Picture
  Mission:  “City Living” is the periodic newsletter that I write to review and make recommendations regarding Arts and Entertainment opportunities in the Cambridge/Boston area.  Real Estate choices involve bricks and mortar considerations, but ultimately reflect a vision that we have of a desired lifestyle.  My goal is to enhance your vision.  If you prefer to unsubscribe from this effort, please let me know.

The city offers a myriad of opportunities for art, theatre, music and intellectual stimulation. Through my real estate practice, I seek those who enjoy these occasions.  Many of my clients are empty nesters who are returning to the city as their children move on.  Others are young couples who are leaving the city for the space that the close suburbs offer their growing families.  My single clients tend to be committed urban dwellers.

My attention of late has been on the themes of renewal and the inventive mind.  I hope that this issue of my newsletter will encourage you to think about occasions to learn and grow. 

To Read The Rest Of My Newsletter, Click Here

 
 
Picture
  Announcing my web and Facebook Pages!  Please visit:  CLICK HERE and “Like” me for automatic notification about events and opportunities.

To Read The Rest Of My Newsletter, Click Here



 
 
Picture
  In the late spring, the MFA and the Boston Institute for Psychoanalysis sponsored three well known author/speakers to talk about life after the age of 50.   Sarah Lawrence- Lightfoot spoke about her recent book, The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years after 50.   Sarah, through her presentation, was the most stunning example of continuous personal renewal.  Her voice has a rich alto timbre and a soothing cadence.  Her words have the encouraging quality of major chords.  Her eyes are large and wide, affirmative and embracing. She is open to what people have to say and always to learning something new.  In various ways, the people she interviewed for her book encountered life’s limitations and found the confidence to take new risks.  They grew and deepened their experiences.

Peter Sacks, the second speaker, described going through a very difficult period in his 40s during which relationships were lost and he, an accomplished poet and writer, suffered writer’s block.  He began to paint because it was all he could do.  He showed us some cell phone generated home movies of him working.  His narrative is hindsight because while he is actually painting, his ideas flow and emerge without any conscious understanding or censoring.  He works on a huge canvas and builds his work with paint, the printed word, fabric, and rope, among other materials.  His work is abstract and best understood in the context of his history from South Africa.  He has become an internationally recognized painter whose work is acquired by museums such as MOMA in New York. Peter Sacks gave the audience an inside look at the creative process. www.PeterSacks.com.

The final speaker, George Vaillant, is someone to whom I feel a personal connection. I used to attend his lectures and case conferences regularly when I was in my twenties and working for the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital where he was on the Harvard Medical School Faculty.  George is unique among psychiatrists in that he has spent his career studying adult mental health and adaptation.  His role in this symposium on reinvention was to explain exactly how people grow.

Reflecting on data from his longitunial studies, George spoke of the inevitability of conflict and pain in life and how our minds creatively rearrange the sources of conflict so that we may survive.  This defensive self-deception evolves. When immature, it leads us to trouble.  In maturity it can foster creative problem solving and successful adaptation. For example, faced with an unpleasant truth, an immature person may avoid the topic; a mature person will find ways to consciously put aside what is difficult  and address it slowly over time.

George Vaillant discusses all of this in detail in his books The Wisdom of the Ego and Aging Well. 

George speaks in a manner that is unmistakably from the upper class, but there is no snobbery intended.  He will pause as if to be sure he is selecting le mot juste.   He uses wonderful metaphors and offers vivid examples from life and literature.  He is full of affection for the people in his studies and he leaves his audience smiling.  Read about him at http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/06/what-makes-us-happy/7439/  and watch him at http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1460906593?bctid=22804415001

To Read The Rest Of My Newsletter, Click Here

 
 
Picture
  When I last lived in the city during the 1980’s, Boston’s South End was a pretty derelict place.  The streets closest to the Prudential Center had started to trend up, but most of the area was dilapidated and unsafe.  What a difference the end of Rent Control and a growing economy can make!  The South End comprises the area bounded by East Berkeley Street (east), Mass. Ave. (west), the Prudential area (north) and Albany Street (south).  It is the site of the largest Victorian row home district in the United States.

