURS is to provide an unforgettable historical experience for our customers with a customized high-end specialty tour. We will provide customers with a true first-hand encounter of the history and origin of high profile gang areas and the top crime scene locations in South Central, Los Angeles. Each tour bus for LA GANG TOURS will have a guide from the South Central areas who has gained hands-on knowledge and experience of the inner city …

public art sunday.

Thought I’d do a little roundup of some cool public art stuff I’ve seen recently. – For those of you in Cambridge, have you ever noticed the granite slab in the park outside Peet’s Coffee at Harvard Square?  It looks like a piece of ruins from an old building, and has a fragment of the word “Newtowne Market” on its facade.  I recently read a profile of this piece, “Quiet Cornerstone, “ which was created in 1986.  It’s a really cool idea — as is the “Tour the Art” section of the Cambridge Public Art Commission’s website. The piece definitely accomplishes what I think is the most important function of public art in urban space: to encourage extended thought about the environment and its development over time. – How cool are these cellophane installations in France?  I wish I’d seen them when I was in Paris! – I was recently given a link to Boston’s Societies of Spontaneity, a public art/flashmob group that organizes “guerilla theater and outright silliness”.  Today they did a pants-off T …

from the archive – social/vegetable art

dear diary, may 26, 2009. Today I started an experiment/art project/good deed/vegetable-gospel-spreading activity. I’ve potted a bunch of baby tomato seedlings and put them in front of my house with a “free” sign, and I’m watching how long it takes for people to take them. New Englanders are notorious sidewalk scavengers, and I’m wondering if I can get this habit to extend to plants, and try to get more people growing their own! . dear diary, may 27, 2009. So, after about 18 hours all of my plants (aside from two that didn’t survive the transplant) have been taken. And I couldn’t be happier! Except…that someone seems to have felt that anything was up for grabs that wasn’t in a real pot, and took my brand-new, incredible looking Cuban oregano that I had just purchased from Gilson’s Herb Lyceum. This was an unexpected twist in my social experiment…maybe a comment on trust and the tendency of human nature to take more than they are given when faced with generosity. I have to admit I felt …