Branford Marsalis To Join Dead & Company, Jason Bonham To Join Umphrey’s McGee At LOCKN’

first_imgLOCKN’ Festival is going down August 23 – 26, 208 at Infinity Downs & Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA. With headlining performances from Dead & Company (4 sets), Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band (2 sets), and Umphrey’s McGee (3 sets), jam band fans from all over are planning to make their way to one of the most exciting music festivals of the summer. Known for their unique tribute sets and out-of-left-field collaborations, LOCKN’ is a place of magic. Now that the official lineup has been unveiled, festival organizers will be revealing special twists over the next couple of months until we land on show day.As such, LOCKN’ Festival has announced that saxophonist Branford Marsalis will sit in with Dead & Company and drummer Jason Bonham will sit in with Umphrey’s McGee for a Led Zeppelin set.This will be the first-ever collaboration between Dead & Company and Marsalis, though the saxophonist has played with the original Grateful Dead five times, along with their various side-projects.As Relix notes,Marsalas first performed with the [Grateful Dead] on 3/29/1990 at Nassau Coliseum. Originally, Marsalis was supposed sit-in for one song, but he meshed with the band so well that he played the entire second set. After that fateful night, Marsalis played with the original band on New Years 1990 as well as 9/10/91, 12/10/93 and 12/16/94. Later in life, he also sat in with The Dead in 2009 and Furthur in 2013.“I still remember fondly my time playing with the Dead in 1990,” Marsalis told Rolling Stone, “and this latest iteration of the Dead aesthetic is filled with great musicians. I look forward to making music with them.”“As I’ve always said, if we’re not having fun, we’re not doing our job,” Bob Weir added. “With Branford, at LOCKN’, I’ll expect we’ll be working overtime.”Watch Branford Marsalis discuss his experience playing with the Grateful Dead in a 1996 TV interview below via YouTube user Josh Daniel:Additionally, Umphrey’s McGee will welcome drummer Jason Bonham during one of their three sets at LOCKN’. Umphrey’s McGee has a long history of playing Led Zeppelin tunes, covering over 15 total tunes several times since 1998, including “Bron-Yr-Aur” (x13), “Fool In The Rain”(x84), “Immigrant Song” (x30), “Kashmir” (x19), “Moby Dick”(x25), “That’s The Way” (x18), “The Song Remains The Same” (x80), and more, according to allthings.umphreys.com, so the collaboration comes as no surprise.According to Relix,Jason Bonham will also break new ground at LOCKN’ 2018, performing with Umphrey’s McGee for the first time. Through his career, Bonham has collaborated with Slash, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck and more. He also played in place of his father—the legendary John Bonham—at the historic Led Zeppelin reunion in December 2007.“[Led Zeppelin is] one of our biggest influences,” guitarist Brendan Bayliss told Rolling Stone. “We technically have three drummers in the band, and I guarantee you that all three would say John Bonham taught them more about rock & roll than any other drummer. Getting the opportunity to play with Jason is another example of Pete [Shapiro] asking, ‘How can we make this place go off?’”As you can see in last week’s teaser video below, guitarist Jake Cinninger is perfecting a few choice covers of the classic English rock band. Get psyched:Two weekends ago, Umphrey’s McGee incorporated “Fool In The Rain” into their rain-soaked closing set at SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta, GA, foreshadowing the exciting announcement. Watch a clip of the performance below, courtesy of YouTube user CornBinladen:Umphrey’s McGee – “Fool In The Rain” [Led Zeppelin cover]Catch Branford Marsalis with Dead & Company and Jason Bonham with Umphrey’s McGee only at LOCKN! You can grab your weekend pass now via the LOCKN’ website.last_img read more

Congressman Beto O’Rourke Performs With Willie Nelson [Video]

