went to the may fair in harvard square this afternoon. i love taking photos of crowds of people, like one of those pictures with a million little details that i can stare at for hours. a girl with a funny head dress! a punkster with a pug! a man blowing bubbles! the most interesting thing i saw was the stretch of church street reserved for chalk painting. i was talking with the girl who did the "world peace" painting (her first sidewalk chalk piece) and she said that because it was sort of windy, she had to redo her painting 4 times already because it faded so quickly.
walking back home i decided to visit my community garden plot, check out the sunlight condition in the afternoon. i saw two young women working in the garden, one of whom i instantly recognized: laura, the american traveler i met at the khao yai national park in thailand! she didn't recognize me at first, i had to remind her. her friend, lisa, actually has a plot in the garden, and is one of the highlighted ones in the annual cambridge secret gardens tour later this month. i caught them planting some sunflower seeds they got for free at the may fair in somebody else's garden. laura told me she's going to china for a month in june, playing tour guide for a friend and the friend's parents, on an all expenses paid trip to southwestern china (yunnan, guizhou, guangxi) - the very same places i'm thinking about going later during the summer. we exchanged contact info so i can get some traveling tips from her when she gets back. later i checked out my plot: i was surprised to see how much sun it got this time of the day.
while going to star market to get some groceries, i saw a sign to the miller street studios. this weekend somerville hosted its 8th annual open studios, where local artists open up their workspace and showcase their pieces. i've always seen that big building but never knew what was inside. apparently it's a thriving studio space with a bunch of "offices" for different artists. i met a man who painted these edward hopperesque somerville landscapes, aerial shots of densely packed multi-family condos. he was working on a new painting, the nostalgic smell of oil paints heavy in the air, the red sox game broadcasting live from a nearby radio. elsewhere another artist was working on a large photorealistic pencil drawing of a picturesque scene from provincetown. the one piece that totally knocked my socks off was by a woman named gail martin. she was doing a series of 365 small square paintings of various things around her house. they were done in this very appealing and colorful style, and the edges of the square canvases were painted as well, color-coded to the specific rooms (e.g. bathroom blue, bedroom red). i didn't have my camera at the time otherwise i would've asked her if i could take some photos. just from seeing these little square paintings dotting the walls, it felt like i knew everything about her, from what toothpaste she used, to what books she read. i was so impressed that i chatted with her for a while and wrote my name and address in her guestbook so i could be on her mailing list when she finally finishes all 365 paintings by next year.
in the evening i went to the cafe to have dinner with my family. my 2nd cousin and his wife were in town for a few days on vacation (they're from los angeles, i haven't seen them for almost 10 years). we had homemade senjianbao for the main course (i had to quickly run home to fetch the bottle of basmatic vinegar) and watermelon for dessert. my sister couldn't stop talking about her john malkovich sighting.