Cinema Society announces 2014-2015 Slate of Movies

It’s Movie Time again! The Talbot Cinema Society has announced its lineup of movies for the 2014-2015 season.

The Cinema Society meets at the Avalon Theatre on the first Sunday of each month, except February, when the meeting is postponed to the second Sunday in deference to the Super Bowl. Doors open at 5:15 p.m., and light refreshments are served at 5:30. At 5:45 one of the society’s famous talking heads introduces the feature, and the house lights usually go down at 6 or shortly before.

This season’s movie menu includes something for everyone: comedy; drama; blockbusters; silent classics; documentaries; and foreign films.

“Every year we try to assemble a slate of movies that will both please our existing members and attract new blood,” says Pete Howell, the Grand Poo-Bah of the Cinema Society. “We like to think that, after much thoughtful deliberation, mud-wrestling name-calling and hair-pulling, we’ve come up with a slate that will broaden the society’s appeal and keep its membership growing.”

As it is every year, the season’s first feature is the Talbot Cinema Society’s gift to the community. Everyone is invited to join the TCS members to watch Hugo, Martin Scorcese’s charming fantasy about an orphan who lives in the walls of a Paris railroad station in the 1930s, free of charge. Hugo won five Academy Awards, and was nominated for six more.

“We have an ulterior motive,” admits Howell. “We hope our guests will like what they see and decide to join the Cinema Society.”

Those who do will be able to join for just $45 per person for the entire season. Memberships will be for sale before and after the screening at the Avalon Box Office. Cash and checks will be accepted.

This season’s lineup includes:

9/7/14: Hugo: 2011. 126 minutes. Adventure/Family Drama. Rated PG. IMDB score: 7.6/10. Metacritic score: 83/100. Leonard Maltin’s rating: 3.5/4 stars. Directed by Martin Scorcese. Starring Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Richard Griffiths, Jude Law and Christopher Lee. In 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father. The boy keeps the railway clocks running on time. The only thing he has left that connects him to his dead father is an automaton that doesn’t work without a special key. Hugo needs to find the key to unlock the secret he believes it contains. 5 Academy Awards, plus 6 nominations. Golden Globe for Best Director, and nominations for Best Drama and Best Original Score. BAFTA Awards for Best Sound and Production Design, plus 8 nominations. American Film Institute Movie of the Year. Art Directors Guild Award for Best Production Design. Nominated for Directors Guild of America Award. Grammy nomination for Best Soundtrack. National Board of Review Awards for Best Film and Director. Nominated for Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

10/5/14: Picnic at Hanging Rock: 1975. 115 minutes. Australian. Rated PG. Drama/Mystery. IMDB Score: 7.6/10. Leonard Maltin’s rating: 3/4 stars. Directed by Peter Weir. During a rural picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls’ school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.Australia’s First International Hit! BAFTA Award for Cinematography. BAFTA Award nominations for Costume Design and Soundtrack. Nominated for 7 Australian Film Institute Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress.

11/2/14: My Favorite Year: 1982. 92 minutes. Comedy. Rated PG. IMDB score: 7.4/10. Leonard Maltin’s rating: 3/4 stars. Directed by Richard Benjamin. Benjy Stone (Mark-Linn Baker) is the junior writer on a top-rated variety/comedy show, in the mid 50s (the Golden Age of Television). Alan Swann (Peter O’Toole), an Erol Flynn-type movie star with a drinking problem, is to be that week’s guest star. When King Kaiser (Joseph Bologna), the star, wants to throw Swann off the show, Benjy makes a pitch to save his childhood hero, and is made Swann’s babysitter. On top of this, a union boss doesn’t care for Kaiser’s parody of him and has plans to stop the show. Also starring Lainie Kazan and Bill Macy. Academy Award nomination for O’Toole. Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Original Comedy. 3 Golden Globe nominations: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Comedy/Musical.

12/7/14: It’s a Gift: 1934. 68 minutes. Comedy. IMDB score: 7.5/10. Leonard Maltin’s rating: 4/4 stars. A henpecked New Jersey grocer (W.C. Fields) plans to move to California to grow oranges, despite the resistance of his over-bearing wife (Kathleen Howard). Included in the National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board.

1/4/15: Breaking Away: 1979. 101 minutes. Rated PG. Comedy/Drama/Sport. IMDB Score: 7.8/10. Leonard Maltin’s rating: 3.5/4 stars. Directed by Peter Yates. Written by Steve Tesich. Dave (Dennis Christopher), 19, has just graduated from high school, with his 3 friends: the comical Cyril (Daniel Stern, in his movie debut), the warm-hearted but short-tempered Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley), and the athletic, spiteful but good-hearted Mike (Dennis Quaid). Dave enjoys bicycle racing and hopes to race the Italians one day. Meanwhile, he vies for the affections of a college girl as he and his friends try to cast off their townie stigma while fighting with nearby college snobs. Great coming-of-age film shot on location in Indiana. Academy Award for Best Screenplay, plus Oscar nomina-tions for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Barbara Barrie). Golden Globe for Best Musical/Comedy, plus Globe nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best New Male Star (Christo-pher). Writers Guild of America Award. Nominated for Directors Guild of America Award. Won National Board of Review (NBR) Award for Best Supporting Actor (Paul Dooley). Included in NBR’s Top 10 Films.

