Arts & Leisure

Once again, the all-volunteer team at the Vergennes Opera House has pulled together a robust and eclectic season of shows for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. The season kicks off on Oct. 12 with a rousing blues event and ends on Feb. 29 with the presentation of the 7th annual Carnevale Vergennes. “This season we’ve brought back some favorites along with a smattering of new shows, including two events that are free to the public,” said Gerianne Smart, President of the Friends of the Vergennes Opera House. “Our mission includes being an economic driver for the city of Vergennes and we are...

FROM LEFT, EMILY Arnason Casey, Rahat Huda, Sara London, Sarah Wolfson
MIDDLEBURY — The NER Vermont Reading Series presents an evening of new writing with poets Sara London and Sarah Wolfson, essayist Emily Arnason Casey, and fiction writer Rahat Huda. The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury will host this event on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. London’s new collection is “Upkeep,” from Four Way Books, and Middlebury native Wolfson’s debut collection, “A Common Name for Everything,” has just been published by Green Writers Press. Emily Casey of Orwell just released her debut essay collection, Made Holy (Univ. of Georgia), and Rahat Huda is a Middlebury College junior...

DAVID AND NATHAN Gusakov, father and son, perform original songs and old tunes about life and death and the beauty of the hills.
LINCOLN — Last Train to Zinkov will perform at the Burnham Music Series, Burnham Hall, 52 River Rd. in Lincoln on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. David and Nathan Gusakov, father and son, perform original songs and old tunes about life and death and the beauty of the hills. Featuring clawhammer banjo, fiddle, and family harmonies, Last Train To Zinkov’s music draws from Appalachian old-time, gypsy jazz, classical, and the klezmer of their Eastern European roots. Zinkov: a small town in rural Ukraine, and the ancestral hometown of the Gusakovs. The duo plays with a lively, toe-tapping touch,...
BRANDON — On Saturday, Oct. 5, Brandon Music will welcome The Umoya Trio for their debut performance of classical recorder music at the Brandon venue. The Umoya Trio is a multi-generational ensemble hailing from three different countries, connected by their love of recorder music and the gratification of experiencing the energy it brings with it. The word “Umoya” (Xhosa for “wind”) is a nod to the energy of the wind: of fierce siroccos, turbulent gales, swirling mistrals, and gentle cool breezes, and of course, the energy from their wind-powered instruments. This Boston-based group (Kaleem...

“Nefta Football Club” directed by Yves Piat will be among the movies screened at the Marquis Theater in Middlebury this Wednesday as part of the Manhattan Short Film Festival.
MIDDLEBURY — The Marquis Theater in Middlebury is giving movie viewers a chance to be the judge when it screens this year’s 10 finalists for the Manhattan Short Film Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 2 and 6 p.m. Tickets will be sold at their regular rate. The screening runs simultaneously in more than 400 cities worldwide. The Best Film and Best Actor awards are determined by ballots cast by the audiences in each participating venue. By virtue of their selection by Manhattan Short, each short film is automatically Oscar-qualified. The final 10 films represent the best short films from among...

THE HEATH QUARTET begins their residency at Middlebury College and their celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday with a concert on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m., in Robison Hall, at the college’s Mahaney Arts Center. A second concert is scheduled for Oct. 11.
The acclaimed Heath Quartet returns to Middlebury College on Saturday, Oct. 5, and Friday, Oct. 11, to help celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birth year. The ensemble will present Beethoven’s entire string quartet cycle over six concerts this season, bookending three weeklong residencies with the campus and community. The Oct. 5 concert that will launch the cycle will take place at 7:30 p.m., in Robison Hall at the college’s Mahaney Arts Center. The program will include Quartet No. 1 in F Major, op. 18.1; the “Serioso” quartet, op. 95; and Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, op. 130. Professor of Music...

POET AND UNIVERSITY of Vermont professor Major Jackson will present work from “The Best American Poetry 2019,” on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 6:30 p.m., at The Vermont Book Shop in downtown Middlebury.
MIDDLEBURY — Poet, University of Vermont professor and guest editor of “The Best American Poetry 2019,” Major Jackson presents this new published annual collection with featured poets Didi Jackson, Vievee Francis, Camille Guthrie and Jane Shore on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 6:30 p.m., at The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury. The event is free and open to the public. A booksigning will follow Jackson’s talk. Opening with a stirring essay on the transformative power of art in today’s tense times — and, in particular, the impact of accessible, daring verse — Jackson presents an illuminating collection of...

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY STARS in “Official Secrets” (2019).
Official Secrets — Running Time: 1:42 — Rating: R What is the role of an unimportant person who knows the truth of lies told by important people?  “Official Secrets” is the story of Katharine Gun [Keira Knightley], a young woman who discovers the shameful truth of the American invasion of Iraq 15 years ago. Writers Gregory Bernstein and Sara Bernstein dig into the ugly complexity of the details that were hidden for years by top level British/American collusion.  Director Gavin Hood has turned their work into an uncomfortable ride through lies, blackmail and plots.  This movie uncovers the...
(University of Georgia Press) As an essay collection, Emily Arnason Casey’s new book succeeds on every level. Her writing is evocative, relatable, haunting and magical. Using descriptive prose that stimulates your every sense, the essays transport you to particular places in time: the lake cabin of her childhood; her grandparents’ house in Minnesota, “beautiful to [her as one] who grew up in apartments and a walkout basement until the age of fourteen;” the cold blue room of her college apartment; the living room of a stranger as a naive teenager. The stories are quintessentially of the...

STARKSBORO'S MIKE BLAKESLEE has been a historical reenactor for decades. These days you can find him reenacting the life of a Chaplain during the Civil and Revolutionary Wars, like in this photo, taken earlier this year, at “Soldiers atop the Mount,” at Mount Independence, in Orwell. Courtesy Photo
STARKSBORO — On those days when your computer freezes, your cell phone endlessly beeps, buzzes and dings with updates from your social media feeds and you can’t figure out what diet to follow, it’s easy to wish you lived in a simpler time. Well, that’s part of the appeal of being a historic reenactor — where you say goodbye to the 21st century and fully immerse into the days of the Civil, Revolutionary or French and Indian wars. Sure it sounds refreshing, but who actually does this? Starksboro’s Mike Blakeslee for one, and, it turns out, a whole lot of other enthusiasts.  “I do it because I...


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