ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 17 * * All Arts News On the Web * * October 17, 2013


      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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      Bill Haugland of Highgate Springs has his first book of short stories debuting this week. After the summer washout we had, the eclectic collection After It Rains is aptly named.
      Each tale in After the Rain has the slow pace and character building of a novel with a nice surprise waiting at the end. "The similarity is from my style of writing," Mr. Haugland said. He leans heavily on dialog so the short stories "became sort of mini novels."
      A great yarn does more than tell a good story. It sucks us into the characters' lives.
      "Every character has to have a challenge," he said. And they do. I want to know what happens next to (Little) Johnny Quincy with the penny in The Wishing Jar or for Jenny and Michael in Til Death.
      Can men and women, families, and the desperate and the troubled reveal their psyches -- and foibles -- as they face loss of home and property and suicide, bank robbery and maybe murder? After the Rain does in 14 stories, in some cases, just a couple thousand words. (As a point of reference, this column is about half that.)
      "The dedication describes the human condition which is why there are so many different moods," he said.
      From dining at Mafia watering holes to the Blue Bird Café fire, he has a vast store of lore to draw on. Still, like many writers, his Vermont locations sound fictional. "I have a fear that naming some places would offend people," he said. "The places could very well exist but don't."
      Mr. Haugland is a retired Canadian journalist and the former news anchor for CFCF-TV in Montreal. His earlier books include The Bidding, an eerie murder mystery, and Mobile 9, a gripping tale of drug smuggling and murder set in the seedy side of Montreal, both with the same characters, a young television reporter, and largely based on my own experiences. His 1860 home here belonged to his maternal grandfather; he has dual citizenship giving him a foot in both worlds. "I was two weeks old when I was first brought to the house I am sitting in now. It was wonderful to look up and see the stars and know that I was home."
      This is his first collection of short stories but not his first book. His novels include The Bidding and Mobile 9.
      "I had a closet full of pieces [written over the years], about half of them became these stories.
      "I think that writing is kind of like Kilroy is here where we want to hand something down to posterity, like initials carved in a tree."
      Mr. Haugland will be keynote speaker at a "Books and Breakfast" event this weekend at the Sheraton Center in Montreal.
      After It Rains is available for pre-order on now and will be in bookstores here in the States by the end of the month, just in time for Christmas.


SOUTH HERO--The Blue Paddle Bistro presents Carol Ann Jones tonight at 6:30 p.m.
      The Blue Paddle has limited seating and a small bar. Call ahead (802.372.4814) to assure a seat.

ST. ALBANS--The VSO Symphony Kids present The True Story of Peter & The Wolf in the BFA Performing Arts Center on Saturday at 4 p.m. Come in costume for the costume parade, and everyone gets a treat for the road.
      The Halloween family concert features a grownup VSO woodwind quintet in an outreach program that is fun and funny, fresh and friendly, and interactive with the musicians. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids, or $15 for a family of five or more. Tickets are available at the St. Albans Chamber of Commerce Office. Call the VSO (800-VSO-9293, x 10) for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The St. Albans Historical Museum hosts a Country Western Dinner and Dance with live music and dancing from the Adams Band in Bliss Hall on Saturday at 5 p.m.
      The Burlington-based Adams Band of Vermont has been playing since the sixties. The wedding and event group specializes in golden oldies from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, plus a list of "romantic love songs and some of the greatest Classic Country songs ever recorded." The band includes Mike Bevins, vocals and drums; Darrell Papazoni, vocals and lead guitar; Gary Ellis, vocals and bass guitar; and Jerry Smith, vocals, lead guitar and keyboards.
      The benefit for the Historical Museum includes a cash bar at 5 and the BBQ dinner at 6 catered by Twiggs. There will be a Blue Ribbon Dessert auction and a 50/50 raffle. Western attire is encouraged.
      Admission is $30 per person and reservations are required. Call 802.527.7933 or email for more info.


ST. ALBANS--The first Fall Craft and Food Show is this weekend at the Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center. Over 75 booths with Vermont-made arts, crafts, and foods; lunch will be available. All proceeds benefit public school activities.
      Call Trish LeBlanc (802.527.1202) or email for more info.


RICHFORD--The A.A. Brown Library will Celebrate Fall on Saturday at 11 a.m.
      This program will celebrate the season by making a 3D fall tree from paper bags and tissue paper leaves and will read about changing leaves.

ST. ALBANS--The St. Albans Free Library Writers' Medley includes an Author Talk this afternoon at 2 p.m.
      Guest author Susan Katz Saitoh will discuss her new book, Encounter with Japan: an Adventure in Love.
      Also at the library, a new Let's Paint Pottery workshop on Tuesday, October 22, at 6:30 p.m. A $15 fee and registration is required.


     Tom Merwin of Castleton was initially influenced by the Hudson River School and Abstract Expressionism but says he "soon made the link that has led to a continued love of Chinese and Japanese painting." His site includes his Biography, Featured works, Watercolors, an oil gallery, Sumi inks, a purchase page and location. His is our first Vermont studio to include a "Find us on YouTube" link. It's a good marketing idea.


      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 © 2013 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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