, Gloucester, MA

March 2, 2013

Talk of the Times: Folklore troupe has a new home

Talk of the Times

By All Hands
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Henry Allen and his traveling North Shore Folklore Theatre Company now have a new home.

Allen and his group have partnered with the Cape Ann YMCA and now have office, storage and shared rehearsal and classroom space in their Cape Ann YMCA Community Center next door to the main Y building at 65 Middle St.

He moved in earlier this week. He and his group are also now partnered with the North Shore YMCA Theatre Company.

“We have the same mission,” he said of the partnership with the Y.

Workshops and classes begin on Monday, while Allen also has four workshops on theatre-related activities with the Y (an acting program for kids ages 4-8, an afterschool acting program, stage combat and young playwrights workshops), and is continuing all the programs he has been doing all along — including the Conservatory program, the Family Table program, the 20/20 Vision Focus Group, and the Lost Boys Project mentoring program for young men.

“We’re back and stronger and better than ever,” said Allen, whose group was most recently headquarted at the former Cape Ann Theatre, or “The Annie.” The group’s performances will continue to be mobile.

For more information, visit, or check the Cape Ann YMCA website and brochure for information on the four workshops at

Rosanne Cash boosts Essex schooner

An historic 120-year-old schooner that was built in Essex and spent her early years in Gloucester, is in dire need of repairs.

And a well-known Grammy-Award winning singer/songwriter will be performing at a New York City benefit to raise money for the restoration.

New York’s South Street Seaport Museum has announced a gala concert starring singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash to raise funds to restore the schooner Lettie G. Howard, with the gala event to be held Monday, April 8 at the New York Academy of Medicine on Fifth Avenue.

Cash’s ancestors arrived in Salem, Massachusetts aboard the ship Good Intent in 1643, and many of her ancestors were whalers and fishermen, according to concert organizers.

Built in 1893, the Lettie G. Howard is one of the last remaining examples of ships that became commonly known as the “Gloucesterman.”

For her first eight years, Lettie fished out of Gloucester and was eventually resold to the History Ships Association in Gloucester in 1966. Two years later, she was sold to her current owner, New York City’s South Street Seaport Museum where she has served as an educational vessel for school children.

But Lettie is showing her age. Repairs to make her seaworthy again are estimated at $250,000, with $140,000 raised to date.

Art meets ocean science

Gloucester’s own Karen Ristuben is one of eight professional artists paired with ocean scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to produce collaborative artworks for the Museum of Science Ocean Stories exhibit.

She will be taking part in a Sunday event at the Boston Museum of Science from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the special event: “Behind Ocean Stories: Collaborators Talk,” a panel discussion at the Art & Science Gallery.

A lifelong Cape Ann resident, Ristuben has developed a deep interest in how humans impact the health of the ocean and how we can respond to those impacts with knowledge and ownership. In this project, she has worked with chemical oceanographer Sophie Chu to explore the impact of ocean acidification on pteropods, a shell-bearing plankton, and its implications for the ocean’s ecosystem. Their sculptural installation communicates the issue through the visual impact of 350 acidified eggshells as analogous objects to shell-bearing marine organisms.

“The artists and scientists were challenged to translate across disciplines and formulate a shared voice. ...The result is a creative expression of cutting-edge oceanography,” according to a press release from exhibit organizers. “They present a commentary on the multifaceted nature of both scientific research and artistic expression, as well as the broader implications that these have for society as a whole.”

The exhibit “Ocean Stories: Art and Oceanography” is up June 2.

Honored veteran

The flag at the Veterans’ Center will fly this week in honor of brothers and Vietnam War veterans Russell “Rusty” Arthur Benson Sr. and Thomas Corbey Benson.

Born Jan. 21, 1948, Russell entered the U.S. Army on Oct. 9, 1967. The infantry soldier and Specialist 4 served with the 101st Airborne Division. He was discharged Oct. 8, 1969, and died March 9, 2011.

Russell was awarded the Marksman Badge Rifle M-14, the National Defense Service Medal with two overseas service bars, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with the 1960 bar, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Army Commendation Medal with the “V” device and two oak leaf clusters, the Valorous Unit Citation, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.

Born April 10, 1950, Thomas entered the U.S. Army on May 6, 1969. The private and cook served with Company B 6th Battalion 4th Brigade. He was discharged May 7, 1971, and died March 6, 2009.

Thomas was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

The flag was requested to fly in their honor by cousin Francesco Sclafani of Gloucester.

Anyone wishing to fly a flag in honor of a deceased veteran can call the Office of Veterans’ Services at 978-281-9740.