Monthly Archives: April 2008

Coming Up (Beginning 4/25/08)

Arts and social events: Friday (4/25) through Thursday (5/1):

DAFFOLDIL WEEKEND

With a less than ideal forecast, (15 – 20 mph east-northeast winds, a high of about 47), here’s what’s happening for the weekend.

The first cars start lining up on and filling up Main Street at 9:30 on Saturday. At noon, the Antique Car Parade begins, proceeding to ‘Sconset for the Daffodil Tailgate Picnic from 1 to 3.

While out there in ‘Sconset, stop by at the Country Village Real Estate Open House at 10 Main Street. There, you’ll also be able to meet writer Scott Simonsen, producer Tim White, and director Trevor White of an independent film called “Tides of Summer”, expected to be shot on island at the end of the summer or early fall.

While the cars are lining up on Main Street, head over to Children’s Beach (new location) for the Daffodil Children’s Parade at 10 am, with decorated bikes, wagons, skateboards, baby carriages, and always a few surprises. Every entrant earns a ribbon. Details.

The parade is followed at 10:45 by the Daffy Hat Pageant. Then the newly established Dog Parade gets going just after the cars leave town, at 12:30 at the corner of Main and Federal.

All events above are sponsored by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce.

The “Rainbow of Daffodils” themed 34th Annual Nantucket Daffodil Show is open Saturday from 2 to 5, and Sunday from 10 to 5 at the Coffin School. Details.


BENEFITS

Spring Down the House benefits Small Friends, Saturday, April 26 from 5 to 10 pm at the Chanticleer and Casino. Details.

Seaside Shakespeare’s presents a CD Release & Shakespeare’s Birthday Party, Sunday, April 27, 5 to 7 at the Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant with champagne, live music, and birthday cake. Details.

The Clothesline Project, presented by A Safe Place Nantucket, enables women affected by violence to.express their emotions by decorating a shirt and hanging it on a clothesline. Saturday, April 26, from 10:30 to 4 at the Atheneum. Details.


NIGHTLIFE

Maxxtone is at the Box Friday and Saturday night.

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.


THEATER AND PERFORMANCE

Doubt, A Parable, a play by John Patrick Shanley, continues its run at the Methodist Church. The performance is directed by Michael Feeney, and features Ciaran Byrne, Pam Murphy, Callahan Keever, and Tina Hoskins. Curtain at 7:30. Thursday April 24th – Saturday April 26th; Thursday May 1st – Saturday May 3rd. Details.
Indy article.

Coffee House for Music and Poetry: Friday, April 25, 6 to 9 pm at The Bean. Open mic. Bring a poem, bring your guitar. Featuring music from Vince Veilleux and poetry from Wyatt Leske. Master of Ceremonies – John Luttman.


ART & CRAFT

Nantucket Handmade features 16 island artisans showing pottery, textiles, jewelry and more. Opening Reception: Friday, April 25, 4 to 7 pm at the Preservation Institute. Show hours Saturday are 9 to 4.

The Artists Association presents the First Members Show Opening Reception on Friday, April 25, 6 to 8. Next Thursday is the Junior Artist Show Opening Reception for elementary school students from 4 to 5:30.

The Gallery at Four India Street’s opening reception for “Fine Art and Daffodils” is Saturday from noon to 3.


BOOKS, TALKS & WORKSHOPS
It’s Herbs Through the Ages at Bartlett’s Farm – history, superstitions, magic lore and medicinal and health uses of commonly used and easy to grow herbs. Saturday, April 26, 10:00 am. Details.

Cindy Houghton, author of ‘Out of The Fog: Tragedy on Nantucket’ will speak about surviving a plane crash on Nantucket in 1958. Monday, April 28, 7 to 8:30 pm at the Atheneum. Details.

Atheneum Used Book Sale: Saturday, April 26, 10 to 4, in the Lower Gallery.


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 Film Festival Update

Latest news from the upcoming 13th Annual Nantucket Film Festival, June 19 – 22:

  • Meg Ryan will be here to receive the first annual Compass Rose Acting Tribute Award.
  • Writer/director Judd Apatow will be on island to receive the “Suzanne and Bob Wright Screenwriter’s Tribute Award.”
  • “Transsiberian” will open the Festival, co-written by islander Will Conroy.

Executive Director Jill Burkhart and Artistic Director Mystelle Brabbée have announced that Meg Ryan will be the first ever winner of the newly established Compass Rose Acting Tribute, given to an actor who has inspired writers to create roles especially for them. Meg will also present the Adrienne Shelly Excellence in Filmmaking Award to a promising female writer/director.

