Saturday, February 28, 2009

Literally Salem is Coming Soon

From Friday March 27 through Sunday March 29, Salem's Annual Literary Festival, Literally Salem, will take place. For more detailed information, you may go to .

From March 27th through March 29, Salem, Massachusetts will take the weekend to celebrate the literary arts with author readings, writing workshops, open mics, word-game tournaments, parties, and more!

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN SALEM will provide the setting for Literally Salem, Salem's annual literary festival, with events taking place at several centralized downtown locations.

Preview of Events


Brunonia Barry (The Lace Reader, Harper Collins, 2008)
Hannah Tinti (The Good Thief, Dial Press, 2008)
Adam Braver (Mr. Lincoln’s Wars, Divine Sarah, November 22,1963 and others)
Jan Elizabeth Watson (Asta in the Wings, Tin House Books, 2009)
Laurie Stolarz (Deadly Little Secret, Project 17, Blue is for Nightmares and others)
Stacy DeKeyser (Jump the Cracks, Flux, 2008)

The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2009

Writing Workshops

Poetry Prompts
Creativity and Sense of Place
Writing with the Senses
Finding an Agent

Other Events

Thursday’s Theater of Words & Music
Scrabble Tournament
Tribute to John Updike
Dream Interpretation
Salem Theatre Company’s An Evening of Pinter

Literary Marketplace

Please visit often over the upcoming weeks...

new events are being added daily!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lindsay Otis is Our Hawthorne Catering Sales Person

Here you see Lindsay at PEM, the Peabody Essex Museum.
Above the background is the soaring Atrium, with all of its fabulous natural light.

In this photo you can see the juxtaposition of the modern museum addition, and a glimpse of the 18th century decorative arts that are part of the ground floor display.

This fabulous circular staircase connects several of the galleries, and also makes a wonderful backdrop for photos.

These statues guard one of the gallery entrances, and once again, add great interest and texture to any photos you might want to do as part of your event at PEM.

If you want to talk to Lindsay about booking an event, at PEM, or at any other venue on the North Shore where we can cater for you, please call her at 978-745-9500, extension 3156.

I hope to see you there!

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

March Tavern Specials

Every month we offer three special THREE-COURSE dinners, for one very low price. Here are the selections for March.

Two Dinners
For $29 (or $14.50 each)

The Tavern at
The Hawthorne Hotel

On Sundays, Mondays,
Tuesdays and Wednesdays
From 5pm – 10pm

March Choices

New England Pot Roast Dinner
potatoes, aromatic vegetables
Roasted Salmon
dilled butter sauce, lemon rice, sautéed fresh spinach

One-Third Rack of Barbequed Pork Ribs
French fries, coleslaw

Each Entrée served with a Small Mixed Green Salad
Or Cup of the Soup of the Day,
Chef’s Choice of Dessert
These new menu selections will be valid starting March 1, through April 1.
I hope to see you here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Salem Film Fest is Opening This Week

Here is a synopsis of the Salem Film Festival, opening today at Cinema Salem. To view an enlarged version, just click on it. To go the their website for all the information, including the times for each show, go to

I hope to see you here, before or after the show.


Mardi Gras Specials Featured in the Tavern This Week

This week the Tavern is featuring specials from New Orleans and the Bayou State in honor of our special promotion, "Mardi Gras and Martinis". This is the Crayfish and Shrimp Etouffee, served over "Dirty Rice", which was absolutely delicious. Etouffee means smothered, and this Louisiana favorite is made with a classic brown roux, lots of vegetables slowly cooked with spices into a very flavorful sauce.

Here are the rest of the menu specials for this week:

Martinis of the Week

Voodoo Juice

Jambalaya-style Soup

Chicken, Sausage Gumbo
cheddar grits

Shrimp, Crawfish Etouffee
dirty rice

Muffuletta-Style Burger
French fries and a pickle spear

Dessert of the Day
Warm Beignets

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Monday, February 23, 2009

A Wedding Rehearsal

Recently we hosted the wedding of Ellen and Alex, here at the Hawthorne Hotel. Since they had both the ceremony and the reception here, I had the opportunity to photograph their rehearsal as well.

