Monthly Archives: March 2008

Artists Association of Nantucket


This Week on Nantucket (3/28/08)


The first ever (I think) Nantucket's Got Talent Community Talent Show is a chance for the school community to show to off their talents such as gymnastics, ballet, singers, poets, and more. Saturday, March 29, 2:00 pm at the High School Auditorium.

The Nantucket AIDS Network presents Disco Inferno to benefit the John G. Topham, Jr. Spirit Fund, which recognizes and awards a Nantucket youth who demonstrates exceptional peer leadership in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Music by DJ Bri Guy, and decadent desserts. Raffle begins at 10; prizes include a trip for two to Las Vegas for a 4 day and 3 night stay at the Caesar's Palace Resort (certain travel dates will apply). Raffle tickets are $5 each and 3 for $10, and will be sold at the Rose & Crown the night of the event. Tickets are $25, available at the door the night of the event or in advance by calling (508) 228-3955. Saturday, March 29, 8 to midnight at the Rose & Crown.

The 5th Annual Ms. Mantucket Charity Pageant returns this year to benefit the Rotary Club of Nantucket Scholarship Fund. Hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and live entertainment. Hosted by Jamie Ranney and Chris Morris. Contestants include Izzy Stover, Bob Gardner, Homer Ray, Normand Berthelette, Jeff Horner, Chris Brantley, Nick Duarte, Jerry Welch, Michael Allen, Whitey Willauer, George Hughes, and Perry Butler. $50 per person, on sale at the Atlantic Cafe. Monday, March 31, 6:00 pm at the Atlantic Cafe.

At the Rose & Crown, it's Poker Night on Monday's, Trivia Quiz Night every Tuesday (at 7 pm), Karaoke on Thursday (9 pm), and DJ Bri Guy on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Shingles are back at the Box, Saturday, March 29, 4 to 6. Andy Bullington, Cary Hazlegrove, Michael Kopko, Dave Provost, and Chris Westerlund with dancing and hot cider. $5 for 16 and older.

Sacred & Secular: Selections from Opera and Oratorio by the Nantucket School of Music. Saturday, March 29, 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 30 at 4 at the Coffin School. Details. Suggested admision is $10 for adults; $5 for seniors; and free to school children.


It's the final weekend for the Theatre Workshop's presentation of Richard Dresser's comedy "Rounding Third", starring Chuck Gifford and Chris Witte, and directed by Laura Gallagher Byrne. Runs Thursdays through Saturdays until March 29th. Photo on right supplied by TWN.


Hilary and Pete will talk about Veggie Gardening 101 at this week's Bartlett's Spring Farm Talks: Saturday, March 29, 10:00 am.

Kathrina Pearl will speak on 'Historic Gardens and Landscape Preservation', an overview of landscape preservation and the landscapes and gardens at NHA sites. Thursday, April 3, noon at the Whaling Museum.


Our Bodies, Ourselves is a Women's Gathering Event with Judy Norsigian, executive director of the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, who will present an illustrated talk called 'Our Bodies of Knowledge'. Her talk will center on how women can take care of themselves through the different phases of their lives. Friday, March 28, 6 pm: reception with wine and heavy hors d'oeuvres. 7 pm: introduction and talk. 8:15 pm: Q&A and wrap up. $25 suggested donation. Co-sponsored by A Safe Place and the Nantucket Independent. More details.

At the "Women of Nantucket" Festival, the NHA celebrates the contribution of women, past and present, to Nantucket's culture. Saturday, March 29, 1 to 4 pm at the Whaling Museum.


Passport Around the World on Ice: Saturday, March 29, 1 to 3 pm and 5 to 7 pm at the Ice Rink.

The Artists Association Spring Sweep Silent Auction Fundraiser is this Saturday, March 29, beginning at 10 am. Final Bids at 4.


Meet the Candidates and listen to them discuss the issues. Saturday, March 29, 4 pm, Great Hall.

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.

