Friday, February 22, 2013

Of Beer and Blizzards

I think the Bean deserves some compliments. Nemo was certainly a less-than-pleasant experience, but the city (pedestrians, especially) seemed to come alive with courtesy. Strangers patiently waited for each other to cross streets and sidewalks before barreling themselves through. And I saw more than one group come together to push a stuck car or shovel out a neighbor. So, kudos.

Now, of course, the snow “looks kinda scrummy.”1

So just what do you do while a blizzard reigns?

Seems like as good a time as any to try a new recipe. For months now, I have been excited to make an earnest attempt at pulling Guy Fiere’s Guinness Milkshake out of the digital pixels of and putting it into my blender.

Lucky for me, the power didn't go out.  

The shake was Guinnessy-good, and it did not disappoint. One quick recommendation: like any good  recipe, this one works in ounces and cups. It is a bit easier to think of as a cocktail recipe, though; two parts chocolate ice cream, one part stout worked out well for me. (As long as I’ve done my math right – of which, there is only a 60% chance.) Maybe just stick to the recipe as written by Guy Fiere himself.

And on the topic of beer…

I finally put the finishing touches on the new bar tray. The tray itself comes courtesy of West Elm.

The beer labels, however, come courtesy of Beantown.

Many different labels sampled from numerous local establishments such as Thaitation (where it all began with an idea and a bottle of Singha), Cafeteria, Parish CafĂ©, Pico, and Happy’s (a sad goodbye). The make-your-own six pack at Trader Joe’s also contributed quite significantly.

I should also add that this project has been ongoing since October of 2012. Which is all to say that for a year and a half I have been peeling and saving beer labels at every restaurant in which I ordered, and, naturally, looking quite odd.

Til next time!

Resolution Check:
+More Beantown
+More art

1. Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin, 1993. Print.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mustachioed Monuments

Mustache this and mustache that: mugs, coasters, t-shirts, ice cube trays, even socks. Mustaches are in, and they are making an appearance on everything. It seems there's no limit on the money-making potential to be found in these brands of facial hair.

So isn't it natural to wonder what mustaches some of our local monuments would sport? Well, I'd like to think it is. At least it would explain why I've invested a not-unsubstantial amount of time Google searching "mustaches of the 1960s" and "Prudential Tower."

Construction on the Prudential Tower began in 1960 and was completed in 1964. While this doesn't perfectly align with the debuts of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and the like, it does make the 60s/70s rock and roll mustache a fitting choice.

Til next time!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Art – like architecture – evokes a gut reaction. Some people like it, others don’t. (And not all viewers fall neatly into those two categories.) So what’s the big deal with Os Gemeos’ piece in Dewey Square?

The big deal is that a quick Google search for the mural will merit you this soundbite an infinite number of times: what some would say looks like a terrorist.

Naturally, I had to see this for myself. If you were told that somebody painted a 70 foot terrorist on your city, how could you not have to guffaw with everyone else?

After seeing it for myself, two things about this complicated piece have become quite clear. 

First, the news stories covering Os Gemeos’ work care more about the reaction of a group of respondents than about the piece itself. Essentially, the local news coverage has been what passersby think, not what the artists think, not what art critics think, not what any expert on the subject might think, but what gut reaction people have been experiencing as they walk by (with a distinct emphasis on one of many reactions in particular). 

Second, as many detractors have pointed out, the character’s head really is wrapped in a shirt. But wrapping his or her head in a shirt may simply indicate that Os Gemeos’ character knows its canvas is a building that effervesces exhaust. Ventilation buildings don’t make typical canvases for fresh air and daisies, after all (irony excepted).

In fact, this sense of place seems to be an important factor in distinguishing street art from other installation pieces. A quick look at street artists’ work (just take a look at Banksy’s) shows that it is often used to mirror a reality – actual or perceived – that is either undetected or ignored. So the real question is what is being reflected here? 

Whatever it is, I don’t think it is meant to be a terrorist. The piece's placement -- on a ventilation building in the Financial District -- is in all likelihood a better indication of what we are meant to see than is the shirt that too many have homed in on.

Til next time!

Resolution Check:
+More Beantown
+More art
-Less procrastination

+More culture
+More understanding