GLOUCESTER STAGE TALK BACK WITH THE CAST, DIRECTOR, AND AUTHOR OF “FLIGHT OF THE MONARCH” AND KIM SMITH


On Sunday, September 17th, I am excited to say I will be joining the stellar cast, director, and author of Gloucester Stage Company’s current show “Flight of the Monarch” for a Talk Back. The Talk Backs are super fun and interesting events held at least once during a show’s run where audiences are invited to ask questions of the players. In attendance will be Jeff Ziinn, the director; Jim Frangione, the play’s author; Nancy Carroll, the lead actress who plays Shelia Callaghan; and Tucker Smith, the lead actor who plays Thomas Callaghan. I have been asked to join to answer any questions folks may have about Monarch butterflies and this year’s migration. The Talk Back is at 4:00pm and held in the theatre. Anyone is welcome to come, whether or not you have seen the show, so please do come! 

Monarchs, honey bees, and many species of butterflies and bees love the nectar rich florets of Bull Thistle. Monarch coming in for a landing at Eastern Point, Gloucester. 

Son of a Gun We Had Big Fun | scenes from #CapeAnnBigBand summer concert at Gloucester’s famous UU Church

WOW! Son of a gun we had big fun on Middle Street Friday September 8, 2017.

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There was an ensemble mix from Cape Ann Big Band self dubbed ‘Jambalaya Horns’ at Gloucester’s famous UU Church for the last Friday Night concert of this popular summer series.  “Music on Meetinghouse Green” passed the hat for the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation (GMF) fire sprinkler project, part of the UU restoration efforts.

 

Middle Street was alive with the sounds of New Orleans thanks to the Cape Ann Big Band players: 
Gary Wolsieffer – Tuba/bass
Carlos Menezes Jr. – Saxes/Vocals

Zach Gorrell – Keys/Saxes
Rick Geraghty – Drums/Vocals
Jon Persson – Trumpet
Tom Bones – Trombone
Joe Wilkins – Guitar/Vocals

Anthony Rocco – Trumpet/Vocals

sound snippet solos:

Jon Persson trumpet (9 sec)

 

Zach Gorrell sax (19 sec)

 

Joe Wilkins guitar (13 secs)

 

I missed hearing the students from Gloucester’s O’Maley Innovation Middle School jamming with the Cape Ann Big Band. Carlos Menezes has to be among the coolest school music directors in the country.

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There was a soccer game at Gloucester High School, a short walk and many pleasant route options away. I marvel at Gloucester’s amazing public spaces.

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About the concert series
FREE! “Nine Friday Nights. Nine Great Outdoor Concerts to benefit nine local non-profits.” 
Mayor Romeo Theken likes to remind everyone that “There’s always something going on in Gloucester!” including all the free performances for most every Gloucester Summer NightGloucester MA Free Outdoor Performances Daily…

Gloucester Fresh Shines in Newburyport

Gloucester Fresh Shines in Newburyport

Newburyport- Under a starlit sky at the Sea to Table Dinner, chefs from seven Newburyport restaurants prepared local seafood dishes featuring local landed species such as red fish, skate, monkfish, whiting, and more. Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken  talked with guests from all backgrounds about recipes for “underutilized” or “lesser known” species. Fishermen Al Cottone, John Sanfilippo and Paul Vitale made presentations to the 100+ attendees on locally caught species. The Mayor invited participating Gloucester restaurants and seafood markets to buy from Gloucester Seafood Processors. The only change was that the dinner was not in Gloucester, but in Newburyport.

The City of Gloucester was invited by the Custom House Maritime Museum to collaborate on a special culinary event featuring Gloucester businesses, local fishermen, and seafood. All the Gloucester fish was donated. The Sea to Table Dinner was a unique opportunity for the Gloucester Fresh campaign to expand its partnerships across Cape Ann. Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and her administration worked closely with the Event Chairman Ken Jackman and his Sea to Table event team to introduce guests to the dining possibilities of Gloucester seafood while also helping support the Custom House Maritime Museum.