Writer/director Judd Apatow will receive the Suzanne and Bob Wright Screenwriter’s Tribute Award, presented by NBC Universal. Judd Apatow wrote and directed “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up”. Past tributees have been Steve Martin, Charlie Kaufman, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Jay Presson Allen, Paul Schrader, Walter Bernstein, Ring Lardner Jr., James Schamus, Robert Benton, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor.

The opening film of this year’s festival is writer/director Brad Anderson’s “Transsiberian”, starring Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley, Kate Mara, and Eduardo Noriega. The film will be accompanied by a making-of documentary and panel discussion with writer/director Brad Anderson, writer Will Conroy, and producer Michael Williams.

Late Night Storytelling returns with hosts Anne Meara and Peter Farrelly. Participants will include surprise guests and audience members. Past storytellers have included Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Mos Def, Rosie Perez, Laird Hamilton, Olympia Dukakis, Paul Rudd, Alan Cumming, and Brian Williams.

Morning Coffee With will be hosted by film critic Leonard Maltin.

The Festival will partner with Nantucket’s Seaside Shakespeare for a reading of the Billy Wilder classic “Some Like It Hot”.

Closing the festival will be “The Wackness”, written and directed by Jonathan Levine and starring Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Josh Peck, Olivia Thirlby, and Mary-Kate Olsen.

Other films in this year’s festival include:

  • American Teen
  • Baghead
  • Choke
  • The Deal
  • Flow: For Love of Water
  • Frozen River
  • Goodbye Baby
  • Of All the Things
  • Operation Filmmaker
  • Secrecy
  • Sleep Dealer
  • Stranded: I Have Come from a Plane that Crashed on the Mountains
  • Trouble the Water
  • Wellness

The website will be up within the next few days.

Nantucket Independent Sold

The Nantucket Independent has been acquired by GateHouse Media New England. The Independent was founded in 2003 by Editor and Publisher Don Costanzo. Don will remain with the paper for a transition period, while current Associate Publisher Dan Drake will assume the role of Publisher. The Independent has earned numerous awards for editorial excellence, including four-time finalist for ‘Newspaper of the Year’ from the New England Press Association. It has also won NEPA’s 2006 and 2007 Advertising General Excellence.

GateHouse Media Inc. is headquartered in Fairport, New York, and publishes 87 dailies, 198 paid weeklies, and free papers, shoppers and specialty and niche publications.

Nantucket Bird News

The Underbirds

Kenneth Turner Blackshaw

Imagine your ears being assaulted by the sound of a large chain dropping on concrete, then being scraped along the cement. I heard this sound recently coming from the top of a nearby fir tree. It reminded me of Scrooge hearing the ghost of old Marley, dragging his chains of life. Yes, our Common Grackles have returned from the south.

The word ‘grackle’ comes from the Latin, graculus, referring to a Jackdaw, a European crow-like bird. I’ve had friends refer to grackles as ‘crackles,’ perhaps in connection with the fry-pan spitting ‘chuck’ call they make when flying overhead.

Grackles fall in the blackbird family, along with Red-wings, orioles, and meadowlarks. Users of Roger Tory Peterson’s field guide learn to separate grackles from starlings and Red-wings by their long tails. Unfortunately, this causes another identification problem. Many bird books show the Boat-tailed Grackle on the same page with Common Grackles. People are forever deciding our Common Grackles are “boat-tailed.” And they are, they are just not Boat-tailed Grackles.

Oh dear, this is getting quite muddled! Common Grackles are described as being ‘keel-tailed’. That is, their central tail feathers are held lower than the rest. The tail wedges up on both sides. So, even ‘Common’ Grackles have tails like the bottom of a dory. (We never promised you this would be an easy business.)

When I first learned about grackles in the early 50s, there were two species to worry over – Purple and Bronzed. Grackles are mainly black, with piercing yellow eyes. But when the sun hits their bodies, the colors iridesce – one moment black, then green, then purple, then bronze. So we used to stare at our grackles, trying to decide if the purple color went down on the back, or if there was enough bronze. Eventually both species were checked off, but we never felt good about it. Now, Purple and Bronzed have been ‘lumped’ into the Common Grackle.

Grackles are relatively large birds, long and skinny. From tail to beak, they average 12 and one half inches. They are so large that some people call them ‘Crow Blackbirds.’ The females are a little smaller but look the same, glossy black all over, with yellow eyes. Their flight pattern is rather direct, arrowing along without a lot of ups and downs.

So, why are they “underbirds?” I know people who enjoy grackles, because they’re the absolute underbird. Their yellow eyes give them an angry look that only their mother could love, and their voice is as pleasing to the ear as chalk scraped on a blackboard.

