Newburyport News
September 16, 2010
Blue Ocean celebrates halfway to St. Pat's Day, Newburyport, MA


September 16, 2010

The Lookout: An emotional preview to Port Documentary Film Fest

Filmmaker/photojournalist David Binder offers a glimpse of the 27-year-old wife and mother of four felled by AIDS who inspired his award-winning documentary, "Calling My Children," in an exhibit this month at The Screening Room at 82 State St. in downtown Newburyport.

Binder's film is one of the shorts on the schedule for the seventh annual Newburyport Documentary Film Festival, which is set to to take place in Newburyport Friday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 27.

Binder, whose photos have been published in numerous magazines, including People, Life, Forbes and Fortune and who has won several national and regional awards for his work, began photographing Gail Farrow and her family in 1987. He spent every day with them documenting her last year of life and then followed her family for six months following her death to capture their adjustment to continuing without her. He then revisited the family 10 years later, in 1998, to update their story.

The photo essay led to his transition from photojournalist to documentary filmmaker. His documentary film is as much a look at Farrow's life as it is of her husband and their children and the presence she continues to hold for them today. It was most recently screened at the Woods Hole Film Festival, where it won the Best Short Documentary while Binder was selected as a New England emerging artist.

The Screening Room exhibit features 26 of Binder's photographs of Farrow and her family. It is on display through Sept. 26 and can be viewed one hour prior to show times as well as on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. This Sunday, Binder will be on hand to discuss his photo essay and film as well as his experiences with the Farrow family as part of a reception in honor of the exhibit. Beer, wine and cheese will be served. Call 978-465-3456 or visit

Next weekend's Newburyport Documentary Film Festival features 16 full-length and short films as well as panel discussions and other programs with the filmmakers. The films will be shown in downtown Newburyport at both the Firehouse Center for the Arts and the Screening Room, with "Calling My Children" on the schedule for Saturday afternoon. For more on the festival and a complete schedule, visit

Blue Ocean celebrates halfway to St. Pat's Day

St. Patrick's Day might still be half a year away, but Blue Ocean Music Hall on Salisbury Beach isn't letting that stop the venue from getting its Irish on.

Three diverse Irish musical acts — from contemporary fiddlers to Celtic rockers to a classic tenor — are set to take the stage for an Irish Music Festival tomorrow through Sunday at the club at 4 Oceanfront North.

Eileen Ivers, one of the original musical stars of "Riverdance," leads things off tomorrow night at 8. She has recorded more than 80 contemporary and traditional albums and numerous movie scores. Her latest CD, "Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul," highlights her standing as an innovator in the Celtic fiddle and world music genres. Tickets are $30.

Black 47 spotlights its Irish form of rock 'n' roll on Saturday night, with songs covering topics from the Northern Ireland conflict to civil rights and urban unrest in contemporary New York. The band, whose hits include "Funky Ceili," "Livin' in America" and "Forty Shades of Blue," is celebrating its 20th year with the release of its latest album, "Bankers and Gangsters." The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

The festival wraps up to the strains of Irish tenor John McDermott on Sunday at 7 p.m. An original member of PBS' "Irish Tenors," McDermott's sense of respect for tradition and understanding of the sentiment behind the music resonates worldwide. The performer who splits his time between Boston and Toronto is known as much for his successful musical career as for his commitment to veterans' causes. Tickets for his concert are $40.

For reservations or information on any of the shows, call Blue Ocean Music Hall at 978-462-5888 or visit

'Burlesque' kicks up heels at Amesbury Playhouse

The Valley Players visit a bygone era in their new production, "Burlesque: Shades of the Old Howard," opening tomorrow at Amesbury Playhouse, 194 Main St., Amesbury.

The cast captures the fun and nonsense of the Old Howard in their own version of classic burlesque entertainment. The show features the requisite burlesque staple of singing and dancing girls mixed with a collection of jokes and silly sketches.

Due to the nature of some of the skits and material, the show is recommended for adults only. It runs through Oct. 10. Performances are Fridays and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Sundays at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. Dinner is served 90 minutes before each show. Reservations are required and may be made by calling Amesbury Playhouse 978-388-9444. For more, visit

Comedy triple bill for The Barn's new season

Comedy returns to The Barn Pub & Grille in downtown Amesbury tomorrow night with three Boston-area comics set to launch the new season. Paul Gilligan, Jack Lynch and Christine Hurley will deliver the punch lines, starting at 8:30 p.m. at the restaurant at 5 Ring's St.

