Photography Spotlight- A Diamond in the Grease

17 05 2013

Last spring I got to thinking about the upcoming St. Peter’s Fiesta that was  fast approaching in June.   The past few years  had begun to get a bit overwhelming for me.   I enjoy capturing photographs at this joyous time of year.  During the past three years I found myself getting very busy with the seine boat junior competition as my son came to enjoy having a team with his friends.  My time was beginning to get  “spread too thin” and some of the enjoyment of taking photos and doing my St Peter’s Fiesta “thing”  was getting lost.

Long about May last year I figured I’d take a shot in the dark and put out the word on Greasypole Nation Facebook that GPN would be needing an “official” Greasypole Nation photographer to help cover the upcoming St. Peter’s Fiesta.   I had no money to pay, and really did not expect much to come of the “ad” on Facebook.

A “Diamond in the Grease” emerged in the form of an inbox message…

Angela Cook was that Diamond and she certainly shines!  I was not expecting a professional photographer to step up to help fill our digital landscape here on Facebook.  The unexpected happens.

Photography is not what Angela set out to do as a career.  What she has found out is that if you love something that you do and keep on with that drive, your path can sometimes meander in that direction.  Angela loves  photography.  She’s a people person who really enjoys her work.  Her enthusiasm for taking photos shows in the great images she always seems to capture digitally.

Just recently I was able to catch-up with Angela to ask her a few questions about her craft.

GPN:  How long have you been creating photographs?

Angela:  I don’t think I have ever not been shooting, starting as a kid with my Kodak Instamatic, moving up through the years to study photography in high school and in art school, where I double-majored in photography and journalism, to present-day, where I professionally shoot all digital with Canon equipment.

GPN:  What are your specialties within your career as a photographer?

Angela: I enjoy doing  Location Portraits – I Specialize in natural-light location portraits for individuals such as  couples, families, babies and pets.  I like shooting at beaches, parks, forests, meadows, gardens as well as shooting interesting architecture and private homes. attachment I am available for Senior Portraits, Family portraits, Children, Bridal,Maternity, Newborn, Engagement, fitness photos, headshots and portfolio portraits. My Event Photography includes  Corporate events, grand openings, special ceremonies, banquets, bar & bat mitzvahs, christenings, baptisms, weddings, vow renewals, family reunions and many other special events.  Wedding Photography is also a passion of mine.   A wedding is one of the most special and important days of a person’s  life.  The moments of that beautiful day are memories to cherish for a lifetime.  I capture those moments so people can relive the beauty of their special day over and over again.  My style is friendly, “fly on the wall” and photo-journalistic.  My focus is natural lighting and naturally posed portraits to accompany candidly shot moments.

Within the last few years Angela  has created “” as her business name, and also has a website devoted to the promotion of all things Rockport, Ma. called Bearskin  You can find information about most shops in Rockport and their wares at her website.   The site is a treasure of information for anybody thinking of visiting Rockport.  Here is a link:

Meeting Angela was certainly a pleasure.  She is somebody who is full of the great simple gifts of life…a great big smile, pleasant and appreciative of attachment-1the finer nuances we sometimes forget in our busy lives.  She is fun to talk to and really goes the extra mile to make her gift for photography a special touch to any occasion one wishes to capture.  Being “into” photography myself, I can’t help to recommend her for any photo needs you may have.  She is truly, for this occasion, a “Diamond in the Grease”.

Just a few examples of Angela’s work.  You can see more at the websites linked above!




Maritime Capsule-A Dory Story

13 11 2012

Hello Greasypole Nation,

For the past 18 months, I’ve been working on a documentary film with Sal Zerilli, Matt Bradley, Justin Demetri and Jimmy Tarantino.

We are proud to announce that the film is ready to show! We figured it would be best to break the news of the date and new trailer here on Greasypole Nation.


Here’s the news…

The film’s title is Maritime Capsules: A Dory Story.  It tells the story of the Grand Banks dory from the heyday of high-lining schooners to the current group of locals who sustain the ancient rowboat as a symbolically important part of Gloucester’s maritime culture.

Sunday evening, November 18 at 6pm a “rough cut” of the film is showing as part of the 5th Annual Cape Ann Film Festival.  The film will screen at the Cape Ann Community Cinema in Gloucester.  The address is 21 Main Street.  

