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This book was generously supported and funded by the Cultural Organization of Lowell, whose mission is to “stimulate a vibrant cultural environment, create engaging programs and champion those who make, present and preserve Lowell’s diverse cultures.”

Š 2011 by the Cultural Organization of Lowell. Contributors retain copyright to their individual works. First Edition ISBN 13: 978-0-9821600-7-7 Typesetting & book design by Derek Fenner and Ryan Gallagher. Cover design by Derek Fenner and Ryan Gallagher. Cover images by Anna Isaak-Ross and Frank Casazza. Images on copyright page and contributor notes by Frank Casazza. For additional ordering information: Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) 50 Arcand Drive JFK Civic Center Lowell, MA 01852 978.446.7162

BOOTSTRAP PRESS is an imprint of Bootstrap Productions, Inc., an arts and literary collective founded by Derek Fenner and Ryan Gallagher.

An Emerging Generation in the Arts in Lowell

Curated, edited, and designed by Ryan Gallagher and Derek Fenner

Foreword by LZ Nunn and John Wooding




Preface by Ryan Gallagher and Derek Fenner



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Editorial Note by Ryan Gallagher and Derek Fenner 11


Contributor Bios



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Young Angel Midnight: The Mixtape Introduction to the Lowell Music Scene


Bios of Musical Contributors 92-96

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Foreword A creative economy is the fuel of magnificence. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Since its founding in 2001, the Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) has helped generate a vibrant cultural environment and stimulated our city’s creative economy. In line with the goals in Lowell’s Creative Economy Plan, we at COOL are committed to promoting the work of younger artists. For its tenth anniversary in 2011, COOL commissioned Bootstrap Press of Lowell to assemble this book of emerging artists: Young Angel Midnight. The works presented in this collection radiate with energy, diversity, and creativity. Poets, visual artists, designers, spoken-word performers, fiction writers, and musicians have been brought together to make a large collective statement about the condition of imagination in our community. Seven featured contributors graduated from the Lowell High School Fine Arts Academy. Many more are alumni of UMass Lowell and Middlesex Community College. In addition to the contributors’ work, the book includes profiles of several collectives, groups, spaces, and organizations that support and feed the arts in the community. Music selections are available on the web at The purpose of this collection is not only to highlight the talents of these young innovators, but also to encourage sustained creativity and provide a platform from which they can present their work and ideas. The book is a 2011 snapshot of artwork by an emerging generation of thinkers and artists of all kinds. It is not the last word on the arts in Lowell, though it may be a kind of “first word.” If the project is as successful as we hope it will be, then it can lead to more initiatives with artists of all types, all ages, all media. As you read this, the nation’s next Jack Kerouac or Lucy Larcom, the next unforgettable graphic designer, trendsetting clothing inventor, era-changing painter or sculptor, acclaimed playwright, spoken-word champion, Grammy-

destined sound engineer, or platinum-selling songwriter may be working away in her or his studio or at a coffee shop down the street. We hope this book inspires you to seek out the work where it is being created. Thank you for helping support the creative thinkers and makers who help fuel our magnificent city.

LZ Nunn, Executive Director, COOL, and Director, City of Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

John Wooding, Chairman, Board of Directors, COOL

Preface Lowell of mad midnights under the gaunt pines by the lickety ticky moon, blowing with a shroud, a lantern, a burying of dirt, a digging up of dirt, gnomes, axles full of grease lying in the river water and the moon glinting in a rat’s eye—the Lowell, the World, you find. Jack Kerouac, Dr. Sax

The arts have the power to form and shape communities, change lives, be visionary, challenge power structures, question authority, and flaunt beauty. When we sought out this project, we wanted the chance to “tell the story” of Lowell through the arts, as well as to “tell the story” of the arts scene in Lowell. But we also thought that by digging deep into the hyper-local, especially in Lowell, we would be able to produce an anthology that highlights what is interesting about the arts in America. What was, and still is, the most compelling aspect of the art we found in the city was its youth and energy, as well as its cultural and aesthetic diversity. This anthology begins with an unpublished poem by a twenty-five-year-old Jack Kerouac from 1947 and ends with two unpublished poems by a twentyone-year-old Sebastian Sampas from 1944, which is also the year he was killed serving in the Army in World War II. In their youth, Kerouac and Sampas formed a group with other friends in Lowell called the Young Prometheans to discuss art, writing, and politics. That young people gather to pass around this sacred Promethean fire to unlock the possibilities of a more meaningful existence is nothing new. For example, Lucy Larcom, a textile mill worker famous for her memoir A New England Girlhood (1889), was publishing poetry in the 1840s in Lowell Offering, a monthly publication of poetry and fiction of younger female textile workers. But it is up to us, as a society, to see the value in fostering these Promethean attempts at stealing bits of knowledge from the gods simply because they make life worth living, open our eyes to injustices and to beauty, and take us beyond ourselves. Like Whitman’s America, Lowell is a “busy, teeming, intricate whirl.” Immersing ourselves in the city in which we live to seek out a cartography of its creative life brought us into contact with people and groups visibly working

