Arts

First Night infused with Dot talent

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Dec. 27, 2012

Codman Academy students create dragons for First Night: Image courtesy Codman AcademyCodman Academy students create dragons for First Night: Image courtesy Codman AcademyThis New Year’s Eve, indoors or out, everywhere you turn, you’ll find Dorchester residents sharing their creative talents to offer a wild welcome to 2013, from the flying dragons created at Codman Academy to a time-travelers’ ball orchestrated by an Ashmont Hill SteamCRUNK band.

This Monday, Dec. 31, First Night, Boston, America’s oldest, largest and most-often-copied New Year’s Eve cultural celebration, jam-packs the hours between noon and midnight with art, music, dance, fireworks and ice sculptures (including “Unity 2013” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”). Over 1000 artists will be featured in 200 exhibitions and performances in 40 Hub locations, entertaining hundreds of thousands.

One of the best-attended free public events will be the Panorama Magazine Grand Procession, which leaves from the Hynes Convention Center (HCC) at 5:30p.m. for the Common. Organizers describe this year’s theme, “From the Harbor to the Common, the subway to the street, our city is a study in contrasts, with elements from nature meeting the built environment at every intersection of our daily lives.”

The teens at Codman Academy interpreted this theme with “Flying Fire Dragons,” that possibly lurk underground, “made from large piles of total random materials,” according Sara Peattie of the Puppeteers Collaborative. Franklin Field/ Franklin Hill Dorchester “Healthy Boston” built “glowing house” lanterns for the parade.  Read more

Savin Hill’s Tayler takes the lead in Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’

Savin Hill’s Phil Taylor stars in Moonbox Productions “Of Mice and Men.”Savin Hill’s Phil Taylor stars in Moonbox Productions “Of Mice and Men.”

Whether singing while manipulating a lascivious Muppet or while lying on his back center stage for most of two and a half hours, the versatile Savin Hill actor Phil Tayler, currently playing the lead in Moonbox Productions’ “Of Mice and Men,” is ending this year as he started it –starring in a well-received production of a play with a strong social message.

Equally at home in musicals and straight dramas, Tayler garnered kudos in April as the doomed title character in Moonbox’s revival of Adam Guettel’s 1996 musical “Floyd Collins,” based on a true 1925 tragedy about a cave-explorer trapped underground while a media circus exploded above him. BroadwayWorld.com said, “Tayler spends long stretches immobilized on a small ledge of the rock-like tiered set, but has no problem conveying the pain and frustration that Floyd feels. He is a strong singer and expresses a range of feelings from exuberance to despair in his songs.”  Read more

Picasso painting on loan to JFK Library

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Nov. 1, 2012

Rape of the Sabine Women (1963) by Pablo Picasso is currently on display at the JFK Library.

The most famous and most valuable painting ever to visit Dorchester is currently on display at the JFK Library and Museum. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has loaned the larger-than-life-size Pablo Picasso canvas “Rape of the Sabine Women” (1963) to the Columbia Point landmark through Jan. 6, 2013.

This multimillion dollar masterwork, created shortly after the 13-day Cuban missile crisis of 1962, is on display to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s announcement of a blockade of Soviet vessels upon the discovery of Russian missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba.  Read more

Lower Mills mural to depict bygone village

Gregg Bernstein at work on the side of The Sweet Life restaurant. Photo by Bill Forry

Gregg Bernstein drew his inspiration for a new mural he’s painting this week in Lower Mills from an old postcard. Bernstein, the man behind many of Boston’s largest and most celebrated wall murals, has been commissioned to paint the scene by the owners of The Sweet Life, a restaurant and café that opened at the corner of Richmond Street and Dorchester Ave. in September.  Read more

Ragtime hits Strand Theatre with special deals for Dot attendees

Ragtime: Actors Damian Norfleet and Tia DeShazor star in the musical, now running through Oct. 7 at the Strand Theatre.Ragtime: Actors Damian Norfleet and Tia DeShazor star in the musical, now running through Oct. 7 at the Strand Theatre.On Sept. 15 at the new Taj Boston Hotel, controversial playwright/librettist Terrence McNally received the Beacon Award from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts.

