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Veteran’s movie “Almost Sunrise.” FREE screening at Zeiterion Theater, June 1

By Sean McCarthy for The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center

Description: The film follows two Iraq veterans, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson, who struggle with depression upon returning home from service. Fearful of succumbing to the epidemic of veteran suicide, they seek a lifeline and embark on a 2,700-mile walk across America as a way to confront their inner pain. The film captures an intimate portrait of two friends suffering from the unseen wounds of war as they discover an unlikely treatment: the restorative power of silence and meditation.

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It began as a quest to resolve their inner demons, but what also transpired was a greater faith in humanity and a significant perpetuation of a movement that is becoming part of a national conversation – “Moral Injury.”

“Moral Injury” is the main idea being highlighted in the documentary, “Almost Sunrise,” the story of two Iraq War veterans who walked 2,700 miles from their homes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Santa Monica, California – a trip that took 155 days. The trek featured Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson, a pair of veterans sensing that they were perilously close to ending their lives because of their combat experiences. The journey was a “last ditch effort” to help themselves, and it became a testament to the healing and restorative power of silence and meditation.

“Almost Sunrise” will be shown at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center on Friday, June 1’st at 7 p.m. It will be followed by a panel discussion and will culminate with a walking meditation. All of the events are free of charge.

  • https://zeiterion.org/almost-sunrise-tickets/
  • The event is one part of the Zeiterion’s Veterans Experience series which uses the arts to highlight the veterans’ experience. The aim is communicating to citizens what it means to serve our country in war, instill a sense of empathy and appreciation throughout our community and provide pathways for both healing and understanding.

    Through the power of the performing arts, the Zeiterion aims to convey the veterans’ experience to an audience of civilians and to demonstrate how the arts can help trauma for an audience of veterans.

    “Moral Injury” is an affliction that affects people from all elements of society. Although it is foremostly associated with military veterans, “MI” has come to be recognized by many other social communities, affecting an array of victims who must deal with their personal behavior that has gone against their moral code, regardless of their position in society.

    Largely because of social media, the two were welcomed and assisted throughout their trip by numerous strangers who offered emotional support as well as a roof over their heads, a warm meal and a warm shower. The trip also served as a fundraiser for a veterans service organization in Milwaukee, raising more than $100,000. Dry Hootch of America is devoted to creating safe and sober social situations for veterans to be together such as coffee houses.

    “The walk was done out of necessity,” Voss says. “We were really in a position where we hadn’t dealt with what we experienced in war in over 10 years. The veterans’ experience is usually that you get out of the service and then you try to carry on with your life, get back into school and get a job – do all those things that you’re supposed to do but you don’t have the time to reflect and really process ‘What did I just experience?’

    “Over 10 years I just got to the point where I was seriously considering taking my life. I didn’t know how to manage it or get back into my community – I didn’t have someone to connect with and share these experiences with. It was all on my shoulders. This was a last ditch effort – I had to give it a shot before I go down that path of taking my life.”

    The documentary was filmed by Michael Collins.

    “I didn’t want to perpetuate the stereotypes of the wounded soldier or even the homecoming hero,” Collins says. “Those portrayals aren’t doing anyone any favors. I wanted people to hear from the soldiers themselves and their families to understand the complexities. We need to see them as humans when they come back. What I wanted to portray was that these are complex human beings like the rest of us and you can’t describe them by one dimension of their character and that’s where the healing takes place.

    “This film is not just a focus on PTSD – there are already many films about that. I wanted to take the conversation a little further and talk about “Moral Injury” and how it is associated with guilt and shame as opposed to trauma and shock to the nervous system.”

    “This is the first film that really tackles the subject of “MI,” Voss says. “It’s getting the concept out there. All sorts of people are drawing connections from the concept of having a wounded soul participating in something that goes against their moral code. This is really starting to resonate in a bunch of different communities giving depth to trauma. This film shows that vets are not the only ones going through this thing – a lot of vets isolate themselves because they don’t have anyone to share their experience with. I think it shows that there are men and women going through the same thing they are.”

    Collins talks about making human connections with others.

    “When you feel a connection to someone from a different community there’s suddenly a feeling that they become part of your community, that there isn’t a separation anymore, there’s a feeling that we’re all from the same community. As much as they’re taking care of us it’s our responsibility to do the same for them when they get home. That’s why I love making character-driven films because it gives us a very human perspective of an experience we might not normally have access to in your daily lives.”

    Collins says that the film proves that we have more bonds than barriers.

    “For me the opportunity to go across the country and connect with people from different ends of the political spectrum and realizing that we all have so much in common – especially these days when the common narrative is that there’s such distinct camps that people fit into – I experienced meeting people from all different walks of life from this country and that we have a lot more in common than we do differences. I saw all of these people come out and open their homes and communities to Tom and Anthony to help them was further proof that when people are given the opportunity to do something good we’ll all come together to do it.”

    A large lesson that Voss experienced from the walk was that nature can help in ways that chemical medications cannot.

    “This film shows that there are ways other than pharmaceutical medications to treat trauma. Focusing on meditation, yoga and other holistic practices and nature-based therapies can have a positive impact in life without having to be on a cocktail of prescription medications and just end up numbing and keeping all of these things down. There’s a lot of value immersing yourself in nature that most people don’t put too much stock into. Being out in nature and being exposed to the elements, slowing down and taking your time being in the environment has a really positive effect on your mental health.