first_imgWillie Nelson got some help from an unlikely guest when Senate candidate and current Congressional representative Beto O’Rourke joined him on stage on Wednesday night. The El Paso Democrat, who is currently running to unseat Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, joined Nelson and a number of other musicians for a run of three song during country music legend’s annual 4th of July Picnic in Austin.Rep. O’Rourke has been a vocal supporter of marijuana legalization on the campaign trail, so it was a fitting surprise when the Congressman sat-in for back-to-back renditions of Nelson favorites “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” and “It’s All Going To Pot”. The politician, who was first elected to Congress in 2012, took up the acoustic guitar during his appearance, which wrapped up with take on “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “I’ll Fly Away”. Additionally, Rep. O’Rourke made a passionate speech in defense of immigrants and American values before the night’s fireworks display.Other guests during the show included Margo Price as well as members of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Head and The Heart, and Asleep At The Wheel (whose frontman, Ray Benson, sported a Beto O’Rourke shirt).Rep. O’Rourke may be a politician by trade, but he’s no stranger to music. In the early 1990s, Rep. O’Rourke played guitar in a punk rock band called Foss that, notably, featured The Mars Volta/At The Drive-In frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala on drums and vocals. “I wasn’t very good at it,” O’Rourke told the Washington Post in 2017.Americans will head to the polls for the midterm elections on November 6, 2018. You can register to vote here.Willie Nelson, Beto O’Rourke, and Family  [Video: Beto O’Rourke’s Facebook page]Beto’s speech / 4th of July fireworks [Video: ohmylauren][H/T – Dallas Morning News]last_img read more

Central Park SummerStage Shares Concept Video For New 2019 Renovations [Watch]

first_imgCentral Park SummerStage is getting an extensive makeover for next summer’s concert season. The flagship venue of the City Park Foundation‘s long-running SummerStage series. The venue, located in the heart of New York City’s iconic Central Park at the Rumsey Playfield, will be revamped with a new stage, cover, and sound system in addition to new lighting and video infrastructure. The upgraded venue will have improved sightlines for fans in general admission and will include a VIP section with seating and covering.Central Park SummerStage has shared a concept video for the upcoming renovations, which you can watch below:Central Park SummerStage Concept Video[Video: SummerStage]As the City Parks Foundation’s executive director, Heather Lubov, explained to Billboard, “We are thrilled to unveil our new venue for our 2019 season and are excited to be ushering in a new era of City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage with a venue that has been planned holistically, one that enhances both the audience’s and the artists’ experience.”As Billboard recently noted,The Central Park venue will see a 20 percent increase in diameter for its stage canopy and foundational support will be reinforced to accommodate the weight load of larger productions. The new stage will include a front thrust, added side wings and LED screens on either side.Bleacher seating will be raised for better sightlines and ground seating with chairs will be added for up to 1,900 guests. The venue’s full capacity can hold up to 5,500. VIP areas will have increased capacity along with designated bleacher space, backstage bar and air-conditioned bathrooms. The updated venue will now feature improved backstage accommodations with new greenrooms, private viewing area for artists and guests, upgraded dressing rooms and a backstage patio area. The renovations will also include improved ADA access and various hydration stations throughout the footprint. Central Park SummerStage was originally founded in 1986 at the Naumberg Bandshell, which sits adjacent to the current SummerStage venue inside the park. While the bandshell remains in use for a variety of smaller-scale community events and exhibitions, SummerStage shifted their base of operations to the Rumsey Playfield in 1990. SummerStage presents 30 free events each year in Central Park in addition to other free events in parks throughout the city’s five boroughs. The City Park Foundation funds these free events with the profits from their roughly twenty annual ticketed shows at the main Central Park venue.This year’s lineup of Central Park SummerStage ticketed offerings included performances by Phil Lesh, Trey Anastasio, Dispatch, Trombone Shorty, Pete Rock, Old Crow Medicine Show, OAR, Mac DeMarco, Blood Orange, and many more.For more information about Central Park SummerStage, head here.[H/T Billboard]last_img read more

Kung Fu Announces 2019 Spring Tour

first_imgNortheast-bred funk outfit Kung Fu has announced a nationwide spring tour, which will see the band hit the majority of the eastern seaboard before heading west.Kung Fu will open up their tour with a performance at Roanoke, VA’s 5 Points Music Sanctuary on February 28th, followed by stops at Baltimore, MD’s 8×10 (3/1); Washington, D.C.’s Gypsy Sally’s (3/2); Burlington, VT’s Nectar’s (3/29); Mount Snow, VT’s Snowbarn (3/30); Providence, RI’s The Met (4/5); and a special show at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on April 6th. Kung Fu will be joined by longtime friends and collaborators Deep Banana Blackout for their “Family Funk Blowout” at The Cap. Each band will play a set and then both bands will join forces for a third set finale of classic funk, dance, and rock mashups dubbed “Mashup Smashup”. Kung Fu will then head west with a two-night run at Denver, CO’s Be On Key Psychedelic Ripple on April 12th and 13th, followed by shows at Boulder, CO’s Fox Theatre (4/14); Iowa City, IA’s Gabe’s (4/16); Minneapolis, MN’s The Cabooze (4/17); Milwaukee WI’s Miramar Theater (4/18); Chicago IL’s Marty’s (4/19); Lexington KY’s Cosmic Charlies (4/20); Asbury Park, NJ’s Wonder Bar (5/10); and a tour-closing festival appearance at Greenfield, MA’s StrangeCreek Campout.Kung Fu 2019 Tour Dates:2/28: Roanoke VA – 5 Points Music Sanctuary3/01: Baltimore MD – The 8×103/02: Washington DC – Gypsy Sally’s3/29: Burlington VT – Nectars3/30: Mount Snow VT – The Snowbarn4/05: Providence RI – The Met4/06: Port Chester NY – The Capitol Theatre4/12-13: Denver CO – Be On Key Psychedelic Ripple4/14: Boulder CO – The Fox Theatre4/16: Iowa City IA – Gabe’s4/17:Minneapolis MN – The Cabooze4/18: Milwaukee WI – The Miramar Theater4/19: Chicago IL – Marty’s4/20: Lexington KY – Cosmic Charlies5/10: Asbury Park NY – Wonder Bar5/24-26: Greenfield MA – StrangeCreek CampoutView All Tour Dateslast_img read more

Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band To Perform Two Classic Grateful Dead Albums, Special Jazz Fest Celebration At TXR

first_imgPhil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band have announced two special upcoming April shows at Lesh’s own Terrapin Crossroads venue in San Rafael, CA.On Friday, April 12th, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band will play the Grateful Dead‘s 1977 masterpiece, Terrapin Station, along with 1978’s Shakedown Street. The following night, on Saturday, April 13th, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band and additional special guests will offer up a special Jazz Fest celebration, dubbed “Life Is A Carnival.”Related: Terrapin Station At 40: All-Star Artists Discuss The Impact Of The Grateful Dead’s ’77 Studio MasterpieceThe Terrapin Crossroads Jazz Fest celebration will come ahead of Phil Lesh’s two-night run in New Orleans during the 50th-anniversary edition of Jazz Fest on April 25th and 26th at the Joy Theater.Tomorrow, March 28th, Phil will be joined by Terrapin regulars Stu Allen and Grahame Lesh, as well as Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe guitarist DJ Williams, pianist John Medeski, Circles Around The Sun drummer Mark Levy, and saxophonist/flutist Karl Denson himself, for a Phil Lesh & Friends throwdown.Ticket for Lesh’s recently announced April shows are now on sale here.For a full list of Phil Lesh’s upcoming performances, head to his website.last_img read more

Grateful Dead Announces ‘Aoxomoxoa’ 50th Anniversary Reissue Featuring Previously Unreleased Live Recordings

first_imgThe Grateful Dead has announced a 50th anniversary reissue of their 1969 album, Aoxomoxoa, due out on June 7th via Rhino.The forthcoming reissue, coming almost 50 years to the day of Aoxomoxoa‘s original release, includes a newly remastered version of the original LP and a remastered version of the band-produced mix the Grateful Dead released in 1971. Additionally, the second disc includes previously unreleased live recordings from the Dead’s January 1969 run at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom.“In 1969, for their third album, the Grateful Dead eschewed outside producers and created Aoxomoxoa themselves, beginning a run of self-produced albums that would continue until 1977,” said Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux in a statement. “Scrapping the first sessions, which were recorded to eight-track tape, the Dead now had 16 tracks with which to experiment their psychedelic sound, with an album that included entirely Robert Hunter-penned lyrics for the first time.”The bonus disc of previously unreleased live material includes early gems “Durpee’s Diamond Blues” and “Doin’ That Rag,” as well as the the Dead’s final live performance of “Clementine,” a tune the band began first unveiled in 1968 but never released on a studio album. The Grateful Dead lineup at the time of the 1969 Avalon Ballroom shows was Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Phil Lesh, Tom Constanten, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann.The 50th anniversary version of Aoxomoxoa is available to pre-order and will be released as a two-disc CD set and a limited edition vinyl picture disc.Disc One: Original 1969 Mix & 1971 RemixSt. StephenDupree’s Diamond BluesRosemaryDoin’ That RagMountains Of The MoonChina Cat SunflowerWhat’s Become Of The BabyCosmic CharlieSt. StephenDupree’s Diamond BluesRosemaryDoin’ That RagMountains Of The MoonChina Cat SunflowerWhat’s Become Of The BabyCosmic CharlieDisc Two: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco (1/24-26, 1969)New Potato CabooseDupree’s Diamond BluesDoin’ That RagAlligator >Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) >Feedback >And We Bid You GoodnightClementine >Death Don’t Have No MercyView Tracklistlast_img read more