together under the red mill-brick landscape, as well as to the edges of the city and its unmediated spaces. We went to “blenders” at the 119 Gallery and we saw performances of theatre, poetry, and music around the city. We met with artists in their studios and with art organizations working with young people. We hung out with skaters at the Old Worthen Tavern and listened to them explain how they were performance artists who reclaim public space for their stage. We found a world of fashion designers and dancers who easily move between traditional cultures and carry themselves with trendsetting swagger. But we were only able to scratch the surface. Walk through Lowell most any day and you will find that it lives and breathes its motto: “Art is the handmaid of human good.” Within the 14.5 square miles of its borders and population of over 100,000, the most difficult part of this process was how to organize all of the creativity we found in book form. While this book is able to showcase the work of more than a hundred artists, writers, and musicians, we were not able to highlight what we thought was the most impressive thing about the creative life of the city: that the artists were essentially doing all of this themselves; they were curating shows for each other, throwing concerts and benefits for each other, playing at openings to draw crowds, attending each others’ events, collaborating with each other, living together, and sharing meals with each other. We hope that these pages retain the smell of turpentine and glue, the click of the camera or the amp being plugged in, and the pulse of the performances. We believe that Young Angel Midnight throws its light on what it means to be young, brilliant, and visionary in 2011.

Ryan Gallagher and Derek Fenner Lowell, MA August 2011

Editorial Note

This book is not meant to be a comprehensive look at the arts in Lowell. There is so much that is happening in the city that is not represented within these pages. It would be an impossible task to include everything. When this book was proposed to the Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL), Bootstrap Press sought to produce a collection of emerging artists, writers, and musicians who lived, worked, or went to school in the Greater Lowell area. The goal was to present Lowell’s art scene as culturally and aesthetically diverse, vibrant, and extensive in an aim to both document the art, literary, and music scene of the city, as well as to expose the scene to a larger regional and national audience. As editors for this project, there were so many individuals and groups that were instrumental in helping us put this collection together. We would like to begin by thanking LZ Nunn, the entire staff, and the board of directors of the Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) for believing in this vision and supporting it. It makes us proud to live in a city that is willing to see the value of the arts and financially support the efforts and creativity of a new generation. We are indebted to Paul Marion for his guidance and advice throughout this whole process, and we are continually inspired by his dedication to the arts in Lowell. Anna Isaak-Ross, Dave Robinson, Mike Flynn, Jim Higgins, Setheyny Pen, Steve Perez, and Walter Wright put us in contact with so many different people and groups, and helped us spread the word. And finally, a thank you to John Sampas for the unpublished poems he was able to pull from his archives.

One year among the angels, beloved, thou hast been; One year has heaven’s white portal shut back the sound of sin: And yet no voice, no whisper, comes floating down from thee, To tell us what glad wonder a year of heaven may be. from “A Year in Heaven” by Lucy Larcom (1824-1893)

Anna Isaak-Ross, Appleton Mills

Because of his deep relationships in the Lowell music scene, D-Tension (Steve Perez) graciously assisted in gathering contributors from across the city’s diverse musical landscape. A list of the contributors can be found on pages 92 - 96. Photo by Hugo Pinto.

Do you know your town's slogan? I bet you don't. If you're from Lowell and give a damn about this city, you probably know ours: “Art Is The Handmade of Human Good.” I don't know about your town's slogan, and I am not judging, but ours actually means something. Lowell has always been about art; it's in the water. Just a walk downtown will reveal paintings, sculpture, poetry, music, and more expressions of what it's like to come from a blue-collar town with a depth of history in the arts. When I first moved here in 1985, I was a punk-ass teenager who didn't know anyone. It was summer and school hadn't started yet and I wasn't sure how I was going to fit into Lowell. That "where-do-I-fit-in" feeling lasted one day, my first day as a Lowell resident. With my mother at work and waiting for electricity in our new apartment in Lower Belvidere, I went for a walk downtown to check out “my new home.” At first, I was depressed by a ghost-town of failing businesses that lacked any legal, human activity on a Friday night. I thought "what do people do around here?" I kept walking and heard the sound of live blues coming from a very dangerous looking bar called The Downtown. The street in front of the bar was a row of Harley Davidsons and the bouncer standing in front of the joint was a scary 6 foot 8 inch bad-ass. I stopped and looked in the window and saw an Elvis-looking kid, not much older than me, playing the guitar in ways I had only heard on records. This cat was unbelievable. I was hypnotized until the bouncer broke my trance with, "His name is Kevin and he's not old enough to be in here either. You wanna come in?" I thought he was messing with me. But there I was inside The Downtown with a bunch of bikers watching Kevin Stevenson play guitar. That was my first time seeing a guy who I would see live a thousand more times and who would go on to be my mentor and produce my first record. That night, a fight broke out at The Downtown. The bouncer looked at me, pulled out a knife, and said "OK kid, time for you to go!" I got the hell out of there and in the next few weeks that bar would close, but I kept