    “This walk allowed me the space to process a lot of the things that I had experienced while deployed. It was invaluable,” Voss says.

    “This has been one or the richest experiences of my life,” Collins says. “I was able to witness two men who were really seeking to take responsibility for their lives and for their healing who were not willing to give up even when they were running into what felt like dead ends with the Veterans Association and other groups.

    “I knew that I wanted this film to be hopeful,” Collins says. “I wanted it to end in a place that would inspire progress – to move towards solutions. It was such a blessing that we saw such a transformation take place. I think it’s important to highlight problems in society – something that would inspire action, not only for vets and their families but there were other paths for healing that maybe people weren’t aware of before, that there is always hope.”

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    The final installment of The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center’s

    VETERANS EXPERIENCE PROGRAM

    Almost Sunrise
    Friday, June 1, 7:00 p.m.
    FREE but tickets encouraged – Click Here
    Funded by Mass Humanities

    Post-show panel discussion with Dr. Bob Meagher featuring Tom Voss, the documentary subject, and Michael Collins, the film’s director.

    Contemplative Walk and Guided Meditation
    Saturday, June 2, 10:00 a.m.
    FREE

    Location: Friends Academy (1088 Tucker Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747)
    All are invited on a contemplative walk and guided meditation led by Tom Voss and Michael Collins of Almost Sunrise. Experience the restorative, soul-nourishing benefits of expending time in nature, concluding with a guided meditation and breath work. All ages welcome.




    Five of the Best Pizzas in Greater New Bedford

    I know just the very concept of stating the best of anything is to step on a lot of toes. So, suffice it to say I will offer the same disclaimer: this is my opinion and I am not stating it as an objective fact. I know that with pizza things can take on almost a religious-like perspective – I don’t want to trigger any pizza rage! If your favorite pizza isn’t on this list, it doesn’t mean I dislike it, it’s just that this is what I prefer. Perhaps, I’ve never even had it!

    Which brings up the point of this article: by sharing my favorites, I may turn you on to something you’ve never had and you’ll share your difference of opinion and bring to light something that I have never tasted. So, that means everyone gets pizza. What’s wrong with that?

    The first mention of each restaurant’s name under its title is a link that will take you to more information on that particular establishment in case you are salivating and your body is ready. By all means, let us know who you prefer if they differ! Here are mine in no particular order:

    Brick Pizzeria Napoletana

    Brick Pizzeria at 163 Union Street, New Bedford and 213 Huttleston Avenue, Fairhaven brought class to pizza. By showcasing the Neapolitan style pizza they also brought a refreshing change to what everyone else was doing. Typically what was in the region was a thicker crusted pizza cooked in an industry oven or Brooklyn style. Nothing wrong with those at all, but the change here was certainly welcome!

    By cooking the pizza in higher temperatures and in an old-world brick oven they returned to the way things were done and paid homage to the fundamental of every great pizza: the crust. The speed with which the pizza cooks is astounding and creates a crust that no one in the area can match in my opinion. The soft, thinner than usual style crust has the tiniest layer of crisp on it providing a texture that no one else can. The proper amount of char contributes to the overall flavor profile.

    The speed is also something very welcome for those who want pizza for lunch, don’t want delivery, but don’t have much time.

    Brick offers a score of “white” (without tomato sauce) and “red” style pizzas, in addition to brick-oven fired flatbread pizza sandwiches, starters, salads, and desserts. All the classic style pizzas are represented – you’ll find the Margherita, marinara, pepperoni, and others, but also lesser-known ones like the Capricciosa: prosciutto, artichoke, olives, goat cheese, the Puttanesca: anchovy, capers, red onion, olives, my personal favorite, the Salumi E Funghi: hot salami, mushrooms. Pizzas are between $6.99-$12.99. Full menu can be seen here.

    Yia-Yia’s Pizza Cafe

    Yia-Yia’s is probably the best kept secret on this whole list. Well, not a secret at all, but incredibly obvious if you live on “the Neck.” About halfway between the top of the Neck and Wilbur’s Point, this little pizza shop that could, and could, and could has been producing some of the best pizza on planet earth, I kid you not.

    For those who don’t know, Yia-Yia is Greek for “grandma” and the term is an apt one that describes this family operated business churning out mouth pizza, Gyros, salads, subs, dinners, and even desserts. If Yia-Yia’s only made a plain pizza, they’d be on your favorite list – it’s that good. However, they do offer a large variety of pizza types, many of which I haven’t seen elsewhere. All the standards and slightly not standard are offered, the Margherita, Buffalo Chicken, Steak Abriata, Meat Lovers, Philly Steak, etc.

    If you are the type that likes to try new things, you’re going to have your socks blown off, or…er…your Toga blown off with pizzas like the Jamaican Jerk, BLT, Thai Chicken, Clams Casino, Senor Taco, Coney Islander or Cacoila.

    A personal favorite of mine is called the Greek Villager: Bianca with marinated chicken, topped with a chilled Greek Village style salad of cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, tossed in our homemade Greek dressing and served with a Tzatziki sauce. One bite will change your life.

    Yia-Yia’s offers small and large, no medium and the price range is between $7.75 (Zorba)-$20.75 (Scallops Skopolos) but most pizzas are around $12-$13 for a large. Regardless of what they charge, it’s well worth it. Just show up and tell them to take your money.

