ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 14 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 14, 2011


      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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      It is a really big shew this weekend with both the Vermont Maple Festival and the MVU Musical on stage all weekend.


     The Maple Festival this weekend is the 45th running of Vermont's first (and sweetest) outdoor festival of the year.
      The Maple Festival Parade -- the biggest in Vermont -- starts on Lake Street on Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp. The parade stretches for miles with over 100 bands, clowns, dancers, unique floats, horses and tractors, musicians, neat cars, probably the odd politician or two, and the ever-popular pooper scooper will walk up Lake Street, over Main Street, and down Lower Newton Street.
      The annual Crafts and Specialty Foods Show in BFA Auditorium offers artwork and fine photographs, glittery bling, classy clothing, wooden sculptures, traditional and nouveau crafts, and fine Vermont specialty foods. More than 60 vendors will have traditional as well as craft innovations. This Show is one of the Festival's three face-painting locations. Admission is free. Friday noon - 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. A free shuttle bus on Saturday makes deliveries right to the door.
      A sampling of the exhibitors includes John Cort-Desrochers' books; original photography from Molly Emery, Carrie Foster, and Chris Hungerford; Kimberlee Forney, whimsical paintings and landscapes; Toby Fulwiler, wooden bowls; and the Moose Man's Wildlife Photography.
      Only two of the indoor entertainment events (and the banquet) charge admission. Everything else is free. The Youth Talent Show has moved to the St. Albans City School and will take place tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. The Fiddlers Variety Show (fiddling is the Sound of Vermont) has moved to St. Paul's United Methodist Church on Saturday at 7 p.m. click here to buy advance sale tickets online for each. Tickets will also be available at the information booth in Taylor Park and the festival office at the exhibit hall in the BFA Cafeteria.
      The St. Albans Historical Society Museum opens its doors tomorrow at 12 noon - 4 p.m. and again on Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
      The Main Street Stage begins a weekend of free entertainment tomorrow at 11 a.m. That runs through Sunday after the parade.
      Did I mention that the Main Street Stage is free?
      The Friday entertainment lineup on the free Main Street stage begins with Marko the Magician as he performs magic, hypnosis, and comedy and will perform two different shows, one of magic and a second of hypnotic skills. 1-3 p.m.
      Franklin County's own country music star, Keeghan Nolan has opened for the national acts Jimmy Wayne and Dusty Drake; she won the Colgate Country Showdown. Andre Maquera, Thom Carvey, and Gary Spaulding form the best darned back up band. This is her fifth appearance at the Maple Festival. 4-6 p.m. (Maple Festival is a Maquera family weekend between the Keeghan show and Mingo's appearance with BAM in the Talent Show.)
      The Youth Talent Show will fill the St. Albans City School on Friday evening at 7 p.m. This annual favorite brings together some of the most talented children in the County competing for scholarship prizes. Talent show admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students. Get your tickets in advance at the information booth on Main Street, at the festival office, and online.
      Saturday morning may not begin with a Maple Maypole but does bring the famed Foothills Fogies to the pancake breakfast at St. Albans City Elementary School. Mark Sustic describes the Fogies as the "group of people who play informally at the Foothills Bakery," including Mr. Sustic, Jerry Faulkenberg and several other fiddlers young and old.
      After breakfast, the Electric Youth Dance Company takes over the Main Street Stage This talented group of dancers in several age groups learn the fun and discipline of dance. Cheryl Ann Kelly directs. 10 - 11:30 a.m.
      Next up, famed children's storyteller and family musician Bill Shontz, an entertainer who has wowed generations of children and adults from Rosenshontz on PBS to Summer Sounds with his one man band and vocals. He starts the day right on the Main Street Stage. 11:30 - 12:30 p.m.
      The danceable jazz of the Joe Levesque Big Band is the band music of the 40s to the present on the stage and up and down the street. 1 - 2:30 p.m.
      Marc Sustic and Streak O Lean (Jim Burns, Brianna Farver, Andrew Hathaway and Mr. Sustic) will rove around Taylor Park and all the Maple Festival venues, sprinkling music as they go. 1 - 4 p.m.
      Winners from the Youth Talent Show will perform on the Main Street stage at 3 p.m.
      Soul System comes to the Main Street Stage for the first time. They perform classic rock and soul with sax, trumpet and trombone. 4-6 p.m.
      The Fiddlers' Variety Show, now an annual sellout at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, has hours and hours and hours of Canadian and American singers, dancers, pickers, comedy, and clogging all starting at 7 p.m. Fiddlers' show admission is $7. Get your tickets in advance at the information booth on Main Street, at the festival office, and online.
      Sunday morning, bright and early returns the Foothills Fogies to pancake breakfast duties at St. Albans City Elementary School.
      After breakfast, the St. Albans City School Senior Band with over 100 6th, 7th and 8th grade musicians will burn any lingering mist away on the Main Street Stage. They will also perform at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC this summer. 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
      Click here for more info.


