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The Strand. Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard. c. 1997. By Paul Goldfinger ©

The Strand Theatre. Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard. c. 1997. By Paul Goldfinger ©    (reposted from 2014 on Blogfinger–and updated.) Tri-X Collection.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

We recently ran a post regarding the Ocean Grove North End’s Strand movie house which no longer exists.  Some years ago I visited Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard where the Strand theatre there, a historic site, was still functioning. Oak Bluffs is where a camp meeting ground still exists on that island.  Judging from the Bruce Willis film, the photo is from 1997.

The Strand Theatre in Oak Bluffs  was built in the 1920’s and closed around 2010. After that it became a bicycle rental shop. But in 2015, the Martha’s Vineyard Theater Foundation raised money to reopen the Strand for movies.

Movies can seem so real and important, so the MV community made sure that their cinema was brought back to life.   Back when, we told our kids, “It’s only a movie.”  But the magic of movies draws you in.

Try to stay disengaged if you see “Captain Phillips” with Tom Hanks.

Seen any good movies lately ?  Tell us if you have. Comment below.

Oh, do sad movies make you cry?  Sue Thompson says, “Yes.”      See below.

MERLE HAGGARD:

 

SUE THOMPSON:

 

 

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Autumn leaves will peak soon. Rhinebeck, NY. Paul Goldfinger photo ©   October 15, 2017.

NEIL YOUNG:

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Wormsloe in Savannah, Georgia. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Paul Goldfinger ©.  Wormsloe in Savannah, Georgia. 2013.   Click to enlarge.

 

ERIC CLAPTON AND STEVE WINWOOD  (Live from Madison Square Garden)

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Neighborhood bistro, New Orleans. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

Neighborhood bistro QSR, New Orleans. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.   Click to enlarge.

“Negro y Azul”—The Ballad of Heisenberg..   From the TV series Breaking Bad

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Bourbon Street, New Orleans. 1998. Paul Goldfinger photograph ©

Bourbon Street, New Orleans. 1998. Paul Goldfinger photograph © Silver gelatin darkroom print.

BYRON STRIPLING  (vocal and trumpet)

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Summer tents. August 22, 2015. ©

Summer tents. August 22, 2015. ©  By Paul Goldfinger.  Click to enlarge.

The OG summer tents are sought after by painters, photographers, tourists, renters, historians, strollers, bikers,  and others. Our tents are unique.   From a photographer’s point of view, we look for new ways of seeing the tents;  we try to be creative with lighting and composition.  It’s not easy to come up with something different, but that is what we require at this Ocean Grove website where photography is used more than words to describe our town.

When I submitted a “plain vanilla” portrait of the tents for the book “New Jersey 24/7” I was surprised that the image was one of the winners, but then I realized that those of us who live here are a bit jaded, like New Yorkers who take the Empire State Building for granted.

But for you OG photographers, Blogfinger will continue looking for fresh ways of seeing our historic and beautiful tents.

ADAM LEVINE   “No One Else Like You .”  From the film Begin Again

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Ft. Myers, Fla. Bunche Beach.  Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

EMMA STONE AND RYAN GOSLING,  from the movie  La La Land: (original music won two Academy Awards:)    “A Lovely Night.”

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Belmar, NJ fishing pier. Installing support cables. By Bob Bowné. 2/23/17. © Special to Blogfinger

Belmar, NJ fishing pier. Installing support cables. By Bob Bowné. 2/23/17. © Special to Blogfinger. Click for more support.

 

Editor’s note:  Bob Bowné  has found beauty in this foggy-day winter scene at the Jersey Shore.  His image brings us hope and reminds us that we can enjoy all the seasons, even in a summer town when the beach scene is quiet and the weather might be grey.

Here is a song from the show Grey Gardens sung  by Christine Ebersole.  Like Bob’s photo, and like most art, it can be beautiful while seeming sad at the same time.

And here’s a song for the guy who’s swinging from that cable without a net. Hopefully he can find beauty in his moment flying with the geese in the mist.

RANI ARBO AND DAISY MAYHEM.

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xxxx

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  (Originally posted in November 2015 and now minimally edited for this New Year’s Day edition of Blogfinger. The original question posited in the headline is still valid.)

There are multiple factions in the small town of Ocean Grove (pop  3,700,) and these organized groups  are largely isolated from each other. Woven into the fabric are homeowners and renters who live here but do not belong to any organizations, thus becoming, by default, a faction of their own.