    Libad’s Seaside Tavern

    Libad’s Seaside offers the best deal on this list. However, don’t be fooled and equate inexpensive with lesser quality. The pizza at Libad’s rivals any place making pizza anywhere in the area.

    Libad’s hand-tossed pizza comes in one size starting with a cheese pizza at $10.95 and $1 for each additional topping. The signature and chef’s specialty pizzas are $12.95. There are “don’t rock the boat” pizzas like the pepperoni, three cheese, tomato & basil, meatball marinara, Bourbon Chicken, Clam & Garlic, and Buffalo Chicken. But they offer some amazing “rock the boat, I can swim” specials like the Scallop Mozambique, Chicken, Bacon & Ranch, Cacoila, Spinach & Ricotta White Pie, and their Libad’s Special – mozzarella, chourico, caramelized onions, Portuguese-Spiced Red Sauce, and St. Jorge Cheese. My personal favorite is the Scallop Mozambique.

    So where does the “best deal” come in? If you stop by during lunch, you can get a lunch-sized version of these pizzas with a soda or beer starting at $6. You’ll also get it so fast, you’ll think there is someone using voodoo in the kitchen. Has to be the Black Arts for sure.

    Fay’s

    Fay’s Restaurant in South Dartmouth is famous for their top-notch Italian cuisine, but before they opened their current restaurant, they were part of a pizza joint that is famous to this day for making the most incredible thin-crust pizza pies: Fay’s Notty Pine. Matriarch Fay Costa DiPiro came to America from Fabrizia, Italy and brought her generations old, family recipe for sauce, pasta, pizza, and more made from scratch. You can’t get closer to original, old country, pizza than what is served at Fay’s!

    As with all places that offer pizza, you can always get the classics or standards and you would be more than happy just doing that. In fact, order a simple Margarita or cheese (Simply Fay’s) pizza and you’ll swear that there is some secret ingredient in them – something so simple can’t possibly taste that good, right? But the old country philosophy of “Less is more, fresh is best.” is at play here. It’s Italian fundamentals.

    Any restaurant worth its salt, practices terroir, or utilizing what the region has to offer to your menu and where you source your ingredients. So, you’ll see pizzas like my favorite, the Portuguese Feast: House-made cacoila, white cheddar cheese, linguica and banana peppers or the Linguica: locally made ground linguica with white cheddar cheese and tomato pizza sauce. There are dozen other types you can’t go wrong trying. How does the Basil Bianco: fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, fresh garlic and white cheddar cheese sound? Or the El Greco:Feta cheese, spinach, onions, white cheddar cheese and Italian seasonings with tomato pizza sauce?

    Pizzas start at $7 with the Simply Fay’s and go up to $12 for the aforementioned Portuguese Feast or the Works. Thin crust, freshest ingredients, and love all the way from the old country. You would right to head to Fay’s for some of the region’s best Italian cuisine, but you would also be right in ordering a pizza to go right alongside anything else on their menu. At Fay’s, the humble pizza is elevated to an equal.

    Cork’s Flatbread

    Cork Wine and Tapas is a spot I frequent at least once a month. I need it. Have to have it. The historian in me loves the part of downtown Cork sits at and the built in 1860, Joseph Taber building itself – Taber, who by the way, was a pump and block maker as well as a selectman at one time. I like frequenting downtown and imagining I’m in the mid-19th century and deckhands are rolling barrels of whale oil up and down Centre Street or Rose Alley.

    Cork’s eclectic menu changes with the seasons, but they always offer the most amazing, made-daily flatbread. For $11 you get a slice of heaven and “wow” in every bet. Like everything Cork does, the flatbreads are treated like the most important dish the chef ever made. Always consistent, forever paying attention to the details no matter how small, these flatbreads are works of gastronomic art.

    The variety of flatbread is not stated on the menu, only the flatbreads themselves are described, because they change regularly, but your server will let you know when you arrive at your table. It might be a Margerita pizza, a Mozzarella & Ricotta with basil and balsamic glaze, or Chorizo with roasted peppers & onions. Or perhaps the Cubano with roasted pork shoulder, ham, cheddar, dill pickles and spicy Chipotle mustard sauce.

    Honestly, whatever it is, just order it. What it is is irrelevant – it’ll be delicious. You won’t be triggered. In fact, if there is some sort of opposite, that’s what you’ll be…like untriggered or de-triggered. You’ll be one happy camper and just like Fay’s, Cork elevates the flatbread to rival any other “classy” dish on the menu. Pizza gets a bad rap and has been demoted over the years. Places like Cork return it to its deserved glory. I mean, if the picture below doesn’t get your juices going, you are either dead or a communist:

    Have you tried the pizza on this list? All of them? Am I out of my gourd? Who should I try that isn’t on this list?

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    Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo Review

    By Mia Germain
    By Mia Germain

    Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo blow the roof off of New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theater

    The red carpeted aisles are nearly invisible beneath the wall-to-wall crowd dancing on its feet and singing along all night long. Hoards of people clad in everything from leather jackets to pink tutus flood New Bedford’s Union Street, and slam the Z bar before the show. Fans discuss their first times seeing Benatar on stage–and the next four times they saw her as well. It is clear from the get-go that much like our very own Zeiterion Theater, Pat Benatar is a fixture that transcends generations.

    Benatar and her husband, long-time guitar player, and writing partner “spyder” Giraldo, flood the stage with an energy and presence that few young, fresh artists can muster, and they’ve been doing it for over 35 years.

