The Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival


The Run&Shoot Filmworks Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

The 13th Annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival

The thirteenth annual Run&Shoot Filmworks Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, August tenth through fifteenth, 2015, screened and promoted some of the most outstanding and emerging feature, documentary, and short films produced by and starring African Americans from across the World!  All of this summer’s screenings and events took place again at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center, located adjacent to Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School at 100 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, with the addition this Season of an inviting grand party and reception tent on the grounds outside the theater.  It seems that founders Stephanie Rance, Floyd Rance, and Karyn Parsons were even able to import the weather this year, as the atmosphere inside and out the sold-out hall glowed warm and sunny for all film fans in attendance to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, during the often sticky dog days of middle August.  Ticket holders are greeted by friendly attendants, and helpful and informed ushers.  A great many moving pictures shown at this festival are traditionally exclusive sneak peaks and World-premiers, and this year was of course no exception.  The list of producers, actors, directors, and filmmakers includes veritable unknowns, and also features an absolutely fabulous array of A-list Hollywood celebrities, many of whom attend these screenings, engaging with the audience in a panel discussion format after the respective films – an attribute that, outside of Tinsel Town or perhaps New York or London, is something that can be said to be one of those things that ‘only happens on Martha’s Vineyard.’  Amazing, truly amazing.

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

Audience members are treated to an incredible selection of films spanning many genres.

The highlight of #SummersFinestFilmFestival is, in collaboration with Home Box Office, the HBO Short Film Competition and Award Ceremony, held on the last day of the festival, Saturday. ‪ Among this year’s commendable entries was a film made by Mz. Rain Pryor, who’s father is comedy icon Richard Pryor, a submission entitled, “That Daughter’s Crazy,” directed by Elzbieta Szoka, and produced by Sam Adelman and Daryl Sledge, illustrating Pryor‘s own star beyond the shadow of her legendary father, as an original, bold, and energetic voice, who defines influences of her upbringing with a deep love and respect for her dad featuring footage, photos, press clippings of Mz. Pryor’s life and career, as well as various interviews.  A social commentary, the film explores themes of diversity, relationships between parents and children and a profound perspective of one entertainer’s journey.  Winner of this year’s competition was a film entitled “My Second Life: The video diaries of Molotov Alta,” a film about a man who disappeared from his home in California, and subsequently sent video messages from social media platform, Second Life.  Douglas Gayeton, the film’s creator, explores various sub-cultures that can be found within Second Life.  Here is discovered a compelling glimpse into new media and communication in an ever-isolating culture of pretense and no privacy, and how life and virtual life can sometimes switch, revealing the truth of the individual in this rapidly changing society we all now live.

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

Acclaimed Director Spike Lee greets fans prior to an exclusive sneak peak of his latest film!

Access level packages are scaled differently, but everyone has access to the stars at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival!  In Oak Bluffs, acclaimed Director Spike Lee greeted filmgoers prior to an exclusive sneak peak of his latest film, “CHI-RAQ,” a stark narration of the gun violence that grips our nation, focussing specifically on the parallels in American death and violence of the war in the desert and the South side of Chicago, Illinois.  Mr. Lee points out that there are more American casualties at home in multiple cities across the Nation than on the battle fields half way across the globe.  Spike Lee continues to present popular art with strong social commentary – he is a true visionary.  This film, starring Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, and Dave Chappelle, is based loosely on the Greek play, “Lysistrata,” about one woman’s effort to end the Peloponnesian War by persuading all women to withhold copulation from their husbands and lovers until peace is negotiated, and is adapted for modern audiences as utilizing the metaphor of urban thug life, mirroring the futility of all violence, especially violence against one’s neighbor.  While the imagery of this film is bright and engaging, the message for peace is brighter.  Kudos to the director.

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

Comedian Damon Williams commends filmmaker Spike Lee for another amazing piece of art.

Audience members are treated to an incredible selection of films spanning many genres.  And the filmmakers are treated, too, to thoughtful questions, poignant praise, and critical questions with interactive dialogue between moviemaker and movie fan.  On the Vineyard, everyone is treated as equals.  Stars and simple folk, alike, can be seen rubbing elbows in comfort at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center.  Names from the entertainment, sports, and political Worlds vacation here, so it’s no surprise that you may find yourself next in line behind comedian Damon Williams as he commends a director for another amazing piece of art, or see yourself seated next to a National Basketball Association star like Ray Allen, who is often noted to be golfing with the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  Unlike on the mainland, famous people are politely acknowledged and mostly given their space in this laid-back environment.  But a few frenzied fans advanced forward, and the stars are gracious and relaxed here on-Island.

