Around Cape Ann
Canada's "Queen of the Blues" comes to Gloucester Friday night to screen a film about a blues pilgrimage down U.S. Route 61 that led her to a state prison in Louisiana.
What Rita Chiarelli discovered there led to the creation of a documentary that she is screening in 55 U.S. locations, and Gloucester's stop is Friday night at the Cape Ann Community Cinema, where she will hold a post-film discussion and performance as well.
The screening is Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the theater at 21 Main St. in Gloucester.
Chiarelli called on the talents of fellow Canadian director Bruce McDonald to make the nearly 90-minute film titled "Music From The Big House."
On her pilgrimage to the birthplace of the blues, Chiarelli visited the Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary, also known as Angola Farm Prison, home to many who are serving life sentences. It was kismet that led her there.
"About 12 years ago, I was planning this trip on the blues highway and I was doing some research on where to stop when I came across Angola, and learned about its incredible musical history," said the singer on the road yesterday during a telephone interview.
The prison inmates had talent with an array of music, including spiritual, gospel, blues, country and folk, and among the most famous is Lead Belly.
"I found this history quite remarkable and incredible," she said. "On my journey down Highway 61, I didn't have any plan. But I saw the sign and I took that turn and stopped to call the prison. I was able to get in and have a tour. From there the idea grew. At first I thought I would do a concert. But they have musical inmates here today and I managed to meet with them. From this, the idea came to be that it would be way better to perform with the inmates."
Once Chiarelli got the green light from prison officials, she returned to share their bond of music.
"I was told that this hadn't been done before," she said. "The film is so much more than the music. It's very compelling with the inmates opening up and telling their stories. The film raises questions of forgiveness and redemption. I hope to open people's hearts and minds."
Nights on the Neck kicks off
The Rocky Neck Colony welcomes residents and visitors at all times — but especially tonight at the kickoff to celebrate its first "Nights on the Neck" program for the 2012 season.
The events take place the first Thursday of the month through September.
Tonight, from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the historic art colony, featured entertainment tonight will be Adventure Chantey Singers, Random Acts of Harmony, Squeezebox Stompers, Rick Drost and MC3.
For more information, visit www.rockyneckartcolony.org.
T Max and more at CD party
T MAX, a local musician and publisher of The Noise music magazine, will hold a CD release party Saturday starting at 9 at the Dog Bar in Gloucester.
The evening, which offers free admission, features Gloucester's Charlee Bianchini and Doug MacDonald and other one-song-guests, including local stars Tom Hauck, Satch Kerans and Lisa Manning, the singing poet.
A show with T Max, an artist who has absorbed and assimilated a variety of styles, is likely to be filled with a mix of covers and originals.
The Dog Bar is at 65 Main St. in Gloucester.
Reception at Manchester gallery
The public is invited to an opening reception Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. for the new Savor Summer show at the Central Street Gallery, 11 Central St. in Manchester.
The show features new paintings by 14 award-winning artists that capture summer on the North Shore. For more information, visit www.centralstreetgallery.com.
Royds in residence at Giuseppe's
Bradley Royds launches his monthlong residency tonight at Giuseppe's in Gloucester.
Every Thursday in June, Royds will perform original songs from his upcoming CD release (Drinking Town with a Fishing Problem), as well as other music.
Local musicians in benefit
The Varian spring jam to benefit the Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston features four bands with many musicians from Cape Ann — Dented School Bus, Garfish, In a Pinch and Bandwagon.
The event is set for Friday from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Vitori Rocci Post in Beverly. The show is open to the public with admission $10 at door (ages 21 and up).
Those attending will be eligible for door prize drawings which include two tickets for Aerosmith concert and four tickets for a NASCAR race.
Murder/mayhem book talk
"Murder & Mayhem in Essex County" by Robert Wilhelm will be the subject of an author reading and talk at the Essex ShipBuiliding Museum on Tuesday, June 12 at at 7:30 p.m. at Waterline Center of the museum.
Admission is $8 for members and $10 for nonmembers.
The author, who lives in Essex, will talk about his new book on some of the many infamous murders which have taken place in Essex County. For information or to purchase tickets online, visit the museum website at www.essexshipbuildingmuseum.org.
Second exhibition opens at NSAA
North Shore Arts Association presents its "Members' Exhibition II" opening on June 9 in the first and second floor galleries.
