Mar 202018
 

The whole world is watching what we do in Salem this month!  Entering its 11th year, we are home to the Salem Film Fest (March 22-29), one of New England’s largest documentary film festivals, which presents a rich and diverse collection of the year’s best work from all over the world.

Just look at the offerings this year.

  • Between Land & Sea: Ireland’s stunning west coast is the setting for this intimate yet epic look at a Big Wave surf community. This is an engaging look at life at land’s end, placing viewers inside colossal waves while emotionally connecting them with the athletes who ride them and the bucolic Irish town whose fortunes are at the mercy of the mighty Atlantic.
  • Becoming Who I Was: In India’s mountainous Ladakh region, a young boy considered the reincarnation of a Tibetan monk and his elderly godfather embark on a grueling trek to return the monk-to-be to his rightful monastery in Tibet. With powerful imagery capturing the natural landscape, this is a stirring exploration of dedication, culture, tradition and identity that conveys the universal truths of unconditional love, family bonds and sacrifice. (photo from Salem Film Fest website)
  • Skid Row Marathon: Craig Mitchell, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge makes difficult decisions on a daily basis within the criminal justice system. He feels compelled to help change the lives of recovering addicts and convicts he has encountered in his courtroom. Through the long-distance runner’s club of the Midnight Mission on Skid Row, Judge Mitchell befriends and inspires, restoring self-worth and dignity as club members train to compete in international marathons.

When we first started blogging about “a” local city-wide film fest back in 2007, frankly it was an easy write. Some films. Some events. Now it is the world-renowned Salem Film Fest. A lot of films. Diverse. From all over the world. Expressing opinions you may agree with. Or you may not. And a lot of events. So many activities that it is easier to give the you the link to their multi-page website. Just spending time there, you can catch the breadth of this project that began as an idea to do something to highlight the Salem cultural scene.

Dinah Cardin wrote a very informative behind the scenes look at the Salem Film Fest for Northshore magazine last year, explaining that award-winning filmmaker and Salem native Joe Cultrera had just moved back from New York. He was approached with the idea of doing a film festival. In short time, along with CinemaSalem owner Paul Van Ness and Rinus Oosthoek, executive director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce., the beginning of the Salem Film Fest originated.

Cardin wrote that Cultrera crafted a philosophy that centered on creative and unique storytelling without compromise. “The first couple years it felt like we were teaching the local community about how vast, varied, entertaining, and provoking documentaries could be—how they didn’t have to be the boring and preachy stuff you might think they were,” says Cultrera. “I built the programming aesthetic with that in mind—looking for great stories, interesting characters, and strong filmmaking technique.”

Cultrera also devised a model that pays filmmakers to participate and motivates local businesses to become involved as sponsors, underwriting the film of their choice. You can read the article here to see how and why the “process works” to make the Salem Film Fest a success for the filmmakers, the business community and the film attendees.

Events in Addition to Films

The highlight “event” for many attendees is the opportunity to meet visiting filmmakers in intimate settings. Other events include discussions, parties, galas, meet-and-greets, family-friendly screenings, high school and college student film showcases. Although many of these may be free of charge, space may well be limited, so word to the wise— arrive early!

Actually, that is good advice for any of the showings or events. Individual admission tickets for all Salem Film Fest film presentations are priced at $13 for adults, and then $11 for seniors, students, active military and veterans. Tickets may be purchased online or at the Salem Film Fest box office, located adjacent to CinemaSalem in the Museum Place Mall hallway. For more info on individual tickets or Salem Film Fest VIP All Access Film Pass, please go to the Salem Film Fest website.

Come to Salem, see the world — as you may never have seen it before.

Share
Feb 182018
 

While there are a lot of Do-It-Yourself books, videos and TV shows today to help you build your house, back in 1668 when sea captain John Turner was having the Turner Mansion constructed in Salem Ma, there was a lot of trial and error. With limited material resources at hand and no power tools, building a house in Colonial Massachusetts required skill, ingenuity and a lot more. Luckily, Turner’s team would even make the hosts of PBS’ “This Old House” happy, as the structure still stands. Today it is known as The House of Seven Gables. And you are invited to tour it during February School Vacation Week, Feb. 17-25.

Designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2007, The House of the Seven Gables is best known today as the setting of world-renowned American author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel.

But, before that, it was to be a home and the question is what tools and designs worked best in 1668?  What failed? How did they learn from their mistakes?

Children and their families will find out. Tools, as you can well imagine, are part of the intrigue — some will look familiar 350 years later. Some won’t. Those attending will learn about the tools of the trade and which materials were used most often in Colonial Salem.

It gets even better. This is an interactive event. All in attendance will also get the chance to experiment with different construction techniques at each of The Gables’ workshop stations.

Plus, as an extra special treat for the kids (and perhaps adults) you’ll be able to fold and decorate your own paper house to take home!

Special interactive presentations— Why Do We Have Gables? — are scheduled at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. when Museum staff explore the construction of historic buildings and which parts of these structures are strongest.

School vacation programming is included with admission from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Check 7gables.org for hours, and rates. The program is free for Salem residents with valid identification and Museum members.

The House of Seven Gables is located at 115 Derby St., Salem. For more information, call 978-744-0991 or check out the Museum website.

Share
Nov 242017
 

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the day that small businesses in Salem and all along Main Street USA really look forward to: Small Business Saturday. First observed in the United States on November 27, 2010, it is a day when communities of shoppers are urged to support the convenience of driving or even walking to their local brick & mortar businesses, instead of fighting the crowds at faraway over-crowded malls.

