Author Archives: Kim Smith

Provocative Pokeweed

The charming note posted below was in my inbox today. I thought Fred would enjoy, as would our GMG readers find interesting.

Allen writes:

Dear Madame Butterfly,

(You may recognize my name as an infrequent commenter on

GMG. More importantly, I am an FOF, Friend of Fred Bodin, although he NEVER invited me to his gallery soires !!!!!)

I always read your GMG posts and enjoy and learn from them.

I have a plant that comes up in my back yard and grows to a height of 5 or 6 feet. This week it fell down. Do you know what it is? Can I cut it up safely and dispose of it? Should I throw it over the fence in the back and let wildlife eat the berries?

Any help, thanks,

Allen

Phytolacca_americana_Sugarcreek_Ohio

Hi Allen,

Allen, as an FOF and FOB, of course you are invited to ALL GMG soirées. I hope you’ll come to the mug-up this Saturday morning at E.J.’s new summer gallery on Rocky Neck. I am planning to go, but will not get there until closer to 11:00. I look forward to meeting you!

American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is what you have growing in your backyard. Pokeweed possesses nearly as many common names as the birds that find nourishment from its fruit, including pokeberry, Virginia poke, inkberry, ink weed, bear’s grape, American spinach, and American nightshade. The American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, Gray Catbird, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Cardinal, Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, European Starling, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, and Pileated Woodpeckers are some of the birds that dine on the fruits of pokeberry. Many mammals such as Red Fox, Virginia Opossum, Raccoon, White-footed Mouse, and Black Bear eat the berries, too.

Phytolacca_americana_Clinton_MI_2

Pokeweed can grow to ten feet, with an equally as long taproot as is it is tall in height. It typically grows in disturbed areas, pastures, roadsides, fencerows, open woods, and woodland borders. All parts of the plant are toxic to people and livestock, and especially to children. The root is the most toxic and the berries the least. It is not recommended to add to you compost. If you have children visiting your garden, I would suggest that you talk to them about the plant’s toxicity, and only throw it over you fence if beyond your fence is part of your property. To control a plant, cut below the root crown. An older plant may have a ten foot taproot, which would be very difficult to dig up.

 

 

Images courtesy wiki commons.

Please Don’t Weed the Milkweed

Common Milweed Asclepias syriaca ©Kim Smith 2014Once established, native Common Milkweed grows vigorously and rambunctiously, making itself known even in the thinnest of sidewalk cracks. Here’s a patch growing along East Main Street. I think it beautiful! What do you think?

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If you caught Tom Ashbrook’s On Point broadcast on NPR this morning you heard Doctor Lincoln Brower, Karen Oberhausser, and Rick Mikula, three of the world’s leading butterfly experts, speaking about the disappearance of the Monarch and the main reason why–most notably because of the sterilization of the American landscape through the use Monsanto’s Roundup and GMO corn and soybean crops. The episode is airing again tonight at 8pm.

The following is a list of a few suggestions on ways in which we can all help turn the tide:

Plant milkweed and wildflowers. Teach members of your family and friends what milkweed looks like and why we don’t want to weed it out of the garden. The above patch of milkweed is growing next to a shop on East Main Street. About a month ago, I went into the store and, very, very politely inquired as to whether or not they knew that the plant growing outside their doorway was a terrific patch of milkweed. They had no idea. I explained what the benefits were to the Monarchs and have since noticed that the milkweed patch is still growing beautifully!

Ban GMO crops. Genetically modified seeds have been altered to withstand megadoses of Roundup. Millions and millions of tons of herbicides are poured onto Roundup Ready fields of crops, preventing any other plant that has not been genetically altered from growing (in other words, wildflowers). The application of Monsanto’s deadly destructive herbicide Roundup is creating vast sterilized agricultural wastelands, which will, over time, only need heavier and heavier does of their lethal chemicals to continue to be viable.

Don’t apply herbicides and pesticides in your own gardens.

Create wildflower corridors in backyards and highways.

Reduce salt wherever possible (and where it wouldn’t cause harm to human life). Large amounts of road salt, as was needed during this past snowiest of winters, is detrimental to wildlife habitats.

