Part four of 4-part interview: Meet filmmaker and producer Justin King and hear his passion for Orchard House

In part three of this interview about Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, we meet the documentary’s producer and filmmaker, Justin King. Hear his motivation for making this film:

I wish to thank WCOM-FM for granting permission to rebroadcast this interview. It originally aired on October 1st on the “Courage Cocktail” hosted by Lee Anne McClymont.

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Host Lee Ann McClymont wrote a lovely sonnet to Louisa which I will close with. Thank you for your support of the campaign!

Louisa’s Dream

Kindred sister, in thy grace,
Help me birth a gentler race.
Place inside the meaning clear
Through our voice disband the fear.
Ford our way through wide and narrow
Guide our vision through bone and marrow
Still the noise and ply your craft
With sound and vision restore the draft
Till eventide the sea must rush
Let moonbeams sweetly whisper “hush.”
The end is near for family’s lost
In time suspended hope’s only cost
Restore the pledge to live in light
Godspeed your craft
With fortress might!

Sweetwood-Spring 2009
Hillsborough, North Carolina

Remember to #PledgeYourLove at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632439913/orchard-house

And please, share these posts with everyone you know who loves Little Women and Louisa May Alcott!

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Part three of 4-part interview: Jan Turnquist recounts a fascinating story of a pilgrimage to Orchard House

little women in koreanIn part three of this interview about Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, Executive Director Jan Turnquist shares a poignant story of a pilgrim visiting Orchard House from the other side of the world and how Little Women impacted this visitor:

I wish to thank WCOM-FM for granting permission to rebroadcast this interview. It originally aired on October 1st on the “Courage Cocktail” hosted by Lee Anne McClymont.

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Remember to #PledgeYourLove at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632439913/orchard-house

And please, share these posts with everyone you know who loves Little Women and Louisa May Alcott!

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Part two of 4-part interview: Jan Turnquist talks about Bronson’s education and the support Louisa received from her parents

" . . . I press thee to my heart, as Duty's faithful child."

” . . . I press thee to my heart, as Duty’s faithful child.”

In part two of this interview about Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, Executive Director Jan Turnquist reveals how Bronson Alcott received his education and how important his love of learning was to Louisa’s development as a writer:

I wish to thank WCOM-FM for granting permission to rebroadcast this interview. It originally aired on October 1st on the Courage Cocktail Radio Show, WCOM LP. 

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Remember to #PledgeYourLove at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632439913/orchard-house

And please, share these posts with everyone you know who loves Little Women and Louisa May Alcott!

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Beginning today: 4-part interview with the movers and shakers of the Orchard House documentary and Kickstarter fundraising campaign

As you know, Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House has been promoting a Kickstarter Campaign to raise $150,000 to fund a documentary film on this extraordinary house museum (click on the photo to make your pledge).

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Those of us who have visited Orchard House know that it is far more than a museum; it is a place of pilgrimage. Countless visitors remark on the spiritual aspect of visiting the ancient house, “feeling” the presence of the Alcott family as they see drawings and paintings by artist May on the walls and secretly touch the desk where Louisa penned Little Women.

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Jan Turnquist, Director of Concord's Orchard House, shares the wealth of the historic Alcott home.

Jan Turnquist, Director of Concord’s Orchard House, shares the wealth of the historic Alcott home.

Recently Executive Director Jan Turnquist and film maker and producer Justin King gave a compelling interview on the radio program “Courage Cocktail” hosted by Lee Anne McClymont of WCOM LP 103.5 in Carrboro, North Carolina. The interview was an hour in length; to facilitate easier listening, I have split that interview into four parts to be posted Monday through Thursday of this week. I wish to thank WCOM for permission to rebroadcast this interview.

As you listen to this wonderful, passionate and magical account of Orchard House, please consider joining the hundreds who have already pledged their support at  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632439913/orchard-house. With just 17 days left to go, nearly $100,000 still needs to be pledged.

This documentary affords Orchard House the chance to reach a far wider audience than they ever have before. Knowledge of this house is essential to keep it up and running as a museum. Build in the 1600’s, Orchard House is in constant need of repair. Your pledge keeps Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House alive and running!

Here is part one of the interview; it features Jan Turnquist describing the fascinating history of the house:

 

Remember to #PledgeYourLove at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632439913/orchard-house

And please, share these posts with everyone you know who loves Little Women and Louisa May Alcott!

