Upcoming film projects and studying the life story of our beloved Mr. Swan led to learning more about the life story of many creatures found at our local ponds. Frogs in all their myriad incarnations I soon discovered were the keystone species, playing starring roles as both predator and prey. American Bullfrogs are by far the most common, but I also filmed Green Frogs and Wood Frogs. I shot hundred (perhaps thousands) of photos of frogs, and hours of footage too, and have only begun to organize, but here is a small sampling.
American Bullfrog Snatching a Bee Mid-air
Young Bullfrogs lay in wait for bees and other insects drinking nectar from the pond lilies. They’ll sit stone still for half an hour and in some cases, even much longer, for the perfect moment. The smallest Bullfrog can leap several feet across the water and lily pads to snatch an insect mid-air.Half tadpole, half frog, froglets are outgrowing their tadpole stage, but are not yet fully fledged frogs.
When the hunter is hunted. Birds and otters feast on tadpoles, frogs, and froglets. Larger Bullfrogs are cannibalistic and eat smaller versions of themselves. First hatch-year Little Blue Herons (pictured) eating a frog in the above photo and a froglet in the photo below.
More about pond life coming soon!
If you would like to help towards the completion of my documentary film Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly, filmed in the wilds of Cape Ann and Angangueo, Mexico, please consider making a tax deductible donation here:
Hilary shares photos from the last sails of the season and announces upcoming Wednesday 5PM talks:
“Here are some pics from yesterday as we wind down our season on the water.
Sail GHS will be conducting weekly chalk talks at FHL House with visiting experts in the field (notably, our own coach, Gordon Baird ,as well as Jamie Chicone,stationed here with the USCG, aboard Key Largo) every Wednesday @5 PM with pizza to follow. Visitors are welcome.
FHL House is the Fitz Henry Lane House at Harbor Loop. They “sail Mon-Thurs, 3-5:15 thru Oct 27”. Go check them out and join in sometime!
On October 19, Barbara and I had the honor and pleasure of attending the Naturalization Ceremony for about 350 new American citizens in Faneuil Hall in Boston. Our son-in-law, Jonathan Appavoo, was among those who took the historic oath of citizenship. Jonathan is married to our daughter Ann and is father of our youngest grandchildren, Shanti and Raj. Jonathan, a computer scientist and professor at Boston University, and family are currently living in Bangalore (Bengaluru)in southern India during Jonathan’s sabbatic leave from B.U. He is helping Microsoft discover ways in which technology can be best developed and used to improve the well-being of Indians of lower socio-economic status in that class conscious nation.
The Naturalization ceremony was moving. Hundreds of immigrants from every corner of the world raised their right hands and swore, not only allegiance to the United States, but also implicitly,their resolve to become active, thoughtful and informed citizens. Taking the oath in Faneuil Hall placed Jonathan and his fellow new citizens in a direct line of those seeking freedom and liberty, from our founding ancestors to all those others who have not yet been able to fulfill their dreams of becoming new Americans.
Having just made the 24 hour flight from Boston to Bangalore with his family a few weeks ago, Jonathan flew back for the swearing-in and, he hopes, will be in the air, brand new American Passport in hand, heading east very shortly.
Here are some photos. Jonathan is wearing an orange jacket and white-framed glasses.
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“How long did it take to make?” was the first question at Gloucester’s Cape Ann Cinema talk back, following the must-see, indeliable and candid documentary: Tab Hunter Confidential. Six years and a life well lived along with a kick in the pants. Word of an unauthorized biography was motivating enough to tell Tab Hunter’s story “straight from the horse’s mouth, rather than straight from a horse’s ***.”