    The concert was not just a throwback to glory days, reliving good memories and great songs, but it was an entirely new experience on its own, completely alive and thriving–barely contained within the Z’s historic four walls.

    Every single song was greeted by audience members leaping to their feet, singing along to every word and chanting every chorus. The night was lively and upbeat, even the security guards were dancing. The duo took a moment to recognize their own relationship with an anecdote of the first song they ever wrote about their experiences together in love, introducing “Promises in the Dark”.

    Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo rock the Zeiterion Theatre!
    Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo rock the Zeiterion Theatre!

    The two are far from behind the times, inviting the audience to reach out to them on facebook the next day to tell them how they enjoyed the show. “I hope you’re having as much fun as we are,” Giraldo tells the audience with a grin. Before playing another karaoke night favorite, “We Belong to the Light,” Benatar gives her congratulations to a couple in the audience married just a few days before, who reached out to her on social media to let her know they would be in attendance tonight.

    “We hadn’t anticipated what [this song] would become to you, our fans were happy that someone had finally brought this issue into the light and had given them a voice. We hope that someday we won’t have to play it any more,” Benatar says on a somber note before transitioning into “Hell is for Children.” The tone took on a more serious note, but fans were rapt in the power of the moment, and what a monumental song it was then and still is today.

    Photo by Travis Shinn
    Photo by Travis Shinn

    Pat Benatar has been a force to be reckoned with since before MTV, then conquered the new platform and continues to do so today even after it has aged into obscurity. It is not enough to say that she is a voice of a generation, because she has proven herself to be truly timeless. The audience, with chills down their spines from the sheer intensity of her performance are a testament to her power.

    Not a single person onstage, backstage, or in the audience wanted to leave the theater that night. It was a party that the Zeiterion, New Bedford, and Benatar herself are sure to never forget.

    “There’s some bad stuff going on in the rest of the world, so we are going to put our hands together and send them some good cheer,” Benatar preached, closing out the night on a flawless note.

    For upcoming shows at the Zeiterion theater, please visit http://www.zeiterion.org/




    A Night of Enchantment

    By Mia Germain
    By Mia Germain

    Five time Tony Award-winning Peter and the Starcatcher captures the imaginations of children and adults at the Zeiterion Theater.

    Once upon a time in a land far, far away three bright red caravans rolled down the cobblestone streets of a sleepy whaling town. Little did the townspeople know, a miracle was just beginning to unfold.

    “Shut the f–aucet,” an exuberant young actress playing Molly, yells across the Zeiterion stage. Muffled giggles bubble up from younger audience members.

    The evening was not all make believe and happy endings, “everything ends…and so our story begins.” An underlying tone of seriousness and openly existential musings tell the story of how a boy never grew up, creating an impactful depth to the light as a feather story of flight and fancy that is Peter Pan.

    A company of just 12 actors armed with household rope, paper boats, and a ladder use traditional storytelling techniques manage to transcend their means with the ingenuity of Donyale Werle (Scenic Design) and Steven Hoggett (Movement).

    “And use your thoughts to hoist the sails and deck the ships awaiting us this early, gray,and misty dawn in 1885…”

    Peter and The Starcatcher March 20There is a sense of trust the actors invest into the audience, to take their word that this rope is a glimpse into Molly and her Nanny’s cabin aboard the S.S. Neverland, or that these paper triangles are the jaws of a ravenous Tic Toc the Croc. The simplicity in this mode of storytelling, as it was long done before actors commonly flew across Broadway stages above complex pyrotechnics and elaborate costumes, truly invites the imagination to be an active participant rather an a passive observer left in the dark beneath the stage.

     

    Adolescent humor infuses the performance with levity and laughs. Fart jokes, a chorus line of men dressed as mermaids and endless puns whip the audience into a hysterical joy shared by the youngest and oldest members alike.

    The audience that evening was comprised of many parents with reluctant teenagers in tow, some children as young as five years old, and several of the Zeiterion Theater’s regular attendees. While it may have taken time to gain momentum, by the end of the night the entire theater was on its feet for three rounds of applause.

    Peter and the StarcatcherThis re-imagining of the origins of Peter Pan is truly inventive in its approach as well as its execution. The humor is spot on, the plot enticing, and its characters perhaps even more memorable than before. The evening transported guests to another time and place, where the Zeiterion Theater transcended our own historic Union Street and truly became a fixture in each of our own versions of neverland, where we suspend disbelief and live in a present without constraints of our own realities.

    Adults left with a sense of understanding of a long-treasured story, and children with a sparked curiosity for what happens to The Boy next, begging to dust off the packed away VHS copy of Disney’s Peter Pan their older siblings left behind. A sleepy little girl mutters, “this was the best bed-time story ever” as her father carries her out of the theater in his arms.

    Performances like this are few and far between, and not to be missed. Check out the upcoming schedule of other magical performances coming to the Zeiterion Theater at www.zeiterion.org

    While the S.S. Neverland has embarked upon the rest of its national tour, for more of Peter and the Starcatcher visit www.peterandthestarcatcher.com and keep an eye out for developing news of Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of the Broadway musical play to be directed by Gary Ross of The Hunger Games films.




    The Dark Knight Rises Movie Review

    By Shonna McGrail Ryan

    It’s been a busy weekend in theaters all across the country thanks to one of America’s favorite masked superheroes; Batman.  Few film franchises have gotten such attention and acclaim as Christopher Nolan’s series which came to its thrilling conclusion with the release of The Dark Knight Rises this past Friday.  There were high expectations for this third installment of a trilogy that has wiped out box office records in the past few years and brought a whole new level of darkness to a comic book legend.

