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Created by billpena on Sep 22, 2008
Last updated: 10/31/10 at 07:25 AM
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Ryan Landry and Molly Schreiber star in Stoneham's Henry James ghost-story classic Stoneham Theatre's staging The Turn of the Screw in time for Halloween (it plays through November 7) comes as no surprise, but director Caitlin Lowans turned heads when she cast Gold Dust Orphans founder Ryan Landry as one of her two stars in Jeffrey Hatcher's 1997 two-actor adaptation. Stoneham Theatre's staging TheTurn of the Screw in time for Halloween (it plays through November 7) comes as no surprise, but director Caitlin Lowans turned heads when she cast Gold Dust Orphans founder Ryan Landry as one of her two stars in Jeffrey Hatcher's 1997 two-actor adaptation. Landry's local reputation includes directing, writing, and acting in glittery, gimmicky drag shows like Who's Afraid of the Virgin Mary? and Phantom of the Oprah. But in Hatcher's minimalist adaptation, Landry proves he can do without glitter or gimmicks. Meanwhile, his co-star, Molly Schreiber, shows that though she doesn't have a local reputation herself yet, she deserves one.Hatcher's one-act adapts Henry James's late-Victorian novella about a governess and her two young charges — a tale that remains one of the most famous ghost stories in the canon. There have been multiple adaptations, among them the famous Benjamin Britten opera. But Hatcher's stage version is unique in that it employs just two actors, a sparse set, no sound effects, no costume changes, and little to no theatrical trickery. Schreiber is the young governess of the House of Bly. Landry plays the narrator, the governess's enigmatic employer, housekeeper Mrs. Grose, 10-year-old nephew Miles, and every other role. (Eight-year-old Flora, the governess's other charge, is neither seen nor heard in this version; the two actors play to her invisible presence.) Lowans has allowed the duo a few comedic moments — particularly early on, before the governess begins to suspect that her new home is haunted — but Landry's drag turn as Mrs. Grose isn't just played for laughs. Both he and Schreiber resist the urge to ham it up; the occasional comedy emerges from Hatcher's dialogue.Read more
Local troupes take a road trip to Shirley, VT Over the river and through the woods from Grover's Corners lies Shirley, VT, Green Mountain stand-in for college-centric Amherst, MA, where playwright Annie Baker grew up. CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION An adult drama class provides the framework — and the trust falls — for five variously lost, cringingly funny, sincerely striving souls.Over the river and through the woods from Grover's Corners lies Shirley, VT, Green Mountain stand-in for college-centric Amherst, MA, where playwright Annie Baker grew up — and not so long ago, the scribe being just 29. Here in Boston, a trio of local companies have joined forces to form a theatrical chamber of commerce for Shirley, simultaneously presenting three of Baker's elliptical works, all of which made their New York bows between 2008 and 2010, and two of which shared the 2010 Obie for Best New American Play. Their town hall is the Boston Center for the Arts' Calderwood Pavilion, where the Huntington Theatre Company explores Circle Mirror Transformation (through November 14), SpeakEasy Stage Company displays Body Awareness (through November 20), and Company One gets down with The Aliens (through November 20).Taken together, the plays reveal a delicate hand working in small, oft-stunted brushstrokes and muted colors, Baker's palette being mostly devoid of the poetic whimsies, meta-theatrics, and snarkiness characteristic of her dramaturgical generation. Describing herself to TimeOut New York in 2008 as a sort of anti–Oscar Wilde, she explained that, to her, "the tragedy of bourgeois life is that we're never that funny. People write these plays where everybody on stage is saying what we all would say — days later, when we think up what would have been the funny thing to say. But I think we actually are incredibly earnest and serious and kind of pathetic. That's funnier to me." So it can be — and certainly more piquant.Read more
Hoopleville How to make an origami haunted house in 27 steps.
Psychedelic heights If, as they say, talent borrows and genius steals, then Vancouver rock collective Black Mountain do a bit of both. FACE PLANT “We’re not kidding ourselves here,” says Stephen McBean (left). “Led Zeppelin would kick our ass!”Modern-day musicians get caught in a pinch, don't they? If they dedicate themselves to being cutting edge and different, they get written off as weird and unlistenable. And if they acknowledge that they've so much as heard a song by a prior outfit — well, then, everyone starts picking apart their œuvre for signifiers and ripped-off parts, as if they were nothing but the sum of their influences. As if, you know, the Beatles and the Stones and the Zeps didn't steal shamelessly from those who'd come before them.If, as they say, talent borrows and genius steals, then Vancouver rock collective Black Mountain do a bit of both. And Stephen McBean, the band's hirsute leader, doesn't really care whether someone thinks his music bears a passing resemblance to the Pink Rolling Zeppelins or whatever. "Hey, man," he tells me jovially over the phone, "we're not kidding ourselves here: Led Zeppelin would kick our ass! They would just blow us off the stage!" That, of course, doesn't stop Black Mountain from trying to up the music of their elders with an increasingly diverse discography that sees them just as likely to whomp out a monstrous riff-o-rama as to floor the uninitiated with a gorgeous folk hymn filled with interweaving vocal countermelodies."We're just in love with the freedom of making music," McBean beams, with an unjaded enthusiasm for his craft that belies his nearly two-decade history of musicmaking — first in the mid '90s, with the downer crew Jerk with a Bomb, and then with the Black Mountain Army, which has slowly splintered to become Black Mountain and McBean's more lo-fi side project, Pink Mountaintops.Read more
Hyperdub (2010) For evidence as to why labeling subgenres of electronic music is tedious, look no further than this debut LP from UK collective Darkstar.
Can I get a witness The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts made a pronouncement last week that, to rational citizens, should be obvious: it's a bad idea for the state to be complicit in a scheme to pay criminal trial witnesses for their testimony — and for those witnesses to receive a bonus if the defendant is convicted.
