Thursday, August 25, 2011

Because we've come so far (a little public shaming)

The newly decorated control boxes by RAW and the enlarged photographs by SPIN are faring very well. No one's touched them. If you follow this blog or LynnHappens, you know the good stuff.

There's more work to be done.

Now, we need to address the condition of some of our vacant storefronts.

I'm going to post some photographs of tagged or unkempt properties and their owners. 33 Central gets a pass right now, and I hope to be able to report why soon enough. The building on the corner of Spring Street and Exchange Street, right by Lynn Arts, gets a temporary pass because I hear LynnArts is hatching a plan to renew the faded old construction paper in those windows. I just hope the next window exhibition doesn't look like my first grade teacher put it up.

My primary focus is on tagging. Not graffiti, but ugly,  hardly legible monochromatic scribbles just barely an evolutionary step above peeing on something to mark ones territory. Second to that, there are some simple and cheap measures to beautify property and to at least give off the impression of wanting to lease or sell it.

The owner of most of the properties below has supposedly been made aware of the issue by proper channels, or so I've been told. But this owner has an office one block over on Washington Street, and just yesterday a landscaping company was working in the Central Square island their sign adorns, because they supposedly are the ones who care for it. Yes, I'm talking about Mayo Group. They're down here every day. They could maybe take a few minutes even to address the simpler fixes.

Mayo Group Parking Lot in Central Square. This scrawl has been here for several years, now.

How hard is it to put something nice in the window? I may even have an extra curtain, but I'm not loaning Mayo anything.

Another one that's been here a while. 46 Central. Mayo Group property.

The doorway of 46 Central Square. Mayo Group.

The other entrance way to 46 Central. Since Mayo is using the building, perhaps they should put a door there.

Union Street, just around the corner from Central Sq. Mayo.

Looks like someone was playing with white out. Also, at least paint the stairs, Mayo.

Same Union St. Property. The soap is awful, too.

Union St.

Wide view for context.

Tags, soap, faded falling signs on Exchange Street, right across from LynnArts. Mayo Group.

More Mayo mess.

I think Mayo gave up on leasing 64 Exchange Street, or at least the faded sign would have you think so. Soaped up windows look terrible.

Now, the rest of these tags are on MBCR property. I hope they are dealt with quickly, too.

This one's making a comeback as the paint chips away. That's another issue.

I'm starting with Central Square, perhaps because I notice it more, living here. But also because it's where DTL's arts organizations and artistic initiatives are concentrating. Between LynnArts and the organizations housed within it, RAW, Arts After Hours, the Lynn Museum, SPIN, Turbine, Capital Diner and others, one would think the city would apply a little more pressure to keep up appearances. Lots of out-of-towners and even big name talents pass through Central Square (WFNX is one reason as well). Besides, I live here and I have to see it. That is not to say I only care for Central Square. I want to see improvements radiate outward, towards City Hall Square, up Union Street, down towards Market Street and over to NSCC, and anywhere else they're needed.

Almost forgot the video:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Photos from AAH's Back Yard Bash with Mean Creek, The Cinnamon Fuzz & Black Dog Brother are up on LynnHappens

There were a few photographers there, including an official one and some video taken - not sure what will or won't be released. But, here's something.

Go to LynnHappens to see the whole gallery.

The Cinnamon Fuzz on Aug 18th, AAH's BYB in the Lynn Museum Park

Music and art go well together, like the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol. Here's a track from Lou Reed and John Cale's musical tribute to Warhol, Songs for Drella.

Make sure you hear the studio version as well.

Monday, August 15, 2011

You will want to come to Lynn on Thursday. Here's why.

back yard bash 

Arts After Hours, which I will disclose, I've been involved in, is celebrating its first birthday at its second annual Back Yard Bash at the Lynn Museum, 590 Washington Street, in - you know - Lynn.

There's a great music line-up with Mean Creek, The Cinnamon Fuzz and Black Dog Brother. Plus, artists will show off their wares and demonstrate what they do in the courtyard, and local chef and food consultant Greg Gray is on the grill!! Following the bands, we'll go to the lot next to the Museum for Spiral Glyphics fire spinning, and then all march over to the after party at Turbine Wine Bar in 56 Central Square (Lynn). Rumor has it there may be after-after parties in private spaces as well.

There's just one difference between this and other rock and roll shows, though (besides all the artists ...and fire), it's going to start on time and there's other stuff to do, see, and food. So, you'll want to get there by 7pm. Downtown Lynn is the easiest downtown to park in, perhaps besides Pawtucket, but that's not in Mass. Anyway, if you're a-feared of street parking it's only $3 for the 24hr MBTA garage almost across the street.

