I don’t mean to start on a dark note, but I feel I must mention the earthquake and the following tsunami that happened in Japan last week. As I write this, the search for survivors is still ongoing and they are still trying to stabilize the nuclear power plants. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Japanese people and once again I realize how truly blessed we are on this Island. May we take care of it and each other for many years to come.

The Tribe has started Wampanoag Immersion classes for tribal members and their families. The classes will take place at the main tribal building on Mondays from 6:30 to 7 pm. Call 508-645-9265 for more information.

There will be a book discussion group tonight at the library at 5:30. The book being discussed is “The Year of the Hare” by Arto Passalina. If you can’t make it tonight the next meeting will be on April 14 and the book will be Abraham Vergese’s “Cutting for Stone.”

Of course the big event this weekend is the 11th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, kicking off Friday night at 7 pm with the film, “Charlotte.” This film is about the making of the Gannon and Benjamin boat of the same name and both the director, Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte, and one of the subjects, Ross Gannon, will be there. “Charlotte” is followed a Spanish film called “Even the Rain.”

There will be many visiting directors and film subjects over the weekend, including Anne Makepeace, director of the film “We Still Live Here,” about the Wampanoag language reclamation project. Nonie Madison and Tobias Vanderhoop, who are both featured in the film, will also be present. The film shows on Sunday at 2:30 pm. Food will be served by the Kitchen Porch all weekend and there will also be a coffee bar and baked goods. If you did not get your schedule in the Times last week you can go to for the full schedule and to buy tickets.

There were many birthdays this week. Lisa Vanderhoop and Ken Wentworth both got older on March 13. Richard Skidmore’s birthday was Monday and my son, Rodeo, turned four on Wednesday while his friends, Quinlan Slavin and Broden Vincent, also turned four right before him. Welcome back to the Macphail family who returned last Thursday from the Caribbean where they visited parents and grandparents. Kathy Wallen went off to Hawaii last week, and hopefully she was not affected by the tsunami fallout in the Pacific.

There was a great Mardi Gras party at the West Tisbury Congregational Church last Tuesday. There was music by Rick Bausman and friends and a pancake supper with some of the food provided by local farms. It was a great way to spend a Tuesday night and I saw many up-Islanders there, including Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth.

Sadly, I did not make it to the potluck brunch on Sunday at the Town Hall because I had to work, but while I was working I did see Aretha Brown and her baby, Fiona, who is so delightful, she made my whole day.

Preparations for summer are under way, people are beginning to talk about work schedules and nannies and regular income again. It always seems like the winter will never end and then all of a sudden there is so much to do to prepare for the onslaught of summer. Until then I will be at the film festival getting a full dose of movies, food, and good company.