Category Archives: Art

Deborah Cramer bird watch report: Piping plovers, oyster catcher, red knots sandpipers

Deborah Cramer update related to the Narrow Edge GMG post:

“Piping plovers are also on Coffin’s Beach, an oyster catcher has come into Essex Bay, and in a few weeks, and right now the red knots are up in the Arctic nesting.  They’ll be heading back later this summer, and some will pause to refuel in Essex Bay.”

 

David Eliot Gould’s 1895 entry on piping plovers reads like the summer of 2016:

“From many of its resorts along the Atlantic Coast, where in former days it was most abundant, it has been driven by the advance of fashion and the influx of the summer’s passing population, until it is now found chiefly on the more retired parts of the coast where it is most free from molestation.”  

I’ve added the illustration. The artist, “Ernest” Sheppard, illustrated scientific and natural history, primarily birds, including History of North American Birds in 1874.  He was on the staff of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia; in 1969 he was one member of the 3 man ornithological committee of the Academy that pleaded for more funding and care in their department. So, what did they ask for “to ensure the preservation of the best collection of birds on the continent, and, with one exception, the largest in the world” ?

First they recounted recent acquisitions such as a rare egg of the Great Auk. Then they explained that the repository required more funding,  space, display,  inventory systems, and conservation (a tricky endeavor with these specimens.) Insects were on the warpath! Poison was effective.

The 2016 restoration of the Civil War coat and display options may resonate.

Sheppard

illustration from the 1895 book by David Eliot Gould, North American Shore Birds; a history of the snipes, sandpipers, plovers and their allies, inhabiting the beaches and marshes, illustration by Edwin Sheppard.

 

From the ornithological committee’s submission to the annual report, excerpted from Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Volume 21, 1869

1869 PA Academy

 

 

 

 

AMERICAN FLAG FOLK ART AND WHIMSY

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

American Flag Folk Art Kendall Hotel copyright Kim Smith

American Flag Folk Art detail Kendall Hotel copyright Kim SmithDetail: the stars are made of folded vintage photographs. 

My friend Charlotte Forsythe has decorated the hotel that she co-owns with her husband Gerald Fandetti, The Kendall Hotel, with an unerring eye for beauty and whimsy, and all displayed with a sophisticated charm and wit. The Kendall is a restored firehouse located in the heart of the MIT area of Cambridge (Google offices are just across the street). Charlotte scours flea markets, art exhibits, and antique shows across the country for American folk art.

American Flag Folk Art -1 Kendall Hotel copyright Kim Smith

American Flag Folk Art -2 Kendall Hotel copyright Kim Smith

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Author Deborah Cramer asks were there plentiful horseshoe crabs in Gloucester? Leads to Winslow Homer, John Bell, and Cher Ami

Deborah Cramer thanks Good Morning Gloucester for mentioning her book and asks for photographs and stories about horseshoe crabs, otherwise known as the nearly scene stealing co-stars from her inspiring book on sandpipers, The Narrow Edge.

“I’m in the midst of a project right now trying to uncover the almost forgotten history of the whereabouts of horseshoe crabs in Gloucester.  I’ve heard some fantastic stories, like one from a man who used to go down to Lobster Cove after school and find horseshoe crabs so plentiful he could fill a dory. Do you think there’s a value to putting up a few pictures on GMG and asking people to send in their recollections of beaches, coves where they used to see them in abundance?”

We do. Please send in photos or stories if you have them about horseshoe crabs in Gloucester or the North Shore for Deborah Cramer’s project. Write in comments below and/or email cryan225@gmail.com

Here’s one data point. Look closely at this 1869 Winslow Homer painting. Can you spot the horseshoe crabs? Can you identify the rocks and beach?