“The City of Gloucester was proud to support the Sea to Table Dinner with Gloucester Fresh seafood. By utilizing fresh and local seafood we are not only providing delicious and healthy food to consumers, but also supporting your community,” said Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “We are also excited for any opportunity to introduce our Gloucester businesses to a wider audience.”

The Sea to Table Dinner proved to be another example of power of regional collaboration in Massachusetts. The City of Gloucester is proud to be working with Newburyport Mayor Holaday on important initiatives that highlight small businesses, non-profits in our respective cities.

In 2015 the City of Gloucester launched the Gloucester Fresh Seafood branding campaign. The campaign supports “America’s oldest fishing port” by bringing new attention to the many fish markets available that supply local fresh seafood. The program helps local fishermen, some of whom are fifth and sixth generation, and markets that have a long tradition of providing quality fresh fish, shellfish and value-added seafood products. In 2017 Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken launched the Gloucester Fresh Restaurant program which highlights restaurants, fish markets and seafood processors who sell Gloucester landed fresh seafood to their customers. More information can be found at http://www.gloucesterfresh.com.

THANKS TO KEN WHITTAKER AND GLOUCESTER’S PIPING PLOVER VOLUNTEER TEAM

A huge thank you once again to our city’s conservation agent Ken Whittaker and the amazing team of Piping Plover volunteers who, with their kind dedication, helped one little chick survive Gloucester’s busiest of beaches.

Ken met recently with some of the volunteers, to review ideas and suggestions for next year, and to give volunteers thanks, as well as the fun caps pictured above. Left to right; Chris,  Ken, Carol, and Hazel.

Little Piping Plover Chick Three Days Old

Does the #MBTA new design for the #Annisquam River bridge look like a prison tower to you?

MBTA Gloucester bridge sim

The tower and the scale of the concrete column brought to mind the opening scenes of Dr. Zhivago with Alec Guinness looking for his niece. Here’s a TCM film clip to give you some idea of what I mean despite cutting off right before the pan up to the guard tower.

Dr Z still

 

Here’s how the Annisquam bridge looks today.

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Mostly great gorgeous marsh.

Its scale suits the site and often disappears. American artist Edward Hopper painted a close up in 1923.

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There are four significant Edward Hopper artworks that are related to the commuter train he took from NYC to Gloucester, MA. I sent the images to Fay Spofford & Thorndike for their reference as in my professional experience any architects and engineers that I’ve worked with were keen on historic links. They couldn’t have known this one. Until I corrected the records in 2011, the Hopper watercolor was misattributed as an unidentified landscape, likely Maine or Massachusetts. It’s definitely Massachusetts–the Annisquam River train bridge in Gloucester, MA, to be precise. If you live here, you know that scene by heart. Hopper captured most every gateway to Gloucester. A 2012 photograph by Allegra Boverman reporting on bridge damage for the Gloucester Daily Times, zoomed in just so, helped me illustrate the match.

Catherine Ryan identifying Edward Hopper Annisquam River Bridge

I also shared the exciting Hopper news and connections with then Mayor Kirk, community development, Senator Tarr, the Gloucester Daily Times, and the Boston Globe. I wasn’t speaking to them about the design as I felt the state and the architects and engineers would be on that.

I have no idea when that distinct yellow shack–a mini me Cape Ann motif– was no longer there: perhaps it could be recreated, or a nod to the A Piatt Andrew bridge could be referenced with some planning? Maybe some of the diagonals of the old structure, or some other New England elements at the abutment sides could be incorporated into the design?

A couple of years later, I found an old Good Morning Gloucester post by Fredrik D. Bodin. There’s no mistaking that two level shack! I wish I could have spoken with him about the Curtis photograph.

a8767_017wm FRED BODIN little yellow house motif like and new england building on right

I don’t suggest that the treacherous bridge needs to be “preserved” or want to impede progress.  However, if there is a small way that the design can tip its hat to Hopper, Gloucester, New England…why not? It is a landmark, a beacon for Cape Ann.  It’s very exciting that the project is going out to bid. I hope the winning firm mitigates the design to temper any possible prison comparison. Leave the pier-column design but adjust the tower? Can it be both structurally sound and inspiring?

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