The numbers are in and the 2019 Emmy Awards show slumped to the lowest ratings in many years. That’s a shame because there really was something for everyone – and maybe that’s the reason why, we don’t have as many of those moments where we all watch the same thing at the same time.
Heck, half of Sunday night’s winners weren’t even born when J.R. was shot or we said “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” to M*A*S*H in 1983. That’s the problem with award shows, they honor what has happened while trying to attract new viewers to the show.
But let’s start with some highlights: the big winner was the show Fleabag, a hilariously moving series on Amazon by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who took home three Emmys (best comedy, writing, acting) and HBO’s Game of Thrones won big, although it probably suffered from “How Can We Miss You If You Never Leave” syndrome. (Yes, we’re still mad that the last season was spread over three years.)
Billy Porter made history as the first, openly gay winner in the best actor in a drama category for his star-turn as Pray Tell in the FX drama Pose, about the New York City ball and underground club scene of the 1980s. Porter, who has gained a reputation for his red carpet appearances this year, did not disappoint in his fashion choices for the show or in his acceptance speech in which he quoted James Baldwin.
The Porter-directed production of The Purists is running at the Huntington Theatre Company until Oct. 6. The Tony Award-winning Porter has previously directed Topdog/Underdog and The Colored Museum at the Huntington.
Another standout was Michelle Williams, who took home the Emmy for lead actress in a limited series for her embodiment of Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon. Williams used her time on the stage (and with a world-wide audience) to call for pay equity, which she had on this project, and for producers to listen to their female actors.
“The next time a woman — and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart — tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her,” Williams said. “Believe her.”
Williams was another one who was on our “Best Dressed” list from her time on the carpet, which was purple this year. Williams was a show-stopper in a strapless Louis Vuitton gown, with stunning embroidered sequins, by Nicolas Ghesquière, which was accented by Fred Leighton jewelry.
One theme on that purple carpet was a dazzling array of light-blue gowns, with none shining brighter than Regina King (Watchmen) in a Jason Wu halter-neck gown that was remarkable for its color, a (very) high slit and raw hem. Also notable was Kristen Bell (The Good Place) in Dior.
There were some odd choices that also seemed to work like Nick Cannon and Niecy Nash both wearing turbans. And mega-supermodel Kendall Jenner wore a Richard Quinn gown with a latex turtleneck and oddly clashing floral-patterned skirt.
Holding down the purple carpet for Fox (the network host for this year’s Emmys) was Jenny McCarthy, who in Boston is known as the gal who keeps Donny Wahlberg in line and now cheers for the Red Sox. McCarthy’s interviewing style was a perfect match for the mishmash that was the entire Emmy season, light-enough to keep viewers interested, heavy-enough for the nominees and stars to take her seriously, and fun, which fit the whimsy of the TV show that honors TV shows. Plus, the girl knows her fashion.
Some other local ties included New Hampshire’s Sarah Silverman, who was nominated for her special I Love You America, noted that this year’s Emmy Awards didn’t have a host because “They don’t want comedians to talk.”
American Repertory Theater alum Cherry Jones won an Emmy for “outstanding guest actress in a drama series” for her portrayal of Holly in the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale. This is the second Emmy for Jones, who previously won – in the same category – for her role as President Taylor in 24. Styleboston’s Jan Saragoni interviewed Jones when she was in Cambridge for The Glass Menagerie.
Others with local accents, including fellow American Repertory Theater veteran Bryan Cranston (All The Way, for which he won a Tony Award), who “saved” the host-less Emmy show opening sequence and Tony Shaloub, an ART alum, who won his fourth Emmy for supporting actor in a comedy series getting the first broadcast award of the night for his work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Among the many pearls of wisdom shared with us as we were packing to leave San Francisco for a six-month stint at the American Academy in Rome a decade ago was this: leave behind that dainty McLaren stroller that your one-year-old has been so happy in, and invest in a jogging stroller. In fact, the average American toddler vehicle is no match for the ancient stone streets of Rome. Although little Stassa still had to survive some bone-rattling tours through the Eternal City while hanging onto her bottle for dear life, the sturdy jogging stroller (which we had picked up second-hand before leaving northern California) survived our half-year stay in Rome, and then some. We subsequently had a ceremony to say goodbye to it in a dumpster on the Greek island of Crete, after it had admirably served its purpose.