Winslow Homer Rocky Coast and Gulls (manchester)

Winslow Homer, Rocky Coast and Gulls, 1869, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, installed in room #234 with so many other Homers (Fog Warning, All’s Well, Driftwood, …)

zoomed into horseshoe crabs (detail )

(zoomed into horseshoe crabs)

cr 2015 mfa

 

While reading The Narrow Edge, and looking at Kim Smith’s Piping Plover photographs, I thought about Raid on a Sand Swallow Colony (How Many Eggs?) 1873 by Homer and how some things change while much remains the same.When my sons were little, they were thrilled with the first 1/3 or so of Swiss Family Robinson.  As taken as they were with the family’s ingenuity, adventure, and tree house–they recoiled as page after page described a gorgeous new bird, promptly shot. They wouldn’t go for disturbing eggs in a wild habitat. The title ascribed to this Homer, perhaps the eager query from the clambering youngest boy, feels timeless. Was the boys’ precarious gathering sport, study, or food? What was common practice with swallows’ eggs in the 1860s and 70s? Homer’s birds are diminutive and active, but imprecise. Homer sometimes combined place, figures, subject and themes. One thing is clear: the composition, line and shadow are primed and effective for an engraving.

 

Homer watercolor 1873

Harper’s Weekly published the image on June 13, 1875. Artists often drew directly on the edge grain of boxwood and a master engraver (Lagrade in this case) removed the wood from pencil and wash lines.

Winslow Homer

 

2016. Wingaersheek dunes and nests 140+ years later.

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Besides Homer, Deborah’s book had me thinking about Chris Leahy, where I first heard about the history of Ma Audubon and our state’s bragging rights. It had me dig out photographs of a visit to Harvard where reproductions of the dodo and auk skeletons made us as sad as Swiss Family Robinson, and to wonder about Deborah Dickson’s documentary on sculptor Todd McGrain, which I haven’t seen yet.

 

“Gone and nearly forgotten in extinction, the Labrador Duck, the Great Auk, the Heath Hen, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Passenger Pigeon leave holes not just in the North American landscape but in our collective memories. Moved by their stories, sculptor Todd McGrain set out to create memorials to the lost birds—to bring their vanished forms back into the world.”

I must thank Deborah Cramer for another Gloucester prompt. Last year while visiting Mass Moca for business, I happened upon the ECLIPSE exhibit by Elizabeth Kolbert, the New Yorker writer, in collaboration with the duo, Sayler/Morris. It was a gorgeous, elegiac passenger pigeon multi-media tribute. Coincidentally it was Earth Day. I immediately wrote John Bell, because he had spoken with me about Gloucester’s Cher Ami, which I promised to write about.

Does anyone remember Cher Ami and homing pigeons of Gloucester? Let me know.

For more on Deborah Cramer, and to listen to her being interviewed by Meghna Chakrabarti, please continue:

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Ultimate whale watching out of Gloucester MA and lunch at 1606 Beauport

From Ship

July 4th weekend started early. We spent the morning on Stellwagen thanks to 7 Seas Whale Watch. The main spotting was incredible: Hancock and Shuffleboard, two female humpbacks, were feeding together. Alongside us reaching for railings were folks from Chelmsford, Boston, Boulder, Sweden, Germany, and Spain. The World Wildlife fund and many other ‘top’ lists rank Massachusetts as one of the top 10 whale watching cruise spots available in the world. Locals know that it’s Gloucester that’s the ultimate place to buy that whale watch ticket. We have the best whale watch companies with marine biologists and researchers on board and decades of research and authority in the field. Michelle B led the trip today. She’s awesome.

You can direct dial ALL the Gloucester whale watching companies from the HarborWalk whale marker. The “belle of the bay”, Salt,  is featured on the plaque. We didn’t see her today but boats have seen her again this summer.

to Ship Shape

Back in port, everyone fanned out to downtown Gloucester. We met friends at the very packed Beauport Hotel, happy to be seated for a late lunch. Sherrie DeLorenzo was on site making sure things were buttoned down. They were. (My photo wasn’t. Sorry, Sherrie!) The concierge dynamo Chris and crew Emily were a visible and valuable resource right in the heart of the lobby. Lunch was delicious and the service was excellent. The adage a great waiter never waits was true today. Ask for Faith! Beauport is at capacity for Sunday.

