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by Janice Williams

The Bulletin Newspapers

4/17/03    Extraordinary devotion
4/24/03    Voices in the chapel
5/01/93    A season of poetry
5/08/03    The later stages of now
5/15/03    Creating laughter
5/22/03    Illustrating stories to entertain children
5/29/03    Classical music and art resound in Jamaica Plain

Extraordinary Devotion by Janice Williams

In today’s world of disposable cameras and streaming video, it is refreshing to see work that reflects a dedication to photographer as artist. Gary Legg whose photography exhibit, "Ordinary Places" at the West Roxbury Library, shows extraordinary devotion to the art of the photograph. The ten photographs in the exhibit while simple in theme are rich and complex in artistic vision and technical achievement.

Photography is as much about the subject matter as it is about the final product. What a photographer sees through a lens appears to be set in reality but a photographer with an eye for artistic rendition sees layers that are technically challenging. Legg has taken the challenge and produces work that vividly and creatively captures time and space and enhances our experience with a beautiful piece of artwork. Legg takes most of his photos in the traditional way with a film camera but his real expertise is in the printing of the photograph, which he does digitally. It is in the printing process that Legg is both creative and skilled. He prints on an inkjet printer with special inks and paper for print longevity.

This is interesting as we see the influx of photographs being taken digitally, many of which never make it to the printed page. Digital photography that allows us to see such things as the war in Iraq as it is happening and allows us to take, process email and manipulate photos in seconds is still evolving. Printing of digital images is still in its infancy. Legg wonderfully melds the traditional with the new, film and the digital printing process to create endurable artwork.

Each photograph in the exhibit will evoke your senses in a myriad of ways. From "Half Mast" a photo of a chain link fence post with an American Flag decal to "Picket Fence, McBride Street" a photo of hedges bursting through a fence, you will see and feel what Legg says is "a quiet beauty, one that is easy to miss". The image sizes are roughly 12 x 16 inches. His work is colorful and beautifully sensitive to light play. The photo, "Grass Pot, South End" captures both the new life of a growing plant and the deteriorating paint on the doorway behind, a true slice of life. While viewing Legg’s photographs, I felt my patriotism come bubbling up, my yards chores refreshed, and a renewed affection for my kitty and my lifetime connections with Jamaica Plain. What will you see? Take a few moments out of your day, visit the West Roxbury library and enjoy, "simple pictures of simple things in ordinary Boston neighborhoods" (Legg).

Having seen Legg’s previous exhibit, a sensory and educational treat of photos taken from a trip to Cuba, I encourage Legg to continue his artistic journey so all may partake in the photograph as art.

Gary Legg is a West Roxbury resident and a writer. His web site is www.garylegg.com/ordinary.

Janice Williams is the Director of It’s All About Arts Center in Roslindale. She can be reached at 617-469-1700 or janice@itsallaboutarts.com or visit www.itsallaboutarts.com

Voices in the Chapel by Janice Williams

Esther Kaplan, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Boston opened the event. She spoke of the need for creating venues within Boston neighborhoods to expand cultural programming and make arts accessible to residents. The Forsyth Chapel at Forest Hills Cemetery fits the need perfectly. An intimate, beautifully designed 19th century space was the setting for a sold out "Voices in the Chapel" concert on Sunday, April 13 at 4 p.m. The chapel was built in 1884 by Frank M. Howe and Henry Van Brunt part of the same team that designed Harvard University’s Sanders Theater and Memorial Hall.

The late afternoon sun streamed through exquisite stained glass windows set into deep, dark wood walls and ceiling. Ambiance embodies the space and the audience was ready to listen and partake of the entertainment from the moment they stepped into the chapel. With fingers snapping and music playing, Curtis Henderson, Athene Wilson & Friends - Rollins Ross (piano), Danny Underwood (Bass), Vincent Bailey (vocals and percussion) and David Ely (vocals and percussion) waltzed up to the stage to perform, "People Get Ready". Then began 1-1/2 hours of music and song that saturated the chapel to the rafters (the acoustics are great) and delighted all in attendance.

