Monthly Archives: February 2008

Coming Up on Nantucket Beginning 2/29/08

The Western Wind is an eclectic a cappella vocal sextet, singing Renaissance motets, Fifties rock ‘n roll, medieval carols, Duke Ellington, complex works by avant garde composers, and the simplest folk melodies. They have appeared in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, ArtPark, Ordway Theater, the Metropolitan Museum, the Frick Museum, the Jewish Museum, Folger Shakespeare Library, Library of Congress, and Cleveland Museum of Art. In Europe the sextet has performed at the Geneva Opera, the Rome Opera and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice.

This concert is produced by the Nantucket Arts Council, through Council board member Dr. Gerry Mack. Tickets are available through the Arts Council office (508-325-8588, info@nantucketartscouncil.org), at Bookworks, Michell’s Book Corner, Dan’s Pharmacy, and at the door if not sold out. Tickets are $20 for Arts Council members and $25 for non-members. Students in high school and under are admitted free. Sunday, March 2 at 4:00 pm at the Coffin School, 4 Winter Street. Last month’s concert did sell out, so buy your tickets in advance.

CABLE TV

The Jamie Ranney Show is on Channel 17 at 2 and 9 pm every day, with new shows on Fridays at 9 pm. There’s Jamie over there on the right when he interviewed me about my low carb diet. You can still find that interview here.

NIGHTLIFE
Also at the Rose & Crown, it’s Poker Night on Monday’s, Trivia Quiz Night every Tuesday (at 7 pm), karaoke on Thursday (9pm), and DJ Bri Guy Friday and Saturday night.

See the Arts & Social Calendar for additional details on the events listed above.

For a more comprehensive listing of ALL Nantucket events, pick up the Nantucket Independent for my Community Calendar, or click here.

Advertisements

Nantucket ReUse Exchange



Click Ad for Website

Habit Patch



Click Ad for Website

Nantucket Birds Around You

Mahon About Town welcomes guest columnist Ken Blackshaw and this new monthly column on birding. Ken has been studying birds since his Mom connected him with Edith Andrews in the early 1950s. Edith’s encouragement and enthusiasm carried him to a life-long hobby and avocation. Courtesy of the USAF and IBM, Ken has traveled the world and found birds everywhere. As the grandson of Harry Baker Turner, owner and editor of the Inquirer and Mirror over the first half of the 20th century, Ken has printer’s ink in his blood. Now the author of over ten books focusing mainly on natural history subjects, he writes the weekly bird Column for the Nantucket Independent, and has just published Volume Three of his “A Year of Birding Nantucket” series.

Why Birders Make Lousy Bridge Players
by Kenneth Turner Blackshaw

Here we are at the Salt Marsh Senior Center and I’ve foolishly sat where I can see out the window to the harbor. It’s ice as far as I can see out there and bitterly cold. I’m suddenly entranced by a Rosarch-like pattern, changing shape dramatically over the ice. The shape is like a globe, then an oval, then an hourglass, and then quickly splits in two as an object dives through the middle of it. My initial take was that these were Starlings, but I came to realize they were Rock Pigeons, roughly twelve inches from beak to tail.

The interloper has created panic in the flock and the pigeons fly chaotically for a few seconds. I’m sure some collisions occur. By now, the bridge game is completely forgotten and I’m standing by the window. A lone pigeon flies desperately to the left across the water with a brown form in hot pursuit. Since the chaser is almost the same size as the prey, it is most likely to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk – a male. Did the hawk get a late lunch? We’ll have to guess because they disappeared behind the Town Pier.

Sharp-shinned Hawks are among the least familiar of hawks. Many people know the Red-tails we see soaring over the moors, or the Northern Harriers flying low and precariously over the brush. Falcons get a lot of publicity. But what is a Sharp-shin?

Actually this is one of a species group known as Accipiters. Falconers know them as ‘true’ hawks, and indeed the Genus Accipiter comes from the Latin meaning ‘hawk.’ Two other members are the Cooper’s Hawk, and the Goshawk, both larger, and rarer than this one.

Accipiters differ from other hawks by having relatively short, rounded wings and long tails. Their flight is often very direct, with a flap-flap-sail pattern. Beginning birders learn “flap-flap-sail, and a long square tail” as a key to identifying a Sharp-shin. The larger Cooper’s Hawk has a more rounded tail.

‘Sharpies’ as we call them, and Cooper’s, specialize in preying on other birds. Bent’s Life History of this species reports an interesting 1893 study “Of 159 stomachs examined, 6 contained poultry or game birds; 99, other birds; 6, mice; 5, insects; and 52 were empty.” So, if you see a Sharp-shin, chances are it’s either just eaten another bird or is desperately seeking one that is not paying attention. Many people express horror that one bird would eat another, but then, WE eat other mammals.

Unfortunately, most accipiter sightings are more of the nature, “There goes a . . . oooops, it went into the trees.” If you are lucky, you will spot one on a calm, clear Nantucket day when there are nice thermals. Then you can see them circling above you and get familiar with their flight pattern.