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whale watch companies

Marine guide Michelle B,  Seven Seas Whale Watch 

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Chris Hovack and Emily – Beauport Hotel 

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Piping Plover fans: Local author Deborah Cramer on sandpipers is a must read. Oh, and Dogs vs.

Gloucester. Page one. Paragraph one.

From Deborah Cramer’s exceptional book, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and Epic Journey:

“I used to go down to the edge of the creek near my home in Gloucester, Massachusetts, to look for spawning horseshoe crabs, their unfailing arrival sign that a hard winter was turning to spring. There were never very many; at most I’d find six or eight…”

“At the turn of the 19th century, hunters shot at least 5 million ibis, heron, and snowy, reddish and great egrets every year, taking their beautiful cascading plumage to adorn the hats of fashionable women. The nation’s first Audubon societies, the American Ornithological Union, and legislation prohibiting the hunting of migratory birds were born from this excess. Aristocratic Boston socialite Harriet Lawrence Hemenway found the carnage appalling. Over tea with her cousin Minna B. Hall, these mothers of conservation, poring over the Boston Blue Book with its list of Boston’s elite, enlisted 900 women of wealth and power to boycott feathered hats and formed the Massachusetts Audubon Society. The gorgeous birds are still with us.  Often, on an early autumn day, when the marsh by my home is turning a golden yellow and the air and water are still warm, I paddle by 20, 30, sometimes 50 or 60 or even 100 snowy egrets standing in the golden grass. Their absence now would leave a quieter, sadder landscape.” (p.26)

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The tugging your heart set-up:

Among them were a few thousand russet-colored sandpipers, red knots. They raced along the shore, frantically grabbing scattered horseshoe eggs. Where had the knots come from that they were so desperately hungry? And how could a diet of tiny eggs, each the size of a pinhead, take them where they were going? They wasted no time: they’d flown more than 7,500 miles to get here, and in two weeks, they’d be flying 2000 more. And that was only half their journey…” p.2

On birds vs. people, joggers, dogs

“Nearby in Rio Grande, Argentina, where Harrington and Morrison found their largest concentration of knots more than 35 years ago, the birds are disappearing. By 2012 only 300 remained—a staggering loss of 94 percent. Rio Grande, growing out toward the sea and the edges of the Rio Grande River, crowded out the birds, leaving them fewer places to roost. They feed amid congestion, constantly interrupted by the commotion of off-road vehicles, dogs and people. Forced to take flight repeatedly, they lose precious refueling time. Minutes lost during one ebb tide on one day accumulate into hour upon hour as the season continues. So many times I’d walk the beaches at home, unconsciously flushing flocks of sandpipers at the tide line, taking pleasure as they circled out over the water and then landed farther down the beach, never thinking that disturbing them might make a difference.” Guilty.

New Jersey being nice:

One of the greatest challenges for knots is on their home ground. Niles began his career working for the State of New Jersey, helping acquire land to protect shorebirds. Today, long stretches of New Jersey bay beaches and wetlands are protected wildlife refuges. In the spring, the state closes most bay beaches for a few weeks when horseshoe crabs are spawning and shorebirds are feeding. ATVs, dogs, and throngs of bathers frighten the birds, who don’t always return and then can’t find the food they need. Before shorebirds arrive and after they depart, the beaches are open, but during May and early June, tape is strung across the entrances. Signs explain why. I have to admit that after driving to three closed beaches and wistfully gazing at long stretches of sand I couldn’t walk, I was tempted to duck under the tape. Instead, I accompanied a  couple of local anglers who, like me, were making their way up the coast looking for a beach. They were hoping to catch mullet for lunch. Longtime residents, they understood and accepted the closures. A 2013 study of compliance at New Jersey beach closures found that most people cooperate with and support them, with cooperation lowest among some joggers and dog walkers, who proceeded onto the beach anyway.” (p.80)

Don’t miss Kim Smith’s gorgeous Piping Plover Good Harbor Beach coverage. We’ve gone many mornings  with binoculars and cameras. Don’t bother–nothing matches her series! I’ll add in links.

https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/dog-owner-trouble-at-good-harbor-beach-why-it-is-not-a-good-idea-to-ignore-federal-laws/

https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/first-look-beautiful-good-harbor-beach-piping-plovers/

 

 

Announcement for the novel, “In the Shadow of Light”

ClaireAlemian-1 - Copy

Author Claire (Tebo) Alemian, formerly from Gloucester, will release her new novel, “In the Shadow of Light” on June 27th.  “In the Shadow of Light” takes place in Gloucester during 1960s.