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Subscribe to the email list and never miss a post!
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Remembering Louisa May Alcott through your pledge #PledgeYourLove

Over the next five days I will be posting video and audio featuring remembrances of Louisa May Alcott and her home, the Orchard House. You may know that Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House is in the middle of a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. The goal is to raise $150,000 to fund a documentary film about the history and legacy of Orchard House.

Any of you who have visited Orchard House know,  it is more than a museum. It is a place of pilgrimage. We can feel the presence of the family from Louisa’s mood pillow in the parlor, to Anna’s grey silk wedding dress on Louisa’s bed. From Bronson’s architectural improvements and the large library in his study, to Marmee’s family china in the dining room and her comb in the master bedroom. We pause looking at Lizzie’s melodeon and marvel at May’s paintings and drawings not only hung on the walls, but painted right on the walls. Most of all, we stop in front of the little half moon desk where a classic was born, a book that has inspired the lives of millions of women from around the world for well over a century.

The posts I will put up Monday through Thursday of this week will feature a 4-part interview with the Executive Director of Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House Jan Turnquist; plus we will hear from the producer and filmmaker Justin King as to what inspired him to make the film.

I am deeply grateful to Lee Anne MyClymont for granting permission to take her interview and present it over these next few days. You can find her podcast here: “Courage Cocktail” hosted by Lee Anne McClymont of WCOM LP 103.5 in Carrboro, North Carolina.

As a warm-up, I wish to present my own remembrance of Louisa May Alcott and her sister Lizzie, just to get you started:

Remember to #PledgeYourLove at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632439913/orchard-house

And please, share these posts with everyone you know who loves Little Women and Louisa May Alcott!

To make sure you don’t miss these series of interviews, subscribe to the email list and never miss a post!

With only 17 days left in the campaign, let’s help Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House make their goal!

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Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard house to Launch Kickstarter Campaign in September for Documentary Film

From the official press release:

(Concord, MA) This fall will be a busy one in Concord at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House. Orchard House is most noted for being home to the talented Alcott family, and as the place where Louisa May Alcott wrote andset her beloved classic novel, Little Women. But, the house is also rich in history dating all the way back to the 1600’s. To enhance their mission of sharing this history, the house is embarking on a documentary film project.

To fund this project Orchard House hopes to raise at least $150,000 by running a Kickstarter
funding campaign, which officially launches on September 17th.

Watch a preview video here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632439913/orchard-house/widget/video.html
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Tremendous legacy

Orchard House is one of the oldest, most authentically-preserved historic house museums in America, and brings the Alcott legacy in the fields of literature, art, education, philosophy, and social justice to life every day.

Unique tour experience

Named Best Literary House in New England by Yankee Magazine this June, Orchard House offers highly acclaimed tours, unique living history events, curriculum-based educational programs, and irreplaceable original family furnishings and archives. Annually, more than 50,000 visitors from all walks of life and every corner of the globe experience Orchard House — and discover what it means to be ‘home’.

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A chance to share stories

“We’re so delighted to begin this project” says executive director Jan Turnquist, “there are many stories to be told about Orchard House. While we won’t have the time to tell all of them, the documentary will certainly be a positive tool for us to share many of them and to engage generations of supports – old and new – from around the world.”

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First time on film

The history of the house, its inhabitants, and supporters have not been the subject of a documentary before. Once made, the film will offer highlights from each period of the house’s more than 300 year history and feature interviews with celebrity supporters of the house, such as Annie Leibovitz and John Matteson. Along with executive director Turnquist, the Orchard House Board of Directors and its many dedicated staff and volunteers are looking forward to this opportunity for progressive outreach.

 

For more information on
Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House:

Executive Director, Jan Turnquist jturnquist@louisamayalcott.org
Louisa May Alcott House Orchard House
399 Lexington Road
Concord, Massachusetts 01742
www.louisamayalcott.org

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632439913/orchard-house 

Book recommendation: The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick

I have had a secret longing to read young adult books because they read quickly. With all the heavy reading I’ve had to do lately, it’s nice to just fly through a book without taking notes or analyzing each paragraph. Yet, I always felt I should not be reading such books since I am an adult. After hearing Cathlin Davis’ stirring defense of the value of children’s literature at the Summer Conversational Series (see previous post) I confessed to the group that I felt like I had received permission to read children’s literature!