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts made a pronouncement last week that, to rational citizens, should be obvious: it's a bad idea for the state to be complicit in a scheme to pay criminal trial witnesses for their testimony — and for those witnesses to receive a bonus if the defendant is convicted. Simple, right? Obvious to us, and to the SJC — but not to the federal courts, which hold that payments to witnesses don't violate the accused's federal constitutional right to "due process of law," so long as they are disclosed to the defendant's lawyer,The issue arose in the case of Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Wayne Miranda. Miranda's second-degree murder conviction was based in part on the testimony of two witnesses, each of whom received payment from the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber sponsors a program to pay witnesses $3000 for testimony leading to an indictment; for testimony leading to a conviction, witnesses get another $2000.This is dangerous ground. It is not uncommon for police departments and municipalities, as well as private companies or civic associations, to provide rewards for information leading to the arrest of alleged miscreants. And few would argue that such payments constitute a problem. The trouble arises when payments are made in direct exchange for trial testimony and, worse, contingent upon producing a conviction. The negative effects of this scheme cut both ways: not only might a witness be tempted to twist the truth in order to get a paycheck, but a skeptical juror might vote to acquit a guilty defendant based on this very suspicion. In either event, justice can seriously miscarry.Read more
Forget Paul Revere. This summer, treat yourself to a tour of Boston's worst in political corruption. As summer officially kicks off this weekend, thousands upon thousands of people will be descending on our fair metropolis to get a glimpse of America's most history-drenched city. As summer officially kicks off this weekend, thousands upon thousands of people will be descending on our fair metropolis to get a glimpse of America's most history-drenched city. Surely, many tourists will want to see where Paul Revere took his midnight ride and where John Adams defended British soldiers accused of the Boston Massacre . . . just wake us up when it's over. For those who've had enough of musty old Revolution-era figures, however, we'd like to offer you a weird and wonderful tour of the city's more recent political landmarks. Boston has a long and proud history of massive political corruption — so take this tour with pride!Former Boston Mayor James Michael CurleyIn 1904, this Boston political giant was convicted for taking a civil-service postal exam for a constituent. The incident hardly slowed down his career: not only did Curley win his election for Boston city alderman while residing in the Charles Street Jail (now the Liberty Hotel), but he went on to become a quintuple threat, also winning posts as state rep, US congressman, mayor of Boston, and governor of Massachusetts. In 1943, while a congressman, he was indicted for influence peddling. In 1945, while mayor of Boston, he received a second indictment for mail fraud; he was forced to leave office in 1947 when he was sent to federal prison on the latter charge.Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles Street, West EndRead more
Max Raabe & Palast Orchester, live at the Paramount Theatre, March 6, 2010 As if it weren’t enough that the venerable Paramount Theatre on Washington Street was open for the first time since 1976, the Celebrity Series of Boston brought in as the initial act to play the new 600-seat mainstage Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester. As if it weren’t enough that the venerable Paramount Theatre on Washington Street was open for the first time since 1976, the Celebrity Series of Boston brought in as the initial act to play the new 600-seat mainstage Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester. The blond, baby-faced, 47-year-old crooner from Westphalia has over the past quarter-century made a huge success out of re-creating the cabaret atmosphere of Weimar Republic Berlin, back in the days when the Paramount was just opening (1932). And the elegance of Raabe and his 12-member band — he in white tie and tails, they in black tie except for violinist Cecilia Crisafulli — accorded well with the newly renovated (to a tune of $90 million, courtesy of Emerson College) Paramount.“The topics to be treated tonight will range from harmless ones to the great topic of interpersonal relationships. How to find someone. How to get to know someone. [Pause] And how to get rid of someone.” That was Raabe’s typically sly, affectless introduction to the evening, at the end of the opening “Music, Maestro, Please.” The 20 numbers that followed were about equally divided between American and German, plus one, the rhumba “Duerme,” in Spanish. The American tunes — “Sweet Sue,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “What a Difference a Day Makes,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” — provided most of the romance, though there was also the macabre wit of Cole Porter’s “Miss Otis Regrets” (that she will not be able to lunch today, because she shot her faithless lover and is about to be lynched). The German numbers were more playful and wistful and cynical: the Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht “Moon of Alabama,” “Mein Gorilla hat ’ne Villa im Zoo” (“My Gorilla Has a Villa in the Zoo”), “Wenn die Elisabeth nicht so schöne Beine hätt’ ” (“If Elisabeth Didn’t Have Such Beautiful Legs”) as a paso doble, Franz Lehár’s “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz” (“You Are My Heart Alone”) as a tango. Halfway through, the lights came down and Raabe, accompanied only Ian Wekwerth on piano, got intimate and tender on “Ninon”: “Ninon, lach mir einmal zu/Kein andere Frau lacht so süß wie du” (“Ninon, laugh for me one more time/No other woman laughs as sweetly as you”). A couple of numbers later, he was joined by a quartet of bandmembers to sing “Wir sind von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt” (“Falling in Love Again”), the song Marlene Dietrich made famous in Der blaue Engel.Read more
Idiot Box I don't condone violence but...