One great frustration for us new parents as artists and art historians was having to sacrifice the leisurely strolls through museums that we had cherished in our early years together. U.B. and I had chosen to raise infant Stassa ourselves, and we didn’t even employ a nanny until we arrived in Rome when she was a year-and-a-half old, and then only for a few hours on alternate mornings. So usually when we set off to discover Borromini, or Caravaggio, or Bramante, our toddler daughter was with us. A strategy that worked for us, mostly, was to take along a favorite outdoor-kind-of-toy (Stassa’s was a plastic geodesic kind of ball–a gift from a dear friend in Napa–which didn’t roll very far or bounce at all). Then, when we set off for a baroque church or an ancient history museum, this was the routine:
PARENT ONE: Entertain junior in the cloister of the church or the piazza in front of the museum, by kicking and tossing the ball back and forth for as long as you can stand it, alternating with a game of peek-a-boo behind the cypress trees, or, if there’s a fountain, play Let’s Get Daddy Wet. (But not too wet.)
PARENT TWO: Make a mad dash through the galleries or the historic building, making mental or written notes on the highlights to share with Parent One.
When these activities are exhausted, PARENT ONE and PARENT TWO change roles.
A hint that I almost hate to admit to: dash into the gift shop first and quickly review the postcard rack, which inevitably features the “greatest hits” paintings and sculptures on view in the permanent collection galleries, and seek them out first.
This “treasure hunt” strategy has taken a slightly different turn in more recent years since we’re occasionally able to coerce Stassa into spending an hour or so with us inside a museum. Even for grown-ups, including artistically inclined grown-ups like us, a visit to the Louvre or the Uffizi can seem overwhelming almost from the moment you pass through the entrance. (If the queues are long enough, it can seem overwhelming BEFORE you go through the front door!) We have devised some unofficial treasure hunts that are best implemented if your kid has a friend with her to “compete” with. Recently upon entering the newly re-opened Musée Picasso in Paris, we let Stassa know that her job was to find a goat, a sculpture of a bull’s head, and a painting of Picasso’s son dressed as a harlequin (we might have misguided her on that one). It kept her somewhat occupied and mostly focused, at least long enough for her parents to enjoy an untroubled hour with the new hanging of the permanent collection in the beautiful Hotel Salé in the Marais, which we had really missed on our last few trips while it was closed for renovations. At the Louvre, armed with the maps provided at the admissions desk, she and a friend went on a mission devised by their parents to find the route toward five masterpieces: Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa,” the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Venus de Milo, Jacques-Louis David’s “The Coronation of Napoleon,” and of course, the Mona Lisa, barely visible–from their ten-year-old perspective–over the heads of a zillion visitors taking pictures with their iPhones of a distant portrait behind a couple layers of glass.
THE TREASURE HUNT STRATEGY:
It’s too bad scooters aren’t allowed in the Louvre, as we’ve found our lives radically altered by the fairly modest purchase of three two-wheeled vehicles that we use to zip around the flatter parts of our home city, Barcelona. Since we live in the Gothic Quarter, where few cars can fit through the narrow stone canyons, the scooter provides a terrific alternative to walking. We’ve found that by rolling rather than walking, the family can cover a lot more ground before the moaning about when-are-we-gonna-get-there begins. Local sporting goods stores like the French Decathlon sell adult scooters for as little as 79 euros, a small investment equal to a couple of taxi rides.*
TRAVELING EURO STYLE:
When we do take road trips (and we do!) we’ve been amazed at our daughter’s powers of concentration if an audio book is playing on the car speakers. Assuming you can pry her iPad away from her, the magic provided by listening to a fictional (or non-fictional) tale that somehow relates to the countryside that you’re traveling through, is immeasurable. We played “The Little Prince” and some tales from Jules Verne for Stassa on a drive from Spain toward Bordeaux. And on road trips in the USA, a place that she likes to visit, but doesn’t really relate to culturally, she has delighted in hearing the adventures of Laura, Mary and Baby Carrie in “Little House on the Prairie” (voiced by actress Cherry Jones in the version that we bought on line). Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charley” was less successful; maybe we’ll save that for next time. We’ve just bought both “The Yearling” and “The Old Man and the Sea” for an upcoming trip to Florida, but we’re not sure that either of us drivers will be able to see to navigate through our tears. Maybe we’ll just let her watch “The Deathly Hallows” on our way to Harry Potter’s Wizarding World…
Here is a link to Decathlon’s webpage that shows a range of adult scooter prices.