•   Tickets will be available at the door.  Tickets can also be purchased here:

Can you please help us share news of the film’s screening with as many people as possible?  You can do this by (a) posting the link to the trailer on your FB page and (b) forwarding this email to anyone you think might have an interest in seeing it.

Any help you give is greatly appreciated.  We’ll use proceeds from this Sunday’s screening to put the finishing touches on the film.

As always, thanks for your support!

Hope you’re all doing great.

Sal, Matt and Keith

A St. Peter’s Fiesta Memoir as told by Joe Palmisano

4 06 2012

As this year’s fiesta approaches, memories of fiesta past come to mind. I think how lucky I was to grow up down the fort during the late 60’s early 70’s as a young kid. There was so much to do and so many kids growing up in one small Italian neighborhood surrounded by fishing boats in the heart of Gloucester waterfront. We were truly blessed to have so much in this tiny little place called “the fort.”

Pavilion beach, the Fort playground, close friends & family, fresh fish everyday and that one wonderful time of the year. No not Christmas but Fiesta. It all starts about 12 days before when the flat bed truck arrives from the North End of Boston with 40 to 50 red poles stacked on the back. As each kid awoke that morning in early June you would of thought it was Christmas and that Santa and his elves had arrived. No it was not Santa and his elves but the best fiesta decorators on the planet, Emilio Matarazzo & his sons. Excitement would stir in the neighborhood that morning. The first one to spot them out of our group, Peter Fronterio, Anthony Costanza, Steve Aiello , Tommy & Peter Favazza or me would be race
to each other’s houses to announce their arrival. The next 12 days our parents knew where they could find us. No not under the wharf at the town landing in ankle deep black muck looking for old bottles, not down Cape Ann fisheries fishing, or playing baseball in Mighty Mac’s parking lot or swimming at Pavilion beach. No we would be watching the Matarazzo brothers Tony, Sonny, Eddie Rudy and other family members string colorful lights up and down Commercial St.. We would carefully watch them build the alter piece by piece. After all, they were building our four-day summer wonderland. During these days Tony Matarazzo would call one of us over to go get St. Joseph sandwiches and cold drinks at Buzzy’s Bertolino for his work crew while the rest of us would be helping replace burnt out lights bulbs on the alter panels or on the strings of lights which would be hung in the streets. We didn’t get paid for doing this but at night when the crew left we would play on the alter for hours. You could say it was sort of the ultimate tradeoff that no one spoke of. Then came the rides. They would roll in one after the other, the Yo-yo Scrambler, Flying Bobs, Tilt The Whirl, the Spider, The Double Ferris wheel and of course the Sky Diver. Peter Frontiero holds the record to this day for going on it over 100 times. Fiesta was in full gear and before you knew it was Thursday night of fiesta and for the next four nights those bright lights hanging in the streets and the lights from the alter would turn the Fort nights into days. The mixed smells of grilled sausage, french fries, cotton candy & candy apples filled the night air from Main St. down to Western Ave.. Beach Court was consumed by clouds of white smoke from hundreds of bottle rockets and fire crackers going off. All the while voices of Dean Martin, Jerry Vale, Perry Como & Bobby Darin would echo throughout the streets singing Italian love songs from big round green speakers. On Saturday we eagerly awaited the pie and watermelon eating contest and then participated in the pinata breaking. Thank you, Busty Palazzola. You were the master of the kids games. When Sunday arrived, cousin Larry Biondo, Joe Scola and I would dress in our best fiesta whites to carry the St. Peter sign in the parade leading St. Peter himself through out the streets of Gloucester. As the evening closed, all my neighborhood friends & family would be part of the massive crowd that followed St Peter as he was carried around the Fort. We would all be screaming at the top of our lungs, ugi sumi tuti muti!! Viva San Padero! as fiesta would come to a close. On
Monday morning, we awoke to the sounds of the street sweepers and front end loaders scooping up mounds of trash from St.Peter’s Park. The carnival rides and workers were completely gone, disappearing quietly like gypsies in the night. The fiesta lights that were hung above Beach Court and Commercial St. were no longer there and all that was left of the alter was the stage platform. Our voices were hoarse from all the screaming. For the first time in two weeks The Fort felt empty, our four day wonderland was gone, but only for another year. How lucky was I growing up down the fort.
Bono Fiesta!


