Authors Posts by Holly Nadler

Holly Nadler

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Rev. Judith Campbell's newest book "A Singular Mission" is the seventh book in her Olympia Brown series. – Photo courtesy of Judith Campbell.

A Singular Mission, by the Rev. Judith Campbell. Mainly Murder Press. Available on-Island at local bookstores, and online at Amazon.com and MainlyMurderPress.com.

 

What’s a “cozy” mystery, you might ask. As someone massively addicted to mysteries of all stripes, I will attempt to answer you: The cozy, nine times out of 10, uncorks its quaint little self in a country setting. The murders are seldom — make that never — too gruesome to read just before turning off your light at bedtime. The characters are colorful, the dialogue sprightly; there is nothing to offend; you can give one as a birthday present to your prudish Great-Aunt Virginia. The cozy, then, is a modern-day spinoff of the original English mysteries of the mid-20th century with Dame Agatha Christie at the helm.

Judith Campbell of Oak Bluffs, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, lives with her truly peachy English husband, and she authors a mystery series featuring a minister who lives with her peachy English husband. “Write what you know” is an old adage, and eternally good advice. The Rev. Judith’s mysteries inspire you to whip up a cup of hot chocolate and settle down in your favorite armchair, surfacing only for a fire drill or when you’ve reached the final chapter.

This ministerial series began with the Rev. Olympia as a college chaplain in Cambridge for A Deadly Mission, then on to Dorchester in An Unspeakable Mission, Martha’s Vineyard for Despicable Mission; a stint as chaplain in a Boston hospital in Unholy Mission, a small town on the South Shore in A Predatory Mission, and, of ultimate fun, a romp in the Moorlands of the U.K. for An Improper English Mission. The seventh installment does not disappoint: A Singular Mission takes us to Cape Cod.

In A Singular Mission, the minister and amateur sleuth has been engaged for a three-month winter ministry in a picture-book church somewhere in the hinterlands of Cape Cod. With considerable prescience, Ms. Campbell wrote this thriller that begins, scarily enough, with a January storm bearing down on the Rev. Olympia Brown and her new church. Also on the frightening side, she has a stalker. In a twist that only further obliges the reader to stay socked into her chair, this one’s a woman, a needy congregant turned deadly.

At the very tippy-top of the prologue, the Rev. Olympia sits at her new desk in her borrowed office, and spots a ragged Valentine’s Day gift drooped on the back of the door, a cheesy mess of pink ribbons and red tissue. The good minister is already uneasy about a neurotic congregant, one Emily Goodale, and she recalls a warning from her early days in seminary: “The Pastoral Ministry Professor had looked over her glasses at the ministers in training and said, ‘Watch out for the note takers and the gift-givers. You need to handle them with kid gloves.’”

From page one, the scene is already set for trouble. Other cozies tend to zig and zag before a corpse is found in someone’s garden or pantry, and frankly, it’s often hard to care because the story rarely digs down into deeper and more authentic layers of the human condition. Not so with the Rev. Judith’s stories. She has a painterly touch for the dark nuance: “Under the gaily colored tissue was a crushed dead rose, its stem snapped in two, and an unsigned children’s penny valentine bearing the word ‘Forever.’” She keeps the action going, at the same time unspooling what we might perhaps call a “ministerial procedural” in the vein of the well-known “police procedural,” a genre of murder mysteries along the lines of Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly, among an untold legion of others.

The Rev. Judith adds another delightful dimension to her tales: In the antique farmhouse her main character slowly rehabilitating with ever-helpful hubby Frederick, she has at her disposal a 19th century set of diaries kept by the original owner of the house. As she dips into new entries, she’s given insight into long-ago joys and heartaches that reflect her own (she’s reunited with a long-lost baby daughter, now all grown up with joys and heartaches of her own).

In addition to mysteries, the Rev. Judith writes children’s’ stories, poetry, and essays. She acquired a Ph.D. in the arts and religious studies, and a masters of arts in fine arts. She divides her time between Martha’s Vineyard and Plymouth with husband Chris Stokes, who describes himself as a “professional Englishman.” Indeed, after you’ve spent any amount of time with Mr. Stokes, and you’ve read the Mission mysteries, you have little idea of where Mr. Stokes leaves off and Olympia’s Frederick begins.

An eighth mystery comes out next month, A Twisted Mission; it’s a prequel to the Holy Mission saga, set in a conference center in southern Maine where the Rev. Olympia presides as summer chaplain.

 

Because is there anything better than feeling bionic?

Matt Cancellare instructs Holly Nadler on her boxing moves. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Ask any woman of any age what she thinks of boxing and, nine times out of 10, “Eeeeew!” is her initial response, followed by a heated objection, “Why would anybody want to punch anybody — or be punched; and why would anybody want to watch it?”

Then wait a few moments as she goes deep within. Suddenly she might recall fleeting instances of empowerment. Maybe it was that time she marched up to the playground bully and demanded, “Put down that little kid now!” And when he said, “Oh yeah?” she said, “Damn right oh yeah. Do it.” And he did.

My own first brush with feeling, well, bionic, happened in a 10th grade theater class in the San Fernando Valley, when I was cast in one of two nonspeaking roles as an Amazon warrior. Remember those mythological she-fighters who lopped off their right breasts, the better to pull back bows and arrows? I can’t recall what the play was called, or what it was about, because as far as I was concerned, it revolved around me and the other nonspeaking Amazon, even though our sole contribution to the story was a brief skirmish outside the queen’s palace.

The director taught us how to throw fake punches, blammo!, right at the other girl’s kisser. You purposefully miss, although the audience can’t see this; she jerks back her head as if she’s been hit, while at the same time smacking her thigh for the sound FX. Then she hauls back her fist to faux-wallop you.

My thought at the time was “Why aren’t girls taught to fight this way?” Not the pretend way, but with the stout sockeroo to the jaw, just in case it’s ever required to set someone straight. Instead we’re left to our own devices with a bunch of “eeeks” and silly slaps. If we knew how to haul off with a genuine punch, pow! with whatever is our strong fist, following it up with a trained uppercut from the other fist, not only would we be able to defend ourselves, we’d carry around a self-confidence that would assuredly deflect random potshots.

Matt Cancellare and Holly Nadler at his home boxing gym in Vineyard Haven. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Matt Cancellare and Holly Nadler at his home boxing gym in Vineyard Haven. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Matt Cancellare, 33, who trains budding boxers of all ages in his home gym in Vineyard Haven, is living proof of this formula. Born in Maryland, his dad crewed for the Coast Guard, so the family moved around a lot, settling for a few years in Puerto Rico. By the age of 12, Matt was exposed to tough urban youth with the customary nasty brawls. One day a cop on the beat took Matt aside and said, “Listen, you little putz [or the Spanish equivalent], you’re headed down a dark road from which there’s no return. How’d you like to turn your life around?” The officer delivered him to a gym and introduced him to the boxing coach.