The music and songs were a wonderful uplifting medley of spirituals, gospel, rhythm

& blues and originals. Audience participation was encouraged to such tunes as "A Lovely Day", "Open Up My Heart", "What’s Going On" and "It’s a Beautiful World". David Ely sang two original songs that he wrote, "Passion" and "What Color is Love". My personal favorite was Stevie Wonder’s "Love is in Need of Love Today" sung by Curtis Henderson. Having recently purchased the re-mastered CD "Songs in the Key of Life", the song was as relevant today as it was in 1976 "Don’t delay send yours in right away (love)". The whole program was entertaining and a delightful way to spend an inspiring afternoon in the neighborhood away from the complexities of the world. Curtis Henderson said of the choice of songs, "I thought it was important to reflect the feelings of the moment with songs from other times."

Born in Roxbury and now a resident of Jamaica Plain, Curtis Henderson has always surrounded himself with music. He has performed with Cousins, the Prophets and with the Chet Atkins Company. He is the general manager for Boston Neighborhood Network Television. Created in 1983, BNNTV serves the residents of Boston with a full-service community media center with complete field production packages, a Multimedia Center and television studios in CityPlace, the Mall of Roxbury, and Boston University.

With art programming decimated by state wide budget cuts, Commissioner Kaplan left us with the challenge to support the future of art programming by attending venues in our neighborhoods. Plan on attending future programs at the Forsyth Chapel to support your local artists.

Janice Williams is the Director of It’s All About Arts Center in Roslindale. She can be reached at 617-469-1700 or janice@itsallaboutarts.com or visit www.itsallaboutarts.com

A season of poetry by Janice Williams

During the reading of poems by William Corbett from his recently published book Boston Vermont at the West Roxbury Library on Monday, April 28, I realized a peaceful wave of sheer meditative pleasure. For 45 minutes as the world bustled outside, I listened to poetry that quietly and gently evoked images of daily events, journeys and friends. This program was a wonderful diversion and one worthy of the community’s further attention.

The 4th in a series called "A Season of Poetry" was sponsored by the West Roxbury ArtsNet group and the Friends of the West Roxbury Library and made possible through a Boston Cultural Agenda grant from the City of Boston’s Office of Cultural Affairs. For the Artsnet group bringing poetry readings to West Roxbury is a natural fit. West Roxbury after all has a long-standing history of being a literary haven. In 1841, Sophia and George Ripley founded Brook Farm in West Roxbury. Brook Farm was a utopian community of writers, thinkers and farmers. Brook Farm attracted many prominent writers of the time such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The idea for a poetry reading series came from ArtsNet member Richard Martin, an award-winning poet himself. Richard who introduced Williams Corbett on Monday believes that the area is rich with contemporary poets (Williams Corbett is a long time resident of the South End) and it is time to give them a recognized voice here in Boston. April was National Poetry Month and activity was at an all time high in the city. The Boston Public Library in Copley Square hosted a marathon poetry session on April 12 and 13 that featured 56 major and emerging poets each doing a twenty-minute reading. And the West Roxbury Branch Library has always supported poetry as an important cultural venue. On Mondays, poet and resident Mary E. Joyce Waite hosts a poetry workshop from 6-8 p.m. at the library.

The ArtsNet group was founded to help organize and facilitate communication within the arts community in West Roxbury. Cofounder Ann Donaldson says that with a team approach opportunities are created not only for residents to share in the work of artists but for artists to create and get exposure for their work. The "Season of Poetry" venue will continue at the West Roxbury Branch Library with readings by Robert Mooney (May 12), Elizabeth Thomas (May 29), David Kelly (June 12) and Joel Daily (June 28).