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

NBA star, Ray Allen, his wife, actress and singer Shannon Walker Williams, and son.

Festival organizers Stephanie and Floyd Rance are agents of change.  All too often, festivals of this caliber are left to the cities.  Mr. and Mrs. Rance, who along with Karyn Parsons, known most famously for her character, Hillary Banks, from the Will Smith situation comedy television series, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” have created an annual event that is truly World-class!  Included also this year is a performance by Ronald K. Brown‘s “Evidence,” a dance company, at The Yard in Chilmark, Massachusetts.  This live action component adds a refreshing third dimension of depth to the sometimes flat feel of film.  Witnessing this movement display left a viewer feel as though all who were there now shared a reference directory of physical vocabulary for the remainder of the festival.  It is a natural fit and complement.

That physical vocabulary was used at the annual Lola‘s ‘All White Party,’ for sure.  Community is key for the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, you see.  Nearly every single person in attendance wore white, most enjoyed a house cocktail, and we all danced the night away singing along to familiar tunes.  Some of the people in attendance only see each other on Martha’s Vineyard in the summertime.  These relationships extend to create new networks back in the cities, and alumni organizations become stronger, too.  This Island is a unique place in that way.  It gives one perspective and pause to reassess one’s assessments of life.  On Island time, peering onto another time and space up on the silver screen, the viewer is receptive to ideas with a freer flow than perhaps any other time in that person’s year.  When we are on the Vineyard, we are all together.  This is where the President vacations, you know.  This is where Vernon Jordan has his birthday party.  This is where Nick Cannon chills on the beach.  We are all lucky when we are afforded time on Martha’s Vineyard Island, and we are all stars shining.  Luckier still are Mr. and Mrs. Rance, who for thirteen years have created something that is so beloved and gains more and more renowned as each new film Season approaches.

Applause!  See you next summer-

From left: Spike Lee, Teyonah Parris, Stephanie Rance, Floyd Rance, Nick Cannon, and Father Michael L. Pfleger.

From left: Spike Lee, Teyonah Parris, Stephanie Rance, Floyd Rance, Nick Cannon, and Father Michael L. Pfleger.

Written and photographed by Daniel J. Adams for MVPBS


Opera Theater company tours “Impresario Now!”

Impresario Now!” by Nicole Aiossa, David Richmond, and Wendy Taucher.

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

Robert Mack is a tortured delight as “Vincenzo Birdwhistle.”

In its fourth Season in residency at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, the Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater company presents “Impresario Now!,” a fantastically entertaining focus of musical theater on tour across America scheduled for performances on Cape Cod and Nantucket Island, in Boston and New York City, and on Key West, premiering here on Martha’s Vineyard Island! Featuring a talented cast of both established thespians and fresh stage performers, this thrilling and hilarious collaboration stars the distinguished television and live stage actor, Donovan Dietz, who’s played along side such names as Al Pacino, Tony Shalhoub, and Jack Klugman, setting this smart script sailing with a soft command of the stage. Even in blue jeans, Mr. Dietz‘s performance cannot be dated in neither the 18th nor 21st centuries as his plea of and from the scene could not be more timeless or more relevant. All the World’s a stage apparently, and the reality of dealing with the ego and money involved in performance art has always been. In many ways, the life of art is a sorry second to the art of life. The exchange of interaction mixed with the solitude of life and loneliness is displayed along side one another in grand concert here in “Impresario Now!

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

Powerful character performances portrayed by both Erika Person and Lisa Williamson.

Money and fame have always been gold chained together, it seems.  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had been residing in Vienna for a few years when he began drafting “The Impresario.”  In private correspondence, Mozart wearily lamented of the superficiality and pretense wealth facilitates into art – that rather than supporting art, it often interfered to the detriment of the so-accepted fine art.  Patrons and politics are played purposefully in “Impresario Now!” as everyone has their own agenda, and no one is who they seem.  Powerful character performances portrayed by both Erika Person and Lisa Williamson illustrate divas in different periods of their respective careers.  As youth and experience diametrically oppose one another in a same artist simultaneously, industry worth drives personalities to the edge (of each other’s throats)!  Backstage boils over in a familiar fashion today as it did then, and always had.  What we want, who we are, and how we see ourselves is reflected in the distorted mirror of pretense.  She’s not the infatuation of a one of the producers – she’s a star!  He’s not a womanizer with money – he’s a man of the World.  Always acting, the players behind the scenes assume they’re centre stage, always striving for more glory.

