Nov
27
6:30 PM18:30

Award-winning Author and Boston Globe Op-ed Contributor, Joan Wickersham, Will Talk about her Acclaimed Short-story Collection,"The News from Spain," Tuesday, November 27

Joan Wickersham

Boston Globe columnist and award-winning author, Joan Wickersham, will talk about her latest collection of short stories, The News from Spain, on Tuesday, November 27. The San Francisco  Chronicle called it "Divine." Kirkus Reviews and NPR said it was “one of the best books.” Her 2009 memoir, The Suicide Index: Putting my Father's Death in Order, was a National Book Award finalist and won Salon Book Award. She is also the author of a novel, The Paper Anniversary. 

Wickersham introduced the Pulitzer-prize winning biographer, Megan Marshall, when she was at the South End library in May to present her biography of the poet Elizabeth Bishop,  A Miracle for Breakfast. Wickersham's fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and has been published in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Her op-ed column runs regularly in The Boston Globe. She has published essays and reviews in The Los Angeles Times and The International Herald Tribune; and has read her work on National Public Radio’s On Point and Morning Edition. She also writes frequently about architecture, including The Lurker, a column she created for Architecture Boston magazine.

The author has received the Ploughshares Cohen Award for Best Short Story and has been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. She has taught at Harvard, Emerson, the University of Massachusetts (Boston), and the Bennington Writing Seminars. Joan graduated from Yale with a degree in art history, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

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Nov
29
6:30 PM18:30

Boston Medical Center Pediatricians Will Host Parents and Children at the Library to Talk about Oral Health for Toddlers and Tweens

In the second of two interactive health programs for parents and children at the South End library, a team of excellent local pediatricians will talk with caregivers, parents, grandparents and teachers about their children’s oral health. There will be space for play and crafts during the programs. It offers parents an opportunity to express their concerns about child-rearing in a supportive environment with other parents.

The first program is centered on literacy, reading together and screen time for toddlers and preschoolers. Both events are free to all. For further information, please contact Anne Smart, head librarian, at 617 236-4077 or at asmart@bpl.org.

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Dec
11
6:30 PM18:30

Iran and Syria: Our Enemies or Potential Partners? Prize-winning Foreign Correspondent, Stephen Kinzer, Will Return to the South End Library, Tuesday, December 11

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Stephen Kinzer, a long-time South End resident, will be back at the South End library by popular demand to give us an update about his latest insights, this time into the fraught relationship between the US, Iran and Syria. An October 25 interview with Christopher Lydon on the fraught Middle East situation is linked here. Kinzer’s thought-provoking assessments of foreign-policy matters are rooted in a distinguished career of reporting and managing several New York Times bureaus in, among other places, Istanbul and Berlin. His weekend op-ed pieces in the Boston Globe always offer the reader an unexpected new twist on the usual media story to chew over for the remains of one’s supposed day of rest. Kinzer, who won Columbia University's Maria Moors Cabot prize for outstanding coverage of Latin America, has reported from more than 50 countries on five continents as a foreign correspondent. The Washington Post described him as "among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling." His two decades working for the New York Times placed him at the center of historic events and, at times, in the line of fire.

When Kinzer was the New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua in the 1980s, he covered war and upheaval in Central America and wrote two books about the region, Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, co-authored with Stephen Schlesinger, and Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua, a social and political portrait that The New Yorker called "impressive for the refinement of its writing and also the breadth of its subject matter." In the 1990s, he was posted in Germany and became chief of the Berlin bureau after German unification, from  where he covered the emergence of post-Communist Europe, including wars in the former Yugoslavia.

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As chief of the New York Times bureau in Istanbul, Turkey, he traveling widely in Turkey and in the new nations of Central Asia and the Caucasus, after which he wrote Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds. While in Turkey, Kinzer hosted the country’s first radio show devoted to blues music.  He is the author of the entry on Jelly Roll Morton in The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge.

In 2006 Kinzer published Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq  which describes the 14 times the United States has overthrown foreign governments, why these interventions were carried out and what their long-term effects have been. He has made several trips to Iran, and is the author of All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. Word has it, this book was part of John Kerry's library when he was Secretary of State under the Obama administration. It described, among other events,  how the CIA overthrew Iran's elected government in 1953.

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Kinzer wrote about Africa in his book A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa called it "a fascinating account of a near-miracle unfolding before our very eyes.” Among his later books are The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War and The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire, each of which were the subject of Kinzer's earlier popular talks at the South End library.

After leaving the New York Times, Kinzer taught journalism, political science, and international relations at Northwestern University and Boston University.  In addition to writing a world affairs column for The Boston Globe, he is a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

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Jan
8
6:30 PM18:30

From Page to Stage: Zeitgeist Stage Director David Miller, Will Discuss "Trigger Warning," a New Play about the Impact of a School Shooting from the Perspective of the Shooter's Family

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In the spring of 2019, Zeitgeist Stage Company, a resident theater company at the Boston Center for the Arts, will present the world premiere of Trigger Warning by playwright Jacques Lamarre. Zeitgeist Stage commissioned the play, in which the playwright looks at the impact of a school shooting from the perspective of the shooter’s family. Playwright Lamarre will join Zeitgeist’s award-winning Artistic Director, David Miller, for the event, January’s weather permitting, as he is traveling to Boston from Hartford, CT.

This Page to Stage discussion, a first for the South End Writes author series, will illuminate the process of preparing a script for presentation in a premiere production. It will  include a reading of a scene from the play. Zeitgeist’s Miller, a South End resident, will be on hand, as will some of the actors in the production. 

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Nov
13
6:30 PM18:30

Jessica Keener, Bestselling Novelist ("Night Swim") and Short-story Writer ("Women in Bed") Will Read from her Latest Work, "Strangers in Budapest," Tuesday, November 13, 6:30 PM

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In her second novel, the December 2017 Indy Pick Strangers in Budapest, Jessica Keener delves underneath the surface of the architecturally glittering city of Budapest where the characters are presented with inhabitants who live with the scars inflicted by Communism and the Nazi occupation. A young American family, Annie and Will with a newly adopted child, Leo, moves to Budapest (where the author lived herself), to pursue one of those irresistible business opportunities that popped up after the Communist era ends. In what Library Journal called “a slow burn of an international psychological thriller,” Annie is led into that city’s past as well as her own.

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The author of the national bestseller, Night Swim, Keener grew up in the greater Boston area and devoted the early part of her writing career to short stories. One of them, Recovery, informed by the author’s battle with a life-threatening illness right after she graduated from high school, won a Redbook magazine prize and became part of the award-winning collection, Women In Bed.

The recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for fiction, Keener was listed by the editors of the Pushcart Prize under “outstanding writers.” She has been published in literary magazines and on-line sites such as The Southeast ReviewChariton ReviewNorthwest Corridor, Night Train, Eclectica, Wilderness House Literary Review, Connotation Press,The Nervous Breakdown, and Huffington Post. In the 1990s and 2000s for the Boston Globe Magazine, Poets & Writers, O, The Oprah MagazineInspired HouseCoastal Living and Design New England.

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Acclaimed Playwright and Actress Melinda Lopez Will Talk at the South End Library About Her Recent Work on Tuesday, October 30, 6:30 PM
Oct
30
6:30 PM18:30

Acclaimed Playwright and Actress Melinda Lopez Will Talk at the South End Library About Her Recent Work on Tuesday, October 30, 6:30 PM

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by Kim Clark, FOSEL board member

The acclaimed Boston playwright, Melinda Lopez, will be at the South End library to talk about her work on Tuesday October 30 at 6:30 PM.  Lopez will be introduced by Isabel Alvarez Borland, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, and author of Cuban-American Literature of Exile: From Person to Persona.

Lopez, also an accomplished actress, is recognized as one of the most exciting playwrights currently working in the U.S.  In 2013, she was named the first Playwright-in-Residence at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Before becoming a playwright, Lopez came to the theater as an actress. She launched her career by taking part in readings of new plays at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, MN, and moved on to roles in staged performances. She acted in numerous plays, including Romeo and Juliet at the Portland Stage Company in Portland, ME (1997); A Month in the Country (2002); The Rose Tattoo (2004) and Persephone (2007) at the Huntington.  As an actress attuned to dialogue, Lopez wondered if she might do more than interpret the stories of others if she had her own compelling stories to tell? 

