Cambridge and Somerville Local First - 2011 Coupon Book - Shift Your Shopping to Local First

Word on the Street - Local Shopping Sinking In

Dec 22 10:33 am

by Clay Adamczyk

With only a few short days left before the holiday’s, it’s easy to get stressed out trying to find those last minute gifts for friends and love ones, and it’s just as easy to overlook quality amidst a mild panic. Relax and take a deep breath. As many locals have shown, finding a unique and thoughtful gift is as simple as taking a walk through your friendly neighborhood.

Plaid Friday trending on Twitter

Plaid Friday trending on Twitter was just the beginning

Earlier this week, I took to Davis Sq., to ask shoppers why they’re going local this holiday season.

Alison Gordon is a Weymouth resident, but for on-and-off for the past five years has worked at the one-of-a-kind Magpie, of which she now manages. Gordon has also completed most of her holiday shopping at local craft fairs this year. “I know that handmade items are better and you know the work that goes into it so your fine with paying more and you know that you are directly supporting someone by buying it from a local artists.” Said Gordon. “It’s nice knowing that you’re buying here, and helping someone who is here instead of of another store buying something made by whoever.”

Barbrad Rhodes of Jamaica Plain was also happy to share that she does most of her holiday shopping locally and at crafts fairs as she exited Davis Squared. “I find I get things that are so different and wonderful when I shop at those places.” Rhodes said. She was also happy to show off her new Queen Bee handbag from Magpie: a nice gift to herself this season. Aside from assured quality in handmade products, there is also a sense of assured quality in business practices. “I also feel like this is a little bit of a jab at corporate America.” Rhodes said. “I’m not buying from places I feel are probably harming the nation rather then helping the nation.”

Individuals have been giving gifts to our community and their loved ones this year.

Similar sentiments were expressed by a local Somerville artist and resident of 20+ years, Yani Batteau. “[Buying local] keeps the city economically afloat and–hopefully–makes people want to stay here. Batteau said.

Why change what Michael Kanter already put best? Sticking local is a “community-community’ win. So with time to find those last minute gifts rapidly running out, there’s no need to look further than out community.  A great way to enjoy the holiday season, and spirit.

A Look Into the Sounds of Harvest Fest 2010

Sep 16 12:21 pm

by Clay Adamczyk

It’s safe, but bittersweet, to say that this glorious summer is all but behind us. And though our days of enjoying our meals, music, and fine ballgame lagers & wheat ales outside are numbered, it only really opens our pallets to the flavors of fall: New England’s most beautiful season. So while the leaves are turning Oktoberfest orange, let’s bid a fond adieu to summer, welcome autumn with open arms, and see what this year’s harvest has to offer. Harvest Fest that is, with a sampling for all senses: the tastes and smells of great local wines, beers and food; a look into the season’s local fashion; and of corse, the best in a variety of sounds this great town has to offer.

With the nature of the festival, experiencing what may be new to us is what’s fun, and with the musical entertainment, we’ll get a full dose.

Buy your Harvest Fest 2010 Tickets, its a show not to be missed

Buy your Harvest Fest 2010 Tickets, its a show not to be missed

Session One presents two of the finest bands to rise out of our diverse music scene. One Fine Morning opens the night with their own blend of acoustic based rock. Though this quintet began as an all acoustic quartet, they’ve spent the last couple years discovering themselves, incorporating a touch of funk, the perfect backing warm electric guitar tones, and classic rock organ.

SEA MONSTERS: "More of a 'collective' than a Band"

Headlining the first session is Boston’s own super group of sorts, and a band most known for their weekly residency at the Precinct. SEA MONSTERS: a band whose sound is as diverse as their lineup. As the groups informal leader, Christian McNeill puts it, “[SEA MONSTERS] is more of a “collective” than a band.”  It’s a musical endeavor in which friends come in and out of bringing in their own styles and ideas so much so that he could not as of yet confirm who the group would be comprised of for this performance, and is seen as a side-project “that is (supposed to be) a vehicle where we can all get together and have fun doing what we love” McNeill said. “As Scott Aruda, our trumpet player, says “SEA MONSTERS - never the same band once.” With a rotating cast of about twenty musicians, ‘a healthy spirit of improvisation in everything that [they] do,’ and a range of musical style from jazz to blues to rock, each performance is unique so this one is not to be missed.

Session Two musically shifts corse in a way that will loosen up those ties and work those dance muscles. Fellow SLF blogger and Weekly Dig editor, David Day, opens the electronic portion of the evening spinning top tracks in big-room techno heavily fused with soul and a lot of vocals. Day is one of the city’s leading members in an electronic revolution as both a co-founder and resident DJ of Boston’s best Thursday night, Make it New at the Middlesex Lounge; a founding member of show promoting organization, Basstown Presents; and is a co-founder of the Together Music Festival which celebrates its second run this coming April.