running into Kevin at shows at defunct clubs like Edible Rex, and of course The Last Safe and Deposit Company, simply known as “The Safe.” For years, The Safe was the center of my life: I played my first gig there; I met my wife there; and I saw some of the best local music anyone could imagine. Kevin would go on to play guitar in The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and a Weezer side-project. His band, The Shods, signed a major record deal that was a dream until multiple sclerosis robbed Kevin of his chance. I saw the soul of Lowell, Jen Kearney, at The Safe. I saw Melvern Taylor, Frank Morey, and Scott Pittman there too, but this isn't a list. This is the story of my love affair with the music of Lowell. Like all great things, The Safe died, but I learned that while it was a magical place, it didn't really matter. It's in the water here. I have presided over hundreds of shows in Lowell for nearly 20 years. Some of the faces never change, but there are always new ones. When I was first asked to help curate this project, I knew the toughest part would be to represent the versatility of Lowell’s music scene and its many generations of great bands, singers, and musicians. In my 20 years of writing, producing, performing, and booking shows here, there are too many to mention. This collection is about love, and an unexplainable common bond that we Lowell music-types all share. Lowell is a community that allows me to book a show with a 21 year-old rapper, a punk band in their 40s, and a bluegrass band. I've tried that type of show in Boston and it just doesn't work there. It only works in Lowell. If you've never come to Lowell, please do. There will be a show happening and it will suck you in. Just make sure your first round is a glass of tap water. I need to dedicate our contribution to this amazing project to the memory of Eric Stevenson, who recently passed away after a prolonged illness on August 9, 2011. He was an incredible and accomplished musician who was taken from us far too early. He was also my friend. Eric, I will miss you man.

Eric Stevenson, like his brother Kevin, initially achieved

success in the metal band, Only Living Witness. OLW played the world over and is cited as an influence by most of today’s well known metal bands. In the early 2000s, Eric made a dramatic switch to playing in a hard-hitting, country band called Hank Crane. A multi-instrumentalist, Eric shined, whether playing the guitar or drums, and he wrote songs that paint a vivid picture.

D-Tension is a hip-hop artist and producer. He has lived in Lowell for over 25 years. He first began performing as a joke at an open-mic at the legendary Last Safe and Deposit Company. The joke somehow became a career. D-Tension produces records and has worked as a radio DJ, journalist, and booking agent. He’s also been nominated for eight Boston Music Awards and won Best New Artist in 2001 and Producer of The Year in 2009.

The Abbadons are Justin Sexton (guitar & vocals), Danny Hickey (drums), Mark Ronan (bass), and Matthew Corcoran (guitar). They started playing together in the fall of 2008 in an old comic book store by the river. They play rock music loud and fast. Like the city they grew up in, their music is gritty, aggressive, and haunted.

Action Park features Alyssa Ferrell on accordion, Matt Flynn on guitar and vocals, Ryan Fraser on drums, Ben Frassa on guitar, and Bill McCann on bass.

Bar Sinister features Adam Caires on guitar and vocals, Jon on bass, and Rick Stec on


The Bella Birds are Lowell’s premier, parlor rock trio.

Actually, they are Lowell’s only parlor rock trio. Through their interweaving harmonies and acoustic instrumentation, they bring their signature, undressed, get-shit-done philosophy to rock arrangement. They manage to blend daring instrumentalism with passionate songwriting. The trio, comprised of Pam Craven, Chris Forgione, and Zack Root, formed in Lowell in 2008. Photo courtesy of the band.

Beneath The Sheets is a fire-burning rock band from

Lowell. Established in 2006 by Evan Gillis, Al Landry, Myk, Austin Bryant, and Jeff Ferro, BTS has been working diligently to spread the love from the heart of Lowell to the rest of the world. They released their debut album, Go Easy, It’s My First…, in September of 2009 and are working on their follow up on the band’s own record label, Dirty White Sneaker Productions. Photo courtesy of the band.

Benjelly (aka Ben Farley / Packrat, ex-Ladderlegs, ex-Abhorred) has been making music in and around Lowell since 2001. He has self-released dozens of albums of original songs, including The Stretching Act and Something Should Rescue Me and My Friends.

Big Ben Hillman, the Professor of FUNK, is a singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. Ben attended UMass Lowell, earning a degree in music composition. Ben also hosted a weekly radio program called “Soul Power” on 91.5 WUML that ran for 10 years. Ben tours with his band The Royal Family, best known for the hit songs “It Must Have Been the Music” and “I’m Sorry.” Photo by Jeff Zoccoli.

