Mini Museum, Big Audience?

Flickr user ColorblindRain

Size matters when it comes to art attractions, but the new Micro Museum in Boston wants to prove bigger isn’t always better.

While it could take days to see everything the Louvre has to offer, visitors at the Mµseum can take in all the art in a matter of seconds. It pays to be short: the three-wall gallery, located at 72 1/2 Union Square, is less than 5-feet high off the ground, and measures a mere 16 inches wide, 8 inches deep and 10 inches tall. The first exhibition is entitled “Invisible Cities” and features six tiny works of art. Museum founder Judith Klausner told Boston.com that she expects the exhibits to routinely rotate.

The museum is as much of a statement on urban development as it is an actual art installation. How many people will actually visit the micro museum to actually study and reflect on the miniscule art and how many will pause for a moment to take a quick Facebook photo and walk on? Who knows.

Micro Museum isn’t the only gallery marketing itself on its diminutive size. A suburb of Indianapolis boasts the World’s Smallest Children’s Art Gallery, featuring works from local elementary school children. You might think the Los Angeles Museum of Art would be a massive structure befitting the second-largest city in the nation. That’s true of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, but not its near-namesake, a 13-foot, hand-built structure located in the artist enclave of Eagle Rock.

Fall festivals: five delicious ways to celebrate

fall festivalsThere’s something really depressing about seeing the last of the tomatoes, corn, and stonefruit at the farmers market, the withering vines in my neighbor’s gardens. But fall is also an exciting time for produce geeks, what with all the peppers and squash, pomegranates and persimmons.

If you love yourself some good food and drink, here are five reasons to welcome fall. No matter where you live in the North America, at least one of these is guaranteed to be coming soon to a town near you.

1. Hit a harvest festival
From the hokey (corn mazes, hay rides) to the downright debaucherous (late-night live music and beer gardens, camping in orchards), harvest festivals are a blast, no matter what your age. A great harvest festival will include delicious food; local craft beer, cider, or wine; farm tours and seminars; a children’s area and special activities; live music, and, if you’re lucky, a beautiful, bucolic setting in which to experience it all. Some festivals run the span of a weekend, providing an opportunity to take in more of the educational offerings.

Below are some of my favorite festivals, all of which have an educational component to them. Should you find yourself in Northern California in early October, it’s worth a detour to attend the famous Hoes Down Harvest Festival (Oct.1-2) at Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley, near Davis. It’s one hell of a party (there’s also a top-notch children’s activity area, so little people will have fun, too); definitely plan on camping in the orchard and bring your swim suit; the farm is located beside Cache Creek.

Other great celebrations of fall: Vashon Harvest Farm Tour (Sept. 25), Vashon Island, WA; CUESA Harvest Festival (Oct. 22), Ferry Building Farmers Market, San Francisco, CA; Annual Harvest Festival, Sustainable Settings (mid-Sept.; date varies, but mark your calendars for next year!) Carbondale, CO.

September 22nd, from 7:30-9pm, the 16th Annual Harvest in the Square is being held in Union Square; online tickets are still available until tomorrow at noon for what is one of New York’s premier food and wine events. Some general admission tickets will be available at the event for a higher price.

[Photo credit: Flickr user zakVTA]fall festivals2. Check out Crush
In North America, the wine grape harvest is held in September or October, depending upon weather patterns. In Napa Valley, “Crush” has just started, and with it, fall colors on the vines; barrel tastings; special winery tours, wine-and-cheese pairings, and up-close-and-personal views of the Crush itself. Even if you’re not an oenophile, it’s by far the most beautiful time to visit Napa and it’s neighboring wine region, Sonoma Country. For Napa wineries and event listings, click here. For California’s Central Coast wine region events, click here.

Check out wine harvest events in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Washington state’s Yakima and Walla Walla regions, and British Columbia’s Fraser and Okanogan Valleys (go to Wines of the Northwest for events calendar on all of the aforementioned); for New York’s Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, and other regions go to Uncork New York!

