Arts & Leisure

REBECCA STRUM WILL lead the first session of Middlebury Acting Company’s six-part play-reading series, “The American Dream Project.” The project begins Dec. 13. INDEPENDENT PHOTO / STEVE JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — When the days get short, the sticks are bare and, oh yeah, COVID is still lurking dangerously close, it’s easy to slide into your slippers, grab a blanket (and maybe a glass of wine), and stay safely tucked in your comfort zone. But before you settle in to a pleasant stupor, consider this alternative: What if instead you remembered the passion and outrage that filled this country after the killing of George Floyd on May 25? What if we continue that conversation? Middlebury Acting Company (MACo) is doing just that with a new six-part series called The American Dream Project that...
Cornwall resident Amy Oxford, the inventor of The Oxford Punch Needle and founder of The Oxford Rug Hooking School, released a new book this week. “Punch Needle Rug Hooking — Your Complete Resource to Learn & Love the Craft,” published by Schiffer Publishing, offers readers savvy new tips and tricks to make their punch needle projects come to life, and is great for novices and advanced punchers alike.  Oxford also includes a history of the craft, pictures of works by today’s experts, interviews with top makers and more. Oxford has an immense love for this craft and has been teaching punch...
(Princeton University Press) It is always edifying to expand your mind in the contemplation of big ideas, and author Sean Carroll is very adept at creating such an opportunity, presenting his big ideas in a tiny tome (his new book is approximately 5- by 8-inches), and in such a warm, convivial manner that feels akin to a rousing discussion. His overarching premise: That we humans, and in fact all life on earth, exist as we do because of chance occurrences. The book excels at being both comprehensive and intellectually stimulating while also being current, relatable and down-to-earth, pun...
On Nov. 21, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Advisor David Ludwig will host “Music for Days Like This” online. This digital concert interweaves the traditional with the unexpected, drawing a parallel to present day experiences through chamber ensemble performances. This streamable series, the brainchild of VSO Creative Projects Chair Matt LaRocca, is recorded at unique locations throughout the Champlain Valley, with some venues welcoming the VSO for the very first time. “Music for Days Like This” promotes the voices of those historically left out of the orchestral narrative,...
The exciting online monthly movie series Split/Screen launches Friday, Nov. 20, and streams 24/7 for 10 days, concluding Nov. 29.  Co-presented by the Vermont International Film Festival [VTIFF] and the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival [MNFF], Split/Screen will continue through June 2021, with each festival curating a selection of four or five films in alternating months.  MNFF kicks off Split/Screen with a broadly appealing documentary program that embraces the gathering of families during the Thanksgiving season: The Booksellers — a lively tour of New York’s book world, populated by an...

JANET FREDERICKS AND Tom Verner perform in an orphanage in South India. Since the pandemic hit, the duo’s travel plans have all been canceled. While at home in Lincoln, they have created a 13 session video series on “Becoming a Magician.” This virtual course is available through local libraries and the Town Hall Theater.
Have you ever watched the audience at a magic show? Everyone’s eyes are glued to the performers, their eyebrows are slightly furrowed, mouths agape and their bodies motionless as they try desperately to spot the “trick.” Then — poof! How did she do that? The audience sits back, laughs and relaxes into what we can only assume is magic. Tom Verner and Janet Fredericks of Lincoln bring this kind of happiness all over the world. They are the founders of Magicians Without Borders and have traveled to over 45 countries bringing love, laughter, magic and hope to hundreds of thousands of refugee and...

REHEARSING FOR VERMONT Actors’ Repertory Theatre’s second virtual short-play festival are actors Marisa Valent, Kristen Hixon and Torri Hixon playing three different Beetles in Marybeth McNulty’s play “Beetle in a Box.” The festival will be presented online this Saturday and Sunday.
VERMONT — Chase away those blues and join Vermont Actors’ Repertory Theatre when it presents its second virtual short-play festival via Zoom on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m. The festival, with the theme of “Together in a Sudden Strangeness,” will feature work by Vermont playwrights Jeanne Beckwith, Lesley Becker, Marisa Valent and Shoshannah Boray. “Their work is fresh and timely and some will be performed for the first time with VART,” said festival coordinator Alex Nicosia. More than 15 local and Vermont actors will perform in the festival, directed by Lesley...

BRANDON — The Brandon Artists Guild kicks off the holiday season with affordable, gift-able art and craft pieces. The show, “It’s the Thought that Counts,” runs from Nov. 6 through Jan. 24.  The public is invited to the free opening reception on Friday, Nov. 13, from 5-7 p.m. Social distancing rules will apply. “We won’t let coronavirus dampen the holiday spirit of giving,” said Stacey Stanhope Dundon, a ceramic artists from Orwell and president of the BAG. “People can come to the Artists Guild and buy affordable, original pieces while avoiding crowds. They’re also helping the local economy...

DOROTHY MOSS Courtesy Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
MIDDLEBURY — The Henry Sheldon Museum invites the general public and Sheldon Museum members to our virtual meeting featuring special guest speaker Dorothy Moss, curator of painting and sculpture at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and coordinating curator of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. The event is on Wednesday, Nov. 18 via Zoom. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and at 6:45 p.m., Dorothy Moss will present “Behind the Scenes of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.” Registration is $25; register online at no later than...
(Liveright Publishing Corporation) Les Payne, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, conducted hundreds of hours of interviews, and pored over books, newspaper accounts and court documents, to construct this epic biography of Malcolm X, and it is miraculous that he prevailed — many close contacts passed away shortly after Payne interviewed them — and Payne himself passed away before he completed the book. Fortunately, for readers and scholars, his daughter, Tamara Payne, who was also his primary research assistant in this decades-long undertaking, was willing and able to finish the...


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Addison County Independent

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