We’re not through with the Looking Glass, here, people Four new DVD releases that capitalize on the latest Alice in Wonderland rush. ALICE  | What cruel sorcery is capable of making Tim Curry boring?READ: Peter Keough's review of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.How doth the little production studio improve its shining tail? Why, by swimming in the slipstream of Tim Burton and pumping out any Lewis Carroll–related material within clawing distance. Here are four new DVD releases that capitalize on the latest Alice in Wonderland rush. -----ALICE IN WONDERLAND: SPECIAL UN-ANNIVERSARY EDITION  | You didn't need the White Queen's daffy future vision to see this one coming (though it won't actually arrive till March 30). What better opportunity for the House of Mouse to make yet another buck off its pinafored heroine? But even if this release is transparently piggybacking on the Burton buzz, it's hard to begrudge anyone an opportunity to cozy up to the original Disney classic again. This tumble down the rabbit hole comes drenched in sumptuous visual texture and the odd modernist designs of artist Mary Blair. Expanding on the extras-laden 2004 release, the new two-disc edition offers the deleted scene "Pig and Pepper" and the featurette "Reflections of Alice," which chronicles the history between Walt Disney and Wonderland -- the two go back as far as 1923, before Mickey ever entered the picture.------Read more
Sam Lipsyte asks and tells In his books Venus Drive , The Subject Steve , and Home Land , novelist and short-story writer Sam Lipsyte revels in rage. TRUE WIT Lipsyte tempers his extreme style with pathos.THE ASK | By Sam Lipsyte | Farrar, Straus And Giroux | 306 pages | $25In his books Venus Drive, The Subject Steve, and Home Land, novelist and short-story writer Sam Lipsyte revels in rage. His stories follow loners on the fringes of society who depend on sex and drugs for existential relief. The spectacle tends to be so horrific it's hard to watch or not watch.In The Ask, the viewing is easier, but just as edgy. It follows Milo Burke, a failed painter turned university fundraising drone, who resents — nay, loathes — everything about America (that "run-down and demented pimp," as his friend Horace describes it) but otherwise possesses less passion than a seasoned hooker. You want to hate him, but there's an integrity at the deep center of his precise and sarcastic humor that somehow makes him loveable.When Milo's disillusioned bitterness boils over in a hateful invective directed at the spoiled daughter of a major donor, he loses his job at New York's Mediocre University Arts Development Office brownnosing philanthropists to get their money (the "asks"). Once the damn-the-man ecstasy subsides, though, he has to deal with fiscal and familial realities. Who will pay for his son to attend the progressive pre-school that regularly cancels class to revise their pedagogical manifesto? How will he win back the already diminished respect of his wife? How will he feed his coconut donut addiction?Read more
Are Surfer Blood the only band from Florida? Like a killer wave or a lousy metaphor, success can really sneak up on you. FAKE-GENRE NAME HERE: Equal parts Beach Boys, Sebadoh, and Weezer, these are pop songs that are eager to please.Like a killer wave or a lousy metaphor, success can really sneak up on you. Just ask Surfer Blood. Last April, the freshly educated four-piece couldn’t even get a show in their home town of West Palm Beach, Florida — and do you know how many bands there are in West Palm Beach? So far, I’ve thought of one, and I’m in the middle of an article about them.“If you’re not selling out an amphitheater, no one’s really interested,” says Surfer Blood’s ordained mastermind and vocalist, JP Pitts, of his native turf. “Still, it’s not like we’re refugees down here. There’s a lot of cool people doing a lot of cool stuff. There just aren’t a lot of venues for it.” So much of Surfer Blood’s home scene was house shows, one-offs in a friend’s parents’ dance studio, a gig here or there at Respectables or Propaganda. Nothing too crazy — nothing that was registering in the local press, and certainly nothing that ever reached non-peninsula ears.Then they did something unusual for a Florida band: they played north of Gainesville. Last August, they vanned as far north as Brooklyn (as a five-piece with the addition of Marcos Marchesani on keys and percussion) and played a string of shows — at the Charleston, the Silent Barn, a Todd P. show above a body shop — that wasted no time blowing the art-tenderized minds of Flatbush townsfolk. Blogwise, this was tantamount to firing themselves into the sweet spot of the Death Star. Before the tide could come in and go back out, the Web was boiling with Surfer Blood’s name. Pitchfork got wind of them, and away they went atop a swell of insta-success and the attendant bullshit that this Tuesday brings them to Great Scott.Read more
Fine, but not necessarily French Bistro du Midi purports to serve "authentic Provençal" cuisine, but Midi actually refers to all of southern France. GRAND FINALE: The Grand Marnier soufflé is exquisitely light and on-point — a bravura finish to any meal.Bistro du Midi | 272 Boylston Street, Boston | 617.426.7878 | open Sunday, 5–10 pm; Monday– Wednesday, 11:30 am–2 pm and 5–11 pm; Thursday and Friday, 11:30 am–2 pm and 5–midnight; and Saturday, 5–11 pm | AE, MC, VI | Full bar | Valet parking after 5, $16 | Sidewalk-level accessBistro du Midi purports to serve "authentic Provençal" cuisine, but Midi actually refers to all of southern France. So right off the bat there's a bit of confusion with this upscale bistro's menu, and it only unravels from there. The owners of the restaurant are British; the chef is American with a background in a fine French restaurant in New York City. (Lose that Yankee cap, mon ami!) And the room, which formerly housed Excelsior and Biba, has been redone with fake ceiling beams and a fake fireplace. Is that Provençal bistro or alpine lodge? And what's up with the techno soundtrack? Onsait jamais.What is clear is that some of the dishes here are not only neither Provençal nor Southern French, but not even French at all. So what we get is a string of clever ideas that don't quite hang together.That said, some of Bistro du Midi's clever ideas are quite tasty, like the complimentary basil bread with a pour of extra-virgin olive oil (even if it does come from Sicily). The oil transcends the usual "flowery" and "nutty" categories to hit hard in the "grassy" group of olive-oil receptors. And I'll pay $5 for a little plate of green and black olives, since the green ones are bright green and mellow-cured.Read more
The good Shepard returns Mass Effect 2 gives us the game we craved the first time around — the laborious load screens remain, but the bits in between are a breath of fresh air. Mass Effect 2 | For the Xbox 360 and PC | Rated M for Mature | Developed by BioWare | Published by Electronic ArtsMass Effect 2 gives us the game we craved the first time around — the laborious load screens remain, but the bits in between are a breath of fresh air. BioWare's sleek, cinematic sequel has added a Gears-esque cover system and a smoother control layout. What's more, the star-studded cast of voice actors take the story to a higher level. Notable credits include Battlestar Galactica babe Tricia Helfer as the spaceship's AI, Seth Green reprising his role as the snarky pilot Joker, and — best of all — Martin Sheen as your unscrupulous, chainsmoking boss.You're still playing as Commander Shepard, and your first name, physical appearance, gender, and personality are all up to you. You'll also select your specialization: Tech, Biotic, Combat, or a combination of any two. If you still have a save file from the first game, then you can import all your old settings (as well as your old love interest, who will be pissed if you cheat — don't say we didn't warn you).Here's the big spoiler: you die within the game's first few minutes. Unpopular corporate bastion Cerberus develops the technology to resurrect you. The catch? Now Cerberus owns you. The good news is, you both want the same thing: to put a stop to whatever's behind the mysterious abductions of entire human colonies. You need Cerberus's resources and technology, but you're not happy about its anti-alien reputation, so the diverse team you build is made up of combat-wise social rejects who run the gamut from alien to human, and from heroic to sociopathic.Read more
Patricia Highsmith's ultimate mystery Is it living in a wishy-washy culture of sheepish PBS humanism and numbing political correctness that makes the nasty, psychopathic amorality — no, immorality! — of Patricia Highsmith's novels so savory and appealing? NASTY! Highsmith’s malevolence was no mere literary device.The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith | By Joan Schenkar | St Martin’s | 704 pages | $40Is it living in a wishy-washy culture of sheepish PBS humanism and numbing political correctness that makes the nasty, psychopathic amorality — no, immorality! — of Patricia Highsmith's novels so savory and appealing? If you like Celine, if you dig the Marquis de Sade, then Highsmith's suspense thrillers are for you. From Strangers on a Train to The Talented Mr. Ripley to The Tremor of Forgery, hers is a toxic subterranean environ where murderers without conscience get away with their brutal killings, and you and I, dear readers, celebrate their criminality as gleeful co-conspirators. Go, Guy — eliminate Bruno's ridiculous father in Strangers on a Train! Go, Tom Ripley, on your homicidal path through five tasty novels!Others play at people-hating as a punk pose. The glue in Highsmith's œuvre is that she really means the malevolence. Her books boil with misanthropy, misogyny, contempt for human beings, and, read closely, self-contempt. And let's not forget her deep loathing of kids and dogs.In life, add in her revolting putdowns of blacks, Jews, immigrants, the Portuguese. She was pro-Intifada because she despised Israel. She voted for the first George Bush.Read more
Top Shelf (2009) It's a bright sign for hip-hop when at least three promising subterranean sluggers ride flows comparable to that of the almighty Nas.
