Archive for July, 2017

Pleb Summer: Free Shakespeare

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

It’s summertime, which means it’s time for trips to the beach house, a cross-country road trip, or travel to exotic vacation destinations.

But for those of us who can’t spare the time or the money to make a getaway, it’s PlebSummer! We’re posting this summer about summer for the rest of us.

One of the best things about spending the hotter months in New York City is the opportunity to see free Shakespeare. An institution for over 60 years, Shakespeare in the Park, produced by The Public Theater and preformed in Central Park, is perhaps the best-known production. This annual summer series is not only free, it often features universally acclaimed actors. Past productions have included Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, James Earl Jones, and Denzel Washington.

However, Shakespeare in the Park is not the only company to preform the Bard for free in this fair city – Hudson Warehouse and Shakespeare in the Parking Lot also offers the public a chance to experience Shakespeare at no cost. A longer list of some of these free productions is available here: https://www.nycgo.com/articles/free-summer-shakespeare

Free Shakespeare extends beyond the five boroughs. Odds are if you Google your hometown and “free Shakespeare” you will come across a production nearby. You can also visit shakespeareances.com where they offer a large list of productions (some free, some not) across the world, sorted by play! You can view that list here: http://www.shakespeareances.com/wherewill/whatsplayingwhere.html

So get out there and go watch a man talk to his ghost dad, or some teenagers who hang out with a monk. It won’t cost you a dime.

Pleb Summer: Ice Cream Trucks

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

It’s summertime, which means it’s time for trips to the beach house, a cross-country road trip, or travel to exotic vacation destinations.

But for those of us who can’t spare the time or the money to make a getaway, it’s PlebSummer! We’re posting this summer about summer for the rest of us.

Whether echoing down crowded city streets or quiet suburban hamlets, looped music over a loudspeaker evokes a response as strong as anything Pavlov could have imagined and it can only mean one thing:

The ice cream truck is here. One of summer’s most happy pleasures.

Ice cream vendors actually date back to the 19th century. Back in the old days, a “penny lick” got you a small portion of ice cream on a dish which you would lick clean. The dish would then be dipped in a bucket of water and used to serve the next customer. This lack of concern for basic hygiene, plus a general lack of refrigeration, meant that while enjoying an ice cream treat, you’d be risking diphtheria, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and many other life-threatening diseases.

Luckily hygiene improved, and in the mid-20th century, Harry Burt, the founder of Good Humor, started selling his Good Humor bar out of a truck. In 1965, Mister Softee was founded, and ice cream trucks have been here to stay ever since.

And that music! You can read an interesting history of the ice cream truck jingle here.

And if you like your ice cream truck history more on the fictional side, we highly recommend “Comfort and Joy,” Bill Forsythe’s movie about the Glasgow ice cream truck wars.

&l

We Welcome Bob Ross to the Ivory Tower

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

We at UPG are thrilled to announce our newest personality: painter, TV host, and Guru of Calm, Bob Ross.

At first glance, Bob Ross might not seem like an obvious choice for The Unemployed Philosophers Guild cannon.

But, actually, if you think about it…

Bob Ross retired after 20 years of in the armed forces to dedicate himself to painting. He became a popular teacher and ended up landing his own television show.

His gentle demeanor and unabashed delight in painting continues to inspire us.

Got a problem with his presentation?

Got a problem with a guy who teaches that anyone can learn to paint.

Got a problem with his subject matter?

After approximately four minutes, you’ll come to the realization that you are a person with problems!

As a drill sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, Bob Ross did his share of yelling. On his show, he speaks to his viewers in gentle tones. In the service, he spent plenty of time harassing recruits to hurry up, do things right, get tough. On his show, he urges us to paint along, to play, to think of mistakes as part of experimentation instead of terrible obstacles to being correct/right/perfect?

Why do we find it so difficult to accept the realness of art if we’re the ones doing it? Why can’t we believe in the goodness of making things for the sheer pleasure of expression? So maybe we won’t paint anything likely to break records at Christie’s – so what?

The act of creation is one of the most essential human experiences, and though we lost Bob Ross many years ago, he continues to bring countless people to that experience.

It this spirit, we present three brand-new Bob Ross items:

Bob Ross Self-Painting Mug

This mug depicts Bob Ross poised in front of a canvas with brush at the ready. Add a hot beverage, and the entire mug transforms into a lovely Bob Ross painting!

Bob Ross The Joy of Painting Sticky Notes

A collection of sticky notes featuring Bob Ross’ art and quotes from the great man, himself. Includes a canvas sticky note for your own tiny works of art!

Bob Ross Happy Little Mints

Delicious peppermints in a lovely tin featuring Ross and his artwork. A little minty inspiration for your day.

Pleb Summer: The State Fair

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

It’s summertime, which means it’s time for trips to the beach house, a cross-country road trip, or travel to exotic vacation destinations.

But for those of us who can’t spare the time or the money to make a getaway, it’s PlebSummer! We’re posting this summer about summer for the rest of us.

About this time of year, average citizens from Alaska to Alabama are gearing up for a classic summer tradition: The State Fair.

State Fairs are so ubiquitous (as are the county fairs that lead up to them) that Americans take for granted just how uniquely American and odd they are.

Agricultural fairs date back to ancient times of course. But American fairs are so much more. In addition to annual display of livestock and agricultural products, state fairs are known for their fairground rides and games, pageant shows, recipe contests, tractor-pulls, rodeos, speeches by vote-hunting politicos (even Abraham Lincoln spoke at a state fair when he was running for president), freak shows, loads of fried and remarkably frightening foods, bird-calling competitions, and, of course, butter sculptures.

The first American State Fair was held in Syracuse, New York in 1841, but it wasn’t until after the Civil War that they really became the sites of mass rowdy entertainment that they are today.

If you live in a State with a fair (and odds are you do, since they’re held in 46 states), treat yourself with a trip down to the fairground for a special kind of fun you’re not going to find elsewhere. Where else but a State Fair would you see a replica of the Statue of Liberty made out of corn or monkeys in top hats dancing to minstrel music (OK, they don’t do that last one anymore, but they used to, at the Ohio State Fair). Lost children, stomachaches, and monkey bites are the norm in August and September as Americans gather on fairgrounds for one last bacchanal before the summer ends.