Arts & Leisure

(Pamela Dorman Books) Richard Osman, the hugely popular star of numerous British quiz shows, has delivered an intricately plotted and delightfully devilish mystery in her debut novel, and it appears perfectly poised to make the leap directly to television. No surprise there, as Osman’s other career is as an executive producer. The book features a delightful ensemble of characters: the enthusiastic members of the Thursday Murder Club, septuagenarians and residents of Coopers Chase; the exceedingly crass and greedy Ian Ventham, developer of said posh retirement village; mob-connected Tony...
Recognize             By Scudder Parker He stands by the rock wall and roses, stares across the valley at Northfield hills. Sometimes, it seems, he just comes to cry.   Our driveway, house, lawn where he waits, are on land clawed and leveled from rough pasture that sloped uphill from his home.   Our garden, snug inside its fence, was his back yard. There are visits from many who once lived here, tugged like ghosts.   Some stay and wait for recognition. I go out to stand with him. “I know the house is gone, but I don’t have any other place.”   A hummingbird thrums past, lands...
MIDDLEBURY — Three local organizations, Lacewing Productions, Bundle, and Better Middlebury Partnership, announce the kick-off of Find Your Wings (FYW), an interactive, community-driven public sculpture project. FYW’s goal is to enhance downtown Middlebury’s beauty and appeal while simultaneously serving as an economic driver. Artists and community members will work collaboratively to create public art for display in various downtown locations.  The project kicked off earlier this month with a Call for Artists. FYW organizers are seeking proposals from artists using the theme of “wings” as a...

SEAMUS EGAN
RIPTON — The Ripton Community Coffee House welcomes Moira Smiley and Seamus Egan to an online concert on Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m., and invites everyone to enjoy the music from their own comfortable, socially distanced living room. Viewers can find links to the concert at rrch.org as well find ways to donate their “entrance fee” directly to the musicians, if they so choose.  A composer, instrumentalist, and singer with an expressive and exquisite voice, Smiley is a powerhouse of talent. Born and raised in Vermont, she’s returned to her home state after many peripatetic years as a wandering...

REBECCA STRUM WILL lead the first session of Middlebury Acting Company’s six-part play-reading series, “The American Dream Project.” The project begins Dec. 13. INDEPENDENT PHOTO / STEVE JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — When the days get short, the sticks are bare and, oh yeah, COVID is still lurking dangerously close, it’s easy to slide into your slippers, grab a blanket (and maybe a glass of wine), and stay safely tucked in your comfort zone. But before you settle in to a pleasant stupor, consider this alternative: What if instead you remembered the passion and outrage that filled this country after the killing of George Floyd on May 25? What if we continue that conversation? Middlebury Acting Company (MACo) is doing just that with a new six-part series called The American Dream Project that...
Cornwall resident Amy Oxford, the inventor of The Oxford Punch Needle and founder of The Oxford Rug Hooking School, released a new book this week. “Punch Needle Rug Hooking — Your Complete Resource to Learn & Love the Craft,” published by Schiffer Publishing, offers readers savvy new tips and tricks to make their punch needle projects come to life, and is great for novices and advanced punchers alike.  Oxford also includes a history of the craft, pictures of works by today’s experts, interviews with top makers and more. Oxford has an immense love for this craft and has been teaching punch...
(Princeton University Press) It is always edifying to expand your mind in the contemplation of big ideas, and author Sean Carroll is very adept at creating such an opportunity, presenting his big ideas in a tiny tome (his new book is approximately 5- by 8-inches), and in such a warm, convivial manner that feels akin to a rousing discussion. His overarching premise: That we humans, and in fact all life on earth, exist as we do because of chance occurrences. The book excels at being both comprehensive and intellectually stimulating while also being current, relatable and down-to-earth, pun...
On Nov. 21, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Advisor David Ludwig will host “Music for Days Like This” online. This digital concert interweaves the traditional with the unexpected, drawing a parallel to present day experiences through chamber ensemble performances. This streamable series, the brainchild of VSO Creative Projects Chair Matt LaRocca, is recorded at unique locations throughout the Champlain Valley, with some venues welcoming the VSO for the very first time. “Music for Days Like This” promotes the voices of those historically left out of the orchestral narrative,...
The exciting online monthly movie series Split/Screen launches Friday, Nov. 20, and streams 24/7 for 10 days, concluding Nov. 29.  Co-presented by the Vermont International Film Festival [VTIFF] and the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival [MNFF], Split/Screen will continue through June 2021, with each festival curating a selection of four or five films in alternating months.  MNFF kicks off Split/Screen with a broadly appealing documentary program that embraces the gathering of families during the Thanksgiving season: The Booksellers — a lively tour of New York’s book world, populated by an...

JANET FREDERICKS AND Tom Verner perform in an orphanage in South India. Since the pandemic hit, the duo’s travel plans have all been canceled. While at home in Lincoln, they have created a 13 session video series on “Becoming a Magician.” This virtual course is available through local libraries and the Town Hall Theater.
Have you ever watched the audience at a magic show? Everyone’s eyes are glued to the performers, their eyebrows are slightly furrowed, mouths agape and their bodies motionless as they try desperately to spot the “trick.” Then — poof! How did she do that? The audience sits back, laughs and relaxes into what we can only assume is magic. Tom Verner and Janet Fredericks of Lincoln bring this kind of happiness all over the world. They are the founders of Magicians Without Borders and have traveled to over 45 countries bringing love, laughter, magic and hope to hundreds of thousands of refugee and...

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