Tab Hunter is an American movie star, singer and author. The documentary is a gift that leaves the viewer wishing both Hunter and Allan Glaser were your friends, and that Hunter had starred in even more movies. There’s something for everybody to relate or aspire to: success, disappointment, betrayal, love, gratitude, humor, hard work, spirit and character. Hunter and Glasser traveled from California to Gloucester for this special screening because of Cape Ann Cinema. They shared easily and kindly as if everyone there was at a private screening and already acquainted. They’re staying downtown.They visited the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. (Do they know she came here? Did they go to Beauport Museum? Will they come back?) They were smart, charming and personable. Present. Real. Decidely NOT full of themselves. Hunter, along with Natalie Wood and James Dean, were the last three Hollywood stars to be signed under contract in the studio system. Beyond acting, Hunter was also a chart topping singer and competitive athelete in not one but 3 sports, a devoted son and awe struck brother. A new Hollywood biopic is in discussions. (I thought which Director might be inspired- lots of Todd Haynes moments.) The theater audience was comprised of Tab Hunter fans including super ones who drove in from Lowell. There were a couple who did not know about Tab Hunter or his other accomplishments. We’re all super fans now. The programming at this little art house cinema can break your heart.
Self Portrait: The Algerian Tunic, 1927, Oil on canvas, 35 x 30 inches. Private collection
Sursum Corda, Mixed media on paper, 19 1/4 x 22 3/4 inches framed
Centered (aka Iris), 11 ¾ x 13 ½ inches. Mixed media on paper
PTS and Kahlil Gibran – Conversation between Aging Artists, Copley Society, 1999 Images courtesy of Dorothy Koval
Rockport Art Association & Museum is proud to host the first major retrospective of Boston painter Polly Thayer Starr, who passed away in 2006 at the impressive age of 101. Noted in the Hub as a woman of imagination and humanity, Polly Thayer, as she signed her work, was a woman who continually searched for “the invisible within the visible,” as William Blake put it.
Raised in the forward-thinking family of Boston lawyer, Ezra R. Thayer – later Dean of Harvard Law School – Thayer grew up with artistic leanings, taking lessons as a 10-year-old with Beatrice Van Ness before progressing to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, at the age of 19. Only a few months earlier, she had been pressed into service as a nurse to the wounded and dying when she was caught up in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake that leveled Yokohama and Tokyo.
Thayer’s education as an artist began with the traditional foundation course at the Museum School: anatomy and drawing with Philip Leslie Hale. However, she left in her second year to pursue a more eclectic direction. Although adept in the ‘Boston School’ manner, Polly Thayer broadened her education by studying with diverse artists such as Charles Hawthorne, Hans Hofmann and Jean Despujols of the Ecole des Beaux Arts.
Her professional career got off to a dramatic start when her painting Circles was awarded the Julius Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy of Art, NY, in 1929, quite a coup considering the competition. Nor was this a fleeting success. The following year, Thayer’s self-portrait, Interval, received the Gold Medal at the Boston Tercentenary Exhibition. New York Herald Tribune art critic, Royal Cortissoz, described Thayer’s art as “exciting, for behind that finish there must lie the rich promise of more and more interesting work,” while The Boston Globe critic announced it “surely settles her status as one of the foremost painters in the country, especially notable in portrait painting, but evidently gifted with that kind of genius which is not circumscribed.”[i]
As Thayer continued to perfect the art of landscape, urban genre and the natural world, she also began exploring the metaphysical; what she called Mysteries. “I find there are secrets, certain numinous things, that seem to speak to me in a special sense, signaling in a language that compels decoding. To be faithful to this task demands absolute attention.”[ii]
Despite marriage and a family, Thayer maintained a successful career as one of New England’s premier women artists, proving an active role model for the following generation. Even after developing glaucoma as well as macular degeneration, Thayer worked harder and longer to complete as much work as possible before losing her sight. Using a jeweler’s loupe, she began a series of close-ups of flowers – cyclamens, thistles, iris, beach peas and countless others – which she portrayed in both monumental and intimate fragility. Bees, ants and spiders also provided inspiration for Thayer’s pencil, joining countless paintings and drawings of cats, dogs and cows.