Tremont Street bisects the neighborhood with block after block of good to great restaurants plus many independent boutiques.  Boston Center for the Arts at 539 Tremont has expanded to include six performance spaces, gallery, studio, and rehearsal space.  A recent Saturday in June, I wandered the area to participate in the South End Garden Tour, an annual event sponsored by the South End/Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust. Spectacular private gardens and elegant Victorian parks pervade this area.  Union Park, created in 1851, is a particularly stunning garden oval with two fountains.  Montgomery Park, not far away, is privately owned and managed through a Trust established in 1867 for the owners of the 36 (now 78) households that abut and surround the park. This sylvan oasis was a dump full of trash and debris during the South End’s rooming house period (1890 – 1970). The park is the backyard to these homes and is entered from private patios and through three gates from the surrounding streets. It is an inspiring example of civil society and civic pride and has been voluntarily lovingly restored beginning in the 1970s.

A copper beech tree, once almost dead, now thrives and its shade can be appreciated by sitting on the circular bench that has been built around it.  Perennial gardens and specimen trees abound.  On the day of my visit, I encountered a cellist, a painter, and a resident cat whose job it is to chase the rodents away. www.montgomerypark.org/history.htm


Picture
At the southern end of the area is SoWa, which stands for South of Washington. 450 Harrison Avenue is an anchor with its artist studio lofts and retail gallery space along an attractive promenade.  On the first Friday of every month, studios and galleries are open from 5-9pm.  Visitors wander from gallery to gallery sampling wine and cheese.  The next First Fridays are October 7th, November 4th and December 2nd

Gurari Collections: Antiquarian and Contemporary Arts excels in its dedication to the inventive mind. Russ Gerard, owner, is an architect with long experience in academia and the commercial world.  Some may have met him when he owned an antiquarian map store on Beacon Hill.  Russ engages his patrons with inventive art and unusual scientific objects and instruments, many of which hail from the early to mid twentieth century.  This gallery appeals to the intellectual and the aesthete.

Wendy Artin, one of the artists featured at the Gurari Gallery, deserves considerable attention. Her nudes are breathtaking.  She draws no lines at all, but paints the effect of light and shadow using monochrome watercolor.  Then, in her studio, she scales up, employing charcoal on a special paper to represent the form.  Using tiny marks with the charcoal to illuminate the light and the shadow, graceful and sculptural human bodies emerge.  One has a visceral reaction to their beauty.  They are perfect.

Look for a show at Gurari Collections in November dedicated to Wendy’s newest work which involves architectural and human forms from Roman antiquity.http://www.gurari.com/ and http://www.wendyartin.com/.

To Read The Rest Of My Newsletter, Click Here


Picture
 
 
Picture
Diane Paulus, Creative Director of the American Repertory Theatre, intended to create a more focused and intimate version of Porgy and Bess and she has given theatre goers and music lovers a great gift through this production. It will be performed at the Loeb Drama Center until October 2, 2011, after which the production moves to Broadway.  I predict multiple Tony awards.

With the encouragement of the Gershwin and Heyward estates, Paulus assembled a creative team to adapt the masterpiece to the modern audience.  She and her  team, comprised of Suzan-Lori Parks (Pulitzer Prize winning playwright) and Diedre Murray (OBIE Prize winning composer), sought to move this masterpiece from the Opera form that it has taken in the last 40 years to a Musical Theatre representation.  The dialogue has been altered to make it more dramatically complete and the musical arrangement allows for more gospel and spiritual influences to be felt. However, this adaptation preserves the same compelling story of the crippled man and the prostitute who fall in love, and the stunning and timeless Gershwin music. Audra McDonald plays Bess and Norm Lewis plays Porgy.  Both have won many Tony awards.

The Cambridge audience that I was part of spent many minutes on its feet applauding thunderously and shouting “Bravo” while the cast looked at us with gratitude and delight.  The world has changed so much since 1935 when Porgy and Bess originally opened in Boston before going to Broadway.  Think of all the new people who are going to adore this wonderful musical story!

To Read The Rest Of My Newsletter, Click Here