Arts

‘The Slaps’ dance troupe dreams big from Fields Corner gym

By 
Alex Owens, Special to the Reporter
Oct. 20, 2010

Members of the Thee Slap Bracelets (pictured above performing at a May 2010 competition) include: (l-r) Dalin Celamy, Khamari Bendolph, Miguel Tejeda, Shaneese Smith, Alexis Feliz, Charae Hemingway, Stravinsky Bolivar, Catrina Tejeda, and Maurice Richardson III.Members of the Thee Slap Bracelets (pictured above performing at a May 2010 competition) include: (l-r) Dalin Celamy, Khamari Bendolph, Miguel Tejeda, Shaneese Smith, Alexis Feliz, Charae Hemingway, Stravinsky Bolivar, Catrina Tejeda, and Maurice Richardson III.

Long after school has been dismissed at the Grover Cleveland Middle School, the gymnasium comes alive with the sounds of blasting hip-hop music, rubber soles squeaking across the parquet floor, and bodies moving in unison.

This isn’t a basketball game. Welcome to dance practice with Thee Slap Bracelets.

At a time when many other teens and young adults are at home worrying about chores, social life and college applications, the late-evening ruckus at the Cleveland’s gym has become a regular affair in the past few weeks. Thee Slap Bracelets (affectionately called “The Slaps” for short) are training hard for an upcoming dance competition in Chicago, one that they are not entirely sure they will be able to attend.  Read more

Dot’s artists take center stage at Open Studios

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Oct. 20, 2010

Trick-or-treaters of all ages don’t have to wait until Halloween to start going door-to-door. This weekend’s ninth annual Dorchester Open Studios (DOS) affords locals the scary, but safe thrills of exploring neighborhood places they’ve never been to before without having to worry about coming up with a costume!
William Wessel painted this abstract scene entitled “Savin Hill.” Scores of local artists will be highlighted in this weekend’s Dorchester Open Studios event.  	Image courtesy William WesselWilliam Wessel painted this abstract scene entitled “Savin Hill.” Scores of local artists will be highlighted in this weekend’s Dorchester Open Studios event. Image courtesy William Wessel

This Saturday and Sunday —October 23 and 24— from noon to 5 p.m., local artists will be displaying a wide range of artwork and handmade crafts—from paintings, sculpture and photographs to jewelry, giftware and wearable art.

The Dorchester Arts Collaborative (DAC), which organizes the event, extends a special invitation to those who have never been to Open Studios to stop by one or more locations of this, its highest participation DOS ever.

Though many artists are offering their work for sale, DOS newbies should rest assured that this is a no-cost, no-pressure event. Visitors should feel free to chat –or not– with any of the 122 artists welcoming the public.  Often these host artists even have a table of snacks to fortify the art-curious as they progress around the community.

Group exhibition locations are spread out all over Dorchester. They include First Parish Church, 10 Parish Street (Meetinghouse Hill); Pearl Street Studios at 11 Pearl Street (Savin Hill); Humphreys Street Studios, 11 Humphreys Street (Uphams Corner); and Walter Baker Lofts at 1231 Adams Street (Lower Mills).  Read more

Two art installations set for ends of the town

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Oct. 14, 2010

Three-Decker sculptureThree-Decker sculptureIn the few weeks before the late October Dorchester Open Studios, two long-awaited pieces of permanent public art will finally be dedicated at opposite ends of town: “Dorchester Voices/Dorchester History” in Edward Everett Square and “Sleeping Moon” in Peabody Square. Together the pieces represent well over a third of a million dollars invested in the beautification and cultural enrichment of this neighborhood.

In 2007, Somerville sculptor Laura Baring-Gould installed her 11-and-a-half foot bronze version of Clapp’s Favorite Pear in Edward Everett Square with a $150,000 grant from the city’s Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust Fund.

Now three years later, she completes her design with a circle of smaller bronze pieces, averaging 36 inches in height (each on its own cast-iron pedestal), funded by a $60,000 community block grant. These smaller pieces were cast at the Asia Fine Art Foundry in Ayuthaya, Thailand, where the pear was cast.  Read more


Marching bands join forces for weekend’s HONK! fest

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Oct. 7, 2010

This weekend radical and activist marching bands from all over North America will converge on Somerville and Cambridge for the increasingly popular (and populist) HONK! Festival.  Read more

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