Lexington’s Rachel Dratch performs

For West - 14wepeople - Lexington native Rachel Dratch will perform in “Celebrity Autobiography” on Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Newton. (Handout)
For West - 14wepeople - Lexington native Rachel Dratch will perform in “Celebrity Autobiography” on Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Newton. (Handout)

HOMECOMING: Audiences around the world know actress and comedian Rachel Dratch for her seven-year run on “Saturday Night Live” and movie credits including “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” and “My Life in Ruins.” At 8 p.m. Saturday, local audiences can see the Lexington native performing in “Celebrity Auto­biography”   at the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center , 333 Nahanton St. in Newton.

In the award-winning comedy, the cast reads passages from real celebrity memoirs. Dratch will share the stage with New Jersey resident Alan Zweibel,   an original “Saturday Night Live” writer; New York stand-up comedian Jackie Hoffman ; and California resident Eugene Pack,  a writer, producer, actor, playwright and cocreator of “Celebrity Autobiography.”

Dratch said she enjoys returning regularly to her hometown, where family and many friends from school still live.


“Lexington was a very idyllic place to grow up, even though it wasn’t until I left that I realized all the charms of Massachusetts,” said Dratch, who attended the town’s schools and graduated from Dartmouth College. “Like the fresh smell in the air. Now that I live in New York, I don’t have that.”

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Dratch, who is a veteran of “Celebrity Autobiography” performances in New York, describes the show as a “very goofy, fun evening.”

“You will laugh,” she predicted, noting that previous material has included the self-penned words of Madonna,  Joan Lundon, and Neil Sedaka, who, for example, discusses at length what he orders in restaurants. Another performance featured a montage of perspectives on the same event described in individual books by Burt Reynolds, his ex-wife Loni Anderson, and his former secretary, Elaine Hall.  

There is one book in particular, however, that Dratch hopes is never featured: her own recently published auto­biography, “Girl Walks into a Bar . . . Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle.”  “If it is,” she said, “that will mean it is being soundly mocked.”

The show is part of the Ryna Greenbaum JCC Center for the Arts programming within the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston. Tickets may be purchased for $26 at 617-965-5226 or boxoffice@jccgb.org.


MAN’S BEST FRIEND: As founder and longtime executive director of Greyhound Friends Inc.  in Hopkinton,  Louise Coleman  is widely known for overseeing the placement of many thousands of greyhounds from now-closed race tracks in New England and Florida. Fewer are aware, however, of the Sherborn resident’s connection with the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in Kentucky.

Through the prison’s Camp Canine Program, stray dogs brought to the Kentucky Humane Society are matched with inmates who train and care for them before they are transferred four to eight weeks later to an animal shelter. Many of these canine graduates are certified as companion animals, which Coleman said makes them desirable because the dogs are so well socialized, in addition to having been neutered or spayed, housebroken, and given all their shots.

When the dogs arrive at Greyhound Friends, volunteers fine-tune their obedience skills and other basic competencies, such as walking on a leash. Although the numbers vary, according to Coleman, five or six dogs typically arrive from Camp Canine each month, with many of the animals transferred to Dog Orphans Humane Society in Douglas,  Sweetpea F.O.R. Animals Inc. in Paxton, and animal rescue leagues in Dedham, Boston, and Brewster.

“It’s amazing to think these were throw-away dogs rescued from high-kill shelters in one part of the country, and then they come here and are so sought after,” Coleman said. “What we do is definitely a salvage operation.”

For details, call Greyhound Friends at 508-435-5969.


REDEFINING RETIREMENT: In 2005, Caitrin Lynch (inset below) was walking in the center of her hometown of Needham when she literally bumped into an employee leaving his job at Vita Needle Co.  As Lynch looked up at the company sign, the middle-age man told her: “You should check it out. I’m by far one of the youngest people working there.”

Having just finished her first book, about female workers in Sri Lanka’s global garment industry, the cultural anthropologist did just that.

At 7 p.m. Thursday at the Newton Free Library, Lynch will introduce her new book, “Retirement on the Line,” show clips from a German documentary about the factory, and interview a panel of seniors who work at Vita Needle.

Founded in 1932, the fifth-generation family-owned company manufactures needles, stainless-steel tubing and pipes, and custom-fabricated parts. While the median age is 74, according to Lynch, its employees range in age from 18 to 100.

Lynch, associate professor of anthropology at Olin College of Engineering in Needham and a visiting anthropology research associate at Brandeis University in Waltham, hopes the book will provide inspiration and lessons about the value of older workers.

She notes that the sense of identity, purpose, and social connection that employees derive from their jobs is especially poignant during economic downturns, when seniors may be forced to retire earlier than anticipated.

“People of all ages want to feel like they belong and they matter,” said Lynch, who worked alongside her subjects at Vita Needle for a summer. “When employers are creative about how they structure jobs and who they employ, it can be a win-win for both parties.”

The event is cosponsored by the Newton Human Rights Commission and the city’s Department of Senior Services.  For more information, call the library at 617-796-1360 or visit www.retirementontheline.net.


LESSONS OF HISTORY: Arlington resident Thomas Putnam,  director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, will present “13 Days in October: The Cuban Missile Crisis 50 Years Later” on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Arlington High School.  

Putnam (inset below) will recount how close the United States and the Soviet Union came to nuclear war, using archival video and excerpts from secretly recorded tapes, and discuss how lessons from the Cold War might apply now. Arlington resident David Whitford, editor-at-large at Fortune magazine, will be the moderator.

The program is the first in Arlington Community Education’s fall speaker series, which is cosponsored by the League of Women Voters of Arlington.  Admission is $5, with tickets available at www.arlingtoncommunityed.org and at the door. For more information, call 781-316-3568.  

BANKING NEWS: Robert Madden (inset below) of Brookline has been named vice president of residential lending at Needham Bank. He will be based at the bank’s Needham location; it also has branches in Wellesley, Westwood, Medfield, and Dedham.

Madden, who has 27 years of experience in mortgage banking, was previously a mortgage loan officer at Cambridge Savings Bank. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from ­SUNY Oneonta, and is a registered member of the National Mortgage Licensing System.  

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@ globe.com.