Your Weekend: Illuminati, Rt. 18 a speakeasy and more…

Rt. 18 has a sound

FRIDAY, OCT. 20 – Bruce Springsteen can have Rt. 9 – we’ve got Rt. 18! Tonight, Rt. 18 the band play Knuckle Heads (85 MacArthur Dr., NB).  “We will be playing your favorite ‘80s, ‘90s, Pop Rock, Alternative, Dance and Country at Knuckle Heads Bar & Grill on Friday, October 20th starting at 9pm! We’ll see you there,” they write. Yeah – they’re sprung from cages, too…

The Illuminati want you

SATURDAY, OCT. 21 – Freemason Lodges across Massachusetts throw open their doors today for tours and possible membership –  including New Bedford’s own Masonic Lodge at County and Unions Streets. It ain’t easy to enter – this being a super-secret millennium-or-so-old group. Register for a chance to tour area Lodges (Fairhaven’s rocks) at this link – and learn (a bit) more about Freemasonry while you’re there.

Thou Shalt Knot

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 – Only in New Bedford at the world-famous Whaling Museum would you find something like this – a day-long symposium on the art of tying knots! Thou Shalt Knot: A Symposium on Knotting Matters will tie you up from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. – but it will as much fun as you’ll ever have with rope – without a brass bed in the room. Join experts from the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT), and the Melville Society Cultural Project (MSCP) for “Thou Shalt Knot: A Symposium on Knotting Matters.” The symposium at the Whaling Museum coincides with the Museum’s exhibition “Thou Shalt Knot: Clifford W. Ashley” and explores the practical, cultural and literary aspects of knots. Cost to attend the “Thou Shalt Knot” symposium is $25 for Whaling Museum members and $35 for non-members. To register call 508-997-0046 ext.100 or visit whalingmuseum.org.

24 Hour Halloween Project

SATURDAY, OCT. 21 – The Collective NB holds a Halloween version of their popular 24-hour projects this evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Halloween 24 Hour Project – with Costume Contest – invites you to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve by getting scary with the theatrical troupe. Tickets are $10, first show is at 7:00 and the ever-slurry stumble through will be at 9:00. Doors at 6:30 and 8:30 respectively. All plays will be written, produced, and performed within 24 hrs. Come in costume to either show and have the chance to win a prize. All costumes will be judged by the cast and crew so put on your best one and head on down to Gallery X located at 169 William Street, NB. Make a reservation at Thecollectivenb@gmail.com “Tell us what show you’d like to attend and how many people are in your party and get two free raffle tickets,” Collective writes.

NB-AGLY Dance

SATURDAY, OCT. 21 – NB-AGLY (New Bedford Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Youth) hosts a Halloween Dance tonight at the First Unitarian Church (71 8th Street, NB) from 7:00-10:00 p.m. It’s for young adults aged 14-24 only – with free pizza and snacks!

Break out the cowboy boots…

SUNDAY, OCT. 22 – Who doesn’t need more Country Line Dancing in their life? VFW Poirier Post at 281 Appleton Street provides today with the 5th Annual Country Line Dancing Hoedown from 1:00-5:00 p.m. It’s not only fun – but a benefit for the terrific group, Mercy Meals and More. Tickets are $10, and the hoedown features the local award winning country band, South County Line and Caroline Burns from Adam Levine’s Team on NBC’s, The Voice, Season 10.

Sunday Speakeasy

SUNDAY, OCT. 22 – It’s back to Gallery X for another special event: Sunday Speakeasy. The Moldy Suitcases and The Hot Club Cheese Roll will perform music inspired by the sounds of the first half of the 20th century. Doors open at 3; music starts at 3:30. $5 suggested donation and bonus merch from either/both bands for donations above and beyond, they let us know. Get a taste of Hot Club Cheese Roll below, performing the jazz standard, “Confessin.”

Finding Sherlock’s “Mind Palace” at Groundwork!

Okay – I’m a huge geek. Been fascinated with all things Sherlock Holmes since I was a kid – a condition that shows no signs of abating in the ‘Cumberbatch’ era.

In fact, watching the hip rendition of Holmes in the recent series on PBS brought about an epiphany. One of the reasons I dig the sleuth is that he frequently retreats into…his “Mind Palace.”

I thought I was alone in this condition – except for century old fictional consulting detectives – until I and other members of Groundwork! participated in a special series of lunchtime ‘Mindfulness’ workshops last Winter conducted by the world’s foremost consulting coach, Julie Paquette.