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birdorgan formed in late 2006. They perform in New

England. Their goal is to work with other like-minded, sound artists, creating immediate, free-improvisations in the spaces provided. birdorgan features Dei Xhrist (effected voice, objects, contact mics), Marc Bisson (prepared guitar, contact mics, voice, casio sk-1 keyboards, toys, recorder), Mike Fun (modular synthesizer, theremin, recorder), and Mike Dailey (drums, percussives, voice). Photo courtesy of the band.

Carl Johnson is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He has made Lowell his home for over 10 years. He has been a staple on the local music scene since the early 90s, both as a solo artist and in several of the area’s popular acts. In 2011, he released his self-produced Attic Recordings Volume One, which he recorded in his home in the Highlands area of Lowell. Photo courtesy of the artist. Christopher (Effect) Butler is a hip-hop artist, songwriter,

and graphic artist. He has released two full-length, solo albums as well as an album with partner D-Tension under the name Los Wunder Twins Del Rap. Effect has also done album artwork and re-issue designs for labels including Capital Records, Universal, and Columbia Records (just to name a few). He was born and raised in Lowell, where he still resides.

Craig Thomas is a long-time musician and artist residing in

downtown Lowell. Having been part of the local music scene most of his life, Craig has performed in such bands as Hank Crane, The Chris Ware Band, Jenny Riddle & The Homegrown Gentlemen, and The Shods. He also writes and records his own solo material. His media company LowTown Productions has been serving greater Lowell and Boston for over 10 years. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Electric Donkey is an eclectic party with a wide range of musical styles. Jeff Southworth, Lee Sullivan, Jay Tobin, and Greg Surprenant formed The Donk in 2001. The selection “Personal Space” is an account of an incident that occurred during the Lowell Folk Festival. Lee was saying hello to some ladies, when a girl behind him took exception. She told him to “get out of her personal space.” A female friend of the band then bloodied the girl’s boyfriend’s nose. Photo by D-Tension.

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The Flip was formed in the Summer of 2008 over a shared love of live performance. As graduates of the UMass Lowell music program, they rapidly became a staple on the Lowell music scene. Their chemistry as a band grew quickly as did their development of original music. In November of 2010 they released their first EP titled Runaway. The band continues to write and mature through frequent live performance all around the Northeast. The Flip features Ashley Dawn DiGrazia (vocals and keyboards), Sean Lebrun (vocals and acoustic guitar), Ken Budka (lead guitar and background vocals), Brian Redmond (bass), and Tim Roberts (drums). Photo courtesy of the band. Jen Kearney is a songwriter and performer. She has written, recorded, and produced several albums and toured the country as a solo artist and with her band, The Lost Onion. Jen also teaches private music lessons at The Space in Lowell. She is releasing an album in Europe and working on her next album, which will be released in 2012. Photo by by Anthony Tieuli. Jenny Riddle is a musician, songwriter, poet, and a registered nurse. Her songs “Killing Time” and “Wash It All Down” were on the legendary Poor House Sessions, born from open-mike night at the Last Safe and Deposit in Lowell in 1994. Her Band Jenny Riddle and the Home Grown Gentleman features Craig Thomas on drums, Eric Faulkner on bass, and Ed Newton on guitar. When folks ask her what kind of music she plays, she describes it as White Trash Noir. Photo by Eric Pestana.

Kevin P. Stevenson is a singer, songwriter, and

guitar player. He was in some of Lowell’s favorite bands, including Duck Duck, Only Living Witness, Formicide, and The Shods. He is accomplished in styles from blues to rockabilly, metal, country, and ska, but is clearly all about rock and roll. Kevin has played in The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Rivers Cuomo Band, and has toured the country. Kevin’s unmistakable sound tells stories about the characters who make Lowell so unique. Photo by Eric Pestana.

Los Bungalitos is a five-piece, melodic, hardcore band

from Lowell. Formed in 2003 by friends at UMass Lowell, Los Bungalitos has since gone on to complete a number of successful tours of the East Coast, Puerto Rico, as well as the Dominican Republic. Their positive lyrics, highly-energetic, live shows, and relentless work-ethic have earned Los Bungalitos an enthusiastic fan base both at home and abroad. Los Bungalitos features Enrique Vargas (vocals), Julius Hayden (guitar and vocals), Tim Brault (drums), Joe MacFadzen (bass and vocals), and Nick Lawrence (guitar). Photo by Lisa Gagne.

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Loup-Garou From Old French leu garoul, compound of leu (“wolf”) + garoul (“werewolf”), from

warous, from Frankish wari wulf. Loup-Garou features Setheyny Pen on drums and electronics and Walter Wright on electronics and drums. Setheyny Pen also curates art shows, and enjoys anything art related, as well as baking, eating, laughing, stoicism, Tao, Lagos, Zeno, animism, nature, the sky, stars, trees, old places, empty spaces, ugly shoes, ugly jewelry, and old ladies’ coats. Walter Wright is an unlicensed architect, systems engineer, video pioneer, and computer programmer. He moved to Lowell in 1997 and opened 119 Gallery in 2005.

