Its not often that people get to have their dreams come true. For some people that is a reality. Michelle Romano spent her Sunday night on the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards and then out partying all night with all the A-list actors the city had to offer.
Romano hales from Revere but now lives in Hollywood, that land where movie magic happens. She moved out there in 2011 looking to make it. "I came out there as a struggling actress to get an agent, which is incredibly hard," said Romano. "Thats when I decided that I needed to produce my own movies to get seen."
Romano did just that and opened up Roman Media which has since produced three independent films and got Romano know in the industry. Her film Millwood premiered at the Canne film festival and also won awards at the Saint Tropez festival in France. "I returned home to my roots to film in Boston," said Romano. She filmed all over the greater Boston area including the Chelsea YMCA.
Her new film "The Look" is all ready receiving many nominations at the London International Film Festival and her most recent film to wrap production, now in post, "Grit" co-starred Romano with actor Casper Van Dien. "We are in the process of editing that now for Canne's film festival." Van Dien was the star of the 90's massive sci-fi film Starship Troopers.
With two films in post, Romano hasn't stopped there. "I'm in the process of working on a six picture movie deal. That if I land it, I will film the majority of them in Boston." Michelle has utilized many local resources and really wants to bring more of the movies to Boston.
With her movie career taking things forward Romano has also been taking the time to help others who are not so fortunate in life. "I'm out here trying to be an actor, but since I am out here and people recognize me, I'm getting asked to get involved with humanitarian and political things."
Romano has taken on helping out the charity Childhood Cancer Kids. The founder was a little seven year old girl stricken with cancer who had a wish to be a movie star. When Romano found out about the child, she put her in her film "Millwood." The child, Siera Preveza has since been free of cancer and now helping other children with her foundation. "I was her first donation, that night at my premier," said Romano.
Romano also volunteer when she first got to L.A at Art of Elysium where she acted and performed for children with other actors. "I have acted with David Arquete and others. I worked with them for a couple months, like three years ago, but I just got back in touch with them now that I am back in L.A." It was at a pre-globe party on Saturday for Art of Elysium where Romano got the chance to mingle with several actors including Sean Penn.
With all her Roman Media connections Romano was able to land tickets to the Golden Globes. " (It's) So amazing and so inspiring because I was surrounded by people making a living in doing what I dream of doing," said Romano.
From the Globes it was off to a night of post glove after parties. She attended the Harvey Weinstein, Fox and NBC parties where she got the chance to speak with Johnny Depp who just finished filming here in Revere this past spring for his movie on Whitey Bulger. Romano made sure to mention to him that she was from Revere and her love for Boston. "Johnny Depp was really cool and talking to people, it was cool to talk to him about it. Hollywood loves Boston."
With all that on her plate Romano still made sure to come back to Boston for the holidays and spend time with her family. She even through a holiday party to celebrate with all the people here that have helped out with her productions and Roman Media.
Romano is someone you will want to keep your eyes on.
When most people think of New England, they don't think of surfing. That's going to start to change. Surfing in New England has been on a steady rise for the past few years. Just go to Lynn or Winthrop beach on any windy day and your sure to catch any number of surfers hanging ten.
"I've seen the change in the scene where only a few guys came out to surf, to a few more and then the women. Nahant and its regulars know when to hit it and know when its kookville," said Everett surfer Jayne O'Leary.
What really makes surfing different in New England is that it's not really a summer sport. You can surf in the summer, but really it's a winter sport. When those Northeasters start to form and create huge swells, die hard surfers will be running for the beach.
Mark Wysocki has been surfing all his life here in Boston. He says he was a late bloomer starting at age ten. Wysoki surfs all year long, but knows the best waves are in the winter. "Winter is the season, its pretty much all we have" said Wysoki. "We have more low pressure systems that create more storms." If there is a Northeaster you can bet you will find Wysoki out there the day or day after hitting the waves created by the storm. "You have to have a flexible schedule, if you work a 9-5 you might just have to leave to catch the perfect waves. It's so fickle."
Most days start with Wysoki driving his kids to school. The next thing he does is check the beach. He also checks websites like magicseaweed for swell and storm info, but proclaims the best way to find waves is with your eyes.
"When there's swells the first place I usually go to look is at the rotary between lynn and nahant. That's a good beach to learn on. There's a lot of really good spots around here that aren't too crowded yet so I'm sure the guys that surf there wouldn't want it exposed," said fellow surfer Eddie Traniello.