“I’ve always been on the small side,” Matt says today, although his body language screams, I’m 6’2”! “But after I started training, I carried myself differently. Before, I’d been picked on a lot. After the training began, it just stopped. You learn technique, discipline. You eat right, you stop hanging out with knuckleheads. Boxing teaches you to stay calm, relaxed in the heat of battle. Anyone can benefit from it.”

After Puerto Rico, Matt’s family moved to Staten Island. He continued to train as a boxer, but also took up football, and was awesome enough at it that after high school he played professionally with a Florida team. Still, one thing led to another — funny how that happens. He met his wife Nicole, who, by bizarre coincidence, worked for the Coast Guard. Now the family of four — with 10-year-old son T.J., and 2-year-old Cruz — live on Martha’s Vineyard as a result of Nicole’s Menemsha posting. Meanwhile, Matt has established a sizable following of boys and girls, and men and women, who flock to him to learn that “sweet science” — yes, boxing is called that — of strength blended with grace.

My curiosity was sparked. I booked a private session on a recent rainy, blustery Friday. As I approached his house in a quiet neighborhood leading down to the Lagoon, I spied a man and a tiny tot standing out front of an attractive single-story home. “Are you the boxers?” I called. “Yes!” replied the man. A high piping toddler’s voice echoed, “Yes!”

I suspected 20 or so minutes of warm-up would be called for — jumping jacks, pushups — but, quite honestly, after a prohibitively long winter on this aging lady’s bones, when getting up after a too-long sit at the computer requires hydraulics and a St. Bernard with a cask of brandy, I knew a cardio drill would preclude any follow-up with boxing gloves.

Accordingly, I convinced Matt to proceed to the Main Event: to tape up my knuckles and rig me up with a pair of gloves. (This is why I’ve personally never needed martial arts training. In the popular parlance, I “use my words”; I’m persistent, and I smile and kid around a lot; I’m a grown-up female Bart Simpson).

I took some shots at the big bag. Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am! That felt great! Matt piled on his coaching punch-mitts, instructing me to hit with quick jabs of my left hand into his right, followed up by a big bruiser with my right. “Keep your gloves up to protect your face!” he said repeatedly. I never remembered this part; in a real fight I’d have black and purple contusions like splotches from a Jackson Pollock canvas.

I asked Matt how he liked my piddly punches. He chuckled. “You throw punches like someone who’s never thrown punches, but we could build up your strength and mindset.”

Holly Nadler boxes around with two year-old Cruz. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Holly Nadler boxes around with two year-old Cruz. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Funny thing was, crummy throws or not, it felt fantastic! Liberating! The best part of the session was watching 2-year-old Cruz take part in every bit of the workout. When Matt displayed the classic stance, “Stand sideways, left heel aligned with right heel, fists raised,” little Cruz was right in there with us.

I challenged the Baby Weight to a bout. Daddy Matt tricked him out in miniature red-and-white gloves. I squatted down on the mat and bibbity bang! Bang! Cruz drummed away at my own mitts with a toddler intensity that could take down the Large Hadron Collider. What are the chances that this little guy will grow up to be the next Manny Pacquiao?

Matt told me with a grin, “You’re never gonna be a pro fighter.” Oh ouch. And here I was starting to hum the Rocky score. But clearly there’s more to boxing than training to be a contender. “Boxing and life go hand in hand,” said Matt and, after an hour spent with the gloves on, and getting TKO’d by a 2-year-old, I can certifiably see what he means.

 

A touch of chic and a splash of the exotic.

Amy Kurth, left, and Betsy Smith perform a captivating duet. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Belly dancing is the antithesis and the fix for all of American women’s woes and neuroses about their bodies. You can’t be too young nor too old, too large nor too petite, to transform yourself into a vision of shimmering beauty when you perform these tribal dances from the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and India. Last Saturday at the West Tisbury library, our own Island troupe, Vineyard Belly Dance and Revue, created as a nonprofit in 1997, and currently consisting of six members, demonstrated a full range of tribal choreography.

The origins of belly dancing are steeped in mystery. Ancient Greek and Roman sources attest to wild dances in the courts of Asia Minor, replete with castanets, falls to the ground, and quivering thighs. In the 18th and 19th centuries, European explorers, including the inimitable Flaubert, returned from trips to the Near and Far East with tales of sinuous dancers, both berobed and in states of undress, the most fetching of whom performed in the harem of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

In other Middle Eastern locales, with stricter policies on what women could do and not do, and wear and not wear, the belly dance was considered haram, forbidden, which also means the dances of the harem were haram; the Marx Brothers could have a field day with that wordplay. In 1893 at the World Fair in Chicago, this exotic dance from the Orient was first introduced in the States by a group calling itself the Cairo Danse de Ventre. Ventre is the French word for “belly,” and the name got translated to the English, although arguably, it still sounds better in French.

Patricia Szucs wore a bright gold cape swept up like wings. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Patricia Szucs wore a bright gold cape swept up like wings. – Photo by Michael Cummo

In the West, belly dancing has morphed bigtime into an artform called American Tribal Style Belly Dance which, in typical American love of the ecumenical, takes in all styles, an infinite array of costumes, and encouragement to the dancers to improvise to their hearts’ content. Our homegrown company displays all that and more.

The first dance, “Sirens of Atlantis,” showcased Middle Eastern folk dance in its full glory and beauty, with Betsy Smith, Amy Kurth, Jamie O’Gorman, and Rhonda Backus in slinky gowns and weaving silk veils of red, lime green, turquoise, and fuchsia, like a fantasy out of 1,001 Arabian Nights. Yet MC Andria Hirt cautioned, in a historical footnote, that a controversy rages about the use of veils in belly dancing. They were perhaps in play in older times in Turkey, but possibly nowhere else. No matter. This is American Tribal Style and anything goes, thank goodness.

Sheila Rayyan sparkled — and so did her outfit of 10,000 silver bangles — in a solo that embodied what most of us think of as classic belly dancing, with the shimmies, the artful up-reaching hands seeming to snap and control the percussive articulations of the hips. Sheila’s excellent and precise choreography played out to a Middle Eastern pop song with pauses for the words “Kiss! Kiss!”

Another solo, this by Ms. Backus, whose hourglass figure seemed the perfect shape for belly-dancing — and yet it’s also a delightful fact that there exists no perfect figure — and who was clad in a purple, red, and silver bodice and pantaloons, her long dusky brown hair also a flow to Middle Eastern strings, flutes, and drums.

