Left In Lowell

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October 3, 2013

Govt Shutdown and Lowell Open Studios

by at 10:49 am.

Lowell Open Studios is this weekend (Oct 5 & 6, 11am to 5pm both days). But the outlook is not rosy for all its venues.

The Brush Gallery has been closed due to the government shutdown. The Brush has a coop agreement with the National Parks Service, and therefore, if the government shuts down, The Brush (along with the Mogan Center and other venues with similar agreements) has to close its doors. And the National Parks lot is also closed, which means the downtown venues of Open Studios are all going to be affected. (And with that, also, the businesses downtown where visitors to LOS might eat and shop.)

I talked with Eileen, the director of the Brush and a friend of mine, about the situation. Since the doors are closed, the Brush will not be charging any of its tenant artists while this shutdown is in place. These artists not only show their work here but DO their work here, so closing the Bursh is especially frustrating for them. And the loss of the rent is thousands of dollars a month of lost revenue for the Brush, not to mention lost sales for the artists, lost exposure for the venue (right during the beginning of the big season for sales) and probably a substantial loss of donations, since often people who visit the Brush leave small donations.

The artist community has opened its arms to Brush artists for Open Studios weekend, and you will find a number of its artists at the nearby Gates Block Studios at 307 Market St, on the third floor. Please visit them there!

A number of Brush members have expressed gratitude for the generosity of the wider artist community for coming to their rescue for LOS. Of course, for the long haul, Brush artists are going to lose a lot of exposure and sales if the shutdown is not resolved soon.

To that end, I’d like you to keep the Brush artists in especial mind this fall and winter, as you start shopping for gifts for the holidays. Once they are open again, please consider stopping by, whether that’s for an opening for a show - they are supposed to have a new show opening in November, should the shutdown be resolved by then, called “In Cold Blood” - which is about lizards and amphibians, not murder! Or else visit them during their regular hours (once they are open) just because. Find something you love and buy it.

Also, if you are able, please consider a donation of any size to offset the loss of revenues for The Brush. Winter is coming and they will have to pay for their heat and light, and those bills are not cheap. The loss of the rental and other revenue will affect their operations budget. You can donate here online.

And let’s hope the shutdown will be resolved very soon, before it hurts more people.

August 27, 2013

Coffee Klatsch

by at 8:30 pm.

Kinda cool, just saw it in my inbox, and might be of interest to those who want to meet Stacie Hargis before the preliminary:

Stacie has been starting conversations with fellow Lowellians to hear about issues that are most important to them. Stacie would like to hear about issues that affect YOU, your friends, and loved ones while supporting locally owned small businesses. Stacie will be at different locations throughout the month of September and encourages you to come join in on the conversation about how we can grow our community wealth.

Join Stacie while she gets a coffee at 7:30-8:30 at:

  • Sowy’s Bakery, 474 Merrimack St. on September 4th
  • Donut Shack, 487 Westford St. on September 11th
  • Top Donut, 700 Aiken St. on September 18th

Update: I’ve made a correction above, Sowy’s Bakery is at 474 Merrimack St, NOT East Merrimack. I copied and pasted direct from the email, but someone else pointed this out to me (thanks!) so at least my post will be correct. :)

July 27, 2013

Folk Fest First Night

by at 8:02 am.

I grabbed some video on my phone and spliced it together in case you missed the first night of the Folk Festival. This is what I could get before my phone got tired. :)

July 20, 2013

The Lowell Folk Festival Ain’t What It Used to Be

by at 10:32 am.

Update: We’re talking chickens! Not the LFF, but what the hell. Jump in.

We were graced with a scathing visitation from The Lowell Shallot:

Lowell Shallot Says:
July 18th, 2013 at 7:55 am
Why isn’t anyone talking about Peter Aucella and the Folk Fest article (LINK- added by Jack). It blows my mind how obtuse this guy is. Declining support each year in terms of attendees and sponsorship and this guy wants more support from local businesses who “benefit”. Isn’t it the management and production of the event that has made it less relevant each year? Look in the mirror Pete. They lost WGBH a long time ago, and they are looking to the businesses downtown to make up the difference? What businesses downtown? Everyone is struggling. Perhaps the organizers should look inward to see their failings for answers. Where is COOL in all of this? No busking during Folk Fest? Why? Let’s get it together people. Here’s a novel idea, get acts worth seeing and maybe people will come, and pay to see them! Brilliant!

