Gossip: Updates on Truax projects, library party and gingerbread contest – Foster’s Daily Democrat

Truax announces poetry project

“Poetry as a Bridge” is the umbrella moniker for Portsmouth Poet Laureate’s Tammy Truax’s laureate project: building community through poetry. One project has been completed, another is about to go live and there are a lot more to come.

There are bridges to build within the Seacoast community, and many that will lead to Japan.

“I want to build (the program) over the whole year of 2020, in a wide variety of ways, … through poetry related endeavors, ” she says. “I want to reach out to everyone in the city of Portsmouth, to get them involved in anyway they see fit, in building the bridges … and helping develop relationships with that sister city.

Portsmouth and Nichinan, Japan, have been sister cities since 1985. Truax hopes to strengthen that relationship.

“We have so much to learn about poetry from Japan,” she says. “I want to explore that in a variety of ways.”

“The end results for PPLP will be bringing about some kind of exchange with the sister city, a poetry and visual art combo.”

The plan is to “unroll as the year rolls out.” Lots of things are in the works, but only a few solidified.

“I’m not trying to be vague – though I’m being vague. I’m very specifically not nailing down perimeters. I want the process to unfold in a very organic way so people contributing can help it to morph into things that I can’t imagine now; that’s what I’m looking for.”

Truax is asking the community, individuals, nonprofit and commercial endeavors, “and especially arts-related organizations,” for suggestions, “for brilliant ideas … anything involving Japan and the arts that can help to grow that city relationship,” Truax says. “I think right now all of us can benefit by building cross-culture friendships; bridges instead of walls.”

Truax is already setting up meetings to discuss possibilities. There are no rules, no limitations, and no requirements “participation in any way is the only request.” For information, write [email protected]

“Poetry as a Bridge to Babies,” the second Bridge project, rolls out this month. This one focuses on the community, and fosters the love of the written world for the tiniest of us.

“We have a beautiful book we’ve purchased that will be gifted to every baby born at Portsmouth hospital and we’ve designed a beautiful card that will be attached,” she says. “It will start by the end of month.”

“Poetry as a Bridge to New Americans” was the first project, and is now completed. It was accomplished in partnership with the New Hampshire Humanities Council and Portsmouth Adult Ed. “And there’s already talk about keeping it going,” Truax says. “They’d like that … and we’d like that.”

“Upwards: a Bridget to History” is in the works, and will be funded by the NH Humanities Council. This one will focus on the women’s suffrage centennial anniversary, and include poets from around the state.

“So, my (laureate) project falls under the thumbnail of building bridges through poetry – as many bridges as possible,” she says. I’m excited. It’s going well, I think, so far. But we’re just getting revved up.”

A party for mystery lovers

The Portsmouth City Library has announced “The Golden Age of Mysteries Fete,” as its fourth annual holiday event. Think Miss Phyne Fisher, Maisie Dobbs, and lots of fun.

In past years, the library held a Harry Potter-themed event, and an Outlander Ceilidh. Like those before it, this one is designed as an all-ages celebration. While focused on the Golden Age, it will hop around the decades a tad, to make sure it offers something for everyone.

“The music, atmosphere and any costumes will be more geared toward the 1920s and ’30s, but the mystery will include others,” Library Assistant Cathy Okhuysen says. “There’s also Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. … We’ll get everyone’s favorite sleuth Scooby Doo, and Tam Hanson and Jessica (Fletcher) from ‘Murder She Wrote.’ It’s definitely all ages.”

The event will include live music by the Boston gypsy jazz band Manouche Urbain. There’s mysteries to solve, games to play, prizes to win, light refreshmenst and dancing – all free, a gift from the library to the city it serves.

Also coming up, a new Artist Curated Book Display by Damion Silver through the month of November.

Gingerbread contest goes pro

The Gingerbread House Contest & Exhibition at Discover Portsmouth announced it’s intent to launch a new Professional Division. It did so, and it’s a success, Welcome Center and Gingerbread House Coordinator Robin Albert says.

“We are just really excited. This is our first time ever that we’ve had a professional divisions,” she says. “We were hoping for seven entries and we got eight.”

The eight include Marcy Baer, an indy baker who will take on the project for the Provident Bank. The others are Robert Menard for Hilton Garden Inn; Amy Knapp representing her own business Gingerbread Amy; James Melott for Holiday Inn; Jasmine Inglesmith for Ristorante Massimo; Jacqueline van Berlo for Ceres Bakery; Rebekah Cote for Raleigh Wine Bar+ Eatery; and Jenna Malloy for Paints & Pans.

“The other big thing is that we’re going to have a sneak preview of the professional divisions starting Nov. 29 even though the rest of the exhibit doesn’t open until Dec. 6,” Albert says. “The show is starting a little later this year because of when Thanksgiving is; this will create a little spark.”

Currently at the venue is Carl Austin Hyatt, “From Portsmouth to Peru: In Search of Anima Mundi,” through Dec. 22 and “It’s Pastel,” the annual juried exhibition of the Pastel Society of New Hampshire, through Nov. 30.

Teens’ ‘Chicago’ director has Broadway resume

The teen company production of “Chicago” at Seacoast Repertory Theater will have a special director at the helm (Jan. 9 to 18), Director of Marketing and Development Brian Kelly says.

“We’re very excited to announce that the new director is Chryssie Whitehead of New York City. She’s a former Rockette … was Velma on Broadway in ‘Chicago’ as an understudy and went on, and she’s done a lot of TV shows like ‘Grey’s Anatomy,'” Brian Kelly says. “She’s was also in the revival of ‘Chorus Line’ on Broadway and played across from Neal Patrick Harris as Kathy in ‘Company.'”

Whitehead also performed with Raven Simone in “Revenge of the Bridesmaids,” appeared as Kristine in the documentary “Every Little Step,” and will appear in a small role in Steven Spielberg’s 2020 remake of “West Side Story.”

“So obviously we’re very excited to have someone with a resume like that coming in to instruct our teens.”

Auditions are Nov. 19 and 20 for teens ages 13 to 19. More information can be found at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/805094aa9a82da3f85-elf

Port City Artisans pops back up

Port City Artisans will take up temporary residence at Izzy’s Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream for its fifth season. There are 30-plus artists and artisans, 14 new, offering their original work, including blown and fused glass, block prints and pottery. The store will be opens Nov. 15 through Dec. 31.

Founding artist Robin Bettencourt says she’s not surprised the collective has continued. “(Not) after the first year,” Bettencourt says. “People loved it so much, especially the locals. They are in to supporting local artists.” (www.facebook.com/portcitypopupshop)

Jeanné McCartin keeps her eyes and ears open for gossip at [email protected]

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