Tee Pee (2009) Now Priestess are back in Indieland, rubbing denim-clad elbows with the likes of Nebula and Black Math Horseman.
Public School Records (2010) Coolzey is not the next big thing. Or even the next medium thing.
Kicking off the New Year right with fine traditional Mexican Exploring a new restaurant is like baseball: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it isn't available. My Taquería Jalisco rainout was a Tuesday, its regular day off. Exploring a new restaurant is like baseball: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it isn't available. My Taquería Jalisco rainout was a Tuesday, its regular day off. Fortunately, my other visits got me humming "Dirty Water" — it's a champion with especially fine tacos ($1.75). They boast the correct double layer of soft corn tortillas, generously filled with meat and simply dressed with chopped onions, fresh cilantro, and lime. The uniformly delicious, tender fillings include lengua (diced beef tongue); rez (shredded beef); pollo (chunks of marinated grilled chicken breast); rich, slightly gamy cabeza (chopped beef cheek); and adobada (chunks of pork loin in a vinegary, bright-red chili marinade). Excellent by themselves, they're nearly perfect once dotted with three amazing fresh table salsas: a bright-green one of fresh tomatilloes, avocado, and jalapeños (fiery); a yellow-green one of cooked tomatilloes and chilies (tangy); and a brown one of cooked tomatoes, chili de árbol, and myriad spices (as complex as mole).Three tacos in a combination plate ($7.50) with excellent chunky refried pinto beans, annatto-tinged rice, and an undressed salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and radishes add up to a gorgeous, filling example of budget Mexican. Pollo rostízado (rotisserie chicken, $5.50/quarter; $7.50/half; $13.50/whole) is juicy, flavorful, and similarly satisfying with accompaniments of rice, beans, guacamole, grilled onions, and corn tortillas. Seafood plates boast skillful grilling or frying and clear flavors, like camarones al mojo de ajo ($10.99), a half-dozen grilled tail-on jumbo shrimp with a garlicky dipping sauce, two kinds of rice, and a salad of avocado and tomatoes. Breakfast platters are served all day, like fine huevos rancheros ($7.50), fried eggs on tortillas topped with a tomato/chili sauce plus rice, beans, and avocado.Read more
Letters to the Boston editor, December 25, 2009 Thank you for the article “A Weed Grows in Boston.” Thank you for the article “A Weed Grows in Boston.” As an advocate of marijuana legalization — based on my time in California, where the benefits of medical cannabis can be witnessed firsthand — seeing the cover story on the Boston Phoenix gave me hope. The fact that there are journalists with the courage to cover controversial stories, as well as the fact that news outlets such as the Phoenix will print them, makes me optimistic about the future. I hope that people will be inspired by your article to do research of their own on subjects as critical as personal health. Thank you once again for your journalistic excellence.Harry FosterBostonBelieve in GodI shared Peter Keough’s initial incredulous approach to the new film Oh My God before I saw it, and was slightly put off by the obvious lack of experts in the fields of theology or religious studies. There are certainly no shortage of people living in proverbial “Ivory Towers” who would be willing to share their scholarship, and equally (I dare say) no shortage of people willing to acquiesce humbly to their authoritative arguments. However, after seeing the film, it became obvious that it was precisely that sort of disconnected theologizing that director Peter Rodger was trying to avoid. It was, in fact, the popular view that was the focus of the film, and was brilliantly portrayed.The film dealt with people’s beliefs in a skeptical yet very respectful way. (That same sort of respect was decidedly missing from Bill Maher’s Religulous, a similarly themed yet differently executed film.)Read more
Kirk Snyder's strange tale gets stranger. Plus, Texas Lutheran's divine intervention. There was always a little something off about Kirk Snyder, the onetime University of Nevada Wolf Pack star and NBA washout. There was always a little something off about Kirk Snyder, the onetime University of Nevada Wolf Pack star and NBA washout. Maybe it was his habit of jacking up ill-advised threes, his hot on-court temper, or the fact that he seemingly got traded once or twice a week. You'd see him appear in the highlights getting called on technical fouls in Rasheed Wallace–esque quantities (only minus the actual on-court productivity), or else you'd spot him in some strange post-game write-up about an out-of-nowhere fracas with an opposing player.A verbal throwdown with then–Houston Rocket Bobby Sura comes to mind, as he allegedly shouted a "racist comment" at the white player while playing for the Utah Jazz. After that game, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan pointed out that Michael Jordan could get away with saying things, but that Snyder — a fringy 6-6 swingman with a little range — was "not Michael Jordan." Astute observation!Snyder was last seen playing in China, until last March, when . . . well, something very odd happened. While living in the small town of Deerfield, Ohio (about midway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh), Snyder decided to get up early (around 3:40 am), bust into a neighboring couple's house, and run upstairs and start knocking the crap out of the husband. The wife managed to pull the hood off of Snyder's head, at which point he ran out the way he came in.The police call from the victim's wife is one of the more bizarre footnotes in the annals of the NBA. The critical exchange:Read more
Rhino (2009) More than three years in the making, the most recent installment of Rhino's legendary archival garage-rock series offers an amazingly comprehensive excavation of an absurdly fertile scene.