2 06 2012

I would have to say, being the daughter of someone who is VERY connected and involved in St. Peter’s Fiesta and it’s festivities, that I wouldn’t have had it any other way in my life. St. Peter’s Fiesta is in my blood, and when June first rolls around, and they begin to put the alter I still get all excited-just like when I was a kid.

Having a father who carried the statue of St. Peter for years, and walked the pole so many times makes the tradition of “Fiesta” come out more and more in me. Other people think it’s just a day to get all messed up and to have a good time. I guess that has become part of it, but it goes a bit deeper than that. At least it does for me.

Just experiencing this tradition, and knowing your family has been a part of it for years and years, makes you almost feel proud in a sense-‘ya know? It’s four days that I feel PROUD to be from Gloucester and to be the daughter of a fisherman. I am proud to come from a family who has instilled Gloucester’s traditions and values into generations of family…from the beginning…not that I’m not proud of that everyday.

Everyone knows you living here in Gloucester, and people have a level of respect for you; at least that’s how I feel but I’m sure that’s because of my father.

My father has not walked the pole for the past two years. I can’t begin to tell you how strange it was to watch my first ever Sunday pole with him by my side, instead of having to close my eyes as he walked half-way out onto the pole. If he hurt himself I wouldn’t have to see it. Last summer he was by my side hootn’ and hollerin’ for his friends out on the greasypole.

The older I get the more I appreciate St. Peter’s Fiesta and what it truly means. It makes me very happy and warm inside when I get to see all my Dad’s friends and people I haven’t seen that whole year come together like nothing’s changed…like a whole year has not even passed by.

Now that I’m done ranting I can give you a short story.

I remember watching my Dad on the beach when he had just won the greasypole in 2000. He had just become the oldest guy to win the event!

I was seventeen years-old in the summer of 2000. My best friend Amanda and I were on the beach during Sunday of Fiesta getting ready to watch “Samo” (my dad) walk the pole for his millionth time. He had left the house earlier that day saying in a mighty hoarse voice “this is the year Samantha, that flag is mine!”
“Yeah ,yeah”, I said, and waved him off-kissed him on the cheek and wished him good luck. Every year since 1987 when he won the greasypole for the first time, he says to me “I’m gonna win it this year Samantha!…”This is my year!”.

Needless to say thirteen years later and I still didn’t believe him.

My friend and I walked down toward Pavillion beach. We were hiding our keg cups so that we could drink a cocktail while we watched the events of St. Peter’s Fiesta.

I was hiding in the middle of a crowd of friends so that none of my family would spot me (good luck with that on a Sunday of Fiesta!). All of a sudden the crowd cheers in an uproar that led me to believe that someone had just won the Greasypole. I looked at the person next to me and then asked, “Who grabbed the flag?”. He responed, “Your father did!”.

I looked at him and laughed. Then all of a sudden the WHOLE ENTIRE beach started chanting, “SAMO! SAMO! SAMO!” I looked at my friend Amanda, threw my cup into the air, and bolted to the beach. Just then I heard my cousin Sam announce over the loud speaker “SAMANTHA, MONIQUE WHERE ARE YOU???!!!!”

As I emerged from the crowd I saw my Dad proudly holding his flag up in the water. He was climbing onto the Coast Guard boat because he couldn’t breath… he was crying too much. He threw his hands in the air, gripping the flag with all he had left.

I remember seeing the whole crowd on the beach going NUTS! I remember I could see everybody on Stacey Boulevard going crazy too. Everyone was just seemed to be so happy that Samo had won!

He met my friend and I on the beach and covered me with a tight, greasy hug. He was screaming in his loudest and hoarse, “Fiesta-voice”, that HE DID IT!

“I DID IT SAMANTHA!” He screamed again!

My friend and I walked back to my house shortly after. We lived down the Fort at the time. People were hugging me left and right- shaking my hand and congratulating me like I was the one who won the pole!

I walked into the house and could hear my Dad in the shower. He was sobbing. I yelled into the bathroom to see if he was okay. He stuck his head out and with tears rolling down his face, screamed, “I WON SAMANTHA, I F-ING WON!!!!”

It was a really proud moment. I could not quite understand why it meant so much to him until he said to me that his friend Larry, who had died a year or two before, was out there on the Greasypole with him today, and that his old friend had given him that last “push” he needed to get to the flag, and grab it.