The story is told through the eyes of Ramona Newton as she looks back from midlife on her early years. By the time Ramona is fifteen, her mother has walked out, her father soon to follow, and she ends up at a place called the Far East, tending bar for Charlie Big and hustling pool to survive. The story reveals the period’s clash of generations and class divides, as well as the struggle for civil rights and the turmoil created by the Vietnam War.

Ultimately, it is a story about a woman in search of her true self and asks the question: Who do you become when everything that has meant the most to you is taken away? Readers entering Ramona’s world will travel alongside a young woman who is challenged, spirited and resilient, and who fights for survival against all odds while searching for the truth.

The novel may be purchased at the author’s website www.clairealemian.com as well as Amazon.com (hardcover & Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook only – search Claire Alemian In the Shadow of Light). Available at Apple iBooks within a week.

Claire will sign all hardcover orders that come in through her website or through Amazon.com

 

In the Shadow of Light

Gloucester Motif Monday: Lessons On the Water

Scenic spots for Gloucester’s beach swim lessons, part 1.

11:00am

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From Jeremy Nestor at the YMCA:

“Beach Swim lessons are offered at Niles Beach on Tuesdays and Plum Cove on Thursdays starting July 5th. The free to member classes give children the tools they need to be safe at the beaches this summer! If you are not a member do not worry. You can still register for the Beach Swim Lessons for $50. Ages 3-5 at 11:00 am and 6-10 at 11:45 am.”

beach swim lessons

Weekly sailing camp options for kids and adults are available from the City of Gloucester through the Cape Ann YMCA. I will add additional sailing options in a separate post.

From Jeremy Nestor:

“YMCA Sailing Camp is a great way to experience all the scenic views Gloucester has to offer from a boat. Kids will learn the essential to sailing and build skills to last them a lifetime. The Cape Ann YMCA partnered with the City of Gloucester to run this recreational sailing program. We also offer adult sailing lessons on Tuesday and Thursday evenings because you don’t have to be a kid to learn the fun of sailing!”

sailing camp 2016 flyer

HarborWalk Summer Cinema Poster

FREE movies on the jumbo screen hosted by the City of Gloucester through Cape Ann Community Cinema and thanks to three premier sponsors: Cape Ann Savings Bank, North Shore Community College and North Shore 104.9.

Individual movie nights are paired up with the support from these local businesses– some are repeat sponsors!

Grease will be shown with support from First Ipswich Bank and Doyon’s;

Finding Nemo is presented by Open Door;

Minions will be shown thanks to Toodeloos!;

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is presented by the Building Center;

and Inside Out from the Manchester Athletic Club.

Movies start July 13th!

http://www.ghwalk.org

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The Late Paul Frontiero Paintings for Sale

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The Late Paul Frontiero Paintings for Sale

I’ve received emails regarding my Dad’s Paintings and if they are for sale. Now that the weather is better I will be able to show them to anyone interested in purchasing. I have many left that are just sitting in the storage unit not being enjoyed. There are just so many that can hang on my walls. The sizes of the paintings range between 5″x7″ and up. The price range is $75.00 and up.

Here are some photos of some of the paintings that are available.
You can contact me by email at: Frontiero@hotmail.com

Frontiero@hotmail.com

 

 

Hidden Fiesta: Greasy Pole selfie

Not walking the greasy pole? No problem. Free self guided walking tour on the HarborWalk from your phone includes interactive photo ops. Pose at various prompts and pictures are sent to your phone.

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Group pose like this one where you and your friends can help carry the statue of St. Peter.

You can share your photos with gharborwalk@gmail.com

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Can you find Fiesta and the greasy pole? Birdseye view

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Clarence Birdseye had the perfect name!