Performed to a Turkish pop lullaby ostensibly designed to put infants to sleep, Ms. Smith, Ms. Kurth, and Patricia Szucs, in outfits that outdid each other with volumes of lace, vivid colors, sequins, and other ornaments, danced with tambourines. Early in the program, Ms. Hirt encouraged audience members to show appreciation with claps, whistles, and smiles, and all of these were brought forth by the evident fun of the dancers, along with the catchy beat-and-thump of the music.

Jamie O'Gorman entertains the crowd at the West Tisbury library. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Jamie O’Gorman entertains the crowd at the West Tisbury library. – Photo by Michael Cummo

The young, slim, and pretty Ms. O’Gorman performed a solo with a flying gray veil to complement her similarly flying straight brown hair. A final solo was presented by Ms. Szucs in a stunning green lace costume over a body stocking, and a huge bright gold cape swept up like wings. A duet followed by Ms. Smith and Ms. Kurth to lush orchestral music sounding very nearly European, and the dance moves owed as much to Martha Graham as to ancient tribal shakes and shimmies.

The grand finale showcased all six dancers in jewel-twinkling, embroidery-rich robes, called thobes. This style, derived from Saudi Arabia, deployed more head bobs than hip twerks, and was almost matronly; reassuring when you think that in that tightly gender-segregated kingdom, these gals would only be dancing for one another, and this is what that brand of entertainment looks like.

The Vineyard Belly Dance ensemble will perform with guest artists from off-Island on Mother’s Day weekend, May 9 and 10, at the Katharine Cornell Theater in Vineyard Haven. Even Dad should be happy to attend, thanks to the sexy aspects of this dance form, and even the youngest kids will be entertained by the clink of tambourines, lively music, sparkly costumes, and flying veils. As a nonprofit group, the dance troupe is keeping the cost of admission amenable to all — anywhere from $0 to a $10 suggested donation.

 

To learn more about Vineyard Belly Dance and Revue, follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/vineyardbellydance.

 

Fifty years: Same love, different places.

Holly and John Alaimo fell in love and got married 50 years ago. They've moved around on Martha's Vineyard, and opened Dragonfly Gallery 20 years ago. Now, they're in a cozy house on Webaqua in Oak Bluffs, where there's room for Holly's art, John's music, and all their stories. –Photos by Michael Cummo; old photos courtesy the Alaimos

“There’s a story to everything,” said John Alaimo recently when he and his wife, Holly, opened their home on Webaqua Avenue in Oak Bluffs to the MV Times. He stood over a pair of back-to-back Mission-style sofas in the couple’s light, bright, and beautifully appointed living room. “Holly saw these over 30 years ago in the window of a Goodwill shop down from where she worked [as a seamstress for the Boston Ballet]. The sofas were $15. Holly only had $5 in her purse, and by the time she returned to work, her boss had already purchased them.” The boss promised that someday they’d belong to her, and, sure enough, only 25 years later on the Vineyard, after she’d long forgotten about them, the former employer had the sofas delivered by van.
Indeed, the saga of the Alaimos’ life together unspools with the high adventure and changes of scenery of Dr. Zhivago, only without quite so much snow, and in this case, Omar Sharif and Julie Christie are still together.

Holly and John on the beach in the late '60's.
Holly and John on the beach in the late ’60’s.

It was back in ’65. John was a 25-year-old jazz pianist and Holly, 18, an aspiring painter and working waitress: They lived in the same apartment building, Holly on top of John, in Hermosa Beach, Calif., without actually having met. A mutual friend kept trying to fix them up, but Holly had plans to move, so no dice.

Destiny, however, was busy making other plans. On Holly’s moving day, she lugged her bags from the building, and tripped and fell on the beach, whereupon John gallantly appeared to help her, and soon they were hitchhiking up the coast together. And tumbling deeply into love.

At a bus stop north of Santa Barbara, a half-mad, homeless, itinerant minister married them, and although they organized a legal marriage some four years later, they have always clocked their anniversary to that bus stop ceremony, April 10, 1965, 50 years ago nearly to this day.

Another date required fixing: Holly originally told John she was 23, thinking he’d find her more adult at that age. On their first day thumbing rides, she said, “I need to tell you something. I’m really 22.” Each day, as he accepted the racking down of her age, she renegotiated another year less, until she arrived at 18. Even that he found acceptable. Conceivably the success of this 50-year marriage may be attributed to the innate amiability of both Alaimos.

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Holly and John in Cambridge in the 70’s, with their children Jessamin and Naaron.

From a room costing $18.50 per week in a San Francisco flophouse, located where the cable cars turned around (“It was very noisy,” said Holly), to a fishing-shack share with painters, musicians, and other assorted hippies in Larkspur outside Sausalito, Holly and John, before their peripatetic year was out, made their way back to the East Coast where both had grown up, to settle in Cambridge, where they gave birth in ’65 to son Naaron (“It’s a town in Scotland,” said Holly, “but I never checked the spelling,” to which John added, “When we arrived at the hospital, the power went out. It was the start of the big blackout that swept the whole eastern seaboard.”). Daughter Jessamin was born in ’71.

Holly kept working, in real estate, at bartending, and sewing for the ballet company, a job that included fitting Nureyev in his costumes. Meanwhile John, a piano prodigy from the age of 12 who lost four of his right-hand fingers in a machinery accident at the age of 19, had taken an executive position with Polaroid, though all the while he went on playing — on the West Coast with the iconic jazz keyboardist Hampton Hawes, in the East with equally revered drummer Bunny Smith.

It was Smith who lured the Alaimos down to Martha’s Vineyard, where the two musicians jammed with other band members at the fabled Sea View Bar. Holly said, “It was my job to clean and sanitize the rooms we stayed in upstairs.” It was also the only time Holly and John enjoyed vacations, their kids safely stowed with babysitters in Cambridge.

A longing for a Vineyard summer place took root, and a small legacy left by the death of John’s father made the acquisition of something none-too-pricey possible. One day Islander Sara Crafts sent the couple photos of an abandoned trio of shacks on Duke’s County Ave.

Holly said, “The place was a shambles. Ivy grew into the smashed windows, covered the floor, and grew up the other wall and out the opposite windows.” The price was, not surprisingly, low. They moved in on their anniversary, April 10, 1995. “Snow was in the air,” said John, and there was no furnace. Holly said, “The steps to the bedroom had collapsed, so we slept on the floor downstairs.”