Liz Marchetti, one of our excellent wedding coordinators, ran the rehearsal. You can certainly tell which one she is -- since Liz is a teacher by day, she definitely will take charge in a situation like this, and she makes sure that everyone knows what they are to do, and how to do it.

The minister in this case was Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo, who is the Parish Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead. She was also very much in a teaching mode, and she is obviously experienced in making sure none of the details are omitted, thus making for a meaningful and beautiful ceremony.

I was also able to capture some of the fun that this great group of people had with each other, and you will see all of this in the photos below.

While the wedding was in the Ballroom, we actually conducted the rehearsal in the Essex Room this day. There are times when the room where the ceremony will take place is not available at a time convenient for everyone involved, so we are fortunate that we have a number of spaces here in the hotel that will still work to hold the rehearsal.

I hope you enjoy this kind of behind-the-scenes look at yet another event, and another day in the life of the Hawthorne Hotel.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hawthorne Hotel's Flags of the Week ~~ February 23 through March 1, 2009

Monday , February 23 ~~ Venezuela and Arkansas
Tuesday , February 24 ~~ Vietnam and California
Wednesday , February 25 ~~ Yemen and Colorado
Thursday , February 26 ~~ Zambia and Connecticut
Friday , February 27 ~~ Dominican Republic and District of Columbia
Saturday , February 28 ~~ Zimbabwe and Delaware
Sunday , March 1 ~~ Afghanistan and Florida

On Friday we are flying the flag of the Dominican Republic because it is their independence day, and a number of our staff members are from there, and asked us to fly this flag to honor their special day. We are happy to oblige.

If you have a special request, simply call us at 978-825-4322 and leave a message if you don't get right through. We will do our best to honor your request.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Terrifically Nice Thank You Note for Our Valentine's Day Blog Post

It is so nice to be thanked for something, but even nicer when it is done in a professional and polite manner. This Thank You Note is a great example of that. If you missed the blog post of this Valentine's Day proposal, just scroll back one week on our blog to see it.

To view it in an enlarged format, simply click directly on the note.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Great Exhibit Comes to PEM

Because some of these items are already on display throughout the regular collections, I was able to catch these photos before the exhibit officially opens on February 21. I hope you enjoy this sneak preview, and I hope to see you here.

Press Release courtesy of PEM

The only East Coast venue for the acclaimed Sigg Collection



This winter, an exhibition of works from the foremost collection of contemporary Chinese art comes to the Peabody Essex Museum February 21 through May 17, 2009.

PEM is the exclusive East Coast venue for Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, an assemblage of provocative works organized by the Berkeley Art Museum. Featuring paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations and video, Mahjong reflects four decades of artistic exploration.

The last forty years of unprecedented social, political and economic transformation forged a generation of Chinese artists unlike any who came before. From times of restriction and relative obscurity, through more recent years of increased artistic freedom and record-breaking international auctions, Chinese artists observed the changes around them and navigated their own internal landscapes. Now China is home to one of the most dynamic and innovative contemporary art scenes in the world.

"The Sigg Collection is enormously important because it is the first attempt to coalesce the extraordinary artistic developments that have taken place in China over the last forty years. While the collection includes significant and early examples of many artists’ works, it also promotes understanding of the complexity of Chinese culture and the country's emergence as a global powerhouse," said Trevor Smith, PEM Curator of Contemporary Art.

For years, Chinese artists were obligated to work within state requirements, isolated from many artistic developments around the world. The current dynamism of Chinese contemporary art was inspired not only by the magnitude of change in recent decades, but also by a rich artistic tradition thousands of years old. As artists began to explore a less restrictive field of possibilities for their work, two overarching themes emerged:

Individual and Society
In contrast with the strong abstract tendencies often seen in modern Western art, a great deal of China’s contemporary art has been figurative in character — the visual legacy of Soviet era Social Realism. Cinema, photography, pop art and advertising have fused with this style resulting in the work of artists such as Liu Xiaodong’s painting of party cadres on holiday, and Hai Bo’s restaging of a photograph taken during the era of the Cultural Revolution. The rise of a burgeoning consumer economy, the immensity of sprawling cities and the new propaganda of brand culture have also provided ample inspiration for many Chinese artists.