For more info:

Story in LynnHappens
Arts After Hours web site (tickets available here!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Trans-Atlantic Fantastic tonight at Turbine

Seth (US) & Scott (Sco) vinyl night

9-10 Scott spinning California Soul & more
10-11 Seth spinning British Invasion, Northern Soul & more

back to back on the turntables
all night long until 1am!
should be fun!
Set in a beautifully renovated 1890s building in Downtown Lynn, Turbine Wine Bar offers a moderately priced menu of American cuisine to accompany its more than 40 wines by the glass. It is a shining example of urban transformation. - Zagat 2010

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Citations of the Good Kind

At last night's City Council, two girls Babe Ruth softball teams were awarded with a citation. It's a good thing for the kids to go up before their city, on television (and LynnHappens video), and to be recognized for something positive. Generally speaking, sports are a healthy pursuit.

Of all my time covering City Council for LynnHappens, I can only think of two - possibly three times groups of kids were honored for something other than athletic prowess and sportsmanship.

Where are the art and literary clubs? Where are the other positive activities? Not just in Lynn, but our society as a whole doesn't celebrate them enough. Or, maybe being in the shadows is a good thing for art. I'm not always sure. Sometimes it's good to be a geek in the shadows where there's more to draw inspiration from. I mean, if being an artistic superstar means having a print of your work in the lobby of every Holiday Inn, maybe that's not such a good thing.

But at least the Item is featuring a scholarship winner from RAW in today's paper.

I don't dislike sports. I'm just disinterested. I respect people who play them and I understand the values they can help instill.

I'm just saying there's more than one way to keep a kid off the street. Or, an adult.

This past weekend I saw the Battle for Brooklyn documentary and couldn't believe how gaga people went over a basketball stadium, to the point of an obscene amount of public subsidies. That's taxes! Can the arts see a little bit of that action? Just a fraction would be more than they receive, now. Or better yet, don't put our public monies in private enterprise at all, and just ease up on restrictions holding the arts back.

And how about showing our young people that art and intellectual pursuits matter, too. (and not in an MCAS scores sort of way)

And again, this is not to take away from the girls accomplishments.

Friday, August 5, 2011

How to Speak Hip - a reblog from WFMU's Beware of the Blog

WFMU's Beware of the Blog is a gift that keeps on giving. Of course it is, that's why it's linked in the blogroll on the right.

So, if you want to learn how to speak like a hipster (orig. vers), go to the post and you can freely download the whole album!

Here's a teaser clip: Introduction

Monday, August 1, 2011

Make Use

I get into many conversations about the city of Lynn. It's often my fault, and the banter usually leads to what we need. Sure we need things, but we also have stuff.

When Arts After Hours was getting started, we talked about making use of the Lynn Museum, LynnArts, and anything else we might be able to turn into a venue or our events. This past Saturday, Arts After Hours along with SPIN hosted an intimate cabaret-style concert with Carolyn Cole backed up by Rusty Scott in the black box theatre in LynnArts. The Spelling Bee musical was produced there, as well as a couple of other great AAH events. AAH also makes extensive use of the Lynn Museum and its grounds, returning for the third time for August 18th's Backyard Bash.

Hodgepodge makes use of the Lynn Woods Amphitheater, one of the best outdoorsy-yet not overwhelmingly huge outdoor concert spots I've ever known, thanks to its natural slope.

The Friends of Lynn-Nahant Beach make use of Red Rock Park for a Summer season of Thursday evening concerts. I love live music by the ocean. I only wish they'd book more original artists in addition to the usual rotation of area cover bands. I'll offer to help.

Lynn opens its City Hall auditorium to larger touring acts and even serves beer and wine in the lobby area. (I'd like to know when they'll start serving during City Council meetings - that's a joke) When that happens, concert goers often make use of our downtown restaurants and bars. There are several to choose from already.

That's only to name a few, so please don't feel left out - or jump in below.

I know not all is perfect with every venue, but the more they're used, the more likely they are to have their kinks worked out and the capital to improve where needed. I'm thinking about better, more reliable electrical service for Lynn Woods concerts, A/C in the Auditorium (possibly in the works already), more staff at LynnArts to better accommodate late night use, and easier and more routine permitting for street festivals. The proof is that it's happening already. The Lynn Museum is more than halfway through reconfiguring its ground floor for more flexible use.

I also hope more original performing and visual artists start knocking on the doors of area bars to move aside their karaoke and cover band routines for a night or two a month, to have something new and different. Walnut Street is Lynn's best original music venue, but I also believe it will continue to excel in what it's doing as others open up, due to its intimacy. It's my observation that we're really on the cusp of being able to have profitable original music nights at a Lynn bar on a regular basis, in part because of what's happening already and in part because our neighboring cities have more demand than they have room to book for. We have places they can use...

...and the more we use what we have, the more likely it is we'll get some of what we need.