DAY NEWSROOM: ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Growing up in the City of Groton and attending Fitch High School, Mary Biekert knew she wanted to be a writer and scrawled obsessively in a journal. While she became an accomplished pianist drawn to Chopin, she lacked confidence in her writing. As such, at UConn, she pinballed majors before spending her senior year in Paris studying art history and anthropology.
Along the way, a few pivotal things happened. At 15, she saw the film “Run Lola Run,” a thriller set in Berlin, and became enamored with idea of living in the German city. Then, in Paris, she found work as a nanny for a family where the mother’s sister happened to be editor-in-chief of Exberliner magazine — Berlin’s English-language journal of culture, arts and journalism.
It wasn’t long before, yes, Mary was in Germany writing for Exberliner, where she “fell completely in love with the idea of good, honest journalism – journalism for the people.” Similarly fascinated by the city’s overdrive energy and avant-garde, boundary-shattering approach to culture, Mary covered a variety of topics from fine art to computer hacking and data mining. It provided a fresh context distinct from life in America.
And a fantastic byproduct of these experiences? She met her future husband, Roman.
When the couple decided to move to Connecticut after Mary had spent a combined four years in Europe, she found work as a beat reporter at the Norwich Bulletin. When an opportunity arose to join The Day’s features department, Mary was a perfect fit. The Whaling City, though small, has a broad and frenetic arts scene that reminds her a bit of Berlin. She’s also fascinated by the stories here that she believes are below the surface, ripe for exploration.
“In New London, there are aspects of the arts scene that feel more hidden, and you have to dig a little to get into it and know the players,” she says. “That’s the challenge; that’s the fun … The world is so chaotic that abandoning myself to the love of art provides hope and solace.” Mary believes New London’s history and beauty provide a magnetic attraction for artists — and fuel countless story opportunities about an increasingly open, multi-cultural and growing arts scene rich in theater, galleries and museums, and music.
Mary and Roman live in Niantic with their cat Bela. A perfect day would find the couple driving to Beach Pond in Voluntown for hiking and swimming, followed by dinner with her parents in North Stonington and then beers with her brother over a campfire. The soundtrack? German techno, French pop, and ’80s post-punk.
Oh, and Day staffers know that, if they want ANY of the Goldfish snack-bags from the Day’s second-floor concession area, they need to beat Mary to the check-out line.
By Mary Biekert