November 17, 2019

See ‘Summer Sculpture Showcase 2019’ in Old Lyme

Sculptor Gil Boro in his studio in Old Lyme.

‘War’ by Craig Frederick is a dramatic work.

Gilbert Boro, owner and curator of the Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, Conn., presents Summer Sculpture Showcase 2019: An Exhibit of Intriguing Landscape Sculptures. Featuring 23 works by both well-established, nationally renowned sculptors, as well as fresh promising newcomers, the summer-long show will run through Oct. 26, 2019.

The reception is free and open to the public and includes live music and light refreshments.

Boro, a nationally acclaimed sculptor in his own right, hosts this fifth annual show to provide a venue for both young and mid-career sculptors to showcase their work. This summer’s show is curated by the Sculpture Grounds team that has collaborated for several years to produce dynamic exhibits. Each of the artists chosen, Boro says, “offers original creative thinking resulting in a combination of contrasting conceptual designs in a variety of media.”

Boro has a strong aversion to exhibits that prohibit touching a piece. His Sculpture Grounds not only permit – but encourage – visitors to touch sculptures. “I really think that three-dimensional art should be handled, touched, pushed, and experienced in three dimensions,” he says. The exhibitors for the Summer Showcase embrace this concept.

Artists from Connecticut, the Northeast region, and around the country are represented in the show. Massachusetts sculptor Madeleine Lord scrounges through scrap yards collecting all manner of discarded metal that she then assembles into playful humanoid type sculptures. Her showpiece Core is indicative of her imaginative creativity.

‘Closing the Deal’ by Jerold Ehrlich is one of the featured pieces in the 2019 Summer Sculpture Showcase.

Connecticut-based artist Craig Frederick was chosen for his sculpture “War”. Frederick says creating art “is my way of attempting to understand an increasingly complex world. In a world where order, as we perceive it, is a mere illusion, the work of my art becomes the ability to navigate the churning of many tides.”

‘Core’ by Madeleine Lord

Other participating sculptors include William Evertson, whose works examining our human failings and fragility have been displayed world-wide; the abstract sculpture of Joe Gitterman; and luminous glass sculptor Mundy Hepburn.

‘Can I Live’ by Lyme Academy College recent graduate Alfredo Carlson.

In the spirit of supporting and exhibiting promising new artists, the Summer Showcase will introduce the work of Alfredo Carlson, a 2019 graduate of Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and a native of Haiti. Upon his arrival in America at age 10, Carlson had no previous schooling. He says he never thought he would even make it to high school, let alone college. “I literally started from the bottom,”

Carlson says. “I get asked how it feels be a college graduate. I literally don’t know. I’m still in shock I’ve made it this far.” Carlson says, “I’m honored to be included in such a big show,” which will feature his senior project, “Can I Live?”

‘Stance’ by Michael Thron is an intriguing piece.

Situated halfway between Boston and New York, Summer Sculpture Showcase 2019 is set on Boro’s four-and-a-half acre estate in the heart of Old Lyme’s historic village. The permanent display consists of approximately 100 works strategically placed around the park-like grounds. Now in its 15th year, the Sculpture Grounds host more than 5,000 visitors a year.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic to the patio cafe. The grounds are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, year-round, admission is free, and touching the sculptures is encouraged. For more information, artist’s statements and brief bios,  visit www.sculpturegrounds.com.

 

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Extensive Summer Program Breathes New Life Into Lyme Academy Campus, While Academy’s Future Still Uncertain

File photo of the Chandler Academic Center at Lyme Academy College prior to its affiliation with the University of New Haven.

The future of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is one of the big, unanswered questions in Old Lyme at the moment.

In July 2014, the University of New Haven (UNH) announced an “affiliation” with what was then Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in a move that was perceived as likely saving the college from possible closure due its critical financial difficulties.  University of New Haven President Stephen Kaplan said at the time, “We are determined to protect and preserve the mission of Lyme Academy College, retaining the unique qualities that appeal to students seeking an arts degree in an idyllic, rural setting that nurtures creativity,”

Just five short years later, in a move that generated both shock and anger, UNH announced it was pulling out from the college saying it would continue its involvement through the end of the 2018-19 academic year and then divest itself of the institution.  The announcement was made in late August 2018 just as the BFA Class of 2022 was days away from starting their studies, leaving those freshmen students registered at a degree-granting college that would not exist past the end of their first year.

Since that announcement back in August 2018, there has been sparse official communication from either UNH or the Lyme Academy College Board of Trustees as to what is happening to the facility.  This has led to rumor and speculation regarding the future of the academy in Old Lyme and beyond.

Lyme Academy College alumna and teacher Kim Monson, who has led efforts to keep the Academy as a fully operational institution.

But all through this period of uncertainty, a group of alumni led by Kimberly Monson, who is both an alumna of the College and now a teacher there, has been fighting hard to keep the Academy (‘college’ has now been dropped from the name) as a going concern.  Monson is passionate about the mission of the academy to which President Kaplan referred, believing in it with a similar conviction to the academy’s founder, the acclaimed sculptor and musician Elisabeth Gordon Chandler.

Elisabeth Gordon Chandler

Chandler, who was one of Monson’s teachers, founded Lyme Academy of Fine Arts back in 1976 because she was determined to preserve the traditional skills of figurative and representational art, which she felt at that time were in danger of disappearing with the explosion of contemporary art. Chandler’s mission was to educate aspiring artists through a rigorous studio curriculum similar to that followed by the Great Masters.

The Academy became a degree-granting college in 1996 and in 2002 added the word ‘college’ to its name, but, all the while, retained its focus on those traditional skills. The curriculum has always included classes in anatomy and perspective, which have become increasingly rare to find in art schools in the past 40 years.

Monson told LymeLine.com this week that she now finally sees a way forward for Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.  The first part of the plan is to “disentangle” itself from UNH, which is no straightforward task.  The 2014 agreement between the two institutions has not been made public and working out who owns what in terms of the facilities, finances, intellectual property and more is believed to be a both ongoing and complex task. That piece has to be concluded for Lyme Academy to stand proud once again as an independent institution, and timing on when the official ‘separation’ will occur is unclear.

The second piece is the employment of a director for the new institution. The position has been advertised and an announcement on the appointee is expected shortly. Monson believes this will be a major step in re-establishing the academy on a firm footing.

