All posts tagged: cultural tourism

Step into a Fisherman’s Boots

The Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford, MA is two things, at the same time: it’s a moment when the commercial fishing industry shares its stories, secrets and skills with visitors, both local and tourist alike.  But it’s also a time for those fishermen to get together, as a community of their own.  I’m working with the Festival this year to help celebrate their 10th year in existence — a longevity that is hard won, a testament to the real love of the festival that all participants share.  I spoke with the Director of the festival, folklorist Laura Orleans, about what the festival means to her: Like what you hear?  Keep the festival going strong, and join our community, by giving to our Indiegogo campaign.

citysumption and the search for urban cool.

As I’ve already told you, I recently got back from a trip to Europe.  As always, the return to Boston was a bit of a shock, as I lamented, “Boston just isn’t cool.”  Barcelona, where I had just been, just had this effortless excitement to it, a laid back sense of style and innovation, sporting incredibly innovative architecture from Gaudi to contemporary, from tapas on the street to dancing in the squares. What does Boston have?  A food-truck inferiority complex and a half-working waterfront park?  Where’s the beach and the outdoor bars til 5am?  And why, oh, why don’t we turn our incredible seafood into conservas for me to nibble while drinking cava in the sun, or in a packed bar of people drinking vermouth and nibbling on salty, briny snacks? So, in order to try to snap myself out of this malaise, I proceeded to do the “cool” things in Boston.  Most notably, I head to the SoWA open market, “Boston’s original art and indie design market.”  If you know where this is going, …

a real renaissance: the arts in western MA.

Earlier this summer, I attended the Creative Communities Exchange in North Adams, MA, home to Mass MoCA.  North Adams has become something of a poster child for the creative economy, as the museum is housed in a former textile mill and the arts community has been a bright spot in the relatively dim economic outlook of the town and the region as a whole. A bit of context: North Adams is located in the Berkshires, home to countless nationally recognized arts organizations, such as Tanglewood and the Jacob’s Pillow dance festival, the Clark Museum and Shakespeare & Co.  There are already lots of arts supporters in the area.  There are already lots of artists in the area.  Essential to this story is the fact that the MoCA’s success is not replicable everywhere, and instead represents a well thought out, place-based strategy for post-industrial redevelopment.  The Berkshires now boasts an incredible creative economy advocacy organization, Berkshire Creative, one of the hosts of the conference.  They recognize that cultural production in their region can be a major …

working landscapes, fantasy landscapes, cultural landscapes.

I just got back from a road trip through the Pyrenees, from the French Riviera to Barcelona.  It was a gorgeous trip, a relaxing trip, a very, very food oriented trip (like you’re surprised).  But you know what was surprising?  How industrial, how work-oriented the landscape that we traveled through was.  From Marseille and its warehouses to the industrial agriculture and viticulture of Languedoc, from large-scale salt production in the Camargue to the incredible manufacturing history and massive port of Barcelona, the places we traveled through were not exactly straight from the fairy tales.  When we passed a nuclear power plant we were reminded that France gets 75% of its energy that way, and as we passed through the Pyrenees and saw the vast fields of air turbines we marveled at their size, the sheer engineering of them, and the marvelous contrast that they made against the romantic misty landscapes and medieval villages that surrounded them.  It was so exciting to see up close the work of making a country run, the kind of thing …

an anti-logic of streets: getting lost in Rome and at home (and thoughts on arts-experiments in planning)

Long title, lots of ideas here.  Stick with me. I spent last week in Rome, which is actually where la flaneuse first was born, six years ago.  I didn’t yet know then that I would be wandering around cities as my profession, but as a writer for Let’s Go: Italy, I learned to love the solitude and spontaneity of exploring cities on foot, watching roads and residents as I went.  Though I got to know Rome very well, especially as I tirelessly visited every restaurant, mapped every vicolo, and scouted every sightseeing deal, returning was a whole different ballgame.  I was struck by the city’s layers, its character, the way it has grown haphazardly over time and then lurched under massive redesign campaigns by powerful leaders seeking to make their mark.  I saw Rome with new eyes, and I want to share some of my observations with you. First, though, I want to give credit for these new eyes to the ladies of Platform 2, an incredible conceptual art/performance/social engagement collective here in Boston.  A …