A little bit o’ Boston

Boston, birthplace of the American Revolution, purveyor of the one true chowder, eschewer of the letter R. Oh, how you never cease to delight. In this, our semi-regular visit to Boston, we played board games with good friends, drank a lot of this, and ate delicious, delicious oysters.

But there was also something extra special to be had:

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The Expandable Brass Band wants to bring joyful music to a street corner near you. They describe themselves as “loud, raucuous, and full of fun, cheap jerseys from China.” Photo by R.

In a suburb called Somerville there is an annual festival called Honk. It’s everything you wish you could your high school marching band could have been – fun uniforms, happy music, and a lot of funk. The festival promotes “activists street bands,” which as far as I can tell means that musicians get together on the street to do what they love, and every once in a while they’re like, “Hey, solitary confinement is bad. We should really stop doing that.”

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Forward! The marching band of Wisconsin. They very much support social justice. They very much do not like Scott Walker. They will show up at your street protest to bring fun, lively music to the scene. I dig their look. Photo by T.

The bands play for a full weekend, starting out on street corners and then culminating in a parade (rain or shine) on Sunday. The festival happens on Columbus Day weekend every year, which is fitting since that holiday is itself the subject of protests.

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The Party Band. They live up to their name. Also, this: “To dye her hair such a radiant purple, durmmer Fresh Beets stands in a beet field on a full moon and waits for lightning to strike. We’ve tried to sell her on the idea of using hair dye, but ‘it’s just not the same.'”

All in all this is a great party. Wander the streets of Somerville for a day to two, pop into one of the many restaurants that line your path, and leave feeling happy. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to belt out “This little light of mine” with a giant brass band on a street corner?

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It’s performance art at its heart. Photo by T.

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