ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * February 12, 2009


      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!

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      That is either an attention getter or a showstopper. It is likely that none of the martyred saints of ancient Rome was born on February 14 but the Saint Valentine whose feast we celebrate again on Saturday was buried at the Via Flaminia on that date. The U.S. Greeting Card Association reports that one billion valentine cards will be sent this year, each originally drawn by an artist.
      This week contains some important birthdays of people in the arts: Jules Verne on Sunday, Thomas Alva Edison on Tuesday, and Abraham Lincoln today. Lincoln's birthday brings music, lectures, bells, and sculpture to Vermont.

MONTPELIER--The national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission encouraged states to develop commemorative Lincoln events around today's 200th anniversary of his birth. Twenty-three states did so.
      Vermont celebrates the Lincoln Bicentennial with bell-ringing and other activities. The ten minute statewide ringing of the bells at schools, churches, and individuals for begins at 2:12 p.m.
      The chamber music and theater ensemble WordStage Vermont will present music familiar to Lincoln in the Vermont State House; historian Howard Coffin will discuss Lincoln's connections to Vermont; and state Curator David Schutz will discuss the bust of Lincoln that stands in the State House Hall of Inscriptions, all this evening beginning at 7:30 p.m.
      The evening is sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council, the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and Friends of the Vermont State House. Admission is free.
      Savoy Theater and VHC present the 1939 film The Young Mr. Lincoln this afternoon at 2 p.m. The film stars a young Henry Fonda and was directed by John Ford. It will be introduced by Academic Dean of Vermont College of Fine Arts Gary Moore.
      Admission is free.
      National celebrations are planned throughout 2009 and the U.S. Mint is striking four different penny designs to honor the former president. Click here for more info.


     Trout River Traders in Montgomery presents the Bottom Shelf Bootleggers tomorrow evening at 8 p.m.
      "We all focus on harmony singing," Neil Dean said. "It's an old time jugband with a fair amount of originals."
      The band includes Mr. Dean, mandolin fiddle and guitar; Elise Hancock, guitar; Carrie Cook, washtub bass; and Ryan Mickey, dobro and pedal steel. Their influences include Crooked Still, Devil Makes Three, and David Rawlings; their fiddling shows a pronounced southern influence.
      "It's a new band and new restaurant," Mr. Dean said. "It's a great venue."
      The restored Victorian store and restaurant offers cappuccino and baked goods as well as home-made soups and sandwiches. New owners Tosca and Dewey Smith plan to have music every Friday night.


SAVE THE DATE--Mardi Gras Party time, Franklin County style, is coming as Chow!Bella presents the third annual Franklin County Court Diversion fundraiser next Saturday, February 21, at Chow!Bella. The Mardi Gras Party dinner and dance will feature The Fabulous Spiders.
      The cost is $37.50 per person including dinner with live jazz and dancing to The Spiders. Call 802.527.5560 for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The St. Albans Historical Museum presents A Musical Tribute to Sterling D. Weed on Saturday from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. The Valentine's Day fundraising event for the museum features Weed's Imperial Orchestra and a menu of Vermont cheese, dips and crudites, and smoked trout mousse.
      Admission is $45 per couple for members and $50 per couple for non-members. Call Allyn McDonald (802.527.7933) for reservations.

ESSEX JUNCTION--Tonight is WCLX Blues Night at the Lincoln Inn featuring the Nobby Reed Project at 7 p.m. The Inn will Run for Cover for the Valentines Ball on Saturday and has Bluegrass Night with Winding Road on Tuesday at 7 p.m. They are closed for Winter Solstice on Monday.
      Call 802.878.3309 or click here for more info.

SOUTH HERO--Swing your sweetie at the South Hero Public Library Family Dance with caller Mark Sustic and Fiddleheads on Valentine's Day in the Folsom Education Center at 6 p.m.
      Email for more info.

AROUND VERMONT--Yankee Chank is busy for Mardi Gras season this week. The Vermont-based Cajun dance band performs traditional dance music from southwest Louisiana. The group features traditional instruments and specializes in the two-steps and waltzes played in the dance halls and honky-tonks of Louisiana. With Bob Naess, fiddle and vocals; Cannon Labrie, accordion and vocals; Jim Burns, guitar; and Mark Sustic, bass and percussion, they have played dances, festivals, concerts, parties, and weddings throughout New England since 1996.
      The group plays Nectar's in Burlington tonight at 10 p.m., Late Night Saturday on WCAX Channel 3 this Saturday at 11:30 p.m., and the Good Times Cafe in Hinesburg on Wednesday at 8p.m.
      Email for more info.

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Village Tavern hosts Open Mic at 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

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

ST. ALBANS--Chow!Bella offers the jazz and improv of Vern Colburn on the Piano on Fridays at 5:30 and dynamite jazz duo of Ted Crosby and Fabian Rainville at 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.


     American inventor Thomas Edison was an entrepreneur, salesman, and telegraph operator before he began his quest for 1,093 patents. His first patent was for the electric vote recorder in 1869.
      Where would we be without the phonograph, speaking telephones, electric light, electric motors, an alternating-current generator, kinetographic camera, photographic film for moving-picture machines, alkaline battery (where would Energizer be?), or a method of presenting the illusion of scenes in colors? More important, the Creative Economy started in a large degree in the work of Edison and his peers. Edison personally experimented with and invented some interesting and useful devices but his larger contribution may have been to staff his Menlo Park industrial research lab with inventors, scientists, engineers, and technicians whose work produced those amazing results.
      Edison advanced the science and the technology behind the arts and entertainment we take for granted today.

     The Vermont Council on Rural Development Council on the Future of Vermont has released Vermont in Transition: A Summary of Social, Economic and Environmental Trends. The report is a comprehensive trend-line analysis of the past two decades in Vermont.
      Vermont in Transition is a dense, data-driven volume with chapters on the economy and our Creative Economy; our population, environment and land; the infrastructure; as well as health, crime, and governance. The St. Michael's College researchers identified 160 key trends; the online book includes over 300 supporting graphs and charts.
      Click here for the entire work in .PDF format.


     Holidays are big business for kids and Valentine's Day is no exception.
      We have visited Kaboose before. The site has free cards, coloring pages, crafts, entertainment for families, games, party ideas, recipes, and romance.
      Kinderart has gift ideas for kids to make including the "I give you my heart" cards and coloring 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 © 2009 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.