Arts & Leisure

As you swat away blackflies this summer, look closely — it may be that not all those flies are flies. Some of them might be tiny sweat bees, members of the Halictidae family, which gets its common name because some species will lick sweat from human skin. Sweat bees are a diverse group, comprising thousands of species, including at least 86 in Vermont and more than 100 in New Hampshire. They measure from 4 to 15 millimeters, about the size of a black fly, and range from dully colored to bright metallic hues. One of the most eye-catching is the bicolored striped sweat bee (Agapostemon...
(Knopf Publishing Group)   In the late 16th century, a glover from Stratford, England, foul-tempered and prone to fits of rage, in debt to a now-deceased land owner, compels his oldest to tutor the farmer’s sons in Latin as a form of repayment. While there, the young tutor spies Agnes, offspring from the farmer’s first marriage, striding out of the woods, kestrel on her arm, and mistakes her for a serving girl; she awakens a desire in him. He pursues her, never once thinking she is the infamously wild and fierce eldest daughter of the house. Agnes, earthy, abundant, crafty, figures large in...

HOMEWORD BOUND’S WOOFSTOCK fundraiser will take place this year in a social-distancing format. Photo courtesy of Homeward Bound.
MIDDLEBURY — Like every other organization, Homeward Bound, Addison County’s Humane Society, is having to adjust its signature summer event to life during a pandemic. Shelter officials recently announced that they will be holding their annual fundraising event, Woofstock: Walk for the Animals, on Saturday, Sept. 12, but in a different format.  Participants will have the choice of taking part virtually in their own neighborhoods or by walking the 0.7- mile loop around the shelter on Boardman Street on their own between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. that day. “The needs of homeless animals don’t go away...
WEYBRIDGE — Musician, writer and guerilla artist Camden Joy (known to many of us as Weybridge resident Tom Aldeman) has released his second recording of original music. Titled “American Love,” Joy released the recording, appropriately enough, on our nation’s birthday, July 4.  All the songs are were written, produced and sung by Camden Joy, with Lukas Lerner on drums and his father, Mark Lerner, playing bass. The record was made during April and May with each musician in lockdown performing at a distance. Files were emailed back and forth. When a song was deemed to be complete, the tracks...

MANY PERFORMERS FROM the popular Broadway Direct fundraising shows will kick off the 2020-2021 Vergennes Opera House season with The Little City Cabaret in mid-August. Pictured here from Broadway Direct 2019 are, from left, front, Richard Koons, Amanda Ryan Paige, Elisa Van Duyne and Bill Carmichael (Walsh); and rear, students Anneke Shepard, Harlan Paquin and Addie Brooks. Photo by Tim Barden Photography
VERGENNES — The volunteers who make up the Friends of the Vergennes Opera House organization — and, in fact, operate the theater — spent late winter and spring learning about how to deal with a pandemic and planning and considering when to re-open the linchpin of the city’s arts scene. On the weekend of Aug. 14 to 16 the product of their efforts will be unveiled — three shows that will offer the talents of the performers who for years have entertained opera house audiences with the popular “Broadway Direct” fundraisers. In this case they will be doing business as The Little City Cabaret....
It’s been decades since Brandon had its own movie theater, but that’s about to change. The Paramount Theatre has partnered with the town of Brandon and the McKernon Group to build a drive-in movie theater screen in Estabrook Field on the north end of town. The Jack McKernon Drive-In at Estabrook Park could be the beginning of a permanent outdoor entertainment space in Brandon. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered theaters, concert venues, amusement parks and other public entertainment spaces, the Paramount had to literally think outside the box. Interim Executive Director Eric Mallette...

THE FLOWER HEADS of Tussock grass create a delicate haze among some colorful perennials. Photo by Dick Conrad
When we think about creating a beautiful garden, most often it is the flowers that we think about first. But great gardens are much more than lots of pretty blossoms! Especially important is the way we incorporate different kinds of contrast into our gardens. Contrast is the secret design ingredient. This starts out with a ground plan that includes a thoughtful mix of sunny areas and shady areas, as well as a compelling interplay of positive spaces (primarily the planted areas but also hardscape) versus negative spaces (primarily the lawn but also woodland or meadow areas).  And we can also...
Brandon Town Hall has not given up on its 2020 season just yet, but more volunteers could help pull it off despite the coronavirus. Trying to schedule public performances during a pandemic has been challenging to say the least, but Friends of the Brandon Town Hall President Dennis Marden said he is planning the first shows for September. His other challenge is how to bring in the public for performances and keep them safe per Gov. Phil Scott’s latest re-opening directive. Up to 75 people are now allowed at public gatherings — that’s good. But with nine volunteers, some of whom have health...
(William Morrow)   A remote island with austere rocky cliffs and an impeccably restored inn is the perfect setting for the perfect wedding. And the bride and groom? They are perfection in the flesh. Jules and Will, two balanced halves of a dazzling whole. She’s the smart and gorgeous publisher of a trendy online magazine and he’s the handsome rugged star of a survival television show. But, dear reader, a whiff of rot at the core is quickly exposed in the very first chapter, which ends with a “scream of terror.” But just who will expose it? The fragile, quite possibly mentally unstable young...

IT LOOKS LIKE the deck is not the best place to put your composter. To avoid ursine visitors to your compost, follow the tips in the story. Photo courtesy of Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Vermont Fish and Wildlife reports that many people are having problems with bears looking for food near their homes, and with the new food scrap ban now in effect the department is providing tips for people who are composting at home so they can avoid attracting hungry bears. “We have been receiving lots of reports of bears on decks, tearing down bird feeders, wrecking beehives, killing chickens, and getting into trash, compost and garbage containers,” said bear biologist Forrest Hammond. “Some folks will be new at composting food waste at home, so we are offering some guidance on how to do...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
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