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Concert in the park this Thursday

Bring a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on, and kids of all ages to Tyler Park this Thursday, June 21, 6-8 p.m. for the first concert of the 2012 Summer Sunset Music Series. Sponsored by the Friends of Tyler Park, the event will include great music by JEN KEARNEY and the Lost Onion, free hot dogs, popcorn and lemonade, face painting, crafters, and lots of fun amid the rolling hills of this sweet park in the Highlands neighborhood of Lowell (700 Westford Street). Jen Kearney’s non-traditional blues band will have you rockin’ right along, so don’t miss it!

Other upcoming concerts for the season include TAKE TWO on Thursday, July 19, and GUMBO DIABLO on Thursday, August 16. This year, which represents the 14th annual concert in the park series, will feature a new addition: MOVIE NIGHT at Tyler Park on Saturday, Sept. 15.  A family-friendly movie will be shown at 6:30 with refreshments and popcorn starting at 6. (Rain date: Sept. 22.)

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Lowell Humane Society

What do you know about the Lowell Humane Society? I visited their website today and learned a lot, first of all that they are putting technology to good use, with a blog, rotating pictures of featured pets, and tweets about pets and donation needs. Pretty impressive! As a private, non-profit organization (in operation since 1873), they do not receive any public funds and rely on donations to fund their tireless efforts to:

prevent cruelty, provide care for homeless and distressed animals and educate the public about responsible pet ownership.

Their fundraising efforts include monthly fundraisers at local restaurants, where you stop in and get some food (you got to eat anyway, right?) and the restaurant donates some funds to the charity. The next one is two nights in June, Monday and Tuesday, June 4th and 5th at Chili’s in Lowell.

Of course, the reason I know so much about this worthy organization is that my cat is missing! His name is Milo, black and white, very friendly, in case you see him around the Highlands.

posted in City Life, Local Groups | 1 Comment

MRT play haunts with Ghost-Writer

Michael Hollinger ’s play, Ghost-Writer, a haunting story of love tangled with the agonies of artistic creation, begins this weekend at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre. The production, the last in a season that stands out as one of  MRT’s finest in recent memory, runs until May 13 and is well worth the price of admission.

As Picasso famously said, “Art is the lie that reveals the truth,” Hollinger explores fictional truth as the “only truth that matters” and as a way of making things more true.  The play lets you inside the writing process and as you watch, it connects two people in an intimate bond that seems to defy the boundary of death. Yet, is that truth or merely the construct of the protagonist? There are hints that support various conclusions, but in the end, Hollinger leaves it up to the viewer to decide.

The play is well written and interesting, with clever dialogue­. The three actors are also exceptional: Franklin Woolsey as the statuesque writer, who would “wait for words to appear”;  Rebecca Harris as Myra, whose facial expressions and presence convey so much more than mere words; and Maureen Garrett, the lively, jealous wife, whose outsider status and deep love for her husband provide provocative conflict as well as surprising empathy.  Although the pace can be slow at times, this subtle, cerebral and nuanced look at reality, writing and relationships proved satisfying. Don’t miss it!

posted in Art, Local Groups, Theater | 1 Comment

Tyler Park – Tonight!

It looks like a beautiful night for an outdoor concert at Tyler Park, the jewel of the Highlands. Beginning at 6:00 pm with local Funk band, Jochemo, and continuing with the popular acoustic guitar duo, Take Two, from 7:00 – 8:00 pm, the Friends of Tyler Park also provide fun family activities, balloons, popcorn, hotdogs and more. The concerts are FREE and lots of fun for all. Bring a blanket or a chair and enjoy the evening.

posted in Local Groups, Uncategorized, music | 0 Comments


I’m not a sports fan, but I have a mild interest in soccer, mostly why it’s such a hit in the rest of the world, but not in the U.S. I happened to have been in Europe four years ago and witnessed firsthand the way entire countries were riveted by the fate of their team, so it did get me wondering why? This year, with the U.S. fielding a team for the first time in decades, there were ripples of interest in the World Cup. On a local level, we have our own World Cup right here in Lowell, sponsored by OneLowell, which might be a good starting place for any newly-minted or would-be soccer fans. This is the fourth annual OneLowell World Cup, and it makes a fun, affordable family outing. The dates are August 1, 7 and 8, from 8 am to 8 pm at Cawley Stadium. .

If you want to get in the mood, or see what all the fuss is about, OneLowell and the Lowell Film Collaborative are sponsoring a great soccer film: “Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos” at the Pollard Memorial Library, TOMORROW, July 16, at 1 p.m. – FREE admission, air conditioned!

posted in Local Groups, Movies, Sports | 0 Comments

Sorry, Friends!

How could I list fun events on Thursday night without mentioning the first Friends of Tyler Park concert of the summer, also happening tonight, 6-8 pm?? The opening act is an A Capella group, from 6-7, then a Jazz/fusion band will play from 7-8. If the weather holds out, it should be a nice evening. The Tyler Park concerts are wonderful family and community events in a park that has become a jewel of the Highlands, thanks to the efforts of the Friends. They have three free concerts each summer which include hot dogs, crafts for kids, and raffles. If you can’t make tonight’s concert, mark July 15th on your calendar where the main event is the popular guitar duo, Two Mikes, and the opening band is the up-and-coming Funk group, Jochemo (full disclosure: my son is the drummer).

