One of the highlights of a trip filled with highlights was a visit to a rural school near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The children gave us an enthusiastic welcome and tried to outdo each other when showing us around. My student host, Mthokozisi,(picture 1 ) is 12 years old and will be going into secondary school next year. He wants to graduate high school and go on to college (trade school) or university. He is, as he told us, “a clever fellow.”
The primary school consists of four classrooms, but most classes are conducted outside in the shade of nearby trees. All of the children are from a nearby village which contains dozens of small compounds and is home to about 500 people.
Brendan James, a Charleston, SC-based singer-songwriter, will return to Manchester-by-the-Sea’s Crowell Chapel on Monday, July 15th at 7:30pm to support his upcoming release, “Simplify.” James, who has been called a “songwriter on the rise” by Entertainment Weekly and has been described by music legend, Carly Simon, as having “a voice that can change the world”, is in the midst of a 20+ city, coast to coast tour.
Having played Crowell Chapel back in March, James was enamored by the venue’s acoustic brilliance and the reception by local audiences. In early May, he reached out to Live at The Crowell producer, Chris Langathianos, and asked if it would be possible to come back in July on his “Simple Adventures” summer tour. Langathianos jumped on the opportunity to have this rising star return to Cape Ann. James said, “Manchester by the Sea is clearly one of the most music-loving communities in all of New England. In March, they welcomed me with great applause, and I can’t wait to return in July with my new album in hand!”
This summer tour will be in support of his August 6th release, “Simplify.” While the album becomes available to the public in August, James will have advanced copies on hand at each date of his summer tour.
“Simplify represents me finding a clarity I have been searching for for years,” says critically acclaimed piano-based singer-songwriter of his new album “Simplify.” His fifth album, it is also his most elegant and emotionally direct album to date.
An active supporter for all levels of equality (he has spoken out for Marriage Equality and is considered a “Straight Ally”) and a supporter for the men and women in the military (he’s performed for the USO and troops), his advocacy is well-known and widespread. Larry Flick, influential host of Sirius XM’s OUTQ, says of James, “The remarkable thing about Brendan is that he is an active, creative citizen of the world. His songs do more than reflect his experiences in typical singer/songwriter style. He weaves his views and stories into a musical framework that triggers empathy from a wide array of listeners. He’s proof that, in the right hands, music can truly be universal.”
James is a man who sings with conviction and isn’t afraid to speak out, as is evidenced on his new album, Simplify. For example, the plaintive ballad “The New Plan” tackles our violence-obsessed culture unflinchingly. “It’s no secret that this country has an unhealthy obsessions with guns,” he explains. “I wrote this song as a conversation piece, begging for an end to violence for the sake of violence. It’s in our culture, and it’s starting to ‘backfire’. We’re beginning to look ridiculous on the world stage, and I care enough to address it. Very few civilians I know NEED guns. They simply choose to have them around.”
Tackling his personal history as a child of divorce, he wrote the song “He Loved”, which actually had origins in the divorce of his musical heroes, Carly Simon and James Taylor. The song was written years ago at Simon’s home in Martha’s Vineyard where he was invited to a private mentor session that didn’t go quite as planned – Simon had to leave for a last minute engagement just as he arrived, leaving him with the keys to her mansion. When she returned six days later, he played this song for her and she gave him her stamp of approval. It took him a few years to be confident enough as a songwriter to release it, and the song appears on Simplify. “Back then, I think Carly saw in me the ability to be a mature and credible songwriter, but I wasn’t that guy until now. I finally grew to be the songwriter she believed me to be,” James confides.
The album’s title track and first single is a melodically driving jam that American Songwriter calls “a piano-fueled pop/rocker that feels like a mission statement for the entire record.” “The process of evolution, especially technological evolution, is occurring at such blinding speeds these days that we must take collective moments to breathe together, find calm together,” Brendan explains of the song, “or we will forever leave behind our real essence as animals in paradise.”
The Derry, NH native has had his songs featured in television shows such as Private Practice, American Idol, Bones, So You Think You Can Dance, Army Wives, and One Tree Hill. His first three albums climbed the iTunes Top 10 pop charts – James’ sophomore album, Brendan James, climbed to #1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts. He’s toured the country nine times over and played alongside such diverse artists as John Mayer, Paula Cole, Keb Mo, Parachute, and Green River Ordinance. The Kickstarter campaign for Simplify netted nearly double its projected goal. And in May of 2013, James had the honor of giving a TED talk, in which he spoke of the importance of consciousness in his art.
