Saturday, July 28, 2007

Somerville festivals

The Somerville Arts Council’s ArtsUnion events series kicks off with “Somerville in Smell-O-Vision,” a free scent-enhanced screening of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” in Somerville’s Union Square Plaza beginning at 8:30 tonight. Organizer Megan Dickerson and associates will send smells corresponding to the film’s scenes – blueberry, hay, taffy – wafting through the audience. The screening will be preceded by a Carnival of the Nose with “activities that will test noses of all ages.”

This is just the sort of cool event I was talking about in this review this week, when I wrote that:
Boston art can often seem constipated. … Somerville, though, has become a bastion for the wild and woolly. One sign is the city’s public festivals: the Meet Under McGrath open-air dance party last August, held under the godforsaken overpass where the McGrath Highway bridges Washington Street; the Fluff Festival, a tribute to the corporate confection in Union Square this past September; the Honk Fest, a gathering of and performance by radical marching bands from across North America in Davis Square this past October. And at this past weekend’s Artbeat in Davis Square, the theme of the annual art and craft fair was beasties.
Previews of tonight’s Smell-O-Vision screening in The Somerville News and the Globe note how Somerville’s festivals, particularly those at Union Square, are (of course) part of an effort to economically enliven Somerville neighborhoods using Creative Economy tactics. But that doesn’t explain the awesome wacky creativity of Somerville’s festivals. They are a model that other communities should study and emulate.

Disclosure: Last year I performed at Artbeat and participated in one of the ArtsUnion events – the Somerville Open.


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