ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 13, 2003


      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 live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons, at the Kept Writer in St Albans most Friday and Saturday evenings, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls hosts a screening of writer/director Jay Craven's film, The Year That Trembled, on Saturday evening. Mr. Craven will lead a discussion after the movie.
      "This is his powerful current film about the Kent State shootings," organizer Nancy Patch said. She is one of an informal Enosburg group to bring this current movie to Franklin County.
      Jay Craven started Catamount Arts in St Johnsbury as a traveling 16-mm film series in the Northeast Kingdom and northern New Hampshire in 1975. "Film was always part of the equation for me," he said. "I'd worked in film a bit in New York before I came to Vermont and I always had as my ultimate goal to make films." But he got "sidetracked for 16 years running an arts organization and really believing in the idea of integrating community and culture as sort of my mission."
      During that time he also made several half hour films including the documentaries Dawn of the People about the 1980 Literacy Crusade in Nicaragua and Gayleen about Barre grace artist Gayleen Aiken's vivid paintings of an eccentric world now gone. In 1986 he optioned the rights to Where the Rivers Flow North and began to produce film with a strong community link. He has since developed other books written by Howard Frank Mosher, including Stranger in the Kingdom.
      He came to the books "as great Vermont stories. It made sense, given my community and cultural focus to start with stories of the Northeast Kingdom." The larger than life sense about the characters appealed him, along with themes that relate to the current world, and the classic Westerns themes of land and people, of outlaws and the frontier. Now, "I have begun to deal with some other kinds of stories and certainly and 'The Year That Trembled' is a step in that direction," he said.
      Set in 1970, The Year That Trembled deals with an almost contemporary story and one that is not set in Vermont. It follows young men graduating from high school who are fearful of the impending draft. "That story raises questions for a lot of people related to what's going on today with the possibility of war and the reemergence of a protest culture and all of the drama that goes along with that. It was a very dramatic time."
      The Year That Trembled ensemble cast includes young talent, seasoned actors, and veterans from Mr. Craven's previous films: Jonathan Brandis (Ride With the Devil), Marin Hinkle (ABC TV's Once and Again), Jonathan Woodward (Wit), Fred Willard (Austin Powers), Henry Gibson (Magnolia), Martin Mull (Mrs. Doubtfire), Meredith Monroe (Dawson's Creek), Sean Nelson (Fresh), Bill Raymond (12 Monkeys), Charlie Finn (Super Troopers), Jay Fergueson (Higher Learning), Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), and Kiera Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, in her screen debut.
      The film includes 120 clips of stock footage "that really take us back in the time," along with seventeen songs that evoke the time. The Horse Flies who also scored Rivers and Stranger perform again in Year.
      "For any of us who were around then, we have our stories," Mr. Craven said. This film is specific to a small Midwestern town in the shadow of Kent State. tells a dozen of those stories through the 12 member ensemble cast and how that event spilled into the lives of people who did not take part.
      "The discussions [after the screening] tend to focus on peoples' own experiences and their response to the characters and their feelings about this time in terms of what is the role, what is the responsibility, what are the decisions that we all continue to make as citizens because the Viet Nam period was a turbulent time but it also was a time when people directly impacted the public discourse and the public decision making process."
      The Year that Trembled will be shown at the Opera House Saturday evening at 8 p.m. Admission is $5. Advance sale tickets are available from the AAC/Opera House ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy and the Merchant's Bank in Enosburg Falls, plus Swanton Rexall, and Better Planet and the Kept Writer in St. Albans. Call 802-933-6171 or click here for more info. Click here for info about Kingdom County Productions and Fledgling Films.


      When Enosburg Elementary School held its annual Talent Show Friday, 24 diverse acts with students in grades 3-6 participated. The judges were Linda Collins, Manon Pellman, and Miss Vermont, Sarah-Jo Willey.

1st place - Jade Desroches, singing Reflection from Mulan
2nd place - Shelby Sheridan and Kristen Hale, singing God Bless America
3rd place - Krystalyn Leffler, playing I Am A Child of God on flute

1st place - Molly Renning, singing Rainbow Connection
2nd place - Marty Cseh, playing Night Drive, his original piano composition
3rd place - Lindsey Larivee, singing I Believe


      The Vermont Maple Festival Youth Talent Show and competition is held in the BFA-St Albans Theater. It is open to all students in grades one to eight. In celebration of the 37th Anniversary of the Vermont Maple Festival, the Vermont Maple Council has funded an annual scholarship for talent lessons. The scholarship is awarded for potential for improvement through formal lessons.
      This year marks the 24th annual running of this popular competition.
      Audition application forms are available through the music teachers at Franklin County schools and must be returned by March 24. Call 802-524-9340 or 802-527-0158 for entry forms and more info.


      We need an administrator for our growing local arts council to manage day-to-day operations and publicity, to fund raise, to support artists and presenters, manage volunteers and membership, handle correspondence, and to rent out and manage theatrical space. Applicants should have grant writing, general business, and advertising experience. Call 802-524-1486 or e-mail for more info.


      The Bill Douglas Center at the University of Exeter is a collection of the history of film and visual media from shadow puppets to Shirley Temple dolls, from magic lanterns to Marilyn Monroe postcards. It is a site for the casual browser, teacher, academic, and film buff.


      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 © 2003 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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