Domino (2009) Girl-group records are great and everything, yet the countless compilations out there were becoming a little hit-or-miss until 2005, when the great Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found box set finally gave this diverse genre a proper taxonomy.
Union Blues Dept. What a difference six months make. What a difference six months make. Back in June, Daniel Totten — then the head of the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Boston Globe's largest union —stood in front of the paper's Morrissey Boulevard headquarters and announced, triumphantly, that the Guild's members had rejected the New York Times Co.'s demand for $10 million in contract concessions. Fast forward to last week, when a jury of Totten's union peers — in an internal union proceeding that members call a "trial" — found him "guilty" of assorted charges (signing another union official's signature on his own paycheck, using his union credit card for $254 of personal expenses, not submitting receipts on time) and expelled him outright from the Guild. (Adding injury to insult, they also fined him 254 bucks.)Did Totten get a fair shake? After all, he'd irked some union members with his combative approach to negotiations earlier this year. There was already a recall push underway aimed at ending his control of the Guild, but Totten was fighting to keep his job. Had he succeeded, the Guild's members would have found themselves represented during the next crucial round of contract negotiations by the same man who spent 2009 casting the Times Co. (which explored a Globe sale, but ultimately kept the paper) as the Devil incarnate. So might Totten's opponents have used the aforementioned complaints as a way to get rid of him once and for all?That's certainly Totten's explanation. In an e-mail to the Guild's members, Totten — who refused to appear — said the outcome was tainted by the involvement of individuals who'd previously pushed for his removal, and that the process was a "travesty."Read more
Trailblazing along a narrow path What I want to do — what most photographers want to do — is write Harry Callahan a love letter. At the very least, he deserves an elaborate thank-you note for innovating or validating 80 percent of the successful photographs we ever took. ELEANOR (circa 1947) Vastly influential, Callahan expanded the art world's very definition of photography.What I want to do — what most photographers want to do — is write Harry Callahan a love letter. At the very least, he deserves an elaborate thank-you note for innovating or validating 80 percent of the successful photographs we ever took. Yes, Callahan's influence — direct and indirect — has been that encompassing, that universal. And yet the MFA has managed to encapsulate his imprint on the photo-art world in a tiny exhibit (roughly 40 prints), "Harry Callahan: American Photographer," that's on display in the Herb Ritts Gallery through July 3, 2010.Through his lifelong devotion to "personal" photography, the Detroit-born and virtually self-taught Callahan explored the limits of the medium and its technology so thoroughly that, from the late 1930s through his retirement (in 1977, when he left a teaching post at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he'd founded and for many years chaired the photography department), he produced what amounts to a primer of 20th-century photo-art motifs and standards. His long tenure at RISD, which began in 1961, inspired a double-generation-plus of photographers, many from New England, who owe their diverse bodies of work to his relentless experimentation.Up here at MIT, photo-pantheon mainstay Minor White, who from 1965 to 1974 headed that school's legendary photography department (which Callahan had declined to helm), cultivated a similar minion of devotees. But White's offspring, brilliant though many have been, were often confined by their master's block-of-detail vision, whereas Callahan's were open to anything from street-photography grab shots to multiple-exposure collages to revealing semi-formal portraits of their friends.Read more
OId news: nothing super about it The staggering commercial success the folks at Nintendo have achieved in recent years has made it easy to overlook their more unfortunate habits. New Super Mario Bros. Wii | for Wii | Rated E for Everyone | Developed and Published by NintendoThe staggering commercial success the folks at Nintendo have achieved in recent years has made it easy to overlook their more unfortunate habits. For all that everyone applauds their devotion to classic play styles, they've been making essentially the same game for 25 years. And though they've acquired a reputation as the most casual-friendly of video-game companies, their tentpole games are, without fail, controller-chuckingly difficult. Those ironies extend to the name of New Super Mario Bros. Wii: it's the most rudimentary, backward-looking Mario game Nintendo has released in years.Not that there isn't an inherent appeal in revisiting all the old characters, sound effects, and tunes. New SMB most closely resembles the seminal Super Mario Bros. 3, which is now 20 years old. An overworld map bridges the individual levels, offering mildly non-linear routes for Mario to take on his quest to rescue Princess Peach. The levels themselves are sidescrollers of the sort that the Super Mario series perfected, if not outright invented. It's all here: the ice world, the desert world, the forced-scrolling levels. Oh, and the impossible jumps, deadly foes swooping in from off screen, and soaring platforms that are always happy to dump you into the abyss.Read more
Boston Modern Orchestra Project performs Ballet mécanique, live at Jordan Hall BMOP performs Ballet mécanique, live at Jordan Hall on November 13, 2009 Photo: Derek Kouyoumjian Boston Modern Orchestra Project performs Ballet mécanique | Jordan Hall | November 13, 2009 READ: Review of the documentary Bad Boy Made Good, By Jeffrey Gantz Read more
Fresh as can be and well-priced. What’s the catch? Ready for some reasonably priced lobster after years of paying too much? You’re in luck, since a price war seems to be unfolding on the streets of Chinatown, with various window signs advertising twin lobsters in ginger and scallion for as low as $14.95. Jade Garden Seafood Restaurant | 18–20 Tyler Street, Boston | 617.423.3288 | Open daily, 11 am–2 am | AE, Di, MC, Vi | No valet parking | Beer and wine | Up eight stairs from sidewalk levelReady for some reasonably priced lobster after years of paying too much? You’re in luck, since a price war seems to be unfolding on the streets of Chinatown, with various window signs advertising twin lobsters in ginger and scallion for as low as $14.95. Jade Garden isn’t quite that cheap at (recently) $18.95, but the lobsters are kept in the live tanks in the dining room, and come to the table hot and aromatic. Each chunk is lightly breaded and fried, with lots of scallions and sliced-ginger garnish, and is hacked into pieces that even a neophyte could eat with chopsticks.Like every other Chinese restaurant in America for the last 160 years, Jade Garden has two menus: a bilingual one of unlikely length, and a whiteboard set of specials entirely in Chinese. I have no patience for code cracking any more, so I just ask the waiter what the whiteboard specials are. “Seafood,” he says. Pointing, I guess, “Like, in the live tanks?” “Yes.” So I walk over to the tanks with him and he points out mantis shrimp, which look like small, elongated lobsters. One has somehow found himself in a tank with some eels. The waiter describes three ways the chef might prepare the eels, then whole fish, and of course the twin lobsters.Read more
Claire Denis's film goes down smooth, but with a subtle kick Most American filmmakers would focus on the multicultural aspect of 35 Shots of Rum — Claire Denis takes it for granted that her characters are immigrants and doesn’t turn her film into a political discussion.
