“The Sing” at The Annie

Come join the fun at The Annie every Wednesday night at 7PM for two and a half hours of musical sharing.  We sit in a circle in the Art Parlor and take turns singing (or playing acoustic instruments, or both), and if others know the song, they join in.  All genres are welcome!  Prior experience singing in public is NOT necessary – it’s just about sharing our love for music, whether you are a pro, or usually only sing in the shower… It’s a very informal setting. People can also bring snacks or beverages to share. There is a $5 recommended donation per person.  We have a pretty steady group of regulars, but there is also many people who come whenever their schedule allows.  Here are some photos from past “sings”:



Michael Foley (below) is not only a musician, but also a stone carver.


Alexander Thompson brought some of his new organic variety of “Ma’s Brand” tomato marmelade:

In between his turns to sing, he was designing the label for the jars:



Ernie Pigeon, the organizer of The Sing:

When it’s not our turn for singing, some of us also do other artsy things while we listen, like knitting, drawing, or origami!  Or you can just sit and listen and admire the art show in the art parlor.

Fr. Matthew Green




Art Party at “The Annie” – paintings by Sheila Lavelle

Yesterday evening there was an art party at The Annie for the opening of a show of beautiful paintings by Sheila Lavelle.  The artist was present, as was Henry Allen (founder of The Annie).

Artist Sheila Lavelle (second from right) with Henry Allen (far left) and guests

Her paintings are tranquil and calming, most of them suggestive of beach and sea skylines.

Overview of some of the new art on display

The art was accompanied by dishes of delectable appetizers, presented with artistic flair…

…including faux “candles” glowing in origami boxes!

The art will be on display all month. Several of the paintings sold while I was there, so get down to see them soon if you want to buy one of these beauties!

If you can’t make it, you can also view and buy her art on line.

Fr. Matthew Green

Last Weekend of Greasy Pole, The Musical

… a few performances are left, at The Annie! If you haven’t seen it yet… what are you waiting for? I went last night for the first time, and there was a full house, so you might want to make reservations.  The show was great!  Here are a few photos.  I’ll be posting these and a few more to my flickr photostream soon.

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-Fr. Matthew Green

Origami class in Gloucester (change of date), plus photos from the convention in NYC

About a week ago I posted from the annual Origami USA convention in New York City.  At the end of this post, I’ll include some photos of the amazing work that was on display there.  To help bring some of that origami goodness to Gloucester, I’ll be teaching a class at The Annie as part of the “Beyond Imagine” series of art workshops, on July 17 at 7PM ($5 donation The Annie per participant).  The date was originally going to be on July 3, and that date was informally announced, but then we realized it would be overlapping with The Horribles Parade, and that would be a bad idea…

I’ll start off with some simple models, and will work up to more complex designs as time and the ability of the participants allows.  The Annie is located on Washington Street, just north of the intersection with Main Street, in the Blackburn Tavern building (on the floor above Giuseppe’s).

To inspire you to learn origami, here are some photos of truly impressive origami from the exhibit at year’s convention, folded by artists from around the world:

Me, getting bitten by an origami dragon… an image of the passion for origami?

“The Immigrants Speak” – and very eloquently, too!

On Saturday night, The Annie hosted a great performance called “The Immigrants Speak”. It is a part of Jacqueline Cooper’s project titled “Follow the Thread”, which focuses on “America’s Jewish immigrants and the birth of the garment industry.”

The presentation combined period photos projected on a screen, with live actors narrating in first person the experiences of early 20th century immigrants and workers in the garment industry.   Also part of this project was the Vintage Fashion Show held at The Annie back on May 20, the community workshop presentation “Gloucester Garment Industry” held at the Cape Ann Museum on June 8, and the ongoing FIT Exhibit at the Sawyer Free Library (May 18 – June 30).

Here are a few photos from Saturday night’s performance.

The performances were really enthralling. Kudos to all those involved!

“Follow the Thread” in Gloucester is hosted by the Sawyer Free Library. Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, and supported in part by grants from the Cultural Councils of Gloucester, Essex, and Rockport, and Mass Humanities.

African Zebra in Gloucester

OK, not really, just an origami zebra.

This model is designed by John Montroll, to be folded from one square sheet of origami paper (as usual, no cutting or gluing).  It is a great example of how to take advantage of the fact that most origami paper has two colors: usually white on one side, and a solid color or a pattern on the other side. Here, Montroll has done a great job of designing the model so that the black paper only shows up in little stripes. I folded and left one of these in the Art Parlour at The Annie; it may still be there, on a windowsill.

Don’t Miss “I Hate Hamlet!”