Why You Should Worry About The Butterflies

On the second hour of WBUR’s On Point this morning at 11:00am, the show features several outstanding Monarch experts. Here’s the link: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/08/20/monarch-butterflies-migration-climate-change

So many thanks to Michele and Jane for letting me know!

“We love butterflies, and monarch butterflies are called “monarch” for a reason.  They are grand.  All that fluttering orange and black display on a winged scale built to impress.  To charm.  But monarch butterflies are in trouble.  This year saw the smallest migration ever recorded to their winter retreat in the mountains of Mexico.  And if you are looking this summer for monarchs, they’ve been hard to find.  There’s a reason, and it goes back to genetically-modified crops, say my guests today.  This hour On Point:  monarch butterflies, beautiful and in trouble.”

– Tom Ashbrook

Anita Diamant Moderator at Duckworth’s and the Writer’s Book Club Event!

Anita Diamant Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014The Eastern Point Lit House Writer’s Book Club, held at Duckworth’s on Sunday evening, was an absolutely fantastic and super fun event. Anitia Diamant, author of The Red Tent and Good Harbor, was the guest writer and she led a discussion about Billy Collins, her favorite poet. Anita has attended several Billy Collins readings and describes herself as his fangirl. Collins is the former Poet Laureate of the United States and one of the most widely read and popular of poets in American history.

Duckworths ©Kim Smith 2014The evening began with a beautiful array of delicious dishes, including shrimp with guacamole, Ken’s always fabulous polenta, and a medley of lightly cooked and dressed seasonal vegetables.

Dawn Sarrouf ©Kim Smith 2014JPGDawn Sarrouf  Reading from Ballistics

Guests took turns reading aloud poems from the collection titled Ballistics. Poignant, humorous, accessible, and with a brilliant compactness of writing, Collins reportedly sites cartoons as one of his greatest influences. Although I did not have time to read ahead of time, after listening to the selcetion of poems read aloud, I definitely look forward to reading Ballistics. This brings me to the point that Ken Duckworth made, which is that at the Writer’s Book Club, no one need feel as though they must read the book prior to the event and that it can be just as interesting to hear about the book selection for the first time from the perspective of other guests, which (as it has for me on several occasions) may in turn lead to reading the book.

Colleen ©Kim Smith 2014

Colleen

Michelle atticus ©Kim Smith 2014Michelle and Atticus

Kne Duckworth Chris AndersonChef Ken Duckworth and Chris Anderson

Anita Diamant ©Kim Smith 2014Anita Diamant and Her Husband Jim Reading a Favorite Poem

Dan's Dahlia's ©Kim Smith 2014Master Horticulturist Dan’s Dinner Plate-sized Dahlia!

Duckworth's Distrot ©kim Smith 2014

September’s Writer’s Book Club selection is The Secret Life of Bees, and will be led by moderator S Stephanie. Purchase your tickets sooner rather than later as these fun and lively Writer’s Book Club events sell out quickly!

september_book_club_web

Dedication of the Pathways Butterfly Garden

This morning the dedication of the new butterfly garden at Pathway’s for Children was celebrated with speeches of thanks, and a song and poem performed by the Pathways children. The sun was shining, the bees and butterflies were on the wing, and there were lots of smiles of joy on the faces of the children and attendees. My most heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation to all who have given so much to make the garden a success!

Pathways for Children butterfly garden -3 ©Kim Smith 2014

Pathways for Children butterfly garden -4 ©Kim Smith 2014

Just some of the wonderful people who made the garden possible: Andrew, Bernie Romanowski, Beth Graham, and Peter Van Demark

Pathways for Children butterfly garden sunflower ©Kim Smith 2014

Pathways for Children butterfly garden before ©Kim Smith 2014

Before Photo Pathways for Children

Pathways for Children butterfly garden -8 ©Kim Smith 2014

Pathways for Children butterfly garden -7 ©Kim Smith 2014

See previous GMG post on the new butterfly garden at Pathways here: HOORAY FOR PATHWAYS FOR CHILDREN’S BRAND SPANKING NEW BUTTERFLY GARDEN

GMG FOB Mary Tucker

Mary Tucker ©kim Smith 2014GMG regular readers, and especially our contributors, know Mary through her always kind and engaged comments. Well, she’s just as nice and kind-hearted in person, and has a wicked sense of humor, too!

