March Martini Madness Bartending Competition at Old Town Hall

March Martini Madness

B&S Event Management, North Shore Bartending Service and Creative Salem have partnered together to create the innagural March Martini Madness happening March 31, 2016 to benefit the Plummer Home. Join us at Old Town Hall for a crazy, fun night out including music and hors d'oeuvres while watching the best bartenders on the North Shore compete in front of a panel of judges to win the best martini prize and $1000 in cash & prizes! 

FUN and VOTING for YOU will be crowning a Local Tavern/Pub showcasing their signature Martini for a chance to win one of the following categories 1) Best Taste 2) Most Creative and 3)Best Overall. You will help decide the winner! All guests will receive a beaded necklace for each category which you will give to your favorite martini making expert to help crown them the victor. 

One general Admission ticket comes with a custom LED martini glass, beaded necklaces for judging, martini samples from local restaurants and tatsy hors d'oeuvres. We will also have a cash bar serving beer and wine for those that can only handle so much martini madness.

This is a charity event to benefit The Plummer Home: a 501C-3 Non-Profit Organization.


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Vintage Market on Derby Square

Salem, MA - A New Sale in an Old Marketplace! On Saturday, September 12th, Salem's Derby Square will be the site of a "Vintage Market". A group of Salem dealers plan to offer a wide selection of vintage items, collectibles, and antiques at the market. Connie Hoar from “ The Chalifour Collection”, Diane Guerette from “Decades of Decor”, Ann Knight from “Cabbage Rose Antiques”, Stacia Kraft from “Federal St. Designs”, Jim McAllister from “Culture Corner”, Gus Sousa from “Collins Cove Appraisers and Conservators”, and Jane Stauffer from “Homemaker Collectibles”. 

“We have such a variety of dealers there will be something of interest for everybody “says one of the organizers, Jane Stauffer. "We'll have old prints, paper and artwork, vintage toys, mod-clothing and jewelry, plus home decor, along with retro kitchen utensils, ceramics, glass and gardening items.”   Also featured will be a nice selection of textiles and linens, salvage pieces and some books and ephemera on Salem. Several dealers also plan to bring Halloween and Holiday decorations from the past. "We hope people will come buy and come browse. You'll never know what you might find.”

Providing musical entertainment at the Vintage Market from noon-2pm is Rachel Bald-
win. Ms. Baldwin is part of the Creative Salem, Derby Square free music series program every Friday and Saturday in Derby from noon-2pm.

Although the show is a one-time event, organizers are hoping new enthusiasts as well as those who have fond memories of Sunday’s at Canal St. will help to make it a regular event. Don’t miss this one, make a day of it right downtown. 

See you on Saturday September 12, 2015, 10am till 3pm, rain or shine in Derby Square, Salem, MA 01970.

Briana Paquin "Reconfigures" Her Musical Output

"Persephone" - Photo by  Joey Phoenix Photography  

"Persephone" - Photo by Joey Phoenix Photography 

In the early 80s, author Bruce Bethke coined the term "Cyberpunk" to describe a short story of his set in a technological utopia that focused more on the downtrodden aspects of that society. These technological noir stories had an overwhelming influence on all forms of media, and to this day the forefathers of the genre are responsible for terminology that we use almost daily to describe the technologies we use that, at one point, existed merely as fiction. Now, knowing what a cyberpunk setting is, what would say that world would /sound/ like? A world like that certainly would have many techno influences on their music, but like most plots in a cyberpunk universe, there's an assimilation of the past that we, as viewers, are comfortable with. This blending of the past with the grinding and crunching of a technologically superior future offers an incredible opportunity for musicians that few have actually attempted to work with. Local artist Briana Paquin, however, has accomplished this feat effortlessly in a three song EP.

One of the main driving forces behind Briana's "Reconfigure" EP is her musical upbringing. Her undeniable classical influence both instrumentally and vocally gives her an almost impossible edge when it comes to melding with futuristic soundscapes. The snappy and procession-heavy backdrop of "Echo" is broken with an eerily beautiful vocal cadence that, eventually, forms the statement "no starship can save me." In fact, the science fiction influenced lyrics bookend the EP nicely and can be as playful as they are poignant. The title track, a long time live staple for Briana, sees new life on the EP, and is clearly representative on how Briana wants this song to be adored. However, the true masterwork on "Reconfigure" comes in the form of the middle track, "Love In The Underworld." The track, markedly influenced by mythos surrounding Persephone and Hades, features Briana at her most vocally vulnerable. Accompanied with an instrumental backdrop that would make Björk jealous, Briana rolls through the song with ease, and the repetitious call of "let new life grow" sums up the entire idea of "Reconfigure."

The cohesive blending of modern day sci-fi and classic mythology on "Reconfigure" is more than just coincidence. In a cyberpunk world, the past bleeds into the present not as influence, but as a faded reminder of what may have been. Sure, you can find some of Briana's influences if you listen to "Reconfigure" casually. From classical titans to 90s industrial music, the sounds might exist in some capacity, but that's not the point. The echoes of the past in the cybernetic future that is "Reconfigure" act more like seeds that were planted amidst the cyberscape to "let new life grow."

