Logan, Ohio – June 2018 – Washboard Music Festival

Each year the Columbus Washboard Company (detailed on another posting) sponsors a Washboard Music Festival.

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In addition to the music they had a parade.

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Which featured mostly vintage tractors.

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Vendors selling an assortment of unusual items, including box guitars.

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As well as observing the local way of securing criminals?

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But we were here for the music.

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Artists from the various groups joined in with the other bands, including this fiddle player from Canada.

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Ira the somewhat cynical banjo player from Philadelphia. For the most part he had an audience of 1 (me), and had to play in front of a payday loan store, so I can see why he is cynical.

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Meanwhile on the main stage a collection of washboard players gathered…

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Bringing their strange instruments.

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Coming from far and wide.

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To join the legendary Washboard Hank, from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. I am not sure why but a number of the performers were from Canada!

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Hanks helmet is also an ‘instrument’

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The collection of washboard players joined Hank and his band on stage for a few songs.

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But we had to catch the Hillbilly Bus…

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It was time to leave the laundry hanging across the street and get out of town.

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Worthington, Ohio – June 2018 – Come for the Produce, Stay for the Art

The town of Worthington, Ohio was settled in 1803 by settlers from Connecticut. As a result the center of town resembles a New England town, complete with the village green. Long an affluent Columbus suburb, Worthington has a year round farmers market, with the summer season held in the village green area.

This farmers market is nice, with an interesting selection of produce (when in season), meats and a collection of hipster booths like artistic chocolate and little bags of pasta from Cleveland. Still we enjoy going down to buy local honey and other items.

This week though we had a surprise in that the annual Worthington Arts Festival was being held.

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Over 100 artists had booths set up offer a variety of mediums including ceramics, paintings, photography, fiber, glass, jewelry, metalwork, leather work, and sculptures.

A local art teacher makes Bruce the Garden Shark – whose role is in theory to be like a scarecrow. We brought one home to ward off the groundhogs and skunks.

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While the much larger Columbus Arts Festival attracts artists from all over the country this one was mostly local artists, including this one who did a mixed media sculpture.

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There were a number of wood carvers making sure we know we are in Ohio.

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A clay ceramics artist had great skill in his use of paints and approaches to his firings to make interesting pieces.

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Interested in the steam punk look?

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A husband and wife team had a wood/glass mix.

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Finally a basket of funky little characters.

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New York City – May 2018 – Manhattanhenge

Most people in the world know about Stonehenge in England. Less known, but still amazingly cool and very popular is Manhattanhenge.

With most of Manhattan built in a grid street system in a general east-west pattern twice a year the sun sets directly down the east-west streets. Because it is not exactly due west it does not occur on the equinox’s, rather slightly different dates. We were fortunate enough to be there for the May event.

We chose to watch the event from Park Avenue and East 34th Street, as it is a wider street and lined with tall buildings. With sunset scheduled for 8:13 PM we arrived around 7:45 to already find people gathering.

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While we waited we noticed there was some light fog around the Empire State Building. The fog made some interesting streaks into the sky (which was even more visible to the eye).

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As the sun continued to set the crowds grew. Each time the light would change for Park Avenue people would crowd into the street for the view west on 34th Street.

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Literally ever minute the view changed.

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Eventually the crowds were blocking the street long enough the taxis and other cars would blast their horns to get through – further adding to the atmosphere.

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While a few clouds obscured the event it was still amazing.

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With a 600mm zoom the views were intense.

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When the sun is just right it will also reflect off of the street.

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Finally at 8:13 the last of the sun set over the buildings in New Jersey.

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Baltimore – May 2018 – Kinetics Race

Baltimore hosts the largest Kinetics Festival/Race on the east coast. For the 20th consecutive year human powered works of art have taken over the streets of the city.

 

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While not quite as large as the one in Humboldt County, California, the Baltimore race still featured a number of well done sculptures, as well as coordinated racers.

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Even the spectators were interesting.

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Many dressing for the occasion.