The festivities continue this week as “Ragtime,” the 1997 Broadway musical for which McNally received a Tony Award for Best Book, opens at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre on September 28 and runs through October 7. Producers chose the ethnically diverse Uphams Corner as a particularly fitting neighborhood in which to present this exploration of America’s proverbial status as “melting pot” and “land of opportunity.”  Read more

Mattapan native takes star turn on Project Runway

By 
Elizabeth Murray and Bill Forry
Jul. 25, 2012

Sonjia Williams: Project Runway designer hails from Mattapan.Sonjia Williams: Project Runway designer hails from Mattapan.A Mattapan native is taking a star turn on TV’s most well-known fashion-themed reality show. Sonjia Williams, 27, has already built a strong following in Boston and New York with her clothing designs. Now, she’s hoping that international exposure on the Project Runway program will take her to a whole new level.

The show – now in its tenth season on Lifetime— airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. Expert judges critique the work of the contestants, who are assigned to make new creations for each episode. Designers are voted off each week until there is a final winner. Her first challenge during the first episode – which aired July 19 – took place in the middle of Times Square.

Williams grew up in Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury and has not forgotten her roots since moving to New York.  Read more

Historical Society showcases Dot artists past and present

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Jul. 4, 2012

Last Friday at “Dorchester Artists: Past and Present,” Kyara Andrade, at left, a contemporary Dot artist, chatted with Karen MacNutt, daughter of deceased Dot artist Glenn Macnutt, whose “Mother and Child” canvas is seen behind them. The painting depicts Ms. MacNutt as a baby. Photo by Andrea Kunst

As part of its second annual Dorchester Descendants festivities last weekend, the Dorchester Historical Society (DHS) threw open its doors for a double-barreled, century-spanning art display at the William Clapp House, the DHS headquarters at 195 Boston Street.

The three-day “Dorchester Artists: Past & Present” featured works by painters, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists and cartoonists who lived at some point in their lives in the neighborhood. Works by artists largely from the nineteenth century were selected by DHS President Earl Taylor and hung in the “second best parlor” while an unjuried show of contemporary pieces was coordinated by Andrea Kunst, Chair of the Board of the Dorchester Arts Collaborative (DAC), in the “best parlor.”  Read more

DotArt’s ‘Snazzy Jazzy’ gala has its most Cape Cod flair ever

Next Thursday’s Snazzy Jazzy Arty Party promises to be Dot Art’s  biggest fundraising event yet, according to organizers. It will certainly be the one with the most Cape Cod flair ever.

In past years the swanky soiree was held in private homes in places like Melville Park. This year supporters will be reveling at Dot’s  First Parish Church on Thursday, June 21, from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.  Read more

O’Neill play 'Murph' heavy with familiar pol references

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
May. 3, 2012

Catherine O'Neill: Playwright leaned on in-depth knowledge of Boston's political culture.Catherine O'Neill: Playwright leaned on in-depth knowledge of Boston's political culture.The political drama 'Murph' wrapped up its run at the Boston Playwrights' Theatre last week, with its director hinting that the play could eventually make a return to the stage.

The play, written by Dorchester's Catherine O'Neill, packs the constant drama of the Massachusetts State House into 90 minutes of fast-paced dialogue and unraveled secrets, with winks and nods for the Beacon Hill insiders in the audience.  Read more

Walter Sickert & Army of Broken Toys fuel steamy sci-fi theater ride

Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys: Pictured clockwise from  left, Mike Leggio, Jojo Lazar, Edrie, T.J. Horn, Rachel Jayson, Meff, and Walter Sickert. Photo by Hans Wendland Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys: Pictured clockwise from left, Mike Leggio, Jojo Lazar, Edrie, T.J. Horn, Rachel Jayson, Meff, and Walter Sickert. Photo by Hans Wendland

Okay, so they’re transplants who’ve yet to experience their first Dot Day. They’re still new enough to the neighborhood that they marvel at the speed and efficiency of the Red Line from Ashmont into town.

Yeah, that new.

But, this week, we’re claiming Walter Sickert, band co-founder Edrie, and their assorted Army of Broken Toys band-mates as unequivocally ours. After you see their current production — a steamy, immersive, sci-fi theater ride called 28 Seeds that is now being staged at the Boston Center for the Arts through May 12— you’ll want to claim them, too.  Read more