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Pianist Jeremy Berlin and guitarist Eric T. Johnson pack the community program room at the West Tisbury library.

Eric Johnson on guitar and Jeremy Berlin on piano perform to a captive audience at the West Tisbury library. – Photo by Larisa Stinga

Last Sunday at the West Tisbury library, pianist Jeremy Berlin and guitarist Eric T. Johnson performed a selection of jazz standards, originals, and lesser-known numbers to a packed crowd in the library’s community program room. The duo, who play weekly on Tuesday evenings at Offshore Ale Co., formed 15 years ago, and have developed a highly interactive style inspired by, among others, the 1960s duo recordings of Bill Evans and Jim Hall.

Pianist Jeremy Berlin plays a set of jazz standards, originals and lesser known numbers at the West Tisbury library. – Photo by Larisa Stinga
Pianist Jeremy Berlin plays a set of jazz standards, originals and lesser known numbers at the West Tisbury library. – Photo by Larisa Stinga

Mr. Berlin explained that the combination of their instruments, piano and guitar, is not common, because they produce a similar midrange tone that takes up the same (musical) space. Given their closeness, they can be hard to distinguish, and musicians have to be conscious of staying out of each other’s way. But when done right, as in the case of Mr. Berlin and Mr. Johnson’s set, the combination can produce really beautiful music.

The captive audience sat with smiling eyes and swayed to the rhythms of the duo’s renditions of “Falling Angel” from Bill Evans and Jim Hall’s Intermodulation album, Steve Swallow’s “Falling Grace,” the popular country song “The Tennessee Waltz,” “Love, Gloom, Cash, Love” by jazz pianist Herbie Nichols, and Charlie Parker’s “Barbados,” among others. One attendee, Katrina Nevin, listened while drawing a sketch of flowers inspired by the music, with the title “Free jazz in winter.”

Guitarist Eric Johnson has been playing with pianist Jeremy Berlin for fifteen years. – Photos by Larisa Stinga
Guitarist Eric Johnson has been playing with pianist Jeremy Berlin for fifteen years. – Photos by Larisa Stinga

Jeremy Berlin and Eric T. Johnson perform every Tuesday night at 6:30 pm at Offshore Ale Co. in Oak Bluffs. The West Tisbury library offers ongoing events for the community, including music, art, crafts, and and workshops. Visit for more information.

The Oak Bluffs Library launches their Fit in '15 health and wellness program. – File photo by Ralph Stewart

Stay committed to your New Year’s resolutions with the help of the Oak Bluffs library, as they kick off their  Fit in ’15 initiative this Saturday, Jan. 24, from 1 to 2 pm. This yearlong program will help you achieve mind, body, and spiritual fitness as a goal for 2015, using techniques such as goal setting, journaling, tracking, giving and receiving credit, and vision boarding. Over the year, programs will include healthy cooking, organizing, boxing, trivia and more. Fit in ’15 is free and open to the public. For more information, call Anna Marie D’Addarie at 508-693-9433.

The West Tisbury library kicks off a new writers series this week. – Photo by Michael Cummo

On Monday, Jan. 26, at 7 pm, the West Tisbury library will host its first “Writers Read” evening. This event features community members reading short original prose pieces. Both fiction and nonfiction readings are welcome. Each reader is allotted six minutes to read. Critique to follow reading is optional. This event is free and open to the public. Sign up to read in advance by calling 508-693-4307, or take a chance to share your prose and sign up that day.

Mike Benjamin will play at the Chilmark Community Center to benefit the Chilmark School PTO. – File photo by Susan Safford

Join the Chilmark School PTO and Outing Program at their annual school fundraiser, the Red Hot Blues Bash, featuring the Mike Benjamin Band this Saturday from 7 pm to 11 pm at the Chilmark Community Center. It’s sure to be a fun night on the town, with live music, silent/live auction, desserts, and more. The silent auction includes more than 50 truly unique items, and desserts and beverages are included with admission. This is a 21-plus event. Tickets can be purchased for $20 online at or at the door. For more information, call 508-645-2562.

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Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish get the crowd moving in support of children’s dance education.