2/8/15: Closely Watched Trains: 1966. 93 minutes. Czech. War Comedy/Drama. Not Rated. IMDB score: 7.8/10. Leonard Maltin’s rating: 3/4 stars. Directed by Jiri Menzel. Tragicomedy about a naïve apprentice train dispatcher’s attempts to lose his virginity during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia during World War II. In Czech and German with English subtitles. Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Nominated for Golden Globe and Directors Guild of America Award. Nominated for Best Film and Best Soundtrack by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

3/1/15: Libeled Lady: 1936. 98 minutes. Comedy/Romance. IMDB score: 7.8/10. Leonard Maltin’s rating: 4/4 stars. A newspaperman, his jilted fiancée, and his lawyer hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth, before a high-society woman can sue for libel. Starring Spencer Tracy, William Powell, Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow. Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

4/5/15: The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara: 2003. 95 minutes. History/ War. IMDB score: 8.2/10. Metacritic score: 87/100. Leonard Maltin’s rating: 3.5/4 stars. Directed by Errol Morris. A film about the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and conduct of modern warfare during the Vietnam War. Academy, National Board of Review, Chicago Film Critics Association, Independent Spirit, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and Toronto Film Critics Association Awards for Best Documentary. NOTE: April 30, 2015 will be the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War.

5/3/15: Safety Last!: 1923. 70 minutes. Silent Classic. Romantic Comedy/Thriller. IMDB score: 8.3/10. Leonard Maltin’s rating: 3/4 stars. Small-town boy Harold Lloyd moves to the big city, and goes to work as a department store clerk. But he tells his girl back home (Mildred Davis) he’s the manager. When she visits unexpectedly, he tries to exploit a publicity stunt by convincing a friend to climb the outside of a tall building. But when an angry policeman comes looking for his friend, Harold is forced to make the perilous climb himself. Even if you’ve never seen Safety Last!, you’ve probably seen the still photo of him hanging from the hand of a clock. Included in the National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board.
Anyone wishing to join the Talbot Cinema Society before the first meeting on Sept. 7 is welcome to mail his or her check to: Talbot Cinema Society, P.O. Box 222, Easton, MD 21601. Those who prepay their dues can pick up their membership cards at the box office. For more information, contact Pete Howell at or 410-924-5752.


PWEC to Liven Up Winter Weekends

The Phillips Wharf Environmental Center (PWEC) offers you five good reasons to venture out on chilly winter evenings.

Once again, PWEC is sponsoring its Winter Weekend programs, a series of Saturday evening presentations and discussions. Admission is free, and all are welcome.

All five Winter Weekend programs will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Harrison’s Chesapeake House, at 21551 Chesapeake House Dr. Attendees are invited to come at 5 p.m. for dinner before the program begins.

Dr. Darrin Lowery, an archaeologist from the University of Delaware, kicked off the series with his Bay Artifacts Roadshow on Feb. 1. Lowery displayed and discuss numerous artifacts that he has collected over the years. He also examined artifacts collected by audience members and shared some of their history.

  • On Feb. 15, Kirke Harper and Jack Harrald of Claiborne will discuss the Claiborne Resiliency Project.
  • The blue crab is the lens through which Dr. Eric Schott of the University of Maryland will examine the Health of the Bay on March 8.
  • Sewers are far from a sexy topic, but they are a vital component of the quality of life. Ray Clarke, Talbot County’s Director of Public Works, will discuss Sewer Planning for the Bay Hundred on March 22.
  • The Winter Weekend series will wrap up on April 5, with a roundtable discussion of the Chesapeake Bay’s signature sailing fleet. Captain Buddy Harrison will moderate a panel discussion of SkipjackCaptains: Remembering How It Was.

For more information about any Winter Weekend program, call the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center at 410-886-9200. To make dinner reservations at Harrison’s Chesapeake House, call 410-886-2121.

Habitat’s ReStore: a Victim of its Own Success

habEASTON – There is good news at Habitat for Humanity Choptank’s retail division, and there is bad news.

Business is booming at Habitat ReStore, the retail outlet at 8648 Commerce Drive whose proceeds are used to fund Habitat Choptank’s work.

“My goodness, we are on the map!” says ReStore Manager Lee Weldon.  Thanks in part to the rebounding housing market, new sales records were set in March, April and May.  In the quarter ended June 30, ReStore contributed $30,000 to Habitat Choptank, bringing the total that ReStore has raised since it opened in November 2010 to more than $230,000.  Sales for the quarter were up 12.5 percent, and 11.25 percent for the full fiscal year. That’s the good news.