Tradition Revisited
For over 1,500 years, the genre of Chinese painting known as shanshui (mountains/water) has used the landscape to express emotional states and intellectual concepts. In contemporary Chinese art, the theme is fertile ground for exploration by Liu Wei, who uses images of the human body to evoke a mountain landscape and Feng Mengbo, who collaborated with collector Uli Sigg using digital technology to produce a large-scale painting.

Several artists use destruction as a medium for creation. Ai Weiwei, for example, presents fifty-six Chinese Neolithic urns collected from antique markets, valued for bearing some of the earliest examples of Chinese painting. He has taken the bold step of coating many of the urns, each thousands of years old, with a layer of whitewash making the original markings illegible, and leaving viewers with only the form to contemplate.

About Uli Sigg
Uli Sigg is a Swiss businessman who was Vice President of the first joint venture between China and the West in 1979. He was the Swiss Ambassador to China, Mongolia and North Korea from 1995 to 1998. He has observed firsthand the evolution of Chinese contemporary art as an artistic idiom in its own right, and made his first purchases in the 1990s. Since then, Mr. Sigg has acquired more than 2,500 works by over 200 contemporary artists from China. His wish is to ultimately return the works to China for permanent installation in an as-yet-to-be determined institution.

HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

ADMISSION: Adults $15; seniors $13; students $11. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang.

INFO: Call 978-745-9500 or visit our Web site at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wow, What a Photograph!

If you have not yet seen "To the Ends of the Earth" at PEM, this image should certainly encourage you to come and visit. Add to that the fact that this wonderful exhibit is closing far too soon (March 1) and you really need to get moving and come to see it soon.

The following Boston Globe article was forwarded to us by PEM public relations staff, so I am hopeful that I am using it here with permission. Linda Matchan did a wonderful job of writing about the Film Festival at PEM this week:


By Linda Matchan
Globe Staff / February 15, 2009
The Peabody Essex Museum's current exhibition of paintings inspired by the Arctic and Antarctic ("To the Ends of the Earth, Painting the Polar Landscape," through March 1) is all about extremes: extreme temperatures experienced by extreme adventurers in geographically extreme regions.

But in case that point somehow eluded you, the museum's one-day Polar Film Festival gives it to you again, cinematically. Next Saturday you can park yourself at the Museum and take in three back-to-back documentaries about the Arctic and Antarctic - "Nanook of the North," "Abandoned in the Arctic: The True Story of the Greely Expedition," and "Encounters at the End of the World."

"They're about extreme majesty, extreme places, extreme people," says Martha Almy, the museum's director for new media.

It was a bit of a challenge to select a film program to complement the paintings show. "Between the nature documentaries and the historical documentaries there is a lot of material out there," said Sam Scott, who curated "To the Ends of the Earth." "There are plenty of good films about polar bears and so on. But because the show is about the human connection and the way in which we try to imagine and understand these remarkable and extreme places, we wanted to come up with films that echoed that."

This means no films about "fluffy penguins," as iconoclastic filmmaker Werner Herzog makes clear when he narrates "Encounters at the End of the World," his documentary about Antarctica which garnered an Oscar nomination this year. While many who film the region are captivated by what's apparent (as in fluffy penguins), Herzog is drawn to that which is below the radar, literally and figuratively. He films several dives beneath the ice and reveals a hidden world that's so surreal it's, well, otherworldly. "You can't believe it's the planet you live on," says Almy, who is also a filmmaker. "Some of the formations under the water look like depictions in a science fiction movie."