Consulting Coach

My eyes as well as my mind were opened by Julie. It turns out, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was (inadvertently) ahead of his time when he had Holmes eliminate all that was unnecessary from his mind and focus intently on what was relevant in order to solve his important cases. A lot of what he was practicing was…Mindfulness.

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth,” summed up his detecting philosophy. It’s also a pretty good starting pointing for the practice of Mindfulness. It is a discipline that can be learned – and employed in all pursuits, whether a crime is involved or not!

Mindfulness and more

For readers unfamiliar with Mindfulness, here’s a standard Wikipedia definition: Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment,which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.The term “mindfulness” is a translation of the Pali term sati,which is a significant element of Buddhist traditions.”

Julie’s classes at Groundwork! were a revelation. Over six weeks, she led a group of us through Mindfulness exercises that, lo and behold, expended our vision and increased our awareness both of ourselves and the world around us. By giving us the building blocks to construct our own mind palaces.

The idea of ‘Mindfulness’ was wonderful enough. But to be introduced to it by someone like Julie Paquette – so proficient in its practice, dedicated to its integrity and passionate to communicate its value –  was a “The Game is Afoot” moment.

The Return of Julie Paquette

You knew you were in the hands of a master – and no one had to die to unravel this mystery. You may have guessed by now – I’m happy to serve as her Dr. Watson in this blog post.

I’ve been wanting to write about the adventure we all shared here at Groundwork! for quite some time – but must admit something: I didn’t feel qualified enough to write intelligently on the subject!

That’s entirely because Julie was such an awesome guide and teacher, I truly didn’t want to let her down in any way.

BUT…I’ve got good news to share. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, you can discover for yourself what Julie Paquette’s “The Mindfulness Collaborative” is about when she returns to Groundwork! during our Oktoberfest Open House. Oktoberfest at Groundwork! will be a free, open to the public day of coworking, workshops and more good things – like chair massages and Yoga.

The highlight for me will be retreating to my mind palace once again under the tutelage of Julie Paquette. She’ll lead an Introduction to Mindfulness hour beginning at 3:00 p.m. (Check out the entire day’s schedule of activities here.)

And I’m certain that under her guidance, we’ll all be a bit more mindful not only of ourselves, but also our value to each other than this fellow…

YOUR WEEKEND: Ropeworks, Beer on the Pier, wrestling and more…

 

In this corner…

FRIDAY, OCT. 13 – House of Bricks Pro Wrestling and Independent Wrestling host Flashback Friday matches tonight at Moose Lodge 914 (119 Rockdale Avenue, NB). The bell sounds at 7:00 p.m. (doors at open at 6:00 p.m.) and $10 gets you ringside. The main event? A heavyweight championship match between “The Outlaw Moonshiner” and “The Saturday Night Delight.” We’ll give the edge to ‘The Outlaw’ since it’s Friday night….

Tour The Ropeworks

SATURDAY, OCT. 14 & SUNDAY, OCT. 15 – The Ropeworks condo building at 123 Sawyer Street boasts an amazing roster of artists and was and is a cool example of urban adaptive reuse. The former rope factory was transformed into the creative Mecca it is today thanks to the vision of the Buck family – Norman, Adam and Irene, the last a cultural leader in the city for years as the director of ArtWorks! The public is invited to tour this awesome building in the city’s north end from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sat. Oct. 14 and Sun. Oct. 15. See art in the studios where it is created at this free, open to the public weekend event. A few years back, renowned glass artist and resident Tracy Barbosa asked this writer to volunteer to work the door during a previous tour. In a bit of supreme serendipity, Groundwork! co-founder Dena Haden walked in that day – and a great friend and colleague was found and made. Ropeworks is that kind of place…more tour details here.

Beer on the Pier

SATURDAY, OCT. 14 – The South Coast Business Alliance hosts their 12th annual Oktoberfest today from 3:00 p.m. until 11:45 p.m. Yep – you’ll get home before turning into a pumpkin at midnight. Oktoberfest happens on State Pier, NB and features over 20 regional and national breweries, food trucks and entertainment. Tickets required; get some here.