I haven’t seen this yet myself, of course, but I’ve been around the Annie while the troupe was there, and they sure seem to be having fun with the production!  Very often that translates in to the audience having fun too…  I hope to make it to one of the shows.

Weekly “Sing” at the Annie

Every week on Wednesday night, 7-9:30PM at “The Annie“, there is a singing session, open to anyone who wants to come.  We sit in a circle in the art parlor and take turns singing and/or playing (on acoustic instruments) whatever strikes our fancy, and if others know the refrain, they join in!  It’s loads of fun, and a very friendly atmosphere in which all levels of talent and experience are welcome.

Here’s another video from our session last week.  It shows Ernie Pigeon singing “For the Life of Me”.

Pennies from Heaven

Last Wednesday evening, we had a great group at The Annie for our weekly singing event (7-9:30PM).  The last time I posted about this, someone asked for video of a song – so I brought my iPhone tripod setup, and filmed!

Henry Allen is not just a generous host at The Annie, he’s also a talented performer. Here  he sings “Pennies from Heaven”.

Come and join us some time!

An evening of song at the Annie

Last night we had our weekly Wednesday night singing session at the Annie. It’s very informal and spontaneous; anyone who wants to show up takes a seat in our circle of chairs in the art parlor, and we go around taking turns singing (and/or playing acoustic instruments).   The group will often join in the chorus if it is a well-known song.   It’s a very open atmosphere; music of pretty much any genre, and singers any level of talent or experience (from people who usually only sing in the shower, to music professionals), are welcome. People are also welcome to come if they just want to listen.

Here is a slideshow of some spontaneous photos I took last night.

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Six Pairs of Hands – see it while you can!

I went to the Saturday 2PM matinee of “Six Pairs of Hands” at the Annie, narrating true stories of fishermen’s wives in Gloucester.   I am very glad I went!  Really, it’s amazingly well done, from the actors’ performances to the music and the set.  I heartily recommend it!  There are two shows today (Sunday), at 2PM and 5PM. Here are some photos I grabbed today.  The front row of the audience, which appears in some of the photos, was mostly occupied by fishermen’s wives, some of whose stories were being told on stage!

Q&A with the director, Wendy Lement, and the cast

Cameron’s Feast

“Cameron’s Feast”, a benefit dinner organized by Henry Allen at The Annie for to support both The Annie and the Brain Candy Foundation, was a great success on Monday night.  The food was great, and the performances of song, dance, and poetry (by Henry and his friends, colleagues and students) were inspiring!

The event was held on what would have been Cameron’s birthday.  He died from brain cancer four years ago, but his courage, hope, and desire to make a difference in the world, are still alive through the “ripple effect” he has had. Henry spoke movingly about Cameron and the initiatives that were born during and after Cameron’s fight with cancer. Great things are happening thanks to Cameron!

For a slideshow of photos, click here:

On The Wall art show at The Annie tonight!

If you haven’t heard, there’s going to be a great art opening at The Annie tonight with a group of fantastic young artists from around town! Watch the video below for more details, check out the Facebook page, or just show up sometime this evening to take it all in. Doors open at 4:00!

Cole Herbst and other young artists showing at The Annie next Friday

Great show next Friday of some exciting young artists from Gloucester! If you haven’t seen any of Cole’s stuff before, look here and here. Jason Burroughs, Jamie Rynkowski, Jake Stafford and Justus Dunton will be showing work also – really fun new stuff from some young local artists!


Cole Herbst art show at The Annie

Cape Ann Painter and Photographer Group

The meeting was held this morning for the first time at the wonderful Annie Theatre, which is where future meetings will be held. E.J. gave a super presentation on marketing for artists–this is a great group for meeting fellow artists, for sharing ideas on exhibiting, resources, marketing, and for staying connected.
The Cape Ann Painter and Photographer Group meets the second Monday of each month from 9:00 to 10:30.
Evie from Pleasant Street Tea Company

Wednesday night “sing” at The Annie

Here’s a snapshot from the “sing” last night at The Annie – a weekly informal get-together on Wednesdays from 7PM to 9:30PM, where everyone gets a chance to sing and/or to sing along with others, and/or play acoustic instruments. People are also welcome to come just to listen.  Our host requests a $5 donation from participants to help support our venue’s basic expenses.

Last night we had songs in English, Italian, Spanish, and Latin, from a variety of genres.  We ended up with twelve people, three guitars, a sax and a clarinet (I think… I’m not an expert on wind instruments, so I may be misidentifying it).  Come and join us for future “sings”!

In a day or two I’ll post a little video clip of one of the songs sung yesterday.