Felicity Russell capturing people's attention with her original moves at The Yard’s “Public Dancing Allowed!!!” event. – Photo by Larisa Stinga

Up-Island last Friday night was cold, clear, and quiet. Unless, of course, you were at the Chilmark Community Center, where Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish brought rhythm and heat to every able body inside those polished wood walls. “Just try to sit still,” said octogenarian Leigh Smith of Vineyard Haven, as she swayed to the bluesy grooves of the beloved Vineyard band.

The Yard, known as the progressive dance collective of choreographers, artists, and educators, which hosts world-class dance performances all summer, is equally invested in bringing dance education to Island children and youth year-round. Director of Island Programs and Education Jesse Keller explained that all proceeds of Friday night’s lively event would go towards “Making It: Kids Make Dance” –– a visionary, mobile, and diverse dance-education program that collaborates with local institutions to bring music and movement to kids from kindergarten to high school.

Standing to greet members of the community who had come to shake off the week with joyful abandon, the artistic and executive director of The Yard, David White, articulated the exciting interdisciplinary curriculum designed by “Making It” for Vineyard kids. Mr. White, passionate about what his community-based organization can accomplish, explained that when people think about art education, they typically think of the visual arts, yet there’s a real need to expose youth to the range of what dance and performance art encompass. By bringing guest musicians and dance educators to the Island, Mr. White and Ms. Keller intend to interweave cultural anthropology and mathematics with music and dance traditions to form a dynamic and unique program.

Johnny Hoy and The Bluefish warm up the crowd at the beginning of the night. – Photo by Larisa Stinga
Johnny Hoy and The Bluefish warm up the crowd at the beginning of the night. – Photo by Larisa Stinga

Glancing across the lively crowd Friday night, one thing was certain: Dance makes people happy. It was a family-oriented event that brought out Islanders as young as 5 years old, that moved the feet of twisters, hipsters, and gen-Xers, creating a truly unique sight. Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish have to be credited for drawing out the rhythm in everyone, but The Yard’s “Public Dancing Allowed!!!” event helped closet any fear of dancing for all to see.

Managing Director of The Yard Alison Manning beautifully expressed what the ultimate value of dancing as a community embodies: “This is the most basic and communally accessible art form. Everyone comes out of the womb moving. Having a shared language of movement is something a community can do together easily… giving children, adults, and seniors the language of movement to share with one another is opening a little piece of joy. Why would we not want to dance together?”

Michael Briggs and his dance partner Holiday Janet dance to the music of Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. – Photo by Larisa Stinga
Michael Briggs and his dance partner Holiday Janet dance to the music of Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. – Photo by Larisa Stinga

If you were one of the unfortunate ones who missed Friday’s event, Ms. Keller assured the glowing audience, saying, “There will be plenty more to come. This is the first of what we hope can be a monthly night, because it really benefits our program, not only in terms of fundraising, but in letting the community know what the program is all about. So, thank you for coming, have fun, and dance!”

For more information about The Yard and their educational programming, visit

The All-Island Elementary String Concert takes the stage.

From left: Victoria Scott, Molly Pogue, Jack Holmes and Matthew Fish played in the advanced orchestra violins section. – Photo by Maria Thibobeau

Last Thursday, students from all of the Island’s elementary schools, as well as one homeschooler, showed off their musical talents in the All-Island Elementary String Concert at the Performing Arts Center at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

Jonathan Norton on the viola and Finn Lewis on the cello. – Photo by Maria Thibobeau
Jonathan Norton on the viola and Finn Lewis on the cello. – Photo by Maria Thibobeau

The more skilled students in the advanced orchestra played an arrangement of “The Bird” (Finale from String Quartet Op. 33, No. 3) by Franz Joseph Haydn, “Ironclad” by Sean O’Laughlin, and “Rock Bottom Boogie” by Robert Longfield. The intermediate orchestra played the “Batman Theme” by Neal Hefti, arranged by Bob Cerulli.

The Martha’s Vineyard Elementary String Program sponsored the concert which showcased a wide range of student skills and provided a delightful evening of music for family, friends and the Island community.

