Highlights: Items and people in costume from various eras
Hello fellow bloggers and readers, I have been out of commission for a while due to a back injury. But, I am recovering and I should be back to my normal blogging schedule soon. Thank you for your support and I look forward to posting more of my adventures!
The Eastern State Exposition Center in West Springfield. MA, was in a time warp the last weekend of February.
The Northeast Reenactors (formerly the New England Reenactors) descended upon the Big E to show off their attire, sell their era-appropriate merchandise and celebrate the days of yore.
There were reenactors of every era in costume at the fair.
While there were reenactors from every time period, there were quite a lot of Vietnam War era reenactors.
The weapon in this photo, an M29 Mortar, is still used today, with some slight modifications. If you never thought you would ever use geometry, think again. The trajectory of the projectiles use a lot of geometry and other mathematical formulas to direct the mortars accurately. Also, it took five people, yes five people, to operator (the squad leader, the gunner, the assistant gunner, first ammunition bear and the second ammunition bearer). One of the projectiles can be seen to the right of the M 29.
There were also vendors selling their wares. Many of the products being sold were home made replicas of the items of previous eras.
There were also various displays of the popular attire, books and other items from the various eras.
Check out the cameras used during the Vietnam era. Maybe I should consider trading in for one.
It was such a big event, even two presidents showed up.
And, of course, President Lincoln.
If all that wasn’t enough, there was also entertainment at the reenactors fair. Singers performed a variety of songs from the past.
Below is a video of one of the talented performers.
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In part III of my trip to MASS MoCA I am highlighting some of the found art and the works of Louise Bourgeios and some unusual musical instruments.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) is one of the featured artists at the museum. His work, “The Lurid Attack of the Monsters from the Postal News Aug. 1875 (Kabal American Zephyr)” is made up of saws, wheels and other discarded items. Pictured on the wooden beam of the sculpture are photos of butterflies, John Lennon playing the piano and kids playing in a pool as well as some other photos.
The following works of art are part of the found art sculptures exhibit, “Thumbs Up For The Mothership” by Lonnie Holley and Dawn DeDeaux. The display is described as an artistic response to the state of the earth, both environmental and political.
“The Writing Man’s Chair” (2017) is a tribute to William Arnett, a friend of artist and creator Lonnie Holley. William was a close friend of Lonnie’s and one of the first people Lonnie knew who showed a genuine interest in his work. The sculpture is made of a rocking chair, found typewriter, water pump and roots and candle lamp.
“Do Not Write On This” (2007) by Lonnie Holley, made of a wood pallet, straw, stuffed animal, commemorative photo, nails and wood. The work of art is about respecting nature. According to Lonnie, he lost relatives in fires. The sculpture is meant to remind people about our effect on nature.
“Weighed Down By The Hose” (2008) by Lonnie Holley is made of a rocking chair, old quilt, heart-shaped box and rubber hose. The fire hose wraps around the chair like a memory. The sculpture is meant to be a reminder of the civil rights struggle that still envelopes us like a quilt. Lonnie found the rocking chair on the side of a Birmingham, Alabama road. The little tin heart is meant to be a container for memories in the act of love.
“The Last Formation” (2017) by Lonnie Holley is made of a dressmaker’s form and wooden shoe supports. The old wooden feet in the dress reminded Lonnie of the bodies captured in nets in Africa as well as the bodies stuffed together in the holds of slave cargo ships. Lonnie explained the mother’s body, represented by the dressmaker’s form, is like a cargo hold. The “Last Formation” is the woman’s body with all of her offspring’s offspring.
“Busted Without Arms” (2016) by Lonnie Holley is made of a dress form, gun grip display and model handguns. Lonnie said his motivation for this work of art were the news stories of unarmed black people being killed.