The third and final step is the development of an extensive summer program, which hopefully will provide what Monson describes as “a pathway to sustainability.” Monson and her husband, fellow alumnus and College teacher Michael Viera, have created the program, which kicks off May 29, by working long hours and giving it intense commitment while still fulfilling their current College teaching roles.

There are three segments to the summer program, namely Middle School, Pre-College and Adult.

There will be opportunities to paint ‘en plein air’ for all ages from middle school upwards during Lyme Academy’s Summer Program.

Monson explains that the Middle School Academy is a new venture and something she identified as a real need for that age-group. She points out, “Artists took apprentices of middle school age,” so there is no question that students of that age are ready to learn art fundamentals “in a respectful manner” but laced with fun and physical activity.

Over four weeks, four artists will be studied — one per week — in an exciting, exploratory fashion, which will include learning skills in painting, sculpture, pastels, drawing, collage, and storytelling.  Students can enroll in any or all of the week-long programs, which begin July 8 with Edgar Degas, then follow with Michelangelo (July 15 ), Salvador Dali (July 22) and end with Leonardo da Vinci (July 29.)  Timing for the Monday to Friday program is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the fee for each week is $325.

The Pre-College Academy is an experience in which Monson says, “high school students are treated like college students.” and “immerse themselves in intensive workshops” for a week on each topic.  Students will not only expand their portfolios but also gain a significant advantage over their peers when they enter college.

There are eight programs on offer: sculpture, drawing, oil painting, illustration essentials, world building, animation, toy sculpture, and concept building.  Students can register for any number of classes from one to all eight and fees are $350 or $375 depending on the class.

 

Adult classes range from ‘Open Figure Drawing’ on Saturday mornings to ‘Expanding your Encaustic Horizons’ (July 29-31) to ‘Three Dimensional Forms Meet Wax’ (Aug. 1-2). Other programs include an ‘Etching Workshop’ (June 10-14), ‘Sunset Painting’ (Wednesdays, May 29- June 26) and ‘Watercolor’ (Tuesdays, June 18- July 23).

Master Class Workshops include ‘Walking Tour Townscape Painting Workshop with Michael Viera,’ which Monson describes as a “destination week,” takes place Aug. 19-23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Viera, an accomplished and award-winning artist, will lead his students in the footsteps of the Old Lyme Impressionists and ‘paint the town’ This tour will be enhanced by talks from the Old Lyme Historical Society and a visit to the Florence Griswold Museum.

Sculpture by John O’Reilly, who will teach an Animal Sculpture Master Class Workshop this summer at Lyme Academy.

Two more Master Class Workshops are being offered —  ‘Classical Drawing Boot Camp‘ with Rick Lacey (July 15-19), ‘Printmaking’ with Nancy Friese in June, and ‘Animal Sculpture‘ with John O’Reilly (June 24-28).  Both teachers are extremely talented artists with multiple awards between them. Lacey is a graduate of both Lyme-Old Lyme High School and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. O’ Reilly has a B.F.A. from Columbus College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. from the New York Academy of Art.

‘Helen’ by Rick Lacey, who is teaching a Classical Drawing Boot Camp this summer at Lyme Academy.

Based on the Atelier model, the week-long Classical Drawing Boot Camp, which starts July 15, concentrates the student in lengthy study through direct, focused observation. The morning session is dedicated to the art of cast drawing. Measurements, comparisons and intense analysis emphasize the structure necessary for drawing. The afternoons are dedicated to the study of figure drawing from a life model in a continued pose. Attention is paid to set up and final execution over the course of a week.

Sculpting animals is a time honored tradition to which the Animal Sculpture Master Class (starting June 24) pays homage. The founder of Lyme Academy, Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, began her art career sculpting her beloved dog to cope with her grief after he passed away. Sculpting an animal from direct observation is an invaluable learning opportunity. Comparative anatomy, overall structure and form variations will be explored while choosing the proper gesture or behavior to suit your vision. Workshop participants will sculpt live from a horse or a dog.

Monson urges people considering applying for classes to enroll soon since classes are filling fast. She says with the deep-seated passion of a life-long artist, “People should take time to invest in themselves. They should come learn about their capabilities … learn about what they can do and didn’t know they could do.”

Stressing that all the teachers of these classes are “really good people,” Monson explains this means that not only are they outstanding, established artists, but also that they are dedicated to the Academy and “will put it in its best light.” Many of the teachers, like Monson and Viera, are alumni of the College, the majority of whom have gone on to obtain an MFA at another college. The Middle School Academy is being taught primarily by 2019 graduates of Lyme Academy College.

Regarding the future, Monson says her immediate goal is “to populate the campus” during the summer programs and thus breathe vitality and enthusiasm back into the Academy.  She does not know details of the post-summer plans, but says with conviction, “We deserve to be here because we have so much to offer.”  She believes talks with other institutions are ongoing to see where Lyme Academy might find a synergistic relationship or determine if credits from Lyme Academy might be transferable into a degree-granting institution. Monson also thinks discussions with the Town of Old Lyme are continuing despite the rejection by the Town of the Academy’s application for $90,000 in the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Her unequivocal objective — and that of all the other alumni and board members working hard to find a solution for Lyme Academy once it is separated from UNH — remains “to give it [the Academy] a long-term pathway to success.”

Editor’s Note: Full details of these summer programs including instructors, dates, times, fees, and enrollment information can be found on Lyme Academy’s new website at this link. For further information about these summer programs, contact Kristen Brady by email at kbrady@lymefs.newhaven.edu or telephone at 860-598-5143.

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Where Art Meets Nature: I-Park Hosts Free, Open Studios Event Today

The public is invited to visit I-Park for its first Open Studios of the 2019 season. Guests will be able to meet six of the seven resident artists on Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. I-Park is located at 428 Hopyard Rd. in East Haddam, which adjoins the Devil’s Hopyard State Park.

The facility is generally closed to visitors to give the artists undisturbed time to work on their creative endeavors. But once a month, at the conclusion of each residency, visitors are invited to meet the artists in their studios, attend the presentation segment that features select time-based works, enjoy complimentary refreshments and stroll the trails winding through I-Park’s scenic, art-filled campus.

The studios will only be open from 2 until 3:30 p.m. so guests are encouraged to arrive early so they have enough time to visit all the studios before the 3:30 p.m. presentations.