This is my favorite story. I have many memories of watching my father, “Samo” Frontiero walk the greasypole, but this is one story that I will never forget.

Listening with My Eyes

12 04 2012

Sharon Lowe fell in love with capturing photos in nineteen ninety-five and has been at it ever since.  A native of Gloucester, Sharon has made the most of Cape Ann’s beauty and artistry by rendering what she sees through her view-finder.  Her photos behold the many angles and shades of life that we witness here everyday in our quaint fishing town;  Sharon captures these scenes with remarkable accuracy through her many lenses.

“Listening with My Eyes”  is something hard to understand until you see the photos that Sharon Lowe has collected throughout more than two decades of having a camera dangling from a strap in front of her.  Sharon has put together a montage of photos devoted to the local music scene.  Her knowledge of lighting is displayed though these photos;  Lowe’s ability to capture the perfect illumination gives the musicians an “ebony glow” which elicits a feeling of being right there in the room live and “Listening with the Eyes”.  Click the Fisherman at the Wheel to go to her photo-site “Listening with Your Eyes”.

Having a passion for photography, in my eyes, is a combination of many skill-sets, and a bit of luck to drive it home.  The skill-set involved in photography has to do with knowledge of lighting and motion and “adapting” camera settings to get the most out of the subject matter under varying conditions.  The better the mastery of your equipment, the more likely you are to produce an attractive photo that represents accurately the subject matter.

A good photo can be had with the most unlikely and inexpensive camera equipment if you are using that equipment within it’s own limitations.   A good light-source will really make your photos pop. When you begin to shoot with  cameras that accommodate peripheral attachments such as extended flashes, lenses of varying focal lengths, aperture and multiple settings, the beginning photographer may be overwhelmed.  With patience and much practice shooting in a manual setting mode will eventually allow the photographer to get a striking photo more often…diminishing the “luck” factor.  To take your photography to another level involves experimentation with other equipment such as large and medium format cameras and photo development in the dark-room.

Sharon has been continuously upgrading her equipment over the years, and has been making the most of her time with her cameras.  You can often times find her out shooting still images, at meetings shooting for publication and as mentioned above, at the local music venues around the area.

She is a photographer who truly enjoys her craft and  her accomplishments are beginning to mount.  In 1996 she won 1st and 2nd place in the Gloucester Daily Times’ Summer Sun Photo Contest.  She has won photo contests at Topsfield Fair, and was a winner at the Magnolia Art Show.  Sharon’s photos have been published in the book “Cape Ann:  a Photographic Portrait” and has had her photos grace CD covers.  She has displayed her craft at the First National Bank of Ipswich, Sovereign Bank and at the Sawyer-Free Library all here in downtown Gloucester.  Sharon also makes a point to shoot photos at the St. Peter’s Fiesta and has done so consistently since 1999.

So what motivates Sharon to keep a camera close by all of the time?  She says “I love being outdoors in every kind of New England weather. Capturing the crashing surf on the Back Shore, Nor’easters, and hurricanes are  some of the most exciting photo opportunities.   Cycling down to the Retreat House along Niles Pond , I find Nature in the quiet.”

Her favorite subjects for her photography are the many Cape Ann faces- young and old, Gloucester’s beauty, weather, musicians- She says “it is hard to say what exactly is my favorite to capture-I have so many settings that I enjoy.”

I asked Sharon if she had a “dream” scenario within her excitement for  photography.  Sharon states “I would have loved to have been a photojournalist during the ’60’s and ’70’s.   So much history!”

Photographers that inspire her are Nubar Alexanian, Stanley Forman, Edward Curtis.  With that she feels  she learns from every photograph that she views and enjoys photos of others no matter whether pro or amateur.

If you would like one of Sharon Lowe’s beautiful photo calendars click on the next photo and you will be taken to her website to place an order.  Click on other photos to see large images.


Click picture below to bring you to Sharon’s Photoblog site!









Keep up the great work Sharon!  See you “in the field”!

Live Your Dream

3 04 2012

A few years back, I remember watching a flag football game at a field in west Gloucester.   Many a former Gloucester High School star at one point or another has turned to flag football after the pads.   Gloucester High’s football team has always been known for their running game.  In this particular flag football game one of Gloucester’s finest tailbacks came reeling toward the side-line.  The tight-end kicked out the outside linebacker.  The speedy back cut inside the block, and then back out to the sidelines. There was nobody to catch him…except one player.   Dave Helfant shed his block and took to catching the speedy former GHS running back from behind.  I remember saying to myself, “whos is that guy?”

