Sep 192017
 

Now here is a scary good deal! Salem Horror Fest Opening Night Party at PEM/PM featuring Metal Macabaret will take place on the 3rd Friday of the month (that’s this Friday, Sept. 22nd at 6 pm) instead of the usual 3rd Thursday for PEM/PM.

Hauntingly inspired by the current Peabody Essex Museum Exhibition It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection, PEM teamed up with Salem Horror Fest to make an event that will make you tingle all over, from head to toe and through your bones!

The Salem Horror Fest, if you have been locked away in a dungeon, underground somewhere, is a four-week festival of fear (9/21-10/15) here in the Halloween-capital of the world! Screenings, exhibits, parties, concerts, guests & more!

PEM/PM Activities

Creepily create your own horror poster, dance demonly to beats by DJ Zombi and live tunes by Scary Mary and the Audio Corsette. Carve out some time to check out works by locals featured in the Women in Horror expo and enjoy a feature performance by M Lamar.

And the highlight of the evening: you won’t want to miss the 9 pm screening of Night of the Living Dead to kick off the Salem Horror Fest (separate ticket required).

This is THE ultimate big bash opening to the Halloween season!  But while costumes and masks will abound on the streets of Salem during our month-long Haunted Happenings celebration, the Peabody Essex Museum asks that for this event you refrain from any full-face makeup or masks in the museum for security reasons.

As with all PEM/PM events, it will also feature after-hours access to the museum galleries, interactive and art-focused experiences, an informal atmosphere including live music or DJ performances, tailored culinary offerings and a cash bar.

The goal is to present to the community multiple opportunities to interact with artists and performers, tinkerers and thinkers.

Members, as well as college students & Salem residents (with ID) will be admitted free of charge. For nonmembers, there is a $12 fee.

The PEM is located at East India Square, 161 Essex Street, Salem, MA. For more info, call 978-745-9500, or toll free 866-745-1876.

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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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May 292017
 

Art is good. Art is what you have at an arts fest. But the 9th annual Salem Arts Festival (to be held June 2-4th) is art and much, much more. This popular free family-friendly event will feature over 100 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. Public activities include onsite art-making for all ages, local artisan vendors selling their creations, and a community-built public art installation.

One of the most anticipated events this year is “Tidal Shift,” a collaborative public art project led by artist and architect Claudia Paraschiv of Salem Public Space Project, featuring an installation of plastic bag jellyfish over Front Street. During the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages have created hundreds of jellyfish as part of an initiative to help educate the community about the negative impacts of plastic bag usage and the City of Salem’s upcoming plastic bag reduction. A brief celebration and presentation of the “Tidal Shift” project will be included in the Friday night reception at 6:35 p.m.

This year, the Salem Arts Festival also celebrates the second “Mural Slam” on Artists’ Row, organized by the City of Salem’s Public Art Commission and Public Art Planner Deborah Greel. Murals will be painted throughout the weekend by 10 selected artists and will be completed by the end of the festival.

In addition, the Festival marks the return of vendors to Artists’ Row, with both new and returning tenants for the 2017 season.

Festival Specifics

The Salem Arts Festival kicks off with an opening reception at Salem’s Old Town Hall on Friday, June 2nd at 6 p.m.  The free event allows visitors to enjoy beautiful art work while being entertained by renowned local and regional performers Lindsay Straw, Dingonek Street Band, and headliners Grupo Fantasia.

The Festival takes place at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues in downtown Salem. Primary locations include Old Town Hall, Derby Square, Front Street, and Artists’ Row.  A Juried Art Show will be held in Old Town Hall throughout the Festival, with an artisan street fair in the area around the building on Saturday and Sunday.  Live performances will take place on Derby Square, Artists’ Row, and Front Street.

The Salem Arts Festival is rain or shine event; in case of inclement weather, performances will be moved into Old Town Hall.  Full schedule and programs will be available on site during the Festival, as well as the Festival website (www.salemartsfestival.com).

“There’s been a tremendous amount of collaboration between so many local groups and individuals to continue to improve and expand the Festival every year.  I can’t wait to share the phenomenal energy and talent that will be on display this year,” says Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets (SMS), the community non-profit organization coordinating the Festival.

The goal of the Salem Arts Festival is to promote all the arts in Salem and to provide the entire North Shore arts community with an opportunity to showcase their talents. The Festival is run in collaboration with Salem Main Streets by a team of dedicated volunteers, including media partner Creative Salem and representatives from the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem YMCA, Salem State University, The Phoenix School, Salem Food Tours, Salem Arts Association, and many more.

Speaking of dedicated volunteers, we are still looking for volunteers for the Salem Arts Festival!  If you would like to join our merry band during this year’s Festival, or if you’ve signed up for one slot but might be available for more, please sign up online at http://signup.com/go/lccZdGg. Even if you’re away the weekend of the Festival, we have some volunteer needs on the days leading up to the event!