Just when the cold and the horror of their surroundings began to overpower them, May appeared bright and balmy, and they discovered the joy of an outdoor shower. Meanwhile, Holly was a dab hand at painting even a broken-down shack into a place of whimsy, with royal-blue cabinets and pretty pots hung on colored hooks. What they hadn’t counted on was that, once installed, they dug in. The Vineyard was their new and permanent home. By that time their kids were established in the world, with kids of their own. The Alaimos sold the last of their mainland houses, this one in Lexington, and with the money began to fix up their hovels.

John said, “The odd thing that happened was that people kept knocking on our door or even barging in as we sat eating breakfast. They thought this was a shop. They were picking up on old Arts District vibes, and the building itself was chock-a-block with the street.” Holly decided to follow an old passion and open an art gallery.

And thus Dragonfly was born in ’96. “I’ve always had dragonflies land on me,” said Holly. “Once a dragonfly crawled up my leg and sat on my heart. I talked it down and out of the house and onto a birdbath, because we had tenants arriving.”

The Alaimos bought a beautiful wooded parcel in West Tisbury off Indian Hill Road, with a main house and a guest cottage, both designed with a Japanese flair. “We were always doing the Vineyard shuffle,” said Holly. “When the gallery was closed, we stayed there, renting out the West Tisbury places. Sometimes we simply lived in our garage.”

Nowadays, with the Indian Hill Road houses and the gallery sold in 2010, the Alaimos are comfortably installed in their Webaqua abode, with a rental unit next door, their back bedroom converted to John’s studio, presided over by his baby grand piano, the hallway transposed to Holly’s office/laundry room. “If you have good art, you can make a room out of anything,” offered Holly. There’s a skylight-lit storage loft and playroom upstairs, the entire home made perfect by Holly’s art-cultivar of an eye, blending color with old and new treasures. The jewel in the crown is cast-iron owls in the fireplace hearth, red flames glowing through avian eyes.

Perfect. Just like this 50-year marriage.

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Island artists capture the sea.

Ann Smith, executive director of Featherstone Center for the Arts, introduced guest curator Marianne Goldberg of the Pathways Projects Institute. – Photo by Siobhan Beasley

Updated April 23

When two great art emporia join forces, the result can be truly amazing. The first emporium: Pathways, brainchild of salon doyenne Marianne Goldberg, inhabits the two-story chamber of the Chilmark Tavern throughout the winter, a place where the lights glimmer through dark forest and citadels of snow, and indoors, at least twice a week, poets read new works; musicians fiddle, plink, and blow; playwrights try out new scenes; dancers spin; filmmakers show video clips; and displayed around the high walls, newly conceived paintings and photographs fill out the final dimension of the space.

The other emporium embraces that other season, the warm one: Featherstone Center for the Arts, off Barnes Road, in operation for decades, provides a haven over its sprawling woods, cow paddocks, and flower gardens for artists of every stripe. This year, Featherstone artistic director Ann Smith received a summons from Ms. Goldberg: Why not combine forces for the latter’s annual art installation of the past five years, “Oceans Wilderness”?

A call to artists went out, soliciting sea-themed work. A total of 43 artists met the challenge, and their pieces now preside in both the Chilmark Tavern and Featherstone’s main gallery. This past Sunday marked an opening reception at Featherstone, accompanied by glorious weekend weather — still a bit chilly, but blue and gold and limned with bright sparkles — a reprieve that kept all Islanders from carpooling to the Gay Head cliffs and jumping off like lemmings.

To give an idea of the sumptuous display, here’s a pastiche of work that caught the eye of this reporter amid rolling waves of color, size, texture, and content:

A wide variety of media were on display; paintings, photographs, mixed media, ceramics, poetry, jewlery, and collage. – Photo by Siobhan Beasley
A wide variety of media were on display; paintings, photographs, mixed media, ceramics, poetry, jewlery, and collage. – Photo by Siobhan Beasley

To the right of the entrance is a diminutive acrylic by Ed Schuman, “Old Ocean Seaport,” a tiny masterpiece in tones of white and gray, of a mythic harbor as seen through a mist of snowy fog. Nearby hangs a large oil canvas by 90-year-old painter Doris Lubell: In a maelstrom of waves too big and smashing even for the most intrepid of surfers, pale shades of turquoise clash with a golden globe like a submerged sun — simply stunning.

In the main room, resting atop a white pillar, sits a carousel cutout of purple seahorses by artist and master papermaker Sandy Bernat. Celebrated Oak Bluffs painter Harry Seymour depicts, in his signature egg tempera, a father and two small sons nestled in an apricot-and-blue beach at sunset. Above and to the right, there’s a clever painting by an imminent graduate of MVRHS, James Lawson — an overhead arc of whale and an underneath mirror-arc of sea framing a V formation of dark birds.

Artist and Pathways coordinator Scott Crawford provided a photograph of a stunning “Menemsha Sunset,” and nearby are two elegant photographs of beachscapes by Alida O’Loughlin, one of a piece of driftwood the size of the Loch Ness monster that washed ashore in the nick of time for Ms. O’Loughlin to snap a shot of it.

Drew Kinsman went underwater for two striking photos, one of yellow and orange coral, another of orange bulb-shaped kelp. Also on the photography front, Laura Roosevelt is doing something wondrous with digital media. Her present piece, “Thunderbolts,” is a design of white, black, and pale green images like shimmers caught on the surface of ruffled water.

Jeffrey Canha is working with a Japanese method called gyotaku; the one at Featherstone is a study of two highly refined charcoal-gray fish. Ms. Smith explained these were dipped in a color medium and rubbed on canvas, to which a nearby viewer said, “And afterward they’re released back into the water?” Teresa Yuan and Jack Yuen — the latter graduating this June from MVRHS and considering Rhode Island School of Design — displays work side-by-side, Ms. Yuan’s an abstract of a choppy red and gray waters, Mr. Yuen’s a representation of a mythical sea nymph.

Lucinda Sheldon worked with enamel to create these seahorse pendants and this mermaid. – Photo by Siobhan Beasley
Lucinda Sheldon worked with enamel to create these seahorse pendants and this mermaid. – Photo by Siobhan Beasley

Three masterful works of clay by Francis P. Creney, all with eels and other marine creatures popping out unexpectedly, grace a corner of the main room. And in another corner lurks something fresh and new: Husband and wife artists Jerry Messman and Patricia Albee collaborated on a single work, Ms. Albee supplying an abstract quilt of turquoise-and-indigo ocean textures, Mr. Messman a sharply detailed rendering of an Island ferry at the center.

In the far porch room, a bright acrylic by Victoria Haeselbarth presents a seagull hovering over an empty red dingy on a gray-green sea. Nearby, “Saffron Sunset,” by Mark Norwood, also catches the eye.