The Lobstah Crackah sampler

I went to the Friday performance of the Lobstah Crackah at The Annie.  It’s an ingenious new Gloucester seafood-flavored take on the Christmas classic The Nutcracker.  It’s not the Russian Ballet, but there is enthusiasm and humor – and live accordion music accompanying the score!

Here are some clips and snapshots to give you a feel for the production.

  • Dec. 15-Jan. 1
  • Thursdays-Sundays 7PM & 2PM Sunday matinees
  • $15 suggested donation
  • located at the corner of Rogers and Washington Street, in the Blackburn Tavern building, above Giuseppe’s (entrance on Washington Street)

Go See! The Lobstah Crackah Ballet

All right let me just spell it out for you.

You could buy tickets to Boston’s Nutcracker and spend $40 (if you’re lucky) on parking, $74 for nosebleed seats, per ticket for a family of four and refreshments, say conservatively speaking $50 for a total of $386.  To see something that has absolutely zero relevance to your lives.


Orrrrrrrrrr, you could bring your family to the Annie At Blackburn and see The Lobstah Crackah Ballet performed by locals and featuring a Lobster and my favorites- super crazy menacing seagulls who poop all over the stage along with a whole bevy of other sea creatures.  For a teeny tiny fraction of that price!

We went night before last and Snoop Maddie Mad and The Bean have not stopped talking about it.  It’s a ballet, so know that up front so there are no words but there is a ton of action and unlike The Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker where it costs you $74 for the worst seats in the house PER TICKET you could go to The Lobstah Crackah Ballet for a mere $15 (suggested donation) per ticket.



So again $386 to go see the Nutcracker Ballet in Boston vs $60 to See Seagulls Poop all over the stage at The Annie!!!

I say go with the Poop all the way and that will leave you precisely $326 left over to spend on Christmas presents downtown!

Not to mention that the seating at the Annie puts you on top of the action instead of needing a set of those stupid  mini binoculars to possibly catch a glimpse of the action at The Boston Ballet from the cheap seats.  Duh, No-Brainer.



If you bring your family I highly suggest going to Giuseppe’s downstairs from the Annie,the food was fantastic, the service top notch and you can grab one of their specialty pizzas and a couple of kids meals and be out of there for under $50.

Here are some pics from our great night in GTown!

Dinner at Giuseppe’s-

Giuseppe’s Special Pizza

Chicken Fingers, the good kind

On To The Annie!


For more info check out the website-http://www.theannie.org/

Greasy Pole The Musical- Reviews are coming in!



photo Marty Luster
Congrats to the talented cast & crew!
Here are some of the opening night reviews coming in of
Greasy Pole, The Musical!

"Bodacious!" – says Greasy Pole legend Salvi Benson

"A must see!!!!!!!!!!" – Vito Piscitello

"Loved it!!! Cast, music, lyrics and story are wonderful. Fun, funny, joyful and full of truth." – Patty Knaggs

"The most fun you can have without grease!" – Greasypole Nation

"It’s a humorous, good representation of Cape Ann Culture.
Henry Allen has put together a comic relief with visuals and music."
– Morgan Huke

"Being a Gloucester native, and growing up with my Italian friends, I must say that you have captured the essence of Gloucester and the Fiesta traditions so beautifully. The show was perfect for this community. Cu-dos to all of the actors and actresses, as well as the staff, crew, musicians. I am e-mailing all of my friends and family today telling them that this is a "Must See" show. Thank you for a wonderful evening and Welcome to Gloucester!!!" – Carol A. MacKenzie

"I was imagining your show exploding and being the next big hit on Broadway as I walked the dogs just now!!" – Peg Leeco

From beginning to end, this rollicking new musical about the 80 year history and evolution of Gloucester’s beloved Greasy Pole tournament is based on true stories of the men that have walked, won and slipped, and the women who loved them anyway. Funny, bright and poignant, this new annual Fiesta tradition is sure to delight all ages!

(Special Pre-Fiesta Performances for our community!)

General Admission: $15.00 Pay online or at our Box Office: 978-704-1269
Shows are selling out fast, so reserve your tickets soon!


Explore our website to discover all the wonderful family-friendly
happenings The Annie has in store for Cape Ann all summer long!

Be sure to indicate which performance of Greasy Pole, The Musical! you would like to attend.
FRIDAY: June 17, 2 shows: 6:30pm & 7:30pm
SATURDAY: June 18, 4 shows: 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm
SUNDAY: June 19, 4 shows: 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm
THURSDAY: June 23, 2 shows: 6:30pm & 7:30pm
FRIDAY: June 24, 2 shows: 6:00pm & 7:00pm
SATURDAY: June 25, 4 shows: 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 6:00pm, 7:00pm
SUNDAY: June 26, 4 shows: 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:00pm, 10:00pm