It's also hard to believe some of the personalities he interviews, members of the hidden society of research scientists and support workers who for their own particular eccentric reasons have chosen to live at the lowest point of planet Earth. There is the researcher whose after-hours performance art routine includes stuffing her body into a compact luggage bag; and a man named Ashrita Furman who aims to break a Guinness record on every continent. In Antarctica, he completed the fastest mile on a pogo stick. "In that raw exposed territory there is a freedom for them and Herzog draws it out in a gentle human way," says Almy. "Although sometimes it's uncomfortable. It's like, 'stop revealing!' "

Where the Herzog film dwells in the art film realm, "Abandoned in the Arctic," is a historical documentary directed by Massachusetts filmmaker Gino Del Guercio (see interview, N11). It's the riveting story of the controversial and ill-fated 1881 expedition led by Lieutenant Adolphus Greely to the Canadian Arctic, an expedition with a grim outcome surrounded by mystery and scandal. Greely left behind meticulous diaries of his journey, which enabled a six-person team (including Greely's great-great-grandson) to retrace the trip by kayak in 2004.

No polar film festival could be complete without the classic "Nanook of the North" (1922) by Irish-American director Robert Flaherty, regarded as the father of the documentary. The silent 64-minute film is a staple of introductory film classes and hailed as the first observational documentary, one which continues to shape the Western view of Inuit life in the Arctic.
It documents the formidable challenges of an Inuk named Nanook and his family in the Canadian Arctic. Flaherty watched Nanook desperately fight to extract a seal from a hole in the ice; watched an igloo being constructed, observed Nanook nearly get lost in a sudden snowstorm. To this day, Nanook is regarded as one of the most memorable characters in documentary history.
But for all its inspired authenticity, the film was criticized because aspects of it were manipulated by the filmmaker. Nanook's wives were not really his wives, for example, but were actually cast for the film. "It's been fraught with questions like, "What is [Flaherty's] presence, how does it affect the subject, is he really dealing with the subjects as people who are living on the same earth as he is?" Almy said. "Or is it a behind-the-glass diorama of anthropology?"

Polar Film Festival, Peabody Essex Museum, Feb. 21. "Nanook of the North," 11 a.m.; "Abandoned in the Arctic," 1 p.m.; "Encounters at the End of the World," 3:30 p.m.; call 978-745-9500.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cinema Salem Offers Lots to Do in the Coming Week

Here is their terrific newsletter -- don't forget that the Hawthorne Hotel offers two dining/adult beverage drinking options, so this makes us the perfect place to stop in, either before or after an event at Cinema Salem.

I hope to see you here (or there!)



Today begins one of the most exciting stretches in CinemaSalem history, so pay close attention. To make it easy, we'll use all caps to spell out the day we're talking about.

WEDNESDAY: The excitement begins tonight with our weekly "Lost" Party in the CinemaSalem Café, starting at 8:00 when you share your personal theories, and then everyone watches the mythical, mysterious TV show at 9:00. Fans of the show love watching it in a big group and on the big screen.

THURSDAY: Tomorrow night it's the first " presents Discount Variety" (FGH.cPDV for short) extravaganza, also in the Café, featuring comedy and music all mixed together into a delightful smoothie of entertainment pleasure. (Speaking of smoothies, you can purchase many varieties of them while you're chortling (at the comedy) or nodding meaningfully (at the music)).

You can arrive between 7:30 and 8:30 when the show starts. It will be videotaped for broadcast on YouTube, so you could become quite famous just by showing up. The ticket price is only $5, unless you're a Yankees fan, in which case we have a bit of bad news. Apparently the admission price is indexed to a) payroll and b) steroid apologies, so unfortunately, the entry fee for Yankees fans has risen to $468 each. The entertainers split the gate, so they're all praying for lots of Yankees fans.

FRIDAY: This is the day we start the Oscar weekend with two big contenders, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and FROST/NIXON.

SATURDAY: If you already saw SLUMDOG and F/N, this is the day to see HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU and HOLY LAND HARDBALL.

SUNDAY: It's Oscar Night at CinemaSalem, where we're hosting a fun and funky party to benefit the Salem Film Fest, which starts next week. The event starts at 6:00 with delicious food from the Thai Place restaurant, fine wine, and good company including lots of people dressed up in black and white, which is the theme, unless you don't like themes, in which case you can just wear your regular boring clothes or your Yankees uniform, I suppose. You'll be able to watch the awards ceremony on the big screen and keep track of the winners on your Oscar Scorecard.

