To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town-Under Milk Wood Review by Joey Phoenix

Chris Martel, Laura Crook and Carloine Watson-Feld  -  Photo by Catherine Bertrand

Chris Martel, Laura Crook and Carloine Watson-Feld  -  Photo by Catherine Bertrand

Time passes. Listen.

Under Milk Wood - Directed by Matt Gray

Story by Joey Phoenix

The bright lights flood the room as the audience streams through the doorway, uncertain of the scene which lies before them. Salem Theatre Companys Black Box on 90 Lafayette Street has been transformed into a 1950s pub, the broadcast site of a radio show thats Dylan Thomass Under Milk Wood. The questions on everyones mind are: Is this a rehearsal?or Why havent these people met before?The answers arent immediately apparent, but that is the intent.

Written over the course of 20 years, the “play of wordsstarted its days as a radio drama before being adapted for the stage. The meta-nature of the setup is jarring at first. The audience watches intently, incredulous that one of the actors is running late. Is he not taking his job seriously? Under Milk Wood is full of mysteries.

The last actor rushes in at the last moment, the on-air sign alights, and we have begun.

To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea.First voice rings out, the role played expertly by Isaiah Plovnick in his Salem Theatre Company debut. He continues to sweep the audience away with the melody of his voice throughout the remainder of the night.

The enchantment continues when Second Voice, the wonderful Laura Crook, steps in to add to the reverie. Her unfaltering energy adds to the present cadence, and reaches a crescendo in the character of Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard, whose commanding nature drives her two dead husbands to jump-nerved madness.

#Repost @we_are_salem with @repostapp.

A photo posted by @creativesalem on

Other highlights of the evening include Mark ODonalds sniveling Mr. Pugh, whose penchant for dreaming up ways to poison his wife never fails to produce fits of chuckling in the audience, and Chris Martels dastardly Nogood Boyo, whose wily antics add comedic relief to the sea-salt swarthy nature of the bittersweet tale.

Yet, perhaps the crowning moment of the production should be reserved for the performance of Caroline Watson-Felt, whose Polly Garter interjects the reality of imperfect love into the mix with effortless beauty. When she sings, a hush falls over the room. She makes us believe the longing, the sense of deep loss that Polly and the people of Llarregyb so acutely feel. The sadness is theirs, but weve seen a glimpse into their hearts.

In this production of Under Milk Wood, Director Matt Gray has recreated the layered magic that Dylan Thomas envisioned. The coupled charm of long gone radio days juxtaposed with Welsh village life is a humanistic feast luscious in its complexity. The audience is swept undertow by the myriad voices of the characters whove called Milk Wood home. Salem Theatre Companys Under Milk Wood is the best of the Beat Generation made accessible to the people of Salem, providing an apt metaphor for the significance of individual voices in the history of a region, and proving that places are nothing without the people who loved, lived, and dreamed there.

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Creative Salem Creative Professional Highlight - Jim Forrest via Dribbble


As a designer, Jim’s worked as creative director for Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum and the Berklee College of Music’s online school. He’s now tackling product design as the head of creative at Change Collective, “a mobile course platform led by world-class experts, designed to help you reach your lifestyle goals through an app that keeps you accountable.”

On the music front, Jim co-founded experimental electronic band Machine 475 and collaborated (as a musician and designer) on Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Currently he spends early mornings and late nights producing and DJ-ing Ambient/Chillwave/Dub/House music under the name Forrest James.

Jim’s also composing an album with Swedish singer Jerker Rellmark, employing methods he’s practiced on the product design front. “I’ve been using some Agile methods … and it’s been really helpful. I’m using Trello for my new album … and it has worked wonders. I couldn’t imagine trading emails back and forth for song edits.

“Ultimately, having a solid process for me has allowed for more creativity because all the remedial stuff feels lighter and more transparent.”

Below, Jim discusses his process designing the cover for his single, “Mockingbird.”

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Meet the Creative Professional - Forrest James - Full Interview from Chroma 2

Via Forrest James Music

Interview by Andy Houle /

Chroma: First off, we have to admit, everyone  at Tryptic Press is really excited to have you as our first featured musician here in the pages of CHROMA. We could skip the interview and just let the music do the talking… but lets spoil everyone anyway. Jim, the title ‘musician’ seems far too vague, tell our readers a little about your music background and how you came to settle into the moniker ‘Forrest James’. 

FJ: Thank YOU! I am so honored, really:)

As far as the term “musician”, I agree. I started off doing audio engineering in college and worked in studios in Boston and Brighton helping Hip Hop acts mainly. During that time I was involved in the Mass Art Film Society helping my buddy Shawn Morrissey create sound pieces to go with 16mm film works and that is where my love of visual music began. Before that, as opposed to writing traditional songs, i used to sit with my Mom, play music live to her and ask her what visuals she saw in the music. I guess I always struggle with the term musician because a lot of time I want to translate stories into moods. With that said, I have undergone a lot of traditional music training, from early days, studying guitar with Berklee professors, to my college days playing in traditional jazz bands and classical orchestras. 

