We have our first meatball challenge hype video from Sclafani’s Italian Bakery!!!

Thursday evening at 6PM the place to be is going to be the St Peter’s club when they are opening their doors to the public for the 1st Ever Meatball Challenge. The first 100 people to donate $10 that night at the door will be able to try a meatball from 10 of Gloucester’s finer chefs. These people will be entered to win a door prize and will be able to vote for their favorite meatball!

I expect a great crowd. The bar will be open and we will be livestreaming the event!

Here’s Rob from Sclafani’s putting in his pitch for why he thinks Sclafanis will win! we will be taping other segments with the other spots tomorrow and through the week leading up to Thursday!!

Sclafani’s – Tonno – Oak To Ember – Minglewood Harborside – Delaney’s – 525 – Zina Saputo – Richie Baressi – Causeway

Team Smitty Hold’Em Tourney

Good morning Joey, I wanted to see if you would be interested in posting something about a fundraiser my family and I are hosting this coming weekend.  The following is a little something about how the tournament came to be and what it supports.  The flyer is attached.  Thanks!

Team Smitty is a group of people comprised of Mike Smith’s family, friends, and people that Mike had touched over the years.  Our goal is to make sure that Mike’s memory and spirit lives on in our hearts, minds, and memories!  We are also dedicated to helping others in the same way that our community helped Mike, and all of us, during his times of struggle.

As part of our effort to help others, we hold an annual Texas Hold’Em Tournament and include a 50/50 drawing and raffle prizes.  The tournament is a fun night that brings friends together, new and old, for a few laughs and a chance to share in Mike’s memory, while raising money to assist those in need. This is an event that Mike created years ago in support of the Relay for Life.  Since Mike’s passing in 2012, we have carried on the tradition of this event each year.  Last year we were able to help 5 local families who had been impacted by cancer and/or other life hardships.   

The event will be held on Saturday night, May 6th at 6:00 PM at the St. Peter’s Club (registration starts at 5:00). 

Playing the Cards: Fun Duplicate Bridge Group at Rose Baker Senior and Rockport Community Centers. Shout out to Lester Stockman, a tremendous volunteer who makes it all work!

The best bridge players of the day on Cape Ann convene at least twice a week for competitive games–and on Mondays for a bonus master class and play–at the Rose Baker Senior Center in Gloucester and Rockport Community Center, two ideal local venues. (A few manage additional games outside of that schedule. Two head to cribbage right after!)

A game of practice and quick perception that takes a serious chunk of time, the “individuals and the individuality” of bridge appear to be irresistible when you see these dedicated (some might say obsessed) folks meet up! Here are a few scenes from past games in Gloucester and Rockport from 2019 and 2023. Current avid players include:

Kathy Bacsik, Bernice Blitz, Mary Jane Boughn, Bill Breslin, Louise Cook, Charlotte Chase, Ellen Clark, Mike Colomo, Joe Curley, Paul Evans, Susan Everitt, Dixie Lee George, Mary Hayes, Cheryl Hunt, Mike Johnson, Nikki Karkatti, Minnetta King, Phil Lambert, Kim MacLeod, Claire Norton, Steve Parsons, Jack Smallcomb, Vivian & Jim, Molly, Bonnie, and Lester Stockman.

Occupations among the members present and past are broad: Several engineers, educators (school teachers, professors and academics), pilots, fishermen, medical doctors, psychiatrist, investors, and at least one expert horsewoman. My mother in law is a superb player. She loves the game for its mingled skill and chance, the social visits, and mentions how it builds intellectual strength — to encourage others to the tables for much of her life.

Group photo caption: There’s always one! Yes, that’s bunny ears– courtesy of the oldest player there that day 🙂

Back row L to R: Phil, Louise, Mike, Steve. Middle Row: Molly, Lester, Claire, Charlotte, Mike C., Bernice. Seated: Minnetta King and Paul Evans. (Art work by Rose Baker Senior Center patrons working with Art Director Juni Van Dyke. The room changes depending on how many tables are needed.) A welcoming group!

