unlike the somerville open studios (SOS) last weekend, the COS seemed very disorganized and not a lot of artists were participating. their website said there'd be a handy portable app but the link didn't work and trying to find the app manually brought up something unrelated. a link to the downloadable pdf brochure had many pages missing. the website itself didn't work on phones (maps didn't display), and when using a laptop, it was hard to navigate. compared that to the SOS website, that had easy to search for options like by artists, location, or mediums. each artists were also given the option to showcase several of their works. SOS also had a free trolley to take people around. i hope cambridge learns from its neighbor and improve their art game. but with the price of cambridge real estate these days, artists are being pushed out by encroaching gentrification. cambridge is just not what it once was.
there was also the somerville porchfest happening today. i'd never been to porchfest, never much of a fan of the local music scene. but there were a few bands that piqued my interest. it began at noontime and i planned on visiting a few spots before riding into boston to pick up some produce from haymarket. i thought about bringing my dSLR but settled for my compact panasonic lumix. it was also the first morning where karen wasn't home, so the first thing i did this morning was to bring out my plants, water them, then bring them back inside as the temperature for the rest of the day was in the mid-50's and a grey overcast.
the first place i visited was park place to see hauskat, an 80's cover band. it wasn't far, but a private road coming from a one way downhill, so it took some finesse to get there. i saw the band setting up but there was nobody around. they told me they didn't start until 1pm, which wasn't until 30 minutes later, so i continued on my way. next i went to oxford street to see the powderhouse kids, another 80's cover band, but nobody seemed to be home. however, further down the street spectators had congregated to hear weather weapon, a punk rock band. i stayed for a few minutes but i really wanted to hear some sweet 80's music so i left soon afterwards.
the final stop on my no-luck porchfest visit was at sargent street, all the way in winter hill, to see boston bhoepa band, a tibetan band. i got there by riding east on highland avenue then going north via walnut street by the somerville public library. it was a residential area that doesn't get a lot of street traffic hence the low turnout. the only other person was a weird middle-aged man carrying a leather briefcase, who stood right in front of the band as they were playing, leaning his forearms against the wire fence. give the band some space, man! the bass player used an electric guitar but the lead player and singer used a dranyen, a traditional 3-string tibetan lute. the really interesting thing was he had it connected to an amplifier. i didn't realize you could do that with acoustic instruments. the music sounds like a blend of country (bluegrass) and tibetan. i felt a bit forlorn listening to the music, made me nostalgic for western sichuan. the weirdo left soon afterwards, but i stuck around for a few more songs before leaving myself.
from winter hill i went up to broadway and continued east through the snarl of sullivan square car traffic to get to main street in charlestown. i stopped once to admire the charlestown five cents savings bank in thompson square (never seen it before), built in 1876 in the victorian gothic style. from there it was an easy ride into boston, with the exception of the charlestown bridge, that was some tricky navigating, until i finally had to pull my bike off the street and ride on the sidewalk for safety. that bridge is entirely bike-unfriendly, not for the timid to bike across it. once over the bridge, i found a bike path along washington street that finally brought me to haymarket.
there wasn't much in haymarket. a few vendors were smalling small batches of cherries, but they looked a bit raw. it won't be long now until cherry season is in full season and i can eat an endless supply of cherries. i ended up leaving with: 5 cara cara oranges ($2), 8 gold nugget oranges ($2), 3 boxes of strawberries ($3), and 5 organic cucumbers ($1).
from haymarket i biked all the way to the cafe to drop off some produce. it took me 35 minutes. it wasn't too bad, weekend traffic meant there was hardly any cars on the road. while passing by somerville, i could hear music from the ongoing porchfest, including one house near whole foods (former foodmaster) that had a crowd of people on the sidewalk out onto beacon street. when i arrived at the cafe, my mother asked me to go pick up my grandmother and aunt. i went to my aunt's apartment at 3pm and saw her wheeling out my grandmother in a wheelchair. my grandmother can walk but she chooses not to, preferring to be pushed on a wheelchair instead. this is only when she visits boston; when she's back home in california she gets no such treatment.
i biked home a bit before 4pm, fearful it might rain, although i heard it wasn't supposed to rain until the evening. i went to star market to pick up a few things, including some asparagus that was on sale ($1.99/bundle). i was going to get some cheetos but i wasn't sure if they were all sale (this star market is notorious for not properly labelling sale items), but i got some pita chips instead. they also sold strawberries: the exact same brand i bought, except these were $2.99/box, while i only paid $1/box for mine.
for dinner i had some mexican chicken soup, this time splashed with some habanero hot sauce to give it more kick. since karen wasn't here, i took a hot bath, accompanied by my bubble bath, ice cold glass of water, and the latest issue of entertainment weekly. later i watched saturday night live (melissa mccarthy hosting) before going to bed.