Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Epilogue for Matthew Shepard

So, it all started with a call from Mike (Artistic Director at Westford Academy) the other week. “I need some head shots” was the gist of it. “No problem” I thought to myself right? Standard pricing bla bla bla. At the time I was frantically trying to tie up some loose ends with all the senior shoots so I could sneak away for a couple of days and fish the Derby down in MV. I guess at that moment I did not realize just how big this was, but I moved my return date up for the trip so that I could be there as I could tell this was very important to him.

It was not until I spoke with Gail later after she checked in with Mike to get the details that I think she made me understand what it was that we were really working on here with Mike. “How do we charge for this?” she asked me. She paused for a second and then answered her own question with …“We can’t”. She was right. I felt pretty stupid at that point when I realized how right she was.

Westford had been selected as one of only two public high school theater departments in the entire country to be used as a performance location. One of only two in the Bay State! One hundred locations for this reading where chosen across the US, and another fifty outside the US.

All One hundred and fifty theaters where to be joined via simulcast to New York city where actress Glen Close would open the evening.

“The Laramie Project 10 years later -- An epilogue” (by Moises Kauffman) focused on the long term effect that the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard had on the town of Laramie, Wyoming and how in my opinion Laramie as a town itself is a microcosm for the country as a whole. It uses dialogue from actual interviews with the towns people of Laramie and Matthews killers themselves.

For those of you who have not heard of Matthew Shepard, back in 1998 two men spotted Matthew in a bar and targeted him because of his sexual orientation, as his killer states in one of his interviews. In fact they pretended to be gay in order to lure Matthew from the bar. They took him to a remote area east of Laramie, Wyoming and tied him to a split-rail fence. Matthew was severely assaulted and tortured then left there to die. He was found the next day by a cyclist who thought at first that Matthew was a scarecrow (if that helps draw a picture of the condition that Matthew was in).

Matthew died 6 days later due to the injuries he sustained.

About a month after the murder The Tectonic Theater Company went to Laramie to interview the towns people about the how this had affected their community and created the play “The Laramie Project”. On the 10th anniversary, Tectonic Theater Project returned once again to Laramie for a second round of interviews which was the basis for “The Laramie Project 10 years later -- An epilogue”. By that time the original “The Laramie Project” had become one of the most frequently produced plays in America.

Personally I started to remember more and more about this the more I read. I remeber all the news coverage.

So when the Sunday finallt came to get the head shots they were missing a few people…..OK, like 6 of 14 were missing. Needless to say they did not happen that day. Instead I grabbed some P&R photos so they could send them off to the press et…

I went back that following Sunday (day before the performance) to finally get those cast head shots. In keeping with the gravity of the reading, I wanted something a bit more serious for these cast photos. Needless to say, smiling just did not seem to be the right fit this time around.

Well, that Monday evening started with the simulcast from NY with Glen Close as the MC after which Matthew Shepard’s mother came out on stage to speak live to all one hundred and fifty theaters.

The simulcast ended with the hand off of the performances to the individual theaters.

Gail and I didn’t know what to expect.

Mike told me not to worry about photographing the reading itself, but we brought the camera gear just in case we felt compelled.

Again, this was just supposed to be as Mike put it “a reading”.

Well from the second the Westford crew took the stage, We knew it was going to be more than that.

They put so much into there every mannerism, stage placements and just their overall presence.

I found myself immediately reaching for my gear and I took off down the theater wing so I could try my best to capture this while remaining out of sight.

I just could not see myself moving around in the aisle at all during this one.

Read more about this at Westford Academy's site, on Boston.com or in the Lowell Sun among a few of the places.

Hats off to Mr. Towers and all the alumni that came together to tell his story.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall Fishing......STAG!

Saturday...Day 4 (coming home)

Wokeup this morning and ran over to the "Big Bridge" (Jaws bridge) and fished a bit then ran over to the Tashmoo inlet hoping to maybe pull one more fish in in time for a quick trip to the weigh-in and just make the ferry. No big surpise as I never saw a fish let alone caught one : ).

Stopped in at the gift shop in VH to grap a little somthing for the kids and drove right onto the boat.

Rough ride on the ferry....... pulling into Woods Hole now....well, until next year.

Friday...Day 3


Well, thanks to a well timed Nor'Easter, my face is thoroughly wind burned. I have been fishing ALL day and the wind was crazy. Started out this morning on the south side of the island down at Lucy Vincent Beach.

Met up with a couple of guys out there that had already been working the beach with no luck. They were nice enough to snag a shot of me which was better than the one I took (right).

Don’t forget, this was the calm side of the island!

After that I went further east to an area near Philbin beach. A nice quiet stretch of beach with no one around.

I was happy to break my skunked spell with this whopper! Hey, it beats no fish at all. Looks like he was snacking on Sand Eels as he spit this one out after I pulled him up on the beach (right).

This one is for the boat!

After that I hit Gay Head and met up with the guys I bumped into earlier. Defeating the fish shut out, I felt good enough to break out the camera and snag a few shots of them fishing.

From there I hit the jetties at Menemsha, South Beach and East Beach. Not even a sign of fish at all. That small blue I caught was the only fish I had seen all day! Lucky me.

Thursday...Day 2

Woke up around 6:30AM and started out at Wasque (the Southeastern most part of the island). Saw a couple small blue fish brought (I again had no luck).

Drove over to the gut after that and tried my luck there. You guessed it...nothing.

With the storm taking hold, Paul and I went over to the breech. Paul was hoping the wind would push all the bait up against the beach putting al the fish in our lap. Again no luck, in fact we had to move our trucks as the beach was being overrun by the surf. The wind was right in our face. The rain felt like ice cystals bouncing off my cheeks. COLD COLD. Would have been worth it if the Bass were there.

Spent a couple more hours bottom fishing at South Beach before heading back to the hotel.

Tomorrow is the last day of the derby, so I will have to try and fish it despite the Nor-Easter.

Wednesday...Day 1

I am here at Woods Hole waiting for the ferry to pull out.

Hoping to catch the last big fish of the derby this year. Weather is looking like it is going to beat the bag out of me, but I am going hit it as hard as possible!

Had to push it back a week (from last Wednesday) due to a wind advisory, but know is looking like I was better off then. At least it was warm wind! Oh well. The derby ends this Saturday, so I have no choice now.

Once I get over there, going to settle in at the hotel and head right out and get ready for the first tide drop out on Menemsha....enter Jaws music here = ) then over to Chappy for a late night tide drop on the east side of the island.

It was a beautiful night at Menemsha (without fish). Had one strike that was undoubtedly a Blue Fish as it left the tell tale bite that left the squid half gone.

Stopped in at the weigh-in station then went out to South Beach and fished there until about 1 AM. Though this was and will be the nicest night while I am out here, still no fish. There wasn't any mood so the stars were brilliantly painted across the sky. It was nice to just lay there and watch the rod tips against the sky. Wish Gail and the boys could have joined me then. Truly beautiful.