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Early forays into writing plays, primarily about her family, were encouraging. She was accepted into the MFA Playwrighting Program at Boston University where Nobel Prize-winning poet and author, Derek Walcott, was her mentor. Her play, Sonia Flew, debuted at the Huntington in 2004 and was awarded both the IRNE and Eliot Norton Awards for Best New Play in that year. Sonia Flew has since been produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, the San Jose (CA) Repertory Theatre and other theater companies. Lopez's other plays include Becoming Cuba (Huntington Theatre, 2014), Caroline in Jersey (Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA 2009) and Alexandros (Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach, CA 2008).

Her poignant and powerful one-character play Mala, the only one of her works in which she also appears, debuted at ArtsEmerson Boston in 2016 and won the 2016 Eliot Norton Award for Best New Play. Mala has also been performed at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis (2017) and at the Huntington (2018).

Lopez is currently working on an adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s 1934 classic Yerma, set to be staged at the Huntington Theatre in June 2019. She likes to feel that a play must have 'heart and compassion, must celebrate the human condition,' whether she is the author, a cast member or, as with Yerma, the translator and adaptor. She feels that theater is at its best when a play explores the existential questions of life and living.

 

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Oct
23
6:30 PM18:30

Boston medical Center Pediatricians Will Host and Interactive Program on Children's Health for Parents and Children: Literacy, Reading Together and Screen Time for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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A team of Boston Medical Center pediatricians will be at the South End library to offer advice and suggestions in two interactive programs for parents and children. The first one-hour program will take place on Tuesday, October 23, at 6:30 PM, and center on literacy, reading together, and screen time for the young and very young. The second will take place on Tuesday, November 29 at 6:30 PM, and focus on oral health for toddlers and tweens.

Parents can share concerns about child-rearing in a supportive environment with guidance from three top-notch local pediatricians. There will be space for play and crafts during the program. Teachers, parents, caregivers and grandparents are all welcome. For further information, contact head librarian, Anne Smart, at 617 536-8241 or at asmart@bpl.org.

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Oct
9
6:30 PM18:30

Randolph Fuller, Opera Aficionado and Co-founder of Odyssey Opera, Will Stand in for Odyssey Conductor Gil Rose, Who Had to Cancel the Tuesday Talk Due to a Scheduling Conflict

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Randolph Fuller, a passionate opera fan and financial backer of Odyssey Opera, has graciously offered to stand in for Odyssey’s conductor Gil Rose, who had to cancel his Tuesday, October 9 appearance at the South End library due to a last-minute scheduling conflict. Rose emailed FOSEL to say Fuller would be “very entertaining,” and hopes to return himself at a later time.

On Tuesday, Fuller will focus on the 19th-century French composer Charles Gounod’s most famous opera, Faust, first performed at La Scala in 1862. When the Metropolitan Opera in New York City opened in 1883, Gounod’s Faust was its premier performance. This year is the composer’s 200th anniversary of his birth. Fuller has asked for a CD player to accompany his talk so the sound of opera will resound in the library’s community room on Tuesday, October 9 at 6:30 PM.

  Randolph Fuller talking to an engaged audience last year about Boston’s distinguished history with opera companies and the sad demise of the Opera House, formerly on Huntington Avenue.

Randolph Fuller talking to an engaged audience last year about Boston’s distinguished history with opera companies and the sad demise of the Opera House, formerly on Huntington Avenue.

Last October, Rose and Fuller discussed the 2017-18 Trial by Fire performances of Odyssey Opera, five operas by different composers, each focused on the life of Joan of Arc. Fuller, a longtime South End resident and local benefactor, gave an erudite talk about the history of opera in Boston, an art form he's been in love with since he was nine, when his parents took him to see Die Fledermaus at the Boston Opera House.

Odyssey’s 2018-19 season includes two of Gounod’s operas. The first, The Queen of Sheba, received a glowing write-up from Boston Classic Review; the next, The Doctor In Spite of Himself  will be preformed at the Huntington Theatre on November 9 and 11. Odyssey's three spring 2019 operas are inspired by "the face that launched a thousand ships," Helen of Troy: Paris and Helen by Christoph Willibald Gluck (2/15 and 2/17); The Egyptian Helen by Richard Strauss (4/19); and The Beautiful Helen by Jacques Offenbach (6/14 and 6/16).

  Artistic director/conductor Gil Rose greeting admirers at last year’s Odyssey Opera event at the South End library

Artistic director/conductor Gil Rose greeting admirers at last year’s Odyssey Opera event at the South End library

Fuller recommends the following readings on Faust: by Thomas Mann (Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkuhn As Told by a Friend); Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust); and a short story by Stephen Vincent Benet (The Devil and Daniel Webster).

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Award-winning Novelist of Domestic Drama, Randy Susan Meyers ("The Murderer's Daughter," "Accidents of Marriage"), Will Read from "The Widow of Wall Street," Based on the Bernie Madoff Case
Sep
25
6:30 PM18:30

Award-winning Novelist of Domestic Drama, Randy Susan Meyers ("The Murderer's Daughter," "Accidents of Marriage"), Will Read from "The Widow of Wall Street," Based on the Bernie Madoff Case

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Randy Susan Meyers, known for her novels of domestic drama, will present her latest work, The Widow of Wall Street, on Tuesday, September 25, at the South End library at 6:30 PM. Her novels, international bestsellers, are informed by years of working with families impacted by violence, and represent her personal long journey from idolizing 'bad boys' to loving a good man. Her most recent work, a novella called, 19 Myths About Cheating, also will be available at the event.

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The Widow of Wall Street, her fourth novel, was called an “engrossing emotional journey” by Kirkus Review, and “compelling” by the Associated Press. Library Journal wrote it was  “..full of deceit, scandal, and guilt.." and that it "..expertly explores how rising to the top only to hit rock bottom affects a family. The consequences will leave readers reeling.” Meyers, who calls her latest book a roman à clef, a form of fiction she enjoys reading herself, delves into the role of Ruth Madoff, wife to Bernie, of the infamous Ponzi scheme.

The author won the 2015 Must Read Fiction Massachusetts Book Award for her earlier work, Accidents of Marriage. The Boston Globe reviewer said the book, which explores emotional abuse in a family living in a Jamaica Plain Victorian, a 'complex, captivating tale.'  It was chosen by People Magazine as "Pick of the Week." 

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The Boston Globe called Meyers's second novel, The Comfort of Lies, as “..sharp and biting, and sometimes wickedly funny when the author skewers Boston’s class and neighborhood dividing lines." In addition to her debut novel, The Murderer's Daughters, Meyers has published an author's guide called What To Do Before Your Book Launch. The Los Angeles Times called The Murderer's Daughters a "knock-out debut." Meyers's novels have been chosen twice by the Massachusetts Center for the Book as "Must Read Fiction,” and she has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award twice, as well.

 In a 2010 article published in the U.K., Meyers disclosed her own father tried to kill her mother when she was four. She described in the interview how domestic violence affected her family for decades after.

 

 

 

 

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Sep
11
9:00 PM21:00

Library Park Now Under Reconstruction: Due to Re-open in Mid-fall

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Library Park has been under construction since late July and is expected to be completed sometime in early fall. According to Lauren Bryant, the project direct for the park's reconstruction, the contractor will demolish the items in the park that will be replaced, like the bluestone pavement and the brick seating areas.

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Then the concrete pavement will be built (currently almost completed) and new benches, tables installed, as well as previous wrought-iron seating.  Trees will be pruned and the soil will be amended. Any further updates will be reflected on this website. 

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Iory Allison, Author, Bon Vivant and Restaurateur, Will Introduce Book Three of the "Glamour Galore Trilogy: The Mermaid and the Sailor," Tuesday, September 11, 6:30 PM
Sep
4
6:30 PM18:30

Iory Allison, Author, Bon Vivant and Restaurateur, Will Introduce Book Three of the "Glamour Galore Trilogy: The Mermaid and the Sailor," Tuesday, September 11, 6:30 PM

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How to describe Iory Allison? 

Here's a good try: a world traveler, blogger, husband to Leo Romero of Back Bay's Casa Romero, admirer of beautiful spaces created by friends or the ancients in countries elsewhere, a bon vivant who has just completed the Glamour Galore Trilogy with Book Three, titled The Mermaid and the Sailor? Come and hear for yourself on Tuesday, September 11 at 6:30 PM.  

Check out the website: the blog posts about World Travels, the Homes of his Creative Friends, the Portraits of Interesting People, his Visits to Beautiful Gardens, Woods and Fields, the recent March for Our Lives. 