So that’s just a sampling: A thorough viewing of the artwork is highly recommended, not forgetting that the same artists — Goldberg and Smith made certain all participants received equal exposure in both galleries — are on display in Chilmark. The Featherstone show runs through May 6, after which it gives way to the annual Flower (remember flowers?) Expo, curated by Holly Alaimo, and kicked off by the similarly traditional Fashion Show under the big tent. Pathways will keep its Oceans Wilderness on tap through April 25, Mondays through Saturdays, dark on Wednesdays, from noon to 4 pm.

At the end of the reception, Ms. Goldberg read a poem composed as a tribute to this new joint venture, and she sent this special message to The Times: “It is a special thrill to collaborate with Ann Smith in expanding Pathways fifth Annual Ocean Wilderness festival to open jointly at our Living Room Gallery in Chilmark and at Featherstone — to welcome so many artists celebrating oceans on-Island as a treasured wilderness space with a sense of sanctuary.”

Mission accomplished.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly referenced Jack Yuen and Teresa Yuan as mother and son, they are not related. It was also stated that Jack Yuen will be attending Rhode Island School of Design after graduation, he is considering the school but has not yet made a selection. 

 

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Michael Eudenback’s new CD brings the waves to your bedroom.

It is universally acknowledged that everybody loves the sound of ocean waves. Well, almost everyone. Back in the ’70s I heard about an individual — she happened to be a celebrity — who was rattled by the boom of big waves outside and even underneath her newly purchased house built on pilings over the Pacific Ocean. Lying awake at night in the Malibu Colony, pop singer Linda Ronstadt worked herself into a state of nervous exhaustion from the jolting breakers, so much so that she built a bunker out back on terra firma, with soundproofing panels to enable her to sleep through both “surf’s up”-size waves and nuclear war.

But apart from Ms. Ronstadt, seemingly everyone in the world is soothed by the sound of waves. Which brings us to the latest project of photographer Michael Eudenback, formerly of West Tisbury and now in Newport, R.I. Mr. Eudenback loves to film our beaches, but a few years back he realized another dimension of the ocean beguiled him utterly.

He’d been stressed out and losing sleep. In a recent phone interview with The Times he said, “I was consulting doctors about insomnia. Nothing seemed to help.”

He had no interest in medicating himself silly (as some of us do). And then one afternoon on Lambert’s Cove Beach, after snapping a number of gorgeous shots, he stretched out on the warm sand and fell asleep. His last thought before a nice restorative snooze was, “Man, those waves are soporific.”

He returned to Lambert’s Cove with a recorder, and soon he was able to take the waves home with him: “It was transformational. Night after night the sounds from the shore lulled me to sleep.”

Pretty soon Mr. Eudenback was a man on a mission. He recorded the heavy surf of South Beach (where Linda Ronstadt should never buy a home), and the softer waves of West Chop, Lucy Vincent, and Gay Head. The quality of the sound of the CD Mr. Eudenback has produced from these recordings, Ocean Sounds of Martha’s Vineyard, is so clean and pure that at a first listen one might wonder, “How the heck did he bring the beaches into a studio?”

Mr. Eudenback says he took every natural precaution to derive unsullied sound. “I recorded in the off-season, went out very early in the morning, and then I found tricks to deal with the wind” (which can, apparently, really ruin the track). He scanned weather reports. For thunderous surf recordings he raced to south-facing beaches in the aftermath of storms. For gentler tides, he strove to capture the wave action in one continuous track. Should a jet fly over, he sighed heavily, then started again. This is not an art form for the impatient.

Mr. Eudenback, who is also a sailboat captain, met his future wife, painter Jessica Pisano, when she worked a few years ago at her father and stepmother’s Belushi Pisano Gallery on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven. Michael and Jessica married in 2009 at the Whaling Church, and while they reside in Middletown — near Newport — in Rhode Island, they’re often on the Island for visits with family. And of course beaches.

Also a photographer, Mr. Eudenback has exhibited his photographs at the Dragonfly and Belushi Pisano galleries, and currently in Cohasset and Chatham. Ms. Pisano has a show coming up of her paintings this August at the Field Gallery in West Tisbury.

Meanwhile, Mr. Eudenback’s CD of Ocean Sounds beckons to the impulse buyer with one of his photos of South Beach: It’s a lyrically blue, lacy white, and gold day: gold for the sand, lacy white for the frothy wavelets, pale turquoise for the close-in shallows, indigo blue for the Atlantic Ocean, and a flag-blue sky that informs all the colors below.

Mr. Eudenback said in a recent phone interview that the recordings are aimed at yoga practitioners who normally groove to the sounds of nature, as surround sound for surfers (“They turn it up high!”) when they’re trapped indoors, and as background feed for anyone far from this beloved Island who needs a tune-up from its wonders. But principally, it’s a tool for sleep.

The time had come for this reporter to test out the sleep dynamics of the Ocean Sounds CD. I happen to be an insomniac of epic proportions. Even as a small child, I often lay awake in bed watching the ruffling lights of far-away cars on my ceiling. When I complained to my mother that I rarely slept, she said, “Resting is just as healthful as sleeping.” OK, so I’ve spent my life resting.

I plugged in my CD player near the bed, turned Ocean Sounds on low (in case Linda Ronstadt dropped by for a late-night chat), put on my jammies and crawled under the covers with a book.

The sounds of the softly licking waves — the first 11-minute cut is from West Chop — includes ever-so-nuanced gurgles of water, almost like a fountain, only even sweeter. I read a few pages from the book, sinking deeply, hypnotically into a mound of pillows. I was out in no time, with no recollection of setting the novel aside or of turning out the light.

I slept through the night without waking up once: a new personal best. This works, my fellow and sister insomniacs. I intend to buy a few more copies of Mr. Eudenback’s CD before supplies run out. Look for them in the bookstores and assorted gift shops on the Island. The CD can also be purchased on eBay, Amazon and iTunes, and from theoceansounds.com.

And you know who else should stock them? Physicians, both allopathic and naturopathic, that’s who.

 

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Island Theater Workshop knocks out a fun new mix of one-acts

The smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd arrived last weekend for a three-day run with the One Act Play Festival at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven. The buffet was as fresh and variously inflected as a Brooklyn potluck supper.

Is It Me? by playwright Tony Devaney Morinelli, deftly directed by Leslie Stark, presents Margaret (Molly Chvatal) and Louisa (Alyssa Langill), seated side by side for no immediately apparent reason. Are they part of what’s known in the theater world as a “cattle call”? Awaiting a flunky at their local unemployment office? At first they speak to themselves in cartoon thought bubbles. “Something smells odd,” muses one of them. In fact, they’re both confused, insecure, and then outright phobic about odors in their vicinity. Fear of bodily smell — underarm? foot sweat? — pervades their thought processes. Thought turns to small talk: insincere, yet incisively probing for the source of that hair-raising aroma. In the end, their neuroses cause them both to panic and flee.