    Batman has been my favorite superhero since childhood, and to this day a framed poster from the classic Batman comic hangs on my wall.  I was thrilled with Nolan’s direction of taking the Batman movies into a direction of darkness, because frankly, those were by far the best comic books (especially the Frank Miller comics).  Thus, I was there amongst the crowds on opening night for The Dark Knight Rises, feeling very hopeful that it would live up to my expectations.

    I would say that for the most part, The Dark Knight Rises delivered with 2 hours and 45 minutes of thrilling action scenes, complex villain development and plenty of angsty Bruce Wayne brooding.  There were a number of plot twists, some more clever than others, but overall it had me on the edge of my seat and earned a round of applause from the audience when the credits rolled.

    The Dark Knight Rises Movie Review
    The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.

    As with the previous two films, there are many curve balls thrown into The Dark Knight Rises, plot and I certainly don’t want to spoil any of them for you.  As you’ve surely seen in the trailers, this movie starts eight years after Batman defeats The Joker but is framed for the murder of Harvey Dent.  Bruce Wayne has retired from his crime fighting night job, and in fact has retired from society as a whole, living as a recluse in a closed off wing of Wayne Manor.  A new enemy rises and threatens Gotham, the infamous gargantuan Bane and Batman is pulled from his den of self loathing.  Oh, and Catwoman starts to appear as well.

    I think the number one question on most moviegoers’ minds is how cool Bane is in the movie.  Tom Hardy does a great job playing Bane and actually packed on 30 pounds of muscle to measure up to the comic book behemoth who could physically take Batman on any day of the week.  They clearly made some changes to Bane from the comic books, most for the better in my opinion, giving him a well developed back story and a mask that seems a lot less ridiculous than the wrestling mask depicted in old drawings.  As usual, The Dark Knight Rises strove to create a believable villain.  The only downside to that was that they never explained his clearly beyond human strength, leaving us only to conclude he was just naturally, absurdly strong.

    The next question brewing on my mind when I entered the theater was how Anne Hathaway would do as Catwoman.  For me, Catwoman was one of the only cool female characters in comic books for many years (sorry Superwoman).  Catwoman always had a very dynamic relationship with Batman, sometimes as nemesis and sometimes as ally, but always doing what was most self serving and willing to use whatever tools at her disposal to win.  This made her a very interesting character in both comic book and movie interpretations as she is primarily a survivor and often a heartless seductress.  Initially I was concerned about the casting of Hathway for such an edgy roll.  I can never seem to stop thinking her as being the awkward teenager from The Princess Diaries.  I was pleasantly surprised by her portrayal however; confident, graceful, poised and manipulative. Everything a Catwoman should be, and with a few surprises that I will save for your viewing pleasure.

    As with its predecessors, the production quality of The Dark Knight Rises was top notch, with plenty of heart stopping action and emotionally captivating imagery.  The attention to detail and industry changing special effects are part of what have made this trilogy so great in the first place.  The other part has been the acting, with incredible performances from great actors like Michael Caine and Gary Oldman, as well as Heath Ledger’s unforgettable portrayal of The Joker.  And of course, it would be unfair not to mention that Christian Bale has created a new generation of Batman fans with his moody portrayal of the Dark Knight.  In my mind, the new cast additions for The Dark Knight Rises lived up to this standard of quality filmmaking.

    As always, there are some things that stick out in my mind as being less than ideal about the movie.  To be fair though, this is mostly because we all have our own vision of what should happen in a highly anticipated finale and it can’t match every individual expectation.  There were a few questions I was left hanging on to by the end, and a few plot developments I felt were subpar.  I won’t go into any of these because they may spoil the plot, and also because it is unnecessary.  Overall, The Dark Knight Rises hit all the big check marks for me; awesome action, quality acting, well developed villains, a high adrenaline plot and abundant darkness.

    On the note of darkness, The Dark Knight Rises is by far the most grim movie of the the trilogy, holding back nothing to create a vision of hopelessness for Gotham’s future.  I say kudos to the filmmakers for not wimping out on really creating a dire situation for Batman and the entire city and for really going out with a bang.  This movie is rated PG-13, but the level of violence and despair makes it quite unsuitable for young children.  If you’ve seen the other two Batman movies, you doubtless know that they can be downright scary, and this is no exception.

    Overall, The Dark Knight Rises is definitely worth the price of admission and is film worthy of ending a great trilogy.

    The Dark Knight Rises Movie Trailer (Official)




    Dog Trainer and TV Star Victoria Stilwell Live at The Z Review

    Melissa Viera
    by Melissa Viera

    Last Saturday, the 19th of November, pet lovers gathered at The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center for a special event with famous dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, where she demonstrated her positive dog training methods using local rescue dogs. Positive dog training involves rewarding a dog for desired behaviors. “A reward can be a treat, toy or game,” says Victoria Stilwell. No force, yelling or yanking on the leash is used like in some of the more traditional methods.

    If you watch animal planet you have probably seen Victoria helping families with their difficult dogs on the series It’s Me or The Dog. Fans of the series are familiar with Victoria’s wit and style. She brought the same unique personality and positive methods to the stage for a show that had the audience both laughing and learning. The methods she uses are practical for any pet owner. Positive dog training focuses on understanding how dogs learn and rewarding them for behaviors instead of using force.