Incognito turns 13

SATURDAY, OCT. 14 – The nifty Incognito bar and eatery has been adding something special to The Ave – as in Acushnet Avenue, NB – for 13 years. Tonight, they celebrate that anniversary with a special evening of food and entertainment. There will be a complimentary buffet 6:00-8:00 p.m. and  Deejay Dizzy spins from 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. 21+/ Proper ID/ No Cover Charge! And be prepared for a Champagne toast at 1606-1610 Acushnet Avenue. (P.S. Get deets on their popular Sunday drag brunch while you’re there, too! Next edition is the very next day, Sun. Oct. 15.)

Fall Photography at Haskell Public Gardens

SUNDAY, OCT. 15 – Join former Trustees photographer, Mark Gardner for a fall photography workshop at Haskell Public Gardens today from 3:00-4:30 p.m. The Gardens inform us that, “Mark is an award-winning photographer whose work has been published in the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Architectural Digest, and South Shore Living among others.” He’ll be teaching you an inexpensive way to take your photography to the next level using off-camera flash, they write, in addition to introducing you to some other basic tips. Preregistration is required and participants must bring their own cameras and other equipment. Contact events manager Maura O’Gara with questions or to check for cancellation due to inclement weather (mogara@thetrustees.org; 508-668-6136). Meet at the Welcome Center, near Shawmut Avenue entrance. If you’d like to contact Mark directly, visit his website at www.summerskydigitalmedia.com.

UPCOMING at Groundwork!

Eating well with Groundwork!

Any reader who also follows Groundwork! on Facebook knows we eat well here at 1213 Purchase Street. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve enjoyed a member potluck; a farewell lunch featuring some magnificent sushi courtesy of now-alumni members, Pidalia; assorted snacks during regularly scheduled Coffee Hours; and some nifty treats from The Baker courtesy of our fearless leaders, Sarah Athanas and Dena Haden, during a video shoot.

Naturally, shots of us chowing down appear with regularity in our social media feeds. If New Bedford coworking in the gig economy requires copious amounts of fuel, Groundworkers are ready for blast-off.

Especially so because in between all the pop-up opportunities for good grub, members were able to avail themselves of participation in a CSA farm share program all summer long and now into autumn thanks to the foresight of those aforementioned fearless leaders.

For those of you unfamiliar with what a CSA is, here’s the 411: CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a way for shoppers to buy seasonal, local produce directly from area farmers. The farmers offer “shares” to the public – in this case, Groundwork! members. Each week a box or bag of veggies magically appears at the coworking space for pick-up by members who bought a share.

Apponagansett Farm

The local farm supplying the bounty here is Apponagansett Farm. It’s a “small, diverse family farm in South Dartmouth…dedicated to providing high quality, sustainably grown food to the local community,” according to their website, where you can find out more about them. Including, how you can grab yourself a winter share. (Non-Groundwork! members can pick up their weekly share at the farm itself.)

When the CSA share program was initially launched, this writer didn’t sign-up for it. As a single guy, I was concerned I would end up throwing out good food because, well, my Emeril Lagasse moments are more aspirational than actual.

Fortunately, fellow Groundworker Nicole Pupillo – a big fan of our CSA – persuaded me to get in on the greens by offering to split her share with me. Nicole enjoyed some vacation time and was out of the area, so I ponied up and picked up her deliveries while she was away. When she returned, we maintained the split arrangement – and my cupboard has remained bountiful rather than bare. And no, none of it went to waste, as I had initially feared.

Adventures with veggies

It’s been great to get healthy food to take home delivered right to my laptop each week  – and a nice challenge. Discovering what we received – and determining what to do with it – has definitely led to some culinary adventure. It’s fun sharing thoughts on how best to prepare eggplant, for example, with other members, especially Nicole. So, chalk up another advantage to coworking: healthier eating!

As we head into autumn, I’ve discovered that those colorful gourds you see in Thanksgiving pictures are actually edible. (I split mine into quarters, brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled some sea salt on them before broiling.) And, the introduction of sweet potatoes and radishes has led to some colorful dishes being prepared in my kitchen.

Apponagansett Farm sends us a weekly newsletter letting us know what to expect – complete with recipes, too. Again, their winter share program is beginning and you can check out their website for more information.

Or, join Groundwork! and get it delivered right to your desk! Participating in a CSA share, supporting New Bedford’s Farmers Markets and the urban agriculture of our members, GROW Education helps fulfill the promise of New Bedford coworking in the best possible way:

The most amazing shared experience we’re enjoying is forging a new future together from the ground up.

YOUR WEEKEND: Song, art and chowder…

From Scotland to New Bedford (in a roundabout way….)