If you are looking for a respite from your hectic schedule, attend one of these free poetry readings and enjoy meeting some great people, be intellectually stimulated and just plain relax. A wine and cheese reception precedes the performance from 6:45 to 7:15 p.m. During the reception on Monday, Jef Scoville delightfully entertained with his guitar. And if you enjoy a culturally diverse and rich community get involved in the ArtsNet group. For more information contact: Ann Donaldson at (617) 327-2776 or Michael Macrides (617) 323-1950.

Janice Williams is the Director of It’s All About Arts Center in Roslindale. She can be reached at 617-469-1700 or janice@itsallaboutarts.com or visit www.itsallaboutarts.com

The later stages of now by Janice Williams

For those who play music in their spare time, nothing is sweeter or more fulfilling than to perform music in a public venue with a welcoming audience. So it was for the band Open Hand on Saturday, April 19. The event was a CD release party held at Artist at Large Gallery in Hyde Park. While CD release parties seem to be proliferating all over these days, this party and the CD release was the culmination of passionate devotion to life, friends and the musical muse.

The group "Open Hand" is made up of men who work during the day as school bus drivers. As co-workers they became friends and found a mutual interest in playing music. For sometime, music was a way to relax and fill the time in between school runs. When the music started to take shape and form, they decided to work on a CD they entitled "The Later Stages of Now". The group who are all from Hyde Park with the exception of Rick (Stoughton) consists of Curt Naihersey ["Capt. Curt"]: guitars, E-bow, keyboards, percussion & voice; Bob McCloskey ["Bobby Bongo from Bombay"]: saxes, flutes, percussion & voice; ["Cmdr."] Jan White: hand drums, multi percussion, harmonica & voice; Rick Lynch ["Gen. Ricky Rocket"]: synths, samples, keyboards, percussion & voice.

Musicians are a very tight group and support each other in whatever way they can. Curt Naihersey has always been a champion for local musicians and is constantly working to collaborate and coordinate musicians with venues. For this reason, Open Hand shared their spotlight with another group Dreamtime 9/Translucent from Cambridge. Another friend Dr. T provided kaleidoscope visuals projected on the wall next to the band. The concert was well attended and well received. The music was all original and experimental and at times eclectic. The addition of the saxophone in Open Hand numbers was superb. The music sounded great and the entire show made for wonderful entertainment. You can pick up "The Later Stages of Now" CD at It’s All About Arts Center in Roslindale, Lion’s Domain in Hyde Park, Rhythm & Muse and Hi Fi Records in Jamaica Plain and online at CD baby and LowBudgetRecords.

This event was a part of the Artist at Large’s MIM (Modern Improvised Music) Series. Artists at Large connects musicians and artists with the community. The space at Artists at Large at 37 Everett Street is spacious and comfortable. Tommey the owner is a tireless supporter of local art and has created a vibrant venue. Each month he hangs an art exhibit by a local artist. The exhibit available during the performance was by Senior Elaine Mann. Artists at Large Gallery is truly working at meeting its stated goal, "The overarching goal is to make connections that span race, class and generations and reinforce the deep artistic links that bind us together". All that was certainly visible the night of April 19.

For information about Artists at Large Gallery call 617-276-3223 or visit www.artistsatlargeinc.org. For information about Open Hand call Curt Naihersey at Camaraderie Music Co. 617-364-8783 or visit www.lowbudgetrecords.com

Janice Williams is the Director of It’s All About Arts Center in Roslindale. She can be reached at 617-469-1700 or janice@itsallaboutarts.com or visit www.itsallaboutarts.com

Creating laughter by Janice Williams

No one really knew quite what to expect. The activity was advertised as "Laughter Yoga". Yoga conjures up visions of exercises and body manipulation. What kind of exercises could induce laughter? Were we to take turns putting our bodies into distorted stances while others in the room laughed at our antics? For the twelve brave and curious attendees to the first meeting of the Greater Boston Laughter Club, the answer was an hour of fun, discovery and unbridled laughter, sans embarrassment.