Aucella should step down, as should each member of the Festival Committee.

Arthur Sutcliffe - Chairman of the Board
Helene Loiselle - Board of Trustees
Pauline Golec - Board of Trustees / Ethnic Chair
Richard Cohan - Board of Trustees
John Scannell - Board of Trustees
Corey Belanger - Advisory Board Member
Patricia Bowe - Advisory Board Member
Renee Caraviello - Advisory Board Member
Michael Couture - Advisory Board Member
Donald DuPaul - Advisory Board Member
Beth Fraser - Advisory Board Member
Bob Howard - Advisory Board Member
Janet Leggat - Advisory Board Member
Janis Maliszewski - Advisory Board Member
Debbie Miller - Advisory Board Member
Priscilla Partyka - Advisory Board Member
Mike Soriano - Advisory Board Member
Ann Scannell - Advisory Board Member
Joellen Scannell - Advisory Board Member
Dean Secchiaroli - Advisory Board Member
Stacey Renna - Advisory Board Member

Cory Belanger– like we need this guy in City Council. What’s with all the Scannells? Don’t they make boilers? How old is this committee? Where is the new blood? I also love the title ‘ethnic chair’. WTF does that mean?

I don’t know most of these people, but I do know the result of their work and I am sure that Peter Aucella is not setting the world on fire. Step aside people. You’re an embarrassment to the city and yourselves.

There is, then, a back and forth between two anonymous commenters on the original thread. Click back, if you care. I don’t care so much for anon on anon bashing. I mean, .. really? But, sometimes little glimmers of usefulness pops out of such exchanges. Even if it is useful by being wrong and others chime in to offer some true insight.

Such a thing just happened on Facebook. The person is an anon to you, but not to me: (more…)

June 13, 2013

Derek Mitchell Campaign Kickoff

by at 9:55 pm.

‘Tis the season…for kickoffs!

I’ve attended several so far - notably, Stacie Hargis, Vesna Nuon, and tonight, Derek Mitchell, on the city council side. (KRS on the School Committee side so far as well.)

Derek, impressively, held his event in the heart of the Acre, at the longstanding French Canadian club Passe-Temps. (I can’t see that without sounding it out in my head with a French accent.) I thought that this was a nice touch for a campaign whose slogan is “for ALL of Lowell.”

Here is my crude taping of his speech, as well as part of the intro (sorry, I got a call in the middle of taping at the beginning, looking at YOU Mr. Lynne!) and after his speech, there was another speaker and she got cut off by the fact my phone sim card, apparently, is full. (Could be that my method of leaving all my photos and videos on there forever might be to blame…)

Had a lot of fun tonight, and feeling really optimistic about Lowell’s candidates this year. I think you are all in for a great surprise in how good they are. I’m excited to see Van Pech running again, Jim Milinazzo has pulled papers, and many (though not all, we’ll talk later) of the challengers are on the side of Right and Good (and by that I mean, they have more than a lick of common sense and care about facts and stuff).

Welcome to the race Derek (again, since this is not your first event)!

May 18, 2013

“Lowell … where real things go down”

by at 12:22 pm.

I’ve known Dee Tension, going on 20 years. I always enjoy his perspective, especially when he delivers one of his ‘man on the street’ reports.

This entry comes from Dee’s Facebook page. Click in, if you have a FB account and read the words of a man who ‘keeps it real.’ - Jack

Ah Umass Lowell Graduation. The day when downtown is flooded by terrified parents who think campus is the only safe place in town. They’re lost but won’t ask for directions. They look at their maps and phones afraid someone is going to stab them so they can’t concentrate which causes people who’ve been married for 30 years to start yelling at each other.

“It’s says go left Walter”.

“No it doesn’t Claire. I think i know how to use GPS thank you”.

I ask “are you lost?” and moms clutch their purses and husbands put their arms around their wives. They park at the first garage they see and then reluctantly walk through downtown waiting for the promised land that is The Tsongas Arena Center Coliseum. They finally see it in the distance and literally say out loud “Oh thank God”.

