Alan White

Coming attractions

COURTESY PHOTO

Bill Staines will perform at the me & thee coffeehouse.

Bill Staines at me & thee

MARBLEHEAD — Folk Legacy Month at the me & thee continues with the appearance of Bill Staines tomorrow night. Staines has performed on the coffeehouse stage every year since it began in 1970. Quentin Callewaert opens the show at 8 p.m. The me & thee coffee house is at the Unitarian Universalist Church on 28 Mugford St. in Marblehead.

Staines became involved with the Boston-Cambridge folk scene in the early 1960s and for a time emceed the Sunday Hootenanny at the legendary Club 47 in Cambridge. He performs nearly 200 concerts a year and drives some 65,000 miles annually. He has recorded 26 albums and many of his songs have appeared in grade school music books, church hymnals and scouting campfire songbooks.

Callewaert has been on the music scene for only a few years but he’s making a major buzz as one of the most gifted guitarists around — and the Byfield resident is still in high school. Quentin plays a combination of classical, traditional, contemporary and popular material as well as his own finely crafted original compositions.

The door charge for this show is $20. Tickets are available at the me & thee website at www.meandthee.org.

Bite into the Big Apple with a weekend away

Sculpture exhibit

LYNN Mary Spitzer, a sculptor based at the Lydia Pinkham Building, will exhibit some of her work at Christopher’s Cafe, 2 Lewis St., through March 4. The restaurant is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

‘Artful Prose’

LYNN North Shore Community College and the Lynn Museum are collaborating on two Black History Month programs. “Artful Prose: A Spoken Word Event” will occupy the LynnArts Gallery tonight from 6-8 p.m. A festive “Harlem Renaissance Gala” will follow at Lynn Museum on Feb. 23.

The Lynn High School Jazz Band is expected to perform at the gala. Boston-based actor Alan White will recite poems and stories from the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural, social and artistic explosion that revitalized Harlem, N.Y., in the 1920s.

The “Artful Prose” night is an open mic, spoken word showcase. Everyone is invited to participate and all will be given up to three minutes to share their talent. The subject matter need not be related to Black History Month.

Both events are free and open to all

To perform at “Artful Prose,” sign up here: https://goo.gl/xh5kIY. To attend, use this link: https://goo.gl/kkSQ4G.

For free tickets to the gala, use this link: https://goo.gl/cfNFAH

‘Love Letters’

PEABODY — Northeast Arc, a nonprofit organization that helps children and adults with disabilities become full participants in the community, will host “Love Letters” at the ArcWorks Community Art Center tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the performance benefit Arc’s planned construction of a Black Box Theater at ArcWorks.

“Love Letters” is the story of a man and a woman whose friendship spans 50 years, during which, despite making different choices and taking different paths, they share a bond that cannot be broken. Starring in the production are John Archer of Danvers and Anne Marilyn Lucas of Marblehead. It is being directed by Aimee Oliver of Wenham.

Tickets, $25, can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/ArcLoveLetters or by calling Pam Silva at 978-624-2403. For additional information visit www.facebook.com/ArcWorksCommunityArtCenter.

‘Thomas Spencer: Salem Abolitionist’

SALEMHistorical Interpreter and storyteller Merrill Kohlhofer will present “Thomas Spencer: Salem Abolitionist,” a program about the anti-slavery effort in the port city of Salem, tonight at National Park Service Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Program begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free. For additional information, call 978-740-1650.

The Gift of Song

SWAMPSCOTT — The First Church in Swampscott will present “The Gift of Song: Voices of Black America” on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the church sanctuary at 40 Monument Ave. The gifted musicians and actors in this program include baritone Robert Honeysucker, internationally renowned opera and concert singer; reader Samuel Martinborough, performer and theater educator; tenor Antanas Meilus; soprano Kynesha Patterson; organist Andrew Soll; and pianist and artistic director Beverly Soll. An interfaith choir will also participate in the performance. The concert is free and open to the public; free-will donations will be accepted. For more information, call 781-592-6081 or visit thefirstchurch.org.

