Arts

CD Collins aims to “move mountains” with spoken word

By Michael Cao “I want to take you take on a journey deep into the hills, up the hollows into the mist and mystery to Hazard, Kentucky, a drumming heart of the planet. Where we have so much treasure —the mountains, minerals, music and the people of Appalachia.”  – CD Collins Light drums and keyboard chords punctuated the words. The sounds were of music, poetry, stories. People were not sitting in a traditional concert hall, rather they were gathered in the backyard of a historic house in Malden to experience art in a myriad of forms.   In early October, musician, writer, and poet CD Collins organized a spoken word event, entitled “Words Move Mountains” at the Wilson House of Visitation, a historical house at 68 High Street in Malden. According to Bahai history, Abdu’l-Baha, the son of Baháʼu’lláh, visited the house in 1912. David Weigert, a retired professor from Berklee College of Music and caretaker of the house, co-produced the event with Collins. (Urban Media Arts did a podcast with Weigert talking about his story and […]

Arts

Mystic Valley Salon’s Spencer Woturski Offers an LGBTQIA+ Friendly Haircut Experience

By Jack Drees There is a new “Hair Therapist” in town, and his name is Spencer Woturski. He is the owner of Mystic Valley Salon, a spot for coiffures and caring. Located at the 888 Eastern Avenue shopping plaza, Mystic Valley Salon offers familiar beauty salon services. However, it also focuses on providing services to and creating a safe spot for the LGBTQIA+ community. Woturski regards Mystic Valley Salon as a “Safe Space.” A Safe Space is when a “business or entity is accepting to different varieties of people and their lifestyles. And we do not impose judgment to some of the things people are looking to do or change themselves,” says Woturski, himself a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. In addition to making customers feel great in regard to their hair on the outside, he wants customers of various backgrounds to feel pleased on the inside. The shop contains pride-themed material to symbolize the intention of visually welcoming everyone. Mystic Valley Salon opened in May 2022, to provide eco-friendly hair treatments, ranging from haircuts […]

Arts

“Between Two Worlds” album highlights the immigrant experience and reframes stereotypes

By Madiha Gomaa Earlier this summer at St. Paul’s Parish in Malden, upright bass and trumpet collided with zikr, a Sufi tradition based on repetition, creating mesmerizing music from internationally renowned percussionist and composer George Lernis. The occasion was a June 16 concert that launched Lernis’ new album “Between Two Worlds,” which weaves his Middle Eastern/Mediterranean musical traditions into his jazz composition. He has been dreaming about creating this fusion for years. Finally, he got to see his dream come true. Lernis chose Malden for the album release concert because of the city’s long history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world, making it one of the most diverse cities in the Commonwealth. The album’s metaphoric name, originally inspired by a Sufi poem from the 15th century, holds more than one meaning. The two worlds could be jazz and Mediterranean music, or home country and the U.S, or both of these. For Lernis, this album is about his journey as an immigrant. “It’s about depicting my journey and rediscovering myself as an immigrant and […]

Arts

Doggone Good Summer Fun for our Best Friends

Story and photos by Keren He Everyone loves a cool treat on a hot day and that includes dogs. During Malden’s first Dog Appreciation Day on June 25, canines at Pine Bank Park could get a dog-friendly free ice cream from a JB’s Indoor Dog Park truck parked there for the morning. When a dog parent asked owner Jackie Brady about the recipe for the ice cream, Brady said it was homemade with healthy ingredients and no sugar. Kevin Alkins, Malden police animal control officer, had an idea for a dog appreciation day when he met Brady, the owner of the dog ice cream truck, which is based in Norwell. In January, Alkins had some health issues, yet he still kept working. People from the neighborhood showed great concern for him while receiving his help on animal control, and that’s when he decided to give back to the community. Dog Appreciation Day is not only Alkins’ brainchild, he also financially sponsored the event. Brady and Alkins plan to hold another Dog Appreciation Day in September, […]

Arts

Cartoonist Keith Knight reflects on growing up in Malden, education, race and the value of art

Keith Knight, a Malden native, infuses his work with humor, creativity and social activism. His nationally syndicated cartoon series (K Chronicles, DAILY, and (th)ink) have won awards and inspired the live-action comedy series “Woke” on Hulu. Loosely based on some of his real life events, Knight co-created the show with Marshall Todd and drew the animation that opens the show. Knight went to high school in Malden, lived for a while in California’s Bay area (where the “Woke” series is based), later moved to Los Angeles and now lives with his wife and two children in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Knight returned to the Boston area last May to give the commencement address at Salem State University, his alma mater. On May 22, he attended the unveiling of the mural he created for the Malden Arts mural series along the Northern Strand Bike Trail near the Breakfast Club (formerly Doo Wop) Diner. The mural is a Malden-centric take on his popular comic series “Life’s Little Victories.” Neighborhood View caught up with Knight by Zoom to […]