Lester Stockman

Guiding these abundant opportunities without a hitch is the most impressive sleight of hand. Lester Stockman a volunteer and accomplished player manages to fill tables of four on any given day year round despite everyone’s busy daily lives and the inevitable planned and unplanned intrusions. For close to a decade Stockman makes the phone calls and connections required when teams have to temporarily shuffle as a result of absences, arrives early and stays late to arrange tables and chairs, keeps score, and offers the master classes on Mondays. Prior to that stretch, he helped Bill Calloway when Bill played with his wife Kate.

Lester Stockman is a volunteer champion

His sustained and prodigious effort in service to area bridge players offers an essential and vibrant routine for residents, many who are seniors. He has done this for years with the lightest touch and his gifts certainly merit some community commendation!

“One player will possibly not approve of methods which another equally good player upholds and adopts.”

Bridge Abridged; Or, Practical Bridge. by W. Dalton, 1855 with some timeless and relatable advice

Grand Slams to all!

Bridge in America

Henry Isaac Barbey (1832-1906) is credited with introducing bridge in America. Barbey was a 19th C. business tycoon, the Director of the Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh Railroad (the BR&P), a yachtsman, master card player, and philanthropist (including a seat on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s board). He married a wealthy NYC heiress, Mary Lorillard, and they naturally made the Four Hundred list. Perhaps there were visits on Cape Ann or the North Shore because of that racing. Newport was a destination for sure. I wonder if their children played bridge? One of their daughters, HĂ©lène de Pourtalès, competed and won an Olympic gold medal in sailing in the first year women were allowed to compete. Good read by Christophe Vuilleumier published by the Swiss National Museum Blog here: The first female Olympic champion: New York-born HĂ©lène de Pourtalès (1868-1945) of Geneva won gold at the 1900 Olympic Games. Largely unknown today, this pioneering yachtswoman paved the way for other women to compete at the Olympics.

Finn Funn Weekend Register by May 15th

Registration begins Monday, May 15. Register online at www.finnfunn.org . Or call Andrea Ranta Morgan at 978-491-0319 beginning May 15.

2023 FinnFunn Planning Committee, left to right: Rob Ranta, Ray Hildonen, Elana Pistenmaa Brink, Nikki Korkatti, Fred Peterson, Barbara Greel Sachs, and Valerie I. Nelson. Not pictured: Anne Thompson Freiss, Dona Kaihlanen Shea, and Wayne Soini

Head to the Light

Last month I did a different post of a cool light fixture entitled “Head to the Light.” It was of one of the very nautical lights at Mile Marker. So, here’s a different light fixture. Does anyone know where this hangs? Do you ever look up?

A great Edward Hopper Gloucester watercolor to be auctioned at Sotheby’s May 2023. Whitney Museum selling 4 Hoppers from repository. And there’s another.

Do you know a cluster of homes perched like the subjects in this classic Edward Hopper watercolor painted here in Gloucester 100 years ago? Hallmark motifs and themes pair up throughout this bright and sunny scene: outhouse on the left and brush edged to the right (“nature calls”), passage between buildings and boulders, light and sharp shadow, double windows and curtains, roofline and sky, line up of chimneys, and the mystery of cropped views over the hill and off to the sides.

A house like the home on the right with dark trim and the pair of double stacked windows may appear to be a double story home from one side and as a single story from another. (A home at the corner of Webster and Sadler Sts. shows the vernacular charm and multi vantage points.)

At Sotheby’s May 2023

The drawing is available for purchase. The Whitney Museum of American Art is deaccessioning four Edward Hopper watercolors inspired by the artist’s travel to four locations: Gloucester, Truro, Vermont/NH, and South Carolina. Sotheby’s Auction House has listed them in their major upcoming New York spring sales: one painting for the Modern Evening auction May 16 and 3 paintings on paper for the Modern Day auction on May 17. A fifth Edward Hopper work on paper is included in the day sale.

Images: Edward Hopper works from the Whitney collection at Sotheby’s auction May 2023, images left to right: Lot 434 Red Barn in Autumn Landscape, 1927; Lot 430 Gloucester Group of Houses 1923 est 500,000 – 700,000; Lot 432 The Battery, Charleston, SC 1929 est 500-700,000; Lot 145 Cobb’s Barn, South Truro, circa 1930-33, presale estimate 8-12 million. This painting was selected for display in the Oval Office* by President Obama. A later Edward Hopper Cape Cod watercolor from 1943, Four Dead Trees, with a presale estimate of 700,000-1,000,000, sold at Christie’s on April 23, 2023 for 1.5 million (price realized includes added fees). Lot 531 an Edward Hopper Sailboat study from 1899 from the Sanborn batch, presale est. $100,000 (w/ art and papers in the Nyack home following Hoppers’ deaths.)