A reception with refreshments will follow.

I-­Park is an artists-in-residence program offering fully funded residencies in visual arts, creative writing, music composition/sound art, moving image and architecture/landscape design. Since its founding in 2001, I-­Park has sponsored more than 900 residencies, and has developed cross-­‐disciplinary projects of cultural significance and brought them to life in the public domain.

Set within a 450-acre nature preserve, I-­Park has a strong interest in site-responsive and environmental art – and has been the setting for exhibitions, performances, symposia and programs that facilitate artistic collaboration.

The Artists-in-Residence at I-Park.

The artists-in-residence are:

Marianne Barcellona is a painter and professional photographer from New York City. Her extensive travels provide raw inspiration for her paintings.

Hugh Livingston is a composer and sound artist from California who creates multi-media installations related to natural and built spaces; he also performs exploratory cello music. His artworks have been installed internationally.

Colette Lucas is a mixed media artist and gardening enthusiast based in New Hampshire. Her botanical motifs are created from a combination of imagination, observation and research.

Tom Nazziola, a New Jersey composer, has had his music featured on virtually every medium in the world of music. From “live film music” to choral and orchestral pieces, his compositions have been performed around the world.

Dominica Phetteplace is a prize-winning Washington (state) poet and writer whose work has appeared in Asimov’s, Zyzzyva, Copper Nickel and Ecotone as well as numerous other publications.

Allison Roberts is a lens-based artist from Oklahoma. She works primarily with photography, video and installation to address memory, place and identity as such are experienced during periods of transition.

Jane Simpson is a mixed media artist from New Hampshire. Her collage and assemblage work is comprised mainly of found paper – made either by mother nature or human ingenuity. Recently she has incorporated graphite drawings inspired by vintage photographs.

Although admission to Open Studios is free, advance reservations are requested. To reserve your space, visit i-park.org. For additional information, email events@i-park.org, call 860-873-2468 or visit i-­‐park.org.

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‘Point of View’ on Display at Lyme Art Association Through June 7

‘Afternoon Shadows’ by Steven Linde in pastel is the featured work in ‘Point of View.’

Lyme Art Association currently hosts ‘Point of View,’ the 98th Annual Elected Artist Show and Sale, and also a show by the Connecticut Watercolor Society.

Both exhibitions are on view through June 7.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 to 5 p.m, and by appointment. Admission is free but a $5 donation is suggested.

Lyme Art Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme.

For further information, call (860) 434-7802 or visit lymeartassociation.org

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Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Offers Pre-College Summer Arts Program

File photo of the Chandler Academic Center which comprises part of the newly-renamed Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is currently accepting high school students for enrollment in a series of pre-college summer art courses. Students with beginning to advanced level art training are welcome to enroll in college-level courses taught by master artists to further explore and expand their technical skills and abilities.

Course offerings include sculpture, drawing, oil painting, animation and more. Each course runs for one week, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Founded in 1976 by esteemed sculptor Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is located in historic Old Lyme, which has been a vibrant center for the arts and artists in Southeastern, CT for more than 100 years. The Academy offers a variety of programs in art education under the guidance of master artists who share a deep respect for both traditional and innovative forms of teaching that provide students with the necessary foundation and skills to develop their own unique visual expression.

Interested students can find out more information and enroll by visiting the new Lyme Academy website at www.lymeacademy.org or email info@lymeacademy.org.

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Thought-Provoking, Comedy Classic, ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,’ Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse.

Standing beside her fiancé Dr. John Prentice (Marc D. Lyons), Joanna Drayton (Katelyn Nichols) announces the unexpected news of her engagement to her parents, Matt Drayton (Gordon Clapp) and his wife Christina (Kaia Monroe) in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner opens tonight at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

When the movie, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, began filming in March 1967, it was still illegal for interracial couples to marry in 14 states, mostly in the South. Changing attitudes in the country and the landmark case Loving v. Virginia coincided with the production of the movie and by the end of the year, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. and Mrs. Loving, ruling that marriage is a fundamental human right and effectively ending all anti-miscegenation marriage laws in America.

The Ivoryton Playhouse presents an adaptation of the movie by Todd Kriedler. Set in San Francisco in 1967, the play focuses on Matt and Christina Drayton, a progressive couple whose daughter, Joanna arrives home unexpectedly with her fiancé, Dr. John Prentice, an African-American doctor 11 years her senior. They’re in love and they want the Draytons’ blessing for their marriage – today.

Blindsided by their daughter’s whirlwind romance and fearful for her future, Matt and Christina quickly come to realize the difference between reading about and supporting a mixed-race couple in your newspaper and welcoming one into your family. It’s not long before a multi-family clash of racial and generational difference erupts.  At the end of the day, will love prevail?

This thought-provoking, comedy classic is a witty and insightful reflection on two families confronted by their prejudices.

Taking on the iconic role of Matt Drayton, made famous by Spencer Tracy, is Gordon Clapp*, best known as the Emmy-winning, Tony-nominated actor who charmed audiences as Det. Greg Medavoy on NYPD Blue (1993) and as loudmouth instigator Dave Moss in the 2005 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).

Kaia Monroe*, who is an Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre at SCSU will play his wife, Christina and the rest of the cast include Richarda Abrams*, Cedric Cannon*, R. Bruce Connelly*, Krista Lucas, Marc D. Lyons, Kimberlee Monroe* and Katelyn Nichols.

The play is directed by Kathryn Markey, set design by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Elizabeth Saylor.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner runs through May 12, 2019. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. There will be one Thursday matinee on April 25th.

Tickets are $55 adult / $50 senior / $25 student / $20 children 12 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates and subscriptions are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

Photographer – Jonathan Steele

  1. Gordon Clapp, Kaia Monroe and Marc D. Lyons
  2. Kaia Monroe and Gordon Clapp
  3. Marc D. Lyons, Katelyn Nichols, Gordon Clapp and Kaia Monroe
  4. Cedric Cannon and Kimberlee Monroe
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Letter From Paris: Exhibition of Macke & Marc’s Art Unintentionally Makes Powerful Statement on European Current Affairs

Nicole Prévost Logan

The exhibition titled Franz Marc / August Macke. The Adventure of the Blue Rider (der Blaue Reiter) at the Musée de l’Orangerie is the exhibit to see this spring when in Paris.  It is a festival of colors by two German artists, Macke (1887-1914) and Marc (1880-1916), who both died prematurely on the front during World War I more than a century ago.