The Greater Boston Laughter Club attendees discovered that laughter stimulates the immune system and relieves the negative effects of stress. Scientifically, laughter according to Loma Linda University School of Medicine's Department of Clinical Immunology, (laughter) "lowers serum cortisol levels, increases the amount of activated T lymphocytes, increases the number and activity of natural killer cells, and increases the number of T cells that have helper/suppressor receptors". Attendees also learned that laughter is an exercise that can be practiced much the same as other physical exercises. While attending a funny movie or going out to a comedy show can induce laughter, you can practice laughter in very simple, creative and inexpensive ways. The theory that laughter is contagious really becomes evident during these exercises. Robert Provine who is a behavioral neurobiologist and pioneering laughter researcher suggests that humans have a "detector" that responds to laughter by triggering other neural circuits in the brain, which, in turn, generates more laughter.

Paul Antokolsky, a Harvard graduate who is a commentator and humorist, led the session. He and his wife Leslie Ahern are Certified Laughter Leaders. They are gold members of the American Association of Therapeutic Humor and the founders of the Greater Boston Laughter Club. The workshop started out with a brief explanation of what the goals were for the club. The attendees sat in a circle and then began a series of exercises that all induced varying degrees of laughter. The group participated in shake a hand laughs, peek a boo laughs, pass it on laughs, hooray laughs and lion laughs. The final exercise was a line dance with colorful shakers that wound itself around the room and outside onto the sidewalk. Surrounding pedestrians, workers and drivers were amused. Clearly, the order of the evening was to laugh and everyone did.

Learning new ways to incorporate laughter into your life is a creative way to stay healthy and have fun. According to the World Laughter Tour web site, "Now there are almost 100 Laughter Clubs in the United States and Canada, and more than 400 clubs, throughout India. The first officially recognized laughter club in the USA was chartered in June 1999, in Orrville, Ohio, at the YMCA. New clubs are starting all the time". There is even a world laughter day – always the first Sunday in May. So if you missed world laughter day and need some laughter in your life to relieve stress, join the Greater Boston Laughter Club. The club meets each Tuesday evening from 7-8 p.m. at the It’s All About Arts Center at 2A Corinth Street, Roslindale. 617-469-1700. There is a suggested donation of $5.00. All ages are welcome. For further information visit www.laughterforhealth.com.

Janice Williams is the Director of It’s All About Arts Center in Roslindale. She can be reached at 617-469-1700 or janice@itsallaboutarts.com or visit www.itsallaboutarts.com

Illustrating stories to entertain children by Janice Williams

The book review for "The Strange Egg" on Amazon.com reads "A bird. A strange egg. A monkey. A little bird, flying high in the sky, spies something very beautiful below. She pokes, pecks, and makes a great noise to try and wake it up. Thinking it a very strange egg indeed, she sits upon it. A monkey, watching from a nearby tree, finds this very funny. A bird sitting on an orange. What follows is an original and whimsical tale of wonder, curiosity, and friendship told in the most simple of language and accompanied by delicately bold illustrations".

This award winning children’s book along with others was playfully read to a group of 2-4 year olds at the first of the year "Backyard Story" series at Village Books on Tuesday May 13. Center stage was Mary Newell DePalma, a Roslindale resident and author and illustrator. The passion that DePalma has for entertaining children through her work was evident as she read from her books and showed the carefully and colorfully crafted illustrations that make each story come alive for young minds. From the book, "They slurped, munched, squirted, crunched, and spit out the seeds".

An artist and illustrator all her life, DePalma came to children’s books after working as a medical illustrator and doing various types of illustrations for newspapers, magazines and textbooks. A graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, DePalma teaches Children’s Book Writing and Illustration at Suffolk University. DePalma now has nine published books to her credit and is working on future publications. Other books that she read that day included "Roads", "Rembrandt’s Hat" and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears".

