Concert for One

Though it was the first day of fall, the lunchtime sun in the plaza pushed the temperature over 90. Luckily, the shipping container was air-conditioned.

I’d come for a Concert for One, not knowing what to expect. The concerts were the brainchild of Rayna Yun Chou, a violist who, along with many of her fellow classical musicians, felt isolated from the audiences for whom she played. To remedy the situation, she created one-on-one concerts at which one musician plays for one person for one minute. Chou staged the first concerts in her native Taiwan. Now she was collaborating with Celebrity Series of Boston.

The shipping container, painted an impossible-to-miss yellow, was next to a tandoori food truck and across from two pro-gun activists, who sat at a table with a sign that read “I’M PRO CHOICE. PICK YOUR GUN.” above drawings of a handgun, an automatic rifle, and a shotgun. Continue reading Concert for One

The Old Woman on the Steps

I didn’t know the old woman, and, because it was years ago, she’s likely dead by now.

I’d seen her a number of times, sitting alone on the steps in front of her house in our run-down section of Cambridge. She scowled constantly, as if she disapproved of everyone walking by on the sidewalk.

Portuguese and Italian immigrants once occupied most of the neighborhood. Statues of the Virgin Mary still blessed a few concrete yards. The houses, mostly one and two-families with vinyl siding, were close together, nearly touching. Continue reading The Old Woman on the Steps