Oak Bluffs: Documentary films

Sunflowers at Morning Glory Farm. — Joanne Lambert

“I don’t think there is anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower.”
–Helen Mirren

Remember when the date of the Grand Illumination at the Campground was kind of a secret? Not anymore — the most festive day of summer takes place on Wednesday, August 17, so get your lanterns and glowsticks ready!

The full moon in August is named after North America’s largest freshwater fish, the sturgeon. Lake sturgeon, which grew to 6 feet long and could live up to 150 years, were essential for Native Americans living in the Great Lakes region. By the way, the Great Lakes is the largest surface freshwater system in the world. Imagine what a spectacular paradise it must have been for the indigenous people who settled there.

Other names for the August moon include Grain Moon, Corn Moon, and Lightning Moon. Look in the sky on August 11 just after sunset to see this moon rise.

Happy Anniversary to Gina Patti and Rob Oslyn on August 13! If you don’t know Gina and Rob’s story, it would take more words than I have here to tell it. The summary: after each of them experienced one of life’s most heartbreaking losses — the loss of your spouse and the other parent to your children — Rob and Gina found each other and created a family filled with love and hope. The four children they raised are now exceptional young adults, and their marriage, born of shared grief and forged with strength and compassion, is to be celebrated! Mazel tov and many more!

I was thrilled to hear that our 44th President and First Lady were in the house at our very own M.V. Regional High School for the screening of “Descendant” as part of the African American Film Festival. The film was produced by their production company, Higher Ground, and was shown to rave reviews. It is a Netflix film, so be sure to check it out if you missed that special showing. The M.V. African American Film Festival runs through August 13, see the schedule of amazing films at mvaaff.com.

Oak Bluffs library will present a special screening of the documentary “Beyond the Barrel: An East Orange Story” on August 11 at 2 pm, followed by panel discussion. The film highlights students who have experienced gun violence and focuses on personal stories. For teens, there is “Around Town Scavenger Hunt” on August 11, 2:30 to 5 pm.

On Friday, August 12, join a Story Walk for Families, start at the library with your young children, walk along a route and enjoy a story written and illustrated by O.B. kindergarten students. And don’t forget Tom Dresser’s cemetery tour on Saturday at 10 am. Meet at the library entrance and enjoy an informative one-hour tour through Oak Grove cemetery. On August 16, from 4 to 6 pm there will be an artist reception for James W. Jennings, who is an Island-based educator, painter, novelist and athlete. His works will be shown at the library through August.

We have an opportunity to see two documentaries produced by Oak Bluffs resident and Academy Award-nominated Stanley Nelson and Lynne Robinson at the M.V. Film Center next Wednesday, August 17. “Becoming Frederick Douglass” and “Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom” are one-hour films telling the personal stories of the lives of these two historical figures. There will be a discussion following the films with Stanley Nelson, this will be amazing. The films start at 7:30, get your tickets at mvfilmsociety.com.

I have recently met the incomparable journalist April Ryan, at the beach of course. Ms. Ryan has been a White House correspondent since 1997, covering five presidential administrations. She has won many awards and is always the reporter in the room asking the tough questions. She has written a new book “Black Women Will Save the World, An Anthem” which will be released in October. In this celebration of Black women’s resilience and unheralded strength, author and interviewer Ryan tells the stories of many of the influential women at the frontlines of the political, social and economic struggles our nation faces today. You can hear her talk about the book and her life on August 11 at 12 pm as part of the Cannes Can: Diversity Collective’s In Person Speaker sessions at 7 Dempster Place, Oak Bluffs.

The Tabernacle Sunset Concert series presents Joanne Cassidy this Friday August 12, from 6 to 7:30 pm. Musical Mondays at Featherstone offers Entrain on Monday, August 15, get your tickets online at featherstoneart.org for the 6 pm concert/dance party.

Happy August birthdays to Kati Alley and Deb Hammett on the 11th, Cecilia Minnehan and Terry McCarthy on the 12th, Vineyard songbird, artist, and rock star Kate Taylor on the 15th, Chick Stapleton and dearly missed Jena Pothier on the 17th.

Stay cool, and send me your news!

If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Joanne Lambert, joannelamber@gmail.com.