Arts

Despite millions in funding by city, little is happening at Strand Theatre

By 
Stephen Kurkjian and Pat Tarantino, Special To The Reporter
Aug. 25, 2010

Strand Theatre: Columbia Rd. landmark goes unused most days.Strand Theatre: Columbia Rd. landmark goes unused most days.After $8 million in renovations, Strand site unused 10 months a year; bustling '90s now a memory

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino says the proudest moment of his political career took place last year at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester when more than a thousand people, of all races, faiths and ages, locals as well as out-of-towners, turned out over two nights to attend the play “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

The mayor has given two of his State of the City addresses at the Strand and his commitment to the theatre goes beyond the rhetorical. He has channeled $10 million in city funds in an effort to return the Strand, the last neighborhood theatre in the city, to its early 20th-century glory.

But Menino’s enthusiasm for the Strand has not extended to his administration’s stewardship of the Uphams Corner fixture – even though it has become one of the city’s costliest neighborhood initiatives.

Despite the extensive renovations, usage of the theatre has fallen dramatically in recent years.  Read more

Once a haven for youth, Strand Theatre now seen more as history

By 
Pat Tarantino, Special to the Reporter
Aug. 25, 2010

Akiba AbakaAkiba AbakaAt 14 years old, Vanessa Lindo took the stage for the first time in her life at the Strand Theatre. As the newest member of the Strand Teen Players, Lindo, a Jamaican immigrant living in Dorchester, saw a new world open before her eyes.

“We got on stage and started singing, me and 30 other kids,” she recalls. “I was so nervous, I stood in the back like a statue.”

Since her first stage performance, a lot has changed for Lindo, now 30 and known in Boston art circles as Akiba Abaka. She has found her voice and works as producing artistic director of Up You Mighty Race, an award-winning African theater ensemble and youth mentoring group.  Read more

Pioneering program embraces the classics at Chittick School

By 
Matthew Griffing
Jun. 24, 2010

CLASSICAL TOUCH – Cello students Kevin Joseph, left, and Omar Nova improvise with resident musician Ashleigh Gordon as guest musician Adam Eccleston looks on during a performance party held at the Chittick School on June 10. The concert featured students and mentors from the Boston Public Quartet, a group of professional musicians who have partnered with the Mattapan elementary school to create a permanent music education and performance residency at the school. Matthew Griffing photo.CLASSICAL TOUCH – Cello students Kevin Joseph, left, and Omar Nova improvise with resident musician Ashleigh Gordon as guest musician Adam Eccleston looks on during a performance party held at the Chittick School on June 10. The concert featured students and mentors from the Boston Public Quartet, a group of professional musicians who have partnered with the Mattapan elementary school to create a permanent music education and performance residency at the school. Matthew Griffing photo.  Read more

School of Rock: BC prof plumbs roots of Latino influence in rock music

By 
Jonathan Rodriguez, Special to the Reporter
Jun. 10, 2010

Next Thursday, June 17, the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association will be honoring Dorchester resident, Roberto Avant-Mier, with a book-signing event for his recent publication, “Rock the Nation.” The signing will be held at the Neponset V.F.W. Post from 7 to 9 p.m. and will be accompanied by hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

The book, which will be available for purchase at the signing, sheds a new light on rock music’s relevance to the Latino/Hispanic community and the stereotypes that surround both.  Read more

Getting creative to keep DotArt alive in ‘10

Artistic types from the “starving painter in the garret” to the Broadway hopeful who waits tables have traditionally learned to cope with financial problems by applying their gift of creativity.  Read more

As fewer artists, visitors take part, Open Studios looks for solutions; event is this weekend

With the 8th annual Dorchester Open Studios (DOS) fast approaching this weekend, ultra-stressed organizers are wrestling with how to maximize the local celebration of the arts in the face of declining involvement of artists and visitors.

Last year DOS advertised the involvement of 100 artists and actually had 86 participating; this time around, the projected number hovers around 65 and at fewer venues.  Read more

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date..."

Shakespeare was so right about the brevity of the sunny season as well as about many matters of the heart. Those who love the Bard as well as those who’d like to get to know him better can hear the rest of Sonnet 18 and many more literary plums in the free upcoming “Shakespeare on Love.”

After an absence of a few years, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) returns to Dorchester with a Tour of the Parks production, a fast-paced 55-minute piece blending speeches, sonnets, scenes and songs inspired by Shakespeare on the subject of love.  Read more

Introducing Studio 916 on Dot Ave., one man’s gift to the arts locally

Fifteen hundred square feet may seem like an ample amount of floor space, until you hear all that William Harris wants to do with it. Harris, who spent the first 28 years of his life living on Grant Street, has returned to his Columbia stomping grounds to open a brand- new gallery and arts center.

“I’m putting my heart, my soul, and my wallet behind this project,” says Harris, who has been repeatedly warned not to expect much of a return, monetarily at least, on his investment.  Read more

City program keeps bringing Arts to neighborhood parks

Sunshine, fresh air, socialization and custom refrigerator magnets? Sounds like the answer to the prayers of parents or caretakers with little ones on their hands this summer, but no money for camp and too crazy a schedule for regular commitments.  Read more

Arts coalition treats hundreds to “The Color Purple” at Citi center

“I would go back again, and again, and again if I could!” exclaims Cindy Reed, one of scores of Dorchester residents who received free tickets for the June 16th Community Night performance of “The Color Purple,” the hit “musical about love,” currently running at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre.

“When I went, I was extremely tired and was hoping I wouldn’t fall asleep. When I left there, I wanted more,” she adds. “The singing was phenomenal, and oh my goodness, the African dancing piece!”  Read more