Mary’s ancestors are McLouds and Wonsons and she spent her childhood summers on Rocky Neck and East Gloucester. Although she presently lives far off-island, she keeps in touch with Gloucester all thoughout the year by reading GMG and comes “home” as often as time allows. So wonderful to meet you Mary!

Fabulous French Toast The Market Restaurant ©kim Smith2014Fab French Toast at the Annisquam Market

Succulent container garden ©Kim Smith 2014Annisquam Market Mini Container Garden Planted with Succulents and Fresh Herbs

Food For Thought

Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers

By Bren Smith New York
Times August 9, 2014

Bren Smith is a shellfish and seaweed farmer on Long Island Sound.

NEW HAVEN — AT a farm-to-table dinner recently, I sat huddled in a corner with some other farmers, out of earshot of the foodies happily eating kale and freshly shucked oysters. We were comparing business models and profit margins, and it quickly became clear that all of us were working in the red.
The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living. After the tools are put away, we head out to second and third jobs to keep our farms afloat. Ninety-one percent of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income. Health care, paying for our kids’ college, preparing for retirement? Not happening. With the overwhelming majority of American farmers operating at a loss — the median farm income was negative $1,453 in 2012 — farmers can barely keep the chickens fed and the lights on.

Others of us rely almost entirely on Department of Agriculture or foundation grants, not retail sales, to generate farm income. And young farmers, unable to afford land, are increasingly forced into neo-feudal relationships, working the fields of wealthy landowners. Little wonder the median age for farmers and ranchers is now 56.

My experience proves the trend. To make ends meet as a farmer over the last decade, I’ve hustled wooden crafts to tourists on the streets of New York, driven lumber trucks, and worked part time for any nonprofit that could stomach the stink of mud on my boots. Laden with college debt and only intermittently able to afford health care, my partner and I have acquired a favorite pastime in our house: dreaming about having kids.

It’s cheaper than the real thing. But what about the thousands of high-priced community-supported agriculture programs and farmers’ markets that have sprouted up around the country? Nope. These new venues were promising when they proliferated over a decade ago, but now, with so many programs to choose from, there is increasing pressure for farmers to reduce prices in cities like my hometown, New Haven. And while weekend farmers’ markets remain precious community spaces, sales volumes are often too low to translate into living wages for your much-loved small-scale farmer.

Especially in urban areas, supporting your local farmer may actually mean buying produce from former hedge fund managers or tax lawyers who have quit the rat race to get some dirt under their fingernails. We call it hobby farming, where recreational “farms” are allowed to sell their products at the same farmers’ markets as commercial farms. It’s all about property taxes, not food production. As Forbes magazine suggested to its readers in its 2012 Investment Guide, now is the time to “farm like a billionaire,” because even a small amount of retail sales — as low as $500 a year in New Jersey — allows landowners to harvest more tax breaks than tomatoes.

On top of that, we’re now competing with nonprofit farms. Released from the yoke of profit, farms like Growing Power in Milwaukee and Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., are doing some of the most innovative work in the farming sector, but neither is subject to the iron heel of the free market. Growing Power alone received over $6.8 million in grants over the last five years, and its produce is now available in Walgreens stores. Stone Barns was started with a $30 million grant from David Rockefeller. How’s a young farmer to compete with that?

As one grower told me, “When these nonprofit farms want a new tractor, they ask the board of directors, but we have to go begging to the bank.”

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE

More Snapshots from Thursday’s Farmer’s Market and Seafood Throwdown

Nutty Redhead Lisa ©Kim Smith 2014Lisa, The Nutty Redhead ~ Exciting News from the Nutty Redhead ~ STAY TUNED!