The second short, directed by Lee Fierro, was worth the price of admission — and the travel in bitter cold weather — to see actor George Ricci, whom Island Theatre Workshop (ITW) board president Stephanie Burke described in a pre-curtains-up phone interview as “a juicy actor” in this one-act by the inimitable Anton Chekhov: On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco (interesting that this subject was already afloat back in the Imperial Russia of 1886). A pompous, preposterous, sad sack of a man, Ivan Ivanovich Nyukhin, prepares to lecture a group of “ladies and gentlemen,” and yet confides that he’s “no professor” and “not exactly a scholar.” It turns out his wealthy wife, who runs a girls’ boarding school of questionable propriety, and who stashes away tens of thousands of rubles, leaving poor Ivanovich with “not even a kopek!” has dropped him off to be rid of him for a while. Not a single sentence of poor Ivanovich’s is a sequitur of the last, and yet he lets slide that his wife addresses him as “dummy!” while he describes her as “miserly and hellish!” Ah, marriage in the 19th century Chekhovian style.

The First Fireworks by Alex Broun, directed by Kevin Ryan, grabs our attention as Mom (Felicity Russell), in a torn hospital gown, claws her way onto a bench. She’s joined by daughter Helen (Christine Ferrone), dripping in glam evening wear; she’s been summoned to find her runaway, dying mother. She knows this is Mom’s special spot from the New Year’s Eve of 30 years before, when Helen was 8 and Mom first brought her here to watch the fireworks. An entire family saga is decanted in this short, tender play, with a memorable La Pieta scene out: Rather than mother holding in her lap a dying divine son, a daughter supports her parent.

She’s Fabulous by Jack Neary, directed with panache by Kevin Ryan, lands us in the intermission break from Death of a Salesman — a clever program placement as it precedes this ITW docket’s own intermission — as two actresses, Clarice (Linda Comstock) and Bethel (Melissa Keeler), dissect the role for which they themselves had auditioned mightily. To their intense dismay, the onstage actress is peerless, unassailable — a Meryl Streep comes to mind. They can’t stop gnashing their teeth at her wonderfulness, yet at the same time ruining the hard work they themselves brought to bear on their own auditions. As the day follows the night in theater jealousies, they fall to attacking each other, Clarice chuffing Bethel for her turn in Lost in Yonkers. Her hard work had showed all too clearly: “You were a thespian jackhammer!” And yet the lights dim and the second act threatens, as they resign themselves to their invidious admiration of the one who won the part.

Trifles, written by Susan Glaspell and directed by Lee Fierro, is a time machine to a faraway, archaic setting. In a Nebraska farmhouse, the frozen plains steep into the sad, shabby interior. Only the day before, a farmer (Jim Osborn) had dropped by to see if Mr. Wright might partake in a party phone line. He found Mrs. Wright in her rocking chair: “She looked queer.” Without any apparent emotion, she informed him Mr. Wright was dead upstairs, strangled by a rope. The action unfolds the following morning, as a hotshot investigator (Tim Daniels) with a local law enforcer (George Ricci) questions the farmer who found the body, then proceeds upstairs to hunt for clues. In the meantime, two farmwives (Lee Fierro and Stephanie Burke) assemble the homey details — the ruined fruit and the single jar of cherry preserves, the pieces of quilting never joined, an empty birdcage and a throttled canary — as the crime is solved by their women’s intuition. A nascent feminism is born in that gloomy Nebraska homestead.

The final offering, Pillow, cleverly directed by Kevin Ryan, presents Wilma, a woman in a bathrobe over plain pajamas (Corinne DeLangavant), as she answers the call of her friend Janice, in a silk robe over a negligee (Corinne Kurtz), in the aftermath of a one-night stand. The fix-up had been arranged by Wilma and botched by Janice, who reveals that her significantly — an unappetizingly — older, wealthy blind date is dead in bed upstairs. The manner in which Janice managed, involuntarily and yet cavalierly, to kill him could elevate Fifty Shades of Grey into the PG category.

Stephanie Burke pitched in as assistant director, longtime ITWers Brad Austin and Gwen Mead as stage managers. The One Act Play Festival continues this weekend, on Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, at 7:30 pm, with a matinee on Sunday, March 29, at 3 pm. Tickets are $15 for one, or $25 for two, recommended for adults only. Tickets are available at the door; for additional information call 508-627-2456 or 508-737-8550.

This summer, watch for work from ITW Children’s Theater, and a promised production of The King And I, starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr (kidding, of course: We’ll see which ITW players haul out star turns for this beloved musical).

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Tim Daniels as the farmer in Trifles. That role is played by Jim Osborn, whose last name was incorrectly spelled Osborne. Tim Daniels and not Mr. Osborn played the hotshot investigator.

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A little (more than a little) rain didn’t dampen the wearing of the green.

Updated March 18 at 5:30pm

When parents of little kids looked out their windows this past Saturday morning, in anticipation of taking the tykes to the Edgartown St. Paddy’s Day bash, many of them may have turned to their spouses, kids, and even their indolent pets sprawled against the pillows, and declared, “Let’s sleep in today!”

The situation was this: The rain was steady and unending, turning the sky, bare trees, and ground a still more determined steel grey. Our landscape resembled a typical day in Ireland, host country of this special celebration. So the question became, would anybody show up?

But show up they did. Not in the usual crowd-mania amounts, but enough to make this the happy event it’s been in all four years of operation. The event is hosted by the Kelley House in Edgartown, and hotel manager John Robert Hill was pleased that troopers of all ages turned out for the gala that starts with a mercifully brief parade at the Edgartown wharf.

Mr. Hill and assistant manager Robyn Joubert led the gathering at opposite ends of a giant wooden nickel on wheels — wooden nickel as in “never take one.” In past years, attending families have brought along their collies, labs, spaniels, and cockapoos in green ribbons, green cockade hats, and green plaid vests. On this rainy day, however, pooches were wisely left at home, but plenty of tykes turned out, and since when have kids ever felt inconvenienced by wet weather?

Inside the original restaurant, now the dual-level entertainment space of the Kelley House, the full splendor of the event unrolled. Every table held a complement of artwork, including green paint and ornaments to be decorated, which this reporter mistook for cookies until she bit into one and found it strangely salty and inedible.

