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‘Looking for Art’ by Bert Robbens: A Somerville Gumshoe in a Gentrifying City
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The past informs the present. And in the mystery novel based in Somerville Looking for Art by Bert Robbens, the ghost of Somerville’s past haunts the present day landscape. Robbens mines the milieu of the 60s and 70s Somerville, the very one that spawned the likes of Howie Winter and the Winter Hill Gang, and other assorted thugs. His story involves the men and women from that crowd and its ilk who remain around today, and the younger folks who heard the stories, the myths, the hype, and the brass tacks.

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September 17

Any veteran human service worker has seen this before, ( I can say this because I have worked in Human Services in one capacity or another since 1978)— this scenario, this kid, in clinics, hospitals, at colleges, etc… across the country.

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Somerville Writer Mitch Evich: ‘A Geography of Peril: Essays About Growing Up in the Northwest’
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Somerville writer Mitch Evich has lived in our burg for many years, but he is originally from the Pacific Northwest. I  had the pleasure of interviewing him years ago about his novel The Clandestine Novelist.  Now Evich has landed with a new collection of essays. A good portion of his collection deals with salmon fishing, and its trials and tribulations. I must admit that my extent of knowledge of the heroic salmon is limited to the Nova on my morning bagel. But after reading Evich’s  A Geography of Peril… I have a better idea of what the agonies and joys are of the life of a fisherman. Evich grew up in Washington State in the 60s and 70s, worked on his dad’s boat the Independence and was privy to frustration of the oh what a tangled web we weave of fishing nets, the endless repairs of the ship, the diminished  fishing industry due to the successful claims of native Americans for 50% of the overall catch from salmon runs, and the endless uncertainties of making a living from this seasonal and mercurial business. Here is an evocative passage in which Evich describes his memory of the boat, his dad, the unraveling of the nets, and the fish when he was a mere lad of eight:

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September 17

I interviewed the legendary poet X. J. Kennedy on my Somerville Community Access TV show Poet to Poet/Writer to Writer. Kennedy gave me permission to use this poem in the LYRICAL SOMERVILLE.

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‘A People’s History of the New Boston’
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Our guest reviewer this week is Tom Miller. Miller is a Somerville Bagel Bard a history graduate student at Salem State University, and a retired auto industry executive.

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September 10

Philip Burnham, Jr. writes of the Ukraine – the carnage – the pain, and yet perhaps a hint of beauty and transcendence.

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Miranda Aisling: Portrait of an Artist as an Idea Machine
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On Miranda Aisling’s website she describes herself as an “idea machine.” And indeed, Aisling is chock-full of ideas for different creative projects. Aisling, who lives on the Somerville/Arlington line, loves the area. She said: “I love all the artists, and young creative people that are running art-based businesses.” Aisling, who holds an advanced degree in Community Arts from Lesley University, has recently written a book “Don’t Make Art, Make Something.” In a nutshell the book deals with the creative block most people encounter in their lives. Aisling said: “Once people create, just the act of creating opens things up. I want people to recognize their creativity. Not everyone is going to be an accomplished artist but everyone has their own degree of creativity.”

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September 3

The Sherman Cafe in Union Square is where I write poems and eat scones. Although– I miss the classic oatmeal/ cherry scone, I have done perfectly well with the morning glory muffin, and other assorted delicacies– one must move on afterall. Anyway, while sitting at the cafe, a young man came up to me and asked me if I am a poet. I said : “Yes.” And one thing lead to the other, and well… he is published. He sent me his bio:

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Marjorie Nichols: A Family Photographer with a Sense of History
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I met Marjorie Nichols on a crowded morning at the Sherman Café in Union Square, Somerville. The place was buzzing. At the table across from me was Greg Jenkins of the Somerville Arts Council conferring with some other artists, and on hand throughout the café was the usual band of businessmen, young bohemians, students, earnest non-profit types pontificating about foundation grants, mothers with screaming kids, etc.

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August 27

Why is it that a duck has all the luck? Poet J. C. Foritano has the answer.

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Somerville Artist Bridget Galway: A Provincetown Artist Makes a Home in the Paris of New England
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One of the first things I noticed while talking with Bridget Galway was the tattoo flowers that tangled their way up the sides of her expressive hands. And then there was the silver hoop earrings with yellow stones—in some ways she is a living piece of installation art. And no wonder… Bridget Galway has always been involved with the arts. She grew up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and later moved to Provincetown, Mass. In P-Town her mom owned a sandal shop and was a model for the artist Hans Hoffman, and her father was a writer. As a young artist Galway was intimately involved in the arts scene. Later she founded a free arts center in Holyoke, Mass. There she developed innovative art programs for city youth and others. She has designed book covers for a number of poets including Eating Grief at 3A.M. (Muddy River Books) by yours truly and the upcoming On the Wings of Song (Ibbetson Street Press) by Molly Lynn Watt, a memoir in verse that deals with the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s.

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August 20

Local poet Patrick Lennon had a vision of beauty. And as we all know beauty is truth and truth is beauty.

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