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Obama’s on course; Nixon’s on the job

Bob Nixon was busy yesterday in his Martha’s Vineyard studio working on his documentary, “Mission Blue.’’ Bob Nixon was busy yesterday in his Martha’s Vineyard studio working on his documentary, “Mission Blue.’’ (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
August 27, 2010

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OAK BLUFFS — Maybe there is a vast right-wing conspiracy after all.

President Obama always plays golf at a snail’s pace, but his round at Farm Neck Golf Club yesterday was more deliberate than usual. Why? A Secret Service agent who approached as we watched POTUS sink a short putt said the hackers ahead of the president were moving slowly.

That’s OK. Obama looked plenty content to take his time as he played yet another round of golf — his fourth in seven days — with a group that included White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, friend Cyrus Walker, who is a cousin of Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, and the ubiquitous Dr. Eric Whitaker, an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center who has accompanied the president on every public outing of the first family’s 10-day Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

Earlier in the day, while Obama was still holed up at Blue Heron Farm, we hightailed it over to Menemsha, the fishing village on the island’s south side where some people are actually working this week.

One of them is Bob Nixon, son of Agnes Nixon, creator of two of our all-time favorite soap operas, “All My Children’’ and “One Life to Live.’’ Bob Nixon owns the Homeport, the Beach Plum Inn, and the Menemsha Inn, but at the moment he’s busy making a movie.

Called “Mission Blue,’’ it’s a documentary about Sylvia Earle, the celebrated oceanographer sometimes referred to as “Her Deepness’’ or “the Sturgeon General.’’ Produced by Fisher Stevens, who did last year’s Oscar-winning doc, “The Cove,’’ the movie is especially timely because of the oil spill in the Gulf. (When Obama leaves the island Sunday, he’s bound for New Orleans to make a speech about Hurricane Katrina and the spill.)

Interestingly, Nixon and his editor, Will Znidaric, are putting the film together in a tiny shingled shack in the woods overlooking Menemsha Harbor, not in a Manhattan high-rise. (There’s no cell service on the property.) Yesterday, we watched some of the footage shot so far, and it was affecting.

“Sylvia asked us to make a hopeful film, and that’s a huge challenge,’’ said Nixon, “because the ocean is our life-support system and we’re rapidly dismantling it.’’

We had to return to Oak Bluffs to baby-sit Obama on the golf course, but Nixon said we can expect to see “Mission Blue’’ in theaters early next year. And how’s his mom? Fine. Now in her 80s, Agnes left the Vineyard a few days ago. She was headed home to read soap opera scripts.

A festival of stars

If you’re a fan of Sam Rockwell, Ed Burns, and Aaron Eckhart, thank the Boston Film Festival, because all of those famous actors will be coming to town in a few weeks to screen their movies. The BFF’s lineup, which was announced yesterday, includes an appearance by Eckhart, who stars in the opening-night film, “To Be Friends,’’ a love story written and directed by Eckhart’s brother Jim. Rockwell will screen his movie “Conviction,’’ a Massachusetts-based drama costarring Hilary Swank and Minnie Driver, about a woman fighting a murder conviction. Burns’s film is “Nice Guy Johnny,’’ a comedy about a radio DJ on a bender in the Hamptons. Other films on the schedule include the East Coast premiere of the Kristen Stewart-James Gandolfini film “Welcome to the Rileys,’’ the Anne Hathaway-narrated documentary “10 Mountains, 10 Years,’’ the Zach Galifianakis comedy “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,’’ and “Locked In,’’ the Eliza Dushku-Ben Barnes thriller that was shot in South Boston last year. Watertown-native Dushku and her costar Sara Roemer are scheduled to appear at the screening. Other actors who have signed up to attend the festival include Adam Goldberg and Leslie Bibb (Rockwell’s real-life girlfriend), who costar in “Miss Nobody,’’ a film about a murderous secretary; and Ryan Merriman, who will screen his film “5th Quarter,’’ based on football player Jon Abbate. BFF executive director Robin Dawson tells us that the list of appearances may grow before the start of the festival. Tickets go on sale Thursday.

Rex still riding

Boston cowboy Rex Trailer, known for the long-running show “Boomtown,’’ was interviewed by Magic 106.7’s David O’Leary (pictured with Trailer) on Wednesday for a segment that will be featured tomorrow on WGBH. The interview runs during breaks of ’GBH’s 11 a.m. airing of Milford-native Michael Bavaro’s documentary about Trailer that features local stars such as Jay Leno, Mike O’Malley, Lenny Clarke, and Steven Wright talking about their childhood memories of the cowboy TV host.

Reality TV, with a twist

Some of your favorite local barkeeps were at the nightclub Estate on Wednesday to try out for LX.TV’s “On the Rocks: The Search for America’s Next Top Bartender.’’ Hopefuls included Peter Cipriani of the Franklin Cafe; Trina Sturm of Trina’s Starlite Lounge; Keith Harmon of Il Casale in Belmont; and Ginny Edwards of the Russell House Tavern. Producers called a number of the local bartenders back to make drinks yesterday. The show’s winner gets $100,000.

No second date for Lambton?

Cape Codder Chris Lambton, who was the runner-up on the recent season of “The Bachelorette,’’ might not appear on the next season of “The Bachelor.’’ According to Us magazine, Lambton will most likely turn down an offer to appear on the show because he was uncomfortable with so much of his personal life becoming public during his reality-show run.

Swift picks Maine for ‘Mine’

Taylor Swift is back in New England, and was tweeting pictures yesterday from sunny Kennebunkport. The singer shot a video for her new single “Mine’’ in Vacationland earlier this summer and will debut it on CMT live from Maine tonight on CMT.

Around town

SBLI CEO Bob Sheridan was the guest reader at the ReadBoston Storymobile in South Boston the other day. Sheridan’s audience of 60 kids listened to him narrate a classic, “The Little Engine That Could.’’ Sheridan also treated the kids to copies of the book. . . . Celtic Glen Davis treated his mom to a meal at Game On! on Wednesday night. The two had wings, chips, ribs, and turkey tips. . . . Figure skater and local Nancy Kerrigan and two youngsters were spotted at Faneuil Hall yesterday snacking on fried dough and watching street performers. . . . Former Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer has been tapped to cover for WBUR’s “Radio Boston’’ host Meghna Chakrabarti, who just went out on maternity leave. Chakrabarti and her husband, Keith Parker, welcomed their baby on Wednesday.

Read the Names blog at www.boston.com/namesblog. Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253.