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Aug
20
8:30 AM08:30

Longterm Effort to Redo Library Park Is Now Bearing Fruit: The Park's Reconstruction Is Underway; Park Will Re-open Sometime In the Fall

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In late July, the longterm effort by FOSEL to redesign and refresh the park finally bore fruit: Construction equipment arrived and workers began to dismantle the broken pavement and brick seating areas.  According to Lauren Bryant of the Parks Department, the contractor will then put in the concrete pavement, install new benches and tables and put back in the metal seats that had been there before.  At some point during the process prune the trees will be pruned and the soil will be amended once the paving work is complete. The park is expected to re-open in mid-fall.

 

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July 10, 6:30 PM: Library Park Summer Jazz & Blues Concert with Pat Loomis, Starring Internationally Celebrated Saxophonist Elan Trotman
Jul
10
6:30 PM18:30

July 10, 6:30 PM: Library Park Summer Jazz & Blues Concert with Pat Loomis, Starring Internationally Celebrated Saxophonist Elan Trotman

Join us in Library Park on Tuesday July 10 at 6:30 PM, to celebrate the upcoming renovations of the park and the library with one of our fabulous Jazz & Blues summer concerts headlined by Pat Loomis and his FriendsFast footwork by bandleader Loomis is bringing the internationally acclaimed saxophonist ELAN TROTMAN to the Library Park, part of a new FOSEL/Loomis initiative to make the summer concerts more spectacular, yet. The first 'Special Guest' is the contemporary jazz musician, Trotman, known for blending Caribbean rhythms from his roots with skillful horn textures.  Born in Barbados, the award-winning musician and best-selling recording artist was educated at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston.  "He's one of the hottest guys on the scene and we're very fortunate to get him," Loomis said.

Free to all. We serve fresh watermelon. Bring your own chairs to compliment the one we'll set out. 

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Author and Renowned Harvard Health Policy Professor, David Hemenway, Will Discuss Gun Violence's Public Health Implications, with an Introduction by Police Commissioner, Bill Evans
Jun
5
6:30 PM18:30

Author and Renowned Harvard Health Policy Professor, David Hemenway, Will Discuss Gun Violence's Public Health Implications, with an Introduction by Police Commissioner, Bill Evans

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David Hemenway, Professor of Health Policy at Harvard University, has written widely on injury prevention, including articles on firearms, violence, suicide, child abuse, motor vehicle crashes, fires, falls and fractures.  He will be at the South End library on Tuesday, June 5, at 6:30 PM. The author will be introduced by  Boston's Police Commissioner, Bill Evans, known for  his long-standing commitment to reducing gun violence and removing as many guns from the streets of Boston as possible.

Hemenway, who is director of Harvard's Injury Control Research Center, comments frequently on the links between gun violence and public health, including in connection with the Las Vegas shootings, most recently for the Boston Globe, linked here. After the Parkland, FL, school massacre, he was quoted in the Washington Post, commenting on the importance of reversing the Dickey Amendment and releasing Congressional funding to study gun safety and public health. Hemenway  headed the pilot for the National Violent Death Reporting System, which provides detailed and comparable information on suicide and homicide. In 2012 he was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention as one of the “twenty most influential injury and violence professionals over the past twenty years.” His 2006 book, Private Guns, Public Health, describes the public health approach to reducing firearm violence, and summarizes the scientific studies on the firearms and health. His  2009 While You Were Sleeping: Success Stories in Injury and Violence Prevention details numerous ways in which a public-health approach can make the world a safer place. 

 

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Allegra Goodman, Award-winning Novelist, Short-story Writer and Essayist, Will Read from her Latest Book, The Chalk Artist, on Tuesday, May 22
May
22
6:30 PM18:30

Allegra Goodman, Award-winning Novelist, Short-story Writer and Essayist, Will Read from her Latest Book, The Chalk Artist, on Tuesday, May 22

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Allegra Goodman, a New York Times bestselling author whose new work fiction, The Chalk Artist, is set in Cambridge and focused on the world of on-line gaming, was quoted in the Boston Globe a year or two ago as being a mother of four whose favorite app for reading is a physical book. She uses the phone. She reads the paper version of the New York Times. She doesn't text. Her husband is an MIT computer scientist. She will be at the South End library on May 22, 2018, and you can ask her whether all of that still holds. 

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An award-winning novelist (the Whiting Writer's Award in 1991; the Salon Award 1996; and a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study), Goodman has written two short-story collections (The Family Markowitz and Total Immersion) and half a dozen novels, including Kaaterskill Falls, a National Book Award finalist. Her short stories have been anthologized in, among other publications, The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories; The New Yorker magazine's September 11, 2017, issue features one of her short stories, F.A.Q., part of a series of about different members of the fictional Rubinstein family living in the Greater Boston area, in this case, focused on one of the youngest. A previous one, called Apple Cake, centered on the dying matriarch, displays the author's astounding ear for comic dialogue and unmatched empathy and understanding of family  conflict. Goodman studied philosophy at Harvard University and holds a PhD in English literature from Stanford. 

 

 

 

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Megan Marshall, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Biographer of Margaret Fuller, Will Read from her New Biography of Elizabeth Bishop, With an Introduction by Author Joan Wickersham
May
8
6:30 PM18:30

Megan Marshall, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Biographer of Margaret Fuller, Will Read from her New Biography of Elizabeth Bishop, With an Introduction by Author Joan Wickersham

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Megan Marshall, who once lived on Rutland Square right next to the South End library, will return here on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, to read from the biography of her former professor, the poet Elizabeth Bishop. Called Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, the poet is the first 20th-century woman Marshall has written about. Her previous biographies focussed on women with spectacular lives from the 19th century, such as Margaret Fuller (Margaret Fuller: A New American Life) and The Peabody Sisters.  Marshall came to the South End library two years ago to talk about the Margaret Fuller biography for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. She will be introduced by her colleague, author Joan Wickersham (The News from Spain; The Suicide Index)

The California-born biographer who came east to study New England literary culture first met Elizabeth Bishop when the poet came as a guest to a poetry workshop Marshall attended by Robert Lowell at Harvard in 1975. Shortly thereafter, Marshall took Bishop's last Advanced Verse Writing workshop. Bishop died three years later. According to her web site, Marshall intertwined the Bishop biography with her own coming-of-age-as-a-writer story.

Marshall has made the study of women's stories her life's work, as detailed in an interview with the MAKER's blog, linked here. She was the Gilder Lehrman Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library in 2014-15. She has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She teaches nonfiction writing and archival research in the MFA program at Emerson College where she has been named the first Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor. An elected Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, she also serves on the boards of the Margaret Fuller Society, the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society, the Copyright Clearance Center, and is a member of the Usage Panel for the American Heritage Dictionary. 

 

 

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"Mars on Earth," an Exhibit about Utah's Mars Desert Research Station by Photographer/Conceptual Artist Cassandra Klos on Display at the Jamaica Plain Library through April
Apr
30
10:00 AM10:00

"Mars on Earth," an Exhibit about Utah's Mars Desert Research Station by Photographer/Conceptual Artist Cassandra Klos on Display at the Jamaica Plain Library through April

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The recently reopened Jamaica Plain branch of the BPL has a beautiful new exhibit space devoted to a rotating crop of exceptional artists managed jointly by the JP Friends, the BPL and Uforge Gallery. The current display is by Cassandra Klos, a Boston-based photographer and conceptual artist, who was artist-in-residence at the Mars Desert Research Station, a space analog facility in Utah that supports Earth-based research in pursuit of the technology, operations, and science required for human space exploration.

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With prototype space suits and diets consisting only of freeze-dried food, people from around the globe dedicate weeks, or months, of their lives simulating the Mars environment to further the study of leaving Earth behind. Klos’s photographs of the project blur the lines between reality and science-fiction, depicting red desert landscapes, lonely astronauts, space station gadgets, and starry skies. 

A 2016 exhibit by Klos in the Griffin Museum in Winchester, MA, titled The Abductees, focused on Betty and Barney Hill, an interracial couple whose lives were forever altered after their controversial alien abduction in 1961 while driving through the White Mountains of New Hampshire at night. 

Klos studied art and psychology at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Her projects focus on manipulating the validity of photography and creating dual realities that breathe life into situations where visual manifestations may not be available. Along with several group and solo exhibitions, her work has been published in The Atlantic and The Boston Globe, and her photojournalism reporting has been published in TIME Magazine and Wired.