“Waking Up In The Bed Of Death (Watching the Marchers’ Dreams Die)” (2016) by Lonnie Holley is made of an old bed frame, found quilt, shoe store displays and a shoe fitting stool. The sculpture is meant to show the struggle of the civil rights movement which Lonnie describes as being like a long and arduous journey to the top of a mountain. Lonnie thinks people these days consider the civil rights struggle to be like an elevator to the top, rather than the long struggle it really is.
“In The Grip Of Power” (2016) by Lonnie Holley is made of a decommissioned voting booth, gun grip display and model handgun. Lonnie found what looked like a suitcase while he was in Nashville, Tennessee. Later, he would realize the suitcase was actually a voting booth. This made Lonnie think of the struggles people have gone through to gain the right to vote. When Lonnie found gun store display while he was in North Carolina, he got the idea to combine the two items. Lonnie decided to make a display that had a voting booth that, when you leaned in to vote, had a gun pointing at you.
“Broken But Still Strong” (2014) by Lonnie Holley is made of a bicycle, cement mixer, scaffolding parts, a blown-out truck tire, tools, motor and bolts. This sculpture is about the Native American struggle. He described their struggle as “broken but strong.” The work of art honors the reuse of materials before we rid ourselves of them. One of Lonnie’s grandmothers was part Cree and Cherokee and one of his grandfathers was part Cherokee and black and white. He said they taught him about materials and he still uses that wisdom now.
“Another Blue Ribbon First: America’s First: America’s Chemistry Project” (2016) by Lonnie Holley is made of a wooden powder keg, oil can, White House vinegar bottle, kerosene can, Blue Ribbon Lubrication oil can, brass house faucet, water can and oil changing can.
“Climbing To Better Understand The World” (2014) by Lonnie Holley is made of a library ladder, barbed wire, wires, a globe, a computer keyboard and a computer monitor. Lonnie explained that he never had a chance to go to school when he was young and he had to learn by watching others or from doing things himself. Now, access to information is much easier. But, it is also easier to find “fake news.” The sculpture also conveys how this information on the internet and from other sources is not equally available to everyone.
“The Mantle (I’ve Seen The Future And It Was Yesterday)” (2016-2017) and “Broken Mirror” (2017) were created by Dawn DeDeaux. The multimedia work of art, “The Mantle” is made of an aluminum mantle with objects. The “Broken Mirror” work of art is a transparency on a convex mirror.
“Found Object: Mardi Gras Masque of the Babylonian Style” (2014) is a work of art from Dawn DeDeaux.
Another exhibit at the museum is a collection of art from the late artist Louise Bourgeois.
The first sculpture in this exhibit is “The Couple” (2007-2009). This sculpture is an aluminum piece hanging from the ceiling. The sculpture is of a couple intertwined for eternity.
“Nature Study” (1984) is made of marble and steel.
Many of Louise Bourgeois’ art deal with human sexuality and the male and female anatomy (gross!). These sculptures are meant to show how we all share male and female traits.
“Heel on peel to seal the deal feet to sky life” is a work of art by Jenny Holzer.
Gunnar Schonbeck’s “No Experience Required” work of art is a collection of instruments he made from a collection of everyday materials. The late Gunnar Schonbeck, a graduate of Bennington College in Vermont, believes “art belongs to everyone.” He used these unusual instruments in some of his concerts.
While you can’t use the instruments in the “No Experience Necessary” exhibit, you can use the instruments in a room nearby.
People of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds can use these instruments. Banging on the drums there can be a great way to blow off steam, too. Trust me, it can be a pretty loud room!
Thank you for stopping by for my third installment from my trips to MASS MoCA. Believe it or not, there is a lot more I plan on sharing with you all!
As if Kennard Park wasn’t pretty and interesting enough on its own, sculptures have invaded the park. The Kennard Park Sculpture Trail is a diverse display of art with social , personal and political messages. But, hurry if you want to view it. It is scheduled to be on display until November 11th of this year.
I want to give credit to 52 Sundays-Halpern Blog for posting a blog about this amazing exhibit. Stop by and check out halperns’ blog!
