Arts & Leisure

(Flatiron Books) Hailed in the book world as the most anticipated book of 2020, “American Dirt” has already won accolades from multiple esteemed writers and critics: Stephen King, Tara Conklin, and more. Hannah Beckerman of The Guardian says “it is hard to imagine there will be a more urgent or politically relevant novel this year.” This work of fiction seeks to put individual faces to the faceless numbers of migrants coming to the United States from Central America. Lydia and her son Luca seek asylum. They survived a cartel attack that killed her entire extended and immediate family; her...

Checking stored seeds, stored summer bulbs and roots crops, and proper care for moth orchids are some of the gardening activities for this month. This month is a good time to take stock of any seeds you’ve saved from previous seasons, perhaps even collected from your own flowers.  Keep in mind that many new flowers are hybrids, which don’t come “true” from their seeds.  They are produced by crossing specific parents, perhaps ones only the seed companies know or have.  Other flowers are grown from cuttings, rather than from seeds. Do a germination test on any stored seeds to see how viable...
Two chipmunks vie for seeds on our front lawn. One lives directly underneath the bird feeder. Another hails from the far side of the house, address unknown. The chipmunks appear identical to me: same size, same stripes. Same interests, namely seed hoarding, aggressive chittering, jumping into the bushes and back out again, and brazen stiff-tailed standoffs with the dog. However, some aspects of these chipmunks’ behavior are probably distinctive. Experiments have demonstrated that a chipmunk’s choosiness about what food they collect, how fully they stuff their cheek pouches, and even how...
The following real estate sales were recorded in Vergennes between July and December of 2019:  June 24: Kevin and Aleta Racine to U.S. Bank Trust, home at 2 Booska Court, $302,012.08.  July 1: Jason Gavin to Kenneth Kadar, home at 7 Maple Manor, $235,000.  July 8: Legere Trust to Michael and Susan Reid-St. John, home at 9 Short St., $265,000.  July 12: John and Elisabeth Degraaf to Kera Hurlburt, condo unit 1B at Country Commons, $189,000.  July 12: Kera Hurlburt to Parakutty and Archana Emayavaran, home at 16 Thomas Circle, $240,000.  July 15: Tina Charbonneau to Amanda Plankey and...

SARAH KING AND her husband Travis stand on top of a mountain in the Adirondacks for their second wedding. The couple met while backpacking in New York. PHOTO / MOUNTAINAIREGATHERINGS.COM
Sarah King knew she had something good when she met a guy (on day three) out hiking in the woods. “It was May and I wanted to go backpacking but none of my friends would go with me,” the Ripton singer/songwriter remembered. “I was living in New York at the time and was sitting my friend’s dog, so the dog and I went out to Harriman State Park for a four day loop. One day the dog starts barking at this guy walking toward us, and I was like ‘oh, he seems nice… oooh, real nice!’” The couple ended up hitting it off, exchanging numbers and then off over the hill the man went. “I got out of the...

THE HELIAND CONSORT — Katie Oprea on oboe, Cynthia Huard on piano and Betsy Leblanc on clarinet — will perform with Jim Stapleton and Diana Bigelow at the WalkOver gallery on Saturday, Jan 18, at 8 p.m.
BRISTOL — The WalkOver concert room in Bristol will launch its 2020 Cabin Fever Series, on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m., with three extraordinary classical musicians. Cynthia Huard on piano, Katie Oprea on oboe and Betsy LeBlanc on clarinet (this trio is also known as the Heliand Consort), will be joined by two thespians: Jim Stapleton and Diana Bigelow.  Together, these artists will present a unique evening of music and literature.  In a program entitled “Kindred Spirits: The Letters and Music of Brahms and the Schumanns,” the fascinating, intriguing and complex story of the friendship and...

KATELYN BROWN, LEFT, from the Danville School and Mary Nagy-Benson, from Middlebury Union High School, discuss their films at a work session last year. Vermont youth filmmakers will debut their films at MountainTop Film Festival in Waitsfield on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m.
WAITSFIELD — The 17th annual MountainTop Film Festival in Waitsfield will, for the first time, feature a selection of documentary films from Vermont youth. Festival organizers have selected five short films created through the “What’s the Story?” program, a free course open to all Vermont secondary students ( The festival is hosted by Big Picture Theater in Waitsfield, and the youth-films will be screened Sunday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m.  The five short films: “Breaking Binary,” “Dear Daughters,” “Foster Care: A New Beginning,” “Got Guilt?,” and “Preserving the Heart of Vermont...
MIDDLEBURY — November marked the first of a storytelling series launched by Middlebury UndergrounD and Bundle. The Nov. 1 event “Memorable Dishes” focused a curated open-mic night on tales of food and flavor, and local storytellers had quite the appetite to get up and share. “We are happy to report it was a packed house and a powerful evening featuring a range of high-quality storytelling,” said Lisa Mitchell, cofounder of MUD. “For our next installment, we invite the community to tell their tales profiling many types of love.” On Friday, Jan. 24, from 5:30-7 p.m., MUD and Bundle invite...

ACTORS MICHAEL KOUTELOS, Madison Middleton and Charlotte Katz rehearse for the Town Hall Theater/Middlebury College Dept. of Music co-production of “The Light in the Piazza.” The show will take the THT stage on Jan. 24-27.
MIDDLEBURY — Adam Guettel’s Tony Award-winning musical “The Light in the Piazza” comes to Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater as the 15th Winter Term production — the annual collaboration between THT and the Middlebury College Department of Music. Douglas Anderson will direct the show. The musical follows a mother and daughter vacationing in Florence, Italy, in 1960. The daughter falls into an intense love affair with an Italian boy, forcing the mother to reconsider both her daughter’s future, and her own. The production stars students from Middlebury College as well as talented local performers...

RICHARD RUANE AND Beth Duquette will perform a concert at Brandon Music with special guest Mitch Barron on Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m. The duo will also play the day prior, Friday, Jan. 17, at 3:30 p.m., at EastView Middlebury for free. Photo / John Moyers
BRANDON — Richard Ruane and Beth Duquette are a Vermont-based acoustic duo performing original music with a clear traditional-roots influence that is steeped in tradition, but of its 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 ’30s, but also remain firmly planted in life’s current challenges and joys.  The duo will perform a free concert on Friday, Jan. 17, from 3:30-4:30 p.m., at EastView Middlebury; followed by an evening...


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