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That’s Newton Open Studios. Once a year a couple of hundred artists from all over Newton open their studios or homes to prospective customers or just people who want to see what they’re doing. Arlene was site exhibiting her monotypes this past weekend. The house was simultaneously cleaner than it’s been in years (there’s now an empty tabletop that I haven’t seen since Anne’s wedding, I think) and impossible to get around because we had a critical doorway blocked by a card table.

Arlene had arranged for another artist to be exhibiting in our house. Susannah Zisk does fabric art, mostly things like quilted placemats, banners, and other works in pieced printed cotton (mostly). She was in the dining room; Arlene was in the living room with the monotypes; and I was in the room that used to be a screened porch, years ago, with rubber stamps.

Most of the time there were people looking in one place or another. Arlene had sent out flyers to all her printmaking buddies, a couple of former (and I mean 25 to 30 years ago!) student teachers, and lots of friends. Besides those people, there were several neighbors from next door and way down the block, a few people who happened to be driving by, and people who were going to several of the open studio sites.

I got a couple of pattern repeats done on my cabled hat while selling stamps and explaining the whole stamp making process to lots of interested people. Arlene sold prints, one to a friend and two to people who just really liked them. A good time was had by all except Susannah, who had hoped to do more business than it turned out.

On Sunday afternoon another aspect of the Open Studios weekend came into play. The Jewish Community Center had set up exhibit areas for several of the open studios artists in its auditorium. The JCC klezmer band had been invited to play from 4 to 5 in the afternoon as part of the event. Around 3:30 I changed out of rubber stamp salesman clothes into klezmer musician garb, picked up my trumpet and euphonium and tote bag of music and headed over there. Several years ago the klezmer band used to play a concert in that auditorium about once a year, but we haven’t in a long time. Most of those times we had an audience of not more than twenty people. There were lots more people in the room this time, but it’s hard to call it an audience. At any given time there were probably two to five people at the front of the hall actively listening, but of course everyone heard us to some extent.There were five of us there, our leader Barry on accordian, Dimitri on electric bass, 80-something Sarah on violin (she’s switched from cello in the last year or so because carrying the cello was getting to be too much), 70-something Len on clarinet, and me on brass. We weren’t playing loud (except for a couple of the more raucous songs) so as to allow commerce to continue. Sarah and Len don’t put out a lot of volume anyway, Dimitri had his amplifier turned pretty low, and Barry and I were just trying to be balanced with the rest of the band. We did three good fast songs, freilachs or bulgars, the kinds of things you might dance to at a wedding; a waltz; Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen; Tumbalaika; and a couple of slow instrumental numbers.

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