Thayer’s life was filled with creativity, compassion and a constant need to explore the world, both visible and invisible. Thus, the legacy she left in chalk, pastel, watercolor, oil and mixed media is a testament to a life well lived and a woman of accomplishment, clarity and insight. Her works captured the culture and whimsy of her native Boston and New England with a unique combination of detail, emotion and curiosity. Widely exhibited both during her lifetime and after her death, her art is represented in many museums and individual collections.
Polly Thayer Starr and the Alchemy of Painting, featuring more than 80 works by the artist, will be on view at the Rockport Art Association and Museum, 12 Main Street, Rockport, MA 01966 from October 20 through November 26, 2017. For further information on gallery walks, talks and demonstrations during this show, please visit www.rockportartassn.org or call 978.546.6604. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm, Sunday 12 – 5pm. A 72-page, soft cover, full color catalogue accompanies this exhibition, which is sponsored by the Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust.
Rock Bound: Painting the American Scene on Cape Ann and Along the Shore closes at end of month
The last day to view Cape Ann Museum’s special exhibition Rock Bound: Painting the American Scene on Cape Ann and Along the Shore is Sunday, October 29, 2017. Don’t miss the chance to see this unique exhibit made up primarily from private collections.
Rock Bound captures the years immediately following the Civil War, when Cape Ann set out on a path that would make it one of New England’s most vibrant and influential art colonies of the early 20th century. As the foundation on which this growth took place was broad, with countless artists working in a myriad of media, no one trend or style would come to dominate the emerging colony. There did arise, however, a fascination with capturing the “American Scene” as embodied on Cape Ann and in the surrounding areas.
With paintings drawn from private collections and the Museum’s own holdings, Rock Bound explores the ways in which an array of artists of the early 20th century sought to capture the natural beauty of the region, the power of the ocean and the hardscrabble way of life that was quickly disappearing in other places. The exhibit will also consider how artists placed local populations and traditions in their context, whether it was carpenters working in the shipyards of Essex, women and children relaxing on wide sandy beaches, or fishermen and quarrymen pursuing their timeless and dangerous ways of life. Artists featured in Rock Bound include Childe Hassam, Jane Peterson, Martha Walter, Gifford Beal, Leon Kroll, Marsden Hartley and Stuart Davis among others.
About the Cape Ann Museum
The Cape Ann Museum has been in existence since the 1870s, working to preserve and celebrate the history and culture of the area and to keep it relevant to today’s audiences. Spanning 44,000 square feet, the Museum is one of the major cultural institutions on Boston’s North Shore welcoming more than 25,000 local, national and international visitors each year to its exhibitions and programs. In addition to fine art, the Museum’s collections include decorative art, textiles, artifacts from the maritime and granite industries, two historic homes and a sculpture park in the heart of downtown Gloucester. Visit capeannmuseum.org for details.
The Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $12.00 adults, $10.00 Cape Ann residents, seniors and students. Youth (under 18) and Museum members are free. For more information please call: (978)283-0455 x10. Additional information can be found online at www.capeannmuseum.org.
Flatrocks Gallery presents Timothy Harney: Dialogue & Correspondences – A Selection of Collages 1987-2017. The exhibit runs from October 19th- November 19th, with an opening reception Saturday, October 21st 6-8pm. All are welcome.
Tim Harney_Michelle Behre Photography
Tim Harney’s career as an artist and a teacher spans five decades; he has been making collages for more than thirty years. Tim works with paper, especially old paper, deploying shapes animated by patches of vivid color to create a visual language. Each of his collages has a syntax, a rhythm, and a meaning particular to itself, as if each were a poem. And, as with poems, Harney’s collages are distillations of emotion and memory, in which layering, fragmenting, and reconstruction suggest the passage of time and the act of recollecting. Embedded in his choices of shape, pattern, and color are multiple associations, redolent of his thought processes and of the art and artists who have influenced him. This show, he says, “isn’t simply a selection of work from these many years, but also a range of work that I feel reveals some sense of what a deep involvement and continual dialogue means to the work, and how the vocabulary has evolved. One of my interests in presenting this work was to make the point, obvious maybe – that there are rich consequences from an involvement this long: the incalculable number of decisions, rejections, changes of direction, varied vocabularies are all informed by a dialogue over years.”