Tedeschi Trucks Band Welcomes Members Of Los Lobos In Sacramento [Videos]

first_imgOn Tuesday night, Tedeschi Trucks Band offered up a performance at Sacramento, CA’s Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. Los Lobos handled the evening’s opening duties, followed by members of the band sitting-in with TTB towards the end of their one-set show.Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi led their band through a show-opening take on “Laugh About It”, off of the band’s recent Signs release. The 12-piece ensemble marched forward with a smooth-segued pairing of “Don’t Know What It Means” into “The Letter”, which was followed up by “When Will I Begin” and “Part Of Me”. Next, Tedeschi Trucks Band worked through a a trio of choice covers with Bob Dylan‘s “Down In The Flood”, Derek & The Dominos‘ “Keep On Growing”, and Willie Nelson‘s “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces”.Following “Signs, Hard Times”, Tedeschi Trucks Band welcomed Los Lobos guitarist Cesar Rosas for a take on Elmore James‘ “The Sky Is Crying”. Rosas, Trucks, and Tedeschi took the opportunity to fire back and forth some spicy guitar licks, as the band floated into a bluesy, improvisational segment of the show. Following Rosas’ sit-in, the band then invited Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo and multi-instrumentalist Steve Berlin to the stage for a pairing of “Leavin’ Trunk” and “Volunteer Slavery”. Moving back into their regular 12-piece configuration, Tedeschi Trucks Band offered up a soul-cleansing take on “Shame” before closing out their mainframe with “Midnight In Harlem”.Following a brief chance to catch their breaths, Tedeschi Trucks Band returned to deliver a two-song encore with Joe Tex‘s “Show Me” and The Coasters‘ “Let’s Go Get Stoned”.Luckily for fans that were unable to attend Tuesday night’s show, there’s some great fan-shot video footage that you can watch below:Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ Cesar Rosas – “The Sky Is Crying”[Video: Freakflagflyer]Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ David Hidalgo & Steve Berlin – “Leavin’ Trunk / Volunteer Slavery”[Video: Freakflagflyer]Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Part Of Me”[Video: Freakflagflyer]Next up for Tedeschi Trucks Band is a two-night run at Seattle, WA’s Paramount Theater this Thursday and Friday, May 23rd and 24th. For ticketing information and a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates, head to their website.Setlist: Tedeschi Trucks Band | Sacramento Memorial Auditorium | Sacramento, CA | 5/21/2019Set: Laugh About It, Don’t Know What It Means > The Letter, When Will I Begin, Part Of Me, Down In The Flood, Keep On Growing, Somebody Pick Up My Pieces, Signs Hard Times, The Sky Is Crying (w/ Cesar Rosas), Leavin’ Trunk/Volunteer Slavery (w/ David Hidalgo & Steve Berlin), Shame, Midnight In HarlemEncore: Show Me, Let’s Go Get Stonedlast_img read more