The sculpture trail includes sculptures from 15 different artists. There are sheets of paper hanging from the exhibits or near the exhibits which give information about the artist and some of his or her inspiration behind the sculptures or art. The sculptures may not seem to go in order numerically if you start the trail from the parking area because there are several sculptures and works of art on the front lawn. I am listing the sculptures and pieces of art in numerical order based on the map key which is available at the park. Free handouts for the trail are located on one of the tables at the entrance.
The first sculpture by Jean Blackburn is called Kennard Web. She states she is fascinated by the age of trees and their ability to adapt or effect their environments. She also states she would like to create a “weave of connections” through this art work. The work of art would make visible the singular configuration of the community of trees at this time and place.
The second set of sculptures, by Paul Walker, are called the Nattural Balance Benches and Bridge Bench. These tables and bench are a combination of rough and refined, accordiing to Walker’s write up. They are natural and hand made. They are comprised of black walnut is in Newport Bay and sediment stone with stainless steel posts.
Murray Dewart’s sculptures are the third work of art on the trail. His sculpture entitled, “Pavilion Of The Sun” is meant to convey something aspirational, both spiritual and monumental. The Sun Pavilion has the promise of something ceremonial and celestial, open to the sky.
The welded aluminum 15 foot gate is powder coated and installed in three sections. On the inner face of each column inside the pavilion is a mirrored surface of stainless steelthat reflects the sunlight with the faces and bodies of the visitors.
Dewart also has a bright red aluminum gate as part of his exhibit.
The Propeller Bench by Kit Clews is the fourth exhibit on the sculpture trail. The Bench Propeller is an ultralight cooling station. Kit imagined a tree branch with a gently spinning propeller in place of leaves which are create cooling breezes whilst they lounge together under the kinetic propeller tree. As the spinning wheel turns, visitors are free to visualize “whirled peace” and perhaps, someday, “the wheel thing.”
The fifth exhibit is a “Reflection on the Ornithology of Naturalist-Conservationist Frederick Kennard and Memorial to Extinct Species” by Charlet Davenport. As the name suggests, the exhibit honors Frederick Kennard’s interest in birds and to the extinct species of birds who used to roam these woods.
The exhibit includes eggs with names of extinct species on them (the very same eggs, except they are not real, that Kennard would collect) as well as porcelain forms in the shapes of Japanese lanterns which are meant to mimic the paper lanterns which were used as ornaments during the times of Frederick Kennard. A stoneware birdbath is located next to each tree.
Biomimicry Rain Harvester by Allison Newsome is the 6th exhibit on the trail. Her sculpture is made of steel, cast bronze rain chains, aluminized steel culvert and garden hose. It is a functional sculpture that harvests rain water. It holds up to 700 gallons of water and it has a hose attached that can be used for gardening and help in conserving the use fo town water by using the water it collects instead. Biomimetrics is the immation of nature to solve complex human problems. Biomimetrics is a combination of “bios” which is Greek for life and “mimesis” which means to imitate.
Marek Jacisin’s “Visual Playground” (the 7th exhibit) is meant to transform that part of the park into a visual playground. The sculpture recreates elements of a board game. The pieces of the exhibit are the player pieces of the game and the park is the board, according to Jacisin. Jacisin was aiming (no pun intended) to provide a stark contrast with the black and white spinning circles and the asymmetrical shapes. Jacisin goes on to explain that “nothing is ever as it seems.”
Once your eyes refocus, you can make your way to the next exhibit (exhibit number 8). Zoe Friend’s exhibit may be hard to find if you don’t look hard enough. Somewhat off the main trail, past the parking area and closer to the office, Zoe Friend’s exhibit “Bromeliads” is a tribute to her mother. While researching charm bracelets, Zoe came across her mother’s old charm bracelet and she wanted to create something that would showcase some of the things her mother loved such as fuschia flowers. Specifically, Zoe remembered how the rain cascaded off the flowers and how they clung to the very ends of the stamens after a shower, cementing them as the perfect crux between the rain chain and the her mother’s charm bracelet.