FRIDAY, OCT. 6 – The Fishing Heritage Center (38 Bethel Street, NB) hosts musician Debra Cowan tonight in concert 7:00-8:30 p.m. Nice story: Following a life-long desire to sing and perform, Debra Cowan left her job as a California middle school math teacher in 1997 and went to live in Edinburgh, Scotland for six months. There she learned the art of unaccompanied singing and upon her return to the USA in 1998 began traveling all over New England performing at any open mike within 100 miles of her new home in Springfield, Massachusetts. Tickets are $8.00 for members, $10.00 for non-members and may be purchased at the Center Gift Shop or online here.

A Brush with Death

SATURDAY, OCT. 7 – The New Bedford Preservation Society leads a New Bedford Artists and Artisans Tour – through Rural Cemetery! It’s a look back at the bygone bones of those who came before the term “Creative Economy” was ever uttered. Yours truly will be one of the guides. From 1:00-4:00pm, also expect historic portrayals in period costume at several of the grave sites of New Bedford’s internationally famous artists and artisans including but not limited to: painters William Allen Wall, Robert Swain, Frances Gifford, Albert Cook Church and female painter Minna Grumbt Webb, early African American photographer James Reed as well as glass artisans Gundersen brothers Hjalmar and Robert. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by cash or check at the Grape Street Rural Cemetery gate on the day of tour. A $2 discount will be given to New Bedford Preservation Society members. (Rain date is Sunday October 8th from 1pm to 4pm.)

Labyrinth of Desire

Work by Michael Walden

SATURDAY, OCT. 7 – S & G Project Gallery at Hatch Street Studios opens their latest show with a reception this evening from 5:00-8:00 p.m. – and it looks amazing. “Labyrinth of Desire” features the work of Michael Walden, the painter and print maker living and working in Westport. This show is an extension of and progression from a recent solo show he had in New York City at the  terrific Leslie-Lohman Museum’s Prince Street Project. Press materials for the show state, “This body of work explores a journey of emancipation from the constraints of societal conformity, a paragon presented to the world only to be overshadowed by a gaze of disillusionment and feelings of estrangement and malaise. Realizing that desire in all its forms is about the pursuit of happiness, and understanding that it is attained just before it is lost.” S & G Project Gallery is located in Rm 306a in Hatch Street Studios, 88 Hatch Street, NB a block and half off Acushnet Avenue heading east. For those familiar with the building, step assured: the elevator is manned on opening nights!

Chowdah

SUNDAY, OCT. 8 – The 12th annual Chowderfest returns to State Pier on the NB waterfront this afternoon from noon-5:00 p.m. It’s really very simple: over 20 restaurants and caterers that will be serving up sample-sized portions of their best clam and seafood chowders, kale soup, signature soups, and stuffed quahogs. So – come hungry! The ‘fest also features non stop live musical entertainment, free children’s craft activities and the annual YMCA lobster race. Vendors will be serving local beers, wines, specialty cocktails, soft drinks, ice cream and desserts. Tickets are $15 in advance (you can get them at the YMCA or Freestone’s), $18 day of, $5 for children 6-12, free for 5 and younger.

WEEKDAY BONUS PICK

THURSDAY, OCT. 12 – If it’s the second Thursday of the month, then it’s AHA! New Bedford night! Groundwork!’s latest art opening is part of the fun. Come to 1213 Purchase Street to catch the Opening Reception  of “Other Worlds” from 6:00-8:00pm. From the event listing: Other Worlds is an exhibition of painting and prints by four recent graduates of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The visual works of Zachary M. White, Bruce Bailey, Will Wolf, and L. Noah Barrett will be accompanied by the original compositions of sound artist Christopher Bailey. Each artist featured brings a unique perspective in regards to their materials, methods, and imagery ranging from semi-representational to fully abstract.” See more here. Find the full AHA! New Bedford schedule here.

Taking New Bedford’s LGTBQ community to the next level

By Steven Froias
Groundworker-At-Large

If ever there was a person on a mission, it would be Traci Welch. As the events director and secretary of South Coast LGBTQ Network, Welch is blazing a new trail through the city and elevating the entire community in the process. An engaged, vibrant gay citizenry speaks volumes about a place – and it’s all good for all of New Bedford in addition to its LGBTQ citizens.

After the successful re-launch of the city’s Pride festival back in June, the Network led by Welch is keeping busy with a slate of special events and new offerings during October. Here’s what’s happening:

On Wednesday, October 11, the South Coast LGBTQ Network will be holding a Diversity event at Slainte Irish Pub (34 Union Street, NB). It coincides with National Coming Out Day and proceeds from the evening will help support the next South Coast Pride day. Diversity happens from 6:00-9:00 p.m.

