In Salem for Halloween, plus concert, football, and more
There’s not a lot of Halloween spirit around Harvard, so we went to Salem, and did a bunch of other fun stuff.
Maybe it’s the lack of little kids, maybe because students are studying for tests, maybe because the parties are all about partying and not trick-or-treating… whatever the reason, we decided to not let Halloween go to waste, and chase its spirit all the way to Salem (if you don’t know about the Salem witch trials, brush up on your US history, it’s fascinating when you go beyond the myth and get to the sordid facts).
So on Saturday 29th we drove there. The first impression is that locals must be sick and tired of it, because houses were not decorated. Not a single one. BUT then we noticed the crowds, the festival, the market, and the many many businesses making their yearly profit out of selling Salem Halloween stuff, and realized that, this being the USA, of course it was all about money.
Yet, if you dig a little deeper, the instant community created by the hordes of dressed up trolls, witches, monsters, vampires, werewolves, astronauts, rastafaris, ninjas, mummies, ghosts, elves, and the like, is, as always, what made the gathering delightful.
On Monday I attended a chamber music concert by Howard Skempton, marking his 75th birthday with Carson Cooman on piano/organ, and David von Behren on violin, at Harvard’s Memorial Church. Honestly, more impressive than the music, is the sad memorial of the long list of students that lost their lives fighting in WWII. Then again, the USA population was mostly spared from the horrors that Europe brought unto itself. But I guess that wasn’t enough to learn, and here we are, not even a century later, fooling around with fascism again. Will we ever learn?
That’s the question I asked myself as I walked down the main corridor of Harvard Law School, where I had lunch. All those state men, brilliant people that made history, warning us to keep fighting and not take anything for granted. Because, yes, it can also happen here. Or rather, it is also happening here.
On a lighter note, a day after my Expert in Residence office hours at the Harvard Innovation Labs on Wednesday, I attended an Entrepreneurship class by Prof. John Boyce at the Sanders theater (it was the only way to catch him, Prof. Paul Bottino and Prof. David Weitz at the same time). It’s almost hard to concentrate while sitting on the oak benches that host 1,000 students. The last time I attended a class there I was an undergrad student and we were discussing Metaphysics. How things change!
On Friday I took my daughter to a high school football game, and on Saturday to the Harvard vs Columbia game. We keep making the same rookie mistake: showing up early, getting tired, and leaving in the last quarter right before the game takes a dramatic turn. I guess the pros show up at half time, and the hardcore fans stick it up all the way ‘til the end. Lesson learned.
Here go some pictures.