Nantucket in Travel & Leisure Magazine

This month’s issue (April 08) of Travel & Leisure magazine has a two page article on Nantucket entitled “Nantucket Today” by Nina Willdorf, saying “On this tradition-rich island, old meets new – from classic hotels to just-opened restaurants”. By chance, I met Nina at Cinco one night while she was here researching the article, and had a delightful discussion with her about the island.

Mentioned in the piece are the ‘Sconset Post Office, jeeps with beach permit stickers, Wendy Schmidt’s purchase of Mitchell’s Book Corner, Linda Loring’s sale of 270 acres to the Nantucket Land Council, Amanda Lydon and Gabriel Frasca of Straight Wharf Restaurant, The Wauwinet, Wade Cottages, The White Elephant, Legends, Mister, Nantucket Stock Exchange, Black-Eyed Susan’s, The Club Car, Something Natural, and Yesterday’s Island.

Then the best part: “Gene Mahon, Nantucket’s unofficial mayor and 38-year full-time resident, offers photographs and inside information about the island’s best events and openings on his blog, Mahon About Town (”.

For the full article, pick up the current issue on newsstands now, or click here and here.

American Seasons

Nantucket Disco Inferno

Nantucketers in the News

Curtis Barnes was presented a Massachusetts Hospitality Award at the 21st Annual Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism on February 29th, given to Baystaters who have had a positive effect on the tourism industry through outstanding service to visitors. Nominated by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce, Curt was awarded for his role as Nantucket Town Crier for over 25 years. To no one’s surprise, Curt attended in full regalia, bell and all. Pictured with Curt are Governor Patrick and Chamber Director Tracy Bakalar.

Albert L’Etoile has resigned as Executive Director of the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum as of April 8. He will be relocating to Maine with his partner. Sorry to lose him.

Jamie Howarth won a Grammy for his restoration on “The Live Wire – Woody Guthrie In Performance 1949”. Jamie is best known on island for being able to play any song ever recorded, and holds forth at The Summer House and The Club Car. He’s pictured here with Katie Couric at The Summer House.

Jamie was featured in an article in the February 2008 edition of Boston Magazine entitled “How a Small Nantucket Company Turned a Forgotten Woody Guthrie Recording into a Grammy Nominee.” The original 1949 bootleg recording was on 3 miles of hair thin wire. With nothing available to play the antiquated wire recording, Jamie rigged a reel to reel recorder, feeding the wire in by hand. Jamie’s Plangent Processes calculates and then compensates for the speed of the motor on the original recorder, correcting the natuarally occuring stretching of audio tape over time.

Jamie has also done work for Neil Young, the Grateful Dead, and the movie sound tracks of Young Frankenstein, West Side Story, and Close Encounters of a Third Kind.

Independent article from 2005.
Independent article from 2007.

The Palm Beach Post of February 6, 2008 had an article about summer resident Mia Matthews entitled: “A day in the life of a Palm Beach socialite; Mia Matthews hosts a charity cocktail and fashion show at her mansion.” The event was to attract attention to the Caron’s Renaissance Institute Lifesaver Gala on March 6, and to thank past supporters. Pictured here are Mia and Bob Matthews. The full story.

Tim Madden has filed with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance as in Independent running for State Representative of Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket County, following the announcement that Eric Turkington (D – Falmouth) will not run for re-election. Tim has been serving as legislative liaison for the island.

Sandy MacDonald has been selected for a small chorus that will be part of the New York City premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s “White House Cantata” at Lincoln Center on March 31st, to be directed by Roger Rees. Sandy thanks Paulette Allemand for her voice lessons, coaching, and her encouragement. Sandy is pictured here at the recent Un-Valentine’s Cabaret.


Nantucket Food & Beverage

Amber and David Cantella’s Epernay was approved by the Board of Selectmen this week for a retail wine and beer license. The application now goes to Boston for final approval. Epernay will carry artisan wines from a variety of wine regions, from the classic vineyards of the Old World to the up and coming vintners of the New World, with an emphasis on value without sacrificing quality. The store will carry stemware, decanters, corkscrews, customized gift baskets. micro-brews, gourmet accompaniments, and more. Wine antiques will fill out the decor. Amber and David will also provide event planning and a wine education program.