Long overdue, and shamefully so – I believe all art historians would agree – Macke and Marc have never before been shown in France in an exhibit dedicated exclusively to them. The event opened first at the Neue Galerie of New York, then will remain in Paris until June 17.  The curators have made a few changes, particularly stressing the connection with the Blaue Reiter movement and the relationship with other European avant-gardes, particularly the fauvism and cubism in France.

After writing an article myself on April 11 2015 on this very site, it was pure pleasure to see the original works hanging in the spacious lower level rooms of the Orangerie Museum in the Tuileries gardens.

Franz Marc, The Dream [Der Traum], 1912, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Image taken from the Musee de l’Orangerie website.

Although they are shown together, the two artists have distinct personalities and styles. They first met in January 1910 and became close friends until the war.  Macke lived in Bonn on the Rhine in central Germany.  Marc, with the Russian artist Wassily Kandisnky and his companion Gabriel Munter and other members of the Blaue Reiter, loved Bavaria in southern Germany. He settled  first in Mirnau, about 40 miles south of Munich, then on Lake Kochel.

At a time when Europe is currently torn by political fractures, when the closeness of France and Germany is crucial to the survival of the continent, this exhibit has a strong symbolic meaning.  The European Union was founded on a determination to put an end to all wars.  What a powerful message when the art of these two young men is displayed together in an exceptional exhibition in Paris, considering, ironically, both men loved France and its culture, and yet died fighting against the country they revered.

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Shoreline Arts Alliance Now Accepting Applications for ‘Scholarships in the Arts: Top Talent’

Kayla Bryan, who was last year’s Instrumental Music Scholarship winner, is shown above performing in the 2018 Top Talent Showcase. Photo © Judith L. Barbosa.

Shoreline Arts Alliance announces the opening of applications for the 39th annual Scholarships in the Arts: Top Talent. This program is open to juniors and seniors residing within Shoreline Arts Alliance’s 24 town region and who want to pursue an education in the arts. Applicants can apply in seven different categories of study. The winner in each category will receive a $1,000 scholarship for continuing education and/or supplies as well as a mentorship from a professional artist in the winners chosen field. Applications are now available on the website and will be open until April 24, which will be followed by in-person auditions, interviews, and portfolio reviews on May 3 and 4.

Applications for the scholarships can be found on the Shoreline Arts Alliance website. Applications can be submitted online or through a mail-in form. An in-person audition, interview, and/or portfolio review is required for each application and will take place at the ACES Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, CT on May 3 and 4, 2019. These in person auditions/interviews/portfolio reviews give the students the opportunity to learn about presenting themselves and their art before a jury of professionals.

Students who reside in the 24-town-region (region includes all of Middlesex County, Madison, Guilford, North Branford, Branford, East Haven, Lyme, East Lyme, Old Lyme, and Salem) and are interested in the arts are encouraged to apply. The categories are, Theatre, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Creative Writing, Dance, Visual Art, and, our newest category, the Jeffrey Dobbs Scholarship for Excellence in Painting.

These seven categories are judged by professional, working artists in each field of study. These professionals pay special attention to detail, to the students commitment to the art form of their choosing, and give valuable feedback to each student. Judges choose a winner in each category and they may also choose a special recognition in any given category. Winners and special recognition winners will be asked to participate in a showcase on May 14 at Evergreen Woods.

The Scholarship in the Arts program is meant to educate, encourage, enrich, and engage the students through audition practice, interview practice, and valuable feedback from professional artists. Students who are serious about their careers in the arts will be given important lessons on interviewing, preparing a portfolio for review, and auditioning. This preparation, in a safe and judgement free environment, will allow the students to feel comfortable in future interviewing/auditioning/portfolio review processes.

Visit www.shorelinearts.org/top-talent to learn more about this program, find submission information, and to download the application or apply online. A $25 non-refundable fee is required for each application. Contact Shoreline Arts Alliance for further information by emailing office@shorelinearts.org or calling 203.453.3890.

Editor’s Note: Shoreline Arts Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)3 based in Guilford, CT. Shoreline Arts Alliance is the state appointed arts council for a 24 town region including all of Middlesex County, East Haven, Guilford, Madison, Branford, North Branford, Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, and East Lyme. Shoreline Arts Alliance’s mission is to Transform Lives through the Arts and we do so by educating students, encouraging artists, engaging the community, and enriching the cultural landscape of the Shoreline and beyond. Shoreline Arts Alliance offers free programs and services across the State of Connecticut. To learn more about these programs, visit www.shorelinearts.org or contact office@shorelinearts.org or 203.453.3890

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Spring is in the Air and on the Street for ‘First Friday’ in Chester

These delightful Guinea fowl are handmade in Provence and for sale in ‘The Perfect Pear.’ Photo courtesy of The Perfect Pear,

CHESTER — Spring is in the air, and Chester is eager to shed the winter doldrums to celebrate First Friday this evening, April 5. Festivities include gallery openings, new shops and original offerings all around town.

Chester Gallery & Framing welcomes Spring with a new collection of works by select Connecticut artists, including four drawings of Chester by Chuck Baird (1947-2012), who was also a renowned storyteller and actor in the National Theater for the Deaf.

‘Arrowhead’ plays tonight during ‘First Friday’ at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery.

At Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery, Nilsson’s exhibit features new gouache and oil works and live music by Arrowhead.

Chester’s newest merchant, Erica Tannen and The E List Shop at 1 North Main Street, features an exhibit of recent work by Brian Keith Stephens along with the newly launched women’s clothing store. The E List’s neighbor, Caryn Paradis Interior Design, opens its new space at 3 North Main Street with a meet-and-greet with Jeremy Hughes, a Chester-based artist, who uses natural materials to create innovative and inspiring pieces for the home or office.

The C & G building in Chester is home to the new E-List Shop, which will be open tonight to celebrate First Friday in Chester.

Blackkat Leather is hosting local photographer Derek Hayn for a special showing of his works as an architectural photographer. His photos include dramatic aerial views of New York and Boston skylines, as well as landscapes of New England and abroad. 

At Lark, Pastry Chef Joyce Brewster of Hillanddale and the Golden Lamb Buttery in Brooklyn, Conn., will be on hand to talk, sample and sell her much-loved pie handiwork.