The very next night, on Thursday, October 12, downtown’s New Bedford Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Youth (NB-AGLY) will host an Open House during AHA! New Bedford at their youth center, 484 Pleasant Street, NB. The center helps LGBTQ youth ages 14-24 in our community – and the greater community is invited to check out what they’re all about and learn about their goals for the future on this evening.

On Friday, October 20, Traci helped facilitate a meet and greet at South Coast’s only LGBTQ bar, LePlace, for New Bedford School Committee candidate Colleen Dawicki. (The time wasn’t available as we went to post, but follow Dawicki on her campaign’s Facebook page and look for further information there.) LePlace is located at 20 Kenyon Street, behind the popular Endzone eatery a couple of blocks south of Coggeshall Street.

And, on Saturday, October 21, NB-AGLY will hold a Halloween dance at the First Unitarian Church (71 8th Street, NB) from 7:00-10:00 p.m.

Importantly, between these special events, NB-AGLY is now hosting a Pride Cafe for 18+ every Monday evening from 7:00-9:00 p.m. They call it a Perfect Place where younger members of the LGBTQ community can find social support, advice and acceptance.

Finally, Welch recently was a guest on New England Pride TV, discussing all the efforts above and the LGBTQ community’s role in New Bedford. (It should be posted soon; follow New England Pride TV on Facebook for details.)

Back in May, I wrote “New Bedford gets its Pride back,” a post about the return of the city’s Pride Festival, held in Buttonwood Park. As noted above, it’s back to stay and the 2018 edition is already on the calendar for Saturday, June 2, 2018. I wrote back then, “While the city has generally always been a relatively accepting place, it hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of sexual politics.”

Already, that’s changing for the better and it’s in no small part due to the hard of work of Traci Welch and a profound shift in attitude throughout the city – mirroring it’s resurgence from urban also-ran to New Bedford Renewal.

Celebrating diversity, looking after vulnerable youth and entering the political dialogue moves not only the LGBTQ community boldly into the future but the entire City of New Bedford.

That’s something to find Pride in.

UPCOMING AT GROUNDWORK!

Open House on Wednesday, Oct. 25; click image for details.

Fall into New Bedford Culture

 

The temps and dew points have dropped – but the heat generated by New Bedford, the region’s cultural hub, remains on “high” this Fall. Here’s a month’s worth of special events that are sure to keep the city’s momentum going…

A Brush with Death

SATURDAY, OCT. 7 – The New Bedford Preservation Society leads a New Bedford Artists and Artisans Tour – through Rural Cemetery! It’s a look back at the bygone bones of those who came before the term “Creative Economy” was ever uttered. Yours truly will be one of the guides. From 1:00-4:00pm, also expect historic portrayals in period costume at several of the grave sites of New Bedford’s internationally famous artists and artisans including but not limited to: painters William Allen Wall, Robert Swain, Frances Gifford, Albert Cook Church and female painter Minna Grumbt Webb, early African American photographer James Reed as well as glass artisans Gundersen brothers Hjalmar and Robert. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by cash or check at the Grape Street Rural Cemetery gate on the day of tour. A $2 discount will be given to New Bedford Preservation Society members. (Rain date is Sunday October 8th from 1pm to 4pm.)

Tour The Ropeworks

SATURDAY, OCT. 14 & SUNDAY, OCT. 15 – The Ropeworks condo building at 123 Sawyer Street boasts an amazing roster of artists and was and is a cool example of urban adaptive reuse. The former rope factory was transformed into the creative Mecca it is today thanks to the vision of the Buck family – Norman, Adam and Irene, the last a cultural leader in the city for years as the director of ArtWorks! The public is invited to tour this awesome building in the city’s north end from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sat. Oct. 14 and Sun. Oct. 15. See art in the studios where it is created at this free, open to the public weekend event. A few years back, renowned glass artist and resident Tracy Barbosa asked this writer to volunteer to work the door during a previous tour. In a bit of supreme serendipity, Groundwork! co-founder Dena Haden walked in that day – and a great friend and colleague was found and made. Ropeworks is that kind of place…more tour details here.

