A blog about movies and the Sturbridge area, including The Brookfields, Brimfield, Charlton, Holland, Wales, and Spencer as well as adjacent towns.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Indiana James and the Debacle at Ruggles Mine

The feeling up at Ruggles Mine last Saturday was somewhat akin to the scene in Madagascar when the Penguins reach their goal and arrive in Antarctica. It's cold, windy and not what they expected. All of a sudden one says, "Well, this sucks." Yup, that was basically it.

There is a video in this post to document the day. An event filled with car accidents, near loss of all crew on the slippery mine parking lot. Fear that we would not make it home and reminders of the movie Alive in case we were to be stuck there forever.

There is also my feeble attempts to keep the language such that families other than the Mansons can watch.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Summer is really over-Amherst Farmers Market done-Red Barn Market coming.

Yeah, I knew summer was gone a while ago. Still, as long as the market is going, one can be delusional. Especially, as some of the last few markets saw the temps rise to the point that coats, and sweaters were shed. Last Saturday's market was saw a windy and chilly day, but with the sun out, it was wonderful. Sadly, it is all over.

But, wait, there is more. No, we can't stop winter from crashing into us. We can have fun, and we have been having it for 12 years. Below is Carol Joyce telling you about year 13.
So after the Red Barn Market, we can dream of next year's market. We spoke with Justamere Tree Farm, Marian Welch. She and J.P. have been at the market since forever and help make it the unique institution it is.
Sometimes, Sarah Berquist, our market manager, provides the music and sometimes it's ad hoc. At the last market, it was the latter. They were just a bunch of kids getting together for a few tunes, but they were fun.

We'll update about the Red Barn as we get closer to the date

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Calling all cinema tough guys. Show what kind of man you are as an Indy James extra.

Indiana James to shoot at Ruggles Mine way up in New Hampshire on Saturday

It's been a long road for Thomas Pimentel and his band of actors and crew. Finally, it's led to the shaft. This Saturday, November 27, the team will be filming at Ruggles Mine in Grafton, New Hampshire. But, why should Thomas, aka Indiana James and his team have all the fun. Why don't you come along and be part of the gang

Indiana James is looking for a few good men. On previous shoots, it's been a mixed group, but on Saturday, Indy needs guys, bad guys over 18 to be dressed up like police officers
called, the BIKIS, a rogue group of the Police Department. If you think you can be tough on screen, come and have fun.

A few caveats are in order. This is a long way from the Sturbridge area, so check the old mapquest for directions to 286 Ruggles Mine Rd, Grafton, NH 03240 for time and distance. Extras call is 10:00 a.m.
Changing areas will be provided. They do not have rest rooms on site and if you need
to go the bathroom you will have to get in your car and find a place to take care of

It will be cold so heavy coats, hats and gloves are advisable. You will be wearing shorts and polo shirts in
the scene. Any layers that you can hide under them are okay to wear. We will have wardrobe available for
actors. Please wear underwear

Pack yourself a small cooler with drinks and snacks and power bars or whatever keeps you going. We
might not have time to stop and eat. Once we start we probably will not stop. Anyone who comes please
make sure that you have your own car. It will be difficult for you to have someone else pick you up that
late at night especially when we don't know when we will finish. We will take breaks if we can.

Bring cell phone chargers that plug into the wall or your car chargers. We don't want anyone out of
contact or stranded after the shoot.

Everyone has always had a good time at an Indiana James and the Raiders of the Lost Shaker of Salt shoot. For more information, go to the extras website. RSVP to Indiana James.

full disclosure, I have the defining role in the movie, er, I have a small part.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meeting to Save the Casino

On the facebook page, Please restore the Casino Theater in Ware Massachusetts a post was left by the niece of the president of the Ware Historical Society.

There will be a meeting on Tuesday, 11/16 at 10 AM at the Wal*Mart in Ware in an attempt to save the Casino. Would it be possible for you to attend or send along your thoughts?

On November 8th Ware held a special town meeting.

