Dedham, MA. Features an annual road race (5k? 10k? not sure as I’m not a runner myself) called the James Joyce Ramble. Held on James Joyce’s birthday, it features people in period garb reading from James Joyce at various places along the route.
Ben Emerson - March 20th, 2015 at 6:31 am
Yesterday was St. Joseph’s Day in New Orleans, and the Jesuit Church (also known as Immaculate Conception church, across from the Roosevelt) had a St. Joseph’s altar and a lunch afterward. St. Joseph’s altars are a Sicilian, rather than simply Italian tradition, and the meal afterward consists of pasta with a distinctly fishy red sauce (thanks to the not-so-secret ingredients of anchovies and sardines) casseroles that usually feature artichokes, broccoli and zucchini, oil and vinegar dressed salads, cakes and breads in the shape of lambs, crosses, and fish, and hundreds of Italian cookies made with almonds, sesame seeds, figs, and pungent anisette. (One baker had laced her cookies with so much anise flavored liquor my tongue was numb in the center for an hour afterwards–it was like eating a Sucrets cookie.) Since the Jesuit church parish is in the midst of downtown New Orleans, an odd assortment of humanity trundle in to partake of the free meal: alongside the natty suit-wearing attorneys from firms within walking distance are cheerful, tattooed Quarterites, several plump, middle aged Sicilian women with shoepolish black hair, Miss Rose and her friends, a group of elderly black church ladies who are quick to let visitors know if they believe they took too many slices of cake, and, throughout the lunch, a series of shaky, wild eyed homeless men and women who aren’t sure if they can really sit and eat with everybody else. At the end of the meal, everyone gets a sandwich sized brown paper bag to take home containing a St. Joseph prayer card, a lucky fava bean, a small bag of cookies, and a tiny package with a piece of blessed bread inside. This package is to be kept in the freezer until a storm comes; then you remove the bread and throw it outside your door– the idea is that the sacred bread will calm the storm and your house will be protected. What better goody bag could there be than one filled with prayers, luck, food, and safety? A gift containing all that we need in this wonderful place.
Jackie Bullock in New Orleans - March 20th, 2015 at 3:17 pm
On the last Saturday of July, Annisquam Massachusetts holds it annual Sea Fair. A major feature of the fair is the Wax Works, where town notables masquerade as a wax museum focused on some topic. A narrator/barker wanders about a darkened exhibition room lighting each tableau before describing the scene of frozen faux-wax figures with a humorous story, then then BLACKOUT. Photographic evidence: http://www.annisquamwaxworks.net/Community Many years back it inspired an article in the New Yorker, by Timothy Crouse.