ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 3 * * All Arts News On the Web * * NOVEMBER 18, 1999


      We have changed the ArtBits format from monthly to weekly. This issue includes the entire text of the weekly newspaper column
      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County.

      There is a free AAC Networking Meeting/Coffee House at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, and workshops every month at the The Northwest Transportation Network office in St Albans.


SPECIAL NOTE: The monthly AAC Coffee House in December will be held in the Recreation Room at Verdelle Village, December 2 at 7 p.m. Bring some art for show and tell or come to visit. Note that the "homeless" arts council has moved to another borrowed space.


      Imagine going on stage at age eight, then staying on for 50 years.
      "Write your goals down and put 'em where you see them the most: in the kitchen and the bathroom. Everybody eats and they've gotta go," said Jimmy Thurston of Isle LaMotte who celebrates his golden anniversary in music this year.
      Jimmy T was first on stage calling square dances in a town hall in Waterbury Center, but he really started out as a 4 year old at home. "Back in the old days, my dad made home brew for all the kitchen tunks" (kitchen parties where family and friends gather to sample the home brew), he said. "They would bring out the fiddle and the good times and dance.
      "My uncle and my brother taught me to call square dances and I picked up a lot from the parties being a little kid under foot."
      Jimmy T and the Cobras won the 1965 Lake Placid Battle of the Bands and came in "in the money" at the Memorial Auditorium through most of the 60s.
      The Cobras feature Roger Giroux of Vergennes, lead guitar and vocals, Andy Van Benthuysen of Fairfax (the judge's brother), bass and vocals, Bruce Costello of Salisbury, keyboards and vocals, and Tony LaClair of Plattsburg, drums and vocals. Jimmy is "lead singer and front man, job coordinator, and booking agent."
      His original music includes an album, "If You Don't Roll the Dice, You'll Never Get a Seven," released in 1987. Hucklebuck Hideout on that album is a true story about Joe Barry's in Williston, the only place in Vermont that had dancing girls. Don't Want to Change a Thing has Jamie Lee playing distortion guitar and Gordon Stone on banjo in the background. Vermont is a swing tune "all about the four season changes in Vermont."
      The band will go into the studio this winter for a new album they expect to release in U.S. and Europe in early 2001.
      Jimmy T has played in the Windsor State Prison for the inmates and Waterbury State Hospital for the patients, as well as years of Boogy Beast concerts in the back yard for the Isle LaMotte Volunteer Fire Department and an annual concert for the Parent Child Center of the Champlain Islands to help raise money for the kids. Jimmy is also proud of something no one else has: a knockout reference from the Swanton Chamber of Commerce for his gig at the Swanton Festival.
      Despite his success, he says, "We don't do music for a living. I do residential interior painting wallpapering and drywall for a living."
      He has been with wife Maggie for 25 years and they have lived on Isle LaMotte for the last 20. "Her father was a musician so that makes it successful for me, too, because she understands the music world," he said. Of their three kids, "only Jamie has taken to the music." Daughters Vickie Marie Cleland and Deborah Jean West live in Alburg. Son Jamie Lee Thurston lives in Nashville and is here for a couple of weeks for the holidays. "He's been on stage with me since he was three. He couldn't reach the microphone and I had to hold him up there.
      "All the bigwigs were up this weekend at the Rusty Nail checking him out."
      Derrick, 4, and Erin, 11, the grandfather of Rock and Roll's grandchildren, also live in Alburg.


      The season for buying exceptional crafts and fine arts begins Saturday with three renowned shows. Each exhibit showcases a different group of fine artists and artisans from around the area. Take in all three for a nice "Eastern Franklin County tour."
      The Fairfield Holiday Bazaar at the Fairfield Community Center has Christmas crafts, stained glass, baked goods, a super raffle, and more. The Franklin Historical Society Christmas Bazaar and Luncheon at the Franklin Homestead offers crafts, a jewelry table, and fine foods. Luncheon includes homemade soup, sandwiches, and more. The Tri-Church Bazaar at the Bakersfield Elementary School features another group of distinctive Franklin County artisans and the County-favorite white elephant table. All three shows are open 10-4 on Saturday.


EAST BERKSHIRE--JD's Pub features Vermont's Grandfather of Rock and Roll, Jimmy T and the Cobras, Friday and Saturday, 9:30 p.m.

MILTON--Run for Cover will perform a benefit dance concert for Milton Family Community Center capital campaign fund on Friday, November 26. The Center is moving from a very cramped space on Main Street into the Ville Maire building in the center of Milton. Tickets are only $5 and are available at the Center. Call 893-1457 for info.
      You can catch a preview of Run for Cover at City Limits in Vergennes this Friday and Saturday.


2000-2001 EXHIBITION OPPORTUNITY AT UNIVERSITY GALLERY (November 30)--Solo or group shows in all media. No commission. Juried. Gallery pays shipping. 8 or more slides, resume, statement (optional) and SASE to: Bruce Gallery, Edinboro University, Edinboro PA 16444
GALLERY AT EDISON (December 1)--The fifth exhibit in the American Icon Series is "Sports 2000." Students and faculty at colleges and universities as well as professional artists are invited. Any media including outdoor pieces and video is also eligible. Juried. Entry fee. Check the web for more info.
SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE 8MM FILM FESTIVAL (December 1)--Films from all genres, including found footage and home movies. Entry fee. Check the web OR e-mail for more info.
SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION OF AUSTRALIA (December 1)--for pianists between 17 and 30. $100,000 in prizes plus performances & recording. Entry fee. Check the web OR e-mail for more info.
CALL FOR LARGE-SCALE OUTDOOR SCULPTURE (December 15) The Park is approximately two miles long, containing over 50 sculptures. Sculpture would be on loan for two-to three-year periods. A stipend is available for transportation and installation. Send a sheet of slides, with size and medium indicated, with SASE, to: Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park Review Committee, Box 692, Skokie IL 60076
23rd ANNUAL LEESBURG ART FESTIVAL (December 30)--A Juried Show for Art and Craft Exhibitors 42 miles north of Orlando in a beautiful lakefront garden setting with $10,000 in cash awards and 45,000 attendance. Entry fee. Call 352-365-0082
NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 1999 (December 31)--Open to all photographic artists: Commercial, Professional, Independent and Freelance. E-mail for more info.


      The Hall of Fame showcases artists who have appeared on the cover of the Portrait Signature magazine, the official journal of the American Society of Portrait Artists. The artists include Henry Caselli of Artrain fame, Everett Raymond Kintsler, and Bettina Steinke.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.
      In honor of the Railroad Days Festival, Bookshelf has most of the volunteers from the steering committee online.


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Dick Harper, Chair

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