Dream of arts retreat in York comes closer

In under a year, painter Dennis Perrin's new, expanded, one-artist business is showing great promise, enough so it's making the dream of an arts retreat center a strong possibility. The new enterprise includes a multifaceted Virtual Online Atelier and a cross-country workshop tour, along with the usual exhibiting.

The online course is "The Perrin Method." The first went up late January 2016. "It didn't take long to get it up," Perrin says. "Our first course had 50-something people, then another came in at 30." That was followed by an 80-student workshop and another at 40.

"So we've had more than 200 people in ... five courses," he says. "It's been a wild ride. Remarkable. We've had people from all over the world (Russia, Singapore, New Zealand, Portugal, United Kingdom) as well as all across Canada and the US."

The course is presented in several formats: video tape, Ustream live broadcasting, live group discussion forums and a powerpoint with graphics. "It's really pretty amazing frankly." The next course is planned for October (Info at theperrinmethod.com).

Then there's the road trips. "We did it last year. We left in mid January and got back in March, and did six workshops, five of them in California."

"This year we have workshops scheduled all across Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, two or three in California, one in Colorado and they're still forming," Perrin says. "We're our own roadies."

Back in York, Maine, Perrin resides in a 1910 Arts and Craft bungalow on the historical Moody House property – 32 acres with three buildings. The main building, built in 1732, was the home of Joseph "Handkerchief" Moody, who is featured in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Minister's Black Veil." Perrin plans to buy both structures and the accompanying barn for a retreat center.

He's still working out funding, he says. But "luckily" the owners are supportive, and willing to give him time to work it out.

More immediate, Perrin will have his first one-person show in downtown Portsmouth in quite sometime, at the Todd Bonita Gallery on Ceres Street (reception Oct. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m.). "It will feature all new work from 2016 with a mix of figure, still life and interiors," he says. "I'll also be present for a gallery talk on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m." (Info at toddbonitagallery.com.)

Seacoast Roller Derby women to serve as carhops for drive-in movie

The sportswomen of the Seacoast Roller Derby will play a prominent role in the special "Let's "B" Reel" event, "The Exorcist: Drive-In Style," at 3S Artspace on Oct. 12.

"We're doing a pre-show thing (a secret), then we're going to be dressed in nightgowns and makeup like the character Regan in the movie and we're going to be on skates serving snacks to the cars in the VIP sections," SRD Vice President Gina Bowker says. "I am a little apprehensive because I've never served food on skates before. It will be a little bit of a challenge, BUT it will - for sure - be fun."

That parking lot gig could constitute a large percent of the Derby Girls' winter exercise unless a new rehearsal space is found for the winter months.

The Dover Arena remains its summer home,"for sure!" Bowker says. "They love us and we love them. I do NOT want to leave the impression we are leaving the arena. We're not leaving."

But Dover's rink is under ice during the winter months, which leaves SRD on the hunt for skating ground.

"We are looking for any place that has 5,000 square feet of skateable floors that want Derby Girls," Bowker says. "We'll rent month to month, and we are insured. Any other questions, they can contact us at seacoastrollerderby@gmail.com."

There are no public bouts during the cold months, but the Derby Girls will be out and about. Per usual, SRD will take part in the Halloween Portsmouth Parade, and both the Dover and Portsmouth Holiday Parades.

Halloween Parade update

Last year's Portsmouth Halloween Parade Grand Marshal Monte Bohanan's reign is nearly over. "So, on Oct. 3 I'll hand over the Grand Marshal sash," he says excitedly, "BUT, I think people will be really excited about this year's choice."

Bohanan is more than the parade's friendly faced frontman. He's taken an active part as one of its four minion board and has lots to share about the upcoming pre-Parade events.

First up, on the night of the hand-off there's a change of venue for the "I Gotta Rock Show," the annual three-band fete that is traditionally the parade's largest fundraiser. This year, for the first time, it will be held at the Thirsty Moose Taphouse at 21 Congress St. in Portsmouth.

"We were going to go to the Birdseye (Lounge), but after we made the move they made the announcement they were moving," Bohanan explains. "So, we went with the Thirsty. They had the date open and were amenable."

The "I Gotta Rock Show" helps underwrite the cost of the parade's police detail and insurance. "And it is traditionally the kickoff for the month of October - always the first Monday - ramping up to the parade."

New this year, announced in an earlier column, is Dark Tales at 3S, a special Long Story Short Series event. All the usual is back, the traditional Undead Beat Night at the Press Room, the silent film ("Phantom of the Opera," circa 1925) with live accompaniment at the Music Hall, the Pumpkin Smash at the Portsmouth Farmers' Market and back after a short hiatus, the Flatbread fundraiser. "Let's 'B' Reel" isn't new but there's that big location change from Seacoast Repertory Theatre and specials.

As always, the parade is looking for volunteers to join its four board minions, to help at events and with the parade on Halloween night. If interested and for more information check out PortsmouthHalloweenParade.com (formerly Spookyportsmouth.com).

Not too late to catch "Cuba Si!"

This Friday, Sept. 30 is the last day of the outstanding "Cuba Si!," an exhibit of Cuban art and photos of the island by Seacoast visitors, curated by Diane Stradling, now at the Portsmouth Public Library. Don't miss it. Get in the car and go!

Next up, "Beyond Plumbing," found object sculpture by Joe Kennedy, Oct. 4 to 31.

Jeanné McCartin has her eyes and ears out for Seacoast gossip. E-mail maskmakernh@aol.com.