First interested in the arts at 16 and still painting nearly every day at 93 years old, Anne Lyman Powers has had a prolific artistic career – to put it mildly. Born in Boston and educated at institutions such as Vassar, Columbia and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Powers devoted any free time she had growing up to studying, painting and sculpture. An early influence on her work was politics, reinforced by her experience traveling in pre-WWII Europe. In 1937, at 15 years old, Powers got a firsthand glimpse of Nazi Germany and its propaganda campaign against contemporary art, branding the work of modernists and expressionists as “Degenerate.” Powers herself would explore expressionist work in her painting, and back home in Boston, aligned herself with the Boston Expressionists. Later, changes in her personal life also meant changes in her art. Once married, Powers turned to her everyday life to mine it for subject matter – capturing vacation spots, social gatherings, and her family. However, her eye for political satire didn’t remain dormant for long, and she continues to explore political themes in her work to this day.
Mario Russo’s passion and inspiration extend far beyond hair. Terri Stanley takes a walk through some of Mario’s favorite exhibits at the ICA.
Sean Flood is a former street artist turned fine artist and somewhat of a local celebrity in Boston. His dynamic paintings of urban scenes and cityscapes are a reflection of his roots in construction and graffiti art. Flood harnesses the inherent intensity of graffiti, using line and form to build his paintings like the high-rises he depicts. Fresh off two very successful solo exhibitions at Kobalt Gallery in Provincetown and Childs Gallery in Boston, Sean sat down with us to discuss his art, his experiences, and his musings on how he got started as an artist.
HOW OLD WERE YOU THE FIRST TIME YOU PICKED UP A PAINTBRUSH? AND A SPRAY CAN?
I was a pencil guy from an early age – drawing as young as 8 years old – because painting scared me. I actually had my first show at 9! The Priscilla Beach Theatre [in Plymouth, MA] hosted a show – so it was coffee and hors d’oeuvres and then my doodles and cartoons on view.
I picked up a paint brush and a spray can – both probably around 15 years old.
[ezcol_1half]Sean Flood, American (b. 1982), Construction Chaos, 2014, Oil on Panel, 48 x 38 in.[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]Sean Flood, American (b. 1982), Abington Woodshop, 2011, Oil on canvas, 46 x 32 in.[/ezcol_1half_end]
WHAT WAS THE MOST EXCITING ASPECT OF BEING A GRAFFITI ARTIST?
Oh, definitely the rush of trying not to get caught. Then seeing it the next day, knowing you had gotten away with it. There’s a speed to graffiti art.
DID YOU EVER GET IN TROUBLE WITH THE AUTHORITIES FOR YOUR GRAFFITI ART?
Yes. I’ve been arrested three times, spent a couple of nights in jail, paid fines, had a probation officer, etc. One time I was painting the pier on Old Orchard Beach in Maine, during a camping trip, and I’m painting away and don’t notice a cop next to me until he taps on my shoulder.
I had to do community service sometimes. One of the best punishments I got was painting a mural for Boston City Lights – a dance studio in the South End. That was a great gig for a graffiti artist.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO MOVE FROM GRAFFITI ART TO FINE ART?
It was really about getting caught, and I moved to painting to try and stay out of trouble. I was good at graffiti art, bad at getting away. Graffiti art continues to influence my technique though. At first, I would try to include hidden graffiti in each of my paintings, but now I just take inspiration from the quick technique and shapes of graffiti.
WHY CHOOSE THE CITY AS THE PRIMARY SUBJECT OF YOUR ARTISTIC IMPRESSION? AND HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN CONSTRUCTION INFLUENCED YOUR ARTISTIC VISION?
I’ve always been interested in buildings. My dad has been a builder in Boston his whole life. For me, growing up with that and working with him over the years has really drawn me to architectural subject. The perspectives and deep space alone excite me. In school, I tended towards figurative painting, but nowadays, I’m more drawn to cityscape paintings – there is more room there for me to develop ideas than with figurative painting, for now….
[ezcol_1half]Sean Flood, American (b. 1982), Patient View, 2014, Oil on panel, 28 x 48 in.[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]Sean Flood, American (b. 1982), Myrtle Stop Brooklyn, 2014, Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 in.[/ezcol_1half_end]
DO YOU PAINT FROM OBSERVATION OR IMAGINATION?
