Arts & Leisure

JUDITH HAD A wonderful crop of winterberries this year — until they were discovered by a voracious crowd of cedar waxwings. Photo by Dick Conrad
GOSHEN — Winter is the season of short days and dark nights when, even at midday, the sun gives little warmth as it rides low in the sky. By now my fall garden chores are done, my tools hang neatly in the toolshed and I have mostly retreated indoors. I am lucky enough to have a small cool greenhouse which becomes my indoor winter garden and, from October until May, is home for my potted camellias. Camellias flower from December to April — when our outdoor gardens are covered with snow — making their beautiful blooms all the more special. And yes, even though the summer flowers are but a...

Hugh Jackman stars in “The Front Runner” (2018).
The Front Runner — Running Time: 1:53 — Rating: R “The Front Runner” is a movie for people who are captivated by presidential politics. For those who aren’t, this is a barrel of confusion that requires patience and imagination. Even if you followed Gary Hart’s presidential campaign from the early ’80s forward, it is likely that confusion will engulf you here. A problem common to non-fiction films always looms when the real-life characters are more recognizable than the actors who portray them. You are not likely to recognize Alfred Molina as Ben Bradlee or Spencer Garrett as Bob Woodward....
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux) This collection of previously uncollected essays showcases an artisan of creative nonfiction, John McPhee, in a two-part book — Part I focuses on the sporting life, and Part II — a reworked amalgamation of fragments from magazine articles and other publications, which may sound messy but is actually quite polished, like a gem plucked from his oeuvre. Accounts of fly-fishing, golf ball hunting, men’s lacrosse and more figure in the first part. Brief biographical sketches of notable figures and visits to notable places, passages plucked from both public and private...

MEMBERS OF THE Colley Robinson family prepare for the annual concert and carol sing at the Middlebury United Methodist Church next Tuesday, Dec. 18. Pictured from left are Chelsea Robinson, John-Eric Colley Robinson, Isaiah Robinson, Tom Colley and Sue Colley.
MIDDLEBURY — This Tuesday evening, the Charter House Coalition will host a concert at the United Methodist Church in Middlebury. Now in its eighth year, this annual concert brings together musicians from at least six churches in Addison County, as well as others, who will share their musical gifts with the audience. Kevin Parizo, from St. Mary’s Catholic Church, will be the organist and accompanist for the concert. Matthew Wollam-Berens, the pastor for Helen Porter Rehab and Porter Hospital, will perform the gathering music on the harp. The Kafumbe and Colley families, along with other...

Join in at the annual Messiah Sing this year on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2 p.m., at the Middlebury Congregational Church.` Photo / James P. Blair
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Congregational Church once again hosts the area’s annual “Messiah Sing” that each year attracts hundreds of singers and players from throughout Addison County and beyond. Jeff Rehbach, conductor of the Middlebury College Community Chorus, leads the sing-along of this famous work by George Frederic Handel for choir and orchestra. Come join friends and neighbors for a joyous afternoon of community music-making at the Middlebury Congregational Church, beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23. Singers, instrumentalists and all who enjoy music are warmly welcomed to sing...

Roger Ailes in “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes” (2018).
Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes — Running Time: 1:47 — Rating: R How I wish “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes” could be seen by everyone in America. Right-wing thinkers will be at a loss to condemn it as partisan because it is composed of live footage of the participants themselves. Left-wing thinkers will be stunned at how little they themselves actually knew. This is a portrait of the man who rose from designing Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign to creating Fox News as a national power. It is the tale of a man hungry for personal power who achieved it on a level...
(Knopf Publishing Group) We meet Washington “Wash” Black at a young age, an 11-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation around the year 1830. He is fortuitously called to serve as manservant to the plantation owner’s cousin, Christopher “Titch” Wild — inventor, eccentric, abolitionist — for the sole reason that he makes suitable ballast for the Cloud-Cutter, the balloon contraption that hastens their departure. Titch discovers Wash’s gift, and while nurturing this talent, he also teaches him to read and think for himself, a dangerous and challenging prospect in the world Wash has...

THIS SELF-PORTRAIT BY Paul Gauguin is among the works considered in the film “Gauguin: The Full Story,” which will screen at Town Hall Theater twice on Wednesday.
As part of the Great Art Wednesdays series, “Gauguin: The Full Story” will be screened at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater at 11 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12. “Gauguin: The Full Story” is the first full-length biography of one of the world’s most popular yet controversial artists. Gauguin is best known for his gorgeous paintings of Tahiti in which beautiful native girls frolic enticingly on perfect South Pacific beaches. But have these celebrated portrayals of an earthly paradise been misunderstood? And has the fame of Gauguin’s Tahiti pictures blinded us to the bigger truth...

Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo in “Widows” (2018).
Widows — Running Time: 2:09 — Rating: R It can easily be said that “Widows” is first-rate on many levels.  Director Steve McQueen and actor Viola Davis create a strong core for the movie as they and their cohorts break new ground for women in many ways.  The movie has become a hot topic in long, favorable press articles that credit it with exploding the usual Hollywood guidelines regarding race, gender, sex and murder.  All true with one major reservation:  is this an acceptable moment to have women celebrate their new freedom with guns and killing? The movie opens with a prolonged love scene...
(Minotaur Books) The new Louise Penny mystery — what better way to enjoy your holiday leisure time? In this 14th Chief Inspector Gamache novel, set amidst a magical Canadian winter storm, Penny intricately wends together two stories, constructed of secrets not told and enemies close at hand. Stemming from incidents that occurred the previous summer, chief of the Sûreté du Québec, Armand Gamache has been suspended and his son-in-law, Jean-Guy Beauvoir is acting chief. Beauvoir is facing pressure to save himself thus paving the way for all blame to fall squarely on Gamanche for the load of a...


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