Jul 082017
 

More than 10 traditional, quaint, and eclectic gardens are on display today until 4pm as part of the self-guided Garden Stroll hosted by the Salem Garden Club. These can be found within the private gardens of the McIntire Historic District. Also included in the tour is a stroll through the beautiful Ropes Mansion Garden.

Currently it is sunny, slightly breezy 80 degrees in Salem, perfect weather to walk amongst the flowers and as a side perk, get up close to the historical architecture to be found in the McIntire District, which encompasses an area with more than 300 historic structures. It is named after architect Samuel McIntire and includes living examples of his work including “magnificent sea captains’ houses as well as humble workers’ cottages.”

Most of these homes are privately owned and not open to the public, so don’t step on the grass and don’t look into the windows!

The tour is a fund raiser which will benefit many Salem civic projects which include:
the planting and maintenance of the Washington Street traffic island;
• the plantings of the City Hall window boxes;
• the plantings at the Blue Star Memorial on Hawthorne Boulevard;
• providing monthly flower arrangement at the Salem Public Library;
• an annual scholarship awarded to a deserving Salem High School senior.

Complimentary refreshments of lemonade and cookies will be served to strollers along the route. Local musicians and artists will be featured in several gardens. These private gardens are not handicapped accessible. Pets and carriages are not permitted.

Tickets are $20 and available at First Church, 316 Essex Street, Salem, MA. For additional info including tickets, parking and specific details visit: SalemGardenClub.com.

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Jun 132017
 

Bridget Bishop and a few of her friends stop by the Salem Farmers’ Market

Is Bridget Bishop still relevant, over 300 years since her infamous witch trial? We would say so, considering that the interactive play, Cry Innocent, chronicling that trial is now celebrating its 25th anniversary of entertaining, educating, and engaging tourists & residents alike in Salem. To mark the event, an activity-filled weekend is planned for June 16-18 (what would an event be in Salem if it wasn’t a weekend festival?).

Kristina Wacome Stevick, President and Artistic Director, History Alive, Inc. which has produced the play since its inception, explains, “There are a lot of activities lined up to celebrate the anniversary, from stagecraft workshops and readings of new work, to a community vintage dance, to a night of Moth-style storytelling, to a big, fancy party. We wanted to celebrate the talents and current work of generations of performers, have a way to say thank you to the City of Salem and to Salem business and non-profits, to reminisce and help people know what we envision for the future.”

That “big, fancy party” she refers to involves a meal, specialty cocktails, awards, comedy, vision-casting, and live music & dancing at Ames Memorial Hall, Saturday, June 17th. Doors open at 6:30pm for cocktails and “mingling.” Dinner (by Chive Sustainable Catering) and entertainment at 7pm. Hosted by Erik Rodenhiser, the gla will feature stand-up by Will Martin, a docu-short by In The Car, storytelling awards presented by Mark Stevick, dance calling by Alex Edwards, and more.

For ticket information and the full schedule go to http://cryinnocentsalem.com/silverjubilee.

But, what has kept the play vibrant for 25 years? Let’s start with the introduction:

“The year is 1692. Bridget Bishop has been accused of witchcraft and YOU are on the Puritan jury. Hear the historical testimonies, cross-examine the witnesses and decide the verdict. Is Bridget Bishop capable of witchcraft? Play your part in history…”

And with those few words, the performers in the History Alive! troupe stepped out onto the streets of Salem to bring to life not only the trial but a living immersion into the mind set of people from the time period. Why did they say what they did? How could they think that way? Witches? Demons?

Wacome Stevick says, “I think History Alive’s–in particular Cry Innocent’s— longevity can, in part, be attributed to the variety involved. Because the audience takes on a role, every show is different. The actors also play multiple characters. This keeps a show that performs around 1,000 shows a year fresh for everybody. Also, we have wonderful people that are truly dedicated to learning as much and sharing as much as they can. They keep the show interesting for each other and themselves because they have a hunger to include new information.”

Speaking of information, we asked Kristina to share one of the most unusual elements of the play they have seen over the past 25 years.

“Meeting descendants of the accusers and the accused, who come to the show, hear the words their ancestors spoke and get to interact as a Puritan jury with the actors speaking those words and ideas is probably one of the most moving experiences of doing Cry Innocent,” she responded.

