My trip to Boston has coincided with some pretty cold and rainy weather. Couple that with the fact that I showed up with a California wardrobe of REI light weather hiking clothes. So my default position has been to spend my time in museums — which all seem to be overheated. I did spend a number of hours just walking around Boston and experiencing it. However, a few hours found me rushing back to the hotel to thaw out. Then back to those overheated museums. The first part of my agenda was all history, from the JFK Library, to the Commonwealth Museum to walking all those historic trails. Today would be for the Arts.
I should mention that I have a long association with Boston’s Art collections. One of my majors was Art History over at Mount Holyoke, so we made many a trip to Boston with our favorite professor. That was an advantage and a disadvantage. Our professor knew all the curators and museum directors in town, so we had special access privileges. The downside is that we were usually in the basement and archive storage rooms looking at new acquisitions or artwork undergoing restoration. For most of those museums, I eventually found my way on my own up to the actual collections. One surprising omission: the Museum of Fine Arts.
Of course the MFA is a fabulous collection, including the obligatory Chihuly blown glass sculpture in one of the lobbies. I spent more than six hours there, but a portion of that was running up and down between the three floors because I was sure I’d missed something in the Labyrinthian layout. The collection spanned from some of the earliest artwork in existance — well aside from cave paintings — to the most modern installations.
However, the best part of the trip was my nightly wine bar crawl and dinners in the North End with my Boston buddies, Mo and Billy. The amazing MoMo did me a super solid back in the last months of my Dad’s life when she let the newly victorious Red Sox know that they had my Dad to thank for breaking The Curse of the Bambino. (Of course, MoMo herself is quite famous in the softball world.) Anyway, native Bostonians and residents of the North End, Billy and MoMo know EVERYONE: the rich, the famous, the salt of the earth, the hilariously funny, even those with somewhat shady connections. (One of the reasons there will be NO pictures of the cast of characters I met through them.) The usual drill was, I’d enter an establishment and, within minutes, knew everyone there — because they were all friends with the dynamic duo. And by “knew”, I mean lots of hugs were exchanged (common refrain: “I’m a hugg-ah. Come get a hug.”). I walked away from every evening with new best friends, the inside scoop on what was happening in Boston among the high and low, and copious invitations to visit houses on the Cape or drop in and stay when I next visited. (“Don’t stay in a f*ckin’ hotel. You’re a friend. We gotta extra room.”)
Last night, Mo and I were visiting our last stop for a nightcap and reflecting on how fun the week had been and how I was completely integrated in the North End family. What could possibly top that? Until something did.
A world-famous artist walked into the bar and sat near us. Of course, he’s a friend of MoMo’s. And he launched into an expletive-laden monologue as only Bostonians can. (Side note: if you haven’t seen The Departed — or the Depah-ted — and heard Donny Wahlberg’s monologue, tee it up on Netflix now. This really is how Bostonians talk.) Anyway, back to our artist friend. He said (and remove children from in front of the screen for this part and imagine a thick Bah-ston accent):
“F*ck. I hadda smoke a f*ckin’ joint. And then I needed a f*ckin’ glass of vino. I think I just sold a painting for a f*ckin’ million dollahs. F*ckin’ billionaire. Don’t even know his f*ckin’ name, my f*ckin’ aht deal-ah brought him round. I mean F*CK!
Of course, we toasted his success and he regaled us with pictures of his artwork, the two New Balance commercials he wrote and is featured in, and his behind the scenes stories of his time at the Houston Astrodome for the unveiling of a painting he’d been commissioned to make for the Republican National Convention (the one with Daddy Bush). I asked if I could link to some of his stuff if I wrote a blog post about our encounter. “Shoo-ah, I don’t give a f*ck about anything. I’ll say f*ckin’ everything. F*ck.”
So here goes: his New Balance spots here and here. His website featuring his artwork here. And a story that gives you an idea what a colorful character we were dealing with.
Now we knew nothing could top this capper to the evening, so we hopped in a cab and said our goodbyes.
Thanks MoMo and Billy. Thanks North End Crew. Thanks Boston. Thanks for the memories.
I mean, F*ck!