Elsie Lynn Parini


'A CHORUS LINE'
Add a little razz-ma-tazz to your life and shake off any winter doldrums with “A History of the American Musical,” a four-class series taught by Town Hall Theater Artistic Director Doug Anderson. This might sound familiar, and it is. Anderson taught the same series in person — if you can believe it — back in the spring of 2019. Beginning on Monday, March 9, Anderson will launch the class via Zoom for an unlimited online audience. The course is a celebration of the legendary composers, lyricists and performers who forged a distinctly American art form, illustrated by archival footage from...

Katie Runde stands in front of Alexander Twilight Hall on the Middlebury College campus. Runde was commissioned by the state to paint Twilight’s portrait. Independent photo/Steve James
The Vermont Statehouse is filled with framed portraits of governors, historic military figures and — let’s just say it — old white men. Addison County Sen. Ruth Hardy stepped up in January 2020 and introduced legislation to help diversify this collection of portraits to better represent the diversity of the state. Just last week, it was announced that Middlebury artist Katie Runde was selected to paint a life-size portrait of Alexander Twilight — an important early Vermont educator and minister, who is believed to be the first person of African descent to be an American legislator and a...

ASHLEY BETTON IS leading the collaborative art installation project Find Your Wings, which will bring winged works of art to downtown Middlebury this summer. Find Your Wings Community Ambassadors are in the process of selecting the final artists from the 18 submissions. Check out findyourwingsvt.com to see how you can support the project or get involved. PHOTO / ELISABETH WALLER PHOTOGRAPHY
Ashley Betton spent 13 years building a successful music career as a singer in New York City before moving to Bridport in 2017. Once she was here, she discovered pretty quickly that she needed to create a job for herself. She and her partner started an Airbnb out of their house to generate some income while Betton got to work figuring out how to start something that suited her skills. “My interests are vast,” said Betton, who also worked as the director of operations and later head of enrichment programming for The Brooklyn Strategist, a board and card game cafe in Brooklyn. “I thought: OK,...

RONNI LOPEZ ACTS in writer Julia Alvarez’s “July 4, 1960, Ciudad Trujillo, Nueva York” for the “Flash Forward Voices of our Future” project presented by the Middlebury Actors Company and Town Hall Theater. The eight short films in this project will premiere in a one-time performance on YouTube on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m.
No doubt many of us are looking forward to a future where the restrictions of pandemic-life are gone. But who knows what the future holds… Middlebury Acting Company together with Town Hall Theater are presenting an evening of eight short films that hypothesize about our future 10, 20 or 30 years from now. The premiere of “Flash Forward Voices From The Future,” a one-time streaming event on YouTube, is free and open to the public on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. “We asked eight Vermont authors, including such acclaimed writers as Julia Alvarez, Chris Bohjalian and Jay Parini, to write us a 5-8...

PHOTOGRAPHER JOHN HUDDLESTON recently published “At Home in the Northern Forest,” A book project that has taken him out into the woods of Snake Mountain behind his Weybridge home for the past decade. Independent photo / Steve James
Did you know that in the mid-1800s Vermont was nearly 80% deforested? “There were no bear, no beavers, no turkeys… they were just gone because we had cut down all the trees,” said John Huddleston, a Weybridge photographer of 50 years who recently published his latest photography book, “At Home in the Northern Forest.”  Why did we cut down all the trees? Good question. Huddleston’s book explains, “For the first half of the nineteenth century, the Northern Forest — stretching west from Maine to New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, extending north into Quebec and east to the Maritime Provinces...

CHRISTAL BROWN, LEFT, and Lida Winfield, both professors of dance at Middlebury College, have collaborated to create “Same But Different,” which will premiere online this Saturday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at flynnvt.org. Photo / JHsu Media
Over the past year, we’ve seen artists — time and again — pivoting to find new and different ways to continue communicating through art. Yes, it’s awesome, but it isn’t revolutionary. “Artists are, and have been, the model for entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Middlebury College Associate Professor of Dance Christal Brown, who is prepping to launch a new dance performance with Lida Winfield (also an Associate Professor of Dance at Middlebury) this weekend. The duo will present “Same But Different” as a pre-taped show, premiering Jan. 30 and running through Feb. 6 through the Flynn’s...

NATE GUSAKOV STANDS by a snowy, stone bridge outside his Lincoln home with his electric banjo. Gusakov is releasing his newest EP “Many Mountains” today, Jan. 21, that he recorded with Annie & The Individuals last August in a barn, six-feet apart, with masks — COVID style. Gusakov is known for shredding on the acoustic banjo, but for this album he picked up the electric banjo for a whole new sound. Independent photo/Steve James
Back in the spring of 2020, Nate Gusakov had everything lined up to record his new EP “Many Mountains,” but then… COVID.  “My studio session was set for a week after lockdown was imposed,” he said during an interview earlier this month. “So that got totally blown out of the water. And we waited.” “I sort of wanted to go hands-off for a while and not clutter up the bandwidth for musicians who really needed the income,” said Gusakov, who also works in energy efficiency consulting for Silver Maple Construction in New Haven. “Silver Maple has been remarkable; they really looked out for us and I...

JIM ANDREWS OF the Salisbury Conservation Commission is one of the leading volunteers behind the creation of the new Pitch Pine recreation trail off Plains Road in Salisbury. Independent photo/Steve James
SALISBURY — What’s your go-to walking path? Most of us have at least one, whether it be around your neighborhood — checking out new home renovations and gardens — or a walk in your favorite woods. Addison County is chock full of beautiful trails that we can choose from, and the Salisbury Conservation Commission recently added one more to the list.  The Pitch Pine Trail off Plains Road in Salisbury made its debut quietly in the middle of last year, but the project had been in the works long before that thanks to the steady efforts of the Salisbury Conservation Commission’s volunteer members...

VERMONT ARTIST KATIE Runde was one of the interview subjects on Karen Kevra's podcast, Muse Mentors.
Alright, everyone, it’s time to shake off 2020 and jump into 2021 with ambition. But it’s cold and COVID’s still out there… yeah, yeah, yeah, we know. But try this on for size — you can motivate by simply plugging in your new AirPods and listening to Capital City Concert’s podcast “Muse Mentors,” hosted by Cornwall’s Karen Kevra.  Most of us know Kevra as the founder of Captital City Concerts and a professional flutist. But when the pandemic hit and public gatherings came to a screeching halt, Kevra was faced with two options: “We could stagnate or reinvent ourselves.”  She decided to start...

ELSIE LYNN PARINI
Arts+Leisure celebrated it’s fourth full year in 2020. Twelve months, 52 issues, over 700 pages, all dedicated to arts and events going on in Addison County — in spite of COVID-19. They say hindsight is 20-20, so what do we have to say now looking back at a year like no other? We’ll stick to the positives: In 2020, we had the opportunity to highlight the work of more than 46 local artists, actors, musicians and craftspeople; see over 36 exhibits; 12 film events; suggest 93 don’t-miss events happening right here in Addison County; learn nine valuable gardening lessons from our own Master...

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Addison County Independent