Speed-the-Plow; The Taming of the Shrew; A Long and Winding Road It’s been 21 years since Speed-the-Plow first milked the cravenness of Hollywood and the self-described “whores” who turn its celluloid tricks. But David Mamet’s scathing, staccato comedy has held up at least as well as Madonna, who made her Broadway debut in the original 1988 production. SPEED-THE-PLOW: Robert Pemberton wonders whether Aimee Doherty works with her legs.It’s been 21 years since Speed-the-Plow first milked the cravenness of Hollywood and the self-described “whores” who turn its celluloid tricks. But David Mamet’s scathing, staccato comedy has held up at least as well as Madonna, who made her Broadway debut in the original 1988 production. And in Robert Walsh’s jumpy revival for New Repertory Theatre (at the Arsenal Center for the Arts through November 7), greed and testosterone flow from a single spigot. Even without an uncharacteristically mousy Madonna outclassed by her male counterparts, the play’s sole female character remains hard to read: naïve turned idealist or just another power-grubbing denizen of the brothel? Whichever, the struggle she catalyzes in the heretofore amoral breast of film producer Bobby Gould, who’s torn between a formula blockbuster and an alleged art film about radiation and the end of the world, mixes a funny Faust into The Day of the Locust.Speed-the-Plow, which takes its name from a farmers’ “good luck,” has nothing to do with plowing — at least not in the agricultural sense. Gould is still settling into the office he scored along with his new title as Head of Production for an unnamed movie studio when hanger-on Charlie Fox turns up barely able to contain himself about a new project. It seems he’s scraped a script off the slush pile, optioned it, and tempted a rival-studio megastar to star in what Gould, joining in Fox’s riff, characterizes as “a buddy film, an action film . . . blah, blah, some girl . . . action, blood, a social theme.” Which isn’t a bad description of Speed-the-Plow.Read more
101.7 WFNX counts down the band's best The 100 greatest U2 songs of all time 100) Get On Your Boots 099) Satellite of Love 098) No Line on the Horizon 097) The Saints Are Coming 096) Indian Summer Sky 095) An Cat Dubh 094) New York 093) I Fall Down 092) Miracle Drug 091) GoneRead more
Big Fat Whale Kennedy's seat
King Richard's Faire in Carver Photos from King Richard's Faire 2009 Photo: Maddy MyersBig Cat show | King Richard's Faire 2009 | September 7, 2009READ: King Richard's Faire '09: Fun, but for a tidy sum
The last installment of Boston in the 70s slideshows on protests and rallies Photos of protests and rallies from the Boston Phoenix archives Photo: Ellen ShubRobert J. Muller of Mental Patients Liberation Front (MPLF) at March 31, 1977 press conference at JFK building in opposition to psychosurgeryRead more
How could this happen? One lesbian's story, through her own comics, on being diagnosed with HPV Comic by Katie "Megaphone" DiamondREAD: Living with HPV. By Lisa Spinelli
Clinton caves on crime bill, but Kennedy can still salvage it A little-known provision in the crime bill now being negotiated by a House-Senate conference committee would greatly expand the number of prison cells available to house violent criminals, and it wouldn't be cost a dime. But it may be doomed unless Senator Ted Kennedy is willing to spend some political capital. Photo: Michael RomanosThis article was originally published in the July 1, 1994 issue of the Boston Phoenix. A little-known provision in the crime bill now being negotiated by a House-Senate conference committee would greatly expand the number of prison cells available to house violent criminals, and it wouldn't be cost a dime. But it may be doomed unless Senator Ted Kennedy is willing to spend some political capital.The provision is called the "safety valve" to reform that would allow federal judges to bypass mandatory sentencing when dealing with first-time non-violent drug offenders. And in a rare display of political smarts and courage, both houses of Congress would make the safety valve retroactive. According to the US Sentencing Commission, this means between 1600 and 5000 current federal inmates could qualify for release- thus freeing up those cells for criminals who are truly dangerous.But the retroactive clause is in jeopardy. The Clinton administration, wary of being cast as pro-criminal, is working against it. Attorney General Janet Reno, once a staunch advocate of releasing first-time non-violent offenders, has quietly switched. And Senator Joseph Biden (D- Delaware), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is doing the White House's bidding."The Department of Justice has a problem with it," says a congressional source. "They're afraid of a Willie Horton ad that says, 'You let somebody out of prison.'"Kennedy, who helped insert the safety valve in the crime bill, is the senior Democrat among the 19 senators and representatives who make up the conference committee. Unless he is willing to stand up to Bill Clinton and Joe Biden, the retroactive provision is not likely to survive. Thus far Kennedy has given little indication of how hard he'll fight for it, and it surely doesn't help that he has a touch re-election battle on his hands.But there is a light at the end of the cell block. The emerging consensus on targeting prisons for violent offenders includes a growing number of conservatives and Republicans, including both of Kennedy's GOP opponents."Of course, it's counterproductive to jail these people on mandatories," Kennedy said in an interview with the Phoenix adding judges should be allowed to exercise their discretion as long as they follow federal guidelines.The US Sentencing Commission establishes guidelines on sentencing for certain crimes. If a judge wishes to disregard the guidelines, she or he must put those reasons in writing. "I am strongly in favor of the sentencing guidelines," Kennedy says, "and I'm strongly opposed to mandatory minimums. We have undermined, in a very important way, the integrity of the guidelines by putting the wrong people in."Read more
Letters to the Boston editor, August 21, 2009 Your recent article regarding the upcoming preliminary election for mayor of Boston, inaccurately portrays my proposal for the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the city’s planning and development agency. Your recent article regarding the upcoming preliminary election for mayor of Boston, inaccurately portrays my proposal for the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the city’s planning and development agency. If elected mayor, I would dismantle the quasi-public BRA and replace it with the creation of two new separate city departments that will be responsible for planning and economic/workforce development, respectively. For too long, the BRA has let developers steamroll through our neighborhoods without community support and without providing justification for how projects fit into any long-term vision for our city. At the same time, the city must improve its efforts to sustain and expand our small-businesses and start-ups, which are key to revitalizing our communities by filling empty storefronts, creating jobs, and jumpstarting our local economy. By creating two new public agencies that are amenable to residents’ best interests, we will finally have the accountability and rationality needed to strengthen all of Boston’s neighborhoods.Michael F. FlahertyCandidate for MayorJustice deservedRegarding “The Punch That Took Two Lives”: there’s a scene in the movie Bad Boys where Sean Penn’s character is discussing the death that landed him in jail. “It was an accident,” he says. The parole officer looks right through him and says, “No, it wasn’t. The way you were going, sooner or later you would have killed someone.” As the district attorney said, the only real tragedy in this case is that Shon McHugh wasn’t tried as an adult. Joe Donovan had a chance to plea and get 15 years. Looking back, he should realize it was a mistake to forgo the deal, not because of the reduced sentence he would have ultimately received, but because he was guilty as hell and should have, even then, realized it was a good offer.Tim SmithBostonThe only true injustice in this story is that McHugh isn’t serving a life term, as well. And while it’s certainly appropriate to analyze the legal issues regarding Donovan’s incarceration, please don’t waste our time with a load of touchy-feely bullshit. It doesn’t matter that Donovan had broken up with his girlfriend that day, that he felt “insecure” in front of his friends or pressured to live up to the example of his “rugged” grandfather. Should every testosterone-addled crybaby with daddy issues be excused when they beat the shit out of innocent passers-by? Tough crap, Donovan, you screwed up.Rich FeinbergBostonRead more