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

The bold and funny tenor, Blake Friedman, and the captivating soprano, Maria Alu.

The premise of Mozart‘s comic singspiel is that “Frank,” the impresario, along with a singer who assists him, auditions two actresses to be part of a new theatrical company.  Although both are hired, they then argue over who will get the prime role, and whom would be paid more.  Each performs an aria to back her claim.  An agreement is reached.  Subsequently, the tenor intervenes.  Further compromise is then agreed upon with each receiving ‘large salaries and star billing.’  The Maestro Master’s work then concludes with the quartet, “Every Artist Strives for Glory.”  The original composition lasted over three hours and is filled with anachronous language foreign to today’s audience, however, the premise is funny and Mozart‘s music is undeniably splendid.  Co-authors, Nicole Aiossa, David Richmond, and Wendy Taucher, have adapted this concept for the modern stage beautifully!  The open set presentation blurs the line even further between stage and stage door and the audience is among the artists, inciting the audience member to feel like a fly on the wall privileged to true A-list gossip.

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

Donovan Dietz sets the script sailing with a soft command of the stage.

Michelle Trovato‘s soprano is like a bird in flight ascending on to heaven.  An aria was made (interior reference) for the captivating soprano of Maria Alu, too!  Reprising the role of “Isolde Goldentrill,” Alu separates herself as soloist of supreme gifts, every bit living up to the innuendo of her character name.  The bold and funny, Blake Friedman, sounds out by giving somehow charming character to the slimy sort that was his role in “Impresario Now!,” with a strong, husky vocal performance that will not soon be forgotten – an outstanding tenor, indeed!

Who’s playing whom?  While titles mean everything, somehow a title can mean nothing.  Whom is the ruler?  Whom is the star?  And who’s getting paid what?  The jovial James Martin plays “Fredrico Goldentrill,” a character pulled and pushed in so many directions, the poor fellow doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going sometimes.  Mr. Martin expressed the frustration of a man in the middle well.  While seemingly in the middle, too, is Frank’s assistant, “Buddenbrooks Buff,” portrayed with an undercurrent of longing looking to burst up to the surface by a the brave baritone of Justin Ryan, who along with James Martin, blew the flaps of the grand tent on the bluff apart.  Robert Mack is a tortured delight as “Vincenzo Birdwhistle,” a principle actor who is more a pawn then a player in life.  The sweet, sad, sorrow in Mack‘s vocal tones of a person alone in a crowded room.  Dietz‘s performance of the man in control of everything and nothing at the same time is as fresh and relevant as his character doesn’t feel.  Frank doesn’t know whether to sod it all or not.  As principal of “Impresario Now!,” Dietz is reduced the frustration of near tears throughout, demonstrating exhaustion and dissatisfaction all while supposedly maintaining a simple, all-is-well, smile.  The complexity of Mr. Deitz‘s character performance is as earnest as Frank is duplicitous.  It was a true delight to witness.

Photography credit: Daniel Adams

The bold baritones of both Justin Ryan and James Martin blew the flaps of the grand apart!

Brava to Director, Choreographer, and Co-Author, Wendy Taucher!  This adaptation of Maestro Mozart‘s backstage farce is as much Hollywood or Washington in the twenty-first century as it may have been Vienna in the mid-eighteenth century, or perhaps Rome in the days of the Caesars, or Egypt during their golden age.  The message is timeless, and yet this telling is distinct and thought provoking from its own inclination.  The Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater company is captivating and talented, and “Impresario Now!” should not be missed.  On tour now across the country, scheduled to appear at Art Week in Boston for September, 2015, in New York City for separate engagements, and on Key West early in the new year of 2016, this troupe ensemble’s talent is a treat rarely seen this side of Broadway.  Mozart abides this classic theme brought to the present as a refreshing, thoughtful and funny lark, peering into an industry driven by carefully cultivated imagery.  It is especially exceptional to poke the fun one is being made of and at the same time not be part of the joke, as it were.  It has been done here in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, on Martha’s Vineyard Island.  The best talent does not exclude those same individuals from exhibiting the worst behavior, nearly driving the impresario to the brink of collapse.

