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Posts tagged ‘culture’

St. Anthony’s Festival in Boston’s North End

St. Anthony Festival, North End Boston

St. Anthony processing through the decorated festival streets of the North End, Boston.

The funny thing about traditions is that sometimes a community starts their own.  One of the things I miss about Boston in the late summer are the neighborhood street festivals including the Portuguese and Italian celebrations in Cambridge and Boston.  While these events have the flavor of old Europe,  they are decidedly American celebrations.  The biggest of all of these, the St. Anthony’s Fest in the North End, is coming up (Aug 23-25, 2013) and a fun chance to celebrate Italian-American culture.  (My photos below are from last year.)

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“Visiting” Hungary at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

As if the 4th of July weren’t exciting enough in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian host the annual Folklife Festival that week on the National Mall.  Bringing together international musicians, storytellers and craftspeople, the Festival celebrates culture and the preservation of traditional arts throughout the world.  Every year, three themes are selected for the festival and usually include a country, region, or collective community experience.  This year the themes were 1) Hungary, 2) Endangered Languages and 3) African-American fashion.

The Hungarian Village section of the festival sought to celebrate traditional music, dance and crafts as well as the people who are revitalizing that culture today.  There were informative museum-like exhibits, artisan demonstrations and lots of concerts.  Ever the international traveler, I was so excited to explore the Hungarian portion of the festival!

Hungarian tower

The Peacock Tower designed by Transylvanian architect Gyule Szilegyi stood at the center of the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

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Boston Marathon Memorial: Spontaneity and Sympathy

I ventured to down to Copley Square in Boston this Saturday.  An avid fan and patron of the Library, I’m usually down every other weekend, but following the Marathon bombings, I haven’t been able to go.  With a cautious reverence, I went to the now very familiar bombing locations.  I expected to see two holes in the sidewalk, extensive damage to the buildings, or something to mark the horror of April 15th, but there was nearly nothing.  Its true, Boston is in fact strong and cleans up well, but it felt eerily empty considering how many lives were changed along this street just a few weeks ago.  Not far away in Copley Square, a large “U”of police barricades and park benches had been transformed into a make-shift bombing memorial.

Boston Marathon Memorial

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The Tourist in the Digital Age

After two recent trips (domestic and international), it was clear to me that we are now traveling differently compared to even 5 years ago.  Our electronic gadgets, which have become a big part of our daily lives back home, are just as much a part of our leisure time and travel experiences.  Thanks to a 7 hour flight home, I had some time to reflect on what this all means.  The age of portable digital devices means some really exciting changes for the traveler, and some changes that don’t seem right.

The Good

A young couple reading a much more detailed tour of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul on their iPad (Photo: Daydream Tourist)

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Curators Have All the Fun: San Diego’s “Behold, America!” Exhibit

How would you arrange pieces in an art gallery? Should paintings be placed in groups by artistic movement? Does it makes more sense to see everything in chronological order?  Should geographic differences and temporal differences rigidly divide works?

Time period, artistic movement, and geography are often used to organize a museum.  Imagine how many times you’ve entered into the first room of “old” art and then walk forward in time through each successive room.  Changing this classic approach, San Diego’s three major art museums put together something a little different which I thought made for a really incredible show.  They’ve combined works from their very unique collections into thematically based exhibits broadly entitled “Behold, America!” on display until Feb 12, 2013.

Behold, America! San Diego exhibit banner Read more

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