Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Public Art

Love this! Please watch this video. It is the beginning of an even more beautiful and interesting Downtown.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Burning Back In

It's been a long time since I've taken to writing on this blog. So long that I'm sure most have stopped reading.  Every so often, I'm inspired to write but don't get around to it. I guess you could say I was burned out. A lot of people are in different ways. While I've decided to focus on the theatre at Arts After Hours, I've had to let other things slide.

Tonight, I decided to break the trend on the writing front. I won't write as often as I used to, but I will try and get some thoughts on here more often.

I just got in from a crazy day. I spent most of the day watching my dad. He is suffering from Alzheimer's and needs 24/7 coverage. When I got back from that, I met up with some DTL folk at Visionspace at Centerboard's HQ in City Hall Square. They had an all female artist gallery opening. The art was awesome, the beer was great, and the company was amazing. Sitting at the table with me were three downtowners. My wife and two of our friends. All three of them are now working on a benefit fashion design show to support our Alzheimer's team for my dad, Team Bill. We talked about my day and got a little sad but at the same time, I was overwhelmed at the support this crew of neighbors is bringing to this cause. It really is one of the special things about living here. This neighborhood is full of such amazing people willing to do so much with and for one another. The event is called a Catwalk to End Alzheimer's. Come and join us. The event is in Marblehead, but will have so much Lynn in it.

The Pizza Bake-off and Dr. Caligari film was also tonight in Central Square. It was so well attended, the music from the Dejas I heard was outstanding and the silent film, accompanied by live musicians from the Devil Music Ensemble, was incredibly unique. I was lucky enough to catch the end. Congrats to the Downtown Lynn Cultural District and DTLna for putting this together.

This was a night that changes the conversation. It's the kind of night you bounce from one amazing thing happening Downtown to another that really makes it start to click. I want to applaud the work of Carla Scheri at Centerboard and Emily Ruddock from DTLCD and the crew at DTLna for making this a night to be proud of in DTL.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Avenue Q Opens March 7th!

March 7-22
Rantoul Black Box Theatre
25 Exchange St.
Lynn, MA

Buy Tickets at or call 781-205-4010

AVENUE Q is a gut-bustingly hilarious, modern musical focusing on a group of unique 20-somethings making their way in the big city, seeking their purpose in life. Although the show addresses humorous adult issues and themes, it is similar to a beloved children's show;  a place where puppets are friends, Monsters are good and life lessons are learned.

Winner of the Tony "Triple Crown" for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, AVENUE Q is part flesh, part felt, and packed with heart. AVENUE Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. He soon discovers that although the residents seem nice, it's clear that this is not your ordinary neighborhood. Together, Princeton and his new-found friends struggle to find jobs, dates, and their ever-elusive purpose in life. With songs like Everyone's A Little Bit Racist, It Sucks To Be Me, and You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want, When You're Making Love, Avenue Q is sure to have you laughing and who knows, you might learn something about yourself along the way.

During the show, collections are made for the "School for Monsters." We will be donating these proceeds plus $5 for each ticket sale if you use the CODES below when ordering your tickets:

Dates and Charities/Promo Code
Fri. March 7…8pm                Girls, Inc - GIRLS
Sat. March 8….4pm               Raw Arts - RAW
Sat. March 8….8pm               Lynn Youth Street Outreach Advocac - LYSOA
Sun. March 9…3pm               Centerboard - CENTERBOARD
Thurs. March 13…8pm         All Care VNA & Hospice - ALLCARE
Fri. March 14…8pm              Lynn Arts - LYNNARTS
Sat. March 15….4pm             Friends of Lynn and Nahant Beach - BEACH
Sat. March 15….8pm             Friends of Lynn Woods - WOODS
Sun. March 16…3pm             My Brother’s Table - TABLE
Thurs. March 20…8pm         Greater Lynn Senior Services - GLSS
Fri. March 21…8pm              Lynn Museum - MUSEUM
Sat. March 22….4pm             Lynn Housing Authority Scholarship Fund - LHAND
Sat. March 22….8pm             United Way - UNITEDWAY

Monday, March 3, 2014

One Piece At A Time: The Johnny Cash Art Show

Featuring work inspired by the life and music of the legendary man in black. This show will exhibit a wide range of content from a large group of emerging and established artists pulling from all over the country.

