Aquinnah: So much happening in August


I know I usually write a little introduction to the column, but there is so much going on in Aquinnah this week, I’m going to get right into it. I will say, though, that August is for real starting this Saturday, and we all know what that entails. Stay calm and think of September.

Thursday night at the Chilmark Community Center, Aquinnah filmmakers Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth will screen three episodes of their documentary series “Sustainable Vineyard.” The program begins at 7 pm. The episodes being shown are “The Secret Life of the Conch,” “Goatscaping,” and “The Story of Seeds.” Each documentary will be followed by a Q and A with the Vineyarders featured in the film, including Noli Taylor, Rebecca Gilbert, and Tim Boland. Tickets are available at

Also tonight at the Old Town Hall at 5 pm, Tom Dunlop of the Vineyard Gazette and film editor John Wilson will speak on their project “Historic Movies of Martha’s Vineyard,” which will feature a showing of a collection of old Island films going back to the mid-1920s, including footage of Gay Head, Menemsha, and the streets and waterfront of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, as well as scenes shot all around the waters of the Vineyard. Next Thursday, August 6, Tom Dunlop will return with Jan Pogue of Vineyard Stories to speak on their new book, “Reflections on Martha’s Vineyard,” a collection of essays written by the late William A. Caldwell, who won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary before moving to the Island, where for 13 years he wrote a weekly column for the Vineyard Gazette called “Reflections of That Man Friday.” The speaker series is sponsored by the Aquinnah Public Library and is free and open to the public; refreshments are served.

This Saturday, August 1, at the library you can come in and make a wobble ninja.

Some very sad news from the library this week: Our director, Lisa Sherman will be leaving us at the end of August for a post at the Edgartown library. I am very happy for Lisa, but sad for us. Details to come on a going-away party for her.

This Friday, July 31, at Sassafras, from 7 to 10 pm there will be a presentation by bird language expert Jon Young, titled “Deep Nature Connection and Bird Language.” The presentation will be followed by refreshments and music. On Saturday from 8 am to noon, Mr. Young will host a Bird Language workshop. Tickets are available at or by calling 508-645-2008. Sassafras is located at 5 Church Street. It is the second driveway on the right after the library.

At the Aquinnah Cultural Center this week, on Saturday, August 1, Darius Coombs, Mashpee Wampanoag, will be at the museum to explain the meaning and value of wampum in Wampanoag culture, and instruct visitors in using a traditional pump drill to make their own wampum pendant. There is a $10 crafting fee, which includes museum admission and a tour of the homestead. The museum is open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. “Captured 1614,” a traveling exhibit of Plymouth 400, will be arriving shortly. The grand opening event will be August 7. This promises to be a really wonderful exhibit. Admission to the ACC is $5 adults, $3 seniors and children. Please call 508-645-7900 for more information, or email

On Saturday, August 1, from 10 am to 5 pm, Joan LeLacheur will hold an open studio at 42 Old South Road. She will have wampum jewelry in traditional and new designs, and mosaic tiles, and if you would like something unique, you can custom-order a piece. Call Joanie at 508-645-9954 or email her at

The Gay Head Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 6 pm, and by appointment. Sometimes Megan stays open a little later or at odd times, so if you see her Open sign up, stop in and take a look at the stunning art she has on display.

The Chilmark Community Center sponsors the sixth Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival this weekend. It will be kicked off by an opening panel and reception at the community center featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michele Norris discussing “Whatever Happened to Post-Racial America?” The event is sold out, but the evening will be recorded and available after the event on

On Saturday, the free festival features a series of panel discussions at

the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Panel discussions are geared to both readers and writers. On Sunday, the festival returns to the Chilmark Community Center from 9 am to 4:30 pm. There is so much amazing programming at this festival with wonderful writers; check out the full lineup at

Len and Mallory Butler just returned from a week in Quebec City, where they went to the final show of the Rolling Stones North American Tour 2015; rumor has it that it is their last tour. The concert was held on “the Plains of Abraham,” and Mallory said she will remember it forever. The band rocked and rolled their hearts out to 93,000 adoring fans. Len and Mallory stayed in a beautiful old hotel in the Walled City, facing the St. Lawrence River and park. They had a great trip, but were delighted to return home because their daughter, Jeffie Butler, and her husband, Kevin Sheehan, are now on Martha’s Vineyard for their annual summer visit from their home in Aspen, Colo., with their children, Maeve and Orrin. Last weekend, Jeffie’s sister Nina visited from Boston. You can usually find all variations of the Butler family on Philbin Beach, weather permitting.

Beverly Wright’s daughter, Victoria (Tori) Wright, was home last week to attend her 30th high school reunion at Lola’s. Beverly didn’t give me any details of the reunion, except to say that a good time was had by all. I guess what happens at Lola’s stays at Lola’s. Tori was an AFS student, and spent the last half of her junior year and first half of her senior year in New Zealand, returning to graduate with her class. Tori lives in Englewood, Colo., a suburb of Denver. She, her husband Will, and their son Mato will return in August to stay at their house on State Road. Mato, who is 5, is taking swimming lessons so he can participate in the town’s ACPC swimming program, which he thoroughly enjoyed last year.

I had the pleasure of seeing Joanie LeLacheur celebrate her birthday this past Sunday on Red Beach with her stepdaughters, Aretha Brown and Liz Witham. Aretha was there with her daughter Fiona and Fiona’s dad, Keron. Aretha brought a lovely bouquet for Joanie, and they all watched Fiona play in the water and on the sand. Joanie even came over to my blanket and gave me and a friend very pretty silvery temporary tattoos. Thanks Joanie, and I hope you have many more birthdays.