Shops at the Mill House is rolling out new Spring inventory from its wide selection of antiques dealers.

Along with a new line of Emile Henry made-in-France bread-baking gear, The Perfect Pear is introducing handmade ceramic Guinea fowl of Provence from Les Céramiques de Lussan. These whimsical birds are hand-crafted from Provençal clay and painstakingly painted in a wide range of colors.

On the restaurant front, Grano Arso is celebrating the First Friday in April with “Par for the Course,” a new cocktail by bartender Zack Joyce made with Prairie Vodka, English Breakfast tea, lemon and mint.

In addition to on-street parking in Chester, there is free parking available in the town’s public lots on Main Street by the cemetery, on Water Street and on Maple Street.

For more information about First Friday, visit Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT or call (860) 322-4047.

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Luanne Rice Delights Overflow Audience at Her Hometown Library

All photos courtesy of Cheryl Poirier.

New York Times best-selling author and Old Lyme resident Luanne Rice, pictured above standing, was the guest speaker yesterday at a sold-out luncheon held at the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library.

Rice captivated her audience with stories of her life in Old Lyme where she vacationed as a child and then subsequently became a full-time resident. The event highlighted her newly-released book, Pretend She’s Here, which is already drawing universal praise.

The tables for the delicious lunch catered by Olive Oyl’s of Essex were decorated with the wonderful origami roses, pictured above, which were created from book pages.

When the luncheon was over, guests eagerly waited in line to purchase books authored by Luanne Rice.  Sales were brisk …

… but Luanne took the time to engage with each customer, which is one of the trademarks of her character, making her such a popular resident of Old Lyme and gracious supporter of her hometown library — the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes.

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Lyme Academy to Drop ‘College’ From Its Name, Unveils New Website, Announces Summer Art Programs for Youth, Adults

File photo of the Chandler Academic Center at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

The board of trustees of the newly-renamed Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Conn., has announced an extensive summer art program for youth and adults. “Our trustees, alumni, and the Old Lyme community are committed to supporting this historic art institution,” states Stephen Tagliatela, Lyme Academy Board of Trustees Chairman.

He continues, “With the recent announcement of our separation from the University of New Haven, we will once again become the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts operating as it was originally established. Continuing the summer art programs will be an important part of our mission as we plan for the Academy’s future.”

“The variety of art programs planned for this summer is very exciting,” notes Lyme Academy Campus Dean Todd Jokl. “In addition to the Pre-College Academy for high school students, which helps them improve their technical skills and portfolio development for art college applications, a fun new art camp for middle school students is being added.”

Jokl adds, “The 2019 program will also include adult art programs in painting, sculpture, printmaking and encaustic. Our new website www.lymeacademy.org has all the information about these programs and instructors.”

Screen shot of the homepage of the new Lyme Academy website at LymeAcademy.org.

The 2019 summer programs at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts for adults will begin in May and be offered through June, July and August. The youth programming is offered in July and August.

These summer programs will include:

Pre-College Academy:
High school students with beginning to advanced level art training can enroll in a series of courses that further explore and expand their technical skills and abilities. All Pre-College courses and workshops are designed to foster creativity, build artistic skill, portfolio development, and mentor personal vision in young artists.
The Lyme Pre-College Academy runs an intensive series of weeklong, daytime classes during July and August with instruction by master artists. Immerse yourself in a college-level arts experience this summer.

Middle School Academy “Art Apprentice” Program:
Middle school students will participate in an exciting art camp that showcases famous artists from history. Students will engage in art projects based on the talents, examples of work, and significance of each featured artist to make their own body of work full of fun and insight into the creative process. Learn from historic artists and art movements while exploring your own talents! Featured artists this summer include Edgar Degas, Michelangelo, Salvador Dali and Leonardo da Vinci.
Classes begin July 8 and run weekly through August 2.

Adult Workshops and Master Classes:
Lyme Academy’s traditional methods in figurative and representational art will provide adults at all levels an opportunity to work with professional artists, build portfolios, while advancing their skills in various mediums and techniques. Adult classes present an opportunity to immerse yourself in concentrated study in a specific area of expertise. Students will gain new perspectives in the process and the unique experience of guidance by professional artists in a mentored environment.
Adult weekly courses begin in May and the workshops and master classes will be offered in June, July and August focusing on developing technique and accelerated skill advancement in figure drawing, landscape painting, printmaking, sculpture, and encaustic.

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1976 by esteemed sculptor Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is located in historic Old Lyme, Conn., which has been a vibrant center for the arts and artists in southeastern Connecticut for more than 100 years. The Academy offers a variety of programs in art education under the guidance of master artists who share a deep respect for both traditional and innovative forms of teaching that provide students with the necessary foundation and skills to develop their own unique visual expression.

For more information about Lyme Academy’s summer youth and adult art programs, visit www.lymeacademy.org or contact Kristen Brady at kbrady@lymefs.newhaven.edu or (860) 598-5143.

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‘Burt & Me,’ Featuring Love, Laughter & Great Music, Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse; on Stage Through April 7

Josh Powell, Andy Christopher and Nathan Richardson appear in ‘Burt & Me’ at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Playhouse opens its 2019 season with a dazzling parade of hits by the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David in the musical comedy Burt & Me by Larry McKenna.

This coming-of-age story is narrated by Joe, who tells the story of his obsession with the music of Burt Bacharach alongside his high school romance with Lacey. The old story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again, develops a new life in this nostalgic paean to the music and culture of America in the 70s.

When Burt Bacharach and Hal David met in the New York City offices of Famous Music in 1957, they had no idea that their collaboration would have such an impact on the world of pop music. In their years of writing together, they produced almost 150 songs. Sometimes the words came first, sometimes the music, sometimes both at once.

One Iyric (“Alfie”) took three days; another (“What The World Needs Now Is Love”), three years. This nostalgic juke box musical contains many of their greatest hits including, “What the World Needs Now,” “Walk On By,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “This Guy’s in Love with You”.

Andy Christopher and Lauren Gire sing a duet in ‘Burt & Me’

The cast includes Playhouse favorites Adrianne Hick* (South Pacific), Lauren Gire* (My Way: the Frank Sinatra Story )  Neal Mayer*, (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Oliver!) and Josh Powell* (My Way: the Frank Sinatra Story and Love Quest).

