Adkins Arboretum Hosts Author Andrea Wulf for “The Invention of Nature”


Though nearly forgotten today, the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was immensely popular in his time. An intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age, Humboldt perceived nature as an interconnected global force. He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth and Goethe and politicians such as Thomas Jefferson.


Photo credit: Antonina Gern

In her newest book, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, Andrea Wulf explores Humboldt’s extraordinary life and work. On Sat., Nov. 5, join the New York Times bestselling author for a discussion of how Humboldt created the way we understand nature today. Sponsored by Adkins Arboretum, the program begins at 4 p.m. at the Academy Art Museum in Easton.

Described as “an absolutely stupendous biography” and “scholarly but extremely good fun,” The Invention of Nature details Humboldt’s restless life, packed with the adventure and discovery of climbing the world’s highest volcanoes, paddling the Orinoco and racing through anthrax-infested Siberia. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he shaped in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature, and brings this lost hero of science and the father of environmentalism back to life. The Invention of Nature is the recipient of rave reviews and numerous book awards and was listed on the New York Times’ “10 Best Books of 2015.”

Author of The Brother Gardeners, Founding Gardeners and Chasing Venus, and co-author of This Other Eden, Wulf has lectured around the world, from the Royal Geographical Society and Royal Society in London to Monticello and the New York Public Library in the US. She is a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and was the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013. She has written for the New York Times, the Atlantic, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and many others.

The program is $15 for Arboretum members and $20 for non-members. A reception with light refreshments and a book signing will follow. Advance registration is requested at or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Cast Chosen for The Game’s Afoot at Church Hill Theatre


Director John Norton has announced the cast for CHT’s final 2016 production, the fast-paced mystery/comedy, The Game’s Afoot; or Holmes for the Holidays by Ken Ludwig. The play takes place on Christmas Eve, 1936, when a house party hosted by William Gillette, an actor famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, turns murderous. This glittering whodunit has murder, infidelity, wit, and surprises—something for everyone.


Photo: From left to right: James Diggs, Laura Wallin, Maggie Garey, Jim Landskroener, Diane Landskroener, Juanita Wieczoreck and Lindsey Hammer. Not pictured: Kirby Powell

Jim Landskroener plays William Gillette, the noted portrayer of Sherlock Holmes. Gillette’s houseguests, and potential suspects, are his fellow cast members: Lindsey Hammer fills the role of the ingénue Aggie Wheeler; Kirby Powell as character actor Simon Bright; James Diggs in the role of the experienced actor Felix Geisel; and Laura Wallin as the sarcastic actress Madge Giesel. Other characters are Diane Landskroener, cast as influential columnist and critic Daria Chase; Juanita Wieczoreck as the intriguing Inspector Harriet Goring; and Maggie Garey in the role of Gillette’s mother, Martha.  Garey and Hammer are Easton residents; the other cast members hail from Chestertown.

Although this will be Norton’s directorial debut at Church Hill Theatre, he recently appeared as an actor in CHT’s production of Visit to a Small Planet. He has broad experience as an actor and director with the Tred Avon Players in Oxford. After a career as a TV producer in Baltimore, John now owns his own production company specializing in videos and 3D animations.

Because of the Christmas Eve setting in The Game’s Afoot, Santa will be visiting the Church Hill Theatre on the final Saturday of the production! From 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, November 19th, Santa will be on stage to pose for photographs and take down Christmas wishes. For a $5.00 donation at the door, parents, grandparents, siblings, and more can bring a camera or phone to take photos of their little loved ones and enjoy cookies with the elves afterwards.

The Game’s Afoot; or Holmes for the Holidays will open at Church Hill Theatre on November 4 and will play Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm through November 20.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members and $10 for students, with special prices for groups of ten or more. CHT offers 2 for the price of 1 tickets on opening night, Friday November 4, to those who reserve by phone. Reservations can be made by calling the CHT office at 410-556-6003 or online at

Albee’s Timeless 3-Act Play ‘Delicate Balance’ Continues at The Garfield


A production of Edward Albee’s ‘Delicate Balance’ continues this upcoming weekend at the Garfield Center for the Arts, with performances Friday (21st) and Saturday (22nd) at 8pm, and Sunday (23rd) at 3pm. Albee won Tony (1967) and Pulitzer (1967) awards for this 3-act play, depicting the stresses and struggles of an upper middle-class couple, their immediate family and friends. The production is dedicated to Edward Albee, who at the age of 88, passed away on September 16, 2016.