“Often descendants expect to be ashamed to admit that their ancestors brought testimony against Bridget Bishop– testimony that ultimately led to her execution. However, one of the main exercises of the show is to try to get into the heads of both the accused and the accusers in the time and the culture that THEY were living in. When that is done with the kind of open mindedness and humility that one should exercise when visiting any unfamiliar culture, descendants often walk away feeling more understanding and forgiving of their ancestors.

This doesn’t mean that executing accused witches wasn’t a horrible mistake, but that we come to the decision to send Bridget Bishop to trial (or not) with more empathy to all involved. Hopefully that understanding can lend some perspective to whatever our current concerns are. We’re always better entering a situation not assuming that we know everything about it and the people involved.”

Duration of Cry Innocent is 45 minutes. The outdoor arrest scene begins approximately 15 minutes prior. During the show, the audience may step into roles of Puritan jurors. Kids and adults alike question the accusers, examine property, read advice to the court and vote on the outcome.

For more information on Cry Innocent performances this season, check out the website.

(History Alive! after 23 years under Gordon College’s organizational umbrella became its own entity, History Alive, Inc., on August 1, 2014)

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Apr 232017
 

Poetry is a bouquet, and just as a bouquet of flowers may be filled with colors, shapes, and scents, so to is a poem a blend of words, rhythms, and sounds. This will be evident May 5-7th when the 9th annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival welcomes many of America’s most admired poets to a celebration of Massachusetts’ lively contemporary poetry scene in historic downtown Salem, MA

The Mass Poetry Festival offers nearly 100 poetry readings and workshops, a small press and literary fair, panels, poetry slams, and open-air readings. Panel topics range broadly from The State of Poetry, poetry and gender, poetry and aging, book publishing, and children’s poetry.

Of special note, on Friday, May 5, MPF will host a “Student Day of Poetry” in which 300 high school students from across the Commonwealth study with acclaimed poets and instructors to discover their own unique voice.

Throughout the weekend, you are also invited to absorb the thoughts and expressions of acclaimed poets such as: Pulitzer-prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Glück, Guggenheim fellow Eileen Myles, Kazim Ali, Andrea Cohen, Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic, Ross Gay, Rigoberto González, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Emily Pettit, Tom Sleigh, and Dara Wier.

For a full breakdown of the schedule go to the MPF site.

As example of the diversity:

Friday from 1:15- 2:15pm at Old Town Hall (second floor) 32 Derby Square, a relatively new genre of music known as Post Rock will be combined with poetry and in so doing create “Post Rock Poetry.” Grounded in 1980’s and 90’s indie rock music, it is primarily instrumental, guitar, base, drums, and keyboard, with few lyrics. Typically, post rock pieces are lengthy and may contain, “… repetitive build ups of timbre, dynamics and texture.” (Wikipedia, 9/11/2016.) Because Post Rock seldom has lyrics, it lends itself to the creation of Post Rock Poetry that can explore the quest for a peace, understanding, and rising above hostilities and misfortune. In short, it rings with hope.

Then Friday evening, two of the finest poets writing today— the award-winning Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil— will present from 7:30–9 p.m. in the Atrium of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Saturday afternoon will feature a musical performance by Cornelius Eady and his band Rough Magic, blending poetry and music at the Peabody Essex Museum. Headline poets Andrea Cohen, Tom Sleigh, Kazim Ali, and Rigoberto González will read throughout the day at the Peabody Essex Museum, celebrating the diversity and common threads among us all.

Saturday evening will feature award-winning poet and novelist Eileen Myles, 7:30–9 p.m. at The Bridge at 211. After her reading, she will be interviewed by WBUR’s celebrated host Christopher Lydon. Eileen Myles demonstrates the extraordinary possibilities of poetry to reveal the personal and political experiences of American life.

Venues

  • Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex Street
  • Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square
  • Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square
  • Museum Place Mall, 1 E India Square Mall, New Liberty Charter School, Rooms 1-4 (on second floor)
  • The Bridge at 211 (Universalist Unitarian Church), 211 Bridge St
  • Howling Wolf, 76 Lafayette Street

From the beginning, the goals of Mass Poetry have been to “support poets and poetry in Massachusetts, to build new audiences for poetry, and to make poetry more accessible for those who need it most—often those who have the least access to it.” By bringing it to the streets and venues in Salem Ma, accessible to residents and visitors, the poetic bouquet of words, rhythms, and sounds can be enjoyed by so many more. You are invited to be among them.

Admission is $20, and $7 for students & seniors; an additional $10 service fee is charged for all workshops.