The ninth exhibit by Caroline Bagenal is called “Strata.” If, like me, you begin the trail at the area closest to the parking area, this may be the first sculpture you see. The elements of the Strata sculpture were inspired by the park itself. Bagenal states she was first attracted to the land of the park and the apple trees in front of the house as she first came into the park. She was also attracted by an old well on the corner of the property and the old stone walls she passed by while walking through the park. She also learned part of the park used to be used as a landfill which lead her to the idea of making an exhibit with levels of both “man-made” and “natural” levels. As you can tell the sculpture includes natural things as well as man made materials. Layers of thought, time and place are included in her sculpture. She specifically chose the perennial garden to display her art because it suggests a clearing but with encroaching woods. Even the books she chose to include in the sculpture such as a book by Robert Frost and a building construction book seem to add meaning to the exhibit.
“Color Notes” by Anne Spalter is the tenth sculpture on the trail. Spalter’s exhibit includes three pieces; digital wallpaper, video work and exterior sculpture.
Digital Wallpaper is meant to be a main conference room with a large-scale kaleidoscope composition that integrates images of the wooded area during winter. The video work is a “color piano” video that uses color notes from winter and fall creating an abstract piece that calls attention to the changing seasons. The exterior sculpture aspect of the sculpture are meant to highlight the transparency of the “keys” with the colors of nature showing through.
Peter Diepenbrock’s sculptures are the eleventh part of the trail. Peter’s art consists of four pieces. His collection, called “Buddhati’s Dream: The Transference”, includes
“The Lost Boy”
Spectral Shift II
Peter’s intent was to create a strange otherwordly environment of alien-esque artifacts with fragments of alien intelligence or presence set in an otherwise perfectly quiet, natural environment.
To my surprise and delight, Peter was there to discuss his art and some of the details about his sculptures. In fact, the artists may be appearing from time to time at the park to meet people and discuss their works.
The twelfth exhibit is “Totems” by Deborah Putnoi. “Totems” is in part an interactive exhibit. Rocks and signs with words and phrases of good advice such as “breathe”, “imagine and “be open” are strewn throughout the trail and on trees. People are encouraged to draw their own art based on the nature they see on the totems and on paper which provided.
Putnoi, who grew up in Newton and presently lives there, wanted to make a piece that is subtle and doesn’t detract from the nature. The stones are meant to reflect aspects of the layered and embedded history in the toen as well as the history of the trail and space.
The next exhibit (number thirteen on the sculpture tain) is by Marco Vargas. Marco’s sculpture was inspired by Ehecatl; the Aztec god of wind whose breath gave movement to the sun and gives life to the lifeless. His love is symbolized by a tree that grows in the place where Ehecatl arrived to Earth. Since Kennard Park is a natural zsetting, Vargas wanted to use natural materials to his sculpture. He used red mud where graffiti hexagons draw the god of wind. He also used branches and logs.
The fourteenth exhibit on the trail is “Sacred Space” by Carolyn Kraft. Carolyn’s work of art is a reflection the beauty of nature and how we can appreciate it in our life. She loves to make dwellings of nature from nature. Carolyn thinks we can find contentment and be more connected to earth through her art. Inside the hut are chairs made of stone with moss on them. The beads which hang in the area change color based on the direction of the sun.
The fifteenth and final work of art is “Silent Spring” by Mary Dondero. As the title would suggest, Mary’s art is based largely on Rachel Carson’s ground breaking book, “Silent Spring” which revealed the indiscrimate use of pesticides and how it affected our environment, particularly birds. Mary’s exhibit includes 200 shimmering white objects at the base of the tree, all silent. Most of the bird objects are clustered near an almost dry brook or stream. She included ceramic hands in the stream-bed. The hands may appear to be ripples of water when the water returns to the area. Her goal was to imply that it is by our own hands that these songbirds have diminished in population. Although it is explicitly explained in the paper explaining the art hanging near the exhibit, I interpreted the cloths on the rocks on the ground to be dead birds, perhaps due to the use of pesticides and other detrimental human made causes.
