The crew of Hit and Run History head to Cape Verde, hot on the trail of the Columbia Expedition -- the first American voyage 'round the world.
We climb volcanos, drink grog and beat on dengue-ridden mosquitos here in the archipelago nation 400 miles off the west coast of Africa. And we walk in the steps of the first Americans much of the world ever met.
I’m trying to remember spring cleanup, but with the way the weather was this past summer, it was hard to separate the two seasons. Regardless, with the onset of colder weather prompting a change in Sofie’s wardrobe, and dogs being more inside now (with attendant vacuuming), it is definitely time to clean house. Definitely before the season gets away from us, and the onslaught of presents at Christmas.
A lot of mental housecleaning, too. Maybe not enough for a full column, but still worthy of pondering.
If the goal of the Bridge Street Parking plan was not to make money, but to discourage parking, it did. If the goal was to discourage Lighthouse Beach attendance, it clearly did not. If the goal of charging admission at beaches is to recover costs associated with maintenance (i.e. life guards, beach patrols, etc.), then there seems to be an amazing disconnect – revenue is down at Harding’s Beach because people want to go to Lighthouse Beach.
Harding’s is remote. Lighthouse is close to town. Harding’s has plenty of parking, and charges. Lighthouse has limited parking, but has some Rube Goldberg system for out-of-town beach goers. To maintain Harding’s takes a beach rake and life guards. To maintain Lighthouse it is going to take $100,000 for a very involved beach patrol system. And I, like many, many other people, would rather go to Lighthouse Beach even if not allowed to swim, than go to Harding’s and be able to.
So why not try to recover the cost of maintaining this very popular destination through parking fees?
* * *
There was a strong chord of dissonance sounded recently with rejoicing that the U.S. did not win the Olympic bid for 2016. I say “the U.S.” because Chicago is, still, part of the United States. I don’t care whose hometown it is, or what kind of political feather this would be in someone’s cap.
This is the Olympics, and the United States not only has every right to be considered equally – it is against our nature as Americans not to compete when given the chance. But worse, by rooting against the bid, Americans were rooting against home field advantage for our athletes. Never mind that our Olympic teams will now have to travel to another continent to compete, with their attending families – American families – having to bear the costs of overseas travel.
It’s about our athletes. Anyone bother to ask them what they wanted before running down our Olympic bid?
* * *
Whenever Afghanistan jumps into the public consciousness again, I’m reminded of Rina Amiri. During the winter I wrote my novel “The Bostoner,” I was up in Cambridge and Rina was one of my roommates. She had been a member of the Afghan royal family that was forced to flee in the ‘70s, and had eventually grown up in the Bay area. I recall a few conversations with this Kennedy School scholar about the then-new movement coming out of Pakistan – the Taliban – and her feeling she might never return there. And I recall her idealism, on United Nations Day, asking me to support the United States, under Bill Clinton, refusing to pay the full dues in light of clear patterns of waste and corruption.
It was probably a few short months after the U.S. invasion eight years ago that she did indeed return to help with the formation of the fledgling Afghan government and to especially work on women’s issues. She’s written in the Boston Globe and been on NPR since then, which is always a kick for me to encounter. And now, with the President seriously considering how to proceed in the region, I see she is now Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke.
This has always personalized Afghanistan to me. When you share a kitchen with someone, it makes it hard to accept that they cannot return to their country, under penalty of death. You then take some pride that the intervention of your country allowed them to return safely to theirs, to work for the welfare of their brutalized countrymen and women. More recently, however, a feeling of shame rises when we in this country, especially those who so value human rights, seem to willing to abandon a whole nation because a determined – but small – and violent faction is giving us the equivalent of a bloody nose.
It should not come as news to anyone claiming a broader international perspective that the work of the world is not done in a season or two. There is no shame in abandoning governments we have previously allied with, but what of their people we asked to believe in America?
Are our ideals so malleable? Are we so fickle? Are we, in the final analysis, just tourists with tanks?
Read this and Andy's other columns online at The Cape Cod Chronicle.
So every weekend for the past few weeks we’ve had something to bring the news trucks down. First it was Hurricane Bill which was forecast likely not to hit us, but more likely to hit us than any other part of the country, which seemed to be good enough. And turned out to be a whole bunch of nothing.
