Spy Moment: Kenny Award Presented to Red Devil Moon Cast

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The Kent County Arts Council and the Hedgelawn Foundation gave the Hedgelawn Kenny Award annually for excellence and service in the arts in Kent County Maryland a few nights ago. The 2016 award goes to the Creators and Cast of Red Devil Moon, which performed highlights at the Garfield Center for the Arts, on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

Recipients include: Robert Earl Price (Book & Narrator), Pam Ortiz (Music, Lyrics & Musician), Principal Singers Karen Somerville, Lester Barrett, Jr., and Jerome McKinney, and Musicians of the Pam Ortiz Band, Ray Anthony, Tom Anthony, Nevin Dawson, Philip Dutton, Bob Ortiz, and Ford Schumann.

Leslie Prince Raimond, director of the Kent County Arts Council, and Judy Kohl, director of the Hedgelawn Foundation awarded the Kenny, which this year was designed by Rob Glebe.

Hee is Leslie’s opening remarks:

“I’m Leslie Prince Raimond, director of Kent County Arts Council, and this is Judy Kohl, director of Hedgelawn Foundation

It is our great pleasure and privilege to have been involved in the Arts of Kent County for decades. Our Community continues to support and appreciate all forms of Arts and Humanities, and it is this that strengthens us. It is very exciting to once again present the Hedgelawn KENNY award given for excellence and service in the arts in Kent County, Maryland.

Our program tonight offers, once again, the chance for all of us to celebrate this contribution to our lives by these incredible artists through the universal language of music and poetry.

…. And to quote actor Wendell Pierce, That’s what art is, a form in which people can reflect on who we are as human beings and come to some understanding of this journey we are all on.

As we grapple with the concepts of society’s struggle for freedom, and equality, we can be moved by the ARTS to help us understand. Our amazingly talented cast and creators of Red Devil Moon bring us the story.”

This video is approximately for minutes in length

The High and Wides at the Mainstay

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The High and Wides bring their eclectic Americana roots music to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland on Friday March 31, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org and reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

The High and Wides play music inspired by the days when the lines blurred between bluegrass, old-time, country, boogie, blues, rockabilly and western swing. It is upbeat and rocks out but still has that deep sense of its roots.

The band features three veterans of the long-time Eastern Shore bluegrass band Chester River Runoff: Marc Dykeman on guitar and vocals, Sam Guthridge on banjo/mandolin and vocals and Nate Grower on fiddle. The fourth member is jazz bass player Mike Buccino.

The High and Wides perform a wide assortment of material, from old-time brother duets to original material that defies convention. All of their music is informed by their years of playing bluegrass at clubs and festivals up and down the East Coast.

At The Mainstay, the band will be previewing material from their upcoming recording to be released later this year.

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.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Follow the Buy Tickets link to buy tickets at the advance price. If you would rather pay at the door, you can make a reservation by calling 410-639-9133 and paying by cash or check at the door.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

April 3 – Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Pam & Bob Ortiz
April 7 – The Tom Lagana Group featuring George Garzone
April 10 – Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Max Murray on bass
April 15 – Charlie Byrd Tribute with Chuck Redd, Nate Najar with special guests Maucha Adnet, vocals and Harry Allen, sax
April 17 – Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Jodie Littleton and Pres Harding on guitar and vocals
April 21 – The Steve Giordano Trio

Mid-Shore Arts: Kevin Garber and His Birds

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Kevin Garber’s road to the Eastern Shore, like many artists, was not a direct one. A native of Pennsylvania, Kevin headed west rather than stay on the East Coast to pursue his career in the fine arts, and eventually became a professor of printmaking and drawing at Washington University in St. Louis. And in that capacity, he was part of the famed Island Press, perhaps the most highly respected printmaking workshop in the country.

During that time, Garber was at the forefront of some of the innovative printing techniques that pushed printmaking into the high ranks of contemporary visual arts in the 1980s and 1990s. Working alongside such renowned American artists as Nick Cave, Tom Friedman, Willie Cole, and Ann Hamilton, Kevin devoted most of his energy to the workshop and his students and put on hold his lifelong passion for drawing and painting birds.

But after decades in St. Louis, Kevin, and his wife, Kathy Bosin, made the difficult decision to return to the Mid-Atlantic to be closer to aging parents in 2008. And with that move, Kevin finally returned to his first love of capturing birds on canvas.

The results of that return can now be seen at the Trippe-Hilderbrandt Gallery in Easton this month. From large scale watercolor monoprints to tiny renderings of birds from around the world, Garber practices his drawing skills and mark-making with these simple shapes to indicate a more complex view of the natural world.

