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MIGHT AT MFA: They Might Be Giants, but they’ll definitely be at the Museum of Fine Arts next weekend. TMBG’s John Linnell and John Flansburgh — originally from Lincoln — stage a pair of homecoming shows in Remis Auditorium on August 17 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary and to accompany the MFA’s run of director A.J. Schnack’s new TMBG documentary Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns). Lauded on celluloid as pop visionaries by an array of contemporaries and commentators from NPR’s Ira Glass and Sarah Vowell to former Pixie Frank Black and Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, the duo have expanded their reach in recent years, marketing the first Internet-only album, composing a wide array of incidental music and film and television themes (they won a Grammy for "Boss of Me," from Fox’s Malcolm in the Middle), and, most recently, taking a shot at children’s music (No!, on Rounder/Universal). Both Johns, along with Schnack and producer Shirley Moyers, will also grace the MFA on August 18, when a special screening of Gigantic at 7 p.m. will be followed by a Q&A and reception. Tickets to the August 17 performances (which will be preceded by a 4:15 regular-price screening of Gigantic) are $32; tickets to the August 18 screening and reception are $15; tickets to regular screenings of the film (through September 14) are $8. The MFA is at 465 Huntington Avenue; call (617) 369-3306.

FRAMINGHAM BLUES: Journeyman blues-guitar monster Edgar Winter heads up the annual Framingham Blues Festival next Saturday, August 17, at Bowditch Field, on Union Street in Framingham, along with Ronnie Earl, Entrain, the Fat City Band, and others. The festival runs from noon to 9 p.m., and tickets are $14 in advance or $18 at the gate. Call (617) 816-3005.


Dune Tunes 9

High on the list of the many and varied passions of the late Charles "Trey" Helliwell III, who was murdered in May of 2001, were music and the sea. He was a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a licensed charter captain, and a member of the Stone Horse Yacht Club in Harwich Port. And through his production company, Baitfish, he was a tireless promoter of all sorts of music, from Massachusetts’s broiling underground-rock scene to the blues and Cajun roots musics of New Orleans. The point where these twin loves intersected was a beach shack overlooking the ocean from atop the sand dunes in Wellfleet, where he cultivated an annual rite of rock-and-roll passage he called "Dune Tunes" — a weekend away from the city with a bunch of top-notch bands playing from noon until early morning at a place called the Wellfleet Beachcomber, with the sun and the sand and the sea a few footprints away. Nothing fancy, but at times it could seem like Heaven.

And so it is fitting that the Dune Tunes tradition has been extended in Helliwell’s memory. Next Friday and Saturday, the series will continue with a weekend of performances by Mr. Airplane Man, 27, the Count Me Outs, the Kickovers, the Downbeat Five, and more. The proceeds will benefit the Trey Helliwell Memorial Fund, which was established to teach children about the sea.

This will be the ninth annual edition of Dune Tunes, and the second since Helliwell’s death. This past June, a 30-year-old former George Clinton roadie named Sean Salley and his accomplice, 31-year-old Andre Smith, were convicted and sentenced to 120 years in prison for the execution-style murders of Helliwell and two others — 39-year-old Jennifer Stahl, a high-end marijuana dealer and former actress who’d had a bit part in the movie Dirty Dancing, and a 32-year-old classical-trombonist named Stephen King (no relation) — during a botched robbery at Stahl’s apartment above midtown Manhattan’s famed Carnegie Deli. Helliwell’s girlfriend, Rosemond Dane, and an entertainment-industry hairdresser named Anthony Veader were shot and survived.

Trey Helliwell sometimes seemed to be everywhere, and to know everyone. When I first met him, at the first Terrastock Festival in Rhode Island, he was looking for ice to share a batch of absinthe he’d brewed while making his annual pilgrimage to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival. By then he’d already made a name for himself with the Loud Music Festival, an indie-rock showcase staged initially in Northampton and later in Boston. He shared an office in a Chinatown loft with the local label CherryDisc, and from there he promoted a string of shows in Boston and on the Cape. (Former CherryDisc co-owner Graham Wilson, a close friend of Helliwell’s who is now the marketing director of Boston’s Weekly Dig, is the man responsible for keeping Dune Tunes alive these past two years.)

The Dune Tunes series became a eagerly awaited event for both fans and musicians, who often continued their revelry together into the wee hours of the morning along the shore just outside the Beachcomber, thanks to the truckload of bonfire wood and the cases of beer that seemed to materialize magically in Helliwell’s presence. His last big endeavor was the Cape Cod Summer Music Festival in Falmouth in 1999 — a typically eclectic gig including performances by Morphine, the Violent Femmes, and Buckwheat Zydeco. It still seems incomprehensible that a man who had such a knack for creating good times at perfect places could perish as the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But Trey might have agreed that something so simple as a good time at the right place, a fond memory in the making, is as fitting a tribute as anyone could ask for.

The Wellfleet Beachcomber’s ninth annual Dune Tunes weekend, presented in memory of Trey Helliwell, takes place next weekend, August 16 and 17, beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday with the Downbeat Five, Mr. Airplane Man, and 27 and at 4 p.m. on Saturday with Mr. Airplane Man, the Count Me Outs, and the Kickovers. The Beachcomber is at the end of Cahoon Hollow Road in Wellfleet. Call (508) 349-6055, or visit


Issue Date: August 8 - 15, 2002
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