Cider and Summer Beams: A Taste of 17th Century Salem

(Editors Note: This was the first of hopefully many collaborations between Creative Salem and the Salem Historical Society. Creativity has always been an important part of Salem and it was wonderful to see the handiwork of past architects, painters, artists, designers and of course celebrate the culinary arts along the way with an organization that knows SO much about Salem's past.)

by Alyssa Grace AlKhowaiter

If I had to pick the thing I love most in the world, it would probably be food. But Colonial American history doesn’t trail far behind on the list. So when I received an invitation to an event called “A Taste of Seventeenth-Century Salem,” I knew it was something that I was absolutely not going to miss.

A collaboration between Salem Food Tours, Historic New England’s Gedney House, the Pickering House, and the Witch House, “A Taste of Seventeenth-Century Salem” was an opportunity to tour three 17th century homes while sampling some of the foods that the original inhabitants would have eaten. We started at Gedney House, where we gathered out front before being warmly welcomed by Karen Scalia of Salem Food Tours. After reviewing some 17th century table manners (purely for our edification and amusement of course!), we learned a bit about the house’s background from the site’s passionate and knowledgable manager, Julie Arrison. 

All three of the historic houses that served as stops on the tour are what is known in New England architectural parlance as “First Period,” meaning they are some of the earliest homes that exist in America today. The Gedney House was built in 1665, and its interpretation (or rather, lack of interpretation) make it one of the coolest Early American house museums you’ll ever visit. The interior of the structure was stripped in the mid-twentieth century and when the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (known today as Historic New England) acquired it in 1967, they left it just as it was. Today you can tour the Gedney House to see the bare bones of a First Period structure and to really examine how all of the pieces fit together. It’s skeletal and stark and truly incredible. 

At Gedney House we were treated to fresh oysters from Turner’s Seafood, three different kinds of cider from Far From The Tree, and a special bonus of salted rosemary popcorn (not strictly speaking a 17th century food, but historic in it’s own right, as corn has been cultivated in New England for thousands of years). I had never eaten a raw oyster before that night, and I was equal parts intrigued and terrified. But being the adventurous sort, I squeezed on some lemon and spooned on the cocktail sauce and threw it back. Only the oyster did not detach from the shell. It took a few more attempts before I actually consumed oyster, but I kind of liked it. It tasted like the ocean. (The next night at Sea Level on Pickering Wharf, my suspicions of oyster deliciousness were confirmed when I ate one successfully on the first try.)

Our next stop was the ancient Pickering House, built in 1660. Docent Jeff Swartz led the way there and immediately began sharing his vast knowledge of the house and the Pickering family, who’s most famous member, Colonel Timothy, fought in the Revolutionary War and served as Secretary of State under George Washington. Inhabited by the same family for over three and a half centuries, the Pickering House is known as America’s oldest “home.” Even today in it’s iteration as a historic house museum, Pickering feels like home, and Executive Director Linda Jenkins and her husband Tim always welcome you as if you were a member of the family. At this stop, the group enjoyed clam chowder from Red’s Sandwich Shop, bread from A&J King (the world’s best bakery, not that I’m biased or anything...), and three different kinds of mead, a historic fermented beverage that has recently made a comeback. After relaxing in the beautiful, big backyard, it was time to move on to the Witch House.

On the way over to Essex Street, we stopped to appreciate Salem’s grand boulevard (to be read in a French accent), historic Chestnut Street, the first planned street in America. Then, just past the Ropes Mansion and the First Church, we approached the Witch House, also named the Corwin House after it’s first and by far it’s most (in)famous resident, Salem Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin. Built c.1675, in addition to being the home of a judge, the Corwin House was the setting of some of the pretrial examinations of suspected witches in 1692. It is the only structure in Salem with direct ties to the trials. The house museum’s dynamic director Elizabeth Peterson met us outside, where we were also introduced to historic interpreter Kristin Harris, who took us in and gave us an engaging and informative tour. Not to play favorites or anything, but I’m totally about to play favorites because food-wise, this was my favorite stop. That’s because what was on the menu here was the sweet, 17th century ambrosia that is syllabub. Yes, it sounds a lot like “syllabus,” and no, I’m not sure why, but it’s positively delicious. Syllabub is a light, fluffy, refreshing dessert made up solely of ingredients you might give up for Lent (cream, sugar, and white wine), all whipped into airy perfection. Elizabeth made it herself, garnished it with a bit of mint, and served it with colonial cookies called Shrewsbury cakes. It was divine.

And so, my foray into historical food did not disappoint. “A Taste of Seventeenth-Century Salem” was a delightful and delicious evening of old stories and old recipes. What felt new and particularly exciting was the level of proactive collaboration between one of Salem’s most beloved tours, three of its historic sites, and several of its outstanding food and beverage establishments. It’s got me thinking that in such a rich city with so many great things to offer, and so many talented and dedicated people to offer them, the possibilities for these types of enjoyable and enlightening experiences are truly endless.

To learn more about the Salem Historical Society visit them on Facebook!