ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 12 * * All Arts News On the Web * * February 14, 2008


      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 various restaurants around Franklin County throughout the week, 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.

      Find links to these events and more in our Spotlight!


      Events for Tom and Fiddleheads and the Barre Opera House present an Irish Fiddle Workshop on Friday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at City Hall in Barre. Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and Ciaran Tourish will lead this short master class for intermediate to advanced players; it will focus on Irish style and repertoire.
      Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh was was surrounded by music in her birthplace in the Donegal Gaeltacht of Gaoth Dobhair. Her father, Francie, a fiddle teacher with a wealth of unusual local tunes, many passed down by his mother, Roise, started this Donegal fiddler on the instrument.
      Ciaran Tourish is from Buncrana, in east Donegal. His quick ear and a love of harmony and counterpoint have led his collaboration on projects with a wide range of other musicians.
      Mairead and Ciaran will perform with Altan at the Barre Opera House tomorrow evening.
      The workshop is limited to 20 participants. The fee is $20 to be paid at the start of the workshop. Call Mark Sustic (802.849.6968) or email for more info and to reserve a spot.


     Last year, this column mentioned that Leon Thompson was thankful for a friend who helped him overcome his fear of MySpace. A St. Albans Town high energy rock 'n' roll band had a Facebook page but found MySpace "much easier to use." Another column covered a Johnson, Vermont, rock group as one of a growing number of artists with a MySpace page. That group's page included most of the advertising tactics that make it a good marketing tool: downloads, general info, influences, contact info, a blog, and, of course, hundreds of friends. Meanwhile, a "political" fund-raising drive has two candidates vying for voter approval with YouTube video clips, posters, bumper stickers, signs, and profiles on Facebook, Catster, Dogster, and more.
      That's all ideal. Word-of-mouth is absolutely the best advertising. Social networking systems form the modern day back fence where those hundreds of friends spread your word at light speed. It's a technique I endorse. The All Arts Council has Facebook and MySpace profiles. So do I.
      Social networking sites such as Blogspot, Facebook, and MySpace pages have much more than that. The very tactics that make your page a good marketing tool for you make it a good marketing tool for Blogspot, Facebook, or MySpace. In fact, every social networking site on the Internet harvests private data for marketing purposes. That data makes it easier to decide whether to sell you a new car or a used college degree or an X-rated video.
      Two main sources makeup most of the background research that goes into this column: interviews and websites. An Internet search is much faster than an interview. It means any reporter can also harvest whatever data is on the social networking pages.
      And whatever is there may be there forever.
      Some users such as the St. Albans rock 'n' roll band have tried to delete every piece of information they posted to Facebook. It's still there. Hidden but there. A litany of unofficial help pages devoted to escaping Facebook has blossomed online. There are no guarantees. Steve Mansour wrote one such page at There is also the Facebook group at . Of course you have to have a Facebook account to read that page which means you have to give them your data.
      Facebook keeps your data. Even if they don't, an archive engine has it. Link aggregator has it. And someone else has likely copied it and reposted it on their own site.
      Here's the bottom line. Social networking sites are still the least expensive marketing tool artists and others can find. Just don't post anything you wouldn't want your mother--orGiantMegaSellathon-dot-com or me--to see.


WATERBURY--The second of two February concerts to honor teacher and musician Matt Clancy's life will take place on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Crossett Brook Middle School. The lineup includes CBMS and Harwood graduates plus Eric Bushey and the Nouveau Jazz Quartet, the Vermont Jazz Ensemble, Bob Gagnon's Gypsy Swing Band, Allison Mann and Colin McCaffrey, and The Swingin' Vermont Big Band.
      Admission is $10 at the door. All proceeds will go directly to his family. Click here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn presents Greek specialties and mighty craic with the Croppies, an American-Irish Band, on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.878.3309 or click here for more info.


     Turtle Dove Harmony Camp creates community and purpose through song. Founded by Brendan Taaffe, they draw on traditional music such as Appalachian, African, Eastern European and Shape Note. This year's programs include July camps in Ireland with Kathy Bullock, Nils Fredland and Brendan Taaffe and in Bulgaria with Iris Werkhoven Ficker, Galina Durmushliyska, and Brendan Taaffe.


      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 © 2008 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).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.