Cassandra Klos: Mars on Earth is on view from March 2 through April 30, 2018. The newly renovated Jamaica Plain library is open Monday-Wednesday 10-6, Thursday 12-8, and Friday-Saturday 9-5 (closed Sundays). The exhibition space is located on the lower level.

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South End Resident William Kuhn, Author of the Bestseller, "Mrs. Queen Takes the Train." Will Read from His New Coming-of-Age Novel, "Prince Harry Boy to Man," Tuesday, April 10 at 6:30 PM
Apr
10
6:30 PM18:30

South End Resident William Kuhn, Author of the Bestseller, "Mrs. Queen Takes the Train." Will Read from His New Coming-of-Age Novel, "Prince Harry Boy to Man," Tuesday, April 10 at 6:30 PM

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By Michael Cox, FOSEL board member

William Kuhn, bestselling novelist and South End resident, will read from his latest book, Prince Harry Boy to Man, on Tuesday, April 10, at 6:30 PM. Kuhn has long explored the interior lives of high-ranking people, both in fiction and non-fiction. In the process he’s given readers a new perspective on the way we view 'noblesse oblige.' 

In addition to serious, scholarly research, Kuhn has written biographies of prominent figures, like Jackie Kennedy Onassis (Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books) and Benjamin Disraeli (The Politics of Pleasure: A Portrait of Benjamin Disraeli), as well as quirky people you’ve probably never heard of, like Henry and Mary Ponsonby and their life in the court of Queen Victoria. His first novel, Mrs. Queen Take the Train – a book about the scandal that erupts when a bored Queen Elizabeth strolls out of the palace in search of a little adventure – became a bestseller that was quickly optioned to be a motion picture. Of course this is remarkable but not surprising. Mrs. Queen is a delightful comic escapade, exposing the private side of the royalty without ever becoming vulgar. Unlike most of the political parody coming out of the UK, Kuhn’s novel shows the royalty with their hair down, not their pants – imagine Love Actually meets The Crown, as though Nick Hornsby (About a Boy) teamed up with Julian Fellows (Downton Abbey). 

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The author continues his tradition of ebulliently imagining history in his latest book, the lighthearted coming-of-age novel Prince Harry Boy to Man. In it Prince Henry of Wales is a young man battling the anxiety of his public responsibilities against the virility of his wild oats. He attempts to prove himself with his deployment to Afghanistan.

Kuhn mines his experience working in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle to tell a satirical story of how an irresponsible prince stumbles on his vocation. In addition, the author will share personal anecdotes, including his impressions of a Christmas party at Buckingham Palace.

The event is free. The South End library is fully handicapped accessible. We serve refreshments. Books will be available for borrowing, sale and signing. Seating is limited.

 

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The Proposed Re-design of the Re-design of Library Park Will be Presented to the South End Landmark District Commissioners Tuesday, April 3, at 5:30 PM
Apr
3
5:30 PM17:30

The Proposed Re-design of the Re-design of Library Park Will be Presented to the South End Landmark District Commissioners Tuesday, April 3, at 5:30 PM

The Boston Parks Department will present a revised proposal for the reconstruction of Library Park next Tuesday, April 3 at 5:30 PM at City Hall's Fifth Floor Piemonte Room. At the previous presentation in January to the South End Landmark District Commission, the project director, Lauren Bryant, was asked to come back with an amended proposal to include the commissioners' concerns about protection of the park's oak trees root systems, easy flow of foot traffic unimpeded by park furniture and an upgraded, more interesting hardscape that would include some details of typical South End materials like brick, slate or bluestone. The redesign of the redesign was different enough to require a second public hearing about Library Park's future, which was held at the South End library on Wednesday, March 22.

 

  The proposed re-design for Library Park that will be presented to the South End Landmark District Commission on Tuesday, April 3 at 5:30 PM

The proposed re-design for Library Park that will be presented to the South End Landmark District Commission on Tuesday, April 3 at 5:30 PM

The March 22nd public hearing solicited a number of comments, including a request to create more intimate spaces through seating and paving areas. There was a question about what to do with the granite blocks that are a play opportunity for kids, but uncomfortable to sit on; a request to inset tables with game boards; and a concern that the seating feels restrictive given that it lines both sides of the plaza. The single chairs of the current park appear to be in good shape and will be re-used and matched in style with additional curved benches, cafe tables and chairs. The oak trees will be pruned.

A large part of the work will be devoted to improving the park's infrastructure, including the clean-up of the site, underneath which there is expected to be a great deal of remnants from previous housing, including oil tanks and a lot of bricks. The soil will be improved and re-graded to enhance future landscaping. Another important aspect of the reconstruction will be groundwater management and water filtration to benefit root systems of trees, shrubs and plantings.  

At the first public hearing in November last year, Parks Department's Bryant and Brandon Kunkel, landscape architect with the Weston & Sampson design and engineering firm, presented attendees with three proposals. The one below was favored by the audience and was presented to Landmarks in January, but has been altered to comply with Landmarks's comments.  

  The re-design of Library Park proposed in January but not accepted by South End Landmark commissioners concerned about root system protection, foot traffic flow and the quality of the concrete hardscape.

The re-design of Library Park proposed in January but not accepted by South End Landmark commissioners concerned about root system protection, foot traffic flow and the quality of the concrete hardscape.

After deducting the cost of design services, the remaining budget for the reconfiguration is $115,000, a small amount, which will be augmented with private fundraising efforts by the Friends of the South End Library until a more comprehensive renovation of library and park will take place in the next few years. Further information about the current project can be obtained at the Parks Department website, linked here.

 

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The 11th Annual Friends of the South End Library Easter Egg Hunt Will Take Place on Sunday, April 1 (No Kidding) at 11:00 AM, Ending at 11:03 AM (Just Kidding)
Apr
1
11:00 AM11:00

The 11th Annual Friends of the South End Library Easter Egg Hunt Will Take Place on Sunday, April 1 (No Kidding) at 11:00 AM, Ending at 11:03 AM (Just Kidding)

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The next South End Library Easter Egg Hunt will take place, rain or shine (well...if it's a Nor'easter we might reconsider) in Library Park on April 1 between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. In reality, it will be over by 11:03 AM as the crowd of children that breaks through the fence at 11:00 AM sharp is primed for the hunt, as the image above attests.

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There will be more than 1,500 eggs filled with chocolate eggs, poems and knock-knock jokes (after all, we are a library Friends group), and delicious baked goods, coffee and lemonade will be available for all. We will have sectioned of a safe space for the defenseless very young children who would otherwise be run over by their older and intensely focused friends. The Easter Bunny has been convinced to do it one more time and apparently can't wait for the Hunt: it is the Bunny's favorite event of the year. 

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We have some free baskets for those who can't find the ones from last year. They can be taken home and do not have to be returned. As always, we request and usually receive a police presence from our officers at Area D4. The gates will be closed until the countdown at 10:59:30 AM. Balloons decorating the fences can be taken home as well. 

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This is usually the first event after the New England winter season has ended, and likely the last in Library Park as it is now constituted. If the weather gods are with us, it should be a lovely day, and a good farewell to the old and tired park. Next year in...well, maybe not Jerusalem but certainly in a better green space at the corner of Tremont Street and Rutland Square.

 

 

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State Rep. Byron Rushing, will talk about "My Life and Debt in the Massachusetts State House," Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 PM, with an introduction by State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz
Mar
27
6:30 PM18:30

State Rep. Byron Rushing, will talk about "My Life and Debt in the Massachusetts State House," Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 PM, with an introduction by State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz

The South End's longtime State Representative, Byron Rushing, will be at the library on Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 PM to reflect about his years as a Massachusetts legislator for the Ninth Suffolk District in a talk titled, My Life and Debt in the Massachusetts State House. He will be introduced by his colleague, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz. When Rushing gave the lecture at the 30th W.E.B DuBois Address in the Community Church of Boston a few years ago, it was pointed out that "the earliest African American elected public officials in the United States were from districts in New England" and  the legislator will "reflect on his political career in the context of the definitions of race and slavery and inclusion from the 'beginnings' until the current realities of electoral representative democratic politics."  Rushing, currently the Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts State House, has represented the Ninth Suffolk district since 1983, succeeding the influential South End social justice activist, Mel King, who spoke at the South End library last year.