However in the end, all things are as they were in the beginning – the show must go on!

Brava to Director, Choreographer, and Co-Author, Wendy Taucher!

Written and photographed by Daniel J. Adams for MVPBS.

The White Dog Presents: The 2015 Martha’s Vineyard New Year’s Eve Fireworks

The WHITE DOG Presents: The 2015 Martha’s Vineyard New Year’s Eve Fireworks from Edgartown Lighthouse and the Harborview Resort Hotel in Edgartown, Massachusetts.


Island Cove Adventures – 386 State Road, Vineyard Haven

Island Cove Adventures miniature golf, climbing wall, outdoor grill, ice cream, and souvenirs


Martha’s Vineyard Island Oasis


Day or Night – Rain or Shine

Welcome to our links!

Island Cove Miniature Golf, located on State Road in Vineyard Haven, is an adventure theme course set in extensive gardens.  Your game will take you over streams, through a cave, under a waterfall, an around a fish pond.  Winner buys ice cream!  Celebrate your game or rock climbing achievements at our mouth-watering bar!  We have all the fixings for frappes, cones, sundaes, fruit smoothies.  Relax and refresh at the bar-b-que!  Visit our new cabana on the back deck which houses our outdoor grill.  Here is an inexpensive, delicious solution for lunch or dinner.  Our menu has standard barbecue fare of burgers and hot dogs, and lighter options such as grilled chicken, grilled veggies, grilled cheese, and veggie burgers. We have a beverage bar with fruit smoothies, specialty juices, as well as soda and water.  Did you know Island Cove Adventures is available to rent?  It’s a perfect setting for family reunions, rehearsal dinners, and company outings!  Call us for more information at (508) 693-2611.  Come be our guests.  Island Cove Mini Golf offers a truly unique family experience!


Our 24 foot high mobil climbing wall offers three degrees of difficulty to accommodate the entire family.  This exhilarating structure has a patented auto belay system powered by hydraulics which safely supports you while you conquer the summit and again as you repel to the ground.  Haven’t rock climbed before?  No problem – our staff will offer instruction and guidance along the way, no experience is necessary and all ages can participate.

A family owned and operated business – since 1992


Island Cove Adventures – 386 State Road, Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard

Family owned and operated since 1992, Island Coves Adventures is the perfect way to spend a Martha’s Vineyard day or evening with friends and family, new and old.  (508) 693 – 2611

Martha’s Vineyard Pizza


Rocco’s Pizzeria at Tisbury Marketplace in Vineyard Haven

  At Rocco’s Pizzeria, dine indoors, al fresco overlooking picturesque Vineyard Haven Harbor on their rooftop deck, or take out Martha’s Vineyard’s finest pizza and authentic Italian cuisine.  Rocco’s Pizzeria offers catering for events of all sizes featuring authentic family-style baked pasta dishes and lasagna; parmigiana of all sorts; homemade meatballs and sauce; sausages, side dishes, and salads of many varieties; antipasto; specialty sandwiches; fries, rings, wings, and burgers; and the best pizza and calzones on Martha’s Vineyard Island!  Rocco’s also stocks a full compliment of beverages for all tastes; and features fine, imported wines, and draught beer on tap.
The Finest Ingredients
   Starting with the freshest, finest, all-natural ingredients, Rocco’s Pizzeria hand makes their own authentic Italian marinara tomato sauce from top quality Pastene® tomatoes; fresh garlic and onions; and a delicate blend of herbs and spices.  Featuring a wide selection of fresh vegetables, and specialty imported meats and toppings, Rocco’s Pizzeria is a favorite lunch destination that offers daily oven fresh specialty slices of Martha’s Vineyard’s best pizza.  A full menu,  house special soups, pasta and side dishes of a wide variety, and family standards aplenty set Rocco’s apart on Martha’s Vineyard.
Cleanliness & Preparation
   Rocco’s Pizzeria at Tisbury Marketplace in Vineyard Haven prides themselves in operating “the cleanest kitchen anywhere!”  The Rocco’s staff are in their beautiful, pristine kitchen early every morning long before the lunch crowd arrives to carefully prepare the highest quality pizza and authentic Italian cuisine crafted with care from the freshest ingredients found anywhere.  Their big kitchen and professional staff produce hot, fresh, wonderful Italian and American food for Islanders and tourists alike seven days a week, all summer long. Come in for a slice of  Martha’s Vineyard’s best pizza!