Wanted: Big thinkers

first_imgIconic feminist, writer, and activist Gloria Steinem spoke in Cambridge today (May 28), outlining her hopes for the future as she addressed a luncheon sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, which awarded her this year’s Radcliffe Institute Medal.The institute, the successor to Radcliffe College, presents the medal annually during the Radcliffe Day lunch. The medal always goes to women famous for rocking boats, including in the past jurist Sandra Day O’Connor and author Toni Morrison.During an introduction under a cavernous tent staked into Radcliffe Yard, institute Dean Barbara J. Grosz called Steinem, a 1956 magna cum laude graduate of Smith College, a “relentless pursuer of fairness,” and a signature American activist known for an “ability to disagree without demonizing.”At the podium, with the new medal around her neck, Steinem described herself as a “hope-aholic,” full of a controlled optimism about what lies ahead for American life, decades after the feminist storm she helped to create in the 1970s.“I live in the future,” said Steinem, who offered a reason for her mindset: “maybe because I spent my teenage years trying to get out of Toledo.”The future includes a need for the kind of “big thinkers” that academic seedbeds like the Radcliffe Institute can provide, she said, fueling creative minds to grapple with the emerging issues of the age “as if females mattered.”There is a need, for instance, to capture the true economic value of care giving in the home, which she called unheralded toil that is “an indispensable 30 percent of all work in this nation.” Make it tax deductible for those who pay taxes, she suggested, and tax refundable for those below the poverty line.And what about the true economic value of the environment? “This is a project for a deep thinker at the institute,” said Steinem, with Harvard President Drew Faust looking on. “We need you.”Another issue needing a deep thinker is a study of where violence originates, she said, pointing out that even nation-scale outbursts often originate in “a normalization of violence in the home.”Then there is the need for “laws against bodily invasion,” said Steinem, which might also protect against “involuntary testing, DNA theft, and the dangers of organ transplantation.”Society needs to study religious cultures “in which godliness resides in all living things,” she said, in a refutation of the inbuilt patriarchy of monotheism. “God was withdrawn from females and from nature in order to justify conquering females and nature.”These are grave issues, but Steinem seldom discussed them gravely. In fact, she used part of her acceptance speech on a David Letterman-style “Top 10” list.“There were so many things to say in a short time,” said the co-founder of Ms. magazine.Steinem started with No. 10, though it was not the point of least importance: “Don’t ever believe men can’t change,” she said, recalling the days of secretaries who did nothing but type. “Then suddenly computers appeared and — voila! — men could type.”No. 9: “All grownups should be able to get married, as long as they don’t hit one other,” said Steinem, but she added that lifetime partnerships should not be the only measure of success. “As Margaret Mead often pointed out, marriage worked better in the 19th century because people only lived to be 50.”No. 8: “Nobody prepares you for this, but former lovers become family,” she said, recalling a college fiancé “who remained my friend, as did his daughters, and at least one of his wives. When that wife asked me to speak at his funeral, though she wasn’t going to speak herself, she said: ‘I would be angry and inappropriate. You weren’t married to him. You’ll be fine.’ ”No. 7: “We’ve demonstrated to the American majority’s satisfaction that women can do what men can do. But we haven’t convinced even ourselves that men can do what women do,” said Steinem, giving her a segue to the next point.No. 6: “Nothing much is going to change until men are raising children as much as women are,” she said to wide applause. “Women won’t be equal outside the home till men are equal inside the home.”No. 5: “All parents, men as well as women, need to get mad,” said Steinem, about what our modern democracy lacks, including a national system of child care, family-friendly work policies, real sex education, “and, yes, government health care. Get mad.”No. 4: Pay no attention to the idea that life and looks disappear under the cloak of childrearing after 30 — or even the modern idea that success has to appear by then. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to say life gets greater — and more surprising — after 40, 50, 60, and, yes, 70.” The crowd, which included tables of Radcliffe graduates going as far back as 1936, roared.No. 3: “From nation states and national borders, to gender, race, and even generations, all categories are fictions,” said Steinem. “Reality isn’t about ranking, it’s about linking.”No. 2: “Women got in this jam because our bodies are the means of reproduction,” she said. “The only way out is to establish reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right.”No. 1: Issues of race and sex are intertwined. “The past, present, and future truth is that racism punishes all women because our bodies are controlled in order to maintain that racial difference,” said Steinem.She called for “one, true movement” combining those oppressed by racial and sexual injustice. “Imagine how that coalition would grow,” said Steinem, “if it were not cynically divided.”But despite all that, she found room for hope and optimism. “This country is becoming free,” she said of the transformative cultural unhinging under way in recent decades.Then again, the first moment of freedom is the moment of “maximum danger,” precisely as it is for a woman just escaping from an abusive marriage, said Steinem. “But we will not stop seeking freedom, either.”last_img read more

The problematic growth of AP testing

first_imgA new book co-edited by a Harvard researcher pulls together a wide range of research on the successes and limitations of the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) program.The studies, said Philip Sadler, the F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in Astronomy at Harvard, fall far short of consensus on many areas.“AP classes give a lot to the top students, but pouring money into the program and trying to give every student an AP education is not efficient or effective,” says Sadler.As the AP program becomes increasingly widespread in America’s public high schools, the student demographics that it serves have shifted and rapidly expanded. More than 25 percent of public high school seniors graduating last May took at least one AP test.The elite students the program once catered to have been joined by hundreds of thousands of students who may be less prepared for the rigors of AP course work. That means that the number of test-takers who do poorly on AP exams is growing, and some critics have begun to question the effectiveness of the program.Now, in “AP: A Critical Examination of the Advanced Placement Program” (Harvard Education Press, 2010), researchers present the most comprehensive picture yet of who really benefits from the millions spent each year on AP programs across the country.Most of the studies presented in the book focus on AP mathematics and science courses. Sadler is quick to point out the difficulties of conducting research on the program.“We can’t run control groups in ‘placebo’ classes,” he said. “Even with the best statistical tools, there is a large gray area.”Even so, Sadler and his fellow researchers agree that the AP program has expanded to reach the point of diminishing returns. As more students are pushed to take the courses, the number of students enrolled in them without sufficient foundational knowledge increases. Unprepared students do not gain more from an AP course than they would from a standard course, and schools promoting the program often end up funding the unnecessary failure of students who are pushed to take courses for which they are not ready.Sadler stresses that the effectiveness of paying to bring the AP to new districts must be analyzed school by school. One study in the book looks at Philadelphia, where the city has spent millions of dollars bringing the program to all of its public schools. The students passing AP tests, while low-income, overwhelmingly attend schools that use selective admissions. Students of similar income who attend the city’s regional high schools have a failure rate of at least 41 percent.“We found that AP courses can give strong students excellent preparation for college courses, especially if they earn a 5 on the AP exam,” Sadler says. “However, AP course work does not magically bestow advantages on underprepared students who might be better served by a course not aimed at garnering college credit.”last_img read more