From fiery to funny to fierce, we will display illustrations and interpretations of an American icon. Where creativity meets music meets the memory of the man.

This is sure to be a killer night of art, music and stories. Invite every outlaw you know, the more the merrier.

visionspace gallery
Saturday March 8th from 6-9pm
16 City Hall Sq. Lynn, MA.
Cash Bar. Light fare will be served.

"People call me wild. Not really though, I'm not.I guess I've never been normal, not what you call Establishment. I'm country."
- Johnny Cash

Support Local Artists.
— at visionspace gallery.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Thank you MAPC, Now Time for Action!

MAPC did an incredible job of looking into the barriers to growth in our Downtown area. They admit much positive change over the past several years but share our frustration at the pace of it all. Advocates for smart equitable growth, if we follow their recommendations, we might get there a bit faster and in an equitable way for all the existing and future neighbors. During a well attended session at Lynn Auditorium several members of the community were able to voice opinions on MAPC's recent project and recommendations for the future of Downtown Lynn. They began by having all 40-50 members of the audience introduce themselves and share one word to describe their vision for Downtown Lynn.

I urge you all to take a look at the website, There are some great tidbits of research and an incredible set of recommendations. To share a quick summary, see below, but on the website they go into much more detail on each point:

MAPC recommendations are the following:
  • Improve coordination and communications of municipal planning and land use development efforts
  • Amend the City of Lynn Zone Ordinance to promote a live-work-play-learn environment       
  • Strengthen existing businesses and attract new ones to encourage downtown development activity and progress
  • Support efforts to make Downtown an arts, culture, and dining destination
  • Make Downtown Lynn more welcoming and improve its appearance
  • Continue to invest in infrastructure improvements that promote redevelopment and improve sustainability
  • Promote community stewardship of Downtown Lynn
  • Detailed action steps and ideas to help achieve these recommendations are as follows.

While nothing is necessarily new, it is validation by our regional planning agency that we're thinking about all the right things.  I would also argue that while the points above are not new, many of the in depth points they make on the "how" are new and a bit more progressive than we typically think.

It's time for action on some of these pressing needs. Reform of the zoning downtown and less usage of our special permitting procedure. City Council should only be necessary in extreme circumstances if zoning is done right.

More housing. More housing. More housing. MAPC estimates the Greater Boston region is going to need 435,000 new units by 2040 in order to remain competitive. Lynn will be responsible for 5-7 thousand of those units. These units need to be the kind that attract young professionals. If we fail to do this, our economy will slug further in to a wasteland. They urge us to grow equitably with a percentage set aside for affordable housing, knowing full well that the existing housing stock downtown is incredibly skewed towards low income. This is a good thing, but the community will also need lots more disposable income in order to thrive. In order for ALL OF IT to thrive together.

One of the best sentiments from MAPC's Executive Director was that the most successful cities across the region are those where mixed income individuals and families are coexisting successfully.

In response to removal of the Lynn Shelter, MAPC was quick to jump all over that. Does a city of 90,000 need a homeless shelter at the urban core. YES. Can any issues be solved by attention from management. YES.

I would also add, did Rossetti's and D'Amici's just open up one block away? YES!  (In full disclosure, I am the Executive Director of two family shelters in Peabody, so I do get a bit enraged when people fail to understand the needs of our neighbors).

In a shining moment, LynnCAM's Cassie Vitali reminded the audience that while we do have a lot of nonprofits and affordable units, we also have a lot of need. The audience applauded that sentiment and we all have to realize, this isn't about leaving anyone behind. This is about success for all of our neighbors.

I look forward to seeing the City take the next step.


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