Melvern Taylor writes happy songs about miserable people. His instrument of choice is the

ukulele. They go together like milk and cookies. Melvern has released 4 records, Handsome Bastard, The Spider and the Barfly, Fabuloso, and the latest release, Love Songs For Losers. Melvern has played in some other bands over the years but you probably never heard of them so we don’t have to talk about that.

Michael Homewood (aka/ Mic Stylz), is an artist, MC, host, and promoter. He has been a huge part of the Lowell hip hop scene for over a decade. A former JAM’N 94.5, on-air personality, he has promoted and hosted a monthly hip-hop show at the Village Smokehouse in Lowell since 2010. An avid sports fan, Michael also works as the Associate Adult League Director at Teamworks, an indoor sports complex located in Acton, MA. Photo by Katie Russett. Mike Dion was born and raised in Lowell. He is a musician, a singer, a songwriter, a teacher, and a coach. He plays guitar and harmonica in Hot Day at The Zoo, and he plays drums in his new side-project, Alligator Wine. He teaches English at Lowell High School and coaches wrestling at his alma mater Greater Lowell Technical High School. Photo by Sergio Velazquez.

The Mores are a punk rock band formed in Lowell by Terry McNulty (Vocals and Bass) and Jack Diliberto (drums) in 2002. Guitarists Dan Patalano and Brent Tuscano round out the line up. Currently working on a new project, they have released two albums: Bringing Home the Bacon and Never Trust a Fart. Photo by Nichole Rabbit. Reverend JJ (Justin Burns) is a songwriter, acoustic guitar player,

and harmonica player for Reverend JJ and the Casual Sinners, and he plays for the jug band Thunderpants Johnson’s Hillbilly Orchestra. JJ has fostered new talent for up-and-coming artists in the Lowell area, hosting open-mikes and songwriter nights at various venues. This will be the fourth year of the Annual Foodbank Christmas Drive, or Texmass Eve, at the legendary pub, The Worthen. Photo by Doug Sparks.

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Ryan “Tygastyle” Howarth is an artist who writes and performs hip-hop music. As part of his group Masstapeace, he has released three fulllength albums including two in 2011, Time 2 Make Music and Father of The Year. He was born in Lowell, where he resides with his wife and three children. Aside from creating music, Ryan hosts weddings, parties, and other functions. Photo by Nicho McAllister. The Sinbusters features Nicholas Colella on guitar and vocals, Jennifer Brunelle on keyboards and vocals, Olivia Close on bass, and Nicholas Egersheim on drums.

Stephanie Lak is a musician, multi-media, and performance artist. She was born in Lawrence, MA, and moved to Lowell at age ten. She has primarily called Lowell her home since then. She is working on the 2011 mural at the 119 Gallery, where she is also an events director. Photo by 119 Gallery. Tyler Bisson is a young musician and recording engineer. He migrated to Lowell to attend

school. Through the music department at UMass Lowell, he has formed many great connections to the local music scene. Having played both locally and nationally, the future looks bright, but his sights are set on flooding the Merrimack Valley with his tunes. He plays most notably with his solo act That Really Awesome Guy With A Guitar.

Victoria Vann is a Cambodian-American whose love for music drove her to become a singersongwriter. Born and raised in Lowell, Victoria has blended her love of Irish Celtic instrumentation and Cambodian tradition to create a unique sound. She writes and sings about her experiences with religion, being Cambodian, and the places she has been. Singing her ever popular rendition of the popular Irish tune “Danny Boy” has certainly made apparent this girl’s love of Irish music. Photo courtesy of the artist.

W!TH TH!S F!RE is Anthony Richards, Charles Geer, Bob Fogwell, Leighton Borrowy, and Eab.

Yahuba Garcia is a Lowell resident and musician who has been lighting up the national stage touring with The Ryan Montbleau Band and Martin Sexton. Yahuba embraces every style of music as if it was his own, and is true to the craft of showmanship. He has visited schools, speaking and performing for students about his Puerto Rican culture and music. Yahuba is also a percussion instructor at The Bradford School of Music.

