ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * February 26, 2004


      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 1 p.m., at ChowBella in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, at the Kept Writer in St Albans mostly once each month, 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.


      Photographer Bruce Pendleton says his name is spelled "just like the shirt company."
      "I used to have an advertising studio in Manhattan at 485 Fifth Ave.," he said. "Pendleton Shirts was at 489. All we ever got were bills, never their checks."
      Mr. Pendleton trained as a photographer. He began his professional career managing a custom color lab in New York City. He then opened an advertising studio where he practiced advertising, industrial, and corporate photography for 35 years.
      "I was originally going to be a fashion photographer but the guy I shared a studio with said, 'in New York, fashion photographers are a dime a dozen and they use them up every two years.' So he said, 'Why don't you go into still life?'"
      Although he started with still lifes, he segued into experimental theater photography with moving images, slow camera, and multiple images. He worked with a uniquely staged, semi-professional Gilbert and Sullivan troupe in Manhattan. He wrote Creative Still-Life Photography. And he filmed a movie.
      "A lot of [that work] was an adjunct of my advertising," he said. He has a series of closeup facial images of clowns done "in conjunction with an ad that featured a whole bunch of clowns for a chemical company, the people who made the zinc white for the face makeup the clowns used."
      His experimental still lifes include a "French curve with some drafting materials and press type that was done on a light table with some manipulation with polarizing filters." The French or "ship's curve" is an art, drawing, and drafting instrument used to connect points in a smooth arc. These tools are usually stressed plastic. When backlighted, the internal stresses created a rainbow effect. It broke down into the complete spectrum of colors.
      "It's a trick they used to use in Subway displays" (the underground trains, not the sandwich shop), he said. The displays used rotating polarizing filters with a Cellophane or other stressed plastic insert. The color constantly changes as one screen rotates in front of the other.
      "I did one industrial film and the art director did a movie for fun based on James Whitcomb Riley's poem, 'The Old Swimming Hole'," he said. "We shot this whole movie from a darkened bedroom window over a swimming pool that disturbed our sleep on Saturday mornings." That film won an Honorable Mention at an early San Francisco Film Festival.
      His recent awards include Best of Category and Best of Show at 2002 Helen Day Winter Show at Stowe, Best of Category at the Arts Alive Show last year, and First in Class at the Chaffee Fall Member's Show.
      The Pendletons live in Fairfax. They have four children and 14 grandchildren ranging in age from 3 to 26.
      Bruce Pendleton will be a featured exhibitor in the AAC Fine Art Exhibit at the 38th Annual Vermont Maple Festival in April.


      This column asks one question frequently: Is it possible to quit your day job? There are so many Franklin County actors, dancers, fine artists, musicians, photographers, and writers who can't because making a living in the arts seems impossible.
      "I haven't had a full time day job for over 30 years," Vermont poet, writer, and performer David Budbill said.
      He and his wife, painter Lois Eby, "both pick up income from here and there. It's the good old Vermont tradition of scratching around trying to find a buck."
      He sells his work. He does residencies in high schools and colleges. He earns money doing readings (readings are often underwritten, as his recent appearance in Fairfax was, by a foundation or other grant). He will be doing workshops for high school English teachers in May and July. He performs in New York with a jazz music group. CD sales contribute a little.
      "As I'm fond of saying, my income tax return usually has over 50 different sources of income. Even at that my income is laughable by most people's standards."


      The Fairfax Community Theater Company will hold auditions this weekend for a spring production of The Poet and the Rent and The Frog Prince, two one-act children's plays by David Mamet. Auditions will be held Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.. at the Westford Brick Meeting House on Route 128 in Westford Village. There are 15 roles available for men and women ages 10 and up.
      The performances are April 22, 23, and 24. Call Kevin (802-878-0188) or Margie (802-849-6638) during evening hours for more info.


      David Budbill read poetry in Fairfax earlier this month. He has also created and edits The Judevine Mountain Emailite: a Cyberzine.. This online "Journal of Politics and Opinion" is on his website along with information about his poems, plays, essays, young adult fiction, children's books, and a calendar of his public events.


      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 © 2004 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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