The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on October 6, 2005 · 11
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 11

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Thursday, October 6, 2005
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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2005 The Boston Globe Globe West 11 Arts : " fi . ""7 ; i SUZANNA HERMANS Priscilla Herdman will perforin tomorrow in Framingham. Folk singer finds her inspiration in songs and poetry Folk singer Priscilla Herdman debuted in the late 1970s with her first recording, "The Water Lily." Since then she has become a mainstay on the Boston folk scene. c i r t. es not a sins61 bpeCial Event songwriter; she's a song-finder, discovering and sharing tunes that touch her heart. She also has set favorite poems to music. Her several recordings include solo outings; releases with her trio partners, Anne Hills and Cindy Mangsen; and award-winning discs for children and families. Herdman will perform at 8 tomorrow night in the Uncommon Coffeehouse at the First Parish Church at 24 Vernon St. in Framingham. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door, and $8 for children and seniors. More information maybe obtained by calling 508-872-31 1 1, ext. 5, or by visiting V MILVADiDOMIZIO More to do ; Framingham: Red Door Coffee House. Open mike featuring Oen Kennedy at 8 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Performing Arts Center of Metrowest at 140 Pearl St.; $8; call 508-875-5554 or visit Framingham: The Gringo Kings will perform from 8 to 10 tonight at the Performing Arts Center of Metrowest at 140 Pearl St. Beginners salsa lesson at 7: 15 p.m. Lincoln: Guided tour of Gropius House 8-9:30 p.m. Oct. 7. Evening includes slide introduction, house tour, refreshments; $18. Registration required; call 781-259-8098 or Naticlc The Tanglewood Marionettes will present "Cinderella" at 11 a.m. Oct. 8 at the Center for Arts at 14 Summer St.; $8; under 1 2 $5; call 508-647-0097 or visit EVENTS, Page 13 i The jobs you want. And how to get them. "l Every day in I The Boston Globe ; and online at J3 fo J I cm ) Molasses flood is recalled in book Most disasters don't tickle funny bones. But, oddly, when Stephen Puleo speaks about his book on the Boston molasses flood, a good tee-hee is usually the crowd's first response. "Perhaps it's the substance itself," he said. "When you talk about a flood of molasses, it elicits this initial giggle. It sounds like a joke. But when people hear about the destruction and the loss of life, they step back and start to understand just how serious it was." On Wednesday, the Weymouth-based author and historian will visit the Barnes & Noble in Bellingham to read from "Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919" (Beacon Press). At the event, Puleo will not only discuss the 15-foot-high wave of molasses that spilled from a North End storage tank, leaving death and devastation in its suffocating wake, he also will tell how he researched the long-forgotten facts of the story. "There was no book on the flood, just a few newspaper and magazine articles, and they all made use of just one source," said Puleo, who came upon the story while researching his master's thesis on Italian immigration. "But there were two other sources that had never been used and that no one even knew existed for sure." The known source was a summary report of the ruling issued in the lawsuit that followed the flood. But Puleo found two other troves of details. "After a year and a half of looking, the court archivist finally called me one day and said she had found the trial transcripts, all 40 volumes, all 25,000 pages," he said, adding that she also found the trial damage awards. "I'll never forget that day, but it wasn't until I started reading that I knew I had a book." In the transcripts, people told how their lives changed that January day, company officials spoke in their own defense, and expert witnesses, the first to testify at a civil trial in Massachusetts, discussed damning details. All told, more than 1,000 witnesses were called. It was one of the first class-action lawsuits in the nation. "After 85 years dormant in the archives, I pretty much broke the seal on them," Puleo said. "There were 119 damage awards, and each was like a little story DirectFederal Direct Federal Credit Union 50 Oboe St, PO Box 91 2) Necdham, MA 02494-9123 781.455.6500 I lrtf 1 rrvfri Denise mm w-ra Buildings were flattened when a wave Stephen Puleo will discuss his book on the molasses flood on Wednesday in Bellingham. of one person." The tale Puleo gleaned from those pages may be of disaster, but his book is no round of literary rubbernecking. The details of the 21 deaths, the ravaged buildings, and the grueling cleanup (the molasses hardened) are there, but a big-picture view of the era emerges as well. "It is not an exaggeration to say that if you know this flood, you really know the story of America in the early 20th century. Just about every single major Issue that the county faced at that time literally : i ; 1 1; , - . e 01 Taylor of molasses spilled from a broken tank touches this story in some way." Among the issues Puleo ties in are World War I (the molasses was distilled into industrial alcohol used to produce military explosives) and the anarchy movement (the tank owners stated that anarchists blew up the tank). Immigration is explored as well. "Most of the residents of the North End were Italian, they were immigrants, and they were not citizens, so they had very little to say," Puleo said. "So this monstrous 2.3 million-gallon tank placed 3 feet from Commercial Street was erected without a whimper of protest, and no city official complained even after it started to leak from day one." The flood, he said, galvanized North End Italians to apply for citizenship and thus gain more influence. Puleo also pinpoints other surprising ramifications. "The molasses flood did for building standards what the Cocoanut Grove fire did for fire codes. There were no regulations at the time," he said. "The molasses tank, which was 50 feet tall and 90 feet in diameter, didn't even require a permit. After the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, construction standards began to get stringent, first in Boston, then in Massachusetts, and finally across the country." Puleo will discuss "Dark Tide" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Barnes & Noble at 270 Hartford Ave. in Bellingham. More information may be obtained by calling 508-966-7600 or by visiting FEDERALLY INSURED NO FEES Call 781.455.6500 or go to Directcom. Our CDs offer fixed-interest rates for the entire term, without any fees or hidden costs. Additional terms range from three months to five years. This credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration, a U.S. government agency. Eligibility requirements apply. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) effective as of 92405 and subject to change without notice. Penalties for early withdrawal may apply. mi.., .OfcMiBiB r.:" i h:i M w I . jzay -,l "DARK TIDE: THE GREAT BOSTON MOLASSES FLOOD OF 1919" in Boston's North End in 1919. COUNTRY SOUNDS Funny guy Don White needs little introduction. The Lynn-based comedian-turned-funny-folkie tends to sell out shows nationwide. But Liz Carlisle, who will share the bill with in Southborough, is a rising talent who deserves some buzz herself. Carlisle, 2 1 , traded her Montana home for a Cambridge address four years ago, but to hear her pure, honest vocals, you'd think her lungs are still powered by big-sky country air. Hers is a kind, unaffected, come-right-on-in type of voice one that manages to be pretty without being too cute, and earnest without taking on weight. It is a voice that simply puts you at ease, which is no accident. "I have friends, songwriters, who deliberately witn tneir music aim to attlict the comfortable," she said. "I think music nas to ao ootn. it nas to annct tne comfortable and comfort the afflicted, and my niche has been to comfort the afflicted, which is all of us." Carlisle soothes with a cache of original songs that cull the twang and heart of country music, the soul-searching of folk, and the lift of pop. Many are what she calls "unapologetically useful" tales of coming of age or atmospheric odes to a place. "I'm very moved by the places where I am. Thev stav with me and change me, so I write about them." The Steeple show is part of the release ARTS, Page 13

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