Island musicians to perform with the Ouroboros Shadow Picture Show

Joining the musical line-up is the Ouroboros Shadow Pictures group. — Photo by Anthony Esposito

Splitting the difference between Christmas and New Year’s Day, on December 28, is a shadow picture show and concert at Vineyard Haven’s Capawock Theatre.

Billed as “four complete exhibitions for all ages,” the $8 show features rising folk star Willy Mason, just back from a tour opening for Mumford and Sons; Jellybone Rivers, aka West Tisbury’s Rob Myers; the irrepressibly talented Nina Violet, bringing her viola and assortment of instruments down-Island from Aquinnah; and the cutting edge Ouroboros Shadow Pictures show developed by Alisa Javits and Adam Lipsky.

Concert organizer and jazz keyboardist Mr. Lipsky of West Tisbury said the show is in part a celebration of the beginning of the Capawock’s centennial year. He said he thinks this show will demonstrate that the theater is a viable venue for music and other forms of entertainment in addition to movies.

The show brings a talented group of musicians to a stage seldom used for music. A yurt-housed resident of West Tisbury, Mr. Myers is a principal member of the Island band Kahoots as well as other bands. He is a multi-talented musician with an engaging stage presence. He often brings a creative twist to his performances that is impossible to predict.

Island born and raised Ms. Violet is playing viola and clarinet with the shadow show as well as performing her own set. She told The Times she “chased the summer into the Midwest and the South in Willy’s school bus Melinda,” performing on the road. “I returned home and immediately put my long-johns on to move to Aquinnah, where I have been rehearsing for some tours upcoming, and writing songs to emerge with the daffodils on a new album.”

“I’ve been pretty much touring non-stop all year,” Mr. Mason told The Times by phone as he waited for a plane to bring him home to the Vineyard for Christmas from Boston. “I’ve been to Australia twice, toured the United States three or four times, toured the United Kingdom three or four times and been to Italy once.” He released a CD a year ago and an EP recorded in Nashville a few months ago. His songs can often be heard on the Boston folk music radio station WUMB. He plans to spend time in workshops in Los Angeles in the new year writing and performing with other musicians.

Alisa Javits is the shadow master of the Ouroboros Shadow Picture Show that she and her boyfriend Mr. Lipsky created. “Ouroboros” is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent eating its own tail. “It’s an image we have been playing with for a long time,” Mr. Lipsky said. “It represents a rebirth at death and relates to some of the abstract qualities of some of the pieces in the show that lead toward things along those lines.

“This is a very new thing, but Alisa and I have been thinking and talking about it for two maybe three years. It’s finally coming to fruition. It’s exciting,” he said.

The shadow pictures are made from cut-outs and found objects. When illuminated from behind they create shadows on a 6-by-6 foot scrim and are used to develop abstract ideas rather than conventional stories, according to Mr. Lipsky, who composes the music that accompanies the show. The shadow show has been performed twice, and both were well received, he said.

Several of the musicians performing solo will also play for the shadow show. Mr. Lipsky said he will be singing as well as playing keyboards and the glockenspiel, accompanied by Ms. Violet and Mr. Mason. Justin Taylor of Aquinnah will be part of the shadow show as an actor.

“We are gearing up for this to be an important event for music on the Vineyard,” Mr. Lipsky said. “In the back of my mind, I’m hoping that this will be a chance to prove that the theater can be a more regular venue for Vineyard music. It is the 100th year anniversary of the theater, so we are trying to play that up a bit in the advertising. There is an allure to the old theater. Everyone knows the building. Everyone who has grown up on the Island has grown up going there, the movies. The idea of playing there is fulfilling in some kind of way.”

Shadow Pictures Show and Concert, Saturday Dec. 28, 8 pm, Capawock Theatre, Vineyard Haven. $8.