We expect our grackles to be with us starting in early March. Once they arrive, the males immediately start posturing, one against the other, pointing their bills up in the air. It seems like whomever is taller is superior. Every now and then, they erect all their feathers, swelling up like balloons, and emit the rasping, clanking sound I mentioned earlier. The best thing that can be said about the grackle’s song is that it doesn’t last very long. Earlier described as like a heavy chain being dropped and dragged, it has been written as ‘kuwaaxza’. It’s definitely a hair-raising sound. This is all part of the mating process and somehow determines who is going to do what, to whom!

(Click here for the call of the Common Grackle.)

Right now, grackles are clustering on the wires on Lower Orange Street, near the Rotary. They are early nesters and are very social, nesting in the evergreens near there. They used to like the bamboo grove near the corner of West Sankaty and New Streets in ‘Sconset. The stand was cut several years ago. Since they left no forwarding address we can only guess where they’ve moved.

Grackles usually limit themselves to one brood a year, with up to six eggs in a clutch, generally finishing their reproductive chores by mid-June. Although they are hard on the ear, they disperse fairly early in the summer. They typically leave Nantucket in late November, although some struggle on through the whole winter. They are uncommon north of D.C. in the wintertime.

In autumn, watch for them to form huge flocks, mixing with Red-wings, Starlings, and Cowbirds. Their flights sometimes darken the sky and often people proclaim them as pests because of the problems associated with so much bird guano. These flights are a dramatic avian phenomenon and signal the beginning of the cold season when they leave us in early November.

George C. West creates illustrations for these articles.

Check out the Ken’s ‘Birding Nantucket‘ series.

Originally published in the Nantucket Independent, March 12, 2004.

Nantucket Arts Community News

The Nantucket School of Music new music reference library is open to the public for research and for lending this summer. Some decommissioned books and music are for sale. Upstairs at 11 Centre St.

Volunteers needed for the Nantucket Wine Festival, May 14 – 18. Contact Nancy at 617-755-5523 or nancy@nantucketwinefestival.com.

The Theatre Workshop of Nantucket will host open auditions on Sunday and Monday, April 27th 28th at 7 p.m. for its summer season main stage plays, musicals and children’s performances, upstairs at the Methodist Church. Productions include “Silvia”, “The 15-minute Hamlet”, “Moon over Buffalo”, “Wait Until Dark”, and “Almost Maine”, and for children and families, “Story Time with a Princess”, “The Little Mermaid”, and “Pinocchio.” Actors will be asked to read from the script. E-mail Producing Director Jordana Fleischut at Jordana.ack@comcast.net to make an appointment. If you will be away on the audition dates, submit your resume, photo, housing situation, availability, and interest to producing@theatreworkshop.com prior to Friday, April 25th. Or write to TWN, c/o Jordan Fleischut, PO Box 1297, Nantucket, MA 02554.

Nantucket Night Sky

The Nantucket Sky in April 2008
(All times are given in Eastern Standard Time)

The Nantucket Sky” is generously provided at the beginning of each month by the Maria Mitchell Observatory, 4 Vestal Street. Thank you to Executive Director Janet E. Schulte for proposing this idea, and to Astronomer Vladimir Strelnitski for the report.

1. The Sun (for the middle of the month, April 15)
Rises at 6:00 a.m.
Sets at 7:21 p.m.

2. The Moon
Full Moon: April 20, 6:25 am
Last Quarter: April 28, 10:12 am

3. Planets
Mercury and Venus: Both are too close to the Sun to be observed comfortably during most of the month.

Mars: An evening object, in the southwestern part of the sky. Three months after the opposition, it is already far from the Earth. Its disk can be seen through a telescope or binoculars, though it appears relatively small with no visible features.
Jupiter: A morning object, higher and higher in the eastern part of the sky before the sunrise.

Saturn: An all-night object (seen closer and closer to Leo’s brightest star Regulus). Come to see this planet with its gorgeous rings and moons through the Maria Mitchell Association’s 8″ Clark telescope, at any scheduled open nigh.

4. Meteor Showers
A relatively weak (about 10 meteors per hour) Lyrids meteor shower on April 22 will be further harmed by the full Moon. If you decide to observe it anyway, the radiant of this shower (the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to originate) is between the constellations of Lyra and Hercules seen high enough in the Eastern sky, in the second half of the night.

Nantucket Casino Royale

The Nantucket Arts Council presented Casino Royale Saturday night, April 12, at the Rose & Crown, a benefit the NAC Scholarship Fund.

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Casino Royale


Casino Royale


Casino Royale


Casino Royale


Casino Royale


Casino Royale


Casino Royale

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Casino Royale


Casino Royale


Casino Royale


Casino Royale


Casino Royale


Casino Royale

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’s Got Talent

The Nantucket’s Got Talent Community Talent Show, sponsored by the Community Schoo, took place on Saturday, March 29th.

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.)


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show

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Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show

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.

Brass Lantern Inn

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Talent 2


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show

To buy any photo, just click on it.


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show


Talent Show

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.