Town Column


By Jacqueline Sexton
Click here to contact Jacqueline

Posted July 19, 2007

For those of us who thrive in cool temperatures and breezy fresh air, nature is delivering some unwelcome stretches of unacceptable weather. Yes, I know, the sun worshipers are happily catching rays, and I wish them well, even while I don't understand how anyone can rejoice at 85- to 90-degree heat. Nature furthermore is flooding the west and southwest with endless rain while we are desperately doing rain dances. This too will pass.

The library is offering lectures next week by two globally recognized luminaries in the field of culture, one focused on cultural values in human progress, the other on the African influence in our culinary history.

Lawrence Harrison, director of the Cultural Change Institute at Tufts University and the author of seven books, will discuss his latest book "The Central Liberal Truth: How Politics Can Change a Culture and Save it From Itself", on Wednesday, July 25, at 5:30 pm at the library. Harrison has a long history as an insider in numerous branches of government, including the U.S. Agency for International Development where he directed USAID missions to five Central American and Caribbean countries. He has affiliations with Harvard University and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was the United States representative on the Haiti crisis in the early 1990s. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Atlantic Monthly, among many other publications.

On Thursday July 26, at 5 pm, Jessica Harris, food writer and author of eight books, will talk about her recently released cookbook "Martha's Vineyard Table." She has been writing about African culture and foods for more than two decades for publications such as Vogue, The New York Times, Caribbean Travel and Life, and Food & Wine. Her titles include "Africa's Gifts to New World Cooking," "Sky Juice and Flying Fish," and "Tasting Brazil: Brazilian Recipes and Reminiscences." A native of New York, Harris is a professor of English composition at Queens College in New York City. She has degrees from Bryn Mawr College, New York University, Universite de Nancy, France, and she is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier's New York chapter.

Talks at the library are sponsored by the Friends of the Library, and admission is free. Everyone is welcome.

Back to Chilmark where the intrepid women walkers will meet next Thursday, July 26, at 9:30 am at Middle Ride Preserve, which is off Tea Lane, near Middle Road. For more information, please call Judy Maynes at 508-645-3460 or Julie Coleman at 508-645-2261.

Word from former library director Cathy Thompson is that she's trying to get used to living in a place (Lake Forest, Ill.) where the population subsides in the summer. As library director of the Lake Bluff Public Library she is overseeing the transformation of the library's children's room into a rural farm setting complete with child-size plywood cows and pigs and RFD mailboxes. All in the interest of encouraging reading among children.

Tonight, July 19, at 8 pm at the community center, biology professor Ursula Goodenough of Chilmark will take listeners back 3.5 billion years on an evolutionary journey citing changes along the way, with particular attention to "our closest relatives," the apes and monkeys.

Local photographer Peter Simon will talk about his adventures as a photographer here and elsewhere next Thursday, July 26, at 8 pm at the community center. His theme is "A Life Filled with History, Friendships and Addiction."

On Sunday, July 22, at 8 pm the Kelly Peters Dance Group will give a hip-hop performance at the community center.

Artist Carol Goldberg is showing her intensely colored abstract paintings at the library through the end of the month. Her work is known for its complexity and energy, as well as for its decorative qualities.

The Independent Film Festival's fourth annual films for children program will show "Darius Goes West," (5:45 pm), about a youth with Muscular Dystrophy whose friends take him on a special trip in his wheelchair, thus dramatizing with upbeat humor the life of a disabled young person. Adults are welcome. The film ends at 7 pm, when snacks or dinner will be available from the Scottish Bakehouse. The adult film starts at 8 pm.