Need to Know: Mark Twain cabin gets cleanup

Mark Twain cabin gets cleanup

Sure, he was born in a log cabin in 1835. But Mark Twain was always ahead of his time, and he loved a good laugh, even at his own expense. So maybe he’d be amused to see the haz-mat workers who have spent the last few weeks sucking asbestos off that old cabin. The Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site in Florida, Mo., which houses the two-room cabin where Twain was born, has been closed for asbestos removal since December. Right now, state park officials and consultants are racing to clean up the site, perhaps in time for Wednesday, the centennial of Twain’s death. “We’ll try our best,” said Jim Rehard, a district supervisor for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Even if the team misses that goal, Rehard said, the state is determined to reopen the museum building by June. For more information on Twain-related sites in Missouri and beyond:

—Christopher Reynolds

Strawberry fest

Strawberries will be the stars when one of Southern California’s top festivals takes place May 15 and 16 in Oxnard. The California Strawberry Festival will feature concerts, celebrity cooking demos, craft booths, rides and more. Organizers say the event, held at Strawberry Meadows of College Park, has helped raise more than $3 million for various charities in its 26 years, while paying tribute to the region’s agriculture. Hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. both days. General admission is $12, seniors 62 and older pay $8 and children age 5-12 get in for $5. Kids 4 and younger are admitted free. Rides are included in the price of admission. Advance tickets can be purchased at Info: (888) 288-9242.

—Chris Erskine

Frank in Motown

Photographer Robert Frank and muralist Diego Rivera are appearing together in Motown this spring, along with a cast of hundreds of autoworkers. The venue is the Detroit Institute of Arts, where Frank is the subject of a special exhibition through July 3, and where Rivera has had a massive permanent mural on display since 1932. Many of Frank’s gritty, black-and white photos were taken in 1955 at Ford’s River Rouge factory, and some ended up in Frank’s bleak, controversial magnum opus “The Americans,” which features an introduction by Jack Kerouac. The Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; [313] 833-7900; is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 per adult.

—Christopher Reynolds

Potty to go

When junior has to go on the go, he can do his business by just taking out his briefcase. Well, actually, what looks like a little briefcase unfolds to become a raised potty chair for kids (up to 70 pounds). The leg stands at each end have storage space for potty training pants, wipes, liner bags (standard gallon resealable plastic bags), and extra clothing. Weighs about 3 pounds. Travel Potty Chair costs $23.99 at, (866) 202-2482.

—Judi Dash