A Cisco Brewers pub will open around June 15 at the former site of Killian’s Pub at the American Airlines side of Terminal B, Logan Airports busiest concourse.


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Red-Tailed Hawks on Nantucket

Old Mr. Red-tail
By Kenneth Turner Blackshaw

Perhaps when you were a child you were fortunate enough to have a mother who read to you about the wonderful world of nature depicted by Thornton Burgess. Such characters as Farmer Brown’s Boy, Bowser the Hound, Little Joe Otter, Sammy Jay, and yes – Old Mr. Red-tail, gave me a fanciful appreciation for wild life around me. Mr. Red-tail’s views from high above the green forest and meadow were etched into my thoughts. The tales of Blacky the Crow and his compatriots raising the alarm when Mr. Red-tail was hunting are brought to mind even now, when we see Nantucket’s crows do the same thing.

Red-tailed Hawks are among the most visible of our birds of prey. Most folks recognize them circling high in the sky, scarcely flapping a wing as they do, flashing a bit of rusty red as they steer the air with their tails. They frequently perch atop our phone poles and chimneys and that’s where problems begin. We get calls about huge birds – they must be eagles – or owls. I once scrambled out to Fulling Mill Road and explained to some enthusiastic observers how that white looking bird perched in the fir tree was not a Snowy Owl. Red-tails appear very white from the front.

On Nantucket, we are gladdened to see Red-tails in our skies all year long. Prior to 1944, no one had ever found a nest here, so Edith Folger Andrews was breaking new ground when she wrote about the first nests in her 1948 book. Christmas Bird Count numbers show our winter population trending upward from a low of two in 1965, to 55 in 2003.

Red-tails can be found all over the North America, although they show different color phases in different locations. A Krider’s Red-tail, found in the prairies, is very pale. A Harlan’s Red-tail, also western, is almost all black, with a white tail rather than red. The species name, Buteo jamaicensis, refers to the fact that it was originally discovered down on the island of Jamaica. For years, these hawks up here were called Buteo borealis, but were discovered to be the same as jamaicensis in the early 1900s.
The Buteo in the scientific name refers to the major family of hawks where Red-tails reside. Buteos have broad, rounded wings and relatively short rounded tails, and typically soar in the sky as they hunt. They have incredible vision. We see them soar up to where they are just a dot in the sky, then fold their wings and drop like stones on an unsuspecting mouse, close to a thousand feet below.

Red-tails have a wingspan of just about four feet, with females larger and heavier than the males. They are mainly brown on the back and white in front with a light band across the belly. Adult Red-tails show a nice rusty-red tail in flight, particularly when viewed from above. These large hawks mate for life, a span that may exceed 15 years. There are reports of Red-tails maintaining a solitary existence after their mate was shot, returning to the nest site each year, working on the nest, and hunting on territory.

This species gotten attention several years ago in New York City because a pair set up territory and built a nest on an apartment building overlooking Central Park. They became the subject of a book called ‘Red-tails in Love’ and a subsequent movie which you can rent – ‘Pale Male.’ The flight footage in the video is extraordinary and the scenes showing the young hawks attempting their first flights are very entertaining. They did a huge amount of flying without ever leaving the nest!

Right now a pair of Red-tails is working on a nest somewhere near the Nantucket Platform Tennis Association courts off of the Polpis Road. I’ve been observing this pair for three or four years now. Sometimes we stop playing as one makes a low pass over the courts and gives its blood-curdling scream – “keeeeeear.” It is such a call of the wild that it was chosen to be a standard part of the titles for the TV series “Northern Exposure.”

On Nantucket, most soaring birds we see, besides gulls, are Red-tails. Now is the time when courtship begins for Nantucket’s Red-tails, so they are more visible, doing their nuptial flights. Over the next few weeks, watch for pairs soaring high in the sky, doing their aerial mating. As they circle, high above your heads, think about the huge nest below, maybe three feet across, that will soon have several eggs in it. The annual cycle for the Red-tail is just getting under way.

George C. West creates illustrations for these articles. Originally published in the Nantucket Independent, March 5, 2004.