ARTICLE 13proposed the irrevocalbe death of the old movie house. It read as follows, To see if the Town will vote to appropriate a sum of money for the demolition of the Casino Theater, located at 121 Main Street, Ware, Ma. and to determine the manner of

meeting said appropriation whether by taxation, transfer of available funds, borrowing or any other means or combination thereof or take any other action relative thereto.

As there is going to be a meeting, I assume the article passed.

Fred McLennan, who has purchased the Casino doubts they can do it as they don't own the building. Fred is trying to bring the theater back. the town moms and dads seem to have lost patience with him. At one meeting, I heard the call, "Show us the money." Fred has all my sympathies, and he has a daunting task. In truth, he has presented no credible plan.

If you are near Ware tomorrow and want to help save an historical gem of an old movie house, please stop by. Ware claims to be The Town That Can't Be Licked The motto adorns signs on roads entering Ware. Don't let the slogan become, The Town That Licked Itself.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Historic Preservation and Local TV Pilot-The Blackington

The OurFilmSpace crew has been working on getting new tv going in the Sturbridge, Massachusetts area for a long while now. One of the latest projects is Antique Warriors. Though not limited to the Sturbridge Area, the town is a natural for such an endeavor. Home to Old Sturbridge Village and next to Brimfield of the famed summer antique shows, the location is perfect. Lot of old stuff in the region.

Work on the Antique Warriors series has been going on for some time and there are teaser trailers at the facebook page. On a recent Saturday, the Boston film Industry Examiner followed the AW team at the Blackington Building in Sturbridge.

The Blackington Building is one of those old derelicts that break your heart. It is a gothic structure from 1880 with steep roof tower and dormers. Everyone from the area has driven by it as have the multidudes who exit the pike for Brimfield. It stands out as an aristocrat, but that will not be enough to save it.

Doug and Melinda Kirkpatrick, impressarios of OurFilmSpace assembled a crew to work on savioring the Blackington. They enlisted the camera skills of John Hartman, maker of Bridge Crusader and other movies. Talented as john is, he paled in comparison to the beautiful trio presenting the edifice to the public.

Many people in Sturbridge already know Lindsay Monroe for more than her extraordinary photography. Alicia Zitka was crowned Miss Massachusetts and when you see her as an Antique Warrior, you’ll not wonder why. Tee Whitlow is known as the Woman About Town and she does not suffer from a personality defiency.

Short plot synopsis, Lindsay is showing the Blackington to entrepreneurs , Tee and Akicia. Will they take the challenge?

Below are the behind the scenes videos. Part I introduces Tee and Alicia and we see Lindsay show the building. To see Part II starts with "boots on the ground," well, the floor anyway. Then we interview Tee. Doug comments and John admits to his undying devotion to the Boston Film Industry Examiner.

John, in the words of Phil Connors in Groundhog Day, I may be “a god, not the God.”

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Save the Market!

Okay, Hollywood in Sturbridge is about the Sturbridge and surrounding towns and movies. Still, sometimes your humble impresario branches out to other areas that are of interest to himself.

I have supported farmers' markets in our area both in print and online. However, long before the movement to bring farmers' markets to this region, I have been selling honey and beeswax hand cream at the Amherst Farmers' Market. Certainly, I would be better served now by going to a nearer market, but everyone associated with AFM, customers and vendors, are too wonderful to abandon. A Saturday morning in Amherst during the market season is a pleasure.

Life is good, what is there worry about? Plenty. a construction program is proposed that will lead to moving the market away from the common for 2011 and leave it with constricted space in the future.

Market Pres. John Spineti sent out an email outlining the problem:



Construction proposed for 2011 to widen the Spring Street parking lot

sidewalks to 14 feet from their current width of five feet will result

in an 18 foot narrowing of the parking lot.

For this construction to take place, the Farmers' market, a 40 year

institution to the life of downtown Amherst as well as Valley residents,

has been asked to VACATE the lot for the entire 2011 market season.

Further, there will be a loss of four parking spots in this redesign of

the lot. The elimination of the four parking spots will result in four

farmers (vendors) losing their spaces. It does not seem reasonable.

