Editor’s Note September/October 2011

Little, Big

By Ilan Mochari

John Crowley’s novel Little, Big (1981) is about many things, but one of its themes is how tiny spaces are windows to larger (imaginary) worlds. There’s something of Crowley’s creation in Somerville, a 4.1 mile city whose scope, at times, seems global. Not long ago, Assembly Square brought to mind a Loews movie theater and the Good Time Emporium. These days, the 145-acre area is making headlines because of worldwide corporations like Ikea and Wal-Mart. In case you missed the Wal-Mart news, the $419-billion retailer intends to open a 34,000 square-foot supermarket where Circuit City used to be. Is that good news? Opinions will vary, but your take on the matter will be more informed after reading Martha Spizziri’s report.

Corporations are not the only big fish in small cities. Unbeknownst to many, Somerville is home to three world-class martial arts instructors. Mark DellaGrotte of Sityodtong USA (100 Broadway) has trained mixed martial arts fighters such as Kenny Florian and Stephan Bonnar; Andrew Haynes of Corpbasics (73 Bow St) is a member of the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame; and William Gleason of Shobu Aikido (34 Allen St) is a 6th degree black belt who studied in Japan with the actual founder of aikido. These biographical facts are just the beginning of their stories. You can find out more in Meghann Ackerman’s feature, “The Fight Club”.

On September 13, the first round of Somerville elections takes place, with three Ward 7 alderman candidates vying for two spots on the November 8 ballot. This fall, the city will also see heated races for Ward 3, Ward 4 and aldermen-at-large. To learn about these contests, see Matthew Korb’s extensive breakdown of the candidates, including those for school committee. And if you’ve ever wondered what the school committee does, Matthew’s second article is a primer on the topic – and the final chapter of our four-part series on Somerville schools.

You might be hard pressed to find a resident who can not only name her alderman and school committee member, but also describe their positions on issues. But if you know realtor Thalia Tringo, you know she just happens to be one of those people. To even call her a realtor is a misnomer; it’s her profession, but a more accurate description of her role in the community is “advocate/expert on local issues and fundraising/networking impresario.” She’s also an artist. You’ll get to know her a little better in Jason Rabin’s profile.

It was not long ago that the members of hip-hop group DC FAM were walking the hallways of Somerville High School (81 Highland Ave). These days, when they’re not recording one of their many outstanding videos on YouTube (bit.ly/ooTpsc), you might find them at Middle East in Cambridge, opening for former Wu-Tang Clan members Masta Killa and Inspectah Deck. Maja Orsic has the DC FAM lowdown. These guys will make you get up and dance.

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