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Public markets are great places, no matter where you find them . I think the first I ever visited is the lively one in Seattle, image above from here

The Public Market on the waterfront in Seattle is known as Pike Place Market, and it’s been going for more than 100 years. Image above from here.

In my town, we have several farmer’s markets that show up around the city bringing the freshest, tastiest, most interesting food to hungry and appreciative people on pre-determined days.

And every day of the week, you can go to the Granville Island Public Market, image above, from here

Our market is blessed with a wonderful waterfront location, above, and it attracts, they say some 10 million visitors a year. Which can make it hard to buy a zucchini some days.

Great cities have great public markets, above is in Chicago, on the South side seen here.

And so does Boston, above. This market, known today as Haymarket, is on sacred land where food has been sold and bought, fresh and direct, for more than 200 years. Left image, the start of the day, seen at Boston.com. The nice shot of the fresh Atlantic fish on the right from the swell Boston blog, clueless in Boston, seen here.

The Boston.com piece reminds us: “Haymarket is iconic, but it’s also messy, loud, and funky”.

Markets that evolve naturally–because people who have food to sell want to connect directly with people who need food, i.e. everyone–seem to be the best. Some turn out to be loud and funky, and some turn out to be beautiful, bliss markets. Which brings us to Paris.

Above is Marché Richard Lenoir, image from a nice article in the Guardian here. As the article says: “Every Parisian neighbourhood has its own “marché volant” – a flying
market – where hundreds of food stalls magically appear on a street for one or two mornings each week.”

Many agree that the Sunday Marché Richard Lenoir is in contention for the best in the city of light. Above image of Richard Lenoir found here.

Another contender among Paris markets is Les Enfants Rouges that has its origins in the early 1600’s and is named for a hospice near the site for orphans who wor red uniforms. Image of the Gate here.

Inside Les Enfants Rouges image here.

Above is a photo that reminded me of something else about Paris street markets. They provide more than just food. I went to a food market and chose one tomato to make a sandwich. I held it up and asked, “how much’? The tomato seller, who looked a lot like this guy, waived me away with disdain, saying something like: “take it, I can’t be bothered”, then he smiled a big warm smile that said: “it’s yours my friend”. Image found here

But wonderful as they are, the markets of Paris have competition in other places. In Italy, in Rome, there is Piazza Campo de’ Fiori.

Above image of Campo de Fiori from a couple named Larry and Jill who’ve been there.

And this view, closer, from here. Italian markets would seem to have the right combination of beauty and boistrousness. It is nutrition plus theatre.

OK we’re all hungry, but before we go to the market, consider a couple of other well regarded choices.

The Market in Cusco Peru.

Montreal, Marche Jean Talon.

Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona. Above 3 images from here.

Any of us who are lucky enough to have a Public Market nearby should be counting our lucky stars. The food always tastes better, it’s always more interesting–look purple carrots!–and the food is being dispensed by someone who is either the person who grew it or caught it or made it, or someone who knows who that is. And that makes it taste all the better.

If only the stock market were like that.

It seems to be a good time to be a musician–and a music lover. Any given night, in almost any town, there seem to be lots of opportunities to play the songs and plenty of congenial places to hear them. Lots of bands put up posters to let us know they are playing and where and when to find them. Gig posters.

AVFTT Brothers?  Just one vowel between them?

Former Ghosts. 9 bucks. Current ghosts? Priceless.

Above 3, and more, from here.

Nice.  The design is by Concepcion Studios

Above by Designer Marcus Lundquist

Above designed by Mr. White. Hot water music is heard in Belgium. But they travel, so keep an eye out.

The Black Keys, from Akron Ohio, doing well.  Nice design by Ben Chlapek.

Beach House in Pittsburgh. Sounds unexpected.  Design by Strawberryluna

This band I’ve actually seen and heard (on TV, not in Chicago). Lots of energy.  Nifty design by Spike Press

I like everything about this, the band’s name, the poster (design by Fugscreens Studios). I hope they sound good.

Above 7 from the amazing gigposters.com. Go here, go often. Among the many things to like, they credit the designers.

Above 4 are the work of California based Jason Munn who calls his studio Small Stakes. Seen here

This is very nice, and very tall, for The Thievery Corporation, seen here

Above is for a band is called Ratatat. Seen here

A lovely one by a designer named Justin David Cox. More at his website

Indie music and indie design, it’s a great time to play, to listen, and to look at music.

Kites are the official plaything of the Republic of Less. They are simple in materials and structure, they can be beautiful, most people can make one and fly one–yet you can also work hard and become a kite-making and/or kite-flying master. They are joyful and bring instant smiles to people of all ages in every part of the world. Not many things you can say that about. Enjoy.

Nice fish kite over Los Angeles somewhere

Insect kite somewhere over Germany

Kites on the beach in Miami

Long Beach Washington, Annual Kite Festival

Kites aloft in Austin Texas, a big kite flying locale.

Weifang Festival, from here.