Director Bonnie Hill has assembled an excellent cast, and guided their fast-paced, intense and dialogue-heavy performances into a flawless presentation. Each of the six characters seeks understanding and acceptance of their private issue. However, the adult themes of this 50 year-old play remain ageless, and are easily assimilated with those of contemporary living.

Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble’s Set to Perform October 30


“Haunted All Hallows Eve” is the shivery theme for the fall Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble concert of the 2016-2017 season. Dr. Keith Wharton will conduct the community concert band in performing works by contemporary, classical and Broadway composers. The free concert will begin at 4 p.m., Sunday, October 30, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church at Cross and High streets, Chestertown.


Front row, L-R: Ann Baldwin, Monica Rosanova, Antoinette Smith, Helen Noble, Carla Gerber, Laura Rocco, Jodi Bortz, Brenda Lyons 2nd row: Kathy Blyman, Dianne Cimba, Marge Fallaw, Aaron Locke, Glaeden Boyd 3rd row: Charlie Kallay, Ray Diedrichs, Laurie Quinn, Emma Hoey, Chris Harrison, Jim Pileggi, Grace Kelley, Eric Bishop, Kyle Webb Back row: Donald Greene, Keith Wharton (Director), Brad Hollomon, Frank Gerber, Joe Diamond, Sheila Walker Missing: George Boyd

The first piece will be “Of Heroes and Demons,” a new work by Rob Romeyn that captures the fight between good and evil. Musical themes for both are introduced, developed and expanded to create a feeling of unresolved conflict, ultimately leading to a thunderous conclusion. Will the hero win?

“Creepy Classics for Band” is an arrangement by Robert E. Foster of some of the best-known and -loved ghost, witch, sorcerer and spooky-creature themes from classical literature: “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Danse Macabre” and “A Night on Bald Mountain.”

“Dance of the Spirits” by ASCAP award-winning Wisconsin composer Michael Sweeney uses a variety of unusual sounds, effects and quickly changing textures to convey the mystery and beauty of the northern lights. Native Americans call these multicolored lights in the sky the “dance of the spirits.”

“Sextet from Lucia” is an arrangement by Andrew Glover of a melody composed by Gaetano Donizetti for his opera “Lucia di Lammermoor.” Six brass instruments with band accompaniment mirror the point in the opera when six main characters each express their emotional reaction to a forced marriage and a jilted lover. It presages the famous mad scene later in the opera in which a blood-soaked bride gone mad exults after murdering her new husband.

“Chillers and Thrillers (Themes of Suspense)” by John Williams presents some of his most compelling themes that conjure up the likes of Darth Vader, Dracula, Voldemort, certain New England witches and a fish with really big teeth.

As a respite from the tension of all the scary music, the ensemble will next perform the Finale from Antonin Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9: From the New World.” L. C. Harnsberger’s arrangement for concert band preserves the lovely and sonorous melodies of the final movement of his most popular symphony.

The final work on the program will be “Highlights from Wicked.” Arranger Michael Brown presents memorable show tunes by Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz for the blockbuster Broadway hit “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz.” The work features “No One Mourns the Wicked,” “I’m Not That Girl,” “Defying Gravity,” “No Good Deed” and “For Good.”

Directed by Dr. Keith Wharton, the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble is an all-ages community concert band. It was formed in 2001 to offer area wind and percussion musicians the opportunity to continue or return to the pleasures of playing quality music in a large ensemble. New members are always welcome, without audition or fee.

Rehearsals for the next concert, on December 4, will begin October 31. They start promptly at 7:00 p.m. and run until 8:30 p.m. in the Washington College band room in Gibson Center for the Arts. For further information, call 410-778-2829. The ensemble is supported by a grant from the Kent County Arts Council and community donations.