In 2010, Rushing was appointed a trustee of the Boston Public Library by Mayor Thomas Menino, who was under fire at the time over his unfortunate attempt to close up to a third of the BPL branches. His appointment was seen by library advocates as a signal that, as long as Rushing was a BPL trustee, no libraries would be closed in Boston, which is roughly what happened. (One branch library in South Boston was closed as part of the demolition of the Old Colony housing project where it had been located, and two other branches, in East Boston, were also shuttered, but replaced within a few years with a splendid new and very popular East Boston library.)  

During his distinguished legislative career focused on social justice, Rushing sponsored the law to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public schools, as well as the original gay rights bill in Massachusetts. He also led the effort for Massachusetts state pension funds to invest in the development of poor communities in the state.

  State representative Byron Rushing and his wife, Frieda Garcia

State representative Byron Rushing and his wife, Frieda Garcia

From 1972 to 1985, Rushing was president of the Museum of Afro-American History, when it purchased and began the restoration of the African Meeting House, the oldest  black church building in the United States. In 1979, Rushing oversaw the lobbying effort in Congress to establish the Boston African American National Historical Site, a component of the National Park Service. Byron led the Museum in the study of the history of Roxbury for which the Museum conducted the archaeological investigation of the Southwest Corridor for the MBTA. As a legislator he sponsored the creation of Roxbury Heritage State Park and occasionally leads walking tours of African American and working class neighborhoods in Boston and Roxbury. 

A graduate of Harvard College and MIT, Rushing is an elected deputy to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church; a founding member of the Episcopal Urban Caucus; and serves on the boards of the Episcopal Women's Caucus and the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice. His priorities are and have been human and civil rights and liberties; local human, economic and housing development; environmental justice and health care. 

 

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A Second Public Hearing is Scheduled on Thursday, March 22, 6:30 PM, to Consider Library Park's Re-design in Response to South End Landmark Commission's Comments
Mar
22
6:30 PM18:30

A Second Public Hearing is Scheduled on Thursday, March 22, 6:30 PM, to Consider Library Park's Re-design in Response to South End Landmark Commission's Comments

 Library Park in the summer, when colorful planters ameliorate an otherwise severely deteriorated green space.

Library Park in the summer, when colorful planters ameliorate an otherwise severely deteriorated green space.

On Thursday, March 22, at 6:30 PM, a second public hearing at the South End library will be held to consider changes to the proposed redesign of Library Park. That design, pictured below, was presented to the South End Historic District Commission (SEHDC) on January 2 by Parks Department's project manager Lauren Bryant.

 The proposed redesign which, though favored by audience participants at the November public hearing, had to be amended after comments by South End Landmarks commissioners. 

The proposed redesign which, though favored by audience participants at the November public hearing, had to be amended after comments by South End Landmarks commissioners. 

Commissioner John Amodeo expressed concerns about how to best  protect the root system of an oak tree near a to-be-expanded patio between the library and the park. The Landmarks request led to a design change substantial enough that another hearing allowing the public to comment is needed, said Bryant in a phone conversation last week. Additional suggestions by Commissioner Amodeo referred to park furniture that might impinge on a easy flow of foot traffic, and how to enrich the proposed new concrete pathways. The latter could be accomplished by adding 'accents' in materials that are historically appropriate for the South End landmarks district, such as thermal bluestone, or brick, Amodeo said. An alley way between the South End's Cathedral gymnasium and high school features such improvements, enlivening an otherwise dull concrete surface. 

  Library Park is a popular 'outside living room' for children's events, sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library and the South End branch

Library Park is a popular 'outside living room' for children's events, sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library and the South End branch

At the first public hearing in November last year, Bryant and Brandon Kunkel, landscape architect with the Weston & Sampson design and engineering firm, presented attendees with three proposals for Library Park's overhaul. Two designs preserved the current layout of the park, while the third offered a different configuration. The latter was the one favored by the audience but has been altered to comply with Landmarks's comments. 

After deducting the cost of design services, the remaining budget for the reconfiguration is $115,000, a small amount, which will be augmented with private fundraising efforts by the Friends of the South End Library until a more comprehensive renovation of library and park will take place in the next few years. Further information about the current project can be obtained at the Parks Department website, linked here. 

 

 

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South End Historical Society's Lauren Prescott to Talk about "Boston's South End," a Postcard History, With an Introduction by District Councilor Frank Baker
Feb
27
6:30 PM18:30

South End Historical Society's Lauren Prescott to Talk about "Boston's South End," a Postcard History, With an Introduction by District Councilor Frank Baker

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By Kim Clark, FOSEL board member

On Tuesday February 27 at 6:30 PM, the South End Writes will host Lauren Prescott, executive director of the South End Historical Society, who will introduce her first book, Boston’s South End, published in January.  It illustrates the story of the South End neighborhood through vintage postcards that depict a series of local scenes and landmarks that define the feel and flavor of the neighborhood. She will be introduced by District 3 City Councilor Frank Baker who, with district councilors 2 and 7, Ed Flynn and Kim Janey, respectively, represent different parts of the South End on the Boston City Council. 

Drawing from the approximately 200 postcards that she discovered in the SEHS collection archive, augmented by photos that were also in the collection, Prescott presents an intimate and charming view of South End history, illustrated by pictures of private residences, schools and churches, theaters and nightclubs, businesses, industries and more. Many of the buildings shown are, sadly, no longer in existence but a number of them remain and, thankfully, continue to house families and businesses.

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Many postcards date from what is known as the "golden age of postcards," a period from about 1898 to 1915. Postcards were so popular during that era that demographic records show that in 1905, some seven billion postcards were mailed around the world. The number of postcards in circulation, which did not calculate those created by businesses for advertising purposes or the collections of individuals, is truly astounding when we consider that the world population during first decade of the 1900s is estimated to have been 'only' 1.7 billion.

Prescott was born and raised in New Bedford, MA. She is a public historian, who received a B.A. in History at UMass Amherst and M.A. in Public History at UMass Boston. She has previously served as a Collections Management Intern at the Arlington Historical Society. In 2015, she became temporary administrator at SEHS but advanced to executive director in May 2016. The postcard collection, which was donated in 2012 and contains a number of unique examples, inspired her to choose this art form as the innovative theme for her book.

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Prescott hopes that the postcard history will raise the profile of SEHS, which was founded in 1966. Her primary goal is to make the collection more accessible to researchers and neighborhood residents. She also plans to explore and catalogue SEHS documents, photographs, maps and related historical records, and create “finding aids" that will make it possible for researchers to determine through an online search whether certain items are available at SEHS, and deserve a visit for further research. Her long-term vision is to establish SEHS as a true archive and research library, one that offers valuable information through its collections.

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Located in a classic and totally funky Victorian town house at 532 Massachusetts Avenue, Prescott invites all to visit the SEHS and join neighbors and friends in the Drawing Room to hear an enlightening lecture on local history or meet there to start a neighborhood walking tour. For a schedule of events and more information,  please visit http://www.southendhistoricalsociety.org.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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You're invited to the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the South end Library: Elect a new board, meet BPL president David Leonard, and hear the latest about library and park renovation
Jan
30
6:30 PM18:30

You're invited to the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the South end Library: Elect a new board, meet BPL president David Leonard, and hear the latest about library and park renovation

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The Friends of the South End Library will propose their next board on Tuesday, January 30 at 6:30 PM at the South End branch and you, the audience will have the last word.  Among those attending will be BPL president David Leonard, who also serves on the Friends' Honorary Fundraising Committee.

FOSEL voting members who are directors  serve one-year terms while the officers (president, treasurer and clerk), stay on for two years. It is a diverse volunteer board, united in its commitment to the well-being of the South End branch. Some members are more active than others at different times, depending on their personal and professional obligations, but each has contributed to the improvement of the library. This year, all the terms are up, so new officers and directors will be elected and/or re-elected by none other than you, the audience.

The proposed slate for the 2018-2020 term is as follows:

Officers: Kim Clark, clerk; Marleen Nienhuis, president; Barbara Sommerfeld, treasurer.

Directors: Gary Bailey; Marilyn Davillier; Maura Harrington; Licia Sky; Duncan Will.

Advisors: Liane Crawford; Susanna Coit; Michael Fox; Don Haber; Ed Hostetter; Stephen Fox; Michelle Laboy; Jackie McRath; Jon Santiago; Anne Smart; Lois Russell; Karen Watson

Who Are the Candidates?