   Hand tossed, homemade Boston style thin crust pizzeria pizza “with a Martha’s Vineyard twist” is the secret to making Martha’s Vineyard’s favorite pizza.  White pizza, gluten free pizza, pesto pizza, olive oil based pizza, and traditional Italian style pizzeria pizza are regular specialities.  Meat toppings includes:  ham, pepperoni, linguiça, salami, anchovy, sausage, and meatball.  Vegetable toppings include:  fresh garlic, white or red onion, tomato, black olive, green pepper, cherry pepper, pineapple, broccoli, and eggplant.  They also tout many, different custom cheese blends.
Made to Order
   Conveniently located in downtown Vineyard Haven at Tisbury Marketplace, Rocco’s Pizzeria is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.  With ample parking, family dining is easily accommodated in their clean, quiet dining room adjacent the pizza kitchen, or atop their roof deck picnic area.  Pick up for take out at their display case counter is quick and easy from their always friendly staff, with large print menu boards and paper menus that feature a full compliment of foods that one might expect from a full service pizzeria, and also highlights many delicious specialities.




79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
508.693.1125 ‎ –

MVPBS is the Island’s largest media!



That’s right, MVPBS is bigger than the Gazette, bigger than the Times, bigger than MVonline!


  What’s more:  the new Vineyard Public Radio, coming this spring to 88.7 FM, is the Island’s only on-air radio reaching the whole of Martha’s Vineyard!  It is non-commercial and non-profit, and now actively looking for sponsorship both private and public.  VPR is owned and operated by Dennis Jackson, the proprietor of five radio stations from Vermont to Chicago.  A summer resident of the Vineyard, Mr. Jackson feels there should be quality public radio for the Island.  This is not MVY, this is not WBUR or NPR, this is Vineyard Public Radio!  VPR needs Martha’s Vineyard underwriting sponsorship.


This is Martha’s Vineyard for Martha’s Vineyard’s sake, however, we need to pay the cost of production.  That is, we have to staff cameras and microphones, and mixers, and recorders, and editors, and producers, and programmers, and so on.


This is the new edge.  We are what’s next.




To reiterate, these three distinct opportunities are offered to the Martha’s Vineyard community via the Martha’s Vineyard Company, a media representation and video & radio content production company;  exclusive to Martha’s Vineyard Island.   That is, we produce the finest Martha’s Vineyard film and radio content, as well as represent and market business on and off-Island.

   I, myself, am a third generation Oak Bluffs resident and represent MVPBS, VPR, and the Martha’s Vineyard Company here on-Island.  Please direct any  inquiries to sign up by contacting, or better yet, DAN, himself, @ (+1) 508.560.1698 post haste.  

We’ll be the major force for good on Martha’s Vineyard for years to come.  However, these opportunities are available for a short time longer only, as ‘the season’ quickly approaches.


Senator Dan Wolf & Martha’s Vineyard democrats

The WHITE DOG Presents: Massachusetts 9th Congressional District State Senator Dan Wolf speaking of his vision for a healthy economy and community to the Martha’s Vineyard democrats.

Senator Wolf, the second term State Senator from the Cape Cod, Barnstable County, New Bedford, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard district, met with the Martha’s Vineyard democrats this past week in the Oak Bluffs Senior Center. Amongst the topics discussed, Senator Wolf spoke of his vision of the future; one that promotes a healthy economy and a healthy community. He states the that the democrats are the party of business, not the republicans. Mr. Wolf also contends that the measurement tools being used in today’s discussion of the economy in America produce misleading results. That is, while a strong Gross Domestic Product and Stock Market exchange are vital to the Nation as a whole, they do not indicate what average citizens are experiencing in their everyday lives. Moreover, the Senator illustrates how while McDonald’s and Burger King might be successful business models when measured by the standards of pure capitalism, when measured in human terms, these business hurt the community.
With tough talk for his opponents and allies, alike, Massachusetts Senator Wolf speaks of revolution from the inside, and would-be/so-called heretical ideals. The discussion in America is so far off-topic, by design. Dan Wolf understands this simple truth. Mr. Wolf is a self-proclaimed “capitalist,” but running unopposed in the ninth district has proven him to be a ethical humanist in the eyes of his constituency. The Cape and Islands love Dan Wolf; he is one of “us.”