Another method is the squeaking sound I make in order to bring songbirds in for identification, mimicking the sound of an animal in dire distress. This sometimes attracts a Sharp-shin, and remember, one third have empty stomachs. Too often I look up and see orange eyes and yellow talons growing rapidly larger as the hawk dives right at me. Now is a good time to stop squeaking! I have never been hit, but several times I’ve had the hawk land almost at arm’s length, staring with frightening intensity to see just what happened to dinner.

Most Sharp-shins we see are brown striped, first year birds, but an adult is spectacular. The top of the head and back are a lovely slate blue, and from the throat down they are barred horizontally with rusty orange. The sexes are similarly colored but the female is much larger. The part of the bird’s leg we see as the ‘shin’ is actually below the bird’s ankle. If you examine a museum specimen, you can see that it has a sharp ridge down it, but that’s not much good as the bird flies past you.

On Nantucket, Sharpies used to be found only rarely in the autumn. Global warming, and/or bird feeding has now brought them to us throughout the winter. They have been reported on every Christmas Bird Count in since 1973, with a high of 15 in 1993.

Watch for these little hawks from September until the end of April. They are more common in October when so many migrate past. If you feed the birds, you may notice that suddenly there are none there. If you look closely, you may see a few ‘frozen’ in position. This is your clue that one of these accipiters has appeared. It’s a jungle out there. Enjoy Nantucket’s ‘wild kingdom.’

This column was originally published in the Nantucket Independent on February 18, 2004. Illustrations by George C. West.

Brass Lantern Inn

Paid Advertisement



Click Ad for Website

Nantucket Un-Valentine Cabaret

The surprise of the winter so far has been the Un-Valentine Cabaret, last Saturday night, February 16 at the Box, presented by Seaside Shakespeare Company. Susan McGinnis pulled together an eclectic group of entertainers, some seen for the first time ever performing in public.

The night began with cocktails, pizza, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and pizza. Showtime brought MC’s Susan Burns and AT Wilce to the stage, who introduced, vamped, and threw in a performance or two of their own.

After much fussing with microphone placement, Harold Freeman Williams III (aka Skip) and Mollie Glazer performed the “Classical Triangle Solo”, the word solo likely referring to the one and only note Mr. Williams played, after much intense concentration and audience anticipation.

Laurel Devaney danced the “Belly Dance Accompanied by the Oud”, with said oud played by Caleb Cressman, rumored to play the oud and oodels of other musical instruments.

Len Germinara recited “Love Poem”, all the while with his eyes on the lovely Sarah Oktay. That much would be no surprise to anyone knowing the producer of the Nantucket Poetry Slams, now rechristened “Spoken Word Nantucket”. It was his crooning of “On the Street Where You Live” that brought the house down.

Susan Burns had her turn as Anneke Schlemer singing “Food Is Loff”, well timed and well intoned.

Maybe Sandy MacDonald has sung on Nantucket before, but if so, I missed it. Sandy sweetly seranaded AT Wilce with her “Piaf Suite”, bringing a tiny tear to AT’s eye.

I had been looking forward to the next group up. I met one of the members of the band in his A1 cab just a few weeks ago, and he told me about this new band starting up. I asked him what the band would play. Paul Emack is probably in his mid 20’s, so I expected the name of a song I’d never heard of by someone I’d never listen to or like. “The Weight” by The Band, Paul said. Now I was interested. So new that they yet had no name, Paul joined Caleb Cressman and Timmy McDonald for their first public performance, and I wish them many more. You can never have too many local bands.

The biggest surprise of the night for nearly everyone (Michael Kopko excluded) was Lisa Wendelken who sang “Another Place, Another Time” and “My Funny Valentine”. Who knew she was that good?

Lenny Diamond, aka Mark Carapezza, wrapped up the evening on guitar and vocals with his self-written “Balloon Glasses”. The photos that follow will explain what that oen was all about.

The show was produced by Susan McGinnis, and directed by Kate Splaine. The assistant director, stage manager, and production designer was Christie Cure, with lights and sound by Joel Finn, with Ginger Andrews providing lighting supervision. The accompanists were Robert Behrman and Caleb Cressman.

Thanks also to the Chicken Box for providing the venue for the evening, one of best of the winter.


If you see anyone you know in these photos, please forward the newsletter and encourage them to subscribe. You can forward to as many people as you want by going to the very end of the newsletter and clicking the “Forward email” link. (Forwarding through your email program will not work.)


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret

To buy any photo, just click on the photo.


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret

Click here for more photos of this event and photos of other recent events. For older photos, please go to the Mahon About Town Photo Pages.

Nantucket Directory



Click Ad for Website

Un-Valentine Cabaret 2


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret

To buy any photo, just click on the photo.


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret

Click here for more photos of this event and photos of other recent events. For older photos, please go to the Mahon About Town Photo Pages.

Yack

Paid Advertisement

Un-Valentine Cabaret 3


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret

To buy any photo, just click on the photo.


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret


Cabaret

Click here for more photos of this event and photos of other recent events. For older photos, please go to the Mahon About Town Photo Pages.