VOTING BOARD:

Kim Clark: Kim is the founder of Polished Professionals Boston, a consulting practice that provides business strategy development and marketing solutions. She facilitates strategy-planning sessions in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors and instructs aspiring entrepreneurs in the process of writing business plans. Kim is experienced in marketing and sales, creating and implementing strategic plans; participating in branding campaigns; forging relationships with decision makers and strategic partners; participating in the launch of new products; and managing a high-volume sales territory.

Marleen Nienhuis: Marleen became a library advocate when she moved to West Newton Street in 2003 from Durham Street and found the small branch within walking distance. She formalized an already existing and devoted South End Library Friends group into a 501C3 non-profit in 2008, enabling it to raise funds for programming. With many others, she fought the proposed library closures in 2010. With the first FOSEL board, she organized the South End Writes author series, the summer jazz concerts, the Library Park Easter Egg Hunt and raised funds for various programs the South End library staff requested. She resigned as president of FOSEL in 2010, but returned as FOSEL president in 2016. Before becoming a library advocate, she was treasurer and president of the Friends of Titus Sparrow Park in the 1990s when the park was lobbying for its renovation, and helped create the Titus Sparrow Park summer programming for children, and the music programs. She is the membership chair of the Rutland Square Association.

Barbara Sommerfeld: Barbara has lived in the South End for 45 years and raised two sons in the neighborhood. Now retired, after a career in elementary school teaching and text publishing, she received her MBA from Northeastern University and worked on the business side of non-profit organizations for 35 years. She has served as the treasurer of FOSEL since 2010.  She was a tutor for K-3 reading program at St. Stephens’s after-school program and is currently tutoring at the Blackstone School reading program run by Generations, Inc. Barbara is proud of the staff and programs of the South End library and welcomes the opportunity to continue her association with this pillar of the neighborhood.

Gary Bailey: Gary is Professor of Practice at Simmons College School of Social Work where he directs the Urban Leadership and Clinical Social Work Certificate Program and coordinates the Dynamics of Racism and Oppression Sequence. He has a secondary appointment at the Simmons College School of Nursing and Health Sciences, where he also serves as Special Assistant to the Dean for Inter-Professional Education. Gary has a Faculty Affiliate appointment at Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care and is a consultant to Fenway Health Department of Behavioral Health, among his many affiliations. In addition, he is a member of several local boards, including the Fenway High School, the Friends of Harriet Tubman Park, and the Friends of Titus Sparrow Park. He is a trustee of the Union United Methodist Church, and a member of the Union United Methodist Church Leadership Team. Gary is interested in the issue of homelessness as they affect libraries.

Marilyn Davillier: Marilyn is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Boston and an internationally known clinician in Child-Parent Mental Health. She provides therapeutic and consultation services for parenting support, child treatment and family mental health. She is the co-director and curriculum coordinator for the Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Program at University of Massachusetts, Boston. She and her husband, child development researcher Edward Tronick, have been South End residents since 2003. They are keen to develop a series of parenting forums that pulls from their combined professional expertise, as a public service to their South End neighbors.

Maura Harrington: Maura moved to the South End in 2013 but lived her entire life in greater Boston. Her professional career as a Group Health Underwriter for Prudential Insurance was paused to devote time to raising two children, now 21 and 23. Maura devotes her time to the CARES Pastoral Ministry and the Rainbow Ministry at St. Cecilia Parish. The main focus of her efforts are the rights and needs of the elderly, the homeless and the LGBTQ community. She has worked on the improvement and conservation of neighborhood treasures, such as the library and adjacent Library Park, as part of that interest. Besides FOSEL, she lends energy and support to the McKinley School, Boston Explorers Urban Camp, USES, The Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy, Boston Ballet and the BCA. 

Licia Sky: Licia is a singer-songwriter, playwright, and South End resident. She leads writing retreats and experiential movement and vocalizing workshops to facilitate self-awareness and connection with others. In the late nineties, she ran a poetry and music “open mic” for three years. She would like to start an “open mic” reading for the community through the South End library.

Duncan Will: Duncan is retired after a career in independent school administration, including 25 years at Phillips Academy in Andover. He became a full-time resident of Concord Square last September but split his time between there and Nantucket since 2012. Duncan volunteered for the Nantucket public library, the Atheneum. Since moving to the South End, Duncan, guided by his friend and FOSEL board member Maura Harrington, has become a regular volunteer at Community Servings, the Pine Street Inn and the Boston Center for the Arts. In his spare time, Duncan enjoys weekly oil painting classes at the MFA and making paintings in his studio/apartment.

ADVISORY BOARD:

Liane Crawford: Liane has been a South End resident for forty years and, with her husband Don, raised their three now-adult children here. Liane has served as board member for various organizations, including the board of the Eastern CT Symphony Orchestra and the Community Music Center of Boston Corporation. Liane worked closely with USES on the reopening celebration of the Children's Art Centre. Her background is in finance, marketing and fundraising. She currently consults for non-profit organizations.

Susanna Coit: Susanna is the Archives and Research Library assistant at Perkins School for the Blind. She has an MSLIS in Archives Management from Simmons School of Library and Information Science. She helped bring the Local/Focus window for the Perkins School for the Blind to the library.

Michael Fox: Michael Fox moved to the South End four years ago from Utah to participate in the city’s energetic startup culture. Subsequently, he’s worked at a variety of new businesses in an assortment of roles – he has made educational videos at MIT, written online journalism, and worked as a private chef. Along the way, he actively participates in Boston’s vibrant cultural scene – specializing in film, theatre, and literature – and writing for professional organizations like the Independent Reviewers of New England and the Boston Online Film Critics Association. Some of Michael’s plays have been produced in theaters across the country, and his films have been screened in festivals throughout the world. Michael actively uses the library for its many resources, but he has a special interest in the author series. He would like to help the Friends of the South End Library with programming and promotion.

Don Haber: Don Haber is co-chair of the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library, the oldest Friends group in the BPL system (est. 1952) (www.friendsjplibrary.org). He began advocating for renovation of the JP Branch 14 years ago; last May it reopened after a $10 million renovation to spectacular reviews. For the past several years, he has attended most BPL Trustees meetings with Marleen Nienhuis. When the JP Branch was targeted for closure in 2009/10, he helped mobilize the effort to save all branches from closure. He also serves on the Advisory Board for JP Reads, a community-wide literary celebration (www.jpreads.org). Professionally, he is an attorney who works from home in Jamaica Plain. He also serves as vice-president of the Jamaica Hills Neighborhood Association.

Ed Hostetter:  Ed, the happy father of two young men, moved into the South End in 2012 from Pittsburgh, PA. During his thirty-plus years in Pittsburgh, Ed’s days were filled with parenting, husbanding and sundry vocations, including school teaching, fine carpentry and remodeling (20 years plus), and psychiatric nursing (adolescent/young adult).  Presently, Ed invests a lot of his time on two programs, 1) Bridge over Troubled Water for homeless youth, tutoring math in the HiSet program, and 2) South-West Corridor Park, helping various plantings survive the challenges of the urban environment. Ed and his wife are thrilled to call the corner of Columbus Ave and West Newton Street “home.”

Stephen Fox: Steve came to Boston in 1972 to go to grad school and never left except for a three-year posting in Washington, D.C. in corporate government relations. He worked in educational research and consulting and was tapped by Mayor Kevin White as Special Assistant for Education Policy; shortly thereafter he became the mayor's Executive Assistant, working closely with all city departments, the Boston City Council, and constituencies and neighborhoods citywide. In the private sector, he was the Asia-Pacific Trade & Government Relations Manager for Digital Equipment Corporation and became its the Worldwide Trade Manager. When Compaq and then Hewlett-Packard merged with Digital, Steve declined to leave Boston for Texas or Palo Alto and went to work for a health care technology start-up founded by Tufts Medical Center CEO and Harvard research physician Jerry Grossman. After some 30 years of work within his own neighborhood association, Steve was one of the original founders, and now current chair, of the South End Forum. The Forum is the first South End-wide association to represent the common interests and initiatives of the now fifteen independent neighborhood and two business associations of the South End. Steve has been a long-time advocate for the library and its park at city agencies and with city officials, and will continue to play that role. He lives on Rutland Square.

Michelle Laboy: Michelle is trained as an architect, urban planner and civil engineer and teaches architecture at Northeastern University. She also practices as an architect. She has lived in the South End for six years with her architect husband. Most of her work has been high-end residential and school projects, which are deeply focused on creating a meaningful connection between inside and outside. She and her husband won a City of Boston’s public-space award for the Library Park sustainable groundwater installations, the LightWells. Michelle was the moving force behind the multi-phased South End library renovation proposal, which is now receiving its first funding allocations.

