All posts filed under: happenings

happenings are people-centered. a street performance, an outdoor soup-kitchen, a conversation between neighbors on the sidewalk while they walk their dogs.

knock for neighbors: food happenings in the home

I talk a lot on this blog about food happenings, informal economies, and cultural tourism.  So when my friend Molly invited me to attend one of the pilot dinners for her Knock for Neighbors project, I jumped at the chance. Knock for Neighbors combines off-the-beaten-path tourism experiences with convivial community practices by sponsoring a network of residents who host visitors in their homes for dinner and conversation.  This project is similar to Denmark’s Dine with the Danes (which has itself inspired a number of spinoffs), and has rural precedents in the practices of agritourism and farmhouse dinners, but what is really unique about KfN is the way it imagines not just a tourist experience, but also a neighborhood one.  Knock on a door, meet a neighbor — this is a way for people to get to know each other and see their world through different eyes, whether they are from another country or right next door. The dinner I attended was convivial and surprisingly un-awkward given its entirely uncurated collection of guests.  Molly’s food was …

cambridge dance party.

So we all know how much I love Cambridge…this blog is practically a paean to my home city.  Here I present you with reason #742 that Cambridge is great: The annual City of Cambridge Dance Party.  That’s right, a dance party, right in the middle of the city.  They close down Mass Ave, crank the tunes, break out the glow necklaces and get the strobe lights going, and thousands of people dance the night away right in front of City Hall.  If this isn’t an urban amenity, I don’t know what is.  Does your city or town have a large public festival like this?  What creates the conditions for something like this to occur?  And if you plan it, how do you know people will come?  What makes a public event like this a success?

the best urban happenings have to do with food.

Tonight I went to Cuisine en Locale’s second Meat Meet.  Basically, there was a woman from Stillman’s Farm selling frozen meats out of coolers loaded into a truck flatbed.  Parked in a public parking lot.  There was a line about thirty people deep, with people even picking up their Thanksgiving turkeys.  JJ Gonson, the dame de Cuisine en Locale, flitted about the parking lot handing out homemade candied local ginger and welcoming old friends.  Her adorable daughter Ruby similarly worked the crowd, carrying around a little purse-like bag.  When asked what she was carrying, she exclaimed “Profiteroles!”  If there’s one thing I love, it’s little foodies, and there’s something wonderful about an event that has kids running around…so I was totally charmed. Not to mention that I walked away with a big ol’ chicken, tons of lamb chops, and osso bucco. But it wasn’t just the convivial atmosphere in line that made me such a fan of the Meat Meet.  I’ve already talked about how much I like informal economies (and I’m sure I will …