The Spy spent a few minutes with Kevin at the Bullitt House last week to talk about his birds and his return to painting.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. There will be an opening reception on Friday April 7 from 5-8 during Easton’s First Friday Gallery Walk. The Trippe-Hilderbrandt is located at 23 N Harrison Street. For more information, please go here 

Spy Moment: Academy Art Museum Welcomes Mid-Shore Student Exhibition

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The Academy Art Museum is hosting its annual Mid-Shore Student Art Exhibition which highlights the artistic talents of students in grades Kindergarten through 12 from Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Kent counties. As in past years, visitors can expect a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and printmaking. The Mid-Shore Student Art Exhibition has been a Museum tradition for over 25 years and are the largest and most prestigious student art exhibition on the Eastern Shore.

The Spy took a few minutes the other day to talk to Constance Del Nero, AAM’s Director of Community Programs, to talk about the joy and challenges of hanging over 1,000 pieces of art for the student art show.

This video is approximately one minute in length.  The Mid-Shore Art Exhibition will be on display through April 2. For additional information, visit academyartmuseum.org or call 410-822-2787.

Mid-Shore Arts: The Church Hill Theatre at 35 Years Old with Nina Sharp

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A quick check of Wikipedia shows a very limited response to the query term, “Church Hill, Maryland.” In fact, with the exception of a summary of the 2010 census, which shows that about 500 people live in the town, and that Church Hill has four buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, there’s not much there.

But it does have one thing that very few places have, and that’s the beloved and successful Church Hill Theatre (CHT).

Built in the 1920s as the town’s community center, the building became the home of the Church Hill Theatre in 1982, some thirty-five years ago. That was reason enough for the Spy to want to know more about the CHT. It seemed rather remarkable that a community theatre company could survive that long in a town of 500 which rests some fifteen miles from the next town over.

But in talking to the Theatre’s executive manager Nina Sharp the other day, it turns out the CHT is not only surviving but actually thriving. With five major theatre productions a year, two youth educational programs, as well as ongoing partnerships with Chesapeake College, Gunston School, and the Home Educators of the Eastern Shore, Church Hill is very much alive and well.

That’s not to say CHT doesn’t have its challenges with owning a building that needs a great deal of love and care, but as Nina suggests in our chat, all signs look good for another thirty five years.

This video is approximately minutes in length. For more information about the Church Hill Theatre, please go here.

Mid-Shore Arts: Ben Simons Takes the Helm at the Academy Art Museum

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For Ben Simons, the road to the Eastern Shore and his appointment as the new director of the Academy Art Museum is almost a lesson in geography. Raised by diplomats who served in a variety of iron curtain countries in the 1980s, including places like Romania, Russia, and Poland, it was through this somewhat exotic childhood that Ben first connected with museums and the unique role those institutions play in culture. But it would turn out to be the island of Nantucket where Simons first embraced the world of museum management as a career.

For close to fifteen years, Ben and his wife, the artist Alison Cooley, made that remote community off the shores of Massachusetts their home which allowed them both to pursue their real interests. While Alison focused on her art, Ben became the chief curator and senior management member of Nantucket Historical Association’s highly regarded Whaling Museum. And it was at this institution that he began to connect the dots between literature, history, art, and education.

In the Spy’s first interview with Ben, he talks about his background, his passion for art, and some of the new initiatives he’s already started at the Academy, including doubling down on its educational programs, the redesign of the AAM website, reinstituting the very popular Craft Show this fall, and finally preparing for the Museum’s 60th birthday in 2018. Not bad for four months on the job.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the Academy Art Museum please go here

Book Reading: Pamela Heyne and Julia Child’s Kitchen at Bookplate Feb 11

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The only architect ever to interview Julia Child, Pamela Heyne, periodic Spy contributor,  will give a presentation about her book, “In Julia’s Kitchen: Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child.” She will highlight the famous cook’s ideas about kitchen design and their relevance today, including health repercussions of design choices.

Wine and Julia Child treats will be served. This event takes place at The Bookplate (112 S. Cross St, Chestertown) on Saturday, February 11 at 3:30 pm.

Spy Eye: Mr. Roberts at the Garfield

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The Spy is always interested in military operations taking place in Chestertown and quickly assigned an agent to cover the dress rehearsal of the WW II-era production of Mr. Roberts at the Garfield. This was the report we received this morning.

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“Mister Roberts” opens Friday and runs through February 19th. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8pm, with Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 military/seniors and $10 for students. Tickets are available online at www.garfieldcenter.org or by calling 410-810-2060.”