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Women’s Week in Lowell

February seems shorter than usual this year, but that means the 15th Annual Women’s Week starts Sunday! There is an impressive list of events lined up: a quilt raffle and quilting workshops at the New England Quilt Museum; a display about fashion in America since 1700 at the American Textile History Museum; a mill girl walking tour; the latest MRT play, Black Pearl Sings, and MUCH MORE – really too many events to name. Of course, there’s also the annual Breakfast celebration at the Lowell Inn and Conference Center (that’s Monday, from 7 – 9 am; tickets $25). There’s also a rock concert (Mothers of Rock 2010) and a Living History presentation about women in New Bedford during the height of the whaling boom. I’m amazed at the variety and quality of the offerings and am planning some serious schedule-juggling to take advantage of these opportunities. Take a look at the event calendar to plan your Women’s Week.

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Love at the Whistler House

Looking for something to do this weekend? Consider music and romance brought to us through the Image Theater, our local theater group. This from their website:  Lowell’s Image Theater is proud to collaborate with the illustrious Whistler House Museum for a Valentine’s weekend celebration of romance, wine and song. Boston cabaret artists Bobbi Carrey and Will McMillan will bring their acclaimed cabaret performance “If I Loved You” to the beautiful Parker Gallery at Lowell’s Whistler House Museum, 243 Worthen Street, Lowell, accompanied by Doug Hammer on piano.

Saturday, February 13th, with a cocktail reception at 7 pm and a show at 8pm and Sunday, Feb 14th at 2pm and 3pm, for the price of $59 a couple, $30 for single tickets. Will and Bobbi will delight you with songs from Gershwin, Rodgers, Berlin, Porter, Sondheim…songs that speak to the heart, mind, and soul. Hear the duo that The Boston Herald claims “transforms listeners into a beautiful daydream…” and The Improper Bostonian called “…sparkling and sultry…” Call 978-452-7641 for reservations (which I just did) and discovered there are only seats remaining for the Sunday performanceL.

posted in Local Groups, Theater | 0 Comments

Lowell Reads….a look back

Years ago (1999? 2000?), I was part of the group “Lowell Reads”, which was an attempt to have a community-wide book reading, with discussions and related activities. This was part of the One City One Book movement which started in Seattle in the late Nineties. The idea is to “build a sense of community and promote literacy.” As others have noted, these goals may be too ambitious; however, it was a lot of fun planning activities to go along with the book, and there were reading groups at the high school that got some young people involved. Our book was Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, which with its overtones of terrorism and fear juxtaposed with the dreamy, slightly surreal progression of the plot and the beautiful dream that art can change hearts and minds, turned out to be a perfect choice. UML Professors joined in with informative sessions shedding light on some of the book’s themes, and the Lowell Opera Company (no longer active, I fear) performed some of the pieces mentioned in the book, which features a renowned soprano who ends up as one of the hostages. I remember loving the book, but never got around to reading any more by Patchett until I recently picked up Truth and Beauty, her 2004 memoir of a friendship (my review here). This got me wondering why I had never read any of her other novels and also why the attempt to do another citywide book never got off the ground. Part of the problem was choosing a book, then the driving force behind our group, Mary Johnson Lally, Director of the Pollard Memorial Library, retired, and the group just dwindled away from there. Still, the movement persists. Chelmsford has been doing it for a few years and has had some nice events to go along with the books. I went to a Bob Martin concert at the library that I think went along with reading Empire Falls and last year they had an art contest to coincide with their community reading of Three Cups of Tea. I wasn’t able to determine if this is a yearly event or what their book choices have been over the years or how successful it’s been; but I suppose it’s something that might work better in a smaller community. In any case, I’m going to read some more novels by Ann Patchett!

posted in Books, Local Groups | 6 Comments

Shredding for a cause

Something about the start of a new year seems to motivate people to get organized and reduce clutter (along with other unrealistic goals), but the fear of identity theft can make disposing of confidential paperwork problematic. Even if you own a shredder, it is tiresome to get through large amounts of unwanted statements, notices, credit card offers, etc. The Merrimack Valley Food Bank has a creative way to help while also helping neighbors in need (MVFP provides food for shelters, pantries and programs in 29 communities in northeastern Mass and southern NH). This Friday, January 15, from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, you can have up to three full boxes of documents professionally shredded*. All it takes is $5 and a bag of nonperishable food. Bring your boxes to the warehouse at 735 Broadway in Lowell and get one of your New Year’s resolutions out of the way. Nothing to shred? You could still drop off a bag of food on your way downtown. With elections, politics and other dramas crowding the headlines, the issue of hunger doesn’t get much coverage, but it persists, and the folks at the food bank could use our help.

*Shredding is courtesy of Doc Shredding Corp of Plainville.

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