The "Backyard Story" series take place each Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Village Books, 751 South Street. It is free and a snack is served. Local authors/illustrators scheduled are: Erik Kraft, Jamaica Plain, Ann Boyajian, Jamaica Plain, Amy Walrod, Cambridge, Marcia Sewall, Dorchester, Susan Goodman, Jamaica Plain, Jane Dyer, Northhampton and Philemon Sturgis of Boston. A special treat during this series is being able to purchase the books being read and have the author/illustrator sign them.

For young children, this series is entertaining and social while gently introducing them to the world of reading and of making art. To meet DePalma and see her demonstrate her illustration techniques, come to the It’s All About Arts Center on Saturday June 14 from 2-4 p.m. Free and open to the public. Located at 2A Corinth Street, Roslindale.

Janice Williams is the Director of It’s All About Arts Center in Roslindale. She can be reached at 617-469-1700 or janice@itsallaboutarts.com or visit www.itsallaboutarts.com

Classical music and art resound in Jamaica Plain by Janice Williams

On a beautiful, sunny spring afternoon, the Amaryllis Chamber Ensemble presented a concert in Jamaica Plain. The setting for this delightful concert of flute, violins, violincello, and viola was the Loring-Greenough House in Jamaica Plain. The concert took place in the Souther Drawing Room where folding chairs were set next to the late 18th century furniture and artifacts. Playing classical scores by Haydn, Rolla, Ysaye, Bach and Devienne, the all-female ensemble entertained the all ages’ audience with a special cultural experience. While live folk and rock music is easy to hear on a local level, classical music is rarely heard and it was a nice treat. The concert lasted about an hour and was followed by an afternoon tea.

During the concert, I felt like I had been spirited away to another era. While listening to the Rolla’s Quartetto No. 5. I took in the historic room’s contents and fixed on the artwork hanging on the walls. It seemed so appropriate that the portrait of the master of the house hung on the wall in back of where the musicians were playing and above the fireplace. The portrait is a huge oil painting of David Stoddard Greenough done by Mrs. Griswold Tyng (a copy of original done by Gilbert Stuart).

The Loring-Greenough House was built in 1760 by Commodore Josuah Loring. The property was confiscated by Colonial Troops in 1775 and used as a hospital in the Battle of Bunker Hill. The property was purchased in 1784 by Anne Doane who then married David Stoddard Greenough, a lawyer. The Greenoughs lived in this home for four generations. In 1924 members of the Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club purchased the house to save it from development. The Loring-Greenough House is listed on the National Register for Historic Places and is designated a Massachusetts Landmark and a Boston Landmark.

According to Katharine Cipolla, Vice President of the Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club, "It is a pleasure to have outside groups use the Loring-Greenough House for their venues." The Recent events at the Loring-Greenough House have included a Psychic Fair that benefited the Friends of Boston’s Homeless. The Amaryllis Chamber Ensemble performance was part of a planned concert season that included five concerts by the Boston Recorder Society. The series will conclude for the year with a June 1st performance by Sarah Cantor on recorders, Henry Lebidensky, harpischord and Angus Lansing, viola da gamba with music from Baroque Opera.

The Loring-Greenough House, located at 12 South Street in Jamaica Plain a treasured art venue itself as a museum, offers art in many forms. A host site for the annual Jamaica Plain Open Studios that take place in September, on June 27th and 28th, there will be a silent auction of local artists’ work. The proceeds will benefit Loring-Greenough House and St. John's Church of Jamaica Plain.

Tours of the Loring-Greenough House are given from June to August on Saturday: 12pm-3pm, Sunday: 12pm-3pm, Tuesday: 10am-12pm or by appointment. For more information about visit www.lghouse.org or call the Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club at 617-524-3158.

Janice Williams is the Director of It’s All About Arts Center in Roslindale. She can be reached at 617-469-1700 or janice@itsallaboutarts.com or visit www.itsallaboutarts.com