Gilligan, who lives in Ipswich, is a staple on the New England comedy circuit. He has appeared on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and taken his show to Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

Lynch, a 16-year veteran of the Boston comedy scene who has toured around the country and Canada, draws his humor from having lived in the suburbs of Boston while at the same time having the unique perspective of growing up with deaf parents. He has performed with such names as Lenny Clarke, Stephen Wright and Damon Wayans.

Hurley was first runner-up in the nationally televised Nick At Nite's search for America's Funniest Mom contest in 2005, despite it being her first time on a comedy stage. She has performed with Jimmy Tingle, Tommy Dunham, Don Gavin and other top comedians, and has opened for Loretta LaRoche, whose production company she works for.

Tickets are $15, Call 388-8700 or visit

Port artist weaves a collection of bead paintings

Doug Johnson's world is filled with thousands of micro-sized glass beads. The Newburyport artist strings together the colorful orbs to create his impressionistic landscapes, still lifes and thematic works. His custom-designed, innovative pieces — which he calls bead paintings — go on display today at the Newburyport Art Association.

A composer, musician and songwriter, Johnson turned to bead work more than 30 years ago. Over the past three decades, he has created 200-plus pieces that feature faceted patterns woven onto a complex loom. Johnson has been commissioned by such companies as Fidelity Investment, as well as private collectors for his works.

The art association exhibit showcases some of Johnson's larger canvasses, including some capturing famous Boston landmarks, such as Rowe's Wharf and Fenway Park, as viewed from the Green Monster, as well as some of his whimsical interpretations.

The exhibit runs through Sept. 21. An artist's reception is planned for tomorrow from 7 to 9 p.m., and Johnson will be presenting weaving demonstrations Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more on the show or Johnson's work, call the art association at 978-465-8769 or visit www.newburyportart,org or visit

Potters spinning out works for show, sale

Local potters Beth Bell and Roger Cramer are collaborating for a fine pottery show on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Riverwalk Bead Shop and Gallery, 32 Elm St., Amesbury.

Both artists will be on hand to discuss their work, which will be for sale. Admission is free. Call 978-388-3499 or visit

Collage gets playful in Rowley exhibit

Collage artist Tobin Eckian is showing off her latest creations as the featured artist this month at Rowley Public Library, 141 Main St.

Eckian says her work "is about staying sane and connected to oneself in a world seemingly gone haywire." Her acrylic collages combine drawings in a digital painting program and aim to show off her playful style, with a buoyancy she hopes is transferred to the viewer.

The exhibit runs through September. For more, visit or call the library at 978-948-2850.

Classic technique in spotlight at Port gallery

Gary Korlin presents a demonstration of the French academic technique of painting with oils as Saturday's featured artist at the Walsingham Gallery at 47 Merrimac St. in downtown Newburyport.

Korlin's naturalistic approach to painting stems from his 19th century French academic training, which he says provided him with a strong foundation of classical aesthetics and technique. He continues to renew his European training by traveling to Europe often. He typically works directly from life in painting the figure, portraits, landscape and still life. A native of Minnesota, he also enjoys painting every summer and fall in coastal New England.

Saturday's demonstration goes from 1 to 5 p.m. Some of Korlin's new work will also be on display, and refreshments will be served. Call the gallery at 978-499-4411 or visit for more.

Port art educators showcasing their talents

Newburyport Art Association's art educators have taken their show on the road — literally. They are showing off their 2010 instructors exhibition at City Place at 10 Park Plaza in Boston.

The invitational show is titled "Art Enrichment is for Everyone." It runs through Oct. 15. Call 978-465-8769 or visit

Coastsweep cleanup set for Plum Island

Coastsweep 2010, the annual cleanup of Plum Island, including Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and Sandy Point State Reservation, is set for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Volunteers of all ages are being sought to help clean up trash and debris from the roads, trails and beaches. Workers may show up at any time during the day. Check-in is at refuge parking lot one, where supplies will be provided. People should bring their own work gloves. Information about the trash collected will be entered into a database kept by the Center for Marine Conservation in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of tracking the sources of waste.