A collaborative effort for Black History Month

COURTESY PHOTO
The Harlem Renaissance Gala will be held at Lynn Museum on Feb. 23.

By BILL BROTHERTON

LYNN — Dennis Hicks, the new director of Student Engagement at North Shore Community College, realizes he’s entering uncharted territory by holding cultural events off campus.

But Hicks, a Michigan native and Marshall University grad who arrived here after serving a similar role at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., is confident students and faculty will turn out for the Black History Month programs he’s organized. “Artful Prose: A Spoken Word Event” will occupy the LynnArts Gallery on Feb. 9. A festive “Harlem Renaissance Gala” will follow at Lynn Museum on Feb. 23.

The fact that NSCC is a commuter school and that most students work, some more than one job, poses unique challenges, said Hicks. At George Mason most of the 6,000 students lived on campus, so Hicks had a ready audience for his programs, which included music (One Republic, Ludacris, Gym Class Heroes, All-American Rejects), comedy (Wanda Sykes, Lewis Black, Wayne Brady) and speakers (George Takei).

“This is the first time North Shore Community College has scheduled programs like this off campus, outside of school hours and not tied to a specific class. I’m hopeful students, faculty and the community will respond. Everyone at the college has been supportive and excited about it,” said Hicks.

“Plus, many of our students come straight from high school,” he said. “They haven’t attended many super-dressy events, except maybe for prom. The Harlem Renaissance Gala is not a jeans and T-shirt event. Smart-casual to sassy-chic attire is preferred.”

The Lynn High School Jazz Band is expected to perform at the gala. Boston-based actor Alan White will recite poems and stories from the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural, social and artistic explosion that revitalized Harlem, N.Y., in the 1920s.

The “Artful Prose” night is an open mic, spoken word showcase. Everyone is invited to participate and all will be given up to three minutes to share their talent. The subject matter need not be related to Black History Month.

Hicks said the programs are not limited to faculty and students. “Both events are free and open to all. I just request that people sign up in advance (links at the bottom of this story).”

“There is a great ambiance in the museum and gallery space,” said Hicks, who splits his time between NSCC’s Lynn and Danvers campuses. “I brought up the idea of Black History Month and (staffers) Elena (Hershman-Seide) and Carolyn (Cole) had some great ideas, very supportive.”

“The gala will be a fun, lively social event with music and food. It will be a swanky night,” said Hicks. “Everyone will have a great time.”

“Artful Prose: A Spoken Word Event,” Thursday, Feb. 9, 6-8 p.m., at LynnArts Gallery. To perform, use this link: https://goo.gl/xh5kIY. To attend, use this link: https://goo.gl/kkSQ4G

“Harlem Renaissance Gala,” Thursday, Feb. 23, 6-8 p.m., at Lynn Museum.

For free tickets, use this link: https://goo.gl/cfNFAH

Super brunches in Boston


Bill Brotherton is The Item’s Features editor. He can be reached at bbrotherton@itemlive.com.

Were prog rock icons great? Yes!

ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Jon Davison performs in Yes during the Yes – The Album Series concert at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday.

BY BILL BROTHERTON

LYNN — The death of founding bassist Chris Squire last year means there are no original members in the current touring band of progressive rock titans Yes.

Jon Anderson seems content to work with Jean Luc Ponty and focus on the upcoming “An Evening of Yes Music & More” tour with Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman (at Boston’s Wang Theater on Oct. 19).

To further complicate matters, longtime drummer Alan White, who joined in 1972, is recuperating from recent back surgery and had to sit out Thursday night’s show at Lynn Memorial Auditorium.

Steve Howe, of YES, jams on the guitar during the YES - The Album Series concert at Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday. shasak | Item Live

Steve Howe, of Yes, jams on the guitar during the Yes – The Album Series concert at Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday.

