Art, Books, Culture, Food, Inspiration: An Awesome Four Day Weekend (Part One, Friday) – by Gary Smolker

Art, Culture, Inspiration

This is an informative report on a fun weekend, a culturally intense inspiring long weekend that took place from April 7  to April 11.

I spent that weekend with my family in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

When I was not with family members, I wandered alone, at my own pace, exploring unique historically significant sites, eating at a particularly fun oyster bar, viewing magnificent exhibits at the Peabody Essex Museum and having a great time browsing in museum book stores and buying books in close by neighboring towns.

Salem, Massachusetts – home of the Peabody Essex Museum and National Maritime Historic Site

Once upon a time, Salem was a leading city in America.  It had a great amount of mercantile activity related to exporting fish and timber and importing things not available in America.

Salem has a world class world famous museum,  the Peabody Essex Museum.

The Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, is the oldest continuously operated museum in America.

See for further information.

The Harvard COOP

On Monday, I visited the Harvard COOP for a few hours, while on my way to Logan Boston Airport to fly back to California.

The Harvard COOP is located in a stand alone four story brick and mortar bookstore across the street from the Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Harvard COOP has an inspiring collection of books for sale filling up all four floors of the Harvard COOP.

See photo below taken by me on the second floor of the Harvard COOP while I was looking down at the ground floor of the Harvard COOP.

In Defense of the National Endowment for the Arts, Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Many decades ago, public education sought to create well-rounded and informed citizens.

That is not the goal today.

  • Public education seeks to ensure that students excel on standardized tests that purport to measure learning.
  • “Elite” schools support efforts to insure their money oriented students get into college.

I am firmly convinced it is important to learn how to think critically about cultural issues as well as money issues.

That is the educational service provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Putting America At Risk

It is critical to be familiar with values, ideas, and ideals in order to be able to deal with complex issues that will shape the future of our nation and the world.

Everything we do is underpinned and shaped by cultural ideals and values.

These ideals are the realm of the arts and humanities.

For those reasons, and for many more reasons,

  • it is necessary to have familiarity with the arts and creative expression in the arts and humanities; and
  • it is imperative that federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting not be cut.

Books, Books, and More Books

I am a book addict.

During my long weekend visit, I purchased a total of 22 books on a variety of topics of interest to me.

National Historical Maritime Site

On Friday, April 7, 2017, at the National Maritime Historical Site National Park Service gift shop I purchased five books.

Below is a photo of a book cover of one of those books: “The Ice King – Frederick Tudor and His Circle.”

  • In the early 1800s Frederick Tudor became obsessed with the idea of exporting and shipping ice to the tropics, i.e. to the West Indies.
  • At the time, this was a completely novel idea.
  • From exporting ice Frederick Tudor made a fortune and became one of America’s first millionaires.

Peabody Essex Museum

On Saturday (April 8, 2017) I visited the Peabody Essex Museum.  While there,  I purchased 12 books, including “Men and Style”, “Women Know Everything” and “Muses Women Who Inspire.”

See photos of book covers below.

Below is a direct quote of what is written on the back cover of  “Muses Women Who Inspire.”

“For centuries, women have fascinated and inspired the greatest writers, painters, photographers, and musicians to create their most poignant works of art, and these muses are as many and varied as the artists themselves.  From American model and photographer Lee Miller, who drove her mentor – the surrealist artist Man Ray – to distraction, and almost to suicide; to film director Josef von Sternberg’s movie star creation in the form of Marlene Dietrich; or from Alice Liddell, the ten-year-old-inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’; to painter and photographer Dora Mar, whose profound influence can be seen in her infamous lover Pablo Picasso’s ‘Weeping Women’ series.

“The lives and characters of these women were dissimilar in so many aspects, yet they all shared the ability to awaken fervor within some of the most significant artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and to influence the work of their Pygmalions. Revealing the passionate relationship between the artist and his muse – from devotion to tormented obsession, and sometimes subjugation – author Farid Abdelouahab recounts the stories of thirty women who, through their temperament, beauty, talent and pure magnetism, enthralled society’s artistic geniuses and inspired the creation of some of the greatest works of the past centuries.”

On Saturday, April 8, 2017, I purchased the EXHIBITION CATALOGUE for the wearable art exhibit I viewed that day at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Below is a photograph of the cover of that catalogue.

This exhibition presents 32 award-winning fantastic ensembles.

The clothing ensembles on display at the exhibit were stunning.

Below are photographs I took, while I was at the exhibit, of the ensemble shown on the cover of the catalogue.

The clothing ensembles on exhibit at this exhibition have been described as being a part of a clothing world where art and and the human form combine, “where the lines of  fashion and art merge and combine as one.”

Harvard COOP

I purchased seven books at the Harvard COOP on Monday, April 10, 2017.

Below are photographs of the book covers of a few of the books I purchased at the Harvard COOP on Monday April 10.

According to the back cover of “Social Physics”, the book explains how ideas flow through social networks and how these ideas are ultimately transformed into behaviors.

The author, Professor Alex Pentland helped create the MIT Media Lab and co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and  Personal Data initiatives.

A Sushi Boat

Friday night (April 7) , my eldest daughter Terra and her husband Scott served a Sushi snack in a Sushi Boat to immediate family members before we all went to Friday night services together at Temple Emanu-el.

See photos of Sushi Boat [below].

These photos were taken by me on Friday night, April 7, 2017.

Coffee Shops on Derby Street

Before going to Terra’s home on Friday (April 7) night, I spent the morning walking up and down Derby Street in Salem

Everywhere I went I encountered people who had a joyful spirit.

Below is a photo of a t-short worn by a barista in one of the coffee shops I visited on Derby Street.

Below is a photograph of the store front of another and different coffee on Derby Street.

Below is a close-up photo of Derby Joe’s front door.

A Historic Candy Store on Derby Street

The oldest candy store in the United States is located in Salem, Massachusetts on Derby Street.

See photos below, taken by me on Friday, April 7, 2017.

Unforgettable Lunch

I had the most unforgettable lunch on Friday, April 7, 2017 at the “Sea Level Oyster Bar & Restaurant” on Pickering Wharf in Salem Massachusetts, a “Baked Seafood Pie” consisting of Lobster, scallop, shrimp, Ritz Crackers, sherry cream, vegetables and mashed potatoes.

Baked Seafood Pie

See photos below I took of the “Baked Seafood Pie” I had for lunch on Friday, April 7, 2017.

By the way, the DESSERT MENU is unconventional.

The Dessert Menu is on a stamp.

When you ask to see the dessert menu, a stamp containing containing the list of desserts is brought to your table.

See photo of “Dessert Menu” Stamp below.

The server presses down on the “Dessert Menu Stamp” and vol la an impression of the dessert menu appears on your table.

See photo below.

Of course, I had to have a Salted Caramel Cookie Pie.

But, I had no room for it.

Clever T-Shirts

The wait-staff at the Sea Level Oyster Bar & Restaurant wear the most clever t-shirts.

See photographs below taken by me on my eventful delightful time there on Friday, April 7, 2017.


Late Friday night, I came back to the Sea Level Oyster Bar & Restaurant determined to eat a Salted Caramel Cookie Pie, which I enjoyed with a cup of strong black coffee.

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved


About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail

Posted on April 23, 2017, in civilization, cultivating yourself, culture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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