All posts tagged: happenings

what turkeys can tell us (about social capital)

I’ve been wanting to write for a long time about the turkeys in my neighborhood. Turkeys? In Cambridge, you say? Yes. Here they are, in the front yard of a neighboring apartment building, the first morning I saw them.  In the late morning, on my way to a meeting, about a week before Thanksgiving. Yes, a week before Thanksgiving. Temporal coincidences aside, the first time I noticed them, I snapped this photo, sent it to my husband (who was at work) via iPhone, and continued along my way, chuckling.  I noticed some hours later that the Cambridge Chronicle had shared a tweet with its followers about a resident who had also seen turkeys.  I wasn’t crazy, I now knew, wasn’t fostering some kind of weird pre-holiday illusion about festive charismatic fauna in my neighborhood. I tweeted back. So the next morning, when I saw a couple of people gathered around the front yard of a different neighbor’s house, I knew it had to be the turkeys.  They were talking animatedly to each other, curious about …

Experiments in pop-up democracy

You’re probably wondering what I’m up to these days, since it’s certainly not writing on this blog.  Well, a lot actually!  I’m working on a lot of projects for school that build on the topics I write about here, like historic preservation and economic development, informal food economies, public art happenings, and, of course, politics.  Speaking of which, I have started working on a project on experiments in “pop-up democracy,” which takes the artist interventions I admire and imagines how they could be transformed to serve a more direct political purpose such as encouraging voter turnout and educated community input into planning decisions.   You can see my proposal for a pop-up democracy framework on Participedia (which is awesome and you should check out). Next step: making something pop up!  

a FIGMENT full of imagination.

Last month, Cambridge held its annual RiverFest, a celebration of the arts, diversity, and, well, all things Cambridge.  But this year the festival had some help from an awesome organization in New York City: FIGMENT.  Figment is an interactive public art project that challenges artists and communities to find new ways to think, interact, dream, and experience our world.  The artists who participated — both Boston and New York based — created fresh, fun, enchanting works that transformed the Charles River banks and greatly enhanced the experience of festival participants.  When I’ve discussed figment with other festivalgoers, it’s always been in an awe-filled and inspired tone that truly reflects how transporting an immersive public art experience can be. Here are some photos. More cool things about FIGMENT: no corporate sponsorship, and no waste.  there’s an impromptu, guerilla feeling about it even though it’s extremely well-orchestrated.  and there was a roving steampunk klezmer band! Props to the Cambridge Arts Council for making this happen.  They are amazing.

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 …