Justine Vitale an FamilyJustine Vitale with Family and Brand New Rescue Pooch

Amanda Copok ©Kim Smith 2014Amanda Cook Spinning Her Multi-blue-hued Hand Dyed Yarn

Rosalie harrington Gloucester Seafood Throwdown ©Kim Smith 2014Rosalie Harrington, Thursday’s Seafood Throwdown Winner

Rosalie Harrington's dogfish stew ©Kim Smith 2014Rosalie’s Dogfish and Fresh Vegetable Stew ~ Would you call this a cioppino, even though only made with one fish? Read more

#1 Chef Rosalie Harrington! ~ Seafood Throwdown Snapshots

Rosalie Harrington Seafood Throwdown Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014The competition was close; I think Rosalie won by only one point and ALL was wonderfully delicious! The mystery fish was dogfish. Both Rosalie and Paolo Laboa did a superb job in their 45 minute window of time to cook.

Peter Van Ness Paolo Laboa Seafood Throwdown Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014

Peter VanNess and Paolo Laboa

Rosalie Harrington Seafood Throwdown Gloucester Ma ©Kim Smith 2014

Rosalie Harrington

 

Seafood Throwdown Judges Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Esteemed Judges

_DSF0415Esteemed Tasters

 

Rosalie Harrington Paolo Laboa Seafood Throwdown Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014And the Winner Is!

Ethan Seafood Throwdown Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Rosalie’s grandson Ethan made this sign for his grandmother, with plans to give it to her whether she won or not. I guess he must love his Nonni’s cooking!

More snapshots from the Farmer’s Market tomorrow.

An Invitation from Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

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monarch-by-moonlight-logo_large_landscapeSaturday, September 13
6:00-9:00 pm

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
87 Perkins Row
Topsfield, MA 01983

Join Mass Audubon President Henry Tepper and Sanctuary Director Carol Decker
for a dinner gala and auction to benefit educational programming
at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.

Watch the brilliant colors of the setting sun from atop
Bradstreet Hill while dining on delicious local foods skillfully
prepared by Martha Sanders of Lantern Hill Catering of Topsfield.
Enjoy the jazz sounds of the Chuck Walker Trio.

Auction led by Aurelia Nelson of Northshore 104.9.
Preview auction items here

Purchase tickets HERE

Attire: elegant outdoor

Please purchase your tickets by August 29, 2014

Tickets:

Individual Ticket: $100

Supporter Ticket: $250

Table of 8: $1,000

To order tickets by mail, please print out the reply form and mail to
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary at the address above.

Aerial Yellowjacket Nest and Why Yellowjackets are Considered Beneficial Insects

Aerial Yellowjacket nest ©Kim Smith 2014Aerial Yellow Jacket Nest

Recently at one of my landscape design project sites, which is located within a public space, a very distraught woman approached exclaiming that there was a wasp nest in a tree down the road aways. She was sure it needed to be destroyed, despite that it was at least 30 feet high up in the tree and not any where near where guests might wander. I calmly explained to her that the tree was not in my jurisdiction and even if it was, my first impulse would not be to destroy the nest. I thought it best to learn more about wasps in case there were more calls for its annihilation and after she left, I photographed the nest. I was glad she had pointed it out because it was so interesting to observe the rhythms of the comings and goings of the wasps, which after looking at the images through my camera’s lens, determined that it was the nest of the Aerial Yellowjacket (Dolichovespula arenaria).

Aerial Yellowjackets are often confused with honey bees (Apis mellifera) becasue of their similar color. In contrast, the body of the yellow and black striped wasp is less hairy and thinner than that of a honey bee’s, and yellowjackets do not transport pollen.

Side-by-side comparison of an Aerial Yellowjacket and honeybee:

600px-Gilles_Gonthier_-_Dolichovespula_arenaria_(by)

Aerial Jellowjacket

http://www.besplatne-slike.net Potpuno besplatne slike visokog kvaliteta.Honeybee with Pollen Sacs on Hind Legs

The native Aerial Yellowjacket is considered beneficial because it preys on many insect crop pests. It is also serves as food for a variety of animals including frogs, skunks, birds, and other insects (I can’t imagine eating a wasp!). Yellowjackets typically sting in defense of their colony and can also be a pest at picnics, especially in late summer and fall when they switch their diet from that of a protein-based diet rich of the meat of chewed up caterpillars and insects, to a sugar-based diet.