Closing the night is an unstoppable duo, the Zebbler Encanti Experience, with a performance unlike anything else we’ve seen–something truly legendary in which Zebbler, the visual mastermind behind the two, describes will be “a hybrid of bass-heavy electronic dance music and completely locked in three screen wide visuals, with a handful of artfulness thrown in to spice up the mix.” For the first time, Encanti’s original produced music and Zebbler’s multi-headed hydra of synched visuals will be joined with a choreographed performance by Somerville’s own AirCraft Aerial Arts team.

The Zebbler Encanti Experience - Breaking new ground @ Harvest Fest 2010

The Zebbler Encanti Experience - Breaking new ground @ Harvest Fest 2010

“SLF introduced us to the idea of collaborating with the Aircraft Aerial team for our performance and we loved it right away!” said Zebbler when asked about their collaboration with the aerial acrobats. “Co-incidentally, Encanti and I have been developing ideas for making our performances more interactive and large-scale, including ideas about involving a marching band (anyone?) and aerialists.”

AirCraft Aerial Arts will contribute to a visually stunning performance @ Harvest Fest 2010

AirCraft Aerial Arts will contribute to a visually stunning performance @ Harvest Fest 2010

Harvest Fest is about people enjoying new experiences, and is why Zebbler is excited to perform for folks from all walks of life. “After all, pretty much everyone loves good local beer and good local food!” he added. “But as the night takes hold - we think people will be ready to get a little wild and experience something that is at once an aerial dance, a circus show and a 21st century dance party.”

Pig Pickin’ - A Model of Community Partnership

Aug 09 11:21 am

by Clay Adamczyk

There’s something to be said about a local business that seizes the responsibility and opportunity to really give back to the community in which it operates. It’s commendable, for one, but it’s also a necessity and a reality that sometimes goes unnoticed. It’s something that Redbones owner Robert Gregory calls a real “win-win.” For nine years now, Gregory has offered his Davis Square barbecue restaurant to fill the street with good food, good music, good people, and all for a great cause.

The sound of the SAPS fills the streets.

One August Monday a year, Gregory and Redbones play host to a traditional southern pig pickin’. The smoke pits are fired up, corn bread is baked, watermelon sliced, bluegrass a blazing, and the masses of locals & families gather for the fun. And all of this is to support the Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC). Mark Alston-Follansbee, the Executive Director of the SHC, describes Redbones as “just incredible community partners.” Each year, the SHC is responsible for raising $600,000 of their $3million budget annually, which Alston-Follansbee points out isn’t easy. 100% of all proceeds generated from the Pig Pickin’ go directly to the SHC, and on top of that, Redbones donates the food costs–most of which comes from local farms. Last year’s barbecue raised over $6,000 for the organization, but as Redbones’ head of marketing a PR, Anne Cushman, said, “[the amount] pretty much goes up every year.” On August 2nd of this year’s roast, Redbones raised the bar, donating over $9,000 to the cause.

Seasoned Pit Master, Bobby “Pie” Curry adds the sauce.

“A lot of people talk about being helpful to the community, Redbones does it.” said Alston-Follansbee. “We’re really grateful. Any time anybody needs something, and they ask for it, [Gregory] gives it freely.” In additional to the annual pig pickin’, the SHC holds a fundraiser dinner in April, with all food donated by, who else, Redbones.

Though everyone asked only had the highest remarks for Gregory and his work, the pit master himself is on the modest side responding with a simple “I think it’s great,” when asked about this years results. “We were trying to think of an event to do to benefit the Somerville Homeless Coalition,” Gregory added when describing the Pig Pickin’s origin. “We just thought this would be fun.”

Robert Gregory picks the first pig to the delight of hungry onlookers.

The fun is what it all comes down to in the end, and is almost as important as the benefit itself. Eyes lit up when the first pig was lifted from the smoker where it has been slow cooking since the night before. The people dance and clap along with the music, in which each band–the Good Time String Band, the SAPS, and the Spring Hill Rounders–has generously donated their time to perform. And by the end, when everyone is happy and fed, a dribble of bbq sauce can be seen at the corner of every smile.

Somerville children Andy, age 5 (left), and Christopher, age 7 (right) enjoy their food and a souvenir.

Clay Adamczyk

Jul 22 4:28 pm

Clay Adamczyk

Clay Adamczyk is news and arts writer, photographer, musician, and curates a DIY show space. He recently cofounded the Allston DIY Festival and plays in the Allston based band, Yoko Oh, No! He was born in Chicago, IL. and relocated to Boston to study at Suffolk University where he has since graduated with BA’s in Journalism & Literature and accidentally received a minor in History. He is currently planning on launching his own blog following local bands and the DIY basement culture and you can check out his venue at

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