Katherine Chvatal and Rodeo Purves-Langer play violins at The All-Island Elementary String Concert last Thursday.– Photo by Maria Thibobeau
Katherine Chvatal and Rodeo Purves-Langer play violins at The All-Island Elementary String Concert last Thursday.– Photo by Maria Thibobeau

Whatever the Outcome project leaves art in your hands.

"Sinners and Saints" kicks off at 8 pm at the Ritz on Tuesday, Jan. 27 “till late.”

Updated Wednesday, January 28

Don’t be alarmed by the startling red and black fliers with a satanic-looking bald man that sprouted up around the Island this past week, just get excited.

The posters are promoting “Sinners and Saints,” the next event in the series of “Whatever the Outcome” (WTO) projects, a community art initiative developed by Craig Miner, a computer technician by day and conceptual artist the rest of the time. The event kicks off at 8 pm at The Ritz on Wednesday February 4 “till late.”

Mr. Miner has hosted similar events around the Island since 2013 at places that include the Field Gallery, Polly Hill, State Road Restaurant, and Noëpe Center. His intent is to help promote local artists on the Island and forge community among them, while creating interactive experiences for the public. “Artists aren’t going to be intimidated by each other; you go to someone else’s show and get so inspired. The goal is to keep having fun exposing people to new art and find new ways to create upon,” said Mr. Miner. “There’s a huge groundswell of support from people (on the Island) who appreciate art and are the sweetest, nicest people.”

Mr. Miner recruited local electrician and artist Dave Miller, whose art he describes as coming from “a little darker of a place,” to create a large-scale acrylic painting, 4 feet by 10 feet, with the theme of Heaven vs. Hell. “I really just wanted to spend time with Dave and get his help in participating in every aspect of this project.”

Artist Dave Miller and Whatever the Outcome organizer Craig Miner host Tuesday's "Sinners and Saints" event at The Ritz. Photo by Angela Prout
Artist Dave Miller and Whatever the Outcome organizer Craig Miner host Tuesday’s “Sinners and Saints” event at The Ritz. Photo by Angela Prout

Mr. Miller was motivated by artist Danielle Mulcahy’s past WTO event at Polly Hill, and knew he had to deliver: “People know I like to draw; they haven’t got a clue.” After Mr. Miller spent months painstakingly perfecting the piece on a giant magnet, Mr. Miner took it and cut it into 30 chunks, all for the sake of a good time and a good cause.

The pieces have been distributed to various friends and influencers, and are being sold for $30 (which includes admission to the event) for those who would like to “host the art” in the time leading up to the show, and who agree to return the art and participate in putting it back together. Come Tuesday night, the 30 pieces are slated to arrive individually at the Ritz, and the audience will be expected to reconstruct the painting, competing with the force of the heavy magnet and potentially a few cocktails.

Asked what happens if pieces are missing come event night, Mr. Miner was not concerned. “Whatever the outcome,” he said. “At State Road the last piece didn’t appear until later in the night. It brings a lot of enthusiasm into the projects. The people that jump in have to be willing to take risks.” Mr. Miner doesn’t stress about the events. “We have come to harvest joy. Plus, there are no rules to a giant magnetic mural. I just want the best idea, I don’t have an ego about it.”

Expect the show to include good rock, curated by Mr. Miner and a live DJ set by DJ-KOS, impressive “Sinners and Saints”-themed costumes (the best will be rewarded with a framed show poster designed by Angela Park-Sayles, avid volunteer and supporter of WTO) and a whole lot of collaboration.

“We wanted to have it at The Ritz. After living here for a while, I’ve realized it’s the most rock-and-roll place on the Island. I’m psyched with Jackie and Larkin’s support at The Ritz, and what they are doing to give MV a heartbeat in the dark days. WTO couldn’t be more grateful to them. We wanted to do it on a night that’s not typically busy there, and prove it can get packed — I have friends who would otherwise never go out on a Tuesday getting sitters for this,” said Mr. Miner.

A previous Whatever the Outcome event at State Road restaurant featured a collaborative an art installation to benefit the Island Ground Initiative. – Photo courtesy of Whatever the Outcome


After the show, the art will be removed from the walls and packaged up to be used again, potentially at future WTO events, and eventually sold for the cause. “We don’t leave a footprint, and when it’s over I’ll be so jazzed for the next piece,” Mr. Miner said.