    Victoria StilwellBorn and raised in Wimbledon, England, Victoria Stilwell began her career with dogs as a dog walker. She made a point to express how much the first group of dogs she walked meant to her. Before she realized she wanted to be a dog trainer Victoria was pursuing a career in acting. The audience laughed as she showed a clip from her acting career where she was less than in the spotlight.

    Victoria’s calm and gentle techniques proved to be effective as she worked with dogs on stage from Forever Paws Animal Shelter located in Fall River. She had the dogs responding within minutes, while the audience watched with admiration. The dogs, some still in need of forever homes, had various behavior and training issues, which Victoria demonstrated positive ways to solve. Among the dogs was a food aggressive German Shepherd. The shepherd, a large male dog, had been known to growl and snarl when he is disturbed while eating. Victoria presented him with an empty food bowl and tossed food in by hand as the shepherd looked up at her. She explained that this approach takes the value away from the bowl and gives the person feeding the dog value.

    Frosty, a three-legged American Staffordshire mix, wagged his tail in delight as Victoria played a scent work game with him on the stage. Victoria set down cardboard boxes, one with a hidden treat, while explaining that scent work is something anyone can do with their dogs. After speaking about the sensory abilities of dogs, Victoria showed the audience how well dogs use their scenting abilities with a brief demonstration of canine scent work. Frosty was not slowed down by his handicap as he proceeded to find the hidden treat with enthusiasm.

    Canine nose work, also known as scent work, is a sport for dogs where they use their nose to find target odors. The sport is similar to detection work. The National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) sanctions trials where dogs search for odors like Birch, Anise and Clove.

    Victoria Stilwell captured the audience’s interest through out the event. Her fun personality seemed to be contagious. Pet owners, families and professionals can appreciate Victoria’s skill and methods. “It was a great show, Victoria helps people understand why science based positive methods are the best way to train your dog and have a great relationship with them,” says local dog trainer Cheryl Viera of Emma Marie’s Daycare and Grooming in Mattapoisett.

    The event was entertaining, and it also put the attention on the issue of dogs being surrendered to shelters because of behavior and training problems that could be solved through a positive approach. Forever Paws Animal Shelter gave Victoria a special thanks after the event with a bouquet of flowers. Fans had the extraordinary opportunity to meet Victoria up close for autographs and questions. Victoria Stilwell is just as good-humored and knowledgeable in person as she appears to be on the series It’s Me or The Dog.




    A Trip to Fathom’s Bar and Grille

    amy knox author photo
    by Amy Knox

    Overlooking New Bedford Harbor is Fathom’s Bar and Grille.  The location has a heated enclosed patio in the winter and for the warmer months it becomes an open patio with fresh sea breezes.  It is located at 255 Pope’s Island near the bridge offering a 60-foot floating dock for customers to dock small boats or dingies.  Fleet Fisheries is the sister company to Fathom’s which enables the restaurant to offer fresh seafood daily.

    I arrived with my husband Mark around 6 PM on a Friday night and the parking lot was full.  I did manage to find a spot, but had to drive around looking for one.  I was nervous because a full parking lot usually means lots of customers and a wait for a table, which doesn’t help when you’re ready to eat the first thing you see.

    Erin Lincoln Fathom's Bar
    Our friendly waitress Erin Lincoln.

    When we entered Fathoms I immediately noticed the “newness” of the inside, modern, up-to-date and a clean nautical atmosphere.  I also quickly realized that we were at the end of the line, but a couple of the hostesses had the line moving pretty fast.  Once we got to the front, I was told that there was a wait for a table on the deck, but that we could be seated right away inside.  We chose the latter since I was starving.  We were seated next to a window in the bar area that had a nice view of the water and some boats in a marina.  Although the day was grey with clouds it is always nice to overlook the ocean.

    Our friendly waitress, Erin Lincoln, came right over and took our drinks and appetizer order; I got the clam chowder and crab cakes.  She informed me that their chowder had won an award so I definitely had to get a cup.  While waiting, I notice the top of the bar, it looked like a frosted frozen piece of water with a splash of dark blue color, and it was eye catching.  Erin was kind enough to tell me it was hand blown glass imported from Italy, and that when the lights go down, the bar top lights up giving a wave effect.

    Our appetizers came, the clam chowder was award winning, it had a thick, creamy warm sauce with chunks of potatoes and clams and of course a side of oyster crackers.  The crab cakes looked delicious, two cakes with spices and crab meat, it was more doughy than crab meat, and I thought it could have been tastier.  For dinner I ordered the scrod and scallop casserole with cole slaw and rice, Mark ordered the grilled rib eye steak with fresh veggies and baked red bliss potatoes.  We did have to wait about 20 minutes or more for our meals to come, but our waitress Erin made sure our drinks were full and informed us constantly on the status of our meals. I didn’t mind the wait, the Bruins were getting ready to play and there were plenty of televisions to watch. Sitting in the bar area was nice but it got loud at some points, not a practical place to have a quiet meal and conversation.

    Rib-eye Steak at Fathom's
    Rib-eye Steak at Fathom's.