Thou Shalt Knot

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 – Only in New Bedford at the world-famous Whaling Museum would you find something like this – a day-long symposium on the art of tying knots! Thou Shalt Knot: A Symposium on Knotting Matters will tie you up from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. – but it will as much fun as you’ll ever have with rope – without a brass bed in the room. Join experts from the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT), and the Melville Society Cultural Project (MSCP) for “Thou Shalt Knot: A Symposium on Knotting Matters.” The symposium at the Whaling Museum coincides with the Museum’s exhibition “Thou Shalt Knot: Clifford W. Ashley” and explores the practical, cultural and literary aspects of knots. Cost to attend the “Thou Shalt Knot” symposium is $25 for Whaling Museum members and $35 for non-members. To register call 508-997-0046 ext.100 or visit whalingmuseum.org.

Oktoberfest at Groundwork!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25 – Now here’s a different kind of Oktoberfest for a new age in New Bedford: Oktoberfest at Groundwork! Join us at this free, open house event all day on Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and experience the following: Free coworking; Workshops; Networking; Chair massages; Mindfulness session; Office yoga; Seasonal beer & cider; Ping pong, games & music; and Membership promotions and deals. Groundwork! is New Bedford’s only coworking space – and we offer flexible work stations, meeting rooms, events, community, and more (in case you don’t know by now!)

Children’s New Bedford Bookfest

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28 & SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29 – Our own popular bookfest returns with a twist: a weekend of Children’s book authors and illustrators in a celebration of the genre. This free, open to the public weekend will feature local and regional authors and artists with their books and work available for purchase and signing. New Bedford students will read from their work during an ongoing open mic and Destination Soups will be bringing soup as well as grilled cheese sandwiches into the Groundwork! kitchen. Come hang out again at 1213 Purchase Street – and discover just how talented our region is and just how much New Bedford brings it all home! Authors interested in attending can get more info here.

YOUR WEEKEND: Ladies on the road; Queens on the stage; Green for sale…

Furniture + Objects + Soup!

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 – Artist Liz Welch talks Furniture + Objects this morning from 11:00-11:30am at CVPA UMass Star Store Campus (715 Purchase Street). “Welch will be specifically discussing her approach to furniture design, in addition to her artistic and design practice,” CVPA states. “This presentation will inspire the Digital Fabrication students, who are currently working on absurdist flat-pack chair designs of their own. Anyone is welcome to stop by and enjoy this presentation.” We suggest hitting Liz up and then heading around the corner to Union Street and Destination Soups for lunch right after!

If you plant it, it will grow….

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 – Haskell Public Gardens (787 Shawmut Avenue) holds their Fall Plant Sale today from 9:00am-1:00pm. “The selection brings back memories of Allen Haskell’s offerings and will be sold along with pumpkins and garden gear in the newly renovated garden shop. And don’t forget, Trustees members automatically get 10% off. Tours of the gardens will be offered during the sale, free admission. Groundworkers hit the Spring sale and made off with some good green!

Spokeswomen on the road

SATURDAY, SEPT. 30 – Spokeswomen Cycling holds a 25-mile ride from north New Bedford to and through the woods of Freetown today. Meet at 9:00am at the Mt. Pleasant Street Park & Ride (just beyond Kings Highway) and then head out of town. “Bring your water bottle, snack, a spare tube and your smile!” they write. Also, “come 15 minutes early to set up your bike and greet your fellow SpokesWomen.” Learn more about the group here.

 

Queen(s) for a night

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 – The fabulous Queens of the Southcoast drag group heads back to the Panthers Athletic & Social Club for a show tonight. Doors open at 9:00pm and there’s a $10 cover. Hosted by Hosted by Jaihla Rhodes & CrystalDiamonds with Special Guest: Alida Von-Diva.

Z party

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1 – The Zeiterion Theatre turns 35 years old today with a block party and free screening of the 1982 movie, “E.T.” Get the complete scoop in this previous post, “35 Years of the Z!”

Comedy X

BONUS – WEDNESDAY, OCT. 4 – Make it a Hump Day to remember. Head to Gallery X, 169 William Street, for Comedy X Standup Comedy Showcase, hosted by New Bedford’s Christopher Swanson and featuring “some of the finest comic talent from the farthest reaches of New England!” The show starts at 8:00pm; tickets are $10.

HEADS UP

Mark your calendar NOW for two big events coming to GROUNDWORK!