For additional info on The Massachusetts Poetry Festival, contact January Gill O’Neil at january@masspoetry.org.

(Photo courtesy of Creative Salem)

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Apr 082017
 

Local food, fashion, drink, dancing, and fun await you April 14th as you are invited to attend the fourth annual Salem Arts Festival Fashion Show Fundraiser in support of one of Salem’s greatest festivals (we refer of course to The 9th annual Salem Arts Festival which will be held June 2nd to 4th, 2017)!

The Fashion Show gets bigger and better every year, and it’s really the perfect way to introduce the dynamic, locally-focused energy behind the Arts Festival,” says Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets (SMS), the community non-profit organization which oversees the Festival. “The need for financial support is critical for the success of the festival, which annually welcomes over 5,000 attendees to downtown Salem over the first weekend in June.  We are committed to keeping the festival free and open to the public, but we’re also committed to paying our artists – that means we need to raise some substantial funds.”

The event will be held upstairs at the beautiful and historic Old Town Hall at 32 Derby Square, this year with a record-breaking number of boutiques.

The Fashion Show annually highlights a growing number of local boutiques – including Avalanche, Beach Bride Baubles, The Boutique, Curtsy, Emporium 32, J. Mode, Lifebridge’s Second Chance Thrift Shop, Modern Millie Vintage & Consignments, Ocean Chic Boutique & Waterbar, the Peabody Essex Museum Shop, re-find and re-find men’s, and RJ Coins and Jewelry, with professional stylist Lisa Ann Schraffa Santin on hand. Make up will be provided by the fabulous artists from Laura Lanes Skin Care, Rouge Cosmetics, Radiance Aveda, Arbonne by Roz, and Victoria Crisp, with hair styling by Bella Hair Studios and My Barber Shop.

Karen Scalia of Salem Food Tours is the mastermind behind all fashion show logistics and staging, and Creative Salem serves as the show’s media partner – locals know that means it’s going to be an amazing night. Attendees can additionally expect some fantastic outside-the-box accoutrements from local creative genius Grace & Diggs, a photo booth with Creative Salem, and mind-blowing lighting by Retonica. Food by Ferreira Foods, drinks by North Shore Bartending, dancing with DJ Seth, and a great raffle will make the evening complete!

Advance tickets are $25 per person with a cash bar, with $40 VIP tickets available for an assigned seat on the catwalk and a free thank you treat. Tickets purchased the day of the event are $30, with $45 for VIP seats – but this event has sold out the past two years, so we don’t recommend waiting!

Purchase tickets over the phone at 978-744-0004 x115, in person at 265 Essex Street (Salem Main Streets), or online at https://salem-main-streets.ticketleap.com/fashion-2017. Proceeds directly benefit the Salem Arts Festival.

About the Salem Arts Festival

This popular free event features over 100 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. The family-friendly event also includes an artisan street fair, art-making activities for all ages, and a temporary community-created public art installation.  The Festival is run by Salem Main Streets in collaboration with a team of dedicated volunteers, including representatives from Creative Salem, Salem State University, the Peabody Essex Museum, and more. The Salem Arts Festival is supported in part by the City of Salem and a grant from the Salem Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

(Photo credit to Creative Salem)

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Aug 202016
 

SJSFDiversity of entertainment is what you will find this weekend in Salem Ma. Summer may be ending, but we won’t let it go quietly. No, not “quietly.” The air will be filled and flowing with music. There also will be A LOT to see as the 10th Salem Jazz and Soul Festival is set for today & Sunday, from 11am to 7pm.

Rain or shine, the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival has delivered and will deliver again funk, soul and jazz — live & free of charge to overflow crowds of Salem residents & visitors at our Salem Willows, an area uniquely qualified to be hosting the event, as you will learn during this great SJSF Public Service Announcement produced by Salem Access TV.

Saturday, August 20th

  • Salem High School Jazz Band
  • What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?
  • Austin Torpedoes
  • BT/ALC BIG BAND
  • The Nth Power

Sunday, August 21st

  • North Shore Jazz Project All Stars
  • Edmar Colon
  • Jen Kearney
  • Tim Gearan
  • Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers

Interested? The full descriptions of these performers are so extensive and so diverse, that they require a page onto themselves.

From beginners to veterans and musical stylists in between, there will be something musically happening throughout these two days of the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival to keep you moving.

The SJSF is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that produces free concerts and raises money for music education causes on the North Shore.

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