When I started out doing graffiti, I was focused on using the alphabet, and these raw, expressive marks. With my cityscapes, I’m trying to infuse some of that same expressive abstraction into my observed settings. Actually, right now I’m working on some paintings that are much more of a fleeting glance of a scene, a quick impression. There’s more room for imagination there.
WHERE WOULD YOU SAY YOUR ART IS GOING NOW?
In the short term, I’m hoping to get some inspiration from an upcoming trip to Europe. I’m headed to Rome, Naples, Venice – for the first time, Umbria, Basel and Ireland. I’m going to see the shows while I’m travelling – the Biennale for example, but also I’ll hopefully get a chance to paint some new places for me.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE HISTORICAL ARTIST?
In school I always liked Giacometti [Alberto Giacometti, 1901-1966], because of his expressive lines. He builds up forms through all of these different lines.
This is a tough question though. I mean I saw Van Gogh’s work in person in Amsterdam, and I was like “holy shit.”
Watch below to learn more about Sean: Video courtesy of Chris Engles
For the full interview watch here:
All eyes are on the energetic – and telegenic — Andris Nelsons when he bounds across the stage of Boston Symphony Hall to take his place at the conductor’s podium, his sheer physicality a performance unto itself. At 35 years old, Nelsons is one of the youngest and most electrifying conductors on the international scene today and the youngest music director to lead the BSO in more than 100 years. He might also be the only one to have ever been a student of martial arts. Prior to his arrival in Boston, the Latvia native was music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), where he earned critical acclaim. Born in Riga to a family of musicians, Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying to be conductor. He is married to the internationally renowned soprano Kristine Opolais, who joined him on stage for his first opening night leading the storied Boston Symphony Orchestra.
AS A YOUNG CONDUCTOR, WHAT DID THE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA MEAN TO YOU? WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS?
As a music student growing up in Latvia, I was aware of the leading position of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), one of the world’s greatest orchestras. I followed the careers of several BSO‘s legendary music directors, especially Serge Koussevitzky, Charles Munch, Erich Leinsdorf, and Seiji Ozawa, and more recently, James Levine. I remember listening to many BSO recordings and feeling overwhelmed by the extraordinary performances. I never imagined that I would become this orchestra’s music director!
WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST SURPRISE ABOUT BOSTON AUDIENCES FOR YOU SO FAR?
The enthusiasm that the Boston audiences has shown to me, has touched me deeply. I have always heard that the Boston audiences were passionate music lovers—and it is very true! They also are generous in expressing pride and love for the orchestra. The BSO has been a great inspiration and joy for many of our patrons. My hope is to do all I can to continue to inspire them to ever greater levels of satisfaction and reward.
IS THE ORCHESTRA DIFFERENT TODAY THAN WHEN YOU FIRST GUEST-CONDUCTED IN 2011?
I don’t know that I can speak to how different the orchestra is today than it was in 2011. When I conducted the orchestra for the first time in March 2011, I was overwhelmed by the beauty and power the orchestra displayed in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. It is a very difficult piece of music, but we developed quickly a good connection and were able to make incredible music together. My joy nearly four years later comes from getting to know the orchestra better. I enjoy meeting and getting to know each individual musician, knowing them by name. This helps us work better together and make some great music.
WE’RE IN THE AGE OF “NEW” MEDIA. DID YOUR TRAINING AS A MUSICIAN AND A CONDUCTOR PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR NEW ROLE AS HOLOGRAM AT SYMPHONY HALL?
I have never participated in the creation of a hologram before, so it was fun to see how they created the 3D image. It’s both strange and exciting to stand next to your own talking and moving hologram – and I was happy to see that I have lost some weight since recording the image last July! I hope our wonderful patrons enjoyed this technology, and that the hologram and overall exhibit communicated some interesting and new information, especially to newcomers to the BSO.
IS THE ROLE OF CONDUCTOR OF A WORLD-CLASS ORCHESTRA OF THE 21’ST CENTURY DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS FOR YOUR HISTORIC COUNTERPARTS?
I would say that it is a faster moving world today, of course it is, and this pace applies to all aspects of modern life! However, in contrast, the fundamental role of the conductor has not changed so much at all on the podium. This profession is still based on personal communication and it rather stands the test of time in this sense. It’s such a magical and of historic profession.