That kick-off Small Business Saturday was sponsored by American Express, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and Roslindale Village Main Street. Since then it has grown into a nationwide event, with an estimated 112 million consumers reported to have shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2016.

Shopping Local Is An Experience

Small Business Saturday is so great,” explains Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets, “because it’s not just about the shopping or the things – though with over 200 locally-operated storefronts in downtown Salem, there’s certainly no shortage of gifts and treats to be found! Instead it’s more about the experience of being part of a community, the feeling you get when you’re in a locally-owned business that simply can’t be replicated in a box store or online.”

You can walk into a locally-owned Salem store and actually speak to a clerk with product knowledge of items in the store. Or just as likely, you can chat with the store owner! Ever talk to the owner or even manager of a big box store (unless to complain)?

Adds Elizabeth Rutledge, EVP of Global Advertising and Media at American Express, “People across the country are aware of the benefits that small businesses can bring to the community, and the momentum that was started with the first Small Business Saturday continues to build.”

That is backed up by the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express. Among U.S. consumers who went out and shopped in-store, total reported spending reached an estimated $15.4 billion at independent retailers and restaurants in 2016.

You will be in good company.

So, a word to the wise, relax on Friday and Monday. And make Saturday your day for walking out of Salem stores with good deals for your holiday and other gift giving needs!

Share
Mar 252017
 

Mayor Kimberly Driscoll of Salem MA has proclaimed March 26, 2017 as Salem Women’s History Day to go along with other nationwide events this month to honor the achievements of women, past, present and future. In keeping with that proclamation, there are events to inform, educate and entertain the community and visitors. Among them on Sunday are:

House of Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables will commemorate Salem Women’s History Day with a special women’s history tour and two lectures with speakers from the Partnership of Historic Bostons.

Women’s History Tour of The Gables—Free for Salem residents and members; regular admission applies to all others. (12:30 – 1:15 pm)

The Hidden Domestic Lives of Puritan Women: When you read the spiritual narratives of 17th-century Puritan women, it’s remarkable to realize that they are very like men’s narratives: completely focused on the search for grace. Women’s narratives mention family as rarely and perfunctorily as men’s narratives do. These were women raising children and creating homesteads in new colonial settlements, where the domestic labor was unceasing. How did these women live both as independent spiritual seekers–the first American individuals–and as wives and mothers? Free. (1:30 – 2:30 pm)

Katharine Gibbs: Trailblazing Woman in Business: Katharine Gibbs’ secretarial schools provided educational opportunities for women beginning in the early twentieth century and helped to change the face of the American office. Learn about this fascinating woman and the changing roles of women and work. (2:30 – 3:30 pm)

Women’s History Tour of The Gables—Free for Salem residents and members; Regular admission applies to all others. (3:30 – 3:45pm)

All events are available on a first come, first served basis. Registration is not required. Space is limited. For more information email groups@7gables.org, or call 978-744-0991 ext. 152.

Phillips House

You are invited to be the guests of Phillips House staff for a day of special guided tours focusing on the role of women who specifically lived at 34 Chestnut Street through the years. How their lives differed and had similarities is a fascinating time travel trip.

The tour is free of charge for Historic New England members and Salem residents.There is a nominal fee of $5 for nonmembers.

Tours are available on the half-hour. Registration is not required. Please call 978-744-0440 for more information.

Share
Mar 032017
 

Did you notice a larger than usual crowd walking about Salem this evening? It will get even bigger as the 10th annual Salem Film Fest gets underway.

Regarded and highly respected as one of New England’s largest documentary film festivals, it presents a rich and diverse collection of the year’s best work from all over the world.

Film screenings take place March 3-9 at CinemaSalem, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), and the National Park Service Visitor Center. The schedule and full breadth of the week-long events can be viewed at salemfilmfest.com. Attendance at this year’s screening is easily expected to surpass last year’s record setting 6,000+ viewers.

Salem Film Fest concentrates on well-told stories with strong technical elements and interesting visual approaches, letting narratives unfold that wind their way through the human experience in the USA and foreign lands. Many of the films represent a US, East Coast or regional premiere. Filmmakers are expected to be present for more than half of the screenings, giving audiences a unique advantage to learn about the documentary process.

SFF 2017 offers a diverse schedule of feature length and short documentaries, parties, discussions, meet-and-greets, family-friendly screenings, student film showcases, and opportunities to meet visiting filmmakers in intimate settings.

Each film provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the encounters of others in a dramatic and sensory way, embarking upon what is different and recognizing what is common to us all. “The world is an amazing place,” is an oft worn but timely phrase. Salem Film Fest affirms that travel quote for your eyes and ears to behold. And some films may strike that ‘responsive chord’ that can change your life forever.

Again, go to film titles and times for full list of options to see.

Salem Film Fest was founded in 2008 by filmmaker Joe Cultrera (HAND OF GOD), local businessman Paul Van Ness (CinemaSalem, Van Ness Creative), Executive Director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce Rinus Oosthoek and others from the community. Run and operated entirely by volunteers, the week-long festival has become a community-wide event with screenings at CinemaSalem, the Peabody Essex Museum and the National Park Service Salem Visitor Center with filmmaker parties and music events held at venues throughout downtown. Fueled by great films, dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic audiences, festival attendance has grown 15 to 25 percent each year.

Accept our invitation to see the world up close and personal.

Share