Making their Playhouse debut are Andy Christopher* as our protagonist, Joe, Katie Luke and Nathan Richardson. The show is directed and choreographed by Brian Feehan, musical directed by Michael Morris, set design by Emily Nichols, lighting and sound design by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Lisa Bebey.

This may well be an evening of pure nostalgia but it also serves to remind us of Bacharach’s genius for melody, the complexity of his arrangements and David’s keen sense of human motivation. These are the songs that form the soundtrack of our youth and even their sad songs make you feel good.

Burt & Me runs through April 7. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. There will be one Thursday matinee on March 21.

Tickets are $55 adult / $50 senior / $25 student / $20 children 12 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates and subscriptions are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

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‘Four Acts’ on Show at Lyme Art Association Through April 30

‘Winter Song’ in oil by Katherine Simmons is the signature painting of the ‘Explorations’ section of the ‘Four Acts’ exhibition.

‘Darby’ in pastel by Anderson Flanders is the signature piece of the ‘Animal Kingdom’ section of the exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association presents its annual Four Acts show from March 8, through April 19. Each room of the gallery has a different theme: Hip to be Square (artwork in a square format), Out of Town (featuring artwork relating to artists’ travels), Animal Kingdom, and Explorations (abstract or exploratory works.)

The Four Acts opening reception is Sunday, March 17, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 to 5 p.m, and by appointment. Admission is free but a $5 donation is suggested.

Lyme Art Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme.

For further information, call (860) 434-7802 or visit lymeartassociation.org

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Work by Lymes’ Senior Center Artists on Display at Old Lyme Town Hall Through April

This watercolor by Keiko Kaiser depicting a beautiful flower garden is one of the featured pieces of artwork currently on display in Old Lyme Town Hall.

The Shoreline Artists’ Workshop and the Lymes’ Senior Center’s art classes, under the instruction of Sharon Schmiedel, will combine their artistic talents to present an exhibition at the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall during the months of March and April. Exquisite pieces of work will reflect a variety of visual media and styles.

All pieces will be for sale, with a portion of any proceeds donated to the Senior Center.

There will be an opening reception on Friday, March 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the town hall.

Come celebrate the Senior Center artists for their dedication to support the visual arts and the Senior Center community.

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ECSO Continues 72nd Season With Springtime Concert Featuring Tessa Lark, March 23

Acclaimed violinist Tessa Lark

The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (ECSO) ushers in spring with a concert Saturday, March 23, titled Springtime Lark featuring an eclectic blend of repertoire sure to entice listeners of all varieties. The concert will be held at the Garde Arts Center in New London starting at 7:30 p.m. and the pre-concert chat will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Continuing the tradition of featuring women composers, Joan Tower’s work Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, No. 6, rounds out her 80th birthday celebration.

The ECSO co-commissioned Michael Torke’s Sky for violin and orchestra.  It is a bluegrass-inspired concerto written for and performed by rising star violinist, Tessa Lark. Music Director and Conductor, Toshiyuki Shimada, notes, “The ECSO is proud to be part of this commission, and through our support of the creation of new works, we ensure that orchestral music remains relevant, vibrant, and a timely reflection of this moment in society. Everyone will enjoy this accessible and interesting piece, which will be masterfully played by area-favorite, Tessa Lark.”

In the concert’s second half, the orchestra performs the thrilling Symphonic Dances by Sergei Rachmaninoff. This three-movement suite was composed by Rachmaninoff while overlooking the Long Island Sound in 1940. The work, originally conceived to be music for a ballet, combines wild rhythms and rich harmonies. Now it is performed most often in the concert hall as a stand-alone piece, which is a testament to its compositional strength.

Patrons attending will also be among the first to hear about the 2019-20 season and can subscribe at the event that evening for a chance to win a special prize to be announced from stage.

This concert is generously sponsored by Yale New Haven / Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.

All attendees are urged to meet and greet with fellow concertgoers and ECSO musicians at the complimentary post-concert reception in the upper lobby of the Garde Arts Center. The reception is sponsored by ECSO Board members Tom Berl, Svetlana Kasem-Beg, and Bob Reed.

The ECSO 2018-19 Season 

The 72nd season’s lineup, curated by Music Director and Conductor Toshiyuki Shimada includes major repertoire selections from Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, Dvořák, Mahler and many more.  It will bring a thrilling range of sounds to the Garde stage. In addition to these timeless composers, the ECSO has co-commissioned a new work by Michael Torke, which will feature violinist, Tessa Lark, performing a bluegrass-style concerto.

Along with the guest artists who will grace the front of the stage will be many familiar faces from within the ECSO’s very own sections. Stephan Tieszen, the ECSO’s Concertmaster for 30 years; principal bass, Tom Green; and principal violist, Barbara Wiggin, will all make featured appearances throughout the season. The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus will join the ECSO for Verdi’s Stabat Mater and Mozart’s Mass in C Major.

Visit www.ectsymphony.com for more information and follow ECSO on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) @ectsymphony

The ECSO offers a range of affordable seating options from $65 to as low as $31 for attendance to one concert. The ECSO will continue to offer those under 40 years of age and active or retired military members $12 tickets in premium sections. Patrons can also take advantage of the Pick 4 subscription, which enables people to schedule our concerts around their busy lives.

Founded in 1946, the mission of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra is to inspire, educate, and connect our communities through live orchestral music.

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Final Annual Student Exhibition on View at Lyme Academy

‘Childs Gaze’ by Cynthia Celone is the signature work of the Student Exhibition.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts hosts an Opening Reception for the 43rd and final Annual Student Exhibition at Lyme Academy tomorrow evening, Friday, Feb. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m.

All are welcome and admission is free.

The exhibition will be on view through March 23, Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Chauncey Stillman Gallery.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is located at 84 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT

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Chester Gallery Hosts Exhibition of New Work by Locally Based, Nationally Acclaimed Artist, Gilbert Boro

Sculptor Gil Boro in his studio in Old Lyme.

When our souls become heavy with life’s burdens, art has the potential to soothe and solace.  Indeed, Pablo Picasso wrote, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” That theme will be explored in an exhibit of new works by nationally and internationally renowned sculptor Gilbert Boro at the Main Street Gallery of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester, Conn.