BOSTON HAS A REPUTATION FOR BEING A FAIRLY TRADITIONAL CITY. CAN YOU GIVE US A PREVIEW OF ANY EXCITING, NEW WORK YOU’LL BE INTRODUCING?
The Boston Symphony Orchestra has always presented many new interesting compositions with major composers as Bartok, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Babbitt, Birtwistle, Carter, and Saariaho, and many others, and also significant premieres. So there is no doubt that with the great repertoire that we all love so deeply—music of Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, etc.—we will also explore works by new composers and go back to some of the works of the 20th and 21st centuries that have made the recent history of classical music. Sophia Gubaidulina’s Offertorium is a great example of bringing back a late 20th century work that is now considered a masterpiece of our field—and Baiba Skride’s recent performances captured the extraordinary sound of Ms. Gubaidulina’s composition. This season we’ve also programmed works by Boston composers Gunther Schuller, John Harbison, and Michael Gandolfi, as well as works by Australian composer Brett Dean and my Latvian compatriot Eriks Esenvalds. Our audiences have responded very enthusiastically to what we have performed so far. We will continue to explore new works and bring the very best of music to our wonderful patrons.
For further information about the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a complete spring schedule, visit Boston Symphony or click here for complete programs, ticket information, photos, press documents, and artist bios.
I found this armoire back in July which I previously posted about and had yet to finish until now – here’s a quick back story on my original idea. My first thought was to create a shabby chic, black and gold armoire for myself. After realizing it wouldn’t fit in my apartment, (I pretty much knew that already) I decided to go back to the drawing board and give it another look. Shabby chic was still the direction I was going in, but this bulky, hard angled piece needed a softer, more neutral look for potential buyers-more of a rustic influence the second time around.
Both mirrored panels were nearly unsalvageable, with a good amount of scratches on them. After I dropped and shattered one, they were ultimately scrapped. I began to fear that the true nature of this soon to be “armoire from hell” was too dark without the mirrors and I had to start over. Previously the black stain worked well because the mirrored panels brought light to the armoire. While the gold Victorian-esque pull handles and crown molding added elegance and detail, they now looked out of place without the mirrors and black stain. Adding anymore black to the piece would have made it even darker and a lighter color for the doors, paneling and drawer faces would have brought out a contrast I wasn’t looking for.
With a pile of vintage pine tongue and groove bead board, some scrapped pallet wood and a can of oil based, high gloss, cream paint, I achieved the softer, more rustic look I envisioned without the mirrors. The warmer tones, custom made pull handles and a glossier sheen transformed the hard angled bulky armoire to something softer and a lot more neutral. I added two vintage brass knobs from my hoarded hardware collection to each door and stayed consistent with brass on the pull handles – though the hinges are still brushed chrome.
I like this piece because of how it evolved into something completely different than I first pictured, all while using salvaged materials. It’s eclectic, though not perfect, shabby chic and unique. It was a pain in the ass using the materials that I did but at the end of the day I created a statement piece from something a person tossed in my dumpster (still wondering why and how they managed to actually put it inside the dumpster).
[ezcol_1half]A before shot of the side. Lots of water damage on the paneling and was most likely the reason it thrown out.[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]After the damaged paneling was cut out and filled. A tedious but easy fix as an alternative to throwing something away.[/ezcol_1half_end]
Like what you see? Visit my website to see more of what I do. Perhaps you have furniture that needs to be seen in a new light.
An energetic young Dutch couple, Iris Tonies and Arnout Krediet, run an innovative art school called ESTUDIO NOMADA, located on one of the twisting stone streets in the heart of Barcelona’s historic Gothic Quarter.
The “nomad” studio offers workshops for individuals and families who want to spend a week or two exploring Barcelona and environs with creative local types who will show them local art destinations through the eyes of the artist. Drawing and painting classes, as well as a museum visit or two, are included in the workshop in the city. But that’s not all! The school has just opened an artist residency program in a stunning historic macia in the nearby wine country of Penedés. A day in this lovely setting, surrounded by vineyards (lunch and wine tasting included!), can be added to the workshop, which is hand-tailored for the visitor by Iris. There are stops to sketch or paint the enchanting vineyards and olive groves, along with a visit to a fantastic family-run winery. All of Spain’s cava, the champagne of Catalonia, comes from this photogenic region, an hour outside of Barcelona.