First up is Oktoberfest at Groundwork! – an Open House day on Wednesday, October 25 featuring Free coworking; Workshops; Networking; Chair massages; Mindfulness session; Office yoga; Seasonal beer & cider; Ping pong, Games & music and Membership promotions and deals. Groundwork! is New Bedford’s only coworking space. It offers flexible work stations, meeting rooms, events, community and more to entrepreneurs, start-ups, independent contractors, freelancers, small businesses and others. Come find out all about it from 10:00am until 6:00pm at this free, all day event on Wednesday, October 25.

That weekend, on Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29, Groundwork! Hosts the Children’s New Bedford Book Festival featuring some of the best regional authors and illustrators around. The free and open to the public bookfest happens from noon-4:00pm each day. Follow NBbookfest.com for details.

35 Years of the Z!

By Steven Froias
Groundworker-At-Large

The historic theatre sitting on Purchase Street is so much a part of New Bedford’s cultural fabric that it’s almost a shock to realize that it’s only been around for 35 years – in its current incarnation.

The Zeiterion Theatre we know today was rescued from its ‘70s era Grindhouse fate in 1982. While I’ve got nothing against Grindhouse, it was probably a good move – otherwise the building may have gone the way of so many other abandoned or demolished one-time movie palaces in the city and been lost to us. 

As the Zeiterion Theatre, the arts center has grown over the last 35 years to become a true regional attraction that brings thousands to the city. I know – because I was once one of them.

Girls just want to have fun

Before I returned to New Bedford, I visited the city often and sometimes timed those weekends in the hometown to coincide with a show at the Z. A whole gang of us loved going to every Cyndi Lauper concert at the Z. It was incredible to see Cyndi – an amazing live performer – up close and personal here. Lauper tours the country, but seeing her in New Bedford at the Zeiterion was a special experience.

Special experiences are the Zeiterion Theatre’s stock in trade. Over the last 35 years, no doubt many thousands have collected their own Z moments by seeing a favorite performer or attending a theatre, dance or spoken word performance.

A treasured moment for me at the Z was probably not one of the venue’s highlights – but I think it says something good about the place and having it New Bedford.

Faithfull to the Z

Back around 2007, I was visiting for a weekend and was shocked to walk around the corner from School Street onto Purchase and see on the Zeiterion marque that Marianne Faithfull was performing –  that very night!

For readers unfamiliar with Faithful, here’s the quick 411 and an interview link: Marianne Faithfull is a British singer and songwriter. She achieved early fame in 1960s England – especially as Mick Jagger’s first very public girlfriend. She wrote the Rolling Stones hit song, “As Tears Go By” and recorded her own records as well.

She later achieved infamy as a serious user of heroin and by leading a squatter’s life that worked on her terms but probably didn’t fit many people’s notion of normal. After deciding to quit heroin – before it killed her – Faithfull chronicled it all in an excellent autobiography and then resumed a serious career in music with a vengeance.

Her iconoclastic approach to life gave her a cache of hipness and her fans include folks who remember her early work and fame and people like me who discovered her through the television show “Absolutely Fabulous” or with her 2002 CD, “Kissin Time,” featuring an alternative music roster of superstar guest stars.

I had seen Marianne perform at New York’s Irving Plaza – but was thrilled to get the chance to catch her in my hometown at the one and only Zeiterion Theatre! I bought a ticket right there and then and went to the show all on my own.

Now, Marianne Faithfull isn’t widely known and probably isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. She was selling out venues in New York thanks to the Williamsburg hipster crowd, but didn’t fare as well in New Bedford. The place was very less than half full.

But she walked out on stage and said, “We’re going to play the same whether there’s one person here or 1,000!”

And she did. She gave an amazing performance that night at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford, MA. It was the type of show you see that cements a bond between yourself and a performer. Probably because, in a venue like this, you can touch her hand at the end of the night as she leans over the stage to thank the fans who did turn out and who were in seventh heaven watching this amazing woman give it her all just for them – for us.

The 2017/2018 Season

It’s a complex business running a performing arts center like the Z. Most people don’t realize that tickets prices aren’t set by the theatre, but are based on what the performers, acts or shows charge. It’s a tricky balancing act to hit the sweet spot and attract programming that’s popular, enriching and also fits within the budget.

Thankfully, the Z frequently hits that sweet – and if, on occasion, ticket sales fall flat they are still providing treasured moments for many. Like all of us who showed up that night to catch Marianne Faithfull on our own patch and in our special place.

Groundwork! is proud to help the Zeiterion Theatre fulfill its mission in the City of New Bedford by advertising in its program. And we – like many others – are eagerly combing their 2017/2018 schedule for a coworking night out at The Moth or any number of offerings just recently posted on their website.