MONDAY: The Mom and Baby feature at 10:00 am will be SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, perhaps the first screening in the world after it will have won (or not won) Best Picture Oscar the night before.

TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY: Not too much going on except a couple of awesome opportunities to watch HOLY LAND HARDBALL while Spring Training heats up in Florida. Also, the weekly CinemaSalem email arrives on Wednesday morning.

THURSDAY starts the Salem Film Fest with the Stars of Tomorrow Talent Show, hosted by Debra Crosby of A Quest Actors Studio, and then...

FRIDAY starts the festival in earnest with the best documentary films in the world, and many filmmakers visiting in person -- but you can look for yourselves at Plus by then you'll have received another weekly email which will have arrived on WEDNESDAY.

Because we've gone on and on with the all-caps days of the week, etc., and because SLUMDOG and F/N are already famous for being 94% and 91% on Rotten Tomatoes respectively, and HE'S JUST NOT THAT is a huge national hit, and because we've already mentioned how great HOLY LAND HARDBALL is, starring Dan Duquette!, we'll just skip the raves and head straight to the showtimes.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (R) will screen on Friday and Saturday at (11:20 AM), (1:50), (4:25), 7:10 and 9:50; Sunday at (11:20 AM), (2:50) and (5:50); and Monday-Thursday at (4:25) and 7:15.

FROST/NIXON (R) will play Friday and Saturday at (11:35 AM), (2:05), (4:40), 7:25 and 10:00; Sunday at (12:00), (3:00) and (5:35); and Monday through Thursday at (4:40) and 7:30.

He's Just Not That Into You (PG-13) will screen Friday and Saturday at (11:00 AM), (1:35), (4:10), 6:55 and 9:40; Sunday at (11:45 AM), (2:30) and (5:20); Monday-Wednesday at (4:10) and 7:00; and Thursday at (4:10).

HOLY LAND HARDBALL (NR) will play Friday and Saturday at (12:00), (2:20), (4:00), 6:00, 7:45 and 9:25; Sunday at (12:15), (2:20), (4:15) and 6:00; and Monday-Thursday at (4:55) and 7:45.

Thanks for supporting CinemaSalem!

Paul Van Ness

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dewey Does Argyle

Dewey is the dog. Danny is the holder of the dog in this photo. Argyle is the sweater of the day, as you can see.

Dewey is my daughter's new puppy. He is four months old, and is a Morkie (half Yorkie, half Maltese) and just a sweet, quiet, darling little dog.

He really seems to love his new argyle sweater.

I hope to see you and your pet here at the pet-friendly Hawthorne Hotel.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Love is in the Air at the Hawthorne Hotel

Sophia's and Nathaniel's are the most romantic of dining rooms on the North Shore.

Steve Belgiorno is our piano player extraordinaire.

A heart of cocktail sauce surrounds the shrimp cocktail.

What more romantic a menu item than oysters -- these done Rockefeller style.

Grilled scallops

"Hearts" of Romaine with "Hearts" of Palm. Awwww. . . so sweet!

Chocolate Macaroon Cheesecake with Strawberry Puree

Grilled Tenderloin, Chanterelle Demi-glace

Roasted Haddock with Lobster-Chive Butter Sauce
Chocolate Heart Cake with Raspberry Puree
Red Velvet Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting
While we were serving dinner to many loving couples in Nathaniel's and Sophia's on Valentine's night, a most romantic wedding was taking place in the Ballroom. Here are some glimpses of that affair:

The "Sweetheart" table set for the new couple.

The centerpieces were appropriately stylish for Valentine's Day, but what made the tables unique were these table pictures in place of table numbers. They were all of famous couples. How cute!

Everywhere one turned on Saturday there were signs of Romance, from this lovely couple who just got married in our Ballroom, to the couples celebrating in the dining rooms.

If you came to dinner on Saturday and we took your photo, here is the link to obtain your photo(s) with our compliments:

I hope you had a wonderful time on this most romantic of days, and also that you enjoy seeing the Hawthorne Hotel's activities no matter where you were.

I hope you enjoyed your Valentine's Day, and I hope to see you back here again soon.


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