Carrie Allen – Friendship and book love

What started as a mother-daughter book club when our daughters were in the third grade has turned into a deep friendship for the girls but also for the moms, enduring different classes and even moves to new towns and schools. We decided from the beginning it would be only six girls with their six mamas and we would stick to that with no new additions.  Each month whoever hosts picks a book and invites everyone over –  sometimes for tea, lunch, or dinner, or as you’ll see here an end of school year celebration, birthday and trip to the beach, complete with a lively book discussion of course.

Over the years what was initially simply a book club has become a forum for growing up.  We discuss books and their themes, however as each month passes and years slip into new years, we are all growing older together and discussing life issues – both girls and moms.  The world and growing up can sometimes be confusing but having a safe place to really talk about your ideas, thoughts or even a favorite song or cookie for that matter makes life fun.

My daughter was turning 12 when it was her turn to host this past June so she asked if we could roll it into a birthday celebration.  Never one to shy away from a party I said of course; however, an afternoon book club turned into a 24-hour extravaganza complete with an overnight slumber party, a trip to Crane Beach where the girls relaxed, soaked up the sun, took a dip in the very cold water, and built a pyramid. After our picnic lunch the girls took a break to come up with creative company ideas and pitch tv commercials for their new products. Simply amazing.

In addition to the wonder of lasting and deepening friendships, the passion for reading new books has stood the test of time.  Sometimes we miss a month or several, but we know we always have our book club, each other, and a new story to dive into.

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John Aylward – Living Arts

We all need time out of doors and away from it all, not just because we need to unplug, but because we need the quiet solitude of something beyond culture to inspire. Ask the greats, and quiet time is necessary. I take my quiet time, whenever I can, at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. It’s an hour from the city, but a best-kept secret. Few realize its one of our country’s largest bird sanctuaries.

The Atlantic offers a particular kind of meditation that is healing and inspiring all at once. And while that’s true no matter what time of year, for me that best time is August. The water is as warm as it will be. Maybe just as essential as having a passion that drives you is having a passion for what rejuvenates you.

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Wave Traces. Sandy Point, Plum Island.

John Aylward

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John Aylward is a composer, performer and writer who lives in Cambridge, MA.

Todd Maul – Fall Daquiri

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We have all had a daiquiri rum, lime and sugar. It is one of my favorite drinks. The Daiquiri is a simple yet complex drink and on a hot day what else are you going to drink? and on a cold day…. why not.

It is a magical beverage brought into the American consciousness as an aside from  the after effects of the Spanish-American War. The beverage has morphed from citrus and sugar in rum  to cut the rum harsh flavor to the “Army Navy Daiquiri” to the Papa Doble aka Hemingway daiquiri made famous at the El Floridity in Havana, to any number of other variations.

I have made several variations in my time behind the bar. The latest is one anyone can make in their home.

The Fall Daiquiri 

2oz Dos Maderas PX rum
1oz Clement sirop De Canne
1/2oz lime juice (we clarify the lime at CAS but it is not necessary to enjoy this drink. It stands up to regular lime.)

Todd Maul

Todd Maul is Co-Founder of Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, MA and an amazing mixologist who has revolutionized the way we see cocktails.

 

Andrew Churchman – Album Cover Design

As digital music services such as Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music compete for our attention, as an artist and musician I often lament the slow disappearance of physical media.  Sure, I love my Spotify Premium subscription as much as anyone but do you remember what it was like to go into a record store and browse through the racks of LPs, CDs, or cassettes?  Over the last few years there have been plenty of reports proclaiming the resurgence of vinyl records (even Whole Foods has begun to sell LPs) but 2016 has in fact been the worst year for overall album sales since 1991 (via Spin.com).

What we gain from the immediate satisfaction of streaming a song, we lose in of the enjoyment of the physical packaging of recorded music.  Have you ever taken a chance on an album just because the artwork struck you?  I have.  While it’s been said that you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can judge an album by its sleeve.  For me, an album cover enhances the listening experience and colors the music.  I want to highlight three designers that I feel have elevated the medium of album design not only as a result of their unique visual aesthetics but also the quality of the music with which they were involved.

Peter Saville:  As a young art student in Manchester, England in the late ‘70s, Saville would define the look and feel of the lauded record label Factory Records.

Home to groups such as Joy Division, New Order, and A Certain Ratio, Saville broke away from the raw, Xeroxed look of first wave punk albums and began to appropriate highbrow influences such as classical imagery and modern typography into his album designs.

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His dedication to his craft has reached mythical proportions, with stories of the artist delivering posters for gigs after they occurred, because he was not yet happy with the finished product, and designing an album cover comprised of sandpaper.

Vaughan Olivier:  Like Peter Saville at Factory Records, Vaughan Oliver’s design work would become synonymous with the London record label 4AD.

While Factory incorporated additional designers aside from Saville, Oliver was essentially 4AD’s exclusive designer throughout the entirety of the 1980’s.  What this meant was that each record released by the label bore Oliver’s unique, dreamlike aesthetic.  A customer could identify an album as being released by 4AD just by looking at the sleeve.  For groups such as the Cocteau Twins, Pixies, and Red House Painters, Olivier created a visual world that was almost inseparable from the music.

Mark Robinson:  A musician, designer, and founder of Teenbeat Records, Robinson was influenced by both Saville and Olivier but put his own distinctively American spin on his work.   From his home in Washington, DC in the mid-‘80s, Robinson’s designs for Teenbeat Records began as Xeroxed tape covers and evolved into magnificently quirky and engaging artwork.

The designs for his own groups Unrest, Air Miami, and Flin Flon are pillars of American indie-rock design.  A dedicated archivist, I encourage you to browse the Teenbeat website, a massive design achievement in itself, where Mark has documented an exhaustive amount of label ephemera (including toothbrushes and drink coasters).  When not making music or releasing records, Mark can be found designing book covers for Houghton Mifflin.

Andrew Churchman

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Andrew Churchman is a musician living in Cambridge, MA.

Paul Ha – A favorite Place to Go

One of my favorite places to go, because I always end up finding something amazing there, is a general store in St. Louis called, Winslow’s Home.  The store is named after the painter who lived and worked in Maine. Through the Portland Art Museum you can arrange a tour of the home and the studio – I recommend it. http://www.portlandmuseum.org/homer

But Winslow’s Home is a special place because of the owner, Ann Sheehan Lipton.  Because of her careful eye and taste, every piece in the store is well curated. You’ll find a spoon that is just perfect and a serving set that you wished you had for years.  And the best way enjoy the store is to order food first and then to browse.

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The beef brisket sandwich is one of the best I’ve ever had and the beet salad is amazing.

She raises most of the vegetable and the eggs on a farm in Augusta, Missouri which is only an hour away from downtown St. Louis. Everything is amazingly fresh and incredibly flavorful.  Go there and spend a day…  http://www.winslowshome.com

Paul Ha

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Paul Ha is the Director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center and lives in Brookline, MA.

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