Braving the early crowds for street-food flavors from Baja and Puebla Braving the early crowds for street-food flavors from Baja and Puebla
Blowing up Xbox Live Arcade Perhaps no platform has more consistently delivered solid indie titles than the Xbox 360, whose Live Arcade now offers hundreds of selections, from high-definition updates of the classics to forward-thinking boutique games. DON’T EXPECT TO BE CODDLED: You will die here — and often.’Splosion Man | for Xbox Live Arcade | Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older | Developed by Twisted Pixel | Published by MicrosoftIndependent games have always been available for those who cared to look for them. Recently, they've been handed the spotlight, thanks to the ease and convenience — not to mention the revenue potential — of downloadable console games. All three console makers have thrown their weight behind digital delivery, each with success. Perhaps no platform has more consistently delivered solid indie titles than the Xbox 360, whose Live Arcade now offers hundreds of selections, from high-definition updates of the classics to forward-thinking boutique games.One of this summer's flagship Live Arcade titles, 'Splosion Man, sits right on the dividing line between the two styles. As a two-dimensional platformer with a simplified control scheme, it skips neatly past about 15 years of increasingly convoluted game design. But its elegance also makes room for a devious sense of humor, and some quirks that likely would have been focus-grouped right out of a more mainstream title.To be sure, the influences from older games can be found all over 'Splosion Man. Each side-scrolling level is a series of traps, puzzles, and hazards assembled from familiar parts. You've got your pits of acid, your floating platforms, your auto-tracking turret guns. The main difference is that the title character, a manic, shrieking dude who seems to be made out of glowing charcoals, can do only one thing: explode. (Or " 'splode," in the game's parlance, but that's the last time I'll be repeating it!) Exploding makes your character jump, but it also trips switches and defeats enemies. 'Splosion Man can explode three times in quick succession; then he has to recharge.Picking up and playing the game is simple. Every button on the gamepad has the same function: making your character explode. (Well, except for a not-so-secret "suicide" function mapped to the right trigger.) 'Splosion Man has a small repertoire of special moves, such as bouncing between two walls to gain altitude, but his most important locomotive aid is the exploding barrel. (For once, this is a video game where it makes sense that such things are littered all over the place.) Exploding next to a barrel will propel 'Splosion Man to great heights, or rocket him forward.Read more
High Water Music (2009) Despite yielding at least half of contemporary hip-hop's subterranean and major-label kingpins, the New York underground is often overlooked when it comes time to dole out props.
Arctic Monkeys, live at the Paradise on August 5, 2009 Photos of the Arctic Monkeys at their Boston stop on their new album, Humbug , tour Photo: Lucy ShermanArctic Monkeys | Paradise Rock Club | August 5, 2009READ: Review of Arctic Monkeys show at the Paradise. By Keir BristolRead more
Nearly 17 years ago, Joe Donovan initiated a tragic chain of events with a brutish act of machismo. But should he be in jail for life? When he was 17 years old, Joseph Donovan made the first of two stupid, and even reckless, mistakes. On the evening of September 18, 1992, in a brutish act of machismo, the East Cambridge native and minor-league delinquent punched out Norwegian MIT student Yngve Raustein. HARD TIME After almost 17 years behind bars, Joe Donovan's spirits are still high, despite increasingly slim odds he'll ever be released. When he was 17 years old, Joseph Donovan made the first of two stupid, and even reckless, mistakes. On the evening of September 18, 1992, in a brutish act of machismo, the East Cambridge native and minor-league delinquent punched out Norwegian MIT student Yngve Raustein. Tragically, seconds after he flattened the unsuspecting Norseman (and unbeknownst to Donovan), Raustein was set upon by a sociopathic acquaintance of Donovan's, who stabbed him to death.Though the remorseful Donovan, by his own account then and now, acted like "an idiot" on that warm late-summer evening, and as inhumane as his actions that night were, he is not a murderer. Still, the quandary he found himself in led to his second mistake: Donovan spurned a plea deal with the Middlesex District Attorney and opted to go to trial to clear himself of any connection to the murder. Had he taken the deal, he would have been released last year (about five years after the actual murderer, Shon McHugh, was himself released). Instead, Donovan fought the law and lost. For that mistake, almost 17 years later, under the felony-murder rule — also known as the joint-venture doctrine, which holds all culprits equally guilty if a homicide occurs during the commission of a felony — Donovan is still wearing a gray jump suit at the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater, serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole.Donovan, now 34, has several advocates working on his behalf, but, as one family friend puts it, his chances of receiving a new trial are as likely as a quarterback completing a 100-yard Hail Mary pass — even though the judge who handed him his sentence now believes it is unjust. Donovan realizes that, though he was an aggressive thug that afternoon, unless he can get the justice system to look at his case, which it has thus far been unwilling to do beyond the standard appeals process, he will spend the rest of his life in jail for punching someone in the face.NOT JUST ANOTHER WALK IN THE PARKThe morning of Friday, September 18, 1992, started with minor heartbreak for Joe Donovan. His summer sweetheart, Liza, dumped him following an argument at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, where the two were first-semester seniors. The break-up was hurtful, but Donovan was charming enough to easily befriend girls, and rebounded immediately, making plans to meet a girl named Amy after school. Their later rendez-vous at her apartment featured typical teenage behavior; the two watched television, smoked a joint, and fooled around until Donovan walked home for dinner.Read more
A 40,000-person group hug Stream audio of all the bands' performances, watch video highlights, download interview podcasts, browse concert and behind-the-scenes photos, and share your own photos and videos at the Boston Phoenix Web site or WFNX's site.