Machine 475 – Salem Theatre Company, 2010

Machine 475 – Salem Theatre Company, 2010

The current iteration of my musical life began when Richard Lewis and I formed Machine 475together as a way to collaborate, publish electronic / art albums together. From the early days, there were just three of us in the band - me, Richard, and Emily, his then wife, on harp. We expanded to a seven-piece live performing band that had great success, but from that situation I realized that it was time for me to start crafting my own singular sound with the new skills I have acquired through work like this, getting back to my roots in experimentation, visual music and art, which leads me to today, where I produce music under the name Forrest James, and not only write original music but collaborate with musicians internationally, do remixes, and film scores.

Chroma: There are so many different terms that fly around when trying to discuss the type of music that you produce. From simple genre terms like ‘electronic’ to ambient ,chill-wave, dub, 8bit, nanoloop, etc. etc. When describing your own music, what’s the terminology that you think best describes what you do? 

Oh my god, I hate questions like these! I think it changes all the time depending on the project I’m working on. [Makes face] Whatever tag is trending on the internet :) I would say that the genres that I love most are definitely chill wave, R&B, experimental electronic, house, ambient and dub reggae.

Chroma: Listening to your music always brings out feelings of ‘time travel’. As a product of the 80’s myself, your sound evokes vivid memories of the decade where video games, action movies, and pop music were all in their formative years.  How much influence and inspiration do you pull from those years where Nintendo,  Purple Rain, and synth-pop duo’s captivated our eyes and ears? 

FJ @ PEM/PM 2014 Photo by Social Palates

FJ @ PEM/PM 2014 Photo by Social Palates

Out Run from Sega Genesis

Out Run from Sega Genesis

Pretty much all of it, mixed in with a little 90’s rave/ambient and dub reggae….

To me that era is very special. From a musical stand point technology was really starting to present itself and the mix of sampling beautiful 70’s instruments mixed with this whole new way of arranging music through samplers, drum machines, and synthesizers is pretty much the foundation of my approach.

Chroma: At times your tracks have a richly layered and cinematic feel to them. Almost begging to be on the big screen and adding depth to today’s Hollywood efforts. ‘Under the Chrome Sea’ would have slid right into the soundtrack for ‘Drive’ and your recent album ‘Kaleidoscope’** feels like if they ever make another ‘Tron’ movie…the soundtrack is already done(Nakata 18!). Are you ever thinking about film while creating and producing??  Has any of your music made its’ way into film or video? 

**Note: Kaleidoscope is just a demo playlist on Souncloud and not an actual release.

The modern sounds of Lumberjacks

The modern sounds of Lumberjacks

So, a lot of my music has been in film but I don’t really advertise that as much as I should. Just recently I worked on a documentary about Kashmir with Elayne McCabe, and scored a full length original sound track. Visual music is by far my favorite type of music to make, because it mixes my art side with my music side and allows the listener to experience emotions without the constraint of a pop format affecting it. In the past my music has been used in commercials for Corbis and in feature videos for Gizmodo, the Peabody Essex Museum, and in documentaries on such topics as Lumberjacks, and Salem.

I think it’s hard to just always write songs with lyrics and tell stories when sound isn’t always about the vocalist telling stories. I’m always trying to push a more emotive version of my music, but without that sounding like background music. I like the influence of club music playing into that, so seeing people dance at a gig to music like that is very satisfying and a good mix of both worlds.


Forrest James is a Creative Salem Creative Professional

FJ @ The Mothership Photo by Social Palates

FJ @ The Mothership Photo by Social Palates

Lightshed Photography Studio's Work Goes to International Exhibition

Lightshed Photography Studio's Work Goes to International Exhibition 
Daniel St. John of Lightshed Photography Studio is honored by peers and jurors for high-quality photography.

Salem, MA 8/14/14— A photograph created by Daniel St. John of Lightshed Photography Studio in Salem has recently been accepted into the GeneralCollection of Professional Photographers of America's 2014 International Photographic Competition. St. John’s work will be on display at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee Feb. 1-3, 2015. This International Photographic Exhibition is held in conjunction with Imaging USA, an annual convention and expo for professional photographers and several photographic associations.

A panel of 45 eminent jurors from across the United States selected the top photographs from nearly 5,000 total submitted entries at Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia. Judged against a standard of excellence, just over 1,800 images were selected for the General Collection and 918 (roughly 18 percent) were selected for the esteemed Loan Collection—the best of the best. The Loan Collection images will all be published in the much-anticipated "Loan Collection" book and over 200 selected General Collection images will be published in the "Showcase" book by Marathon Press.

Titled “Amelia,” St. John’s photograph will be in the International Photographic Exhibition alongside other top photographic works from the competition and traveling and special invitational displays. These images constitute one of the world's largest annual exhibits of professional photography gathered simultaneously under one roof.

About PPA: 
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international non-profit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers. Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA has roots that date back to 1869. It assists more than 27,000 members through protection, education and resources for their continued success. See how PPA helps photographers be more at

Contact: Daniel St. John
(978) 854-5348