Wholly (and holy) organic

first_imgAt Harvard Divinity School (HDS), we talk a lot about gardens — the biblical fruits of Eden, the blissful states of Sukhavati, the verdant blessings of Al-Janna — and now we too have a pluralist plot of paradise: the HDS Community Garden.This space was converted from lawn to lushness three years ago, through a combined effort of HDS staff (the HDS Green Team) and students (members of the student group EcoDiv). Thanks to them, we now have a holy, wholly organic garden, with garlic already on the rise.It was here, halfway through the first season and my first semester, that I received my own baptism by soil, anointed by the dirt under my nails as I dug into the ground, pulling up pound after pound of the most beautiful golden potatoes I’d ever seen. It was love. Hours later, we roasted those potatoes for the community and I dug in once more: CHOMP!With that bite, the covenant was formed. The next season, spring to fall 2010, I took on some real responsibilities as one of two student garden managers. My green-thumbed partner was and is Grace Egbert (M.T.S. ’12). Along with Leslie MacPherson Artinian in the Office of Ministry Studies, we expanded the project, helping the garden to grow to nearly 1,000 square feet of sacred space (though isn’t all space such?). With a Student Sustainability Grant courtesy of the Office for Sustainability, we were able to add some serious infrastructure: tomato towers, cucumber trellises, raised beds, even a drip irrigation system to reduce water waste and create a sustainable, localized food system.I’ve learned a lot through my study of environmental ethics here at Harvard, but the garden has really been where the rubber meets the road, or more appropriately, the shovel meets the soil. Through a lived relationship with this community of plants, animals, and people, I’ve come to be me. I’ve learned to live in a world that is borderlands, transgressing the boundaries of human-nature dualism, dwelling in a community of life abundant. Is a comparison to the concept of Pure Land really out of the question here?My most important learning has been this: Nature is so much more than a pristine forest atop the mountain. In the garden that is the world, nature is something familiar — us yet not quite — something near enough to love yet other enough to welcome us back into a forgotten covenant. Try to rope it in, to pound it into rows, and the plants will remind you of what’s what. A bean plant reaches out to the cucumbers, joining tendrils and becoming friends. A group of greens stubbornly reseed themselves throughout the garden. Even the squirrels can set us straight, raiding the trash to plant a kernel of corn, our single ear that year. Too many tomatoes? No problem. Squirrels like them too.Like them, eating is our most basic connection to nature, wholly obfuscated by the modern industrialized food system. I believe growing gardens is one of the most radical acts in which we can engage. By re-entering a direct relationship with other forms of life, we can see rightly once more. We can say, with a single bite of a fresh tomato, still holding that earthy smell that comes after a summer’s rain, that this relationship matters — that pesticides, chemical additives, and plastic packaging can’t take this away, that nothing can.At HDS, we’ve been fortunate that the community has been open to building these relationships. Once people tasted the bounties of this space, the joy of communal work, the peace of respite, a rainbow of colors — heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, greens, carrots, squash blossoms — our garden has grown and grown. This bounty was shared at more than 20 School-wide events last year, including a harvest festival turned dance of gratitude around the garden.In the garden, we co-create with the sun and the rain and the earth, participating in the divine. I urge everyone to have their own baptism by soil, to form a covenant with the land, the people, animals, and plants already around them, to dig in, and to relate.I’m a gardener for life now, and I have Harvard to thank for that. CHOMP! If you’re an undergraduate or graduate student and have an essay to share about life at Harvard, please email your ideas to Jim Concannon, the Gazette’s news editor, at Jim_Concannon@harvard.edu.last_img read more