Coastsweep is the annual statewide coastal cleanup sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and coordinated by the Urban Harbors Institute of UMass Boston. The Plum Island cleanup is being led by Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport and the wildlife refuge. It goes off rain or shine. Visit more.

Jabberwocky cracks open Fall Author Series

Jabberwocky Bookshop in The Tannery in Newburyport kicks off its Fall Author Series this weekend with two speakers with ties to the area.

Elissa Al-Chokhachy, a certified hospice nurse from Amesbury who has spent almost two decades working with the dying and bereaved, shares the personal tales included her new book, "Miraculous Moments: True Stories Affirming That Life Goes On," tomorrow night.

Her book includes 88 true stories from people who have seen, heard and felt love from their family and friends who have passed on, including encounters with angels, near-death experiences and even visits from the spirits of beloved pets. Her book is intended to offer hope, reassurance and comfort.

Al-Chokhachy has a master's in thanatology: death, dying and bereavement from Hood College in Maryland, and is the recipient of the Boston College Alumni Award for Excellence in Nursing.

On Saturday, Tony Pacitti, formerly of Rowley, presents his memoir, "My Best Friend is a Wookiee: One Boy's Journey to Find His Place in the Universe." Pacitti's book is a coming-of-age tale framed around George Lucas' epic "Star Wars" and how the movie changed one boy's life.

In his real-life saga, the self-proclaimed certified geek and official Jedi Knight wannabe tells how he survived the hurdles and temptations of adolescence and ultimately lived to see the day he's comfortable with who he is. Pacitti, who now lives in Providence, is a features writer and video game reviewer for online publications.

Both readings start at 7 p.m. at the bookstore at 50 Water St. Admission is free. Call 978-465-9359 or visit

Show aims to discover the value of collectibles

The International Collectors Association's Ohio Valley Refinery & Roadshow continues through Saturday at the Hampshire Inn & Conference Center on Route 107 in Seabrook.

The public is invited to bring in their rare items and collectibles and see what they are worth. Nearly all coins and paper currency, all types of gold, silver and platinum; vintage jewelry, war memorabilia, musical instruments and toys made prior to 1965 are among the items sought by collectors.

Admission is free, and individuals are invited to bring an unlimited number of items. For more, call 217-726-7590 or visit

Feline Rescue Society plant sale, adoption fair, annual meeting

The Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society is holding a plant sale and adoption fair on Saturday at its headquarters on Route 110 in Salisbury.

The plant sale, which will go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will include mums, assorted perennials, potted herbs and fresh catnip and cat grass. The adoption fair runs from noon to 5 p.m. and will offer the opportunity to take home an adult cat for $50. Cat toys and furniture will also be for sale.

Next week, the Feline Rescue Society's board of directors conducts its annual business meeting on Wednesday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Newburyport Public Library, 94 State St. The evening will include a screening of the documentary "Fifteen Legs," which chronicles the cyber-based underground railroad that saves homeless animals on the brink of euthanasia at high-kill shelters across the country and directs them to locations with more adoption options available. Local resident Bonnie Silva, who produced the film, will be on hand to answer questions. The public is invited.

Tickets are $10 and must be purchased or reserved in advance. They are available online at, at the rescue society or by calling 978-462-0760.

Family Fun Day for The Pettengill House

HOBO's Café© & Lounge at 5 Broadway on Salisbury Beach is hosting a Family Fun Day to benefit The Pettengill House in Salisbury on Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m.

Anyone who brings in a donation of badly needed school supplies is invited to join the fun, which will include family karaoke and dance, a kids karaoke contest and a complimentary patio barbecue cookout.

For a list of needed school supplies, visit For more on the event, e-mail or call 978-465-4626.

Jumper Classic event benefits local equine rescue group

This weekend's Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic at Silver Oak Equestrian Center in Hampton Falls, N.H., will include a benefit for a local organization.

A luncheon on Saturday is being presented by New England Equine Rescues satellite farm in West Newbury in partnership with Lucky's Legacy.