    The scrod and scallop casserole was in a small dish with the rice and cole slaw being on the side. I was disappointed in the casserole, the scrod and scallops were sitting in oil which didn’t look so appetizing, I took a bite and it didn’t’ have much taste which I thought would be quite flavorful because of it saying “in a garlic compound”. The rice was bland and the cole slaw was okay. Mark’s meal was gone in a matter of seconds, he claimed it was the best rib eye he has had in awhile. I did get a small bite and he was right, the meat was juicy with a off the grill taste, the vegetables were warm and crunchy with seasonings and the baked red bliss potatoes were soft and buttery.

    We were both stuffed and weren’t able to order dessert, instead Mark got his signature after dinner drink and we sat, chatted and watched a sailboat and fishing boat go through the bridge. It was a nice place to sit and chill after a long week at work which is the feeling I got from the other patrons. I did see other dishes go by and they looked appetizing, this is a place I need to come back and experience again. When I do return, my choice will be to sit out on the deck on a warm night, order another entrée and dessert with some friends. This was one of the participating restaurants at a Taste of Southcoast and they did win People’s Choice Award for Food, so I am not brushing off Fathoms yet. Until next time….

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    Brick by Brick: A Woman’s Journey

    Marilyn Watts
    by Marilyn Watts

    In my search for some new inspiration, I came upon a book with local ties by Lynn Donohue called, Brick by Brick: A Woman’s Journey. In 2001, this book was a finalist for the Ben Franklin Award for best autobiography. Since it’s publication in 2000, the book has motivated thousands of women to overcome obstacles.

    Brick by Brick is an inspiring true story about a woman who comes of age in New Bedford during the 1970’s. Her compelling story reminds us that one random act can change your direction in life. You may read an article or bump into someone on the street and your life can take an entirely new direction. The book is also a story about pursuing your dreams and goals and overcoming obstacles that may seem insurmountable, one step at a time.

    Lynn was adrift in her younger years, a high school dropout with no direction. She was tending bar at her father’s place, The Belmont, in New Bedford, and began to tire of days spent in a dark, smoky bar watching the regulars drink their lives away. She longed for something better, even though at the time she wasn’t quite sure what that was to become. Outside of work she had also seen some of her friends begin to lose their battle with drug and alcohol addiction, which further pushed her to find a new path.

    brick by brick new bedford guideOne day, while working at the Belmont, she picked up the local newspaper and noticed a small ad looking for women who were interested in training for “non-traditional jobs” for women, such as masonry, carpentry and electrical work. These positions paid $17 an hour, which was quite a lot at that time, especially compared to her minimum wage earnings at the bar (even with tips). This intrigued Lynn, and her decision to take the steps to pursue the training needed would place her on that new path in life.

    Lynn developed a passion for bricklaying and against all odds, she pursued her dream. This passion for masonry, with the rhythmic motion of laying brick, helped her find inner calm and personal strength, even as she was discriminated against as a woman in a man’s profession. But she worked hard and eventually Lynn became the first female member of the Bricklayers Local 39, working on construction projects from Cape Cod to Boston.

    After a decade of working as a bricklayer she founded Argus Construction Corp., which began with two employees and a pickup truck and grew into a multi-million dollar business with fifty full-time employees. Many of the men she eventually hired to work for her company had initially been those who scoffed at the idea of a woman working in a so-called “man’s job.”  Being the boss was the best revenge! Lynn made sure that she personally thanked them for a job well done as she handed out their paychecks each week.

    What makes this story so compelling is that Lynn built the life she wanted for herself, little by little, brick by brick, becoming a master of herself. She took pride in the accomplishment of building something with her own hands, something that would be here long after she was gone. For those of you who live in the South Coast area, you will recognize many of the places mentioned in Lynn’s book.

    lynn donohue new bedford guide
    Besides being an author, Lynn is a consultant and does speaking engagements.

    Whenever I drive by buildings that Lynn had helped to build, such as the downtown New Bedford bus terminal or the Car Barn on Weld Square, I no longer see just a building; I see Lynn, working hard in the rain and the cold, coming back day after day when many others would have quit. She struggled to better her own life while at the same time paving the way for other women to do whatever they felt was necessary or what they were passionate about, to improve their lives, against all odds.

    Lynn eventually used her profits to give back and established the Brick by Brick Foundation, a non-profit organization in New Bedford, MA, to help high school students and others struggling in their careers.  Today she also teaches workshops and is an inspirational speaker at women’s conferences, trade associations and academic institutions across the country. She inspires audiences to overcome obstacles to personal and professional development through a positive attitude, perseverance and a “can do” spirit.

    Many lives touched and changed, and to think it all started with a newspaper ad read, a decision made, a new path pursued…step by step, brick by brick.




    A First Time Visit to Cork

    amy knox author photo
    by Amy Knox

    We are all creatures of habit in some way or another.  Personally, I have the habit of going to the chain restaurants, like the Olive Garden, Chili’s, TGIF, etc.  I go there for what my husband (Mark) and I call “safety meals.”  We call it this because we know we will get the same meal from a chain restaurant every time, no matter what.  It doesn’t matter what town or state you’re in, it will be the same meal every time.

    Recently, we decided to leave our comfort zone with a visit to Cork Wine and Tapas.  Located at 90 Front St. in the New Bedford downtown historic area, it’s easy to find, and they offer valet parking (space is limited in that area).

    cork crab cakes new bedford guide
    The Crab Cakes at Cork.

