While pizza isn't served at 233 Main St. anymore, Mac Bell is hopeful that something is in the oven.

"God willing," said Bell, a local developer who owns the building. "It is commercial property."

The property was formerly a Papa Gino's Pizzeria, which closed abruptly in November 2018.

Bell confirmed Friday that he and colleagues are in the process of interviewing potential tenants and are looking forward to working with whoever they may be.

"It is an ongoing process," said Bell.

He declined to say who the possible tenants are.

'Power of Pattern,' a concert

The "Power of Pattern," a concert inspired by Cape Ann Museum's Folly Cove Designers Collection, will take place at the museum next week.

The New England Philharmonic Chamber Players Principals String Quartet will perform Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. 

"The Folly Cove Designers were a group of 45 designer-craftsmen who worked together between 1938 and 1969 producing carefully wrought designs cut into linoleum blocks and printed (primarily) on fabric," according to a bio of the group. The artisans were known to look to their surroundings for inspiration.

Danielle Maddon, founder of the New England Philharmonic Chamber Players, was taken by the vibrant patterns created by the designers.

“As a musician, these patterns resonated to me like notation on a page of sheet music. This concert explores what I heard when I saw these designs for the first time,” said Maddon, who investigated the common design principles used by the Folly Cove visual artists and by composers.

In this concert, the string quartet will demonstrate these design principles at work as the audience views the Folly Cove designs. Specific designs will be paired with music by composers from Purcell and Bach to Bartok and Janacek.

These New England Philharmonic musicians formed in 2015 under Maddon's leadership to reach out to new audiences in smaller venues. The Chamber Players explore the interactions between forms of art — visual, musical and theatrical -- and create unique musical programs, in collaboration with organizations that sponsor performances.

Tickets are $30 for museum members and $45 for others. A reception will follow the concert. The museum galleries will be open from 5 to 9 that evening. For information and tickets, visit capeannmuseum.org

Historical Finnish revelations

Temple Ahavat Achim along with the Cape Ann Finns, St. Paul Lutheran Church and the Gloucester Office of Veterans Services, are sponsoring a special book event featuring John Simon, an American Jew who married a Finn and lives in Finland.

The book talk takes place at the Gloucester temple at 86 Middle St., on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m. The event is free to the public. 

Simon spent more than seven years researching the untold history of Jews in Finland. His resulting book came out in Finland as "Mahdoton sota" (The Impossible War) and was short-listed for History Book of the Year in 2017. The English version, "Strangers in a Stranger Land," was recently published by Hamilton Press. The book is described as a combination of history and fiction.

The author, on a book launch tour on the East Coast, will share a brief talk and read portions of his book, then take questions. Simon interviewed 60 people, including war veterans and historians, and worked with primary records.

For Simon, who believed the topic was neglected in mainstream books, the lure of unearthing and then writing the largely unpublished story "proved irresistible." 

"How the Jews came to Finland forms a unique chapter of the Diaspora,” noted Simon.

He tracked their original, involuntary resettlement from other parts of Tsarist Russia to "one of the coldest, darkest and most isolated parts of Europe."

“They were then caught — along with the rest of the population of Finland — in the cross-fire of great European powers at war in the 20th century,” Simon continued.

To dramatize the evolving history text, Simon alternates chronological history with the saga of a fictional family of Finnish Jews, whose lives and experiences reflect those of their tiny community.

According to Simon, Finland stands alone historically.

“Despite its military alliance with Germany, Finland never turned over any of its Jewish citizens to the Nazis' concentration or death camps," he said. "This is a record unmatched by any other country.” 

He also concludes that in no other country did an army including Jews who openly proclaimed their religious affiliation fight alongside the Germans, noting that Finland was fighting the Soviet Union to preserve its independence. 

Short takes

* Gloucester's award-winning artist Marilyn Swift is exhibiting her watercolors at Beverly Farms Library, 24 Vine St. in Beverly. There will be an artist reception this Saturday, Oct. 19, from 1 to 3 p.m.  The artwork will be on view through Oct. 30.

* Larae Davis, a teacher at the O’Maley Innovation Middle School, was recently awarded $145 by Sonic Drive-In as a part of its Limeades for Learning initiative in partnership with nonprofit partner, DonorChoose.org. She won the money for the project “Diverse Books for Diverse Learners.”

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