3. Go apple pickingfall festivals
With apple-growing regions scattered all over North America–from Virginia and Pennsylvania to New York, Washington state, British Columbia, and California–there’s no shortage of opportunities to attend festivals or U-picks. This traditional fall pastime is a fun activity for kids and supports the local economy and foodshed. Put up apple butter, -sauce, or freeze a pie for Thanksgiving, but be sure to save enough for winter (all apples and pears are placed in cold storage once the growing season ends, so the fruit you buy later in the season won’t be freshly picked). Store in a cool, dry, dark place. P.S. Don’t forget to buy some cider doughnuts if they’re available.

Please note that due to unusual weather patterns (aka “global warming”) this past year, the harvest is delayed in many parts of the country, including Washington. Check with local farms before heading out.

4. Visit a cidery
If you prefer your apples fermented, there are some excellent craft cideries throughout North America. The tradition of craft cider distilling hails from Western Europe, but domestically, the hot spots are the Pacific Northwest (including British Columbia), parts of the Midwest, and the Northeast.
fall festivals
5. Feast at a farm dinner
For food lovers, few things beat dining outdoors in an orchard or pasture, surrounded by the people and ingredients that made your meal possible. Farm dinners are a growing national trend; they may be hosted independently by the farm (Washington’s Dog Mountain Farm, Colorado’s Zephyros Farm, and California’s Harley Farms Goat Dairy are my picks) or hosted by companies like Portland, Oregon’s Plate & Pitchfork and Boulder’s Meadow Lark Farm Dinners. Many farm dinners are fundraisers to help protect local agricultural easements or wetlands, but your participation also supports the farm and local foodshed.

Farm dinners are also held at wineries, distilleries, craft breweries, mariculture farms, and creameries; a tour should be included. The best part, however, is when the guests include everyone from the local cheesemaker, rancher, fisherman, or winemaker, to the potter who made the plates. It’s both humbling and gratifying to meet the people who work so hard to ensure local communities have a safe, sustainable food supply.

[Photo credits: grapes, Flickr user minnucci]

Wine Tasting Room Etiquette

L train hits and kills a man

A man was struck by the L train at Union Square this afternoon. Service between 8th Avenue and Bedford Avenue has been temporarily stopped because of the incident. According to DNAinfo.com, an MTA conductor for the NYC Subway said that the service would be affected for a couple of hours. The popular train should be running again in time for this evening’s rush hour.

While very few details have been released about the man hit by the train, witnesses are reportedly saying that the man jumped in front of the train, leaving his groceries behind on the platform.

[Thanks, DNAinfo.com]
Photo by: Bill Michalski, Songbill at Flickr

The New York City Subway Facts

Photo of the Day (1-14-09)

There is an impressionistic, dreamy quality about jrodjmanjr’s shot of the ice rink at Union Square in San Francisco. The two people in front, however, draw one onto the ice. Can’t you feel the movement of the foot pushing out, the swing of the red sweatered arm and the glide forward?

The fact that they are anonymous makes them like anyone and everyone you’ve ever seen moving in and out of the shadows of an outdoor skating rink at night. The back lit glow is also wonderful.

If you have a Photo of the Day candidate, send it our way at Gadling’s Flickr Photo Pool.

Blowing Bubbles in Union Square

If the Green Market that happens at Union Square in New York City every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday isn’t enough of a reason to head there, or if the shops and eateries that surround it and its playground and benches where you can people watch for hours doesn’t entice you to make the trip, then perhaps millions of bubbles might do it.

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 24 at 12 noon, 400 bottles of bubbles will be handed out to attendees, meaning anyone who shows up. This event called Bubble Bath is an interactive art project of sorts by artist Anthony DeFranco. It’s where everyone participating will unscrew the lids of their bubbles, pull out the wands, pucker their lips and blow. Four hundred people and 400 bottles of bubble is a lot of bubbles. The whole point of this endeavor is to have fun in the simpliest of ways, but in massive quantity.

Because more than 400 people will probably show up, the organizers are suggesting, if possible, for people to bring their own bubbles to help out the cause. More importantly though, show up. It seems to me, this would be a really terrific happening if one of these days this bubble blowing for enjoyment could occur simultaneously across the world at the same time. Thanks to Adam Cipoletti for the tip. We’re happy to spread the news. Here is a link to the Village Voice article that also mentions the event. The photo is from another bubble blowing happening at Astor Place last June.