Tickets are $20 and available by visitingwww.attendstar.com or by calling 617-694-6892.
Award winning and best selling author Judy Blume is appearing tonight at Cape Ann Community Cinema. See for more information see: Judy Blume at Cape Ann Community Cinema Monday Night!!!
Since her first novel was published in 1969, Judy Blume has written nearly thirty more books, appealing to children (“Freckle Juice”), teens (“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”), and adults (“Summer Sisters”) and varying widely in the topics she so smartly covered with them. However, none has made the trip to the big screen, until now. Blume’s 1981 novel “Tiger Eyes,” about a teenage girl named Davey who is transplanted into a New Mexico mountain town after the sudden loss of her father, is the first, and is now in theaters. But why such a long wait for a Judy Blume movie, and why this one, and why now? Lawrence Blume, Judy’s son––and the director of the film––had some answers to these and other questions that her legions of fans want to know.
“Many producers have pondered adapting ‘Tiger Eyes’ over the years,” the junior Blume told North Shore Movies. “There were some false starts, and some things that didn’t work out.”
If things had worked out, Blume may not have been able to realize his dual dreams of adapting the book himself (he read all of them either in process or as they were released) and working with his mother on producing that adaptation.
“Making a film out of the book is something I’ve wanted to do since I read it in high school,” Blume says of the project. “The timing is perfect, and the deal was hard to resist. Yes, we had to make-do with a tiny budget [from a European producer] and just 23 days in which to shoot, but we had full creative control.”
For some, working on such an important project with one’s mother would be a situation far from ideal, but for Blume, it was just the opposite.
“The collaboration was joyful,” he says. “She is an unbelievably fertile artist, and it was amazing to have her to collaborate with. She was with me for nearly every shot, next to me in the director’s chair. It was incredible to be able to turn to her after a shot and say ‘This is the direction I’m going with Willa [Holland, who plays Davey], to have her there, saying ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘you are going off the rails.’ Directing is lonely, so to have someone who knows the story as intimately or more so was great.”
Due to a scheduling conflict, the Blues Festival has replaced Biscuit Miller with Mr. Nick and the Dirty Tricks. These guys know how to rock. Check them out here:
Now don’t let the hot summer weather and amazing amount of local entertainment (see schedule here) distract you too long. You can only get $28 tickets to the Blues Fest until Aug 4. After that they’re $40. So get them NOW.
I caught one of the last showings of Greasy Pole, The Musical this year. This year’s cast (mostly new) did a great job keeping up the tradition of past years! Here is a slideshow of photos I took (warning: spoilers implied!)
If you missed this one, catch it next year! But the same troupe – Henry Allen’s North Shore Folklore Theatre – has a lineup of shows and other activities that you can see – and participate in – throughout the year! Besides the website at the previous link, you can also find them on Facebook.
Cooling My Heels
Glorious Good Harbor Beach in the cool silky water. So refreshing on these sweltering days.
Photo © Kathy Chapman 2013
Hi Joey & GMG:
Here are my submissions for the 2013 Manchester By The Sea 4th of July Parade.
Cape Ann Imagery
Sidewalk Bazaar Seeks Artists and Crafters
The 55th Sidewalk Bazaar is August 1st, 2nd and 3rd and fast approaching. The Gloucester Downtown Association would like to invite all artist and crafters to join us. Three days of people on Main Street viewing your craft. Download application and rules of participation at capeannbusiness.com.
Historical Lecture by
Richard N. Rosenfeld
of Rocky Neck
America’s Reign of Terror
The Untold Story of the 1790s
Richard Rosenfeld of Rocky Neck has written and commented extensively on the
Early American Republic, not only as author of his widely-acclaimed work, American
Aurora; A Democratic-Republican Returns (St. Martin’s Press, 1997) but also as a
commentator for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” and essayist for Harper’s
Magazine. This lecture will focus on a period (from 1798 to 1800) that Thomas
Jefferson called “a reign of witches.”
Tuesday, July 9th
Time: 7 PM