Jaqueline L. McRath: Jackie has lived in the South End for more than forty years, and feels that the library is one of the most treasured community resources.  She recycles her Boston Globe to the library and is a grateful recipient of free books ("Open to All") on the library's front entrance cart. She frequently takes children's books from the cart to the pediatric unit of the South End Health Center.  She has taken memoir writing at the Dudley Branch and would love to see such workshops given at the South End Branch. Jackie has published travel articles and poems, and covered FESTAC, 2nd WORLD BLACK AND AFRICAN FESTIVAL OF ARTS AND CULTURE for the Bay State Banner.  She chairs the Theresa-India Young Scholarship Committee, which awards a scholarship in the Fibers Dept. at Mass Art. She is currently researching the life and works of Beat Generation Jazz Action surrealist poet, Ted Joans, and, most recently, provided full technical support to the Haitian surrealist painter, Patrick Gerald Wah.

.Jon Santiago: Jon is a South End resident and emergency medicine physician at Boston Medical Center. Prior to completing medical school at Yale University, he spent five years abroad working in community development and public health. His experiences growing up in Roxbury have led him back to Boston where he remains engaged in issues affecting underserved communities. A big believer in public service, he is a captain in the Army Reserve and a former Peace Corps Volunteer. He looks forward to making the sure the library remains a valued and utilized resource in the South End. 

Anne Smart: Anne Smart has been an employee at the Boston Public Library for 25 years.  Prior to working at the South End branch, she was in East Boston and Charlestown branches.  She has been at the South End library for 20 years.  She is a member of the board at the South End Historical Society, United South End Artists, and the Blackstone Community Center.  She was raised on the South Shore and received her Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas.

 Lois Russel: Lois Russell, a former journalist, is a fiber artist and basket maker whose sculptural work appears in national exhibitions and publications.  The former president of the National Basketry Organization, she currently serves on the boards of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston and Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Simmons College and Stanford University. Lois is interested in developing arts and public-health programming for the library, in collaboration with other board members.

Karen Watson: Karen Watson has lived and worked in the Boston area for the past 20 years. She is a former board member of Outward Bound International, YMCA, and Thompson Island Outward Bound. Connecting the local creative community with the South End library to enhance the entire community is a goal she would like to pursue for the benefit of all involved. Karen has been the moving force behind the Local/Focus window installation project at the South End branch, which connects local artists, creative entrepreneurs and non-profits to the library and the community.

Are you interested in joining the board? Let us know by contacting us at info@friendsofsouthendlibrary.org. 

The Friends have a voting board and an advisory board. Members of each participate in the meetings, email exchanges and volunteer activities as they are able to. Apart from the scheduled Annual Meeting at the end of January/beginning of February, the board(s) meet three of four times a year at a time convenient to all, either at the South End library, when it is open at night, or at the home of a board member. 

The Friends are looking for library supporters to join either board who can assist us with the projects we are currently sponsoring. No financial commitments are required. They include:

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1. Raising funds for the second phase of the planned interior renovation of the South End branch, a unique joint partnership between the BPL and the Friends: We are the first local library Friends group in Boston that has collected private funds for a branch's capital renovation. For the first phase, we have exceeded our fundraising goal of $50,000 by $30,000. We expect to do well in the second phase and..believe it or not..it is fun to ask for money for a great institution such as a local library that is so popular among its users. You can do it, too. For details, visit the Capital Campaign page, linked here.

  Head librarian, Anne Smart, with celebrated  South End Writes author,  Junot Diaz, January 2017

Head librarian, Anne Smart, with celebrated South End Writes author, Junot Diaz, January 2017

2. The South End Writes authors program has brought famous and not-yet-famous, but always excellent, local authors and luminaries to the library for more than seven years, providing audiences with evenings of laughter, illumination and revelation. Board members Invite speakers who will be of interest to local residents, and help plan and promote the event. Over the years, nearly every board member has suggested an author or speaker, and none has ever disappointed. For a list of past speakers, click here.

  The January 2018 Local/Focus window by local theatre company,  Zeitgeist Stage

The January 2018 Local/Focus window by local theatre company, Zeitgeist Stage

3. Local/Focus is the most recent program initiated by the Friends that uses the South End branch's prominent Tremont Street windows as a mirror of the neighborhood it is located in. The mission of Local/Focus is to connect the South End library to local artists, non-profits, and creative entrepreneurs by offering installations in the Tremont Street window that showcase what they are about. Now in its second year, the richness of the South End neighborhood has provided an endless source of possible displays. Thus far, we have featured artists like wire sculptor Will Corcoran, painter Paul Goodnight, decoupage artist Jenn Sherr, ceramicist Lori Pease, fiber artists The South End Knitters, and photographer Greg Jundanian; non-profits like the Children's Arts CentreMass Audubon, the Perkins School for the Blind, the Society for Arts and Crafts, and educational publisher, Language Together. In addition, the on-line local retailer, Smiling Button, had a display of dresses patterned after garb from children's literature, and Fieldworkshop, a local architectural team, created an installation demonstrating the sustainable groundwater systems of the Lightwells in Library Park. In January, we feature be an award winning local theatre company, Zeitgeist Stage, and, in February, we will showcase the beloved Community Music Center of Boston. For more details, click on  the posting linked here. Help make it happen: join the Friends' board and organize future Local/Focus exhibits of organizations and/or artists you think need to be known better...

4. Summer concerts in Library Park: Since 2009, Pat Loomis and his Friends have produced four very popular jazz & blues concerts each summer.  You can help with additional musical events, and/or expand the current series, especially once Library Park will have been renovated, later this summer. 

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On January 23rd, urban historian Russ Lopez will discuss "Boston 1945-2015: The Decline and Rise of a Great World City," after an introduction by the South End's new District 2 councilor, Ed Flynn
Jan
23
6:30 PM18:30

On January 23rd, urban historian Russ Lopez will discuss "Boston 1945-2015: The Decline and Rise of a Great World City," after an introduction by the South End's new District 2 councilor, Ed Flynn

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Russ Lopez, who once was invited to a party in the South End and never quite left after that, has come out with another book about Boston's history, Boston 1945 - 2015: The Decline and Rise of a Great World City. He will talk about it at the South End library on Tuesday, January 23 at 6:30 PM. He will be introduced by the South End's newly elected District 2 City Councilor, Ed Flynn.

A few years ago, Lopez spoke at the South End branch about his earlier work, Boston's South End: The Clash of Ideas in a Historic Neighborhood. According to his web site, his latest book is the story of how Boston, seemingly in an unstoppable downward spiral since the 1940s, somehow righted itself into something new and vastly better. Lopez is part of the informal but dedicated South End Library's historical archives group that collects information about the South End for safekeeping at the branch's second-floor archives' office. It's located next to the community room, where grand windows overlook one of those sleepy South End alleys (although the recent construction boom has enlivened that scene more than some like). The archives group represents a small cottage industry of South End historians and history buffs who have written about the neighborhood's art, culture, gentrification and urban renewal battles. Many of them have talked about their work for the South End Writes program at the library. They include South End News’s former Police Blotter scribe, John Sacco (famous for his iconic phrase, "The Scoundrel Was Arrested on the Spot"); Lynne Potts (A Block in Time: a History of the South End from a Window on Holyoke Street); Hope J. Shannon (Legendary Locals of Boston’s South End); Jean Gibran (Love Made Visible —a biography of her marriage to South End sculptor Kahlil Gibran); Alison Barnet (South End Character: Speaking Out on Neighborhood Change and the South End thriller Sitting Ducks); and Richard Vacca’s outstanding history of the local music scene (The Boston Jazz Chronicles: Faces, Places and Nightlife 1937-1962).

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A native of California, Lopez received his Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Earth Sciences from Stanford University and his Master of City and Regional Planning degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His doctorate is from the Department of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health His research interests include urban environmental health and the role played by cities, neighborhoods and the built environment on public health outcomes.  Current and past studies by Lopez include the role of neighborhoods in long-term diet and exercise interventions; the influence of schoolyard renovations on student test scores; and the association between the built environment and obesity.  Lopez has published articles on the health effects of racial segregation, income inequality and urban sprawl.  He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health.