Mixed martial arts (MMA) has been around now for many years.  Gyms have popped up all over the country  training fighters  with the “most dangerous” strikes and techniques from the multitude of gyms.  Many a Martial Arts purist has looked at the sport of MMA as “not the real thing” as most martial artists immerse themselves in a form, knowing the endeavor will take a lifetime of training and then some.   Purists see the competitive nature of martial arts to be artificial-“the way” or “path” of many of the arts is just that;  a way of life that does not include competition for prize.

If you’ve never heard of it, Muay Thai is a form of the  martial arts.  Like boxing, karate, jujitsu and other forms of defensive training, there is a competitive side to Muay Thai.  Muay Thai has it’s origins in Thailand and is the national sport there.  Fighters begin training VERY young.  In Thailand it is not uncommon for a boy or girl to start fighting in the ring as young as eight years old.   A solid Muay Thai fighter that turns professional is a very dangerous competitor.  The fights can be hard to watch.

Helfant decided at age thirty-eight  that he would seek the true roots of a style of martial art, and he would choose Thailand to gain the wisdom and training that only those in the nation of origin can provide.  Not only is Dave learning the art, but he is taking on fights (part of the culture) with very talented Muay Thai fighters.

When Helfant returns to Cape Ann, he will have completed his third winter in Phuket, Thailand.  He has taken five fights there giving him a record of three wins and two losses.  He also has two knock-outs within that record.  He trains everyday at the “Dragon” Muay Thai training facility.  He is forty-two years old.

“Why go through with something like this so late in life?”  you may ask.  Dave Helfant is living his dream. When asked, he says, “I’ve done my share with the hard-knocks of life.  When I was younger, and unfocused I got into trouble.  My use of alcohol got me plenty of write-ups in the local newspaper.  Muay Thai training and fighting helps to keep me focused and productive towards a goal.  Taking this risk in my life has brought me opportunities that would not have been available to me back home.”


26 03 2012

The Doctor is in and he’s leading “THE GOODER LIFE”!                       Imageclick-pic for a house-call!

You don’t need an appointment!  What’s that you say?  You’ve already got a Doctor?  Well I’ll guarantee that you don’t have a doctor quite like Dr. Jesse!

Dr. Jesse (Jesse Christensen) and his wildly creative acting troupe is at it again, poking fun at writing greats such as Shakespeare, and other big-screen Hollywood productions.

Jesse has been acting since childhood.  His inspiration for comic film production comes from classic situation comedies such as “Kids in the Hall”, “Strangers with Candy” and the in your face cartoon characters “Ren and Stimpy”.  When asked, Dr. Jesse says that he enjoyed these shows as they were cutting-edge when it comes to walking the line between side-splitting laughter and making the audience just a little uneasy.  Jesse says that he always wanted to create “The Gooder Life” because comedic acting is what he has wanted to do as far back as he can remember.  The passion shows through within the mirthful videos he’s been producing.

Dr. Jesse has been acting, directing, filming and producing with long-time friend and current cast member Ross Franklin since he was fifteen years old.  Their first film creation was called “Super-Human Gigalos”.

All of the actors and musicians involve themselves in these comedies out of their own love for laughter.  Riley Knispel, Bard Cavalho, Ross Franklin, Jeremy Lovasco, Joey Unis and local musician/actor Dennis Monagle are spot-on and will have you doubled over with their original comic genius. This troupe has a natural feel for each other and it shows in the buffoonery they are producing.    Their natural ability to get your giggle going is mind-blowing, and the Good Doctor is always ready to collect the grey-matter spilled onto the big screen.

(click pic for theme song^^^)

Currently Dr. Jesse has pilot episodes of “THE GOODERLIFE” circulating film festivals throughout the United States.  He is also underway with a new collaborative production with the viral-video sensation and 2012 Presidential Candidate Vermin Supreme.~~~click pic to meet Vermin~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>

So if you want the instant cure for a broken funny bone on the cheap, have Dr. Jesse make a house-call by pointing your internet browser at the following links:

Dr. Jesse on Facebook!

Click the pics below to take you to the show!