I had already started reading The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick and this made the reading even more fun.

About the author and the premise of the book

Heather Vogel FrederickThe Mother-Daughter Book Club (first in a series) focuses on four mothers and their pre-teen daughters living in Concord, MA and reading Little Women. The project was suggested to the author as she herself lived in Concord for seven years, right down the street from Orchard House. In the notes following the story she writes that she rode her bike past the home, dreaming of becoming a writer. She likens herself to Louisa in her love of exploring nature, reading books and writing stories.

Main characters

The main characters mirror in part the March sisters: Emma is the wanna-be writer and bookworm, Jess is the gentle and shy animal lover, Megan is the vain and spoiled aspiring fashion designer and Cassidy is the rambunctious tomboy and athlete who plays hockey. It appears that Meg is the only March sister not represented by this group.

Unique point of view

the-mother-daughter-book-club (for LMA blog)Frederick uses an interesting method in laying out the story, devoting chapters to each girl, using their unique point of view to describe what is happening. While it gets a bit confusing trying to remember whose mom is whose, it’s a wonderful way to get inside the head and heart of each character.

Familiar territory

The Mother-Daughter Book Club covers the sixth grade year of the girls with all the familiar drama of middle school. I found myself reminiscing about life in the sixth grade as I read about the Fab Four (the cool kids who terrorize everyone – Megan is a part of this crowd), crushes on boys, the obsession with clothes, and sticking out for being “different.” It reminded me of just how complicated it was to be twelve years old.

Each daughter has a dilemma:

  • Emma, who is plain, overweight and wears hand-me-downs, has a mad crush on Zack, the hunk.
  • Jess lives on an organic farm that dates back to the Revolutionary War and is teased mercilessly by the Fab Four who call her “Goat Girl.”
  • Megan comes from a family who suddenly came into wealth and has been changed from Emma’s imaginative friend into an elitist snob who shuns her friend in favor of becoming part of the Fab Four.
  • Cassidy is an out-and-out tomboy who is grieving the loss of her father and finds comfort in playing hockey, something her mother disapproves of.

The mothers have their stories too:

  • Emma’s mom is the town librarian and cooks up the idea of the book club so that mothers and daughters can spend more time together. She is supportive of Emma and the family is close.
  • Jess’ mom up and left Concord suddenly, deciding to live out her long-held dream of being an actress and landing a plum job on a top soap opera called Heartbeats. Jess, her dad and her younger twin brothers miss their mother desperately.
  • Megan’s mom is the in-your-face champion of all kinds of causes. She is a big believer in all-natural and organic foods and wants to push Megan into attending MIT so she can become an environmental lawyer. Megan would prefer being a fashion designer, something her mom feels is a frivolous pursuit.
  • Cassidy’s mom was once a fashion supermodel known as Clementine. She is all woman: beautiful, gracious and very talented in the domestic arts; a total opposite of her daughter.

Well developed, poignant and fun

little women norton versionThis then is the set-up for the four arcs of the story. They are well-developed, funny and sometimes rather poignant. There are the stereotypical minor character “bad girls” (Becca, one of the Fab Four and her obnoxious mother Calliope) and of course the book club meetings where there are many references to Louisa May Alcott and Little Women. Frederick also uses many references to Concord right down to street names, Sleepy Hollow cemetery and the recreation of the first battle of the Revolutionary War at the Old North Bridge. Being so familiar with Concord, it was fun imagining the scenes.

I enjoyed being a witness to the response of today’s pre-teens to Little Women. I also appreciated that the girls, although similar to the March sisters, had their own very distinct personalities and stories.

While the book does wrap up all the loose ends and everyone lives happily ever after, the solutions are, for the most part, believable because of the care Frederick takes in working out each dilemma.

Stamp of approval

I very much enjoyed The Mother-Daughter Book Club; it read so fast that it was hard to put down; I was sorry to see it end. I enjoyed reliving my own memories of being twelve and identified with each character.

So Cathlin Davis was right: there is no shame in reading children’s literature. I will have to do it more often as it gives me a chance to “get away from it all.” Is it a guilty pleasure? A pleasure, to be sure, especially with books like The Mother-Daughter Book Club.
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