Good morning and happy July 3. We’re all looking forward to Concord’s annual Picnic in the Park at tomorrow. Lots of fun for everyone, and it’s free!!
I am always bragging about the benefits of living in Concord and last Tuesday I experiened another. I was among hundreds of guests at the fortunate enough to listen in on a conversation between Concordian, historian and best-selling author Doris Kearns Goodwin and world renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Concord was the first stop and only New England venue of Annie’s “Pilgrimage” tour. Pilgrimage is the name of Annie’s latest book of photographs that highlight the people and places that have inspired her work. However, unlike her traditional portraits - remember Whoopie Goldberg in a bathtub filled with milk? - Pilgrimage contains no portraits, but the landscapes, objects and rooms that have not only inspired Annie, but people such as Louisa May Alcott, Abraham Lincoln and Georgia O’Keefe.
“Pilgrimage” was not a planned project, Annie said, adding, “I was having a hard time in my life and in my work.” It began a few years ago while Annie was visiting Amherst to attend the bar mitzvah of a cousin’s son. She stopped by the Emily Dickinson Museum and discoverred she could capture a tremendous sense of the late great poet just be focusing on her everyday things.
One stop led to another, Annie said, and she was photographing Niagara Falls, and Georgia O’Keefe’s pastels, many with the artist’s fingerprints still on them. Graceland (Elvis was a hoarder.) A stop in Washington D.C. to photograph the magnificent Lincoln Memorial, sculpted by Concordian Daniel Chester Frnech, brought her here in 2010. She was fascinated to learn both that French took art lessons from May Alcott, Louisa’s youngest sister, and that people flocked to Walden Pond for activities other than transcendental meditation.
“I had never been to Walden Pond before and I saw that it was a swimming beach,” she said, still sounding a bit surprised. “What are these people doing there?”
Much of the conversation with Annie and Doris, who wrote the foreword to Pilgrimage, was dotted with humorous and tender reflections. The crowd enjoyed Doris’ story about President Lyndon Johnson, a known womanizer. She was working on his autobiography at the time and one afternoon, he arranged a picnic for the two of them near a scenic area on his estate. Barely 25 years old, she was gearing up to deal with the worst when the president said, “Doris, you remind me of my mother.”
Both she and Annie were moved when looking at the mourning ribbon still attached to Lincoln’s hat, placed there after the death of his 11-year-old son Willie.
The conversation lasted slightly more than an hour and gave the audience glimpses into the lives of Doris and Annie, as well as their subjects. Concordian Jan Turnquist, who I hardly recognized out of her Louisa May costume, did a fabulous job moderating and seemed to be having a lot of fun with her special guests. Many thanks to friend and neighbor Carol Haines, from the Concord Museum, who secured me a seat to the sold-out event.
Nine of the 70 photographs in “Pilgrimage” were shot in Concord and you can see the exhibit at the Museum through Sept. 23. Congratulations to the staffs at both the Concord Museum and Orchard House for bringing such a fabulous show to Concord.
John Marden at District Town Meeting July 4
Try as you will, you cannot escape news of the economy. One day the stock market is up, the other it’s down, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain are in crisis, as are millions of displaced employees worldwide. Gas prices in the U.S recently went down a few dimes per gallon. College tuitions continue to rise.
Few of us can follow the upticks and downward spirals as closely as well as retired businessman John Marden. A fellow Concordian, John has made it his mission to alert the public, and our public officials about causes and cures to the world’s economic woes. John has spent countless hours the past several years gathering data from the Financial Times, the Economist, history books and a variety of media sources. He has devised a plan that he believes will gather the momentum needed to bring millions of Americans back to work churning out a healthy world economy.
Tomorrow, July 4, John and others will gather at 5 p.m., at the North Bridge for a District Town Meeting and the witnessing of another shot “heard ‘round the world.”
Here is an outtake from his invitation: “The intent of the District Town Meeting is to honor the concern of our fellow citizens with respect to the economic collapse of our nation as reflected in now so many of our local communities. We refer to the recent impoverishment of our middle class, 50 percent of us by definition, some 153,000,000 people, who upon joining the poorest 25 percent segment of our citizenry render some 230,000,000 of our population destitute. For them the “American Dream” has become a nightmare.”
There is no charge to join this worthwhile effort. Many are expected to be there. So, if this is a passion of yours as well, bring your friends and family to Minute Man National Historic Park and help restore our nation’s economic health.
Full Moon Tonight!
Join Concordian and naturalist Cherie Corey tonight from 7 to 9 p.m., for a Full Moon Walk at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Stroll through the refuge as all the wild residents enjoy their dusk-time feeding and settling rituals. If the skies are clear, you will welcome the rising moon toward the end of the foray. Bring insect repellent.
No pre-registration required. A $5 per person voluntary donation will be gratefully accepted. The event is co-sponsored by Musketaquid Arts and Environment Program and Friends of Assabet River NWR. Meet at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord (Monsen Road, off Rte. 62, driveway on left where road curves right). For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-760-1933
That’s it for me until next week. Wishing you all a happy and healthy Fourth of July. Don’t forget Stefanie’s piece on Thursday.
Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at email@example.com or Stefanie at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you spread the good news. And follow us on Twitter: Stefanie is @stefanie3131 and I am @cosmo1162.