Day 456, June 16, 2021

The Things That Change Us

Tonight's soundtrack: King Crimson, Japan, 1984

How Northampton looks after some really good
sushi and a Froyo.

I was thinking this morning that the world might just be saved by people like Korean grandmas. My mother is incredibly resourceful and will do things like repurpose a foil lined coffee bean bag as an ice pack, for no reason other than she can. She and my father have been researching edible backyard flora for several years now and their kitchen is stocked with all manner of dried roots and leaves. Through a combination of research and trial and error, they are expanding the knowledge base of what is good for indigestion, sleepless nights, achey joints, or whatever else might ail you.

I'm afraid, like most inherited traits, my parent's resourcefulness seems to have been watered down a bit with my incarnation. While I tend to recycle most of my plastic containers, I do keep the more interesting jam jars, I've been collecting vegetable rubber bands, and I have been known to cut regular size post-its down to page-flag size, but I fall far short of the bar my parents set.

I think some of that resourcefulness must stem from surviving a war and the ethics of conservation and utility that were instilled then. And of course, the austerity of being an immigrant and trying to carve a space to call one's own in this country. 

My father contributed to conservation by being our family auto mechanic, plumber, electrician, roofer, and home renovator. My mother contributed by ensuring we utilized everything in the fridge to its fullest potential. I don't ever remember food going bad in the fridge when I was growing up. There was one time when some kind of grub infested our rice bin where we would store 20 lb of rice at a time. She sat me down with my grandfather at the kitchen table, and one scoop of rice at a time, we picked out every grub. I will admit, it was several weeks before I could eat a bowl of rice again without staring at it very closely.

As the world shifts to something that more resembles a pre-pandemic existence, I find myself expressing caution, austerity, and little bit of worry, even as I enjoy the freedom of going out for a night of fantastic sushi (thanks Moshi Moshi). I wonder how much of this winter self, our slightly rounder bellies, will be retained as we transition back to offices, eating out, and weekends at music venues. I wonder if surviving one pandemic is a strong predictor for surviving subsequent pandemics... or if this pandemic will shape us in small but profound ways, from the hand sanitizer as condiment at gatherings of friends, to how we experience travel and congested spaces.

I don't think it will be a perceptively sad thing, just something that changes us, like a high school knee injury, a car accident in college, an old relationship, or the time you had to pick grubs out from grains of rice.

Take care and be well,



From Our Friends:

From UMass:


Wilmore Webley to receive special award at a community Juneteenth event at the Raymond A. Jordan Senior Center in Springfield.

They Still Want to Kill Us
Available Online Now! 
They Still Want to Kill Us is a short film of an aria performed and composed by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) featuring mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and directed by multimedia artist Yoram Savion. The piece commemorates the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and marks one year since the murder of George Floyd. The film serves as a commentary on our progress this last century on the issue of race and America’s treatment of Black life. The film will be followed by a brief discussion with DBR and Bridges, moderated by Jamilla Deria, Executive Director of the UMass Fine Arts Center. You can visit our webpage to learn more about this project. 

From the Mass Asian American Commission:

AAPI LGBTQ Activist Panel
Thursday, June 17 at 6:30pm

Moderator: Ev Gilbert
Panelists: Max Tang, Le Tran, Teresa Tran, Sara Boxell, and Kaden Rushford
Short Description: In celebration of Pride Month, join us for a discussion with our panelists about the multifaceted experiences and identities of queer AAPIs. We hope to create a safe space for education and conversation.

Raffles: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous - Ocean Vuong and one "Protect Trans Kids" tank top by MegEmikoArt

Facebook event:

From the W. Mass Creative Economy Network:

Call to designers/branding companies for ArtsHub

The Creative Economy Network (CEN) seeks the services of a local graphic design professional to develop a visual brand for a new Western Mass ArtsHub, an online resource portal for the creative community in Western Massachusetts.

All proposals should be in PDF form and e-mailed to Lisa by June 21st.

Please find full RFP here or ask at Fcc

From the Vermont Studio Center:

VSC's 2021 Online PRIDE Exhibition

All Vermont Studio Center Visual Artist Alum, who identify as queer,  were invited to submit their work for consideration for our 2021 PRIDE Online Exhibition. The jury selected 29 works from 28 queer artists who live throughout the United States, Canada, China, and New Zealand. Take a moment to view the exhibition, and be sure to check out the Alum Feature interviews of three artists from the exhibition.

view exhibition >>

From Mass Humanities:

Apply Today for Expand MA Stories Initiative

Deadline is June 22

Massachusetts is complicated and evolving. Steeped in revolutionary traditions that shape our democracy, we live in a global capital of ideas enriched by generations of longtime residents and new arrivals who reimagine the possibilities of our neighborhoods and institutions. Systemic inequities and shifting demographics require new conversations about what it means to be part of the Massachusetts story. As we confront the extraordinary challenges of the last year, a reckoning with our history can infuse new perspectives into our efforts to build a more equitable commonwealth.

At Mass Humanities, we believe in an inclusive society that recognizes all people’s perspectives, especially those who have been historically excluded. Launching on June 1, the Expand Massachusetts Stories initiative offers up to $20,000 for projects that collect, interpret and/or share narratives about the commonwealth, with an emphasis on the voices and experiences that have gone unrecognized, or have been excluded from public conversation. The deadline for Letters of Inquiry is June 22.

Click here to learn more and apply 


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