Today I want to bring you down to Fan Pier to talk to the man in charge of Boston’s Volvo Ocean Race stopover.
You’ve probably seen ads for the Volvo Ocean Race — or at least for the Puma boat or Puma City. Boston is the sixth stop of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race, known as the “Everest of Sailing.” Eight Teams started in Alicante, Spain last October, and have so far sailed almost 40,000 miles (read that one more time — it says 40,000 miles). Their 70 foot carbon-fiber boats can go faster than a powerboat and must be able to withstand hurricane-force winds in 30 foot seas. The crews have raced 24 hours a day for up to 35 days straight, so this three week break in Boston is a chance for them to relax (and take a shower).
This episode’s guest is a man who brings a lot of happiness to Boston: the artist known to everyone around here as Sidewalk Sam.
“Sidewalk” — “Sam” seems to be his alter-ego’s last name — was trained as a fine artist at Boston College and Boston University. He then went to Paris to work at the Louvre Museum before returning Massachusetts have his work exhibited at the MFA and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Of course, this artistic pedigree lead directly to him giving it all up to draw chalk pictures for people to walk on.
It may not make sense if you haven’t met him, but it all comes together when you first experience his loving, friendly, and unreserved style.
John Durrant is the director of the MIT Museum, a place tasked with taking all of MIT’s history and current research and boiling it down to a few rooms just outside of Central Square in Cambridge. The museum has everything from fascinating moving sculptures to expressive robots to an impressive array of slide rules — a little bit of everything that makes MIT the renowned institute that it is.
It’s a place I really enjoy visiting — so much so that I had to keep reminding myself that I was there to do an interview and not to play — so it was great to sit down with the man behind it all and talk about how the museum got to where it is today, and the exciting things in store for us in the future.