However, Weldon, Assistant Manager Chris Walls (ReStore’s only other paid employee)  and their dedicated band of volunteers are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the inflow and outgo of gently used building materials, furniture, housewares and appliances. In his latest quarterly report, Weldon said the volunteer situation is “Reaching desperation levels.” In addition, the ReStore is bursting at the seams. That’s the bad news.

In short, Habitat ReStore is becoming a victim of its own success.  “We like what we do here, and we love being able to support Habitat’s mission of building simple, decent, affordable homes for God’s people in need,” says Weldon, “but we need more help to keep doing it.”

In an average month, it takes about 60 people to keep ReStore running smoothly.  But summertime is anything but average.  Rather, it’s an especially challenging time for Weldon and his crew.  “It’s the busiest time of the year, in terms of sales and donations,” he says.  At the same time, it’s also the season when volunteers, like everyone else, go away on vacation.

Weldon is looking to recruit, not only former construction volunteers, but also “people who want to support Habitat, but have a different skillset from construction.”  Good people skills, for example, are needed for customer service.  Construction experience is helpful, but not necessary, as is a general knowledge of hardware and building materials.

“It’s the people in the store that make it work,” says Weldon. “Without the dedicated volunteers, none of the rest of it could happen.”  And the more volunteers, the better: “It makes everybody’s job easier if we have lots of help.”

Volunteers perform many tasks at ReStore:  pricing merchandise; scheduling trucks; customer service; and warehousing.  Intake volunteers unload, store, clean up and perform simple repairs on donated items.

Department leaders are needed in hardware, appliances, electrical, home décor, seasonal and especially plumbing.  Leaders know the merchandise in their departments, are able to price items appropriately, advise customers and, says Weldon, “make sure people get the right thing for the right purpose.”

Volunteering at ReStore does not represent a major time commitment. Volunteers are only expected to put in at least four hours a week. And if they have physical limitations, Weldon will work around them.  “We take all comers,” he says, “and try to keep them busy.”

Volunteers work the following shifts: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 12 to 4 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; and 8 to 12, 10 to 2 and 12 to 4 on Saturdays.

Volunteers, by definition, are unpaid.  Yet working at ReStore has its benefits. “We try to keep it a fun environment,” says Weldon. “It’s a great spirit of camaraderie here.”  In addition, perks include a T-shirt after just 12 hours of service; employee discounts; eligibility for Volunteer of the Month; an annual banquet; and service awards for highly committed volunteers.

Becoming a volunteer is easy.  Orientations are held the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Anyone age 15 or older can volunteer, and Service Learning credit is available for students. A volunteer waiver must completed, and it can be found online at

Because ReStore’s warehouse is rapidly filling up, says Weldon, “We can only accept and resell the nicest things.” The fact that they receive them is “a sign of the generosity of our community.”

In the final quarter of fiscal year 2013, the number of donations rose 44 percent. Truck pickups increased 34 percent, due in large part to the addition of Saturdays to the pickup schedule. As a result, the number of miles logged was up 28 percent.

Although area contractors and building supply stores, such as Easton Hardware, Lowe’s and West & Callahan donate surplus materials, “Our primary source of donations continues to be individuals” who are renovating or redecorating their homes, says Weldon. And while “We appreciate all of our donors,” he says, “If you have something you wouldn’t pay for, please don’t bring it to us.” And he asks that donations be made only during regular store hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

“We’re always looking for more and better donations,” says Weldon. Even a broken appliance can be recycled for its scrap metal value. But ReStore is unable to accept certain items: opened paint cans; mattresses and box springs; upholstered furniture that is torn, stained or faded; clothing; and things that are obviously broken or not working.

To volunteer or to arrange for pickup of items you wish to donate, contact Habitat Choptank’s Restore at 410-820-6186 or


Submitted by Peter Howell for Habitat for Humanity



New Gifts Move Phillips Wharf Closer to New Center

Kelley Cox in St. Michaels with PWEC’s traveling aquarium, the “Fishmobile.”  --

Kelley Cox in St. Michaels with PWEC’s traveling aquarium, the “Fishmobile.”

The Phillips Wharf Environmental Center’s campaign to purchase the Harrison’s Oyster House property beside the Tilghman bridge just got a big boost with two new gifts totaling $25,000.  One donation was for $5,000 and another was for $20,000, both from local residents.

“We believe the Phillips Wharf project can become an important educational center for Tilghman Island and all of Talbot County,” wrote the major donor.  “Our hope is that this donation will help call attention to this project and move others to contribute toward the goal of purchasing the Harrison property.”

Kelley Cox, PWEC’s executive director, was most appreciative.  “We’re especially grateful because this is the moment when support is most needed,” she said.  “Every gift right now encourages others to step forward to secure the property before the mid-October deadline” for raising the requisite amount.

Cox says they are within sight of that goal.  “We’re getting close, and I know many people are hoping we’ll have the chance to make the Oyster House Project a reality.” When the project comes to fruition, “It will be very good for our area and for our watermen.”

Asked if she thought the money will be raised in time, Cox replied, “I think because of our recent outreach, our campaign is gaining momentum,” she said with a smile.  “This has been a good week, and we really appreciate all the support.”