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The On Screen/In Person Independent Film Series continues on Thursday, November 8 at 7 pm with "Dislecksia: The Movie" and a discussion with the director, Harvey Hubbell. Tickets are $10; $7 for Maryland Hall members. (Click here to purchase tickets.)

Come early for a beer or glass of wine and to meet Harvey Hubbell. Patrons will receive free popcorn and one complimentary glass of wine per paid ticket beginning at 6:30 pm. Wine and beer will be available for purchase for the evening.

 
Maryland Hall has partnered with The Summit School to present a discussion with the director, Harvey Hubbell, and a panel of experts following the film to answer questions and share thoughts on the film and subject.
 

Sitting down to view the film I thought to myself, sure, I’m familiar with Dyslexia. That is when people see words backwards, right? Well, there is a lot more to this learning difference than what I thought I knew. I expected to sit down and spend 90 minutes learning facts from professional interviews and seeing stats across the screen. I thought I would return to my reality armed with these new facts a wiser person. Well I did, and much more.

Director Harvey Hubbell V brings us through not only his journey with Dyslexia but the journey of the disorder itself. The myths and truths are explored through Harvey’s contagious lightheartedness and positivity. Some of the most interesting perceptions are how many highly successful people live with Dyslexia and the ways they have learned to adapt. People like Stephen J. Cannell, Billy Bob Thornton and Emmy winning actress Sarah Joy Brown have made successful careers based on the need to read, yet share this learning difference.

I can only think how immeasurably frustrating it must be to feel like you can’t keep up with your friends in class. School can be hard enough. As I watched the intimate views of struggles & shortcuts, it made me wonder what resources were available and how involved are the school systems? Well, those questions seem to have become easier to answer thanks to the determination and passion of some. Educators and scientists have developed learning programs that have evolved through the years to benefit those with Dyslexia and without. One of the places that these practices focus on is instructing teachers & educators on how to recognize and teach a child that experiences hurdles in learning. The Haskins Laboratories of Yale University have been implementing this practice worldwide. It seems that many teachers never knew how to reach a student who enters their classroom before these practices were taught to them. Many teachers have given feedback on how teaching in these new ways has eased the stress on the relationship they have with the students. The best part, all of the kids in the class can learn reading and writing skills this same way so students don't feel segregated or that they have a difference at all. Technology has proved to be a friend for the dyslexic as well. Former Harvard Neuroscientist turned educator Dr. Gordon Sherman takes advantage of technology to facilitate computer programs in audio/video that allow the dyslexic brain to thrive. Students are able to learn in a way outside of words, outside of ways that cause them anxiety and inside environments that encourage confidence to grow.  

This film turned out to be one of my favorites that I viewed for this series. Harvey Hubbell V brings Dyslexia to light what many people don’t even know about it and the constant attention that it needs in order for schools to continue to receive funding for their programs and to keep these priceless educators inside their walls. Watching these stories brings hope not just to those dealing with Dyslexia, but to people who are affected by any learning challenge.

--Rebecca Daubney, Performing Arts Coordinator

Dirk Hamilton will perform at Maryland Hall on Wednesday, November 14 at 7:30 pm. Opening for Hamilton is five time WAMMIE nominated singer-songwriter, Georgie Jessup. Tickets are $15; $10 for Maryland Hall members.
*Patrons will receive free popcorn and one complimentary glass of wine per paid ticket beginning at 7 pm.* Beer and wine will be available for purchase during the evening.
 
 

Dirk Hamilton is a classic case of "woulda, shoulda, coulda". Hailed in the 70's as a true poet/troubadour, his songwriting and singing were unique enough to make him standout from the singer-songwriter du jour, with a quirky style that was fresh and totally original. His voice was often compared to Van Morrison’s, and his performances and music were praised by respected publications like Rolling Stone and the LA Times.

His first album, "You Can Sing on the Left or Bark on the Right," was released on ABC records in 1976. Produced by Gary Katz, who at the time was working with Steely Dan, and would later work with local legend Root Boy Slim, it was an excellent album that showcased his eclectic style as a writer, and was fairly well-received by the critics. His next album, "Alias," I would pair him with guitarist Don Evans, whose distinctive guitar sound would help shape and define Hamilton’s sound for the rest of the decade. In 1977, he released "Meet Me at the Crux," an album that is considered to be one of his finest works, and by many, myself included, a minor masterpiece. Rolling Stone magazine called it an "overlooked gem," among other things. He finished out the 70's with "Thug of Love," another excellent album full of well-crafted songs that would cement his legacy as the best singer-songwriter nobody ever heard of. Then he basically walked away from the "busyness," as he calls it. After laying low for much of the 80's, he returned to recording in the 90's, and since that time has recorded and released some of the best music of his career. Hamilton's latest album is called "Solo Mono" and it is his first truly solo acoustic record. Just guitar, vocals, and Dirk laying his soul on the line.