Additionally, putting cars nine feet closer to traffic moving through

the lot obviously makes it more difficult for motorists to exit parking

spaces. Finally, to lose parking space and revenue when the cost of

creating parking space is so high and when recent news has focussed on a

scarcity of downtown parking is counterintuitive.

I am asking for public support to oppose this construction project.

Please contact the Select Board members and show your support for the

Amherst Farmers' Market.

John Spineti


Amherst Farmers' Market

I caught John and market manager Sarah Berquist on video explaining what's at stake and what can be done. Also, on the vid is a sample of the music on tap at last Saturday's market and one of the vendors is moved to dance.

So write a note to the select board letting them know that you support what is a valuable asset to the town and region at:

Amherst Select Board transparent.png

4 Boltwood Avenue

Amherst, MA 01002-2301

suggested letter:


I oppose the construction of the 14' wide sidewalks along the Spring
Street Parking Lot. The dislocation and disruption of the market during
the 2011 market season and the loss of four parking spaces will hurt the

____________(print name)



The link to the farmers' market website is here. The facebook link is here. More info should be coming.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless self promotion-November edition,

The Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, both print and online. This is the monthly notice wherein I, with no shame, tout my unworthy offerings.

We may have lost Peter Morin, but the Rimscha Concert Series still lives in Sturbridge, and on Page 18.

On Page 16, Normand Gibeault may or may not be shy, but he certainly is not retiring.

Read about educational sticker shock in my column on Page 26.

I am not the only one writing. There are many entertaining and useful articles that I had nothing to do with. You can read the magazine online by clicking here and downloading a pdf, or you can click on the graphic below to find out where to pick one up.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

OSV announces More Beautiful Than Any Other: Quilts from the Old Sturbridge Village Collection (SturbNew Old Sturbridge Village Antique Quilt Exhibit

Passing on an OSV press release FYI for all you quilt lovers out there. You know who you are!

More Beautiful Than Any Other: Quilts from the Old Sturbridge Village Collection

(Sturbridge, Mass.) Nov. 2, 2010: For the first time in more than 10 years, antique quilts from the Old Sturbridge Village collection are out of storage and on display to the public in a newly opened exhibit, More Beautiful Than Any Other: Quilts from the Old Sturbridge Village Collection. Rare quilts from all over New England are featured, along with a variety of period quilted garments, including petticoats, hoods, coats, and period sewing tools and accessories.

The exhibit title refers to a silver medal-winning quilt made by a “Mrs. D. Baker” judged to be “more beautiful than any other” at an exhibition held at Faneuil Hall in Boston on September 20, 1841. Both the award-winning quilt and Mrs. Baker’s silver medal are part of the Old Sturbridge Village exhibit. The oldest quilt on view dates to 1793. The exhibit is free with museum admission, and will be open through June, 2011. However, since the fragile quilts can be displayed only for a limited time, a new group of the museum’s antique quilts will replace those currently on exhibit in February, 2011. For details: 800-733-1830;www.osv.org.

Exuberant colors

Quilting, the art of stitching together layers of fabric and batting to create a warm bed covering or garment, has a long history in New England. Not only was it a quilting practical way for New Englanders to keep warm and comfortable during the long, cold winters, it was also an expression of style. “Early New England quilts often featured exuberant colors and bold patterns,” says Rebecca Beall, collections manager at Old Sturbridge Village. “People today who are used to seeing old, faded quilts are often astonished at just how bright the original fabric colors were.”

Part of the OSV exhibit is an 1823 fabric swatch book that shows the true depth and tone of the period fabric colors. “Because the swatch book was kept closed for nearly 200 years, the rich hues and bright patterns of the fabrics inside have survived in nearly original condition,” Beall notes. Another good example in the exhibit of the bold, bright patterns popular at the time is an 1835 quilt from the Capen family in Stoughton, Mass.