Besides, the works of art, there were many other pretty and interesting things at the park.
And, of course, there were dogs at Kennard Park. With its easy trails and spacious areas to roam, Kennard is an ideal place to take your dog for a quick walk.
Frederick, a 4 year old Chihuahua rescue, had to take a big stretch before he began his walk..
Sally, a 3 year old Golden retriever, walks the trail almost everyday. She was more interested in playing with her stick than looking at the art.
Truffles, a 6 year old Italian Waterdog, lied down and took in the art at the park.
Pika is a 12 year old Border Collie. The name Pika is derived from the name of the pica font style.
Below is a video of Peter Diepenbrock’s Spectral Shift sculpture. In the background, you can hear him discussing his art.
Location: 14 Hancock St, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Cost: $20 for adults, $10 for youths (5-17), kids under 5 get in for free according to the May – October price list (these prices may vary depending on the season because it costs us $20 for two adult tickets when I went in April)
Hours: Open 365 days a year from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Parking: Free parking is available but it does fill up fast. There is also parking available throughout the city. There is free parking at Four Tree Island a block away on Mechanic Street and limited off street parking is available. Just make sure to pay your meters and not overstay your parking limit as parking restrictions are strictly enforced.
Strawbery Banke is a 12 acre outdoor history museum. The houses are constructed in the same style and out of the same materials of the buildings of the 17th to mid 20th century.
This house, which was being worked on, looked creepy
The inside of the homes are designed to be appropriate to the time the house was built or designed. This is the grocery part of the building. This is an example of how Strawberry Banke is a must-see for anyone interested in early New England history
They have set up the grounds and museum to replicate the days of Colonial and post Colonial Portsmouth, once known as “Puddle Duck”. More specifically, Strawbery Banke tells the stories of the many generations who settled in this Portsmouth, New Hampshire “Puddle Dock” community from the late 17th to the mid-20th century. The museum tells the stories of the people and the area of those times. They hold events and themed presentations during different parts of the year.
When we went to Strawbery Banke it was the unveiling of the Spring Barnyard Baby Animals event. It will be running through Sunday, May 1. The New Hampshire SPCA is present at the vent to ensure all the animals are treated humanely and are as comfortable as possible. All of the animals came from places in New England.
There was a wide variety of animals such as turkeys
alpacas from Elf-Paca Meadows, Rochester NH
Mommy and baby Nigerian goats from Tiny Hill Farm, Milton Mills NH
Jacob Goats from Hogwash Farm, Norwich VT.
baby chicks from Yellow House Farm in Barrington NH. You may notice some of the chicks are just lying face down. They are just sleeping. They tend to fall down and sleep right where they are when they get tired and the other chicks will often fall on top of them because they tend to cuddle or pile onto one another for safety and comfort.
baby ducks also from Yellow House Farm in Barrington NH.
Pigs and their babies from Double- H Pig Ranch in Berwick ME and Bittersweet Farm, Lyndeborough NH.
Soay sheep from New England Heritage Farm, Sandown, NH
Guinea pigs and a rabbit. This rabbit’s name is Bubbles.
and a pony named Polly.
One thing I noticed in almost all of the photos is how the mommies, or parents, seem to be protecting or are near their babies.
The holidays are celebrated at Strawberry Banke and I’ll be back in the winter when they have an ice skating rink on the premises and decorate for the holidays. It must be very festive!
Although dogs are not allowed at the museum saw a lot of dogs on our way to the museum.
I saw Cody outside of the Breaking New Grounds coffee shop in Portsmouth Center. If you’re in the area, go there! Cody is a one year old Great Pyrenees and Husky rescue dog with one one blue eye and one brown eye.
