summer of love at the mfa boston.

“One pill makes you larger And one pill makes you small And the ones that mother gives you Don’t do anything at all Go ask Alice When she’s ten feet tall”
– Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of visiting “The Summer of Love: Photography and Graphic Design” exhibit, currently showing at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibit, on view until October 22, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the iconic Summer of Love in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Visitor’s can take in more than 120 posters, album covers and photographs that center around the artists, albums and performances of an iconic moment in culture and music.

As a student of graphic design, I was particularly interested in the trends that emerged at this time around typography. Throughout the exhibit, visitors can see a trend in type which mimics the movement of lava lamps and sets reverberating colors in contrast on both album covers and concert posters. This effect is used deliberately and forces readers to engage more closely with the art in order to read words on the page. As a web designer, I know the effort that is spent in today’s digital media to ensure contrast and legibility standards so it struck me that 50 years ago the design trends of the moment encouraged just the opposite.

The MFA and their contributors generously allow visitors to use photography throughout the exhibit, and encourage sharing via social media (#SummerOfLove). I took a handful of photos while there which I’ve shared below. Enjoy!

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musical musings – alunageorge.

Adding a new category on the blog today. Musical Musings posts will showcase artists whose music I’m currently loving who also employ cool/pretty/visually interesting album artwork. To start I’m sharing AlunaGeorge’s new album, I Remember. I’ve been listening to this album pretty much on repeat for about a week now and I’m finding new things to love about it the more I listen. If you’re not familiar, AlunaGeorge is a London-based musical duo consisting of Aluna Francis and George Reid. Their music is categorized as “Electronic” on iTunes but their sound is also very much informed by R&B. Singer, Aluna Francis provides vocals for the group which feel reminiscent of artists like Aaliyah and Groove Theory’s Amel Larrieux. I Remember is AlunaGeorge’s second album and they’re definitely showing a maturity since their previous release – both musically and in regards to their album art. I have an affinity for artists that choose to forgo traditional portrait photography on an album and opt for something more abstract instead. I love the linear-style illustration they’re using here and that the fusion of the two beings feels related to the duo’s musical collaboration. Check out the album cover below and listen to I Remember on iTunes here.

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the arcs at the orpheum theater.

“I was born to love her, everybody knows
Just the way it is, just the way it goes
She’s a cold companion, like a desert rose
The worse it is, the more she glows”

-The Arcs, Cold Companion 

Earlier this year I posted a brief list of albums I was enjoying. The list included “Yours Dreamily“,  the first studio album by The Arcs. For those unfamiliar, Arcs is a rock band created as a side project from The Black Keys guitarist and prolific producer of incredible music, Dan Auerbach. I had learned about a month ago that The Arcs would be performing at The Orpheum Theater in Boston in December. Having just racked up a hefty credit card debt buying Christmas presents I thought I might have to sit this one out and try to catch them the next time around. Out of curiosity this week I decided to see if ticket prices had dropped at all and turns out they had had! I came across two 3rd row orchestra seats for $18 each on SeatGeek. I convinced myself that it was a sign from the universe that I was meant to see this show and bought the tickets.

The Arcs is a relatively new band and the show was not heavily promoted but this deal still seemed pretty insane considering The Black Keys have sold out TD Garden (about 17K people capacity). I was only about 60% sure that the tickets weren’t counterfeit but to my relief they scanned and we were let in and ushered to the best seats I’ve ever had at a concert.

The show was really incredible. Dan Auerbach seems like a mad scientist having an out-of-body experience when he’s performing. I have seen The Black Keys in concert before but being this close to the musicians was a totally different experience. There was some trippy projected lighting and a few potted plants on stage but otherwise the set was really simple and low-tech. The paired down set felt really fitting to this band that seems solely committed to just making authentically great music free of any other frivolity.

Below are some photos I took throughout the show. Enjoy!

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Had to shout out the beauty that is the Orpheum Theater. Like a lot of theaters in Boston it is really old (1852) and could use a little love in places (the seats) but still.. such a beautiful space to see a show.

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Back-up vocals and instrumentals are provided by Julie Justine Acosta, Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol, three members of the all-female mariachi group Flor de Toloache. I spent at least half of the concert just watching them because they were so talented and seemed like they were having the most fun.arcs4dan1dan3_b&wdan2