More Weifang.

Red and white stripes on a puffy donut shaped kite.

Nice rolling tire kites at the beach. But kites can be an athletic as well as an aesthetic experience.

Above is a kite surfing race, seen here. Video below from the same site.

For me the simple sweet kite like that above is best, the ones most like a floating cloud or a jelly fish or a giant flower set free from its earthbound stem. Lovely, from here

Of course, you need to watch out for the kite bandit

Above from here.

There are kite festivals all over the world. Find yourself one, or two. You won’t be disappointed. There’s one coming up in Swift Current Saskatchewan in 8 days. There will be “celebrity kite flyers”!!

If you’ve been to New York in the last 50 years (and if you haven’t, take a moment to put a big red ribbon around your leg to remind you to go), you may well have come across Bill Cunningham. He’s been photographing people on the street since the 1960’s and much of what he finds is published every week in the Sunday New York Times (Style Section, “On the Street” and “Evening Hours,”)

And if you normally dress like any of the people above, you may have been photographed by Bill. He knows a lot about High Fashion, but what he seems to love even more is the capacity of otherwise ordinary people to bring a sense of style to their everyday lives.

Above from here

Bill gets around on a bike, and he has a particular fondness for others who do. Especially if they bring a little pazzaz to the occasion.

Above is the same woman, with the same bike, but looking transformed. She has what it takes to catch Bill’s eye, and that she has done. Time and again.

Slideshow of happy bikers here

Bill himself has led a simple life. His job requires only a camera, a bike, and him, usually dressed in a blue jacket. He was never trained to do this, he says, and he is, according to him, not a very good photographer. Yet, week after week, his pictures are in the New York Times.

He lived for many years above Carnegie Hall. Recently, due to redevelopment plans, he had to move on. He slept on a piece of foam that tops a board propped up by milk crates, and had access to a shared bathroom and kitchen. It is almost a monk’s life. Until he hits the streets.

Some admiring film makers made a movie about Bill and released it in March 2010. See here . And here as well

He’s been doing this sort of thing longer than his pictures have appeared in the NYT. Way back, he produced a remarkable book called Facades (1978). Can be found here.

It’s about fashion and architecture through the ages. Sort of.

There is no one quite like Bill Cunningham, and maybe there never was. He’s a simple man who has spent much of his life in the midst of a complex and exclusive society–the fashion tribes  of New York (and Paris).

He may not have the native talent or even the knowledge of a typical professional photographer, but he has something wonderful that connects with both the fashion world and with those of us who simply dress to keep warm.

Something in Bill Cunningham attracts him to just those things we’d all like to see. He is like one of those gifted people who can find water with a branch.

He is an example to young and old, to the in crowd and to the rest of us–use what you have, put your heart into it, explore new territory every day, and at the end of the day, show the world what you found.

That’s pretty much what we try to do at the R of L, which is one of the reasons why Bill is such a favourite of ours, as he is to so many others.

Bill Cunningham and Carmen Dell’Orefice, 2010 from here.

If you have some time, sometime, take a look at a the slide shows Bill produces for the NYT website–with a commentary in his wonderful Boston-born voice. Here is one from Halloween 2008. And another beauty about navigating the slushy streets, with style.

Many more to choose from here. Thank you Bill.

Here comes the weekend, time to park the car and get out on the street. I hope your street has some street performers, like the above who were hired by Lancaster University for a special science/art event called Metamorphosis. See here.

Look what they had on the street in Tokyo: Eye heads. From the BBC here (click 3)

These “mysterious street performers” have outfitted themselves as horses…with a baby buggy. Can’t wait to see what they do. From here.

There are streets in Lithuania too, and street performers, in white. Things. Here.

Some street performers stand out from the crowd by trying something new. Like being invisible. This guy, or at least his clothes, can be found here

And then he, or a relative, showed up here, this time only visible to kids.

This man from Germany is suspended or hovering or levitating above the street. It’s a trick, and a very good one . Seen here.

These street performers squeeze into the doorway of a house in Rouen, France, as part of Austrian artist Willi Dorner’s Bodies in Urban Places project. Seen here.

But most street performers follow the trails blazed by others and give the crowd what they expect. Like a fire eater seen here.

Or these well balanced acrobats seen here.

Spain seems to have all the classic forms of street performance, with a few creative fluorishes. This “statue”, sitting, is from here.

Still in Spain, this man serves up his head for lunch. From here.

Street performers have to sleep too. Might as well make it a performance–this in Barcelona, which seems to have become THE street stage for people who want to take theatre to the streets. Found here.

Street performance is as old as the streets. This photo was taken in Paris in 1948 by a young Richard Avedon. See it here.

Still, I think we may be living in the golden age of street performance. Maybe due to tough economic times forcing creative people on to the pavement. Above is SWOON! 4 daredevil Australians telling a story of love, loss, joy and freedom up on high flexible poles. See here

So make sure you get out and support the performing artists. They’re as close as a street near you . Above seen here.

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