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was born in Texas, where he grew up until moving to Colorado. His early beginnings were in street art, but he has been showing professionally for the past three years. His work has been largely influenced by Philip Glass. He recently moved to Massachusetts, where he plans to pursue an education in furniture-making. He and his longtime girlfriend reside in downtown Lowell. is an artist, educator, and musician. His art draws inspiration from minimalism and conceptual art, focusing on process and use of materials. Born and raised in Lowell, he has been playing drums in local bands since he was a teenager. He is a core member of the Artbotics education program and is looking to further his involvement in the world of robotics. is from Westford, MA, and is completing his BFA in oil painting at UMass Lowell. His work often depicts a whimsical narrative generated or based on a preceding title or prompt. The rules that govern these spaces may be vaguely accepted, but the need for them to be painted is emphasized. The object matter of his scenarios falls short as the subject only to the paint, attempting to be an object about painting. is a photographer, living and creating work in Lowell. He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2009 and soon after returned to New England to teach at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where he is also the school’s Gallery Director. He has exhibited work across the United States, and his photographs are in numerous public and private collections.

grew up on the Lowell/Chelmsford border and holds a BFA from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. After working with several artists at Amorphic Robot Works in New York City and Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado, she returned to live in Lowell. Anna is the Studio Manager for the Art Department at UMass Lowell.

is a poet, actor, youth worker, lover, and friend. He founded Mill City Slam, the adult slam poetry scene, and M.O.M.S., the Middlesex/UMass Lowell college slam poetry scene. Alongside his fellow partners in rhyme, he founded FreeVerse!, a youth organization dedicated to expand the presence of spoken word in Lowell. was raised in Wilbraham, MA, and graduated with a BS in Fine Art from Skidmore College in upstate New York. Her work has been featured on The Boston Channel’s “Boston Chronicle: Art Colonies.” Welz Smith’s most recent shows include Shifting Boundaries, Chain Letter Art Show, and The Sketchbook Project. She lives in Lowell with her husband and daughter, and looks forward to the arrival of her son in November. also known as Benjelly, is a musician, composer, writer/ author and sometimes painter from Massachusetts. Sometimes Lowell. Often Lowell. Not always, though. He has written somewhere near a thousand songs, been featured on too many compilations, and has had both poems and paintings published in a few smallpress magazines. grew up in Lowell and, after nine years on the West Coast, moved back to town. The poem featured here is from his forthcoming Loom Press book: Sweeney At-Sea. For the first in the trilogy, Sweeney on-the-Fringe, go to Market St. Market and Brew’d Awakening, both on Market St. in beautiful, sunny downtown Lowell, also sell his book. Dave’s s wife Anna Isaak-Ross is also featured in this anthology; they have a son, Griffin. is an artist, writer, publisher, and juvenile justice educator. He is the author of My Favorite Color is Red (Bootstrap Press 2005), I Know Longer Believe in the Sun: Love Letters to Katie Couric (Boostrap Press 2009), and Wild Schemes (Lew Gallery 2010). Derek is the coordinator of arts programming for the Collaborative for Educational Services in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. He is co-founder of Bootstrap Press and has lived in downtown Lowell since 2007. is a digital artist and photographer. His artwork is based in photography, but also combines fine art such as watercolor to create a distinct atmosphere and style. Through complex photo manipulation, Dustin seeks to transform the ordinary into an expression of our inner thoughts and emotions. He was born and raised in Lowell and attended the Arts Magnet Middle School, Lowell High, and UMass Lowell.

is a student at UMass Lowell, or just another face in the endless crowd. An insignificant, walking among the gathered masses. However, if throughout his years, one of those footsteps ever makes an impact, even in the softest way; then that is his exact reason for being. is a graphic artist, painter, and photographer. She is also in the process of completing her graduate program in School Psychology. Her goal for the future is to fuse art into her work as a school psychologist in the community. Efi was raised in Lowell and lives there now. is an artist, a cook, nurturer, student, adventurer, classics enthusiast, and foodie. Her art is influenced by music, color, Ancient Greek tragedies, the human experience, and travel. She is originally from Lowell, where she grew up and still has strong ties to family and friends. Elaina lives in Somerville, MA with her husband Paddy and dog Matilda. is an artist and teacher. She lives in Lowell, where she grew up. Lowell features prominently in Emily’s artwork; she is inspired by the architecture of the old mill buildings and canals. Her artwork has been shown at the ALL Arts Gallery, the Uptown Lowell Music and Arts Festival, and in July 2011 she was the featured artist at Eyeful Beauty. Emily teaches middle school art in Wakefield, MA. is from Billerica, MA, but has been involved with poetry in Lowell since her junior year in high school. She has been a part of the FreeVerse! slam team for the past two years, and regards Lowell as her writing home. Emma is a recent high school graduate of the Innovation Academy Charter School and will be attending Smith College in the fall, where she hopes to pursue writing. [His] codswallop has appeared in many odious hardscrabble publications. He is also a passable visual artist with such dubious credits as the road sign for Little Laurel Preschool and the forgettable cover illustration for the debased memoir Kittens in the Boiler. He has lived in Lowell for seven years, and spends most of his time glaring at children from his window. is a visual artist. For the past nine years he has operated Eyeformation Studio in Lowell. An extremely diverse range of clients utilize his art work from Virgin Mobile to Franciscan’s Hospital for Children. He designs for international clothing brands as well as local retail shops. His paintings have brought him to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and overseas to Europe and China. He grew up in Tewksbury, MA, and has lived in Lowell for nearly 20 years.

