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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Recently, an opportunity presented itself and this restorer’s mind had to say yes.

On a chilly Saturday morning in late September, a handful of adventuresome photo nerds (including myself) were granted access to the long abandoned Victory Theater in my home city of Holyoke, MA. The event was offered by MIFA (owners of the property), Matt Christopher’s Abandoned America and Matt Lambros’ After the Final Curtain. Access to the building was intriguing enough, but tutelage from a couple of fine photographers made it a rare deal. My motivation was to learn some new things about my camera, the same one that I use regularly in my workshop. I have long been convinced that my little Nikon Coolpix is smarter than I am and anything I can do to reduce the disparity is valued highly. The venue was a real bonus, appealing at once to my odd attraction to decrepitude and the promise inherent in a possible restoration. Throw in a little Nancy Drew, a little Doctor Who, a fascination with urban spelunking and love of alternate realities, and you have a stew that pretty much describes my morning. I had fun.

The Victory Theater is thrice renowned for what it was, for what it currently is not, and for what it might still become. Opened in 1920, it was a vaudeville house in a thriving manufacturing city. By the time it was condemned in 1979, even its life as a movie theater was over as Holyoke suffered a huge economic decline, along with too many other post-manufacturing cities in America. The Victory is currently owned by the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts and there is a campaign in place to procure funding to restore this cultural/architectural treasure. Take a look. If you’re curious, check out the links. Think about contributing.

Click on an image to start the show. And thanks for indulging me. More about fiddles next time.

 

 

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With only some regret, I’ve pulled the last of the tomatillo plants. And just tonight, while a handful of hot peppers are still turning orange on my windowsill, the last of the kale was consumed. Next year, I plant smarter, tend smarter, hopefully cook smarter and eat smarter. That’s what they all say! No traffic jams in the kitchen! Hah!

In any case, it’s almost time to put the garden to bed, and yet I keep finding the most interesting things out there.

I especially like this time of year for its odd mix of hope and resignation. I am relieved and delighted to see that the dogwood I planted just this year survived the drought and indeed has buds that I hope to witness in full flower next spring. If this baby tree had not survived, I would have been put in the awkward position of having a cosmic discussion with the Golden Retriever-in-a-can that I’d planted with it.

Likewise, the rhododendrons have buds, and the little peach tree, in spite of having lost all its fruit shortly after I planted it, seems to be healthy and willing. Sometimes it is wise to hunker down and focus on setting roots, even if it means passing on the flashy stuff.

As I walk in the woods and tidy the garden these days, I remember that there are things that are beautifully and inextricably entwined with their own decay.

It’s a good time of year to share a meal with friends, to visit children and aging parents. It is a good time of year to contemplate the dying and turn toward the living.

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