According to social scientist Steve Valk, whose family has lived here for several generations, it would be important for these factions to find ways to appreciate and cooperate with each other. For example he cites the religious groups and the secular groups which ought to find common ground for the benefit of the town. One example of such cooperation is the recent interaction, since Sandy, between Ocean Grove United (OGU) and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association  (CMA); however we have recently seen how tenuous that relationship is when we recall the  clash about Sunday sermons this past summer.

The CMA ran the town from 1869 to 1980—-111 years. Neptune Township  treated OG as a sort of gated community.   The CMA made the rules and imposed blue laws until the N.J. Supreme Court put a stop to that in 1980 when Neptune  took over active governance in the Grove  (although they were technically the governing body almost since the town’s founding.)   Since 1980, the CMA has continued its mission and  it has largely kept out of the way of Neptune Township.

But we now see the CMA and the Township working together on the North End Redevelopment Project, but suspicious elements have been revealed, and that project does not seem to be designed primarily with the town’s best interest at heart.

As for the Neptune Township governance,  you have seen the results of our recent poll which shows  that 80% of respondents mistrust  the Neptune Township Committee. Interestingly, over the years, there were times when the citizens rose up against Neptune control resulting in law suits and even a failed referendum to allow the Grove to become a separate town which it did for one year in 1925.

The other organizations here also tend to have their own agendas and to be run like private clubs. Such groups include the Homeowners Association, the Historical Society, Ocean Grove United, and the Chamber of Commerce. They don’t work together very much for the good of the town.  They are busy with their own activities.  For example, the Chamber of Commerce runs big events to try and drum up business for the merchants.  But what do they do for the benefit of those who live here?  We asked them to take over sponsorship of the Town-wide Yard Sale, but they refused. When we introduced a new idea for the town—the Blogfinger Film Festival—a benefit for the boardwalk—-only a few of the members would be sponsors for the program, and hardly any attended the event.

When we think of factions in town, we can see the visible ones, but how about the invisible ones such as families that have lived here for generations and are part of networks that act in concert with each other, with the CMA,  and with the Township governance, especially where land use, zoning,  and parking are concerned.  Let’s call that “the network of special interests.”

For them the town of Ocean Grove  seems like a gift that keeps on giving. This network never speaks publicly, shows its face, or identifies itself, but what it does and has done will impact all of us and will determine what the town will be in the future.  We have seen the results of favoritism for those special interests in the Greek Temple and Mary’s Place.  The North End Redevelopment Project is a good example to keep an eye on.  Who will be the winners, and who will be the losers?

Because of indifference by the public, organizations, and special interests, Ocean Grove may become an at-risk town which could end up a  failed historic  place without focus and character, such as is seen in other shore towns—unless the public pays attention and the organizations here begin to work together for the overall benefit of the town and not just on their narrow pet projects, like the Homeowners Association which is currently circulating a simple minded parking survey while ignoring the improprieties and illegalities around town regarding land use issues.  The HOA has teamed up with the Neptune Committee ever since 2008 when it supported 165 residential units, mostly condos, at the North End.

In 2002, a professor* at Monmouth University published an academic paper about OG history, emphasizing the powerful way that the activist HOA of 25-30 years ago  fought for the town and saved its life.  Below  is a quote**  from that research about that era.

Contrast the conclusion below with the current HOA which now is failing Ocean Grove through impotence, inaction, and lack of focus towards the issues which currently threaten our town the most.

The Home Groaners need to step up and save the town once again,  but this version appears to so far be hopeless in that regard.

** 2002:   “The HOA has maintained or reconstructed the carefully planned infrastructure of the founders, and even as Ocean Grove is being reborn as a contemporary tourist site, the HOA has worked with the CMA to preserve its sacred foundations. Just like the CMA, the HOA has been outstanding in its ability to secure what it wants and what it believes the community needs. Property values have risen, the community is again a safe place, tourism has been revived, an enormous amount of social capital has been generated, and the Victorian charm of the town has been restored.”

By Karen Schmelzkopf*  in the Journal of Historical Geography, 2002

BLOSSOM DEARIE:

 

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Skywood Park in Paradise, Pennsylvania. October 18, 2016. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Skywood Park in Paradise, Pennsylvania. October 18, 2016. Paul Goldfinger photo. © Click to enlarge

 

DORETTA MORROW  and RICHARD KILEY  from the original Broadway cast of Kismet.

 

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