The Cape Ann Museum and Gloucester Writers Center are pleased to present the 8th Annual Charles Olson Lecture featuring Ann Charters on Saturday, October 21 at 1:00 p.m. at the Cape Ann Museum(27 Pleasant Street, Gloucester). This program is free and open to the public. A suggested donation of $10 is appreciated.
Ann Charters, noted Beat Generation scholar, photographer, and Professor Emerita at University of Connecticut, Storrs, visits Gloucester to discuss her correspondence with poet Charles Olson.Beginning in 1968 with Charters’ request for Olson to reflect on his “earliest enthusiasm for Melville,” and continuing until late 1969, these letters traverse the final two years of Olson’s life. Centered on Charters’ book Olson/Melville: A Study of Affinity, the correspondence ultimately maps two writers’ existence in an America that is simultaneously experiencing the wonder of the moon landing and the chaotic escalation of the Vietnam War. All the while, their exchanges navigate the convolutions of Olson’s ideas about history, space, and time in relation to his pivotal book Call Me Ishmael and his Black Mountain College lectures.
Charles Olson was born in 1910 in Worcester, Massachusetts. His first book, Call Me Ishmael, published in 1947, is a case study of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Olson was an essayist, poet, scholar, and avid letter writer. He was a professor who also taught at universities ranging from Clark to Harvard to Black Mountain College. His influence in the 1950s and 1960s was expansive in many fields of thought. He died in New York in 1970 while completing his masterpiece, The Maximus Poems.
Ann Charters is the author of the first biography of Jack Kerouac, published in 1973, as well as a number of major studies of Beat literature and its personalities. She began taking photographs in 1958 on Andros Island in the Bahamas to document Samuel Charters’ field recordings for Folkways Records. These photographs of musicians are featured in Blues Faces: A Portrait of the Blues (David Godine Books, 2000). Her photographs of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Kesey, and others are included in Beats & Company: Portrait of a Literary Generation (Doubleday, 1986). Her photo essay on Charles Olson in Gloucester was published in Olson/Melville: A Study in Affinity (Oyez, 1968). Her photos also illustrated Samuel Charters’ The Poetry of the Blues (Oak Publications, 1963) and Songs of Sorrow: Lucy McKim Garrison and Slave Songs of the United States (University Press of Mississippi, 2015). Ann Charters’ photo essay featuring the Nobel Prize-winning poet Tomas Tranströmer is included in Samuel Charters’ translation of Tranströmer’s BALTICS, published by Tavern Books in 2012.
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Born in Quebec to parents of Lithuanian-Jewish ancestry, Bellow moved to Chicago as a child and was educated according to the Anthroposophist tenets of Rudolph Steiner. He attended the University of Chicago and Northwestern, and later received a Guggenheim Fellowship, which made it possible for him to move to Paris, where he wrote The Adventures of Augie March to great critical acclaim. He won a Pulitzer and received the National Book award three times. His later novels include Herzog, and the incomparable Humboldt’s Gift, both best sellers, the latter winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. He taught writing at many universities throughout his life including Bard College and Boston University. He was married five times and had four children, the last when he was 84. He died in Brookline.
We started at Cafe Brew & Spirits for lunch but the quarters in the meter only allowed us to get as far as the Dogtown Book Shop. It was a lovely afternoon for a stroll. There are all kinds of lovely things for your eyes to feast upon.
And this is what we brought home:
It might not look like much, but that’s a 1945 Flicker Yearbook I got at the Dogtown Book Shop for a MUCH more reasonable cost than EBay!!! And Virgilios bread, of course. Believe it or not, I consider each of these a staple: the yearbook for local history and the bread……well, it’s Virgilio’s Italian bread, for heaven’s sake.
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