ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 21 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 21, 2017


      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.

     Franklin County's arts and music gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. There are also booked and acoustic Open Mic Nights that feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

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      2017 was another busy year in the arts. We've had so many events every month that it will again take two weeks to summarize them. First, the look at what's happening now.


ST. ALBANS--"Hallelujah! Holy sh*t! Where's the Tylenol?"
      Get into the holiday spirit with a free screening of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation in The Room at 14th Star Brewing Company this evening at 7 p.m.
      There will be plenty of seating, or feel free to bring a blanket and pillow and get cozy on the floor. Free popcorn and hot cocoa for all who attend.


SOUTH HERO--The Blue Paddle Bistro presents Carol Ann Jones solo tonight at 6:30 p.m., ringing in the holidays for the seventh year in a row.
      The Blue Paddle has limited seating and a small bar so call ahead (802.372.4814) to assure a seat.

ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap starts a busy week with Summer Sounds favorites Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers tonight at 7 p.m. Tomorrow, Ryan & Slim play 5 - 8 p.m. and Shake the Band takes the stage at 9. Summer Sounds favorites Bethany Connor and Troy Millette bring on their funny and sweet duo on Saturday 5 - 8 p.m. and NightHawk takes the stage at 9.
      On Tap has music on Tuesday through Saturday nights. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Holi-DAZE Solstice Show and TNT Comedy Showcase continues on the Main Stage at Twiggs on TNT Comedy Thursday at 7 p.m. Doors at 6:30.
      Sky Baumgardner Sandoval, New York City's former Vermonter Jade Marcotte, and Nilim Michelle, hosted by Stanley Leveille will close out the 2017 Comedy Season. Suzan Ambrose hosts open mic. This is a free show for mature audiences and space has been filling up quickly; call Twiggs to reserve a table. Make dinner reservations prior to the show since only drinks, appetizers, and desserts will be served during the show.
      Next up, Twiggs presents singer, songwriter, and guitarist Tim Brick's duo on Friday and indie-folk and alt-country singer-songwriter Erin Cassels-Brown on Saturday. Shows begin at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--14th Star Brewing Company presents the 5th annual Home for the Holidays show on Friday at 6 p.m. Troy Millette and Dylan Gombas headline Home for the Holidays with special guests Bethany Conner and Chad Conant (of Coon Hill John).
      This year 14th Star partners with Make-A-Wish to help raise funds, and make more dreams come true for kids across Vermont.

BURLINGTON--Fiddleheads host a rehearsal, open house and performance with Pascal Gemme at the Burlington Violin Shop on Saturday and has played with (and learned from), most of today's great Quebecois fiddlers and singers. The open house with snacks starts at 12 noon and the concert featuring tunes taught during the residency begins at 1 p.m.
      M. Gemme is one of Quebec’s national treasures and a popular traditional musician. He searches for and interprets seldom-heard songs and melodies. The event marks the final session of 4-month residency that started in September. Admission is by $5 donation.

ST. ALBANS--Yee haw! Durty Nelly's Tavern is going full-on honky-tonk with the Starline Rhythm Boys on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
      The Boys are Danny Coane who writes and sings, picks banjo and guitar; Billy Bratcher, upright slap bass; and Big Al Lemery on the stinging Telecaster. The winners of Seven Days' Best Americana Artist averages about 100 gigs per year.
      Admission is by $5 cover.

BURLINGTON--The Young Tradition Touring Group will present a preview performance of Wednesday's full concert at Bishop Booth Conference Center on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Arrive anytime after 6:30 p.m. for general admission seating.
      Admission is by suggested donation of $10. Email to reserve a seat.

BURLINGTON--The Young Tradition Touring Group performs a full concert at the Bishop Booth Conference Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The ensemble includes members of the 2017-18 Touring Group with Andrea Beaton, Dominque Dodge, and Pete Sutherland, plus Rose Jackson and Oliver Scanlon. This will be the first public performance of material the group has been working on since September.
      The Touring Group consists of teen players, singers and dancers who learn and perform traditional music and dance over the course of 9 months, starting in September and ending in early May at Young Tradition Weekend, including an April performance tour. The group will visit Scotland in 2018.
      Admission is by $20 suggested donation. All contributions are dedicated to costs associated with the group's rehearsals and performances in Vermont and Scotland. General admission seating available after 6:30pm. Email for reservations and more info or click here for more info.


     Franklin County artists and presenters had a busy 2017. This week, the Franklin County Festivals and Libraries. Next week, wrapping up All Arts Council and what the Other Major Presenters did.

      The 51st edition of the Vermont Maple Festival ("51 and Let It Run") was the first major outdoor event of the year with more art, more books, more food, more music, and more maple for everyone.
      More arts! Famed Vermont artist Corliss Blakely will paint in the window at the Village Frame Shoppe and they featured maple themed artwork all weekend. The annual Crafts and Specialty Foods Show had artwork and fine photographs, bling, sculptures, traditional and nouveau crafts, fine Vermont specialty foods and music. with O'hAnleigh, Spider Roulette and Bob Young. There was a new Paint Nite.
      Andre Maquera of 8084 and West Street Digital managed the Vermont-centric entertainment and kept it close to home. The free Main Street stage had Carol Ann Jones and Will Patton, Coon Hill John, the Chad Hollister Band, winners from the Youth Talent Show, the Electric Youth Dance Company, Rockin' Ron The Friendly Pirate, Spider Roulette, the Contois School of Music Band with a Beatles tribute, and Morgan Myles.
      The Kids' Center in BFA PAC had the No Strings Marionette Company, Handsome and Gretel, Yo Jo, and free face painting.
      The BFA PAC filled to overflowing at night, too, with the Youth Talent Show and the Fiddler's Variety Show. The famed Foothills Fogies and other acts appeared around town.