Quit insulting my town you sheltered numbskulls. No one is going to mug you. Don’t you know we give the crackheads and gangs Saturday mornings off? Believe me I feel much more afraid when I accidentally wander into Westford and can’t find a drive through restaurant or when I go to Concord and my bottle of water is illegal or Wellesely where the cops ask me what my purpose is for being in Wellesly and I answer “where’s the nearest liquor store” which gets me “escorted” to the town line.

Lowell is a real place where real things go down. Things like museums and restaurants and a production of Glengarry Glenross. Oh by the way your crappy kid flipped me off and pissed on my front steps in last week’s pub crawl.

So take a deep breath, enjoy your stay, have a bite to eat at Cobblestones or La Boniche and enjoy your sons and daughters as they celebrate their very significant achievement. It’s sonny and warm and you will always remember how pretty Lowell was on this day.

Also don’t leave your purse, GPS or brief case in your car.

May 2, 2013

Stacie Hargis Kicks Off for City Council

by at 9:26 pm.

Tis the season! The campaign for city office season, I mean.

For those of you who are not familiar with Stacie Hargis, she’s someone you will see at coordinated campaign offices doing the hard work of campaigning, on the boards of local organizations like COOL, or (formerly) working for US Rep. Niki Tsongas. I’m pretty excited to see what she will do in her campaign.

I captured as best I could her speech tonight at her kickoff at Cobblestones:

April 24, 2013

Remember The Senate Special Election?

by at 4:26 pm.

The Primary is one week from yesterday.

 photo MarkeyGOTVEvent_zpsb2d583de.jpg

A note from Ariela: This is the same night as the fund raiser for the bombing victims being held at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. It is understood that at 6pm, many of the attendees will be walking over to the ICC for that event, as well. I hope to see you all soon.

March 9, 2013

Coming Soon: “Threads” Episode Two!

by at 4:25 pm.

So we didn’t make a huge fuss about this in January, and we should have, because the new show we’re doing on LTC, “Threads,” is a lot of hard work and we’re proud of it! In case you missed it on Facebook or elsewhere, Threads is a hyperlocal cable access TV show with great local hosts and even greater local guests! Everything current affairs, culture, history, arts, politics or government is fair game. The aim is to bring new voices and diverse points of view together for a one hour show once a month.

Today we wrapped our studio segments (with a couple more field pieces to come), where this month’s host Corey Sciuto interviewed Dick Howe about his new book, Legendary Locals of Lowell (Facebook page here), and Joy Mosenfelder, coordinator for the Coalition for a Better Acre’s new program, Merrimack Valley Time Exchange. They were both great topics and timely, with Dick’s book coming out on Monday, and the MV Time Exchange looking for new members for its pilot program…people willing to give an hour of their own talent to get an hour from another person with a skill they need.

To keep abreast, I recommend Liking our Facebook page, and if you missed our pilot episode, you can catch it in segments or as a full episode at our website LowellThreads.com. Our first episode focused on the Master Plan draft that the city held public meetings on in January.

If you are interested in seeing what it takes to do a show on cable access, have a great idea for a segment, or want to become part of the team, we have plenty to do and never enough hands to do it, so email us at producers [at] lowellthreads.com (copy and paste, replace spaces and [at] with @)!

February 28, 2013

Lowell’s Sequester

by at 4:11 pm.

Think the sequester doesn’t affect us? Think again.

Even the Lowell Sun knows better.

If automatic federal funding cuts go into effect Friday, Lowell National Historical Park officials expect they will have to cut about $415,000 from its budget, eliminating travel for employees and park funding for programs like the Lowell Folk Festival and the Tsongas Industrial History Center.

The National Park Service has asked individual parks to prepare to cut 5 percent from their budgets, but exactly what will happen when the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, go into effect still isn’t clear, said Celeste Bernardo, the Lowell park superintendent.

“The uncertainty is really difficult,” she said.

And I have news for the Republicans among us: The projected deficit has been cut pretty dramatically and it’s gone down already, without these draconian, stupid, self-inflicted and painful slashes to our important programs and services. And it is a LACK OF GROWTH that is killing our revenues and fueling huge deficits. The last thing you should be doing in a still-recovering economy is laying off teachers and fire fighters and reducing spending on projects like roads and bridges. All of those jobs are full of people who, when employed, SPEND MONEY and create economic activity. Guess what they do when they get laid off? They stop spending!

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