Arts & Leisure

OPERA COMPANY OF Middlebury veterans Suzanne Kantorski (as Floria Tosca) and James Flora (as Mario Cavaradossi) sing the final aria of Puccini’s Tosca at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury Monday night. OCM will stage three performances with a full orchestra at Town Hall Theater, then take the production on tour with piano and string quartet to Stowe, Woodstock and Cambridge, N.Y. Photo by Max Kraus
MIDDLEBURY — Late in the game I got tapped to write a preview of Opera Company of Middlebury’s new production of Puccini’s “Tosca,” which plays at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater this week. As a substitute critic who knows something about theater but really doesn’t know all that much about opera, I decided instead to write about what it means to “dare.” That word came up on Monday night when “Tosca” director Douglas Anderson was weighing the pros and cons of tweaking his production a little bit. In the performing arts such tweaks often unleash unexpected brilliance and magic. But they can also...

RUSTY DEWEES, KNOWN by many as “The Logger,” will perform his “Tiny Town Hall Tour” at Holley Hall in Bristol on Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Bristol Recreation Department.
BRISTOL — Rusty DeWees, a.k.a. “The Logger,” will perform comedy, music and stories, in a benefit for the Bristol Recreation Department, at Holley Hall, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m.. “The Addison County area is perfect for my “Tiny Town Hall Tour,” DeWees said. “Surely Bristol has a cozy feel … it’ll be some fun having some fun at Holley Hall, and always nice to raise money for local efforts.” DeWees’ one-man comedy shows are best described as Blue Collar Comedy meets Prairie Home Companion. “It’s easy to love the core Vermont and New York Adirondack areas,” he said. “I’ve played them deferentially...

PERENNIALS NOT CUT back for winter provide an appealing ornamental contrast to the bleak winter landscape and serve as a source of food for winter birds. Photo by Bonnie Kirn Donahue
It's happened again. Leaves are getting crispy, flowers are going to seed and the air is beginning to cool. As hard frosts become a reality, it is almost time to start thinking about cutting back our perennials and putting our gardens to bed. I’d like to propose that we think about this time of year a little differently. In fact, leaving some perennials and grasses up throughout the winter can be beneficial for many reasons. One reason not to cut back your plants for the winter is aesthetics. Although it might be hard to watch your plants dry out, turn brown and go to seed (it is for me),...
VERGENNES — Based on overwhelming audience responses, (and a sold-out show in 2018), the Vergennes Opera House season organizers have brought back the 802 Blues Revue event featuring Downtown Bob Stannard and Those Dangerous Bluesmen and a few special guests.   Like a circus ringmaster, Stannard creates an atmosphere of fun and surprises, and an unforgettable night of amazing Vermont-style blues. Joining Stannard on stage as Those Dangerous Bluesmen are Jeff Salisbury (percussions/vocals), Ernie Belmond (bass guitar/vocals), Bradford Morgan (keys/vocals), Joe Moore (saxophone), and John Falk...

RICHARD RUANE AND Beth Duquette perform original acoustic music with a clear traditional-roots influence, but of it’s own time.
BRISTOL — The 5 Town Friends of the Arts second pop-up music event will feature Richard Ruane and Beth Duquette on Thursday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m., at Vermont Tree Goods on Main Street in Bristol. The show is one hour and admission is by free will donation. Ruane and Duquette are a Vermont-based acoustic duo performing original music with a clear traditional-roots influence, but of it’s own time. They are known for their strong, imaginative vocals and harmonies, often compared to classic sibling harmony duos. Some of their original songs harken back to traditional ballads and jazz tunes from the ’...

JOHN BROWN'S FARMSTEAD, North Elba, NY, carved on tree fungus, 1887. Collection of Henry Sheldon Museum.
MIDDLEBURY — Can a simple tree fungus be a historical document? On Oct. 16, at 1 p.m., as part of the Sheldon’s monthly exhibit “Hidden Treasure Series,” Archivist Eva Garcelon-Hart and Middlebury College Professor Bill Hart will discuss a unique rendering of the John Brown farmstead in North Elba, N.Y., on a 19th century tree fungus. The fungus along with several stereographic photographs depicting the Brown cemetery grounds were donated to the Sheldon Museum in 1891 and will be on display through the month of October. The carving and the photographs illuminate unexpected chapters of...
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival will debut its MNFF Selects film series on Thursday, Oct. 17, with the screening of the documentary, “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool.” The film will screen at 7 p.m. at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. MNFF Selects is the rebranded monthly screening series that replaces the MNFF Winter/Spring Screening Series. Offering a robust schedule of one film per month over eight months from October 2019 through May 2020, MNFF Selects will take its audiences on an entertaining ride in the months ahead. All the films will screen at Town Hall Theater....

CLARA CARROLL AND Dan Boyd will be among the performers greeting patrons in the woods of Lincoln during the reboot of “Marrowbone,” a celebration of story, this Saturday and Sunday.
Marrowbone, a celebration of story and storytelling performed outside in the blaze of the autumn woods, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 12, and Sunday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m. in Lincoln.  Audience members are guided on a winding path, stopping for performances of poems, music and dance. At the end of the path all are welcome to gather in the pine wood to listen to stories by the fire. Marrowbone is outside, rain or shine. The first part of the performance involves a quarter mile walk on uneven ground in the woods. Seating is on the ground, so please come prepared. Children are welcome but...

RENEE ZELLWEGER AS Judy Garland in "Judy."
Judy — Running Time: 1:38 — Rating:  PG-13 “There’s only one of her.”  So says a friend of Judy Garland in the new film “Judy.” That comment summons the complications in the grand new wave of biographical fictions that are flooding our theaters.  Many of them are finely made, as this one is.  What’s more fun than looking under the surface of someone who has charmed much of the world?  For those who are seeing her as a past performer, Judy Garland is just a famous singer.  For those of us who were alive during her time, she is something else.     This movie digs into the culture of her family...
(St. Martin's Press) Renia’s diary — because that is what you hold in your hands, the diary of a young girl, a teenager, whose childhood was, as Greta Thunberg would say, stolen from her — feels private and due consideration should be accorded when reading it, and yet it is important that this written testimony be read and shared. Miraculously, this long-hidden diary survived the Holocaust but the young woman, an aspiring poet and hardworking student, did not. It has been translated from the original Polish, with notes included by her surviving sister. In descriptive prose, with verses of...


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