    As I enter the building I notice the period-aged wooden floor, big beams, and stone siding, along with the contemporary decor lighting. We were seated right away in a corner, which was nice and cozy. We wanted to sample a few plates, and the tapas menu is perfect for that; I ordered the pan seared scallops, and crab cakes, and Mark ordered the open faced lobster roll. While we waited I did want a snack.  They don’t hand out crackers or popcorn while waiting like the big chain restaurants do, but I gladly paid $5 for the bread and a dipping sauce that was offered, which was delicious.

    The meals were neatly presented and came to the table piping hot.  The pan seared scallops were served over a bed of jasmine rice with macadamia and sweet soy sauce; the crab cakes consisted of crab meat served over cool cucumber and avocado salad with roasted red pepper and corn remoulade.  Mark enjoyed his open-faced lobster roll, which was made from lobster meat tossed in lemon vinaigrette served over a toasted baguette with lettuce and zesty red pepper. All three dishes were fresh, the flavors mixed well and the portions were just right…which left enough room to try one of Cork’s deserts.

    chocolate lava cake cork new bedford guide
    The Chocolate Lava Cake.

    I ordered the chocolate lava cake, and it was exactly as how I thought it would be. Warm chocolate sauce flowed from the center of the moist cake, surrounded on the sides was fresh whipped cream, vanilla ice cream (per my request) and raspberries. Mark opted for his favorite desert; another beer.

    Prices from the tapas menu ranged from $6 to $12 and the entrees started at $12.The menu is not overwhelming with choices, but it has enough that you will find something you like. We went on a Friday night at around 6:00 p.m. and sat right down, but when we were leaving around 7:30 p.m. it was really starting to fill up. Overall the place was clean, our waitress was helpful and knowledgeable, and the food was excellent.  Cork provides an unique dining experience that you could never find at a chain restaurant, which is why it is being added to our list of regular places to go.




    An Evening with Kris Kristofferson

    by Nate Winkler

    One man. One guitar. Generations worth of stories about hard living, heartbreak, love, and life all wrapped up into one intimate musical performance. This is what I was fortunate enough to witness last Tuesday (May 3rd) as a member of the jam-packed audience inside the Zeiterion Theater for the performance by American icon Kris Kristofferson. Although I expected to enjoy the show (as I do almost any live music performance), I grossly underestimated the raw power and rugged emotion this 74-year-old native Texan brought to the stage.

    When I was younger, my grandfather would frequently take me on camping trips to bluegrass festivals throughout the Midwest, and a Waylon, Willie, or Johnny Cash record never seemed too far out of the rotation on Dad’s record player.  Although at that point in his career (mid 80’s) Mr. Kristofferson was primarily focused on his acting, I remember staring at the cover of the Highwayman record and reveling at the outlaws, especially the one with the cool name, unaware then of his genre-stretching resume and the breadth of his songwriting.highwaymen new bedford guide

    As I grew older my musical interests drifted towards southern rock and the blues, where many of the artists I grew to love were undoubtedly influenced by his songs as well. What follows is my recollection of the evening, which can be perfectly captured in the following lines from the song “Bird on a Wire,” lines which are rumored to be requested by Kristofferson for his epitaph:

    Like a bird on a wire
    Like a drunk in a midnight choir
    I have tried in my way to be free.”

    -“Bird on a Wire” by Leonard Cohen

    To roaring cheers he walked out dressed in black with his guitar strapped to his chest, a lone spotlight shining down on his microphone stand, looking every bit the part of the outlaw persona that made him an icon. He simply nodded his head, and began to play and sing. His whiskey-gravel voice instantly silenced the crowd as he began to weave his tales. After the first song, “Shipwrecked in the Eighties,” he quipped: “I was going to apologize for those words I forgot in that song, but I’ve already forgotten what I’d forgot,” poking fun at his age and senility while giving us all a glimpse of the fun we were about to have for the next two hours.

    He quickly won over the crowd with a salute to our Troops before proceeding, then moved right into what was a great first set that included favorites like the touching “Darby’s Castle”, the anthem“Bobby McGee” (which became a sing-along), and then dialed up the knee-slapping “Best of All Possible Worlds.” This became the theme for the evening, as he laced soul-bearing ballads with tunes of upbeat, outlaw debauchery to get the crowd laughing again.

    kris kristofferson new bedford guide zeiterion
    Kris Kristofferson

    The night was filled with songs that were easily recognizable (some surprisingly so), as well as songs from deep within the catalog that I wasn’t familiar with. I’ll have to admit, I tried to take notes on the songs he was playing to compile a set list, but somewhere toward the end of the first set I put my pen down, feeling like I was losing the emotional connection with the artist as I reached for my notebook every couple of minutes.

    Although the tightness of the music drifted at times, and there were more than a couple of forgotten lines, I was absolutely riveted by the way Kristofferson played to the crowd. There was continuous banter between himself and a few energetic fans, even taking a couple of requests off the cuff. He sprinkled in a couple timely anecdotes in as well, one in particular about a former Army flight instructor that preceded the song “Sky King,” for whom it was written. If I were a Berklee graduate, I could easily nitpick the simplicity of the music and the tonal range of the singer, but I think the beauty is the way he dances within and around his limits, and all you hear is the stories, every one of them believable.

    He ended the night with a double encore, embracing the crowd and oozing with gratitude. The lights dimmed as the harrowing and befitting “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends” began.  Then, as simply as he walked on, The Outlaw strode off the stage. As the Cohen quote alludes, Kris Kristofferson has experienced a life of hard-living, broken dreams, fun, and great achievements. Throughout it all he has done it his way, wild and free, which perfectly embodies the American Spirit.

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