Delmarva Review: Autumn Morning by James Keegan



Winter is sitting not far away
on an old park bench,
its green paint flaking and cracked.
His brown coat is open and he
is peeling a tart apple
he swiped in the market.
His dead father’s pocketknife,
all the old man left to him,
turns the skin from the flesh
in one sharp red ring.
Smell the air and there
the blue edge, oiled and fine,
grazes the tender hair
at the top of your spine.
James Keegan is an author and actor, who, for over a decade, has been a member of the resident acting company at The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse. He is an associate professor of English and theater at the University of Delaware, in Georgetown, DE. His poems, essays, and short fiction have appeared in Poet Lore, Southern Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Best Small Fictions of 2015. He lives in Milton, Delaware.
The Spy is pleased to reprint Mr. Keegan’s poem from the coming Delmarva Review’s ninth issue. The literary journal is published by the Eastern Shore Writers
Association with additional support from private contributions and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. For information, visit:

Tom Horton and Dave Harp Present Choptank Odyssey Oct. 27


From its beginnings at upstream springs and farm ditches to its broad estuary below Cambridge, the Choptank River is the Delmarva Peninsula’s largest river. It has been called the “noblest watercourse on the Eastern Shore.” On Thurs., Oct. 27, join longtime collaborators Tom Horton and David W. Harp for a presentation of their new book, Choptank Odyssey: Stories from a Great Chesapeake River, and learn about the Choptank’s natural history, human history, science and culture. The program begins at 4 p.m. at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center, 114 S. Washington St., Easton.



Photographer Dave Harp (left) and author Tom Horton (right). Photo by Bill Thompson.

Horton, the book’s author, will read excerpts from the seven essays that comprise its narrative, while photographer Dave Harp will share some of the book’s more than 150 photographs. Discover the Choptank’s inhabitants and learn about the impact of human activity on the natural environment. You’ll become acquainted with generations of watermen and farmers, oystermen and oyster shuckers, crabbers and crab pickers, commercial fishermen, and a turkler, just to name a few. Water quality scientist Tom Fisher, oyster boat captain Wade Murphy and retired biologist and aquatic scientist W.R. Nick Carter III, to whom the book is dedicated, also offer tales of wonder and sacrifice while warning of the consequences of overpopulation and wasteful habits. Join this special program to learn how we can restore the river, reduce pollution, conserve food and fuel, and protect this special place for all time.

Harp is the staff photographer for the Chesapeake Bay Journal. With Horton, he co-produces “Voices from the Edge,” a continuing video series about the fecundity and variety of life along the edge of land and water. Horton reported on the Chesapeake Bay for the Baltimore Sun for 15 years before becoming a freelancer in 1987. His first book, Bay Country, won the John Burroughs Medal for the nation’s best natural history book of the year.

Choptank Odyssey is free and open to the public. The program is presented by Adkins Arboretum in partnership with Midshore Riverkeepers Association and Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. A book signing and reception with light refreshments and a cash wine and beer bar will follow the reading. Books will be available for sale. Advance registration is requested at or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Anachronizing Edgar Allen Poe: A Lecture by Professor Richard De Prospo


59665_deprospoRichard De Prospo, who has been working to revise literary history with his study of early American literature “from the inside out,” will give a lecture called “Pym, Prometheus, and the Marinere: Anachronizing Edgar Allan Poe.” Part of the Sophie Kerr Lecture Series, the talk begins Nov. 3 at 4:30 p.m. at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, and it is free and open to the public.

A professor of English and American studies, De Prospo has been teaching since 1975 at Washington College, where he has chaired the Humanities Division and the American Studies Program. He served as a visiting professor of English and literary theory at the University of New Hampshire and the University of London, and has served as a U.S. Information Agency consultant for the establishment of American Studies programs at universities in Germany, Ecuador, and Slovenia.

De Prospo is widely published in scholarly journals of early and 19th-century American literature, and of literary theory. He has also published on literary abolitionism in the U.S. and on African-American literature, and has coedited and written the “Afterword” for The Stowe Debate: Rhetorical Strategies in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. His other publications include Theism in the Discourse of Jonathan Edwards (University of Delaware Press, 1985)and The Latest Early American Literature (University of Delaware Press, 2016). He is currently completing Poe’s Difference, of which “Pym, Prometheus, and the Marinere: Anachronizing Poe” is an excerpt.

For more information on the literary events offered this year, visit the English department website,, or view the annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here:

Chesapeake Guitar Quartet at The Mainstay November 3


The Chesapeake Guitar Quartet, three renowned guitarists and a versatile bassist bring their broad mix of blues, jazz standards and Brazilian sounds to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland on Thursday November 3 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20. For information and reservations call 410-639-9133. Information is also available at the Mainstay’s website

chesapeake-guitar-quartet-compositeThe Chesapeake Guitar Quartet is a new group that features long-time collaborators Steve Abshire, Steve Herberman and Vince Lewis on guitars with Amy Shook on bass.