Aerial Yellowjackets ©Kim Smith 2014

The nest is is a papery-like material constructed from the worker yellowjacket’s chewed wood and saliva pulp and is typically only used for one year in our region. The Aerial Yellowjacket is so named because it builds its nest high up, as opposed to underground.

We left the nest alone, and so far, no more calls have gone out for its destruction.

Aerial Yellowjacket nest -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Honeybee and Aerial Yellowjacket photos courtesy wiki commons media.

Cape Ann TV Production Class Monday Evening August 18th

Cape Ann TV Video Production Class- Monday, August 18 at 6:30 to 9:00 pm.

The class is taught by Jim Capillo and covers how to use the field equipment.

Lisa Smith writes ~ Did you know that the facilities and equipment at Cape Ann TV are available to all Cape Ann residents? All you need to do is to become a member and pay a yearly membership fee of $20. We also provide the training, no experience necessary. To sign up for the class or for more information about Cape Ann TV call: 978-281-2443 or email lsmith@capanntv.org. website: http://www.capeanntv.org

Apple Street Farm

Apple Street Farm ©Kim Smith 2014Located in Essex, conveniently only a few scenic miles off Route 128, every Saturday from 10am to 2pm the farmstand at Apple Street Farm is open for business. Stopping for fabulous and fresh organically fed free-range eggs, heirloom veggies, fruits, and herbs has become a favorite Saturday morning ritual. Apple Street Farm tomatoes ©Kim Smith 2014 Frank McClelland is the owner of Apple Street Farm. Not only that, he is also the proprietor and chef of one of Boston’s most beloved and famous restaurants, L’Espalier. Apple Street Farm is the primary source of produce, poultry, pork and eggs for L’Espalier.Apple Street Farm -2 ©Kim Smith 2014 Each month throughout the summer and fall Apple Street Farm celebrates seasonal harvests with special dinners held on the farm’s spacious lawn. The five-course dinner is prepared by the L’Espalier chefs and includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and wine pairings. September 5th and 6th is the Fire Pit Fiesta and October 3rd and 4th is the Essex Harvest Feast. Call L’Espalier to make a reservation at 617-262-3023.

Apple Street Farm Pick Your Own ©Kim Smith 2014Pick You Own Flowers

Apple Street Farm hummingbird ©Kim Smith 2014Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the Zinnia Patch

Apple Street Farm Goldfinch and Cosmos ©Kim Smith 2014

American Goldfinch Eating Cosmos Seeds-A Great Reason NOT to Deadhead!

Farm and poultry shares are available from June through September. For more information about Apple Street Farm’s CSA program, visit their website here.

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Photographing the Nubian goats was a delight. The little ones are very playful and affectionate and, when first let out of their pen in the morning, are super rambunctious. Apple Street Farm’s manger Phoebe explains that Nubian goats are great milking goats and wiki informs that Nubians are known for the high butterfat content of their milk.

Apple Street Farm  Nubian Goat Eating apple©Kim Smith 2014Apples for Breakfast

Apple Street Farm  Nubian Goats ©Kim Smith 2014

The Nubians climbed upon each other to reach the fruit and seeds.

Apple Street Farm Eating Catalpa Seeds ©Kim Smith 2014jpg copy

Nubian Goat Eating Catalpa Seedpods

Apple Street Farm Nubian Gots airborn ©Kim Smith 2014JPG SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE Read more

HATS OFF to the Annisquam Village Players for a Spectacular Peter Pan

peter pan ©Kim Smith 2014

Sofia Gadbois, Elliot Davis, Jared Gilman, and Charlie Rousmaniere

A huge shout out to co-directors Terry Sands and Mary Curtis and the outstanding cast and crew of the Annisquam Village Players for once again creating a fabulously wonderful summer theatre event. The cast is stellar, the production flawless, and every act left you wondering, how can they top that! The children in the audience were especially mesmerized, rooting audibly for Peter Pan (played by the tremendously talented Elliot Davis), and grumbling loudly at the villainous and hilarious Captain Hook (featuring Rick Gadbois). Three Cheers and a Standing Ovation for All!!!