Then there was Hurricane Danny, which was not even tropical storm strength by the time it got here. But at least we got some rain which pretty much saved us from having any prolonged dry spell this summer at all.
Then last weekend – sharks.
Wow, what a revelation. Sharks eating seals. This is not news. I’ve seen half-eaten seal carcasses washed up on South Beach for over 10 years. The surge of media has nothing to do with there being sharks – there are sharks all up and down the east coast. Rather, it has everything to do with the species. Great white. Sharkus Hollywoodus.
No, that’s not quite true. The great whites aren’t completely to blame for the frenzy. I had a friend call up from the Midwest the other day to tell me not to let Sofie swim in the water because of the sharks. CNN was taking this story national. The same CNN crew that had been freely speculating on hurricanes on Friday the 21st and Friday the 28th.
So they would show up on a Thursday night, hang around, and then be gone by Sunday. Sounds familiar in this resort area. Of course, it didn’t help that when our crew from Hit and Run History went around to film these non-events (to show what farces they really were), the guys from the networks freely admitted they lobbied to come to the Cape for a long weekend. And again. And again.
The end result being that going anywhere near the Lighthouse became the real descent in the maelstrom. Visitors from far and wide, drawn by telecasts, did nothing more than drive here to stand on the shore for a few minutes and gawk. I’ve never seen so many overdressed people at the beach in the summer doing nothing but standing at the water’s edge and staring.
Meanwhile, the networks that brought them here dominated parking in the beach above. That parking is 30 minutes. I remember back in the mid ‘70s when that limit went in, and it was not popular with the locals. Those spaces in front of the lighthouse were designated for the sightseers, not the beachgoers. Apparently, though, they are also meant free all-day parking for multi-billion dollar corporations.
So I had to ask Chatham Police about this. I was told at the station, no, the half-hour rule was being enforced. I was also told I’d get a call back about this. I must have been away from my phone when they did.
Perhaps there was some confusion, since it is easy to overlook a large white truck with a satellite dish on top, and orange cones all around it, including the adjacent parking spaces, and long cables running from it, across the sidewalk and running down the banking and another 200 feet out onto the beach to various camera and light stands. Yes, clearly, the intent was to set up, shoot and break it all down within a window of 30 minutes.
Or maybe CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, the Weather Channel, Fox and friends were parked there for days on end, doing nothing more than using a public space for private gain, and not being subjected to the penalties that either the residents or summer visitors incur. All because these clowns want a long weekend of paid vacation on the Cape.
So if you have received a ticket for parking too long down at the lighthouse this summer, you might want to ask if these mobile offices weren’t also there the same day.
Likewise, in light of the controversy over a small local businessperson being charged for holding classes on the beach, it is reasonable to ask why these very large and profitable, out-of-town corporations got free use of our most popular destination in town, week-after-week, on some of the warmest, sunniest beach-going days of the year. All so they can hyperventilate to the world about things that pose little danger to us.
So if we’re not charging them for parking, ticketing them for overuse of limited spaces, or requiring permits for filming when they have the budget and we have the best locations for these recurring stories… what do we get out of this?
Besides simmering pubic resentment, I mean.
Read this and Andy's other columns online at The Cape Cod Chronicle.
When the media finds yet another reason to hang around Chatham their third straight weekend, this time it's Great White Sharks. The Hit and Run History crew heads out to investigate...
The crew of Hit and RunHistory gets a clear message from the heavens:
Their days of stormchasing are over (thankfully).
Oh, and we answer definitively, "What is aYankee."
The crew of Hit and Run History dives headlong into the oceanic fury of Hurricane Bill. They brave "No Dogs" signs, apathetic onlookers, greedy parking by networks satellite trucks and the occasional raindrop to bring YOU the bottom line: Bill's highly overblown.
The Hit and Run History crew heads out into the madness. There's a mad dash for parking in front of the Chatham Lighthouse as not much is to be seen while Hurricane Bill approaches.
Series tracking the American Heart of Darkness picks Woods Hole Scientist for second episode
TheirOpenCall has netted a marine scientist from Woods Hole. Fresh off a successful summer ofscreenings, Hit and Run History has chosen Rita OliveiraMonteiro to join them as they travel to Cape Verde this fall.