is an artist, muralist, and musician who creates work that reflects his cultural ideals. He lives in Lowell, where he is involved with the building and promoting of UnchARTed Studios. His paintings and murals have been featured throughout the local art community, including at 119 Gallery, Western Ave Studios, The Revolving Museum, and the Lowell Art Walk. Gilbert is known for his quick, animated style of painting and spirited character P.A.B. is a painter, writer. and co-founder of UnchARTed Studios in Lowell. Her subjects lean towards women’s social issues. She focuses mainly on female figures and has studied at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy and received her Sociology degree from UMass Lowell. is an artist and graphic designer. Her work explores nostalgic elements through relationships and memories, capturing moments, emotions, and experiences using familiar items. She received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from UMass Lowell in 2010. Holly is continuing her work in BIC pen portraiture and book arts. Born Jean-Louis Kerouac in Lowell in 1922, he wrote more than 30 books, including the counter-culture classic On the Road. Kerouac, often considered the leading figure of the Beat Generation, has continued to inspire a generation of youth looking for something “more” in American culture with his “spontaneous bop-prosody.” He passed away in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 21, 1969. Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman honored Kerouac in 1974 when they named the writing program at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. His life is celebrated in Lowell during the first weekend in October at the Jack Kerouac Literary Festival.

is an artist and instructor. As a Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) Artist Fellow for Drawing in 2010, her work was most recently included in New and Recent Work by 13 MCC Award Recipients in Painting and Drawing at the Tufts University Art Gallery. She has exhibited extensively. She grew up in North Carolina and now lives in Lowell with her daughter. She has taught drawing, printmaking and painting at UMass Lowell, Brandeis, Clark University, RISD, and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Jessica Hosman studied photography and Spanish language and culture at UMass Lowell, and now works with digital publishing technologies at O’Reilly Media. She is an artist, daydreamer, traveler, and technophile. Jessica lives in Lowell in an old converted cotton mill that dates back to the early 1800s.

is an intermedia artist. He was born in Colorado and is interested in most things, particularly Swiss Army knives, global fairness, and love. He works as an Assistant Professor of Art & Design pro tempore at UMass Lowell, where he is head of the Web Art & Design Area. Jim lives in Lowell with his beautiful wife Jean, and their rabbit Logan. He is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of 119 Gallery and a founding member of the Arts Research Collaborative @ Printer on Prescott— home to his studio in historic downtown Lowell.

is a recent Magna Cum Laude graduate with an Interdisciplinary degree in Photography and Painting from the New Hampshire Institute of Art. A passionate observer of today’s world, she enjoys working with new mediums, and experimenting with process. She was born and raised in Lowell and resides there today. She does freelance work in both painting and photography.

is a photographer, musician, artist, and teacher who was raised in Agawam, MA, and now lives in Lowell. He earned his BFA in Fine Art and Photography at UMass Lowell in 2009. He works at The Revolving Museum in downtown Lowell as a full-time Art Technician and Art Instructor. He also plays bass guitar in the experimental funk/punk band The Big Sway, as well as the internationally touring melodic hardcore band Los Bungalitos.

is a Lowell-based graphic designer, artist, illustrator, frontend developer, and self-confessed sticker addict. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from UMASS Lowell, Jonathan began working as a web designer for several radio stations in Boston, before taking a position as UX Designer for Transparent Language, a software company. While working for TL he continues to develop his freelance career at and enjoys creating mediocre paintings, doodles, and hand-made stickers in his spare time. When Justin Kwan moved to Lowell, he saw an event flyer in a downtown Coffeehaus. He attended the event and met a photographer who introduced him to the Lowell art scene. Justin has since been involved with Flying Orb Productions, an experimental film and dance group; worked with the Cultural Organization of Lowell; and helped produce the Lowell National Historical Park’s 30th anniversary video. His latest project is the website.

Kate’s poetry has appeared in California Quarterly, Comstock Review, Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. The poems in this anthology are from her first book of poems, Mid Drift, which was published by Loom Press in 2011. Many of the poems in Mid Drift are inspired by the 10 years that Hanson Foster lived in Lowell. From 2003-2006, she was the co-editor of Renovation Journal, a Lowell-based literary magazine. She lives and writes in Groton, MA. is a photographer, skateboarder, and collector. He was born in South Tewksbury, MA. By the age of 13 it became necessary for him to know where the bus stop at the end of the street led. Skateboard in hand, he found downtown Lowell. Over the years a camera can be found by his side as often as a board as he adds to his collection of images. He lives with his wife, Heather, in Lowell. is a visual, multimedia artist and co-founder of UnchARTed Studios, an alternative art space and gallery in Lowell. She received her BFA in Printmaking from Montserrat College of Art in 2009. She resides in Chelmsford, MA and works as an odd-job entrepenuer to pay her college debt. Her time outside of work and sleep is spent with her feline friend Endow, exhibiting where possible, organizing community art events, and curating / managing at UnchARTed Studios and Gallery.