Although there was promise never realized, there are absolutely no regrets on his part. He told me "I feel good about how things have transpired for me so far. I've stayed alive in the largest sense, and I've never stopped living and growing as an artist and a man. I'm more alive than ever, I'm approaching "wise", and have never been better as an artist".

That’s more evident than on Dirk’s latest release “Solo Mono,” a stripped down, back to his roots record that has Hamilton in peak form as a singer/songwriter and guitarist. And while some of his contemporaries have gone on to greater success, it’s not all about the “busyness” for Dirk; it’s about the craft and what people derive from his music.

Dirk is making a rare trip to the East coast and will be making an appearance at Maryland Hall on Wednesday Nov 14th. He will be performing songs from "Solo Mono" as well as dipping into his extensive back catalogue for classics like "Billboard on the Moon" and "Meet Me at the Crux." If you missed Hamilton the first time around, meaning 35 years ago now is the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss was about. I promise it’ll be worth your while.

-- Michael Macey, Box Office Coordinator

On Tuesday, October 16, Maryland Hall hosted a screening of the film "Runaway" along with a brief question and answer forum with the director, Amit Ashraf. This was the second screening of the On Screen/In Person Independent Film Series taking place this fall and winter.

After patrons purchased their popcorn and recieved their complimentary drink, they settled in for what was said to be a wonderful evening. Maryland Hall employee, Michael Macey, attended the screening and was more than happy to offer a review of the film:
 
"Runaway, the latest film in the On Screen In Person series at Maryland Hall, offers a gritty, sometimes disturbing view of a bounty hunter in Bangladesh who tracks down and returns runaway men to their families, but not before forcing them to confront the circumstances that got them to that point in the first place. Set in the capital city of Dhaka, Runaway chronicles the journey of one man, Babu, as he captures Akbar, a corrupt politician, and forces him to reexamine his life and the choices he has made.
 
Beautifully photographed, Runaway is visually stunning and gives a hard hitting look at the culture and customs of a society that believes the road to redemption for these runaway men is whatever it takes to return them to their families.
 
The film is skillfully directed by first time director Amit Ashraf. Although it is an ultimately uplifting tale, there is quite a bit of violence. Murder, blackmail, adultery and evil spirits all figure into a scenario that, at times, can be difficult to watch. Both lead actors are more than capable in their roles, and bring a depth to their characters that transcends the obvious language barrier of this English subtitled film. The development of the story line, as well as the characters and their history are fully realized, so that by the end of the film you’re able to understand the perspective and motivation of both Babu and Akbar. All in all this film offered a very satisfying viewing experience."
 
The On Screen in Person series at Maryland Hall allows independent film fans the unique opportunity to view and participate in a discussion of the featured film with the director. Get inside the head of the director and find out what motivates and inspires them to make the films they do. The On Screen In Person series now features beer, wine and popcorn for purchase.

The next film in the series is Dislecksia: the Movie, a comical look at dyslexics and the people who teach and study them. Tickets are $10; $7 for MHCA members and students.

Figure Drawing for Teens is a great class for ages 13-16 taught by Andree Tullier on Tuesdays from 4:30-6:30 pm. After a quick introduction, the class starts off with a few 5 minute gesture quick poses and then moves into longer poses as the class progresses using light and shade with an emphasis on composition. In this class, you will learn the basic planes/forms, proportions and anatomy of the human figure and techniques to capture the action of a pose with charcoal.

Andree Tullier also offers Foundations of Drawing and Introduction to Oils at Maryland Hall. Keep an eye out for our Winter/Spring classes that will be announced sometime during the first two weeks of November on our website.

Writing a blog sounds easy. Just sit down and put pen to paper, fingers to laptop. But not so fast, Ernest Hemingway. It takes some talent to pull that off. Talent is something solo fiddler Casey Driessen, appearing at Maryland Hall on Wednesday October 24, has in abundance. The Berklee School of Music graduate is a combination of talent, enthusiasm and creativity and quickly established himself as a sought after band mate and accompanist with people like Steve Earle, Abigail Washburn, Tim O’Brien and Béla Fleck.

It was in the middle of a Béla Fleck & The Flecktones set at the 2011 Telluride Bluegrass Festival that I first encountered Driessen, as Bela Fleck's roadie, as in the guy who runs back and forth, behind and occasionally on the stage waiting on the star. But then Fleck brought him out to sit in on fiddle and the crowd rose to its collective feet as he brought the house down:

He followed that up with a singular performance at Telluride’s Elks Park where he proved that listening to a fiddle, solo, for 45 minutes, could be a transforming experience.