Monteiro,a native of Lisbon, Portugal, works at the Marine Biological Laboratory inWoods Hole. A NOAA research grantthrough the State University of New York at Syracuse brought the PhD candidateto Cape Cod to study how land use affects the marine environment. Earlier this summer, she saw an ad onCraigslist, seeking for a Portuguese speaker to join a film crew headed to CapeVerde. “This sounded like a greatopportunity and a lot of fun.”
Hit and Run History produced a pilot for theirguerilla-style history series this spring. Instead of tackling one topic per episode, the GumshoeHistorians will follow it through several installments, part-travel show,part-documentary. First on theiragenda is the Columbia Expedition – the first American voyage ‘round the world.
Thefilm was awarded Massachusetts Cultural Council Grants from the towns ofMarshfield, Wareham and Chatham. Between May and August it was screened in nine locations, including theMartha’s Vineyard Museum, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, and thePilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum.
“Audiencesloved it,” said series creator and host Andrew Buckley. “Not just the story of the ColumbiaExpedition – they really loved the on-screen chemistry of our crew.”
With such an enthusiasmresponse, in May Buckley announced in that Hitand Run History would continue the series. This would mean following the Columbia Expedition to itsfirst stop on its groundbreaking voyage: Cape Verde. Aside from thechallenges of getting to and filming in the small archipelago nation off thewest coast of Africa, the crew faced a further obstacle. None of them spoke either the officiallanguages of Portuguese or Kriolu (a creole derivative).
Basedin in Southeastern New England, with a large concentration of people of CapeVerdean, Azorean, Portuguese and Brazilian backgrounds, it made sense to makean open call for a new crewmember. “They had to speak one of the two languages,” explained Buckley. “We were also looking for a person whoeither knew the area, knew the history, knew the water, or have video orphotography skills.”
“And,”adds Assistant Director Matt Griffin, “we had to feel we could work and getalong with them. A week overseasis a long time to spend with someone you just met.”
InJune, Hit and Run History announcedtheir Open Call through their fan page on Facebook and with the help of theirmedia representative, Past Preservers. Joining Buckley and Griffin as a judge was Emmy-awardwinning videographer Jul3ia Astatkie. Applicants came from all over the globe, with a wide range of skills andbackgrounds.
Itwas during a conference call on Skype that Monteiro convinced the judges. “She’s a great photographer,” saidAstatkie. “And she seemed verynatural and comfortable talking with us.”
The judges learned that besides English and Portuguese, Monteiro speaksSpanish, French and some Italian, and is a certified SCUBA diver. “It alsodidn’t hurt that she lives on Cape Cod,” added Griffin. Ideally, the successful
candidate wouldhave needed to be available for orientation and pre-production staff meetingsprior to the trip.
Monteirowas at her lab when she received the news of being chosen for the trip. “I was surprised. I didn’t recognize the number of thecall on my phone, and almost didn’t pick up. But,” she adds, “I’m glad I did.”
“She’sexcited for the trip, and we’re excited to have her on board,” saysBuckley. “Our approach to historyis to show us having fun telling a story. Audiences are responding to that. And we’re going to have a blast in Cape Verde.”
About Past Preservers:
PastPreservers was founded by archaeologist Nigel J. Hetherington in 2005 toprovide historical and archaeological consultancy and professional support tothe media industry.
PastPreservers provides expert opinion and counsel throughout the creative process,from conception to product delivery.
Forall media enquiries please contact Nigel Hetherington on the following [email protected]
Hit and Run History's Summer Search for a Portuguese-speaking Crewmember
Hit and Run History is holding a competition this summer for a new crewmember - one with a special talent. We're looking for a Portuguese speaker for the next episode, as we follow the track of the Columbia Expedition.
The first American voyage 'round the world left Boston Harbor on October 1, 1787 commanded by Cape Codder John Kendrick. Their first stop was in Cape Verde. With so many people in Southeastern New England able to speak Portuguese, it makes sense to see if we can find someone to bring along to help out.
We're holding an open call for talent. Are you a budding historian, actor or videographer? Any combination thereof? All three is best because our cast IS our crew.
Native Fluency in Portuguese
Valid Passport and able to obtain a visa to Cape Verde
Signing a release for us to use you and your work during the shooting of the episode, and that this is all done at your own risk.