Artistic skill and embellishments

In addition to elaborate patterns and intricate stitches, some quilters incorporated other artistic embellishments in their designs, such as theorem painting, or stenciling, which was popular in early New England. An example of this is a stunning eight-pointed star quilt stitched in 1837 quilt by Clarissa Moore of Eastfield, Conn., who stenciled her name, date and other decorations on the quilt.

Distinctly New England

New England women began to depart from English quilting traditions, adopting different piecing and stitching techniques. “One practical and distinctly New England innovation was the T-shaped quilt, which had cut-outs at the bottom to better fit around the bedposts,” notes Jean Contino, coordinator of households, horticulture and women’s crafts at Old Sturbridge Village. Some survive with the original ties in place, such as a pieced star quilt from the OSV collection made in 1849 by Betsy Lyford of Brookfield New Hampshire.

Early piecing

Period pieced quilts sometimes included dozens of different printed fabrics, including new fabrics, scraps, and fabrics re-used from old gowns or bed hangings. When the American textile industry boomed, the price of printed cotton cloth plummeted, and by the 1830s, women could buy American-made cottons for as little as four or five cents per yard, so they often purchased fabrics specifically for a quilt. Two good examples of early pieced quilts in the Old Sturbridge Village exhibit are an 1835 quilt from the Wilbur family of Swansea, Massachusetts, and an 1808 hexagonal patterned quilt made by Phebe Winsor of Johnston, R.I. Today, the hexagon pattern is often called “Grandmother’s Flower Garden,” and early names for the pattern were “Mosaic,” and “Honeycomb.”

Sentimental inspiration

Sometimes quilters used scraps from other garments not for frugality, but for sentimental reasons. Many early quilts contain fabrics that had significance to the makers and were remembrances of family and friends. An unusual example of this is a quilt on display made by Nancy Newton of Marlborough, N.H. sometime between 1825 and1850. The centerpiece of the quilt is a silk-embroidered linen “pocket” made in the 1700s that perhaps was a cherished heirloom handed down from the quilter’s mother or grandmother. (Pockets were worn by ladies around their waists under their gowns). The rest of the quilt’s design uses motifs from the centerpiece pocket.

Conspicuous consumption

The oldest quilt on display in the Old Sturbridge Village exhibit is a 1793 wholecloth wool quilt from the family of Elizabeth Mather of Sandisfield, Mass. At the time this quilt was made, the practice of displaying beautiful, high quality quilts demonstrated the owner’s wealth and taste. Quilts adorned beds in the best room of the house -- a room that was used for dining and entertaining as well as for sleeping.

Affordable affluence

Later, as British and American textile mills produced an increasing variety of printed cloth, wholecloth cotton quilts became a fashionable and affordable way to dress a bed, and the printed fabric, not the quilting stitches, became the focal point of the quilt. An example of this “affordable affluence” is a reversible quilt from Springfield, Mass. made between 1820-25 featuring a fabric patterned with tree branches and exotic birds.

Cradle comforts

A number of the quilts on exhibit at Old Sturbridge Village are cradle quilts, which show the same techniques and styles as their full-sized counterparts. “Cradle quilts were sometimes made by an older sister practicing her sewing skills before undertaking a larger quilt,” notes OSV’s Contino. “And unlike the pink and blue colors traditionally used for babies today, there was little distinction between color palettes for boys and girls in early New England.”

More Beautiful Than Any Other: Quilts from the Old Sturbridge Village Collection will be on exhibit through June 30, 2011. Old Sturbridge Village has one of the largest textile collections in the northeast, with more than 6,000 pieces, including 250 quilts of all sizes, dozens of quilted garments, and hundreds of other bed coverings, such as blankets, sheets, woven coverlets and counterpanes (summer bed coverings).

The overall Old Sturbridge Villager artifact collection of more than 60,000 artifacts. The museum celebrates New England life from 1790 – 1840, and is one of the oldest and largest living history museums in the country, with 59 antiques buildings, three water-powered mills and a working farm. The museum is open year round, but hours change seasonally. For details: www.osv.org; 1-800-733-1830.