The next event will likely be a summer festival, and will feature Island artist Dan VanLandingham. In the fall, Mr. Miner is  planning a five-week road trip, which he is hoping to fund via  He will be embarking on the trip with his friend, distributing free WTO art in the form of clothespins, magnets, and T-shirts, and raising awareness for the project, while hoping to entice local artists to help him put on similar events around the country.

“At every single show, what I thought gets shifted, always in a better direction. People come up and write checks for it. It’s their hard-earned money; I’m not going to let them down.”

“Sinners and Saints” at The Ritz Tuesday, Feb. 4, 8 pm “till late.” Tickets can be purchased online at $15 for general admission, $30 admission to host a piece of art. $20 tickets at the door. Come dressed in a “Sinner or Saint”-themed costume.

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Martha's Vineyard Times Calendar editor Angela Prout plays the "Down the Rabbit's Hole" green at the Oak bluffs Library. -Photos by MichaelCummo
Lillie Cabral, 8, and her mom Lauren Averill make their way through the last hole of the mini golf course.
Lillie Cabral, 8, and her mom Lauren Averill make their way through the last hole of the mini golf course.

The third annual Mini Golf Extravaganza at the Oak Bluffs library was a hit, and attracted a total of 350 guests across the weekend. The event doubled in attendance between the first and second year, and had even more attendees this year, library officials said.

Program Coordinator Anna Marie D’Addarie said that the staff, which volunteered extra hours, had lots of fun converting the library, with the help of Russ Bolton and his specialty company Library Mini Golf, into an 18-hole mini golf course. “Our hard work was rewarded by having fun with friends and meeting many new people,” she said.

OB Library mini golfThe library staff decorated each hole with a different theme. They included a Mexican heritage hole that asked trivia about the country, and a “Down the Rabbit’s Hole” green that challenged players’ Alice in Wonderland knowledge and offered them the use of a flamingo-decorated golf club for a chance at double raffle tickets. There was a DIY-themed hole decorated with home-repair tools, a Julia Child hole where players could wear a cooking apron for an extra ticket, and a “Legal, Double Legal” hole, decorated with red tape, that quizzed players on state laws in Massachusetts.

Each hole offered players a chance to win a raffle ticket with trivia related to the hole’s theme. Raffle prizes included a round-trip ferry reservation and a gift certificate to Reliable Market. The decorations provided a festive backdrop to the course, and the trivia added to the competitiveness of the game, while teaching players fun facts along the way.

The event was open to adults 21-plus on Friday night, and the $18 admission fee included 18 holes of golf plus refreshments, which included an alcoholic beverage thanks to donations from local businesses and a special liquor license for the event. On Saturday, players of all ages were invited back to enjoy the course for free. Proceeds from the event, the amount of which were not disclosed, will benefit library programs, according to library officials.


Diego holds Lorena and Mirella totes newborn son Jose Augusto earlier this year.

Visit the Whaling Church in Edgartown on Saturday, Jan. 17, from 3 pm to 5:30 pm to show support for Lorena Mendes, the 20-month-old daughter of Mirella and Diego Mendes of Edgartown, who was diagnosed with GM1 gangliosidosis, a disease that destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. [See MVTimes story for background:] The event will include refreshments and a raffle, with proceeds going to help offset Lorena’s medical expenses. Raffle tickets are $5 each or $20 for a book of tickets, and prizes include a gift certificate to Summer Shades and necklaces from Claudia and Vintage Jewelry. Donations are appreciated, and raffle tickets can be picked up from Carla Damian at the Courthouse. Call 401-623-6423 for more information.

The M.V. NAACP will be holding its annual membership and recognition event, celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on Sunday, Jan. 18, from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs. The guest speaker will be Doris Dumas, president of the Greater New Haven branch of the NAACP, who teaches at Yale University and has been involved in youth empowerment. A buffet lunch will be served. Tickets for the event are $55, which includes $30 for new and renewed adult membership. The fee for youth will be $35 plus $10 for membership. Seating will be limited. For information, call 508-696-9259.