Arts

ChronoSquad Malden: Exploring History and Identity through Virtual Worlds

By Amanda De Rosa In a cross between Pokémon Go” and a historical tour, a new gaming app lets users both young and old visually travel back in time in Malden to experience the city’s colorful past. ChronoSquad: Malden – a free gaming app available to download via Google Play and Apple Apps stores – follows four detectives, Tam, Su, Francis, and Max, who discover a magic camera that can see through time, called the Chronoscope. The app transforms the user’s mobile phone camera into the Chronoscope, and the app’s integrated map and clues from the ChronoSquad help players discover various portals throughout Malden. When these locations are discovered, the Chronoscope reveals hidden histories using augmented reality. This local history scavenger hunt features five different episodes of play, each focusing on different areas of Malden, and reveals historical stories of immigration, abolition, suffrage, and labor. Celia Pearce, the creative director of the ChronoSquad: Malden, is a game developer and professor of game design at Northeastern University. She and a team of her students worked to […]

Arts

Community Spotlight: Haitian business owners show resilience in Malden

By Jack Drees The Haitian community in Malden has a heritage rich in tradition, art, and food and a culture built on resiliency and determination.    Massachusetts now has the third highest concentration of Haitian-born immigrants in the United States, after Florida and New York. Of the 86,000 Haitians in Massachusetts, most live in Malden, Somerville, Boston, Randolph and Brockton. This city is home to many Haitian-owned businesses, ranging from restaurants to retail to cultural expression. These are the stories of three of them. “THE ISLAND” RESTAURANT: CHANTAL QUESSA Chantal Quessa, the owner of The Island. Photo by Jack Drees Malden is not just home to one of the larger Haitian populations in Massachusetts, but to various Caribbean restaurants,  including The Island, located on 118 Ferry St. Opened in April 2018 by Chantal Quessa, this restaurant calls itself “A paradise for everyone!”. “Everyone” refers to those in Malden, Massachusetts, her family and others. The front exterior of The Island, located on Ferry Street. Photo by Jack Drees Quessa’s passion for cooking started when she became a […]

Arts

ARTLine Covid Memorial Park aims to bring healing to Malden

By Sharon Santillo With reverence for the healing power of the arts, Malden Arts announced plans for a COVID-19 memorial as the newest addition to the ARTLine on the Northern Strand Community Trail, a public art gallery that stretches long the Malden section of the 10-mile path.  The COVID-19 memorial, consisting of a sculpture, bench and a mural of poetry and art, will be located at the Franklin Street crossing of the trail in Malden, as part of Phase Two of the ARTLine.  “This pocket park will not only serve as public art, but also be a special space to remember and honor those that we lost to the COVID pandemic, the families who are grieving, the workers who went above and beyond, and our neighbors who pitched in and came together,” said Malden Arts President Ari Taylor.  State Senator Jason Lewis had state funds set aside for this project; Malden Councillor Debbie DeMaria provided additional funding for the sculpture and the bench; and State Rep. Paul Donato was instrumental in working with the MBTA. Artist Thomas Berger […]

Arts

Malden residents enjoy the city’s first Winter Festival

By Martha Bezzat, Fern Remedi-Brown, Laura Cummingham, Susan Margot Ecker, Nikita Sampath On Saturday, Dec. 4, the sidewalks of Pleasant Street were lined with about 55 local artists and craftspeople, eager to share their wares with Malden residents as part of the first Winter Festival, sponsored by the City of Malden.  Malden Reads held its 2022 season “kick-off” event during the festival in the J Malden Center lobby. The group hosted poetry readings from local poets, children’s activities, dance videos from local dance group Monkeyhouse, and a raffle. J Malden Center also hosted the Chamber of Commerce’s 130th Anniversary closing event, which provided history and hot chocolate for crowds seeking warmth and nourishment from the cold weather.   The event had the dual goal of “bringing customers back to our downtown to support our businesses and [giving] our residents an outdoor activity to enjoy themselves safely,” said Kevin Duffy, the Strategy and Business Development Officer for the City of Malden. However, a runaway car parked on Pleasant Street momentarily shook up the festive atmosphere when it began to roll, went […]

Arts

Malden Reads never stopped reading: 12th year kickoff will happen on Dec. 4

By Martha Bezzat Malden Reads, a community organization with the mission of literature for all, will launch its 2022 season with a kick-off event at the Winter Festival on Dec. 4 that showcases this year’s selection: An American Sunrise: Poems by Joy Harjo, the first Indigenous Poet Laureate of the United States. Malden Reads members are excited about the opportunity to showcase a book by an Indigenous author. “This is going to be a very unique reading experience,” said Meredith, a self-described “recent recruit” to Malden Reads. Meredith is an alum from NYC’s New School with a background in the poetry performance arts scene, which includes poetry readings and slams. “It’s a very different experience than reading a core curriculum by mostly white people. It will highlight the differences between Indigenous and colonial writing. It’s a great shift in perspective,” she continued. Felicia Ryan, another first-year steering committee member, said, “It’s a brave choice because poetry can be off-putting for people but this book of poems is extremely accessible for people.” Highlighting Malden Reads’ role […]