El Día de Los Muertos

I celebrated El Día de Los Muertos for the first time in November. I read that the City of Boston was constructing a Day of the Dead altar in Copley Square, and people were invited to send in photos of their departed loved ones. I submitted a photo of my dad.

I didn’t find him on the altar when I visited it, but that was OK. It was still nice to be there and think of him and all of the strangers on the altar.

Boston Day of the Dead Altar 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I stopped in Copley Square on my way home, I made plans to make a little altar at home. Components of the altar are photos, candles, flowers, and favorite foods of the departed loved one. I picked up some pizza to eat for dinner and some hard candies. I was five minutes from my house when I realized that I had forgotten to pick up flowers.

Within a second of the realization, I looked down on the sidewalk and saw this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many times have you seen a formal floral bouquet discarded on a sidewalk? I had never seen one until that night. I picked out a nice-looking floral stalk and brought it home. Thanks, Dad.

Tiffany Windows

I’ve always loved Tiffany glass, maybe because I grew up with Tiffany-style lamps in the house. So when I learned of the Tiffany Windows Education Center at a church in downtown Boston, I made plans to go with a friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weather was on our side so the windows were especially gorgeous that day. The Arlington Street Church has 16 Tiffany windows, which were installed between 1898 and 1930. I couldn’t pick a favorite because they were all beautiful. Any Tiffany enthusiast in Boston should make a visit here.

 

You Don’t Have to Take My Word for It

Happy 2019 to all. 2018 was a rough one for me, so I feel kind of shell shocked as I face a new year. Sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other, and that’s what I will do for now.

To cheer myself up, I’ll tell you about seeing one of my favorite celebrities a couple of months ago. Hint: “You don’t have to take my word for it.”

Yes, LeVar Burton, for those of you who did not watch Reading Rainbow religiously. My father and I also watched him religiously in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

When I learned he was coming to Boston, I bought a ticket to his show even though I had no idea what he would be talking about or doing. I didn’t know about his popular podcast until I asked Google what the show would be about.

So what he does in his live shows is pick a local author and read the author’s short story, with musical accompaniment. Then he invites the author on stage and they do a Q & A and take questions from the audience.

For the Boston show, he read a short story by Ken Liu. It was a sci-fi/fantasy story, so at first I was unenthused because I don’t read that genre of literature. But, of course, it did not take long for me to fall under LeVar’s spell.

The Q & A was great because both LeVar and Ken were charming and witty as hell. If you are a fan of LeVar Burton or a fan of literature, I highly recommend his live show and podcast. Seeing him in person was one of the highlights of my year!

Democracy Brewing

A brewpub opened near my office over the summer. Fittingly, Democracy Brewing opened on July 4. A friend and I checked it out a few weeks after it opened. The beer and the food were good. Not amazing level but solid level.

I was so busy enjoying the beer that I forgot to take a photo before drinking it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The space is cozy and hip and the prices are reasonable. What a score for downtown Boston. And even better, it’s a worker-owned company. Worth a visit, Bostonians!

City Winery

A new music venue has been open for almost a year, so my friend and I checked it out recently. City Winery is a national chain so I was expecting it to be kind of “meh.” But I liked the vibe there. The place has a large bar and restaurant area outside of the music venue, which is a small-ish low-lit room filled mainly with long tables with chairs.

My friend and I sat in the back because the seats were cheaper, but we enjoyed the experience more because we were sitting at a two-person hightop and had a nice view of the stage (where the blue light is in the photo).

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw Brazilian musician Seu Jorge. He arrived on my radar when I saw Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. He performed Bowie songs in Portuguese in the film.

He has an amazing deep voice and seems like a charmer. He invited his daughter on stage to perform a Nina Simone song, which was a crowd pleaser.

We ordered special wine (which was made from grapes from the Finger Lakes, near my hometown), so that was fun, and we both enjoyed our meals.

Next time I might splurge on seats closer to the stage, because since we were in the back, we kept being blinded by people taking photos and videos with their smartphones every few minutes. Grr.