Much like Futureman does with the Drumitar in the Flecktones, Driessen’s “Singularity Tour” makes heavy use of the latest in electronic wizardry by way of loop machines and pedal boards that would make Hendrix jealous. Using his creative muscle he builds songs from scratch using only his fiddle, his imagination, his enthusiasm and the power of the pedal. And within that context he creates a unique blend of traditional bluegrass, jazz, pop and rock that you will not see anywhere else. Talent like this might suggest some special upbringing, a dedication started before he could walk or a pedigree a mile long. But in speaking to him for this blog he revealed that it wasn’t quite that easy.

In fact, after his parents started him on Suzuki violin at age 6, he didn’t immediately take to the rigors of practicing (what 6 year old does). “I was heavily bribed,” he calmly says. “My dad would tell me in order to earn money to get mom a present for Mothers Day or her birthday or such, he would pay me a few bucks to practice. That’s how I was cajoled into putting some time into it.” That morphed later into being bribed with baseball cards, his other passion at the time. “Eventually I started to realize I was actually getting better. That began to motivate me more than the bribes,” His dad’s own part time career as a musician (pedal steel & banjo) and his artist mom’s creative juices led them on weekend family camping trips to bluegrass and music festivals where Driessen was immersed in the music of fiddles, guitars, banjos and dobro’s. After high school he met master fiddler and Grammy winner Matt Glaser (Ken Burns’ “Civil War”) at a fiddle camp. As head of the string department at Berklee, Glaser encouraged him to enroll and Driessen did. He still points to him as one of his most influential mentors. After graduating Driessen went straight to Nashville where he began his professional career first working with Steve Earle during his stripped down acoustic period. That quickly led him to work with an array of bluegrass and acoustic music heavyweights and a fruitful collaboration with Bela Fleck.

Since then he’s traveled the world performing with Béla Fleck, Tim O’Brien , Lee Ann Womack, Jim Lauderdale, The Duhks, Zac Brown Band and Chris Thile. He’s recorded with John Mayer, Jerry Douglas, Blue Merle and on the Grammy winning soundtrack for the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk The Line.” In 2006 he toured China and Tibet with The Sparrow Quartet as a founding member with Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn, and Ben Sollee of which he said, “We seemed to be the audience's first introduction to American music. They were so polite they didn’t clap during the performance and we had to explain to them it was OK to applaud after solos and songs." His experiences led them back for three more tours.

As a rising star he continues to push the limits of his instrument explaining, “My style has developed over time in bits and pieces as I look for new boundaries to break with the fiddle. I'm currently working on new collaborations between percussion and fiddle called “Fiddlesticks” where I get together for a few days with a drummer or percussionist and we write, arrange and record some unconventional angles, reinterpret cover tunes and go beyond the traditional limits of the fiddle.” In his “Colorfools” trio project he works with acoustic bass and a drummer/percussionist.

If you want to get a sense of Driessen’s intensively creative output, just visit his website where you are ushered Inside The Mind Of Casey Driessen, as the title suggests. I thanked him for not using his photo page to put up the obligatory stage shots. Rather, you'll find beautiful, unrelated photographs that he takes in his spare time on the road. It's his way of relaxing and exploring yet another aspect of his creative mind. In a nod to traveling musicians everywhere he even adds a set of photos devoted to the dressing room bathrooms he's visited. If you've spent any time on the road you'll recognize this less glamorous point of view. Driessen is a road warrior who balances his burgeoning career with a family and home in Nashville. His travels regularly take him from the classical, jazz and bluegrass world of The Sparrow Quartet and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, to the up tempo, modern country of the Zac Brown Band. And when he's not on the road he's in the studio working on his video lessons series. His latest CD titled “OOG” is an adventure in sonic playfulness. It's not a fiddle record, it's a musical stew to warm your soul.

When I asked him what people can expect at his show at Maryland Hall on October 24, he said he wanted people to understand that, “It’s only me up there, recording loops and playing them back live along with the acoustic fiddle woven in, exploring everything from originals to traditional tunes redone, to covers and sonic landscapes.” I will add that you will not be disappointed. In fact, once he launches into his loops and percussive machinations surrounding the intro to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” you'll never hear the fiddle the same way again.

Grammy-nominated fiddler Casey Driessen's Singularity Tour will stop at Maryland Hall on Wednesday, October 24 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15; $10 for Maryland Hall members.

The Showcase Artist Series at Maryland Hall presents unique performances from the world of jazz, folk, bluegrass, classical, film and pop. New to the series this year, MHCA has added bar service featuring beer, wine and sodas available for sale starting at 7:00pm. Each ticket holder is entitled to one free drink with their ticket stub. Come early and meet and greet the artists prior to their performance.

Tom Fridrich,Director of Performing Arts, MHCA

 

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