"Last winter we had a storm every week, it was sic. This winter has been dead," said Wysoki.
Jen Morrison, a Boston resident has been surfing the east coast since 2007. Originally from New York she has fallen in love with Boston and spent the past eight years here. She is a year round surfer, braving the cold atlantic to hit the biggest waves. "The element of realizing its possible to be in the North Atlantic year round is an incredible concept and the winter surf can be throughly worth all the effort of squeezing into a 5/6MM wetsuit, 5mm mittens and 7mm booties, but one tends to be more discerning about when the surf is worth all the effort of dealing with the elements and rubber and enduring numb feet especially," said Morrison.
Morrison has really lived a surfer's lifestyle. She spent a season being a lifeguard at Montuak beach and even lived in a tent there so she could be there all the time to catch the perfect waves. When she came to New England where the water is much colder this side of the cape because of the cold Labrador current, she needed a wet suit and they are not cheap. "I got my winter wetsuit by bartering lobsters," she said. Morrison worked as a lobsterwomen in Gloucester for a season and lobsters are not the only thing she learned about while on that boat. She learned all the best places to surf. Today she is looking for a company to sponsor her so she can compete more.
Surfer Eddie Traniello, a St. Mary's graduate from Revere learned to surf here and now competes and surfs up and down the East Coast and Hawaii. "I surfed with my friends Louis and Max Meola and we would push each other to try harder. Theres a good amount of local surfers that are always around. All the guys over at Winthrop and Nahant are out there every swell." said Traniello. Surfing since he was 7, Traniello has won numerous competitions up and down the east coast. "I was in Florida at Coco beach when I did my first competition. I was around 12 then. I really wanted to get into contests just to improve and push my surfing." More recently Traniello has won the New England Longboard Classic for the past two summers. "I'd like to come back and defend that (title) each summer."
Now living in Hawaii, Traniello has continued to surf while studying environmental science at college. " The level of surfing in Hawaii is amazing. Every person I surf against in Hawaii is so talented, and that just pushes everyone to try harder. There are a lot of talented guys on the east coast too," said Traniello. While in Hawaii, Traniello still keeps his Massachusetts roots and uses boards made here in the North Shore by a man named Keith Natti at Twin Lights Glassing in Gloucester. Keith custom makes boards for surfers around the world. "Yes , twin lights glassing out of gloucester still shapes my boards. The owner is a good surfer so he knows what boards work in the different conditions i surf in," said Traniello. "Most of my boards are under six feet. Keith does a really good job designing my boards based on whether I'm using it New England or Hawaii. I usually ride a wider board in mass, it seems to fit the wave better."
Wysoki also uses and sells Keith's boards at his shop in East Boston, Wave N Pave on saratoga street. "There is nobody that can touch Keith, my board is magic," said Wysoki. "He is kinda like me, it's (surfing) our livleyhood. We work really hard for what we do, it's a lot of sacrifice."
Keith Natti has been making boards for twelve years and works with all types of surfers to get them the right board. "Every board I make I treat as if it was for the greatest surfer out there," said Keith. "There is a rather small core group of surfers that call metro north home and until recent years it was very small." That group is growing and more and more people are getting into the water or wanting to learn how to surf. Just google surf lessons and you will get a number of surf teachers here in Boston willing to teach you.
"Basically, as long as there is a wave to surf people are going to surf it and if there are waves in New England / Boston people are going to stay and surf," sand Natti I see a "Surfers Dream" as a good session in the water with a handful of your closest friends. I doesn't really matter where in the world you are, if you find an uncharted spot that is not flooded with tons of other surfers then I would call that ultimate session."
"My advice would be to make sure you invest in a good wetsuit and surfboard for new England. Wave N Pave surf shop in East Boston has all the gear someone starting would need," said Traniello
Winter surfing here in Massachusetts is not a easy sport to be part of. Weeks can go by without any waves and when there are waves it will likely be ten degrees out and a crazy windchill. These men and women who surf the winter waves are dedicated individuals who don't have it as easy as other surfers in warmer parts of the world. "Some of these places with warm weather you can just put your trunks on and your good to go. That's not here," said Wysoki.
