ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 11, 2002


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for the AAC CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and workshops. We come together on the second Wednesday for a booked musical performance and an art exhibit at Simple Pleasures in St Albans. On the fourth Wednesday come to the Kept Writer in St Albans for acoustic Open Mike Night featuring music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      Highgate Municipal Park will sing as Ray's Extrusion Dies and Tubing present Vermont singer/songwriter Rachel Bissex and Friends in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds series on Sunday evening. Joining Rachel will be Will Patton and Stephen Goldberg. This concert is part of Rachel's 2002 Vermont Town Tour.
      Rachel Bissex has an ease with the audience and a poise on stage built of wit, and humor, and her sometimes political, sometimes personal, usually powerful lyrics. She loves playing, singing, and writing the songs. She has performed in great concert halls, church basements, coffee shops and major festivals and has opened for Ray Charles, Joan Armatrading, Shawn Colvin, and more. This concert will include her own stories-through-song as well as high-energy cover songs by Aimee Mann, Elvis, Leonard Cohen and Suzanne Vega.
      The winner of the 2001 Kerrville Songwriting Competition and the Wildflower Festival Performing Songwriter contest was Rolling Stone Magazine's "only concert to see" on a Saturday night (the Summer Sounds concert is Sunday). Rolling Stone included Bruce Springsteen, Blondie, and Lyle Lovett in this feature in other weeks. Her albums, Light in Dark Places, Don't Look Down, I Used to be Nice, and her newest CD, Between the Broken Lines, have all received critical acclaim. Ms. Bissex has a major role in the upcoming feature film, Out of her Mind. Last season she also performed at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and at the Kennedy Center in NYC.
      The Vermont Town tour is Ms. Bissex' way of bringing communities together for a night of music. It is her first statewide tour she has made since winning the Kerrville award and it will find her within 50 miles of most Vermont Towns.
      Just before the concert, stop by for Dessert in the Park at the Highgate Historical Society Summer Sounds social starting at 6:30 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, wish for dry weather, and eat some delicious desserts.
      The Vermont Maple Festival presents the Summer Sounds concerts in Highgate because music and maple go together year round. The concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate, and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, The Highgate Manor, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, and The Tyler Place. The rain site is the Highgate United Methodist Church. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont with concerts that are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls celebrates its 110th anniversary with two days of romance and nostalgia this weekend. On Friday evening, the Enosburgh Historical Society presents Bob Manning's Bearing Witness. On Saturday, the Opera House presents the Proper Ladies of Boston plus an evening of Dixieland with the Ed Moore Jazz combo. The weekend is a joint Community Treasures/Mentors series production.
      The Enosburgh Historical Society, the Opera House and the Vermont Council on the Humanities present a free slide presentation of Bearing Witness on Friday evening.
      "In Bearing Witness, the emphasis is on the [commentary and propaganda art of the] Second World War," Mr. Manning said. "That's where the posters come in, as well as a lot of other work."
      Mr. Manning, who was 8 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed, uses two projectors and two screens to make comparisons between images and objects such as the Nazi sculptures of the thirties beside Michelangelo's David and to show Rosie the Riveter posters and Bill Mauldin cartoons.
      "From 8 to 12 you are aware of everything the war," he said. "As a kid during the war, collecting scrap metal, cooking fats, tin foil, the war dominated my childhood. As a budding artist I did maybe thousands of drawings of planes and ships during that time." He later taught art history and now works in his studio in Ryegate. His one-man show will open at Catamount Arts in St Johnsbury in September.
      On Saturday evening, the Proper Ladies of Boston deliver shimmering harmonies, laughter, history and more. Anabel Graetz and Deborah Anne Goss invite singing along with familiar favorites, sighing to the romantic gems, and laughter. Much laughter.
      "We sent them a bunch of programs from the early days," Jon Scott said, so the Proper Ladies could tailor their performance to Enosburg's history with a capella renditions of the folk music of the early Opera House stage.
      A Fulbright Fellow, Ms. Graetz founded of The Festival of Light and Song as well as the women's folk ensemble Laduvane. She performs songs that reflect women's roles in culture and history in her solo program "Heroic and Outrageous Women."
      Ms. Gross is a Vermont native, an actress, singer, and historian. She has appeared at many Boston area theaters in both singing and non-singing roles - most recently at the award-winning Nora Theatre in "A Roadside Garden."
      Ed Moore and his Jazz Combo bring a danceable mixture of Dixieland, traditional jazz, and the music of the thirties and forties to the stage to close Saturday evening. The quintet is Ed Moore, clarinet, John Moore, guitar, Rick Presson bass, Linda Presson vocalist, and a famous unnamed drummer. Rick Presson is a bassist with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.
      "We usually play the melody and then improvise and try to get a little toe tapping along the way," Ed Moore said. "We are always happy to have folks dance."
      Bearing Witness will be begin at 7 p.m. Friday; the Proper Ladies and the Ed Moore Jazz Combo will open at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, both at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls. Admission on Saturday is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $5 for children 12 and under at the door. Save a buck on advance sale tickets at the Merchant's Bank in Enosburg Falls, at Swanton Rexall, and at Better Planet and at the Kept Writer in St Albans. Buy a ticket for all the Opera House Birthday events; the ticket is all-inclusive (of course, the Historical Society Friday program is free.) Call 802-933-6171 or click here for more info.


      The Town of St Albans and the All Arts Council are beginning a series of AAC Saturday Arts Fests with craft fairs, photography exhibits, and pottery and dance instruction, all on the lakeshore. The show will be open 2-8 p.m. on alternate Saturdays beginning July 20 in the St Albans Bay Pavilion.
      We need exhibitors with fine crafts and arts ready for sale. Email the All Arts Council for more info .


FAIRFAX--Regular Music Session with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery on Saturday, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.

FRANKLIN--Singer/guitarist Bob Gesser of Richford plays The Boonys Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Mr. Gesser, who has 30 years experience on the guitar, will play 50s and 60s music from soft rock to country to blues. Call 933-4569 for info.


      Fresh from their Ben and Jerry's triumph, the Nobby Reed Project opens for headliner Eddie Money at SoberStock 2002 at the Pat Garrett Theater in Strausstown, PA, on Saturday. The event is a drug and alcohol free festival dedicated to assisting individuals in recovery. Tickets are on sale now for $20.


      The 2002 Island Arts House Tour will showcase historic homes in South Hero, followed by a wine tasting at the Snow Farm Vineyard on Saturday from 10 to 3. Vermont watercolor artist Maurie Harrington will paint at the Hagos house during the tour. The tour also includes the art of fiber by Julie Lane and a visit to Penny Cunningham demonstrating the craft of weaving at her studio.


      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.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2002 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
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