It was a joy to see families working together both behind the scenes and performing on stage, including the funny, fun, and talented Rousmaniere’s Will, Charlie, Julia, and Jack (Dana, when will we see you on stage?); the always entertaining Rick Gadbois with his beautiful and accomplished daughter Sofia (what stage presence!); and the charming Think Pink Flamingo, Lidi Sands, with her adorable son, Baby Rabbit Alex Sands.

With an extra special shout out to Terry and Mary for their superb direction and casting, Krisitna for her beautiful choral direction, to Chicki and her crew for yet another year of ingenious sets, to Deej Viau for brilliant choreography, and to Cem Uslu and orchestra for exquisite music. And with a special note of appreciation to Linette and her helpers for their always kind assistance to all.

An extra, extra shout out goes to costume designer Hanna Anderson and the very adroit costume committee for their utterly fantastic ensembles. Every costume was pitch perfect and beautifully executed. Hanna grew up in Annisqaum and now lives in Boston. She is only 21 years old. We’ll be saying—we knew her when…

And, to AVP’s newest stage manager, GREAT JOB Deb Michel!

To read more about the history of the  Annisquam Village Players and how you can support their productions, visit the AVP website here.

From Neverland to The Village Church ~ Peter’s Pan’s Music Director CEM OSLU Performing at the Annisquam Village Church!

Cem Oslu portraitAdobe Photoshop PDF

Hard on the heels of a brilliant stint as Music Director of the Annisquam Village Players’ production of “Peter Pan,” 21-year-old Turkish pianist Cem Oslu turns his talents to a mostly classical concert at the Annisquam Village Church, Sunday, August 17. Pushing the ivories in another direction is nothing new for this young prodigy. Born in 1992 in Adana, Turkey, Oslu started his music education with piano lessons at age 12. In only a year, he had won a full scholarship to Bilkent University’s Faculty of Music and Performing Arts where, for five years, he had the opportunity to study with Sanem Berkalp, Hande Dalkilic, Karl-Andreas Kolly, Oxana Yablonskaya, Edna Golandsky and Olga Kern.

In 2009, Oslu was awarded Third Prize in the Kamuran Gundemir Piano Competition, and later that year performed the Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor with the Bilkent Sypmhonic Orchestra (the Turkish “BSO,” in Ankara), conducted by Isin Metin. He was also invited to perform in the 10th Antalya International Piano Competition and at the Musica Mundi International Chamber Music Festival in Belgium. In 2010, he performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Bursa Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ahmet Taviloglu. Later that year he was accepted to Vienna Conservatory where he studied for two years.

At Berklee College of Music, Oslu’s concentration has been Film Scoring and Electronic Production & Design. In 2013 he was awarded First Prize in the MTNA (Music Teacher’s National Association) Compositions Competition on both state and regional levels, and Second Prize at the national level.

Oslu moves to Los Angeles in September, with film work in his sights. Terry Sands, Director of the Annisquam Village Players, says, “Peter Pan might have stayed a boy forever…but Cem Oslu has already hit 21, and we’re going to say ‘We heard him when…’ He’s got a great future ahead of him, and we were lucky to get such a talent for our play. This concert will be cream on the top!”

The concert will include piano music of Bach, Chopin, Schumann, and Scriabin. Oslu promises to play a bit of Turkish music on the harpsichord (with its buff stop imitating the sound of the oud!), and a composition of his own, as well. The historic Annisquam Village Church is at 820 Washington Street in Gloucester (corner of Washington and Leonard Streets). General admission is at the door only: $15. / Students $10. One performance: Sunday, August 17.

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WHAT: Piano classics, and original compositions by Turkish prodigy, Cem Oslu

WHERE: Annisquam Village Church, 820 Washington Street, Gloucester

WHEN: Sunday, August 17, 7:30 PM

TICKETS: At the door only $15 / $10. Students

INFORMATION: 978.283.6416 or 978.281.0376

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