The price for this unique experience, all art materials and museum admissions included, is 50 euros per person per day in the city, and an additional 80 euros for the vineyard/art tour.
To see the lovely wine-country location, take a look at the website for Residency Mas Els Igols and be sure to check out the A.I.R. artist-in-residency.
Carrer de la Palma de Sant Just, 7
Arnout Krediet | Founder @ Estudio Nómada
Official Estudio Nómada website
Although my partner U.B. and I are both artists with a keen appreciation of art history, when our family booked a week-long visit to Umbria during our ten-year-old daughter’s spring break this year, we wanted to do something other than the typical visit to churches and art museums.
We spent a memorable morning at a Craftsman Workshop in the famous ceramics town of Deruta. You’ve no doubt seen, or bought, some of the pricey and precious plates, espresso cups or soup tureens made by the artisans of Deruta, with their traditional swirls and griffon shapes meticulously painted on glossy high-fired porcelain. When we learned that we could make our own at the authentic, no-frills ceramics studio called MAIOLICHE ARTISTICHE GORETTI, we said, “Sign us up!”We loved that it was off the beaten path of ceramic factories. The husband-and-wife team of Umberto and Vania were extremely patient with us beginners. Their passion for their craft, which has occupied them for 25 years, shone through. Umberto was delightful with our daughter Stassa, who modeled low-fire bowls, which she personalized for our dog and our cat. In the meantime U.B. and I focused on the fine art of centuries-old decoration of dinnerware. Vania made sure that we followed the rules, after we “pounced” the design with a bag of charcoal onto the unfired white plate or cup. If we put a stroke of light blue rather than a stroke of the dark blue on that wing of the griffon, she would smile and firmly let us know that, no, THIS is the right color for that feather on that wing: SEMPRE (ALWAYS)! Then she would scrape the stroke away with a sharp knife, and we would do it properly.
We thought that the €70 per person price tag for a half-day session was quite reasonable, and afterward we couldn’t resist buyingsome of the Gorettis’ own (admittedly more professional) serving dishes and bowls. But our own creations are our real treasures.
Via Vincoli 7/9
06053 Deruta PG
Tel. +39 075 971 0048
In medieval times, knights fought the battle between good and evil, light and darkness, right and wrong…today, some young, modern-day knights are facing an even tougher battle.
CALLIE THE CONQUEROR
Callie Herschfield is a tiny wisp of a thing, standing less than five feet tall and weighing only 80 pounds. The 14 year old from Scituate has a soft voice and sweet smile, but don’t let this fool you; she is one tough young lady.
“She’s a warrior,” said Donna Green.
Callie’s “warrior” status isn’t because she’s dressed a little bad-ass this day in a black Aerosmith T-shirt, jeans and black boots, or because she’s wearing funky, oversized aviator sunglasses. It isn’t even because she casually strapped on a helmet and climbed on a big — really big — motorcycle with her dad Ken.
Callie is a warrior because she kicked cancer’s butt — at a place called Magical Moon Farm.
Magical Moon is a 160-year-old farm on five acres of land in Marshfield. Quite literally, it is a magical place where wind chimes echo down the stone path to the butterfly garden and fairy figurines peak out from among the flowers. It’s where massive sunflowers tower over the chicken coop and a lone peacock deigns to live among the many hens and roosters there.
Adding to the mystical scene, towards the back of the farm, up a small incline are twelve brightly colored chairs in a semi-circle in front of a fire pit. The wooden chairs have high backs reminiscent of medieval times – sort of a Knights of the Round Table, but through a child’s eyes.
The property was once a sea captain’s home, then a boarding home, before becoming an auction house, but in it’s latest adaptation, the farm, with its organic gardens and whimsical air, is a haven for children facing cancer; a place where they can feel strong, empowered, and not alone. [huge_it_slider id=”5″]
Donna Green, famed illustrator of an edition of the children’s book classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, bought the property 15 years ago. She was looking for a big barn in which to store her books, what she found when she first saw the place was a huge four-story barn and an even bigger vision of what she must do with the property.
“The property had an essence when I first came here,” she said. “I saw it completely done with orchards and gardens, animals and fun things for kids to do. I envisioned children learning about healthy ways to become survivors of life-threatening diseases and conditions.”
Her vision was to bring sick children here and give them something else to focus on: gardening, writing, music, good food, the arts and learning ways to survive.