Staffer Elizabeth Rothwell passed out strands of green beads. Ms. Rothwell reckoned more than 50 kids had shown up, a goodly amount to party hearty, kindergarten-style. On the varnished dance floor, D.J. Shizz (a.k.a. Mona Rosenthal) sat at her computer blaring out her special mix of “Family Dance-a-Rama.” A flock of wee ones took the music and the unobstructed floor as an opportunity to run, jump, crawl, and snatch at green, orange, and white balloons, but one illustrious 3 year-old, Demyen, in green pants and yellow boots, snapped out his legs and boogie-woogied his head in a style that suggested he’ll be a future Macklemore.

The grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Parade and Party, John Murray of Edgartown, presided in a green cap and a gold-and-white vestment. Mr. Murray, whose Dublin accent lends credibility to his annual role, leads the parade every year, accompanied by his now 11-year-old son, Ryan, looking his part in a green bow tie with green suspenders. The grand marshall says that back in the Old Country, St. Paddy’s Day was customarily more solemn and church-oriented, although nowadays they’ve picked up the festive vibe from America, and the parades are much goofier, and the iconic pints consumed in greater numbers: “The holiday is always marked by a traditional meal of ham and cabbage — here it’s corned beef and cabbage.”

Meanwhile, at nearby tables, Grace, 9, Caroline, 8, and Sarah, 4, visiting from Cambridge, and lucky enough to have a granny in Edgartown, worked to paint green ornaments on white paper plates. Sarah looked classically Irish in a pale green and white polka-dot frock, her blond locks held high in pigtails. Moon-faced and bright-eyed 19-month-old Juniper strolled by, decked out in a tricolor green-orange-white tee designed by her auntie’s company, New Jersey Knits.

The most striking — unofficial — award for St. Patrick’s attire goes to 7-year-old Nova of West Tisbury, whose mom, Amelia, found a wig of emerald-green tinsel in a trunk from her Irish grandma. Meanwhile, roving lights in the same green, orange, and white Irish trifecta played across walls and children’s costumes. Pinatas in the shape of shamrocks were thwacked by lines of kiddos, some of them too young to render more than a slight tap, others sending showers of goodies to the floor, and in turn inviting youngsters to fall on the booty with shrieks of joy.

A more sedate grownup event was on offer in the Kelley House lobby, involving tea and coffee and cookies. But what about the bursting shamrocks and disco-decibel dancing demons? Uh, no. The fun was here with the young lads and lasses.

A St. Patrick’s Day celebration would not be complete without a brief historical footnote: No, the shamrock-bearing 5th century preacher did not, in fact, rid Ireland of snakes after a 40-day fast on a high hilltop, for the simple fact is — according to naturalists, and what do they know? — that the post-glacial Emerald Isle never did provide habitat to snakes. Also, ironically, St. Pat has never been officially canonized by a pope. Sixteen centuries of veneration by hundreds of millions of Irish people — including Irish people and friends of Irish people gathered at the Kelley House — confer a sainthood of their own.

 

International Women’s Day is celebrated at Chilmark Tavern.

The Yard's Jesse Keller spun and leaped to the music of Phil DaRosa. – Photo by Michael Cummo

International Women’s Day is one of those holidays that slips right past us without anyone much noticing (and it has slipped: It took place last Sunday, overshadowed by Daylight Savings, an event that leaves us dazed and grateful). But it was celebrated to a fare-thee-well at the Chilmark Tavern on Saturday night.

Anyone who lives here year-round, and who pursues the arts — either as artist or audience member or both — is aware that up in the dark and winter-icy reaches of Chilmark, the lights are on at the tavern. Two or three evenings a week, one may shuffle in from the cold, grab a glass of wine or a cup of tea, a plate of cheese and crackers, sit at one of the linen-draped tables, and be thoroughly entertained by a winter program of the arts — mixed and shaken and stirred — called Pathways.

The host and modern-day Gertrude Stein, Marianne Goldberg, chose last Saturday to celebrate International Women’s Day with the call-to-arms of “Making Art/Enacting Change.” Under the stunning high rafters of the tavern, the emcee of the event, Brit-born Natasha Taylor, read an essay that answered once and for all — or so she hoped — the question that constantly confronts her: “How Did You End Up Here?”

Ms. Taylor’s humor is of the ribald, smashing, hilarious variety, and she started off her musings with tales of her early single-mom days in London, wondering when her infants would “bugger off to college” so she could pack a suitcase and take a trip.

Next up appeared Pathways regular, the young, blithe dancer and choreographer Jesse Keller, with a short bristle mop of red hair, red leggings, and tank top, accompanied by singer and composer Phil DaRosa on acoustic guitar. Mr. DaRosa sang of lost love while Ms. Keller spun and leaped in the concise space ringed by tavern tables.

Elegant dancer Christina Montoya, her work compromised by scoliosis, produced a video of her extraordinary back — bare, feminine, muscled, embellished with a hennaed snake — as the dancer moved sinuous and slow, the camera caught between the figure and changing rays of light, with words of the artist invoking what Ms. Montoya describes as “Snake Medicine.”

Pathways founder Marianne Goldberg hosted the event, titled "Making Art/Enacting Change.” – Photo by Michael Cummo
Pathways founder Marianne Goldberg hosted the event, titled “Making Art/Enacting Change.” – Photo by Michael Cummo

Ms. Goldberg rose from her seat and invited revelers to look up — way up — to the human-length portraits hung on high and snapped by photographer Paul Lazes of half-a-dozen women artists in our midst, including Nancy Aronie of the Chilmark Writing Workshop, clad in jeans, her fists braced in benevolent attitude on her hips, and director Wendy Taucher, recognizable even covered in a heavy down jacket, cap, and dark shades.

Next up came Caroline Curry, sharing three short poems, the last about “princes” who are anything but. Susan Puicil of Cleveland House Poets shared three of her own aperçus, the most striking about childbirth: “All seams burst and you will never be the same.”

Gwyn McAllister also decanted three poems, brash and hilarious, including one about adopting a cat, as she admits outright, “I hate him,” until at last she confides, “He hates me.” Next came Sian Williams with two poems, one titled “Canned Heat,” the other, “Year-Round Island Girl,” so sharp and searing and forthright that one could hear, as she finished, a collective groan of recognition.

Singers and composers Rose Guerin and Jemima James changed up the energy as they each sang a song, swapping a single guitar. Ms. James provided a verbal prologue to her offering: A few months back she noticed a full moon which she learned had the unusual nomenclature “Beaver Moon.” She then proceeded to compose a song about it. She sings with a wise-woman voice, and her flair for words reminds those who happen to know this about her: she’s a descendant of the James family, as in William and Henry. Together Ms. James and Ms. Guerin, with a high and low vocal range, gave voice to that old mountain folksong and stern warning to young girls, to spurn that married man who offers to carry them “across the blue mountains to the Allegheny.”