      June is National Dairy Month! The popular Scholarship Pageant opened the 61st Vermont Dairy Festival which followed up with almost unlimited entertainment and family activities with a weekend lineup that featured two stages with Local Talent at its Best. Franklin County's own Chris and Erica, Local Talent at its Best, kicked off the shows on the Got Milk Stage. Vermont's #1 Outlaw, Jimmy T., Buddy The Clown, ventriloquist Sylvia Fletcher, Tom Walsh, Tim Brick, Keeghan Nolan, Troy Millette and Friends, Dark Horse, and the Johnny Cash Tribute Show kept the stages hopping. The Northeast Fiddlers Association returned to preserve and promote old-time fiddling and its related arts and skills. The Green Mountain Barbershop Quartet show ended the long weekend harmoniously.

      The 42nd annual Franklin County Field Days had a lineup of music, arts and crafts, antique tractors, and of course cows. The eleven performing groups were worth the price of admission alone with up-and-coming performers as well as seasoned stars. Erica and Chris, Maple Creek, Buddy the Clown, the Old Man Garage Band, Rosie Newton, Night Hawk, Keeghan Nolan, Troy Millette, Bad Horsey, and the Nobby Reed Project had music for everyone. The Johnny Cash Tribute closed the gates on 2017.

      The generous appropriations for our Town Libraries do not cover all expenses. A donation will help your community library continue offering not only popular reading but also a wide range of the arts. Stop by your library to pick up a donation form or just hand them moolah.

     Vermont Reads was again a big theme throughout the year. This was the fifteenth year of the Vermont Humanities Council's statewide, one-book community reading program with Jacqueline Woodson's poetic memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming. County-wide, our public Libraries also had solar eclipse parties, Backpack Theater, readings, lunchtime concerts, art shows, summer reading programs, online public access catalogs, storytimes, and kids' performers.
      The Traveling Storyteller told tales around the county including the Gingerbread Boy in Richford next week.
      The H.F. Brigham Library in Bakersfield has LEGO Little Hands, sewing, Book Discussions and more.
      Enosburgh Public Library Friday Night Paint and Teas plus Summer Art with Victoria and offered book discussions plus movies, Story Walks in the park, and Knitting Time. They now offer FAX service.
      The Fairfax Community Library had Exordium plus Lab Girls and chess club and regular programs for gardening, Tech Help, summer science, a booklist webinar, and more.
      The Bent Northrop Memorial Library in Fairfield offered magician Tom Joyce. They hosted the Library Art Bop, Summer Celebration and more. They have regular Maker Space, building days, garden care workshops, mahjong, and more.
      The Haston Library in Franklin was awarded a Children's Literacy Foundation Rural Libraries Grant for the 2017-2018 school year. They made 3-D snowflakes, held the Library Art Bop, story hours, Lego Thursdays, Knitting Tuesdays, game days, Tractor Day, adult book discussions, ESL classes, Santa and the Bookmobile, and more.
      Georgia Public Library offered concerts, crochet group, home school group, Coffee and Conversation, ukelele, the local writers' monthly workshop, the library scavenger hunt, a book folding workshop, the Georgia Brick-Builders' Club, and more.
      Highgate Public Library is very much a community center. Ms. Liza held the Book Bites monthly book discussion and has library passes for the Birds of Vermont Museum, Echo, Shelburne Museum, Shelburne Farms, Vermont’s Historical Society Museum, and Vermont State Parks. The library has the "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten" program, the Learn and Discover Bookbag Program (the "backpack program"), VELI STEM, safety courses, Book Bites book discussions, author visits, and more. The entire library catalog is online.
      Montgomery Town Library held its first Friends of the Library Book Sale this month. They plan it to be an annual event. Snowshoes are available. The Book to Film and Building Brighter Futures events were popular and the library continues to announce new books and more on Facebook. They presented the puppetry of Modern Times Theater.
      AA Brown Public Library in Richford serves as a life long learning center with year round classes and workshops. They had paint and sip parties, the Richford Mobile Studio Day, "Read to a Librarian," Backpack Theater, a Kentucky Derby party, and more. The Traveling Story Teller will be there next week.
      St. Albans Free Public Library hosts the Classic Readers, the Mornings, Muffins & Mysteries, and evening book groups; the Writers' Medley; Classic Movie Nights; plus Jane Goodrich discussing her book, House at Lobster Cove; the Kids' Saturday Movie Matinee; Stir the Pot Cookbook discussions; Astronomy Nights; Book Cellar; Summer Reading; regular Help with Electronic Devices, magicians, and more.
      Sheldon Public Library has free WiFi access available 24/7. They have story hour, MakerSpace, Paint and Tea, computer classes, book discussions, and the Silent Book Club. They had a nice omelet supper last month.
      The Swanton Free Public Library had a monthly Book Club Selection, Readers' Theater, adult coloring, movies, story time, family nights, game nights, a book sale every day, Swanton Arts Council collaborations, and community activities downstairs.
      Oh, yeah. And collectively, the libraries hold and have lent thousands of books this year.

ArtBits News Photo


     May your holidays be filled with friends and family and joy and the arts.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at library events in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site at We also take an occasional peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. Those reviews can be found on the ArtBits Bookshelf.

Good News!

There are so many events around the region that we miss some of them.
Be sure to check these calendars for what's happening near you ...
All Arts Council of Franklin County
Cambridge Arts Council
Franklin County Regional
Chamber of Commerce
Island Arts
St Albans Community Arts
Swanton Arts Council
Young Tradition Vermont


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      This article may also have originally been published in the traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2017 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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