While they play together frequently in different combinations in live performance and on their own and others’ recording projects, it is rare to have all four together on the same stage.

Steve Abshire says “This will be a performance in the musical tradition of the Great Guitars. The Quartet’s repertoire includes Jazz standards, Jazz waltzes, blues and some Brazilian favorites, all with arrangements that highlight the three distinct styles of these guitarists. This will be an evening of deep musical conversations between good friends.”

Steve Abshire is a jazz guitarist, teacher, and clinician in his native Washington D.C./ Baltimore area. Before he retired from the Navy, he was the guitarist and featured soloist for the U.S. Navy Band’s premiere jazz ensemble, the Commodores.

His mainstream style comes from years of study with jazz guitar legends Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Joe Pass and rhythm guitarist Steve Jordan. He has appeared in concert with such notable jazz greats, Mundell Lowe, Charlie Byrd, Milt Hinton, Tal Farlow, Keter Betts, Howard Alden, Herb Ellis, Gene Bertoncini, and Marian McPartland.

Steve Herberman is a seven string guitarist who has performed at venues such as Birdland in NYC, Spazio in Los Angeles, Blues Alley, the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe, and the Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts with renowned musicians such as Keter Betts, Buster Williams, Chuck Redd and many more.

He is a graduate of Berklee College Of Music and later adopted the seven-string guitar. He has recorded three CDs as a leader and a live duo album with Steve Abshire. His recordings have received wide critical acclaim in JazzTimes, Downbeat, Jazz Improv and many others. Herberman taught jazz guitar on the faculty of Towson University, is presently teaching guitar at Sidwell Friends School in DC and has written instructional material for Downbeat magazine, Mel Bay’s Guitar Sessions, Just Jazz Guitar, the National Guitar Workshop newsletter and columns for Modern Guitars webzine.

Vince Lewis is a veteran jazz performer, composer and recording artist. He has been a headliner on Jazz Festivals with Dave Brubeck, B.B King, Ellis Marsalis, John Pizzarelli and Melissa Manchester. He is also an educator featured frequently in Just Jazz Guitar Magazine. He has recorded 20 CD’s as a leader and sideman including a duo album with Steve Abshire.

Amy Shook is one of the most in-demand acoustic bassists in the mid-Atlantic, coveted for her huge sound and infectious, driving groove. She co-leads the Shook/Russo 5tet, and performs regularly with the Fred Hughes Trio, as well the 3Divas. She has also performed Maurice Hines, Sherrie Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra and Felicia Carter at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Blues Alley, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, and the Cape May Jazz Festival, and performed at the White House twice by special invitation.

In addition to being a premier performing and recording artist, she is an accomplished composer and music educator.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

For information and reservations call the Mainstay at 410-639-9133. More information is also available at the Mainstay’s website

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:
Nov. 7 Mainstay Monday with guest Scott Silbert, sax
Nov. 10 Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
Nov. 12 Karen Somerville with The Bratcher Project
Nov. 14 Mainstay Monday with guest David Sacks, trombone
Nov. 21 Mainstay Monday with guest Sue Matthews, vocals
Nov. 26 The Fred Hughes Trio – “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”

Warming Up for the Chesapeake Film Festival with Democratic Leadership Conference Founder Al From


There could be a number of Republicans out there these days looking for a way to rebuild their party after the presidential election this November. To save time, they might want to interview political expert Al From after seeing the documentary Crashing the Party, at the upcoming Chesapeake Film Festival.

It was this policy and politics guru who teamed up with the likes of Al Gore, Sam Nunn, Chuck Robb, and Dick Gephardt, to create an entirely new Democratic Party after the party’s stunning losses to Ronald Reagan and George Bush, through the founding of the legendary Democratic Leadership Conference (DLC). And it was the DLC that gave rise to a then unknown southern governor named Bill Clinton.

The Spy had a few minutes to sit down with Al at this Chesapeake waterfront home to talk about the DLC, and the documentary based on his book Crashing the Party, which recalls a special turning point for the Democratic Party and our country.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. Crashing the Party with be screened at the Easton Cinemas on November 29 at 12:00 PM and followed by a question and answer session with Al From.