     It is musical time as MVU presents Seussical for three days only, tonight and tomorrow at 7 p.m. and on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
      The musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty is an amalgam of Dr. Seuss's most famous books. It debuted on Broadway in 2000. The show weaves other stories around Horton Hears a Who! as Horton tries to protect the people of Who-ville. The Cat in the Hat is an outside observer and narrator. Eric Idle played a pre-Broadway Cat in the Hat.
      The huge play requires 40 or more actors and one stubborn puppet always in a pouch. The principal roles include Justin Gates as the Cat in the Hat; Jeffery Renaud, Horton; Sam Caswell, Jo-Jo; Molly Hartman, Gertrude McFuzz; Emily Evans, Mayzie LaBird; Myriam Bouti, Sour Kangaroo; Jessica Duprey, Mrs. Mayor; Vincent Iannaco, the Mayor of Whoville; and Josh Oddy as General Genghis Khan Schmitz. Emmanuel Greeno, as the Grinch, has a cameo in two songs. Harold "Mitch" Mitchell directs and Brook Ostrander returns for the first time since his retirement. click here for more info and for the entire cast.
      Admission is $11 for adults and $7 for seniors, students, and children. Call 802.868.2263 for reserved seating.


CLASSIC MOVIE NIGHT--With the fabled April showers a sure thing this week the St. Albans Free Library presents Singin' in the Rain tonight at 7 p.m. The show includes a newsreel, a preview of Dr. Strangelove, and a cartoon, all on the 4' x 6' big screen.
      Admission is free, along with popcorn and a beverage.

ST. ALBANS--The new Village Frame Shoppe and Gallery continues a Sappy Art Show with works by Toby Fulwiler, Matthew White, Doug Bergstrom, and more.
      The Shoppe also hosts Messenger reporter Leon Thompson for what Mr. Thompson calls "Yet Another Sweet-Ass Maple Festibal Book Signing" on Saturday at 1 p.m.
      Located at 72 Main Street, the gallery has extended hours during the Maple Festival: Friday and Saturday 10 - 8 p.m., and Sunday 10 - 3 p.m. The show will hang from April 12 - May 10.

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella presents the Carol Ann Jones, Will Patton, and Dono Schabner trio on Saturday at 7 p.m. Call 802.524.1405 for reservations or click here for more info.
      (Note: The Opera House Bridal Expo on Saturday has been cancelled.)


     April 10-16 is National Library Week.
      The Vermont Humanities Council program, Vermont Reads, presents More than Books: Reflections on Libraries, Community & Historic Preservation at the new Bent Northrop Memorial Library at 164 Park Street this evening at 7 p.m. Museum scholar, preservationist and photographer Bill Hosley will examine almost 200 years of American library history with a special focus on New England and its many municipal and research libraries.
      Call Kristen Hughes (802.827.3945) for more info.


     Poet Susan Thomas of Marshfield has published poems, translations, and short fiction in more than 200 literary journals and anthologies. She won the Iowa Poetry Award and the Ann Stanford Prize. Her site includes a brief biography, works, and an events list that is not current.


      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 © 2011 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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