According to Natti, Boston is unlike California and we have an untapped market waiting to be realized. "I think this might be because New Englanders are a different breed of people," said Natti. "We don't follow trends (really), we are just hard working, tuff people. Ten years ago at my home break you would see maybe 15 surfers out in the water. Those where the guys that surfed in rain or shine, nor easters, sub zero temps and enjoyed every minute. These where the "locals", my neighbors, local fishermen, teachers, bankers and my friends. Now I go out and there and there might be 40 people out in the water. I might know a hand full of people."
One this for sure is that there are more surfers out there every day, and none of the surfers interviewed in this article wanted to give up their surf spots. Eddie, Mark and Keith all share a common love of the water and just want to ride waves and be happy. "As long as there are waves there will be people to surf them. Only time will tell how we will be impacted on the growing surfing culture in New England," said Natti.
Captain Tim Gover is a man of the ocean.
The Eastie resident is a third generation seamen, with both his father, Bob, and grandfather, Joseph, serving in the U.S. Navy. Gover's grandfather, Joseph S. Kennedy (whom he has named his own ship after) served in the Navy during WWI and WWII.
Gover served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1977 to 1981, before becoming a firefighter in 1985. As a firefighter, Gover worked at the MassPort Fire Department and was assigned to their fireboat, Marine One. He operated Marine One for MassPort until he retired in 2012. Bob Gover, Tim's father, also served as a Boston firefighter for more than 44 years in Charlestown.
Last summer Gover ran his boat as a ferry service for the town of Winthrop to and from Boston
Today, Tim Gover is still on the water, but this time he's not piloting boats, he's restoring them.
He currently operates a 50' 1985 Navy launch boat from the USS Roosevelt that he has restored to working condition and now operates as a charter boat. His passion for fixing up Navy boats comes from his father, Bob, who has been a volunteer crew member restoring the National Park Service's USS Cassin Young in Charlestown for the past 20 years. That's where Gover was introduced to Steve Briand, the Volunteer Liaison for the Cassin Young.
And with that introduction, the restorations began.
"I love that boat," said Gover in reference to the Cassin Young.
"I hope to get more involved with the Cassin Young restoration," said Gover. "You go over there and you're so welcome. It's great!"
Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, volunteers like Gover ranging in age from 20 to 90 head down to the Charlestown Navy Yard to work on this labor of love.
These men and women are the proud group of individuals who makeup the restoration crew of the USS Cassin Young. Their ongoing task is to keep the ship in working condition and ready to show to the public - a ship that has a long history of volunteerism within the Boston Veteran community.
The Cassin Young, DD- 793, is a Fletcher-class Destroyer.
Launched in September 1943, she served in WWII and lost 22 men in a Kamikaze attack from the Japanese in 1945. She was then sent back to the States for repair and decommissioning. In 1951, she was re-commissioned and overhauled in the Boston Navy Yard in Charlestown. She then served in Korea and the Mediterranean before being decommissioned in 1960.
The ship lay mothballed until 1974, when the Navy Department gave the ship on permanent loan to the U.S. National Park Service to be displayed at the newly created Charlestown Navy Yard, as part of the Boston National Historical Parks.
The Boston Park service chose to show the Cassin Young at its park because she represented the type of ship that was produced here in Boston during WWII. When the ship arrived in Boston in 1974, the ship was in dire need of restoration.
That restoration was completed by a majority of WWII veterans who gave their own time to restore the ship to her former glory. Since then, a dedicated group of veterans has maintained the ship in concert with the Park Service and Navy, who work continuously to keep the ship in peak condition.
Gover is not a full time volunteer for the Young like his father, but he tries to make it down to the ship on as many Saturdays as he can. His goal is to restore one of the Young's launch boats that is in need of some careful restoration.
"It needs to be cleaned up nice, tools and time, " commented Gover. At the moment, Gover is busy getting his boat the UB85 Joseph S. Kennedy ready for the spring and summer. He is hoping to relocate it to Boston Harbor so that he can run historical harbor tours of the Navy Yard and Harbor Islands to tourists who want to know more about Boston Harbor and the Navy's history in the Harbor.
He is applying for permits to shuttle people from the Charlestown Navy Yard to anywhere in the harbor and for tours. He knows the harbor and history and wants to do more.
He's hoping he can leave a lasting impression on the Harbor with his continued work on the Cassin Young
When he's not helping to restore the USS Cassin Young in Charlestown, Eastie's Tim Gover is making a run in his own restored boat, the USS Joseph S. Kennedy - named after his grandfather.
He's hoping he can leave a lasting impression on the Harbor with his continued work on the Cassin Young