White House Oval Office installation view 2014

image: Portrait of President Obama viewing Edward Hopper paintings in the Oval Office by Chuck Kennedy. Loan from/by the Whitney Art Museum 2014 (and other selections and guidance see Michael Rosenfeld Gallery)

On right, Hopper’s NY Rooftops 1927 reminds me of the Gloucester forms ( installation view Whitney NY, Jan 2023), like vessels on the Hudson. Photo c ryan

*I wrote about art at the White House in 2014 which was published here on GMG in 2015:

“What’s the best art inside the White House? No matter what is your artistic preference, Gloucester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts could top the charts as the City and state with the best and most art ties featured at the White House. Let’s break down a selection of that Massachusetts list currently on display at the White House room-by-room, shall we?

Not one, but two Edward Hopper paintings, lent by the Whitney Museum of American Art, were installed one over the other, Cobb’s Barns, South Truro and Burly Cobb’s House, South Truro. The Childe Hassam’s painting, Avenue in the Rain, and Norman Rockwell’s painting, Statue of Liberty, were displayed nearby.

…How does the White House collection work? It is unusual for the White House to accept art by living artists. There are more than 450 works of art in the permanent collection. New art enters the collection after its vetted and is restricted to works created at least 25 years prior to the date of acquisition. For the public rooms, the Office of the Curator works with the White House advisory committee, the First Lady serves as the Honorary Chair, and the White House Historical Association. The private rooms are the domain of the First Family. Works of art from collectors, museums, and galleries can be requested for temporary loans and are returned at the end of the President’s final term. The Obamas have selected contemporary art, including abstract art, from the permanent collection, and borrowed work for their private quarters. Besides the Hopper paintings and John Alston’s Martin Luther King sculpture, they’ve selected art by *Anni Albers, *Josef Albers, Edgar Degas, Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, *Robert Rauschenberg, Edward Ruscha, and *Alma Thomas.” * indicates works that have been donated to the permanent collection.

Catherine Ryan, 2014

There are more than 120 Edward Hopper works inspired by Gloucester, MA. See Edward Hopper all around Gloucester. The Whitney Museum has sold Hoppers before. I’ll write more about that for another post.

Grace Center New location Open House

Cat Cavallini shared the following photos and information regarding the recent Open House at the Grace Center‘s new location at 264 Main Street. From Cat: “With their usual caring and compassion the Grace Center celebrated their new home at 264 Main St. with a community open house on Saturday.”

Senator Bruce Tarr, Mayor Greg Verga and friends outside Grace Center’s new home.

Dedicated, hard working staff members Frank, Dre (with GC mascot Roswell) and Dave.

Senator Tarr with State Citation to GC

Lots of local love went into this beautiful celebration!

Tip Top Tulips For 2023

Happy May Day! This post is appropriate for today. I made my annual visit to Tip Top Tulips in Ipswich (Lowes Lane right off 133 behind Dairy Queen) recently. Though I LOVE the Generous Gardeners Tulips along the boulevard, I also love to go to Tip Top Tulips. Part of the reason is that you can pick and purchase tulips there; the other part is the extra fun the baby goats, alpacas and young children offer. I was greeted by Farmer Paul, (who remembered me!) who introduced this year’s theme of Hope. The annual themes are another reason I love stopping by. You do need tickets (reasonably priced) which can be purchased online or at the gate. Tulips bloom only for a short period, so if you have time in your schedule maybe you want to stop over there and feast your eyes. Maybe you want to try the goat yoga! If you do, you can let me know what you think since you won’t see me doing that…..


Cape Ann Community

The Sawyer Free Library is proud to present this important community event about stroke health, made possible by Encompass Health and Beth Israel Lahey Health.

Join us on Tuesday, May 2 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Sawyer Free Library at 21 Main Street and learn the warning signs of a stroke and how to help prevent one from occurring by knowing the risk factors. The presenter is Chris S. Burke, MD who is a Neurologist and the Stroke Medical Director at Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals. Register at SawyerFreeLibrary.org.

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