Points given for familiarity with:
Cape Verde, its culture and history
Post-Revolutionary War History or Maritime History (and especially the Columbia Expedition)
Video or still photography
Extra points given for:
If we think we can get along with you for a week
The trip will entail roughly a week's travel to Cape Verde as an unpaid member of our crew. These will be long days, often in risky or even hazardous circumstances. Airfare and lodging (shared) will be provided. Any other expenses are your own.
This is not a prize. We reserve the right to refuse anyone, or to not bring anyone at all. It might turn out we just don't find the right person.
HOW TO APPLY
YOU MUST: Go to Facebook and become a Fan of Hit and Run History: The Columbia Expedition (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hit-and-Run-History-The-Columbia-Expedition/72140728590?ref=ts).
YOU CAN: Send us an email at CapeVerde[at]hitandrunhistory.com with your vitals (name/age/etc.) and explaining in 100 words or less why we should take you along.
IT WOULDN'T HURT:
To Upload photos or video, or links to them, of yourself or your work to the "Come Run With Us" event page,
If we saw you at one of our screenings this summer, in locations like Chatham, Hull, Provincetown, Brewster or Edgartown.
BUT YOU REALLY, REALLY OUGHTA: Come to our open calls, the first of which will be held on Tuesday, July 14 from 7-9 PM at the Cape Cod Community Media Center in South Yarmouth.
Thunderball Entertainment Group is pleased to announce that it has designated Past Preservers to be official media representative for the documentary Hit and History: The Columbia Expedition.
Gumshoe Historian Andrew Buckley takes us on a journey following the tracks of John Kendrick and the Columbia Expedition.
The first American circumnavigation of the globe was prompted by desperate Boston merchants following the Revolution, and commanded by former privateer John Kendrick. Returning to Boston three years later, it was a commercial failure and the commander was missing in China.
Describing Kendrick's life, Buckley says, "It's not just the American Heart of Darkness -- it precedes Conrad's novel by a hundred years. It could well be the original Heart of Darkness." Kendrick's explorations, travels and business on the Columbia Expedition are the focus of our story.
Buckley tells it in a gritty, let's-get-our-hands-dirty style. This approach owes much to Anthony Bourdain, the devil-may-care host of Travel Channel's culinary adventure program "No Reservations." Buckley brings the viewer directly to the scenes of historical events by visiting the sites as they are today. He tells the story here and now, himself -- and his film crew.
This is as much about this scrappy band of New England commercial fishermen-turned-filmmakers as it is about the Columbia Expedition. When Buckley pulls out of his narration of the lead-up Columbia's departure from Boston in 1787, cutting to a critique of himself in a previous clip with assistant director Matt Griffin, it underscores the keenness that host and crew share for the subject and the making of this film.
From Kendrick's involvement in the Boston Tea Party, his seizing of British ships in the Revolution, his explorations and trade in the Pacific, and being the first American to visit Japan, this was a life of adventure and real American spirit.
Abandoned in the East, Kendrick amassed a greater and greater stock of trade goods across the Pacific, getting a stranglehold on the Northwest fur trade by cultivating good relations with the natives, trading Western clothes and weapons, and adopting their dress and language. While the empires of the day were vying for the new frontier of the Pacific, Columbia left Boston on a second voyage, armed with new captain and an agent to find Kendrick.
Buckley sees the Columbia Expedition as the connection between the voyages of Captain James Cook (the inspiration for Star Trek) in the 1770's and the Lewis & Clark mission (the first road trip and buddy story) in the early 1800's. But as a private trading venture, it was bound by nothing aside from profit. Very young men were equipped with the most modern weaponry and vessels and told to go to the other end of the earth and make a profit.
Rife with riches and unbridled sensuality, with no law but their own, the Pacific voyage offered unparalleled adventure. As a chapter of lost history, the story of the Columbia Expedition does not reside in one place, but is scattered across the globe. Author and Master Mariner Andrew Buckley has been researching and writing on the Columbia Expedition for 14 years. Work on his historical novel, The Bostoner, has made him one of a handful of experts worldwide, with contacts in every location.
Locations will include: Cape Cod, Boston, Newport, Nova Scotia, English Channel, Thames River, Cape Verde, Falkland Islands, Juan Fernandes, Oregon coast, Neah Bay, Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Islands, Hawaii, Macao, Guangzhou, Kashinoura, Japan, Vigan, Philippines.
More information @ http://www.hitandrunhistory.com.