ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * October 3, 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.


      The Kept Writer Cafe and Bookstore will hold a release party for the third issue of The Kept Writer Magazine and debut several new works by artist Alan DeMont at the cafe on Sunday.
      The Kept Writer Magazine includes New York authors Geoffrey Barber and Joy Bennett, Mary Pratt of Middlebury with her second KWM piece, St. Albans poet Stacey Loiselle, Jim Poirier, and Roger Stockham, plus comics by Ben Patton and Mark Gagne, and more. Mr. Patton is also familiar for his work as a singer/songwriter. There are crosswords and poetry and a profile of the poets who competed in the National Poetry Slam in Minneapolis. Those poets and several other writers will read on Sunday.
      "It's sort of a variety literary magazine," said publisher Jedd Kettler. "It doesn't take itself too seriously. We've got some humor and comics and fun stuff, and some serious stuff, too.
      "We haven't been taking advertising. We have ads for ourself, obviously and for Salt River Graphics, our layout and graphics company. And there are some fake ads just for fun."
      The Kept Writer uses a high quality photocopy process, with a full color cover, saddle-stitch binding, and professionally trimming. Mr. Kettler would rather go to print, but they would need a much larger press run. Copies are available at Rail City Market, As the Crow Flies, at the Kept Writer and at a number of outlets in Burlington.
      "The 'Kept Writer' was originally to be the name of our publishing operation, but we took it for the store," he said.
      They now accept submissions all the time and chooses pieces that best fit each issue.
      In his new work, Mr. DeMont has been exploring imagery with more than two dimensions in what he calls "cave paintings." He lays a craggy and rock-like relief surface on canvas and on board and paints on it.
      Alan DeMont comes from an artistic family. His brother and sister are also accomplished artists, and second cousin, Edward Chesney, is a world renowned sculptor. Mr. DeMont works in oils, acrylics and even housepaint on canvas, Masonite or plywood. His work shows the free approach of painting from emotion. He has paintings in private collections in Colorado, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.
      The magazine and art opening will start Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Kept Writer, 5 Lake Street, St. Albans. There will be free hors d'oeuvres and readings by many of the writers featured in the magazine.


      Working artist and former AAC Vice Chair Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard of Franklin shows her popular paintings at the Northwestern Medical Center through October 31. The exhibit will include Prayers, The Secret Place, and Cradle the Child.
      "The way the petals fold around the center [of the rose in 'Cradle the Child'] reminds me of motherhood," she said.
      Ms. LaRocque-Bouchard generally paints in acrylic on large canvas, makes trompe l'oeil murals, and creates digital art. Her pieces often bring a spiritual feel to landscapes or skyscapes. Her digital art is the same style of work but in a medium that offers more freedom.
      "I paint not just as a form of expression and communication but as a song," she said. She often listens to inspirational music as she paints.
      Her well known projects around St. Albans include the City Pool and Houghton Park murals and the St. Albans Centennial Homecoming logo.


      Cambridge Arts Council will host a Circus Smirkus performance on Thursday evening, October 3 in the Cambridge Elementary School auditorium. The young performers will perform juggling, tumbling, clowning, and magnificent feats that transcend the physical domain.
      Circus Smirkus is holding a two-week "immersion residency" with CES students. This residency is a way to help kids and teens achieve personal excellence at all levels by learning circus skills with Smirkos-in-Residence and professional circus coach/performers from multi-cultural backgrounds.
      Since 1987, Circus Smirkus has given kids a chance to run away and join the circus and has helped non-profit organizations raise over $1.5 million with the Big Top summer tour. The new Winter circus arts training programs for kids and adults starts soon.
      Call CES (802.644.8821) for info.


ST. ALBANS--On Friday, the Kept Writer presents New Haven singer/songwriter Josh Brooks with his original story songs of insight and wit. On Saturday, former Unholy Modal Rounder, Be That Way frontman and songwriter Charlie Messing will offer an acoustic show of picking, and many old gems of songs.

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.

HYDE PARK--The Lamoille Valley Players present The Sound of Music directed by Gayle Steele at the Hyde Park Opera House. Tonight through Sunday with shows at 7 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $12/adults and $10/students and seniors. Call 888-4507 for info.


      How does a writer find the perfect word at the perfect time? Two online resources are the OneLook links to over 100 dictionaries and Lexico's where you can find synonyms and antonyms, browse by category and headword, get free software that works with and, and even use an online instant Translator for text and web pages.


      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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