The event is free. Books will be available for borrowing, sale and signing. We serve refreshments. Seating is limited.  The South End branch is fully handicapped accessible

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A Parks Department proposal for the upgrade and redesign of Library Park will be reviewed by South End Historic District Commission Hearing at City Hall at 5:30 PM
Jan
2
5:30 PM17:30

A Parks Department proposal for the upgrade and redesign of Library Park will be reviewed by South End Historic District Commission Hearing at City Hall at 5:30 PM

The Parks Department will take its proposal for the redesign and upgrade of Library Park before the South End Historic District Commission (SEHDC) on Tuesday, January 2 at 5:30 PM. The public is invited and comments will be appreciated. The hearing will be held at the Piemonte Room in City Hall, located on the Fifth Floor.  A public hearing on the proposal was held at the South End library on November 29, 2017 and attended by a small but very engaged group of local residents.

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At the November 29 hearing, Parks Department's project manager, Lauren Bryant, and Brandon Kunkel, landscape architect with the Weston & Sampson design and engineering firm, presented attendees with three proposals for Library Park's overhaul. Two designs preserved the current layout of the park, while the third offered a different configuration. The latter was the one favored by the audience, and that is the one that will be presented for review by the Parks Department. After deducting the cost of design services, the remaining budget for the reconfiguration is $115,000. 

In the proposal, the deteriorated bluestone pavement will be replaced with a new one made of shaded concrete. In additionthe patio between the library and the park's entrance will be expanded to accommodate outdoor events; two garden circles will be established on the Tremont Street side of the park; and curved benches and to-be-determined seating arrangements will be included, together with substantial infrastructure improvements. 

With public and SEHDC comments in mind, the Parks Department will produce a final design which is scheduled to be put out to bid sometime in February. Construction, weather permitting, will start in March. The park is scheduled to reopen in late summer. Further information can be obtained at the Parks Department website, linked here. 

 

 

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The December Local/Focus display in the Tremont Street window showcases the CraftBoston show at the Hynes Convention Center sponsored by the Society of Arts and Crafts
Dec
17
11:00 AM11:00

The December Local/Focus display in the Tremont Street window showcases the CraftBoston show at the Hynes Convention Center sponsored by the Society of Arts and Crafts

The Society of Arts and Crafts, which is sponsored the twelfth holiday exhibit of juried crafts by artists from all over the country at the Hynes Convention Center from December 14 to 17, has installed a Local/Focus display in the South End library's Tremont Street window featuring some of the crafts for sale at the Hynes. If you missed it, your loss, but it's not the end of the world. Next April 20-22, the Society will have another crafts fair at the Cyclorama, right here in the South End. 

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The Society of Arts and Crafts dates from the end of the 19th century and is America's oldest arts and craft nonprofit organization. It was located for forty years on Newbury Street but moved last year to the Seaport District. The mission of the Society has been to "develop and encourage higher artistic standards in the handcrafts." Local/Focus is a project sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library to connect local non-profits, creative entrepreneurs and artists to the branch library with installations in its Tremont Street window.

The entrance fee to the Hynes of $15 was reduced to $12 for whoever mentioned the Local/Focus window. All the revenue from ticket sales supports the Society of Arts and Crafts, which is the nations oldest craft non-profit organization. 

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Annual Holiday Party with Pat Loomis at the South End library on Tuesday, December 12, 6:30 PM
Dec
12
6:30 PM18:30

Annual Holiday Party with Pat Loomis at the South End library on Tuesday, December 12, 6:30 PM

It's that time of year again when the South End library holds its Annual Holiday Concert with band leader Pat Loomis and his Friends. Excellent music and home-cooked food by John Hampton, the husband of library staffer Carol Glass, who has valiantly manned the stove for many years to produce the feast. Rumors of additional contributions like shrimp jambalaya, cornbread and pound cake have been circulating. 

The fabulous Pat Loomis and his Friends feature Pat Loomis on alto saxophone; Antonio Loomis, guitar; Scott Aruda, trumpet; Rollins Ross, keyboards; Daniel Day, bass; and Vinny DiMaio, drums. Tried and true holiday themes will put you in the mood of holiday celebrations for the rest of the month...

The event is free. Come and join the party, Tuesday, December 12 at 6:30 PM

  The South End library's Holiday Party: Home-cooked dinner and Jazz&Blues music by Pat Loomis and his Friends.

The South End library's Holiday Party: Home-cooked dinner and Jazz&Blues music by Pat Loomis and his Friends.

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Dec
8
4:00 PM16:00

You're Invited to a Farewell Reception at the Library for Longtime Staffer, Sports Analyst and Political Commentator, Deborah Madrey, Friday, December 8 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM

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The Friends of the South End Library and the South End library staff are holding a farewell reception on Friday, December 8, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, for staffer Deborah Madrey, who will retire in January 2018. She will tell you she can't wait. It's been 22 years and she is ready for the next chapter in her life.

Born and raised in Boston, Madrey spent years as a public-school teacher in Los Angeles but returned to her hometown more than two decades ago. She has been at the South End branch ever since. A passionate sports analyst and enthusiastic political commentator on the latest outrages of "you know who" (that is, whoever the current focus of her wrath may be, and there have been several over the last few decades), Madrey has earned the everlasting respect and affection of many, especially library patrons who own canines. She has purchased, with her personal funds, many boxes of dog biscuits over the years, which she keeps on the library shelf behind her, next to the reserved tomes of said owners and others. 

Friends' board member Michelle Laboy recently interviewed Madrey about her life at the South End branch, which will be posted here in the very near future. Stay tuned. 

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James-Beard Award-winning Chef Jody Adams Plans to Demo Making Pasta at the South End Library on Tuesday, December 5
Dec
5
6:30 PM18:30

James-Beard Award-winning Chef Jody Adams Plans to Demo Making Pasta at the South End Library on Tuesday, December 5

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Star chef Jody Adams, currently the owner of Porto, Saloniki and TRADE, will be at the South End library on Tuesday, December 5 at 6:30 PM, and give a demonstration on how to make pasta. Seating is limited. Additional tastings may become available. Final details are still being worked out. 

Italian food has been fundamental to Adams, who won the James Beard Foundation Award for the Perrier-Jouet Best Chef Award: Northeast in 1997. She traveled through the Mediterranean countries after graduating from Brown University with a degree in Anthropology, and began as a line cook at Seasons restaurant under chef Lydia Shire in 1983. Three years later, she helped open Hamersley’s Bistro as sous-chef of Gordon Hamersley's with whom she developed Hamersley's famous roasted chicken recipe. (By the time she left in 1990 she stayed away from eating chicken for two years, she says.) Adams also has a fantastically photographed and finely detailed food blog, The Garum Factory, with recipes ranging from Duck Ragu with Pancetta and Green Olives to Passion Fruit Sponge Custard, and everything in between. 

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In 1990, Adams became executive chef at Michela’s in Cambridge where she combined New England ingredients with Italian culinary traditions. In September of 1994, Adams opened Rialto in Cambridge. In addition to running Rialto, Adams published a cookbook, In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking with Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant. She co-wrote the book with her husband, Ken Rivard. Copies will be available for sale at the December 5 event.

The widely admired chef has a strong reputation of supporting local farms and purveyors. In 2008, she launched an internal educational program, Guerilla Grilling, designed to connect her staff to the farmers and artisan producers that supply the restaurant. Adams is actively involved in organizations that support child’s advocacy and hunger relief, including the Greater Boston Food Bank, Share Our Strength and Partners In Health. In October 2010  was presented with the Humanitarian of the Year award by Share Our Strength.

 

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Luminous Paintings of the French Provence by South End Artist Jean-Pierre Dubreuil Are on Display at the South End Library
Dec
1
10:00 AM10:00

Luminous Paintings of the French Provence by South End Artist Jean-Pierre Dubreuil Are on Display at the South End Library

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Local resident Jean-Pierre Dubreuil has been painting and exhibiting his work for many years in the South End and surrounding communities. Those who remember the Claremont Cafe, now the Five Horses Tavern, may recalls his regular art displays hanging over the establishment's happily squeezed together tables from as long ago as those days.

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Currently on display at the South End library are a colorful series of studies of  the Provence. Dubreuil was born in France in the 1950s where, he will tell you, his elementary-school caricatures "earned him many detentions." After what he described as "perfectly boring business and law studies" he worked in the corporate world in many countries in Europe, the Middle and Far-East but settled in Boston in the 1980s. 

Although his recent paintings center on France and New England, some of his watercolors reflect his past travels. He and his wife, Dana, raised two children in the South End and now happily dote on their infant granddaughter. 

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