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While the teams got ready for the 15 mile race around the streets, into the bay and through a mud pit.

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Eventually they were off and made their way up Federal Hill.

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Which provided a nice backdrop of the skyline.

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The machines had all sorts of designs, some better than others (although this one used their arms and hands, not their legs, which proved troublesome).

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Eventually they made their way into downtown.

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With a highlight being Patterson Park and the mud pit. The crowds were 5 deep on both sides.

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And the mud was deep.

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But with 48″ alien wheels the mud was no problem.

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Which made for happy aliens.

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Columbus – March 2018 – Women’s Final Four Bounces into Town

College sports is a big deal, both socially and financially, and every city longs to host the finals of the basketball season. This year the NCAA Women’s Final Four was held in Columbus, and as with all major sporting events now they have a festival to accompany the games.

One of the highlights for this weekend was an event called ‘Bounce’, which gives thousands of kids a free basketball and T Shirt and allows them to dribble along the street next to Nationwide Arena up to the Convention Center where there was a number of activities for them (as well as adults).

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To coordinate such an event takes lots of volunteers, who all seemed to be having as much fun as the kids.

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But eventually they were set loose – the sound of basketballs dribbling reverberating off the buildings.

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The little ones even maintained their focus.

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Soon the street was filled with the kids and their parents.

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Once they reached the convention center there were unique skills tests waiting for them.

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A highly energetic host lead a game of ‘basketball musical chairs’, requiring them to dribble around the circle in the middle of the court – when the music stopped they had to run down, make a basket and head back. Easily the host was the most amusing part of the day.

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I am not certain the city makes the money back they invest in the games, but it does draw some attention to the city, for a few days at least.

 

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Chicago – December 2017 – Architecture Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial purpose is to “provides a platform for groundbreaking architectural projects and spatial experiments that demonstrate how creativity and innovation can radically transform our lived experience.”

As part of that this years exhibit includes an exhibit called “Make New History”. This exhibit features a number of architectural interpretations of a redesign of the iconic Tribune Tower.

Interestingly the venue for this very modern exhibit is the classic Chicago Cultural Center, including the stunning stained glass dome in the Grand Army of the Republic rotunda.

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Before arriving at the main exhibit room we visited some displays of miniatures.

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The details on most were amazing, although some of the more abstract ones looked like a discarded toy box. This model was an Asian interpretation of the Tribune Tower.

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Full view of the Serie Architects ‘Far Eastern Headquarters’ model.

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The Tribune Tower is a Neo Gothic building completed in 1925. The various interpretations varied greatly from that design.

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6a architects view was meant to resemble a totem pole of stacked artifacts.

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Architect and ‘urbanist’ Charles Waldheiim went even further with a number of interpretations of famous Chicago buildings including the John Hancock Center, Willis Tower, Marina City and the Thompson Center.

Called Heliomorphic Chicago it is set up in the classic Chicago grid street system.

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Columbus – December 2017 – Krampus

This year I learned something new, the legend of ‘Krampus’.  According to the legend (and Wikipedia), Krampus is a half goat- half demon who during the Christmas season punishes children who have been bad. Over time the legend coupled Krampus with Saint Nicholas to encourage children to be good.

For a full description please see the Wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

Krampus celebrations are a big deal in Germany, Austria and other countries in the region. This was the first I had seen any celebrations in the states, and while small, was entertaining.

The group gathered in the a parking lot in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus.

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Noise makers and elaborate costumes were the order of the day.

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Apparently the Grinch and Mrs Grinch fit the bill as well. The costumes were great.

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Three horned ladies.

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The legend says they use sticks to ‘whip the children into behaving’. Clearly not a 21st century approach.

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The parade went down the sidewalk for about 3 blocks.

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I behaved myself.

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Another Krampus monster.

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Mrs Claus has a new look, along with apparently a Clint Eastwood fan. Hopefully this celebration catches on and grows larger each year – it is a nice change from the repetitiveness of the usual Christmas celebrations and festivals.

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