Juliana Adelman: As it is the 4th of July while I’m writing this I figured I could give my home country and town a bit of a plug. Concord (Massachussetts) is associated with the start, rather than the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. (See this somewhat bizarrely relaxed reenactment of the first battle. What’s with the cows?). If you happen to be heading to Boston over the summer then Concord is a worthwhile day trip. It is very scenic in ways that teenagers do not appreciate. Among the sights are: Thoreau’s cabin in Walden Woods, the Orchard House (former home of Louisa May Alcott), the Old North Bridge and Minuteman National Park and the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In Boston you can follow the Freedom Trail past most of the city’s historic buildings including Paul Revere’s house. If you fancy a bit of armchair travel to one of New York City’s best cultural attractions, you can now have an audio tour of some of MOMA’s most significant art works online. They are each very short and relatively free of jargon. In continuing with the American theme I am reading Katherine C. Grier’s excellent Pets in America which has explained, among other things, the 19th C connotations of the phrase ‘dog days of summer’ (when there was a high rabies risk and stray dogs were hunted down and killed). Finally, the 4th of July brings on an unseemly urge to listen to classic rock: Born in the USA and American Girl are ones I can willingly admit to.
Lisa-Marie Griffith: Festival season is upon us (see Kevin’s recommendations below) and while Festivals are a great way of jamming in a years worth of gig going, book buying and film watching, increasingly I find it difficult to keep up with them all. At the Dublin Writer’s festival last month I was introduced to the Life Is A Festival! blog. Gisela volunteers for each festival, attends as many of the events as possible and then reviews and discusses the event. This is an excellent way of catching up on festivals you haven’t manage to get to. If you are curious about why people volunteer their weekends for these events Gisela is very encouraging about what you can get out of sacrificing your time. The Chester Beatty Library‘s summer exhibition lives up to their fantastic reputation and ‘Muraqqa; Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library’ is also well worth a look.
Tina Morin: Last weekend’s Irish Times review of Greg Baxter’s memoir, A Preparation for Death, reminded me to pick it up and start reading. Greg spoke about his experiences with Some Blind Alleys at our Blogging the Humanities symposium last month, when he was in the midst of promoting his book. He wouldn’t say much about it to us then, but I was definitely intrigued and promise to report back when I’ve finished reading. And, in keeping with Baxter’s death-related title, I’m hoping to attend some of the screenings of the Queen’s Film Theatre‘s upcoming film series: Natural Born Killers – Serial Killers on the Big Screen. Running from 16-22 July and showcasing undeniable classics such as Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs, it sounds like great, gorey fun!
Kevin O’Sullivan: I’m off on my holidays around Ireland for a week this month, so I’ve been looking through the handy Discover Ireland calendar that hangs on the fridge to find out what’s on in July. Turns out there’s loads: the Galway Film Fleadh, the Galway Arts Festival, the Clonmel Junction Festival (intriguingly described as a ‘guaranteed assault on the senses’), the Earagail Arts Festival in Donegal and the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay. And it seems like only yesterday that I took a mental note from one of those ‘what’s on in 2010’ lists that an exhibition of John Lavery’s works was to arrive in Dublin this summer: Sir John Lavery: Passion and Politics opens at the Hugh Lane on 15 July. To quote a (Sandy Denny) phrase, who knows where the time goes?