Chlodie is 9 months old. Her name is derived from the Irish name “Chlodagh”. She was very happy to be in Portsmouth!
Bailey is an English Point Setter. Love the marking over the right eye.
Parking: There are several parking lots at the Greater Worcester Land Trust which the Cascading Waters is part of. The closest lot to the Cascading Waters is small with only room for about half a dozen cars. You can also drive up to Cascading Waters via Cataract St and park on the dirt road there.
One of the great things about Worcester (pronounced “Woo-stah”) is its diversity of people and places. One moment you could be in the heart of the city and only ten minutes later you could be at a grand waterfall. It remind me a lot of Boston in this regard.
I found myself at one of the natural wonders of Worcester, Cascading Falls, Saturday.
Located about an hour west of Boston, Cascading Falls is known for its beauty and trails. There are both hiking and biking trails at the main parking area. I chose the most direct hiking route to the falls. The trail is pretty flat and straight with some pretty views. I also noticed some greenery sprouting on the eve of the first day of Spring. it’s about half a mile to the Cascading Waters from the parking area.
There is a trail to the right of the falls with a fairly steep incline. The trail leads to the top of the falls. You can go to the top of the waters. The views are pretty sweet.
There are also interesting rocks, pools of water and streams at the top of Cascading Waters.
Although the sun was out and the temperatures did increase, it was still relatively cold as this branch shows.
The waterfall leads to a stream just under and behind the trail.
Cascading Waters is a great place to take your dog for a walk. I met two golden retrievers; Wilson (on the left ) and Tucker, while I was there.
Below are two videos of Cascading Waters from the trail view and view from the top of the falls.
Location: Beech St, Manchester, New Hampshire (with access points on Union, St, Amherst St and Hanover St)
Cost: Free to the public
Although a statue that is dedicated to the veterans of the Spanish American War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Phillipine-American War, Bronstein Park celebrates a hero from another war.
Although “The Hiker” stands prominently at the street entrance to the park, Bronstein Park (formerly known as Hanover Square) is actually named after a corpsman who died in World War II; Dr. Ben Richard Bronstein, the first Manchester, New Hampshire, resident to die during the war. Dr Bronstein’s brother, Maurice Bronstein, donated the memorial to the park in 1990.
The inscription on the memorial is hard to read in some parts. It states:
“in memory of Dr. BEN RICHARD BRONSTEIN, LIEUTENANT, MEDICAL CORPS, aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Jacob Jones Lost in Action, February 28, 1942 First Naval Officer From the State of New Hampshire To have Sacrificed his life in the fulfillment of his duty in World War II.”
Another memorial pays tribute to Dr. Bronstein’s brother, Stephen Max Bronstein, who also served during the war.
“The Hiker” was originally sculpted by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson in 1906. The original statue was made for the University of Minnesota. However, 50 copies were made of her statue and were distributed all over America. Manchester, New Hampshire was the recipient of one of the copies of her statue. The statue is made of bronze on a base of granite, of course.
The name “hiker” was a moniker the American soldiers in the Spanish American War and Philippine-American War gave themselves because of the long hikes they took in the jungle. Kitson said the hiker, “depicts a hero stripped of his parade uniform and shown as a soldier reacting to the challenges of the battlefield.”
Leonard Sefing, Jr., a Spanish-American War veteran, was the model for the statue.
A close inspection of the statue shows a weary soldier clad in civilian type apparel.
An American flag stands in front of the memorial for Dr. Ben Bronstein.
One strange thing I noticed is a warning posted that prohibits people from hanging out at the park during school hours. So that is something to bear in mind if you do visit. I’m not sure why this restriction is in place. I can only imagine you would be the talk of the town in prison if you ever got convicted of it “Don’t mess with that guy. He’s in here for loitering.” (I know it’s probably just a fine)
Below are some additional photos of the park from different angles.