She would also invite the child to take on a mission, a project to make the world a better place. The project would help the child focus on something other than chemo, radiation and hair loss. The goal: knighthood and finding their inner strength.
ALISON THE AWESOME
Alison was the child of one of Green’s friends, and the first “knight” of Magical Moon Farm. She was 19 years old and battling leukemia.
“She was a beautiful artist,” said Green. “She felt like my own daughter, I felt like my own soul was inside of her.”
Alison was the inspiration for a beautiful butterfly garden on the farm. Her picture stands at the gate, in her memory. Alison the Awesome became an Angel Knight in 2008.
CALLIE THE CONQUEROR?
“I wasn’t really into it, I didn’t care. I was…not really happy.”
Not exactly a magical reaction to the farm, but an honest one on the part of a sick kid. Callie, then 10 years old, was in the midst of chemotherapy, had no hair and was brought to a farm where she didn’t know anyone.
Slowly, she became part of it. She started working with Green on painting the things she loved. She adored sea life and Green sent her to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod to go below with scientists and learn about endangered sea life. Callie got to feed a sea turtle and that was the subject of her first painting. Since that time she’s painted numerous others. She always gravitated to the animals at the farm. “She has a way with animals that is magical,” said Green.
“I would just go there and there would be other people to hang out with, other kids who would make you feel better,” said Callie. “Some of them were sick, some of them were just there. Everyone knows what’s going on but they’re all here to support you.”
Callie’s dad Ken noticed a big transformation in his daughter after she started going to Magical Moon.
“She was young and quiet, (then) I think she got more confident,” he said.
And that is why Callie and her family support Magical Moon Farm, by riding a motorcycle.
On a hot Sunday afternoon, too hot for the end of September, 200 bikers gathered in an Elks Lodge parking lot in Weymouth to take part in a special ride to raise money for the Magical Moon Foundation. Despite 80-degree temperatures, many wore jeans and leather. Black was the popular color and multiple tattoos the norm. On the outside, this looked like one tough crowd, on the inside though, it was all mush. The ride took them past the magical farm they were supporting, where the children waited on the side of the road to cheer them.
Green said the kids at her farm often times feel like misfit toys. “Bikers can be misfit toys too,” said Green. “These big, tough bikers in leather had tears in their eyes.”
Callie the Conqueror rode tall and proud behind her father on that very big bike. She rode to celebrate four years cancer free and also for the other kids at Magical Moon Farm, facing what she faced and hoping to beat it too.
Green has lost some of her knights; you can see the sadness deep in her eyes, but instead of focusing on the sorrow, Green turns it around and teaches her knights-in-training to be strong and to be survivors.
“I focus on the positive, that’s what I tell the children, ‘Focus on the positive, detach from negativity and turn every challenge into an opportunity,’” said Green.
“Yes, it’s difficult, but it’s all about living — it’s not about dying.”
Learn more about The Magical Moon Farm
Candice Wu of Candice Wu Couture is presently one of the best-known designers in Boston. Originally from Hong Kong, Candice followed her love of fashion to Boston where she received a business degree as well as a degree in Fashion Design. Inspired by both her Chinese and English ancestry, Candice approaches her designs with creativity and a passion for fun. Most notably, her designs have been featured at Boston Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, and a plethora of charitable events such as The Catwalk for a Cure which benefits the Susan G. Komen Fund.
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As I wait in line to get on the ferry from Hyannis to the Vineyard, a wild-haired, sweating woman man-handling a stroller complains that I’ve placed my bags in front of her, blocking the line. It is certainly by mistake as I am simply trying to relieve my numb hand from the bag that I had over-packed–again. I apologize, pick up my bag with the non-numb hand and proceed to the end of the serpentine line.
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I have a confession: I owe my first glimpse of the northern lights to my terrible smoking habit. Pacing around in blast-freezer conditions, I was puffing away on my after-dinner cigarette (my face and hands progressing from cold, through stinging, to completely numb) when I happened to glance to the skies. There it was. A faint beam of eerie green light snaked overhead, curling and intensifying, then slowly unfurling into a delicate, shimmering curtain. As I watched, a second swathe of rosy pink light began to materialise. I was mesmerised. Eventually I snapped out of my trance and burst into the restaurant to share the news. A stampede for the door ensued.
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EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
Anna Paula Goncalves
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