JP Resident Receives City Grant to Support ‘The Pineapple Diaries’ Web Series

Jamaica Plain's Paloma Valenzuela recently received a city grant to support writing and completing the third season of "The Pineapple Diaries," a comedic web series that tells the story of four women living Jamaica Plain. The $1,000 grant was one of 29 granted from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Cultural Council, as part of the fourth round of Opportunity Fund grants for 2018 in October. “Artists are doing incredible work in every neighborhood of our city, and it’s important that we continue to recognize and support their efforts,” said Mayor Marty Walsh. “I look forward to seeing Boston’s artists advance their careers and improve our communities through this program.”

The colorful, comedic web series, which can be enjoyed in its entirety here, is part sitcom, part ode to JP. As WBUR explains:
“The Pineapple Diaries” presents familiar 20-something struggles: from navigating an unfulfilling job, to rediscovering oneself after a divorce, to trying to become an Internet celebrity in our social media-obsessed age. These heartfelt, humorous stories find undeniable authenticity while portrayed through a rich cultural lens that’s often overlooked when people think of Jamaica Plain today.


JP Craftsman Shane Maxwell Hosts Textile-Inspired Workshops at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Weaving together the themes of the current Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum exhibition, Common Threads, Shane Maxwell, a Jamaica Plain-based craftsman, who oversees textile painting and dyeing for the Boston Ballet and The Santa Fe Opera (over the summer season), is teaching his textile-inspired techniques at an ongoing museum open studio series. Maxwell's Saturday Open Studio workshop series will run every Saturday, from Oct. 13 through Jan. 12, from 11 am to 4 pm. Saturday Open Studio events are included with museum admission.


Jamaica Plain’s Becca Lewis Featured in Theater UnCorked’s ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

Jamaica Plain’s Becca Lewis was recently featured in Theater UnCorked’s "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" in Cambridge. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" is Dale Wasserman’s 1963 Tony Award-winning adaptation of the novel by Ken Kesey. Lewis plays Sandy, a good-time-girl who crashes a party in a mid-century psychiatric hospital. Many people also know the movie starring Jack Nicholson. The enhanced stage reading had two performances on Oct.


Fiddle Supergroup Kicks Off Farewell Tour with Jamaica Plain Resident

The fiddle choir Childsplay recently released their seventh album before heading out for their national farewell tour with Jamaica Plain resident McKinley James. Led by violin maker Robert Childs, Childsplay is made up of 12 fiddlers, playing a violin or viola handmade by Childs himself, and ranging from all-Ireland and national Scottish fiddle champions to members of the Boston Symphony. Childsplay’s fiddlers are accompanied by nine all-star instrumentalists, singers and dancers who altogether create the sound that is truly Childsplay. One member of Childsplay is McKinley James, who has lived in Jamaica Plain since 2015, attending school at New England Conservatory (NEC). “The community is very vibrant musically both classical and folk music, there are great contra dances and jam sessions in JP,” said McKinley.


Jamaica Plain Resident Named Executive Chef at JP’s Community Servings

Community Servings, a nonprofit provider of medically tailored meals and nutrition services to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses, recently announced the appointment of Brian Hillmer as its new executive chef. Hillmer, a resident of Jamaica Plain, brings years of culinary experience in Boston-area restaurants to the role of executive chef at Community Servings, where he is responsible for overseeing all kitchen operations including the preparation, cooking, packaging, handling and storage of 2,500 daily meals that are tailored to meet the requirements of more than 15 different medical diets. Hillmer succeeds Kevin Conner, who has been promoted to director of food service at Community Servings. “We are very excited about Brian joining the team and Kevin advancing into a management role that will be vitally important as our organization triples the output of made-from-scratch meals from our kitchen as part of our expansion project,” said David B. Waters, CEO of Community Servings. Hillmer previously served as the culinary director for the Tavern in the Square restaurant company, responsible for operations at 13 locations across four brands.