is a freelance illustrator, web designer, and writer. Recently, he illustrated a board game cover (Black Gold, Fantasy Flight Games), colored the original graphic novel Divine Intervention (Arcana Comics), and provided web design for Citizen Radio Productions. His writing can be found at his weekly column for The Progressive Playbook. He spent lots of time skateboarding in Lowell as a teenager, where he now lives and works. is a poet, artist, singer, and youth worker. She is Co-Founder of FreeVerse!, an organization she formed with some of her closest friends. Masada is passionate, and you can witness that if ever you see her perform or teach a class. She also enjoys sunshine, smiling, and hugs. She was born and raised in Lowell, and lives there now with her family. grew up in Lowell, where he also went to school. He lives in Somerville, MA, and is a member of the Washington Street Art Center, where he prints in the darkroom.

is an artist and musician. His work has been shown at 119 Gallery, UnchARTed Studios, and The Charles Bullfinch Gallery. A multi-instrumentalist, he has played in several projects in and around Lowell since 1995. He has recently played guitar for Bacharachattack! and drums for birdorgan. He lives in South Lowell with wife and two children. is a performer, writer, speaker, and teacher who lives in Lowell. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and has trained in classical acting at Shakespeare & Company. She received a 2010 grant from the Lowell Cultural Council for her one-woman show, fufu & oreos (119 Gallery, May 2011). Obehi also has an art award named in her honor from the James S. Daley Middle School in Lowell, where she was a student. To learn more about Obehi, visit is from California, but has lived in Lowell for most of her life. She has been involved with teen organizations since middle school and found FreeVerse!, a Lowell-based nonprofit poetry organization, during junior year in high school. Spoken word was happily added to her list of performance arts. Princess landed a spot on the Lowell Youth Slam Team with the help of FreeVerse!. She will attend Lowell High School as a senior in the fall. is an analog and digital collage artist. In addition to his personal portfolio and collaborations, he has designed for numerous bands throughout the Boston and Merrimack Valley music scene. Additionally he is active as the drummer for Lowell-based bands Bar Sinister and Lonesome Republic. He was born and resides in Lowell with his wife and their vast number of plants, beasts, and horded trinkets. Rick is the owner/ operator of Levi & Annie’s Dog Bakery. is an artist, writer, publisher, and teacher. Author of Plum Smash and Other Flashbulbs (Bootstrap 2005), he has also translated The Complete Works of Catullus (Bootstrap 2008) from Latin. He was born and raised in Lowell, where he lives with his wife and two children. He is co-founder of Bootstrap Press and teaches high school literature and journalism. is an artist, skateboarder, and a student at UMass Lowell. He was born and raised in Lowell. is a librarian and poet. His poetry has appeared in The Sandy River Review and SuperArrow. He grew up in Lowell, MA and lives there now with his wife and son.

Born in Lowell, Sebastian Sampas was educated at Lowell High School and Emerson College, as well as through his own studies and reading. Before he was 20 years old, he organized a group of creative intellectuals that he named the Young Prometheans, one of whom was his close friend Jack Kerouac. The group shared and critiqued each other’s ideas about art, politics, and writing. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and was killed in 1944. In his introduction to the prose collection “Lonesome Traveler” (1960), Kerouac wrote: “Decided to become a writer at age 17 under influence of Sebastian Sampas, local young poet who later died on Anzio beachhead.” is a poet whose work has appeared in Derivas and TitMouse Magazine. She moved to Lowell compelled by love and writing. She lives in an old red-brick building on Middle St. She is the editor of Two Water Series, a made-by-hand, letter-pressed chapbook series that features innovative/experimental writing by women of color. is a musician, multi-media, and performance artist. She was born in Lawrence, MA, and moved to Lowell at age ten. She has primarily called Lowell her home since then. She is working on the 2011 mural at the 119 Gallery, where she is also a volunteer events director. is an artist, illustrator, and a motion graphic designer. He was a student at UMASS Lowell from 2005 until 2011 when he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. He was born in Worcester, MA, and he interned at the 119 Gallery in 2010. is a writer and teacher originally from Lowell. “Death Knocks at the Wrong Door” is his first published story. He has taught British Literature and Creative Writing at Lowell High School since 2004. He is enrolled at Emerson College in the M.F.A Creative Writing (Fiction) program. Will lives in South Boston with his wife and son. is a recent graduate of UMass Lowell. He is an aspiring writer and lives in Lowell where he enjoys playing music and watching movies.

Anna Isaak-Ross, Lowell

Young Angel Midnight Preview  

Young Angel Midnight rises up from the beat surface of cobblestone streets as an urban, multi-cultural, post-industrial, American reliquary...

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