Flip through the events calendar. Throw a dart at any day, Wednesday, perhaps.
In the morning at the Yard in Chilmark, Jason Samuels Smith, perhaps the best tap dancer in the world right now, was giving an instruction in his art form. Later that night he performed with the Owen (Fiidla) Brown Quartet. Via his feet and the quartet’s music, the group took the audience to Africa, the horrors of the Middle Passage and the arrival as slaves in America.
A short hop down the road at the Chilmark Community Center, Rory Kennedy discussed with audiences at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival her documentary The Last Days in Viet Nam.
Now circle the Island. In Vineyard Haven on Thursday, the leading researcher on Alzheimer’s disease, Rudolph Tanzi, led a talk at the Hebrew Center. Also in Vineyard Haven that night The Whaleship Essex continued to play to a sold-out house at the refurbished playhouse. In Edgartown the Vineyard Arts Project presented three plays.
We’re just getting started here. This weekend the Art of the Cartoon opens at Featherstone, with a group of Vineyard-centered nationally recognized cartoonists. The Chamber Music Society opens its summer season on Monday and Tuesday, and the Fabulists Theatre for Kids continues every Saturday morning at the Tashmoo Overlook, as it has for decades. The list of events goes on and on, from high art to fun and frolic to music jams like the Martha’s Vineyard Sound festival held this Saturday in Oak Bluffs.
Is it something in the water, a magical elixir of creativity flowing through this small Island? Perhaps, but only slightly. After all, as Thomas Edison once said, genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.
The artists, of course, are to be commended. We here on the Vineyard are lucky to be able to roll up our towels after a day at the beach and see quality of the highest level. But then there is the work of what happens behind the scenes, all the perspiration, if you will, of the many Islanders who have decided that bringing art of all kinds to the Island is their life’s work.
We, the audience, thank you.