Fueled by Ramen/Decaydance (2009) Are Cobra Starship's gleeful Day-Glo appropriations and their unbridled enthusiasm really indications of a disparity between intention and expression? Or is their crime simply the meta-mania of their fusion of '80s retro kitsch and '00s celebrity worship? Really, it's neither.
Rounder (2009) With American Central Dust , Jay Farrar has now accomplished something he was unable to do either during Son Volt's initial run (1995-99) or his evidently aborted solo career (2001-04): released three consecutive albums of undeniable quality.
Hoopleville Ribbon of merit
The Seminoles do it again. Plus, will the real Vontae Davis please stand up? Last month, we announced the triumphant return of the Florida State football program to the summit of the sports-crime world. Last month, we announced the triumphant return of the Florida State football program to the summit of the sports-crime world. The once-feared criminal enterprise, which for years doubled as a perennially contending ACC powerhouse, had roared back into the spotlight with a remarkable run of incidents involving the team's wide-receiver corps — the most prominent featuring Richard Goodman, who broke a woman's face with a thrown chair in a bar fight. There is a reason they play these guys at receiver: catching, not throwing, is their strong suit.Now FSU is back in the news again, and because there are no more wide receivers left to get arrested, it was a linebacker who made the fuss. Maurice Harris, a 20-year-old sophomore reserve, committed one of the dumber (even by college-football standards) crimes of the year when he stole a police boot off his motorcycle and tried to get away with it. It seems police in Tallahassee had found his gray-and-blue bike on campus, and, noting that there were $285 in outstanding parking tickets attached to the ride, had slapped a parking boot on it. When they returned later, the motorcycle and the boot were gone.The next day, the same blue-and-gray motorcycle re-appeared on campus, only this time the VIN number had been crudely scratched off and a paper tag had been affixed to the spot where the old tag had been.Here's where it gets really unfortunate for Harris. The cutoff point for felony larceny in Florida is $300. Guess how much the boot was worth? That's right, $300. So police hit Harris with a number of charges, including felony grand theft and possession of a motor vehicle with altered identification.When Harris got picked up, he denied having any knowledge about a parking boot and cut off the interrogation quickly. The arresting officer noted that Harris "did not want to continue the interview about the missing parking boot."Despite the fact that they're running out of players, the 'Noles went ahead and suspended Harris indefinitely, meaning it could be a banner year in Tallahassee— for walk-ons. Give Harris 30 points for stealing his own motorcycle, plus three more for the boneheaded cover-up.Berry highIt was a bad week for Florida football players, and not just those from Florida State. Jamaal Berry was a big-time high-school running back at Miami Palmetto High School, set to play for Ohio State in the fall. He was good enough that he was expected to actually compete for playing time as a freshman with the Buckeyes, and he still might.Read more
"The Golden Age of Dutch Seascapes" at the Peabody Dutch Seascapes at Peabody Essex The Darsna delle Galere and Castello Nuovo at Naples, 1703, Caspar van Wittel, Oil on panel, 755 x 1410mm, © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK. READ: Ruling the Waves, The golden age of Dutch sea power sails into Salem. By Greg Cook
Dirty Projectors and Vieux Farka Touré live at Somerville Theatre, June 18, 2009 Dirty Projectors and Vieux Farka Touré live at Somerville Theatre, June 18, 2009 Vieux Farka Touré live at Somerville Theatre, June 18, 2009Photos by Lucy Sherman
If farmers and artisans are packing their best goods and schlepping them to your 'hood, cheap, what's your excuse for not consuming them? Winter has always traumatized New Englanders, but because of the economy (thanks, rapacious mortgage-bundling douche bags!), this past season was particularly grim. Winter has always traumatized New Englanders, but because of the economy (thanks, rapacious mortgage-bundling douche bags!), this past season was particularly grim. If you're anything like us, you spent the hibernation months of '09 filling your discontented belly with cheap-ass comfort foods like ramen noodles and Taco Bell Crunchwraps. But it's summer now, and even though you're still broke, you have options beyond the quickie, in-out-of-the-cold fast-food garbage: there's cheap and healthy food brought almost to your doorstep, straight from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms and the like. So snap out of your sodium coma and stop stuffing dollar bills into Mickey D's G-string for those "value meals." You can get real value by visiting the outdoor markets popping up on almost every corner through October. Follow our guide and you should be rolling in fresh produce and sustainably raised meat for months.COPLEY SQUARE In order to reach this bustling market on my late-May trek, I had to first wade through a gauntlet of warm-weather-emboldened MASSPIRGers, panhandlers, and testy anti-war protesters. A mother lode of locally hewn goodies awaited me. On the carbohydrate front, Breadsong Bakery battled for my attention with Iggy's peddled crusty loaves, while the Danish Pastry House offered sweet-toothers cookies and crunchy almond clusters. As for bread spreads, I was torn between Crystal Brook Farm's herb-studded chevre (wrung from their own Saanen and Alpine goats), and Deborah's Kitchen jams (which, at $3 to $7 a jar, are worth the splurge; a broke-ass summer of PB&J is a hell of a lot better when the "J" comprises the berry ambrosia that is "Massachusetts Rubies"). At the stand for Siena Farms (Oleana chef Ana Sortun's CSA farm in Sudbury), the bins overflowed with rhubarb ($4/pound), green garlic ($1 each), Boston lettuce ($3/head), and bundles of irises. In addition to the greens — I ended up snagging a humongo bag of spinach for $4 — the stand's shelves were packed with goodies from Sortun's Sofra bakery, including pickles and Persian spice blends.BEST FIND Cider donuts from the Apple Barn (New Salem, Massachusetts)Read more