We know it will be a special moment  – because it’s at the Z!

  • The Zeiterion Theatre celebrates its 35th birthday this Sunday, October 1 with a block party and a free screening of E.T. (also from 1982). Festivities get underway 684 Purchase Street at 1:30 p.m. with the block party, featuring food and games and Senator Mark Montigny, an early Zeiterion board member and a steady supporter in the state legislature, sharing the story of The Z’s beginning and cutting the first piece of cake. E.T. screens at 3:00 p.m.

2017: New Bedford’s Breakthrough Summer

Entering New Bedford. Photo courtesy of Jordan O’Connell.

By Steven Froias
Groundworker-At-Large

There’s a poignant moment in New York City journalist Pete Hamill’s Downtown that ends the book. After decades of decline and despair, New York has pulled itself back from the brink. Back from near-bankruptcy. Back from the “Bronx is Burning.” Back from the advent of crack cocaine on its streets. Back from urban hell.

Hamill writes about being on the street one spring evening in the late 1990s and watching older folks pass by; diners enjoying sidewalk seating; two young lovebirds embracing; three young black man walking by discussing their upcoming semester at City University; and a Latino man passing by listening to the Mets on his transistor radio.

“And I thought: It’s over,” Hamill writes. “Then my wife came out of the building and I hugged her in that little piece of my city and hers, and all she wanted to know was why I had tears in my eyes.”

After the WCVB program “Chronicle” aired its valentine to New Bedford, titled “New Bedford Renewal” in late August, the city’s Preservation Planner Anne Louro wrote in response to my Facebook post praising the program, “Not going to lie. It brought tears to my eyes.”

Hamill and Louro cried tears of joy. The place each had invested so much love and emotion into had come back from the depths.

In New Bedford, the bad times were characterized by neglect, ridicule and a negative perception that stubbornly persisted long past the city’s turnaround from urban also-ran to being named one of the nation’s most creative communities by The Atlantic magazine.

The “Chronicle” episode swept all that aside. It broadcast to New England the story of a renewed city that was seizing opportunity and moving confidently into the future. It was the portrayal many of us have been waiting so long for – because we are living it every day.

But a change in narrative isn’t the real story. It’s only the capstone to the amazing Summer of ‘17. When so much of New Bedford shone brightly and functioned as a city should. A place where citizens of all stripes could enjoy their little piece of the city on their own terms.

The Summer of ‘17 was when New Bedford came together – often and in many ways.

You could feel a change of atmosphere and attitude in early June during Day of Portugal on Acushnet Avenue; the street was alive and lively. The city’s LGBTQ community and its supporters gathered in Buttonwood Park for the relaunch of Pride in New Bedford. And Reggae on West Beach closed out the last Sunday of the month in the South End by bringing everybody to the beach to get them dancing under the pavilion in sight of the beautiful new Covewalk atop the Hurricane Barrier.

This summer, New Bedford residents took it outside and to the streets where that Covewalk, and Harborwalk, and so much more awaited them. The annual Cape Verdean Recognition Parade. The New Bedford Folk Festival. The new Food Truck Festival at Fort Rodman. Seaport Artwalk: Sustainable Oceans. The return (not comeback) of UGLY Gallery at Groundwork!. AHA! New Bedford nights downtown and the world-famous Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Festival in the North End.

And, in a sublime moment in the city’s history during a time of national racial strife after Charlottesville, the amazing Third Eye Unlimited celebration in the city’s heart which brought old and young, black and white, gay and straight, resident and tourist together like nothing else before.

That was New Bedford during the summer of 2017. And the “Chronicle” episode caught that positive energy and packaged it for a prime-time audience. (You can watch the segment online beginning here.)

It’s important to remember that the Summer of ‘17 in New Bedford didn’t happen by accident. It happened thanks to years of leadership by people like Anne Louro. Thanks to the determination of artists and the hard work of small business owners.  By countless nights of AHA!  With the foresight and vision of some elected officials. Moved along by the momentum created by the members of Groundwork! And always, always, always, facilitated by residents of every background working steadily over many years to enrich their block, their neighborhood and the entire city in spite of any challenge.

Challenges remain. But they’ll be met. Because the Summer of ‘17 finally revealed one key thing about the City of New Bedford:

The opportunities outweigh the challenges.

That truth is enough to bring tears to your eyes.