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Jan 032017
 

Understandably, we’ve taken a little break. It’s been a busy last few months in Salem Ma. Halloween season was filled with creatures and creativity. That was followed by the Winter Holiday season, culminating with our double New Year’s Eve party extravaganza of LAUNCH and LAUNCH… Light It Up! And we could not have done any of these projects without a great showing of community support in the form of volunteers.

In February, it will be Salem’s So Sweet. In March, it will be the Salem Film Fest. In June, it will be the Salem Arts Festival. And so on. Whether these are Salem Main Street events or not, volunteers drive the projects from start to finish.

And that’s not just in Salem.

The annual “Volunteering and Civic Life in America” report, released by the Corporation for National & Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship, substantiates that service to others is a priority for millions of Americans.

In fact for 2013 the report found that 62.6 million adults volunteered through an organization. They put in almost 7.7 billion hours which translated to around $173 billion, based on an estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.

Time well spent.

And we just wanted to take this moment to thank you all again for giving of your time and experience to projects that benefit the Salem Ma community.

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Dec 262016
 

What is better than one great New Year’s Eve party? Two!!! In conjunction with the City of Salem and Creative Salem that is what you are going to get to bid farewell to 2016 and say a big hello to 2017 with LAUNCH! and LAUNCH… Light It Up!

“When we organized LAUNCH! for the first time a few years ago, it was immediately clear that there was a strong community desire to come together on New Year’s Eve,” states Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets’ Executive Director.

“This event has always been family-focused and kid-friendly, which is fantastic, but there was an opportunity to do more to serve the adults in our community. The City approached Creative Salem to develop a concept, and we’ve been working closely together to program and connect the two events.”

“We were very excited to create a new concept event featuring local creative organizations coming together to create a truly unique and wholly Salem happening that could also support the amazing family event that Kylie and Salem Main Streets have run and we have supported since its inception” states John Andrews, owner of Creative Salem.

Launch!

The early portion of the evening (4-6pm, Old Town Hall) will be the traditional LAUNCH! event. This event is free to all and family-friendly, with a $5 suggested donation to help support Salem Main Streets’ “Holiday Happenings” initiatives, including the Holiday Tree and the wreaths and ribbons around the downtown. Family programming will include hat making, photo booth, kids’ silent disco, interactive art exhibit with Phil Wyman, and more! There will be an early countdown just before 6 pm.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of jobs:

  • Set up (2 to 4pm): Volunteers should ideally be able to lift up to 25 pounds.
  • Greeters (4 to 6 pm): Greet people at the door and collect optional donations.
  • Craft activity support (4 to 6 pm): Help activity leaders as needed.
  • Face painters (4 to 6 pm): We’re not looking for high levels of artistic talent – ability to paint hearts, stars, and “Happy 2017!” is sufficient.  We’ll provide the paint and brushes.
  • Break down (5:45 to 7pm): Volunteers should ideally be able to lift up to 25 pounds.

Launch… Light It Up

Come back at 9 pm for LAUNCH…LIGHT IT UP, new this year, as Creative Salem and Retonica transform Old Town Hall into a Black Light Dance Hall! This 21+ event will be $20 per person with a cash bar, live performance by local group Dandrew, sounds by DJ Seth, arcade games courtesy of Bit Bar, hat making with Grace & Diggs, plus a photo booth, food by Bambolina, interactive pop up art exhibit, and a special countdown at midnight. Tickets are available at https://creative-salem.ticketleap.com/launch-light-it-up-nye-salem/

About Salem Main Streets

Salem Main Streets’ mission is the continued revitalization of downtown Salem as a vibrant, year-round, retail, dining and cultural destination through business retention, recruitment, and the promotion of the downtown district.  SMS produces and supports numerous community events and initiatives throughout the year, including the Salem Farmers’ Market, Salem Arts Festival, Salem’s So Sweet, and the October Information Booth.  SMS operates thanks to the generosity and partnership of the City of Salem and Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Destination Salem, and many other local business sponsors and community volunteers.

About Creative Salem

Creative Salem is an organization of like-minded creative individuals with the mission of ensuring creativity and the arts are a relevant part of daily community and small business life, and operates through the support of its partners and members. Creative Salem celebrates the city of Salem as a hub of creativity, and is dedicated to promoting collaboration, facilitating quality artistic events, and providing contemporary tools for local creative professionals to find and connect with new audiences while encouraging them to apply their skills to help solve challenges facing the community.

For more information about these events, contact Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Executive Director, at (978)744-0004 or kylie@salemmainstreets.org, or visit http://salemmainstreets.org/

 

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