Arts & Leisure

MATT LAUX AND his daughter, Audrey, enjoy a performance by Melissa Lourie of a monologue from Hamlet in their own back yard. It was set up as a “Shakespeare To You” performance by the Vermont Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Ashley Laux
MIDDLEBURY — Did you know that the Vermont Shakespeare Festival is doing free monologue telegrams during the pandemic? One day last month Melissa Lourie of Weybridge performed the Pelonius monologue from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in the backyard of the Laux family in Middlebury. Vermont Shakespeare Festival had to postpone its summer season of performances until 2021, but members wanted to offer the shared experience of live theater with an audience, with patrons and their picnics in beautiful outdoor summer season locations in order to help keep theatre alive. In May the Festival responded to...

“We’re aware people are being inundated with on-screen opportunities, because that’s how we exist right now. We want to come into that environment and do something honest and successful and we think enjoyable.” — MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven
The first-ever online version of Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF) is taking shape. Organizers of the sixth annual event — usually a spotlight happening that sends hundreds of people buzzing around downtown Middlebury just before Labor Day — have selected more than 20 features to headline this year’s festival. And while the coronavirus pandemic is responsible for substantially shortening the film menu compared to years past, MNFF officials are working to infuse the virtual festival with some of the personal touches that have made it a consistent success. MNFF6:ONLINE will take place...

MUSIC STUDENTS MET and took lessons on Zoom at Leicester’s Camp Point CounterPoint this summer, and many hope to attend the camp on the shores of Lake Dunmore in person next summer.
LEICESTER — Anyone who’s used to spending time on Lake Dunmore during past summers may have noticed that the lake sounds a little quieter this year. The classical music typically emanating from the Camp Point CounterPoint (PCP) music school, a staple of the lake since 1963, is no longer being played — at least not in-person. But Jenny Beck, PCP co-owner and director since 2008, and her faculty and staff are still finding ways to deliver an online music camp experience that’s just as committed to being musically rigorous and socially gratifying.  The idea for an online music camp was floated...
University of Vermont Extension 4-H is sponsoring an Edible Art Contest this summer to inspire kids, 8 to 18, to get creative with their food. There is no fee to enter and enrollment in 4-H is not required. Participants may enter all five categories, though only one entry is permitted per category. Entries will be evaluated on artistry, individuality and creativity, with feedback provided. The winners in each category will receive special recognition. Participants must take a photo of their entry and email it to by 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 10. Each entry must be...

THE VOCAL ENSEMBLE I Fagiolini will sing a program titled “Monteverdi – The Ache of Love” on Aug. 8 as part of the online music festival Live from London.
If your heart is hungry for live music of the vocal variety, New Haven resident George Jaeger is passing on news of an opportunity to hear some. “My English son-in-law Robin Tyson,” wrote Jaeger, “a graduate of the King’s College Choir and for years a countertenor with the King’s Singers, has more recently been managing choirs, conductors and other musical performers. It all came to a screeching halt when the virus broke out.” During a drought in live entertainment, this choir member is hoping to reach audiences online during a virtual music festival. “Necessity being the mother of invention...

BASIL IS ONE of the gems of a summer garden. There are steps you can take to ensure a good harvest. Photo by Bonnie Kirn Donahue
If you planted basil in your garden, there are a few things you can do now to ensure a good harvest. Basil is sensitive to drought, so you will need to water it often for a better crop. You can tell if the soil is dry by using a trowel or your fingers to dig down 1-2 inches into the soil. If it’s dry, it’s time to water. Try to water in the early morning for the best results. Watering in the evening is okay, too, although water sitting on leaves overnight may encourage fungal disease. Avoid watering during the day, unless you have no choice, as the heat of the sun will evaporate much of the...

There was a sucking sound as my rubber boot sank into the deep black muck. Naturalist Jon Binhammer and I were standing in the middle of a hardwood swamp in central Vermont.  Above us, dainty red flowers clung to the still-bare branches of red maple trees and fat black buds encircled the stems of black ash. Though the trees in the surrounding uplands had leafed out, the swamp was cooler, and these trees had not yet unfurled their leaves. Bright yellow blooms of marsh marigold covered the swamp’s floor, growing out of mud and pools of water. Speckled alder shrubs, named for their spotted stems...
Northeast Addison Television (NEAT) in Bristol has announced the lineup for its Studio2 Summer Covid Music Series. The series airs live every Friday evening at 7 p.m. on Comcast Cable channel 1080. Performances can also be live-streamed on the NEAT website, where they will be archived for future viewing. Lincoln musician Nate Gusakov kicked the series off on July 17, and Bristol Irish drum player Reagh Greenleaf Jr. kept the show rolling on July 24. The following artists have also been scheduled for the coming weeks: •  July 31: Jim and Anna Lienau. •  Aug. 7: Richard Ruane and Beth Duquette...
(William Morrow & Company) To the Métis people of Canada and the far north reaches of the midwestern United States, a Rogarou is a shapeshifting werewolf-like creature that roamed the roads at night, “the threat from a hundred stories told by those old enough to remember the tales...He was a dog, a man, a wolf.” Tales of his presence kept young girls off the roads at night and ensured young boys never talked back to their parents. Out of this world, a husband has disappeared, gone now for over a year, and his wife, his love, Joan of Arcand, looks for him in every ditch — never stops...

MEMBERS OF THE local band Exoerro, formerly known as Squig Heart, take a breather outside their Starksboro rehearsal and recording space. The quartet has evolved in part from regular participation in the Rock It Science music camps hosted by Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. Pictured rom left are Starksboro guitarist and singer Evan Jennison, Middlebury bassist Kai Pasciak, Monkton guitarist Chris Wolak and Lincoln drummer Preston Connell. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
STARKSBORO — In 2017, after participating in Town Hall Theater’s Rock-It Science music camp, Starksboro guitarist Evan Jennison (then 13) and Lincoln drummer Preston Connell (then 12) decided to form a band together. They began jamming in a small corner of Jennison’s unfinished basement and were soon joined by Middlebury bass player Kai Pasciak (now 17) and Orwell guitarist Declan Anderson (now 15). They called themselves Squig Heart. Since then they’ve continued to attend Rock-It Science sessions, honed their chops, written loads of songs, played a series of increasingly high-profile gigs...


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