Teen poet of great precociousness, Claudia Taylor read new work in which she plays with a construct of reverse words, so that girlhood changes to hood girl, shockwaves to wave shock, fireworks to work fire, and so on. As always, she impresses mightily, and we look forward to the time when we’ll be able to say we were part of the village that raised her (as did her mom, Ms. Taylor, whose other daughter, Paige, is also an emergent poet).

Musician Phil DaRosa performed throughout the evening on acoustic guitar. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Musician Phil DaRosa performed throughout the evening on acoustic guitar. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Gabriella Grecco, with a Broadway background and a passion for the music of Judy Garland, introduced her video-in-progress tracking the album, also in progress, of her singing Garland standards. Next on deck was Ellie Bates with another trio of poems, one a new take on Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” Ms. Bates contradicts the belle of Amherst with “hope is not that thing with feathers,” but we’d like to think both poets make a strong case.

Last up was musician Kim Hilliard, who led with a song that beautifully summed up the evening, “When I Was a Boy” by Dar Williams, a meditation of that time in childhood when we’re not one gender or another but simply pure being, pure awareness, a bicycle-riding, fastball-pitching child of nature.

Perhaps the most special part of the evening — even above and beyond the striking talent on display — was the fact that men made up nearly half the audience of 82 people (headcount provided by the indefatigable production manager Scott Crawford). And these weren’t poor sad sacks dragged to the event by the females on stage, but rather many of the usual suspects who turn up at Pathways on cold winter nights, sometimes themselves reading, performing, and sharing videos.

These days, with law schools and med schools packed with more girls than boys, surely all the arts draw similar demographics. The day will come when there’ll be no more need for an International Women’s Day, because all the other 364 days of the year bring men and women in equal proportions to our attention, as each in turn takes the stage.

Next at Pathways: Thursday, March 12, at 6:30 pm, “Digital Visions/Creating Realities,” and on Tuesday, March 17, at 6:30 pm, “Playwrights Read.” All events free and open to the public.

An evening of comedy welcomes Boston comics back to the Island.

Local MCs Dan Cassidy, left, and John Tiernan (a.k.a. Johnny Showtime), right, will host a comedy-driven trivia contest. – Photo courtesy of Harbor View Hotel

Nothing moves on the roads, and yet far in the distance we see lights amid the frozen tundra. Villagers gather and laughter rings out. Is this a scene from Beowulf? On the contrary, it’s happening at least 12 centuries later — in fact, this Friday night, Feb. 27, at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown: It’s the (almost) annual Evening of Comedy to blast us out of our frigid-season lethargy.

The regional director of marketing for the hotel, Elizabeth Rothwell (also dear to our hearts as a graduate of MVRHS, class of ’97), first organized this event in the winter of 2012, then again in 2013. Busy with other happenings, she skipped the show in 2014, only to have avid fans clamor for a comeback.

To book the event’s trio of Boston comics, Ms. Rothwell turns to Dick and Kathy Doherty of Beantown Comedy, with two clubs, one in Boston, the other in Worcester. For decades Boston has been known for more than its tales of Paul Revere and bowls of clam “chowdah.” The town’s funnymen (and hilarious women, of course) have created a special niche for their homegrown humor: Brash, rowdy, and innovative are words commonly used to describe their style.

Boston comedian Fran Solomita devoted a full documentary to the subject, When Stand Up Stood Out. He attributes the iconic humor to a melting pot of intelligent and gritty working-class youth up against the hip college crowd: “Those two things right next to each other created an odd vibe — really smart people who also understand a dollar earned. The comedy just sort of percolated.”

Mr. Solomita referred to what are considered the glory days of Boston comedy, the ’80s and ’90s, but clearly the continuing success of comedy clubs in the metropolis and surrounding areas — including ours in Edgartown this Friday night — lets us know that Boston humor as an industry is alive and well.

Ms. Doherty of Beantown Comedy told The Times by phone this week, “Although there are fewer comedy clubs in Boston, there are just as many people going to the shows. The quality of Boston comedy remains elite at a national level.”

The Harbor View evening spotlights Orlando Baxter, a finalist in NBC’s Stand Up For Diversity Showcase; Amy Tee, who, according to Beantown Comedy’s press release, “brings boyish charm and dry wit to her experiences with alcoholism and bipolar disorder with stigma-bursting honesty”; and Shaun Bedgood, who was featured in a Boston Globe article in 2005 as “one of Boston’s best young comics.”

The main show starts at 9 pm this Friday, but for Islanders keen to clear out of their cold dark houses earlier, a new warm-up portion of the show has been added to the program. Island merrymakers Dan Cassidy, maestro for years of weekly trivia night at the Wharf, and local hotelier and entertainer Johnny Showtime (John Tiernan), the master of revels behind the Wharf’s bingo nights (“Not your grandma’s bingo night,” he calls it), will be putting together, for Vineyarders’ delectation, a comedy-driven trivia contest. (The Wharf is closed for cleaning this month, and Mr. Cassidy and Mr. Tiernan are aware of trivia addicts dying a slow death everywhere on the Island. Knowing themselves to be arguably the sole delivery system at this time of year, they’re rushing to fill the void.)

Mr. Tiernan, reached by phone this week said, “I’m not a comedian.” Then he paused for a second before adding, “But I’m very funny!” He maintains that his goal in life has always been to work as a concierge in a hotel. Not too long ago, longtime hotelier Caleb Caldwell approached him about buying the Dockside Inn together, on the harbor in Oak Bluffs. Mr. Tiernan confided, “So now I’m a concierge, all right. With a mortgage.” His dream is real, however, as in the summer he jokes and chats with his guests all the livelong day.

Tickets for Friday’s events are priced at $25. Admission along with a prix-fixe meal in the luxe and cheerful dining room of the Water Street Restaurant within the hotel is $55. For those wishing to attend without dinner, drinks and a snacks menu will be available.

Ms. Rothwell, sailing into her 11th season at the Harbor View, is pleased to see how well her open-seating arrangement has worked out for the show: “People find themselves at tables with interesting strangers or folks they haven’t seen all winter. There’s a fun meet-and-greet aspect to the evening.”

As a final memo to our communal mental health at the end of this long winter: We’re constantly exhorted to “live, laugh, and love,” and if we had to choose just one of those three activities, we’d probably, in all honesty, go for “laugh,” which in turn makes the living and loving mo’ better. Or mo’ “bettah!” as Boston comics would say.

Tickets for Friday night’s Evening of Comedy are available by calling 508-627-7000, or online at hvcomedy-show.brownpapertickets.com. Event is 18-plus.