The exhibition titled, Coming Together, features works created by Boro, which were spawned during the period of intense grief that he experienced subsequent to the passing in 2013 of his beloved wife of 48 years, Emily Seward Boro.  An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 5 p.m.  All are welcome and admission is free. 

Detail of a sculpture from “The Knot” series.

The exhibition is a prequel to the opening of the synagogue’s “Meditation Garden,” scheduled for 2020, which will include a large-scale sculpture loaned by Boro, who subsequently plans to donate the original model of the loaned garden sculpture to CBSRZ.  Boro lives and works at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, where, together with his late wife, he has created an outdoor, park-like setting to exhibit more than 100 sculptures.

The show has special significance for Boro because the synagogue is the repository of a Memorial Light celebrating Emily’s life.  The period of sadness and depression that followed her passing acted as a catalyst for creativity, Boro believes, sparking multiple new ideas in his mind that culminated in his “Musical Master Works” and “What’s Knot to Like” series. Ten to 15 works of aluminum, steel, and copper from these series, plus some larger pieces, will be on public display for the first time. 

The Master Works and Knot series are Boro’s most recent works, incorporating original design concepts with a touch of playfulness. The “Musical Master Works” series transpired after attending a number of musical performances, which, in turn, inspired him to consider the tangible forms and shapes that the music might create. The “What’s Knot to Like” series reflects the many years Boro was deeply committed to offshore sailboat racing and cruising with his wife and family.

Boro credits his interaction with CBSRZ’s designer, the celebrated artist Sol LeWitt, with stirring his creative imagination at a young age. “I found LeWitt’s extensive range of artistic expression extremely stimulating,” Boro explains, noting, “He inspired and challenged me to broaden my vision, which resulted in the application of my fine arts education to architecture. Having my sculptures exhibited here therefore has special meaning for me.”

Photography by Christina Block Goldberg will also be part of the show. Goldberg’s captivating images give viewers a unique insight to Boro’s sculptures by offering intimate, close-up inspection of the joints and details. The images will be printed on thin sheets of aluminum using a dye sublimation process. 


“This exhibit is rather novel,” notes gallery curator, Linda Pinn, continuing, “in that to a large degree the works to be exhibited will be scale models of those he [Boro] anticipates placing in the garden.”  She explains that the “Meditation Garden” is envisioned to draw on the therapeutic power of nature and inspiring capacity of art since many studies now conclude that exposure to creative works is an elixir for our emotions when struggling with anxiety, depression, loss, and pain.

Pinn points out that Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing, said, “Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to patients are an actual means of recovery.”  Combining the two in a meditation garden, says Pinn, is an idea that “goes beyond any specific artist or garden,” adding that the intent is to bring, “art and nature together to create a peaceful, contemplative environment where people can walk, relax, and be calm.” 

The Coming Together exhibition will be on display until April 30. 

The Main Street Gallery at CBSRZ focuses on art works with themes relating to issues of concern in our society and the world at large. It is always open to the public free of charge, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Sundays when Sunday school is in session. It is located just off Rte. 154 at 55 East Kings Hwy, Chester, CT. 

For more information, visit www.cbsrz.org.

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Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation Awards Music Scholarships to Lyme-Old Lyme HS, MS Students

The Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that it has recently awarded private study music scholarships for 2018-2019 to students from Lyme-Old Lyme High School and Middle School.

Award recipients from the High School are: Emma Bass, Kate Chenery, Elizabeth Cravinho, Megan Cravinho, Jackson Goulding, Kylie Hall, Nevin Joshy, Owen Kegley, Ryan McTigue, Connie Pan, Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum, Lian Thompson, Avery Wyman, and Connor Wyman.

Award recipients from the Middle School are: Bridget Allan, Callie Bass, Livie Bass, Micah Bass, Natalie Buckley, Shane Eastman-Grossel, Ava Gilbert, Alexis Grasdock, Nyla Goulis, Karissa Huang, Aggie Hunt, Beatrice Hunt, Phoebe Lampos, Van Lampos, Brendan Landry, Audrey LeCour, Evan LeQuire, Andrew Liu, Marielle Mather, Eli Ryan, Morgan Standish, and Luisa Warlitz.

As a supporting organization for Region #18 schools, the Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation awards scholarships to be used for private instruction to instrumental students participating in Lyme-Old Middle and High Schools band programs.

The 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation formed in 1999 after the retirement of Ruth Ann (King) Heller from Lyme-Old Lyme High School, with a mission to consistently strengthen and improve the instrumental music program in our schools.

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Two New Exhibitions on View at Lyme Art Association

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents two new juried exhibitions of work by member artists beginning Friday, Jan. 18. There will be an opening reception for these two exhibitions on Sunday, Jan. 27, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Caboched in oil by Rosemary Webber is one of the featured works in the new exhibitions at the LAA..

The Associate Artist Exhibition features works by both emerging and established artists. This mid-level artist membership includes both well-known professional artists, who are relatively new to the Lyme Art Association, as well as long-time member artists.

“Our Associate Artists are very invested and engaged here and bring their best work to every show. You will find varied subject matter, all executed with skill and enthusiasm. These are our base and we love to celebrate them in this show,” says Gallery Manager Jocelyn Zallinger.

The Newly Elected Artists Show features the nine artists, who passed through the rigorous selection requirements to become Elected Artist members of the Association. They are Ralph Acosta, Harley Bartlett, Melissa Imossi, Karen Israel, Randie Karl, Steve Linde, Mary Mellot, Judy Perry, and Michael Rogan.

Laurie Pavlos, LAA Executive Director says, “These are fabulous, highly skilled artists and we are proud to now name them among our Elected Artist ranks.” 

The LAA is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. The LAA is located at 90 Lyme St. in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Rd.

For more information, call (860) 434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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The Movie Man: The Joy of Going OUT to the Movies

As the calendar progressed through December, most people were looking forward to Christmas with joy and anticipation.

For me, as I looked at the calendar last year, I found myself looking back to a December from my childhood. The year is 2003, and I am recalling the day I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on the big screen; to this day it remains my favorite movie-going experience of all time.

I’m writing this because one of my recent reviews published in LymeLine.com was for a direct-to-Netflix release, not by some forgettable children’s movie, nor an attempt at slapstick by Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler … rather it was a film by the Coen brothers.