Enjoy a birds-eye vista of Gloucester. The Fiesta at St. Peter’s is to the left of the new Beauport Hotel, the former site of Birdseye, and the Greasy Pole to the right. Finding Fiesta from the next birds-eye vantage point is a challenge, but if you have keen eyes…

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Look in this direction.

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Cape Ann Big Band jaw dropping O’Maley fundraiser

On June 17th, the last day of school, the classic 17 piece Cape Ann Big Band hosted a Spring/Summer Concert at the O’Maley Middle School, A Swing Extravaganza. Listen to some of the songs in the clip below! The band was formed in 2010. The band leader for this super professional, top-notch, sought after band is Carlos Menezes Jr. He just happens to be  the director of the O’Maley music department! Our students have access to astonishing and creative visual arts, performance,and music teachers.  The members of the Cape Ann Big Band, Gloucester Education Foundation, O’Maley Band Parent Organization, Captain Hooks, Supinos, Paula Burns, and others are making this music happen to inspire the kids in our community.”80% of all ticket sales went to help fund new instruments and band room renovations at the Middle School.” Plus Cape Ann Big Band announced during the concert that they are donating those sweet stands to the music department.

Just sayin’-  You can book the Cape Ann Big Band. http://www.cabbswings.com

Here’s two minutes of video snippets including classics Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and ‘S Wonderful with vocalist Katy Geraghty. You’ll hear a huge round of applause for Carlos Menezes Jr solo, and stunning vocals from Kate Barry, Scott Parisi and Nathan Seavey. I loved the rendition of “Me and Mrs. Jones”  the 1972 song by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Cary Gilbert. My phone battery died so I didn’t grab from that song. I also missed the O’Maley Jazz ensemble who played a big set of 10 songs with many solos. They were incredible. Next time you hear that the school band or Cape Ann Big Band are playing a gig make it a point to see them.

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The true one and only ‘Cat’ in Gloucester, Cat Barbagallo with the Sayess family, other parents and GEF helping out with fundraising.

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Overland cycles Essex Coastal Scenic Byway,Gloucester, Cape Ann

Overland employees from across the country  cycle together for a summer leadership trip. Looks like a great group. Overland is based in Williamstown, and cycling started in Salisbury. They camped at Cape Ann Camp Site (see where to stay Gloucester). Photo op at Wolf Hill while they had a quick water break.

from their website: “Overland offers adventurous summer experiences worldwide for 4th to 12th graders”

Happy travels! Thanks for riding in Gloucester! 20160622_103912.jpg

 

Pauline Bresnahan goes to the State House: Watch it live 1pm

Pauline

Congratulations, Pauline! She is one of the inspiring women to be honored today at the State House in the 13th Annual Unsung Heroines Award from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. Gloucester can watch it live on app Periscope at 1pm! This will be the first time the Unsung Heroines event is livestreaming, and the first time Pauline has been inside the State House.  

Open the Periscope app in your phone or tablet. Search for “MassCSW” 1pm live feed.

 

Boston Globe on Beauport, Biotech, Windover

“Fishing is going to be our heritage and first priority,” Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said. But she added, “We’re moving forward.”

Kathleen Conti describes Gloucester Biotechnology Academy and Beauport Hotel as meaningful catalysts. In addition to the Mayor’s quote, there are comments  and points of view shared by several: Sherri Zizik; Vito Giacalone; Gregory Verdine; Ken Riehl, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce (nice quote); Lee Dellicker, Winhover Construction (Beauport); George Marsh (architect Gloucester Biotechnology). Oh, and the former Mayor of New Bedford, John Bullard. chimes in.

Other new businesses downtown beyond this article include goodlinens opening July 1, Jane Deering Gallery on Pleasant Street, the new bicycle rental shop, and Tonno restaurant. And there’s a new gallery coming to Rocky Neck. More on that later!

 

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What if you welcome the morning like this surfer?

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They paddled beyond the breaking waves to stop and watch the sunrise.

Surf and awe (technically known as rapid peace- is a  lifestyle doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power of appreciation, and spectacular displays of force and beauty in nature)

Motif Monday.

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