Island Summer Review
Review by Ivy Wigmore
On a recent summer Saturday night, my husband and I headed out of town to see Patrick Ledwell and Mark Haines’ Island Summer Review. Out on a clear July evening, 26 degrees, driving through velvety green and rolling hills, the promise of a full moon on the way home. Not too bad.
“Not too bad” is phrase that Ledwell explains as key to understanding Islanders. (As a native, I know full well that it can mean anything from “the most fun I ever had with my clothes on” to “I’m pioneer stock—I survive that kind of thing.” My own dad’s highest praise for a meal was “I’ve had worse.”)
What Ledwell and Haines have cooked up here is a presentation on Island culture. Islands are…special. They tend to be a little isolated because it’s harder to get to them—or away from them—than is the case with other places. That means that…well, we Islanders have our own ways. Consider the Island Summer Review a brief tutorial on the essential points of our specialness.
Ledwell’s presentation is simultaneously authentic, goofy and self-aware. In one mode, he shuffles up to the mike for a testosterone-heavy tune reminiscent of the blues classic “I’m a Man.” And totally sells it, along with a side of self-mockery—no extra charge.
He muses on the capacity of Islanders to enjoy some foods that aren’t classically beautiful. The large display features a lobster that looks particularly like some kind of bug and an oyster, which Ledwell describes as resembling nothing so much as a seal sneeze. A diagram appears to illustrate the fact that the part of our brain that processes visual input is really not close at all to the area responsible for taste. After a moment or two of thought he remarks that they can be used as a predictive tool for mate selection: “If you find someone who’s happy to slurp down a few of those, you’ve found someone who’s likely to overlook a few of your less attractive qualities.”
Another especially funny bit centred on an abysmally stupid and maniacally vicious gander on the family hobby farm, which terrorized Ledwell and his siblings. He describes—and imitates—Charlie the gander crouching, hissing, waiting in a ditch for a hapless kid to pass by. One winter, however, the Ledwell children had their revenge, devouring the Christmas goose with great gusto and merriment.
Mark Haines is an amazingly talented and versatile musician. He’s pretty funny too. He mentioned a recent competition for a song about the Island. “My song didn’t win,” he said. “I’m going to sing it for you anyway.” He was great!
Seriously, if you’re a tourist and you want to go home feeling like you’ve experienced the real spirit of the Island and have some insight into the culture, head for Harmony House to see Haines and Ledwell in performance. To my fellow Islanders: You’ll want to see it, too—it’s not too bad.