So, how did the lineup of Steve Howe (guitars), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Billy Sherwood (bass), Jay Schellen (drums) and Jon Davison (vocals) fare? Pretty darn well, thank you very much.

But this was truly a show for Yes die-hards. Marginal fans who went expecting to hear “Owner of a Lonely Heart” — a turgid pile of you know what IMHO — and other radio-friendly tunes were probably ready to take poison about halfway through the close-to-25-minute set-ending “Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil).”

This was also the hardest rocking, aggressive-sounding Yes show I’ve seen in a long time. The band is on the road performing the 1980 album “Drama” in its entirety, sides 1 and 4 of 1973’s  bombastic, fantastic opus “Tales from Topographic Oceans” and a handful of greatest “hits.”

The stage was jam-packed with instruments and equipment. The space allotted for Downes’ keyboards was larger than my first apartment.

The six songs from the hard-rocking “Drama” kicked things off. Howe was on fire from the start, the menacing “Machine Messiah,” to the beautiful acoustic solo during “Leaves of Green.” He was a man possessed. He came to play, and drummer Schellen pushed him all night.

Vocalist Davison sounds so much like Anderson it’s eerie. He hits high notes that only dogs can hear; his tighty-whities must’ve been particularly tight. He shined on “Into the Lens” and fan favorites “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Siberian Khatru,” which revved up the crowd even more before a 20-minute interval (that’s Brit-speak for intermission).

It’s a shame White missed the gig, because the ambitious “Topographic Oceans” was the first Yes album he played on. (Steven Wilson has remixed the double album; it will be released next month.) I always found the album indulgent and banal, but the crowd was jazzed and attentive and even rowdy during the long (20-minutes-plus) “The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)” and especially the percussion freakout with synchronized lights and smoke in “Ritual.”

The encore (that’s Brit-speak for encore), a one-two punch of “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper,” got the crowd clapping, standing and cheering.


Bill Brotherton can be reached at bbrotherton@itemlive.com

Storyteller entertains at Lynn Museum

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Oliver Daniels, Julia Serino and Tenley Seidel, left, listen to and participate in the story about a hungry cat being told by puppeteer, actor and storyteller Alan White at the Lynn Museum on Wednesday.

BY GABE MARTINEZ

LYNN — The Lynn Museum transported local children to worlds filled with magic and wonder, courtesy of a storyteller.

Alan White, a storyteller from New Hampshire, entertained the children with African folktales and Afro-American folktales.

The stories are from all over the world, including West Africa, Jamaica and the Southern U.S., according to White.

White entertained the children with four stories. The stories included, “Boo Hag,” “Hungry Cat,

Wisdom of the Lion” and “Br’er Rabbit and the Magic Gate.”

This was White’s first visit to the museum. The museum was excited to have White, due to his creativity, passion and knowledge, according to the museum’s Executive Director, Drew Russo.

All of the stories required some audience participation, but the big hit of the day was the “Br’er Rabbit.”

“I liked the rabbit story because of the songs and because I got to run,” said Charlotte Cahill, 4, of Lynn.

White’s favorite story is “Hungry Cat,” a story he learned from British Jamaican storyteller, Jan Blake.

White remembers gaining his passion for storytelling from his mother and brother.

“Some of my earliest memories are of my mother reading Dr. Seuss, and my brother reading Edgar Allen Poe poems,” said White.

Russo believes that these events are great for both the children and the community.

“This is a time when kids are out of school and have free time,” said Russo. “It’s nice to have affordable, cultural experiences in the community.”

The museum has been hosting school vacation week events for over six years.

“We always strive to provide fun, creative programs that both educate and entertain,” said Russo.

To round off vacation week, the museum will host a miniature hot air balloon launch for museum members today. On Friday, there will be a free dance workshop for kids featuring lessons in ballet, hip-hop and jazz.  


 

Gabe Martinez can be reached at gmartinez@itemlive.com.