A public reception will be held Sunday from 2-4 p.m.
Running concurrently are two "Featured Artist" shows. Displayed in the Gordon Grant Room is "Thinking Inside the Box" with works by Gloucester artist Jude Abbe.
Featured in the Hallway Gallery are the works of William E. Duke in his show titled "Watercolor Transitions." Both shows run through June 14. Visit www.nsarts.org for more information.
A living history performance
"The Immigrants Speak," a free living history performance created by multimedia artist Jacqueline Cooper, will take place on Saturday at Gloucester's Annie Theatre at One Washington St. at the Old Blackburn Tavern building from 7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The shown is part of a series of events and an exhibition about America's Jewish Immigrants and the Birth of the Garment Industry.
The characters portrayed in the program take the audience on a journey of what it was like to leave their homeland and begin a new life in America while participating in the birth of the ladies' ready-made garment industry, an industry that impacted the world.
This performance stems from the "Follow The Thread Exhibit," a cultural history exhibit, which is now on display at the library through June 30.
The program is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, and funded in part by Mass Humanities and Cape Ann culture councils.
Author Weller at Saturday reading
Local author Anthony Weller will give a reading from his latest novel "The Land of Later On" at the Gloucester Writers Center at 126 East Main St. on Saturday morning, June 9, at 10:30 a.m.
There will also be a question-and-answer segment as well as signed books for purchase.
John Casey, a National Book Award-winner, praised the novel when he wrote: "The Land of Later On is wonderfully enticing and deeply, achingly moving. The charm is the charm of those happy black-and-white movies of long ago with, for example, Claude Rains as an angel—or the charm of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris....the whole book is the work of Mr. Weller's inventive and generous mind."
Weller, born in 1957, has written seven books and edited two books of his father's Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting from World War II. For more information, visit www.anthonyweller.com.
Chick & Ellen at Essex coffeehouse
The duo Chick & Ellen will perform at the One World Coffeehouse at the First Universalist Church in Essex on June 16 at 8 p.m. There will be an opening with a new generation folk duo of Olivia Gale and Colin De La Barre.
Chick & Ellen, a married couple, perform regularly as an acoustic duo. Their repertoire is an amalgam of styles, including traditional and contemporary folk music; delta and ragtime blues; classic and old-time country; and, of course, sea songs. The church is at 59 Main St. in Essex. Suggested donation is $15. For reservations, call 978-768-3690.
Public gallery show in Rockport
Works by textile artist and architect Deborah Epstein will be exhibited at the Mercury Gallery in Rockport, beginning with a public reception on Sunday from 3-5 p.m. Many of Epstein's pieces evoke scenes from nature, exploring the varied colors and graphic qualities of quarries.
In her artist statement, she wrote: "The work seeks to capture the unselfconscious, elemental strength and beauty of the opened earth: the visual lightness of delicate veining, the startling colors created by minerals, the textures resulting from the presence of water when the stone was formed."
Epstein, a self-taught weaver, studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is a principal at Epstein Joslin Architects, Inc., whose work includes the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport.
The gallery is at 20 Main St. in downtown Rockport. For more information, visit www.mercurygallery.com.
Boston-based filmmaker and psychologist Maryanne Galvin's ninth documentary "Urban Odyssey" will screen at the Cape Ann Community Cinema at 21 Main St. in Gloucester on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Joe Fitzgerald, who contributed music to the film, performs with his band The Dented Cans, from 6:45-7:30 p.m.
A light sandwich dinner will be served as part of the $12 ticket (which is $10 for members). Also, several of the film's subjects will join Galvin after the screening for a post-film discussion.
The film chronicles three Boston teens and three suburban retirees during a year-long escapade in the great outdoors, merging the resources of the Mass. Audubon Society's Boston Nature Center & Belmont's Habitat. For more information, visit www.CapeAnnCinema.com.
Odd couple with female twist
The North Shore Players, a community theater for more than 50 years, is staging a female version of the Neil Simon classic comedy "The Odd Couple."
In the new twist, Oscar and Felix are now Olive and Florence. Show times are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., all at the Hogan Regional Center in Danvers.
Tickets are $15, and $12 students/seniors. For information, visit www.northshoreplayers.org.
• • •
Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-283-7000 x3445, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Items should be submitted at least two weeks in advance of the event.