Delmarva Review: To Three Suburban Moms Too Frightened To Drive Their Girls To My Detroit Neighborhood

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Did you miss our latest spectacle? And the outcome—urban renewal so bright it’s visible from satellites buzzing overhead? Look now, toward construction ticking like clockwork at every downtown corner, cranes hanging like kites at our choppy skyline. See the buildings still standing. The earthmovers shoveling remnants of those that tumbled to the pavement. See Woodward Avenue gutted like a silver trout as commuter trains aim from suburbs to city for the first time ever, while church choirs in every nook and crook of Motown proclaim Hallelujah to packed houses and God in His heaven!

Come this way. We won’t sting or pinch, won’t give you a second glance—these days most of us are wary as turtles, heads crammed in shells. Weary as sloths beneath the weight of everyone’s attention, the any moment now when it swings like a trapeze to the next calamity. So by the time you read this, we’ll already be forgotten.

I promise—my own neighbors barely shoot their guns anymore, and then only on holidays, only into the sky—which clearly had it coming! We’re grounded as century oaks. Check our brick foundations, how firmly they’re jammed into the dirt. We’ve stood through decades of hail and sleet and funnel clouds all. We’re so airtight our basements sometimes burst into flame, even as fire hydrants trickle 24/7.

Look how ivy climbs arm over fist across our roofs. How every spring the day lilies shove headfirst through our crusty soil. See how high our roses grow in summer, how the squirrels eat the pumpkins every Halloween and nobody begrudges them. How Christmas lights go on twinkling all through the long winter and into the thaw—it’s our civic duty and we take it damn seriously. And down the street in neon red, Jesus Saves! shines all year long from someone’s bedroom window.
So what if a little litter loiters at our crosswalks, the band flyers riding the wind, some crinkled Kit Kat wrappers because who doesn’t love those? The empty MD 20/20 bottle rolling like a puppy into a lonely pothole that’s only swallowed one VW Bus. That one time. We know of.

So breathe easy, my dears. These days nature mostly keeps to itself. And what doesn’t, we work around because we’re slippery that way. No one bothers when packs of unloved, spotty mutts come shuffling and snuffling at our garbage bins. And if you ignore the wild turkey lording over the golf course behind my house, she’ll leave you be.

Where I live, raccoons and possums only go about their errands at dusk. Disregard reports of fox, of gray wolves near the river, their midnight songs blending with sirens, so we only moan along in our deepest dreams.

It’s true—somewhere across the city, families of hawks circle the clouds, plummeting to Earth like glossy missiles to pick off unlucky bunnies or rats—quicksnap and it’s done. Feral cats squat like hobos in abandoned storefronts, pheasants disappear into grasslands where blocks of houses are right this moment sinking beneath the press of rain. But you’ll never see this. No one comes here anymore. Not like my good neighborhood.So pack your girls, point your car toward the incinerator, and drive.

Never mind the factory fire at our northern border, how it’s smoldered three days now—only watch your direction in the smoke plume! Look for landmarks—Praise Him Beauty Salon here, The Booby Trap over there, a hundred little pot shops all in a row, their ubiquitous green crosses sprung like saplings from naked ground. Hand-painted signs declaring Club Medz and House of Dank and Puff Detroit so we’re all kind of embarrassed. Shut your windows to avoid the contact high, and just keep driving.

Corner of 8 Mile and Woodward, pass Face-Tattoo-Guy looking rougher by the week. Beside the bridge, see Old-Lady-With-Snaggletooth who keeps an eye on Toothless-Guy. There’s Young-Guy spelled by Other-Young-Guy, their cluttered patch of landscape like a refugee camp. There’s Crazy-Guy who’ll point at you and laugh—just fair warning. Give him a buck, or not. Offer a nod. Or not.

It changes nothing. But come anyhow. I’m serving brownies from scratch, and chamomile tea with honey from city bees. You’re so close, your mouth waters.

Or not. Don’t fret, we’ll be fine either way. My daughter will shrug like teenagers do. Whatever, she’ll say. She’s used to it by now. And you’re nestled like shiny pennies in your houses, your green-as-a-dollar-bill lawns edged in perfect squares, cars snug as ponies in every garage. All of which makes me want to tell you something important, something about our stars and how they’re misaligned.

Or that a butterfly flap flap flapped its wings fifty-some years ago and the weather shifted, the storm rose between us—then faded from Technicolor to gray, to ghost.

But that doesn’t matter. We are here. Come if you like.

The Spy is pleased to reprint Ms. Bernstein-Machlay’s creative nonfiction from The Delmarva Review, Volume 9. The literary journal is published by the Eastern Shore Writers Association with support from private contributions and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. For information, visit: www.delmarvareview.com.

Laura Bernstein-Machlay is an instructor of literature and creative writing at The College for Creative Studies, in Detroit, Michigan. Her poems and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals including Michigan Quarterly Review, New Madrid, Concho River Review, Oyez, Redivider, and upstreet. She has work forthcoming in The American Scholar, Soundings East, and Moon City Review.