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YOUR WEEKEND: Culture Park(s), comics and gas…


SATURDAY NOV. 12 – It’s not often that whaling and hip-hop collide – but the fact that they do at all is entrirely due to the city’s wonderful New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Today from 12noon – 4:00 p.m., this unique urban national park celebrates its 20th anniversary with a party that includes visual arts, cake, cultural performances – and music. That’s where the hip-hop comes in with YAP!, led by Groundwork! member Ben Gilbarg – as previously spotlighted in this past blog post. The park’s 20th is a good opportunity to revisit its mission: protecting, preserving, and interpreting 19th century whaling industry, along with the many stories of people connected to this worldwide industry.” Those stories come in all manner of ways – as today’s special event illustrates. Check it out on lower William Street, downtown New Bedford today.

SATURDAY, NOV. 12 – Culture*Park isn’t far off from celebrating their 20th anniversary – and also concerns itself with telling stories. Their annual Short Plays Marathon happens today from 2:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. in the New Bedford Whaling Museum Theatre. The marathon presents on average 25-30 staged readings of new works throughout the day. Since their first such reading in 2002, they have performed over 300 plays written by regional and national playwrights – and they note that many of the plays presented have gone on to award-winning festivals. “The Culture*Park Short Plays Marathon serves an important function for playwrights, allowing them the opportunity to hear their plays before an audience, and to make revisions in rehearsals,” they also write. Which means you – the audience – gets to take a hand in shaping the pieces with the playwright. The marathon is a steal at $25 give/take, depending on whether you’re a senior or student or want to spend all day and evening or just part of the day at the marathon. Get ticket info here. And see a list of all the short plays on the schedule here.

SUNDAY, NOV. 13 – We’ll forgive you if you feel the need to get out of town today – if you’re heading to Providence, RI for the super awesome Rhode Island Comic Con at the Convention Center/Dunkin’ Donuts Center. You’ll be driving west on 195 with some other New Bedford notables, like NB Police Department officer and artist Scott Carola, who will be bringing his work to the comic con. Be sure to stop by and say “hi” before loading up on graphic novels and comics. See for full details.

WEEKDAY BONUS PICK: TUESDAY, NOV. 15 – Whether you were heartened or dismayed by the 2016 presidential election results, it pays to remember this: All our voices count but, if withheld from the conversation, do little good. A debate still rages on Climate Change – and if you’d like to participate, start attending events like these: South Coast Hearing on Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Energy Resources (DOER) invite the Public to learn how the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is helping communities like New Bedford and Fall River tonight at UMass Dartmouth (directions/further info here). From the Facebook event page, “The RGGI forces power plants to reduce pollution or pay into the RGGI Fund. These funds are used for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in towns impacted by carbon pollution. We need to make sure these funds are directed locally, particularly to communities overburdened with pollution, including communities of color and low-income communities.The DEP and DOER invite you to share feedback on how to improve efforts to obtain environmental justice for our South Coast communities. Public comment is welcome!” And, necessary.

Steven Froias