Years ago, we witnessed the vanishing of record stores with the digital revolution via iTunes. I was not alive when it was a social occasion to go to the record store and check out whichever new album had been introduced, but I did have a high school teacher who still raves about that to this day (I’m talking to you, Mr. Braychak.)

Going to the movies has always been magical for me. I recall that Steven Spielberg shared on Inside the Actor’s Studio that even he still takes his family to the theaters.

Years ago, I wished there were ways for me to see classic films on the big screen … how they were originally released. Lately, I’ve been able to see that wish fulfilled by catching The Big Lebowski, The Shining, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly courtesy of promotions by Regal Cinema, and the treasured Coolidge Corner Theatre (for those of you who have been in the Boston area).

And I firmly hold that catching a film on the big screen in its original run is as exciting and memorable of attending a live sports event. Both sources of entertainment you can watch at home, yes, but there’s nothing like being caught up in the energy of the moment.

A while ago, I developed the mindset of thinking that seeing a film by your favorite actor or director on the big screen is akin to seeing your favorite athlete compete. I am proud to share that I frequented Fenway Park and saw David Ortiz play. In time, I’ll talk of that in the same way that older folk today mention having seen Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams play.

Similarly, the day will come when Leonardo DiCaprio departs this world, and people will tell the younger generations about being caught up in Leo-mania with Titanic; or when George Lucas leaves us, people will recount the time they saw the unexpected sci-fi empire of Star Wars take flight at their local theater in 1977.

But as this ‘release via Netflix’ trend continues to gain momentum, I have to ask if we can really imagine replacing certain occasions that are meant for the theater to be changed to accommodate the streaming method? So many romantic relationships have begun with a date at the movies (Barack and Michelle Obama saw Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee on their first time out together).

Imagine this … “Alright! I got the computer ready … wait, the battery’s dead. Let me grab my iPad! Yeah, I heard this is supposed to be really great, didn’t you say you had a crush on … oh, come on! The Wifi is down? I thought I took care of that! Give me a couple of minutes to fix this!”

It just does not work.

Photo by Julien Andrieux on Unsplash

Going to the movies is quite simply magic … even if the movie does not entertain you. I always loved the process of lining up for my ticket (and skimming the list of other flicks that are playing), getting the drinks and popcorn, and picking my seat during the idle pre-showing ads.

Then the lights slightly dim for the previews, and you make remarks to either your friends or self as to whether the movie looks interesting or you plan on skipping it. Then the lights dim all the way until they’re out, save the little ones in the aisle.

Then the real magic begins.

And when it’s over, you leave, and you chat with whoever you came with about what you thought of the movie. Good, bad, whatever, and you marvel about the people attached to the project, and when their next movie is coming out.

Photo by Karen Zhao on Unsplash

The Lord of the Rings remains one of my all-time favorite movies. My love for the trilogy is increased all-the-more whenever I recall the day I went to see the final installment on the big screen on Dec. 20, 2003 … mainly because I felt like I was on my own personal quest towards seeing this film.

From Christmas of 2002 until the day I saw The Return of the King, I was on a metaphorical journey through the trilogy, in which I waited several months for opportunities to see each installment on DVD. This was also accompanied by a move to the home in which I would spend the rest of my childhood. Granted it was from Old Lyme to Lyme, so I would not be dropped somewhere with which I had no familiarity whatsoever, but leaving the place I had spent two thirds of my life was a big deal.

Not exactly like being taken halfway across the country and plopped in a totally foreign environment, like some others experience. But I was leaving the home that I had lived in for nearly nine years — three quarters of my life. It was all I knew.

We moved from Chestnut Hill in April of that year. But we did not move into our eventual home on Hamburg Road until that November. The home’s previous resident had dozens of animals on her property (some of you may be fondly smiling as you will recognize to whom I’m referring) and her new residence was not finished.

We therefore arranged a real estate deal that involved us renting the home to her, and since we had already sold our home, we briefly rented a home on Griswold Point. It was a beautiful home right on the Lieutenant River, and my mother raves that it was her favorite house. The only downside for my brothers and me was … it had no cable. Not something kids want to hear. But no cable meant … more time for The Lord of the Rings.

When we finally moved to Hamburg Road that November, the adaptation of the journey’s end in The Lord of the Rings seemed to go hand-in-hand with the fact that my own residence journey had also ended. All I had to do was wait another month.

But lo and behold, I was never a good student, and I got in trouble academically, resulting in the loss of my media privileges for over a month, which, in turn, meant I could not see The Return of the King.

What a devastating blow to the gut!

However, my mom understood how much this movie meant to me, so she made a compromise: if I went an entire week without a teacher calling to say I was missing homework, my punishment would be lifted (how bad a student do you have to be for a compromise like that?)

Luckily for me, I made it in time, and the Saturday after the film was released, Dec. 20, I ventured off with a friend to the Marquee Cinemas in Westbrook to catch the final installment. I remember standing in the long line, fretting over whether we would find a seat with a good view, drinking all of my soda before the movie started (and subsequently suppressing my need to use the bathroom for the next three hours), and once the movie was over … clapping vigorously when the words ‘The End’ appeared on the screen.

I left the theater more than satisfied.

I left fulfilled.

But I wonder how different this story would be had Netflix started the streaming business back then, and Peter Jackson opted for this method? I could not imagine myself getting hyped up for a groundbreaking movie that I would watch at home, leaning forward on my couch at the TV, no matter how sophisticated the device is?

If this is an action/adventure movie, and special effects are supposed to be out of this world, do I really want to see it on a 50-inch TV, and miss out on the sound system the theaters have? As much as we rave about Game of Thrones and treat each new episode as a social occasion, we can tell the special effects are not of the same quality as those we enjoy in full-length features. It’s almost as if everybody in the entertainment industry understands this.

Should the next Star Wars movie have the option for watching at home, I surely would skip that and go through whatever it might take to see it on the big screen, as it deserves. My plea to Hollywood legends is to not opt for the easier option, regardless of how much profit it might generate.

I certainly pray that if Mr. Spielberg reads this (first, I would faint upon learning he decided to read LymeLine.com!), he continues to respect the importance of the social aspect of movie-going … and that the rest of movie-dom join him in that belief.

Editor’s Note: Top photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

Kevin Ganey

About the Author: Kevin Ganey has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at LymeLine.com, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.

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