The luncheon goes from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $65 and includes admission to the event, parking and lunch with a wine bar served ringside under a tent. E-mail luckyslegacy@gmail.comfor tickets or information. For more on New England Equine Rescues, visit For more on the Fidelity Jumper Classic, visit

Amesbury Playhouse casting adult comedy, holiday show

The Valley Players are holding open auditions this month for two upcoming productions.

Tryouts for the adult comedy "Don't Dress for Dinner" on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Amesbury Playhouse, 194 Main St., Amesbury. Multiple roles for adults ages 25 and up are available. Actors should be prepared to perform scenes from the script.

Auditions for the family holiday musical "A Christmas Carol" are set for Saturday, Sept. 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. Multiple roles are open for ages 6 through 90. Performers should be prepared for a vocal and dance audition and to present scenes from the script.

For more information, call the Playhouse at 978-388-9444 or visit

A calypso beat to benefit Plum Island

Things are heating for Calypso Night next week to support efforts to nourish the beach at Plum Island. The fundraiser for the Plum Island Foundation is set for Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Plum Island Grille on Sunset Boulevard in Newbury.

Plum Island Pans will provide the calypso sounds for the night. There will be a raffle, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets are $100.

In addition, a Plum Island Getaway online auction for five Plum Island beach homes is taking place at The homes are being donated for weeklong or weekend vacation getaways by their owners to support Plum Island Foundation. Bids will be accepted through noon on Sept. 21.

For more on the fundraiser or online auction, call 978-807-0794.

Musical duo returning to Barking Dog

Singer/acoustic guitarist Dan Kirouac and vocalist Dorette Weld return to the Barking Dog Grill at 21 Friend St. in downtown Amesbury on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

The duo will perform a free show of classic rock and adult power pop covers at 8 p.m. Visit for more.

Tagging along on the Appalachian Trail

Roger "Hammer" Tetreault of Boxborough recounts his 2,176.4-mile journey on the Appalachian Trail in a program on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Program Room of Newburyport Public Library, 94 State St.

After 10 years hiking the local terrain, Tetreault, a carpenter by trade and backpacking and hiking enthusiast, he decided in early 2008, with the support of his wife, to hike the Appalachian Trail. It took 5.5 months, from March 25 to Sept. 7, to hike from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Along the way, Tetreault encountered temperatures ranging from 18 degrees to 100 degrees, plus snow, lots of rain, deer, wild horses, wild long-horned cattle, wild boar, mountain lions, bears, snakes and many fellow hikers.

His presentation chronicles the sights and sounds of the Appalachian Trail. Admission is free. Call 978-465-4428 or visit for more.

Amesbury Peace Center rolling out fall movie discussion series

The Amesbury Friends Peace Center launches its fall movie and discussion series next week with a showing of "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash" on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Friends Meetinghouse, 120 Friend St., Amesbury.

The film explores the realities of a world both addicted to fossil fuels and unaware of the looming peak oil crisis. Admission is free.

Its monthly film series continues on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. with "Immigration Issues: Farmingville;" Thursday, Nov. 11, at 6:30 p.m. with "Human Impact of War: The Best Years of Our Lives;" and Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2:30 p.m. with "Approaching Difficult Issues: The Case of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict."

The Amesbury Peace Center, an outreach project of the Amesbury Quaker Meeting, sponsors events such as speakers, films, exhibits and workshops. The center also has material from peace organizations, book lists for suggested reading and brochures on a variety of topics available. For more, visit

Zimbabwe artist showing socially driven graphic design

Zimbabwe graphic design artist Chaz Maviyane-Davies is showcasing his work in an exhibit opening Monday in the Art Space in Northern Essex Community College's Bentley Library on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St.

Maviyane-Davies' posters tackle issues of consumerism, health, nutrition, social responsibility, the environment and human rights. The posters, which have been published in numerous books, magazines and newspapers, are aimed at encouraging social change.

Because of adverse political conditions in his homeland of Zimbabwe, Maviyane-Davies relocated to Boston in 2001 and is a professor of design at MassArt.

His exhibit at Northern Essex runs through Oct. 22 and may be viewed during library hours. He will also present a lecture on Friday, Oct. 1, at noon in the Technology Center. The public is invited; admission is free. The exhibit and his appearance are co-sponsored by the Art, Design and Photography Department and the NECC libraries. Contact Patricia Kidney, art and design program coordinator, at 978-556-3389 or e-mail

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