Weekly Conversation On The Arts

Photo by Jeff Woodward

You’ve heard the term localvore as it relates to growing, producing and buying your food locally. But now a Vermont publishing company has adopted the philosophy.

Green Writers Press has pledged that all of their books will be printed in Vermont, using environmentally friendly processes.

And it promises to focus on topics that spread a message of environmental activism.

Dede Cummings of Brattleboro is the founder of Green Mountain Press, and is also an occasional VPR commentator.

A play being produced in Burlington brings theatergoers face-to-face with issues surrounding childbirth.

Birth” is based on nearly 100 interviews that playwright Karen Brody conducted with mothers across America.

She distilled those interviews to tell the stories of eight women and their birth experiences.

Director Trisha Denton says childbirth is often a "taboo" subject for conversation, and many women are left in the dark about what the experience is like.

Courtesy Of NEK Classical Series

The Northeast Kingdom Classical Series is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special concert Sunday afternoon in St. Johnsbury.

A number of Vermont musicians will gather to kick off the season.

Montpelier pianist Michael Arnowitt, who played at the first concert 25 years ago, is returning to perform in this Sunday's program.

The concert will also feature The Heliand Consort and members of the Craftsbury Chamber Players.

Leslie Gensburg is a co-founder of the series.

Thursday, October 25, 2013 at 4:50 p.m. Good poetry is music in itself—any lover of words knows that. But it’s not often that a book of poetry comes with a CD of music. That’s the case with Northeast Kingdom Poet Jerry Johnson’s new collection. The book, Up the Creek Without a Saddle, comes with a CD that features sixteen poems set to music written by Vermont musicians Jon Gailmor and Pete Sutherland. Jerry Johnson spoke with VPR's Peter Biello about the book and the music it inspired.

Brattleboro’s Latchis Theater has succeeded despite a number of setbacks in the last few years.

Flooding temporarily closed the historic art deco space. And the marquee had to be replaced following a truck accident. The landmark theater has been closed since August for extensive renovations.

But now is the time to celebrate, as the Latchis prepares for a grand re-opening this Saturday, featuring an appearance by documentary film-maker Ken Burns. Burns will be presenting an episode from his new project, "The Roosevelts -- An Intimate History."

The Vermont International Film Festival returns to  Burlington October 11th through the 2oth.

38 feature films and 40 short films will be shown at multiple locations.

Food and Sports are among the themes of this year's films.

VTIFF Executive Director Orly Radin says the Festival has partnered with a number of restaurants to host film-related events.

Helen Shepartz

A new book by Guliford author Michael Nethercott combines ghostly storytelling and traditional drawing room mystery.

The Séance Society follows an unlikely detective duo as they’re enlisted to solve a murder within a group of ghost seekers.

Eccentric characters and a 1950’s setting call to mind both Sherlock Holmes, and the novels of Agatha Christie.

Nethercott says the retro setting allows his characters to avoid the technical trappings of modern society.

October is a busy time for the Vermont Arts Council, and for arts-lovers in general.

The month kicks off with the Annual Arts Awards gala in Brandon Tuesday, October 1.  And the Council is also gearing up for the Vermont Arts Summit, October 26 at the Statehouse in Montpelier.

Courtesy, ITV Festival

Southern Vermont will become a Hollywood outpost as  Dover and Wilmington play host to the Independent Television and Film Festival, September 26th through the 28th.

This is the 8th annual ITV Fest, which allows film, TV and web producers to meet with industry executives.

But this marks the first time the festival is being held in Vermont. The three-day event is being expanded to include comedy and  music performances, as well as a classic car show.

Tropical Storm Irene was a traumatic event for many Vermonters, and one can only imagine how the storm and its aftermath affected children.

A non-profit organization in central Vermont known as the Arts Bus Project is allowing children to work through the complicated healing process by giving them creative channels to express their emotions.

Director Cynthia Sandusky says that drawing, music and poetry can help children articulate what they can't put into words.

Luyan Gracely

The West Rutland Art Park is hosting an international sculpture symposium, which will feature nine artists from eight different countries.

The month-long symposium gets underway on Friday,  and is a rare opportunity for the public to meet globally renowned artists at work with local granite, marble and steel.

The West Rutland Art Park is located at the home of Barbara Carris, who helped arrange the symposium.

Carris says all of the artists have previously worked together in China.

Max Kraus

The Opera Company of Middlebury is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a benefit concert Saturday, August 17th.  

The recital will feature Tenor Yonghoon Lee, who sang in the company’s first two productions, and recently made his Metropolitan Opera debut.

The Company also played a significant role in the restoration of Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater.

Executive Director Doug Anderson says that it's been a challenge running an opera company during a recession.

Courtesy of Lyric Theater

Burlington's Lyric Theater is  gearing up for its 40th anniversary as one of the country’s largest amateur theater organizations.

Lyric Theater is a hybrid organization: part community theater and part small business, with a history that's closely tied to the current success of the Flynn Center For The Performing Arts.

Courtesy of Valley Festival Of The Arts

The Mad River Valley comes alive this month with the 16th annual Vermont Festival Of The Arts.

Waitsfield will be home base for close to 120 arts-related events and activities throughout the region.

As summer festivals go, The Vermont Festival Of The Arts is all-encompassing, embracing graphic and visual arts, theater, film and of course, food.

Festival Artistic Director Karen Nevin says this is a great opportunity to interact with artists, particularly at the mid-month Plein Air Paint-Out.

This weekend marks the fifth annual Bookstock book festival in Woodstock. We speak with Peter Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont Humanities Council, about the role of books in shaping ideas and the joy of lifelong learning.

VPR/Neal Charnoff

People traveling the back roads of Calais may not expect to come across a venue for highbrow theater.

But in fact, Unadilla Theater is celebrating its 30th year by opening a second performance space amidst its flower gardens and mountain vistas.

And these are not your typical summer plays: Unadilla specializes in presenting the classics. This season, theatergoers can choose from works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Irish playwright Sean O’Casey, and even an opera from Mozart.

VPR/Neal Charnoff

A series of free, outdoor carillon concerts will take place this summer on the campus of Norwich University in Northfield.

Carilloner George Matthew says the Norwich carillon was originally used at the 1929 Chicago  World's Fair.

Matthew says the carillon has a rich history, and while it is related to the piano, he actually considers it  to be a percussion instrument.

A series of six free carillon concerts will kick off this Saturday at 1.

VPR's Neal Charnoff has this audio postcard from Norwich University.

Courtesy of Hills Alive

Southern Vermont in the summertime is a rich tapestry of theater, concerts and art exhibits.

And this year, many events are being woven together, and presented as the Hills Alive Festival of the Arts, which will run for five weeks.

The idea is to market the arts to appeal to tourists who are here for shopping and recreation.

VPR's Neal Charnoff speaks with Weston Playhouse producing director Steve Stettler about the festival.

The Legislative session is behind us, and the Summer Arts season is underway. 

The Vermont Arts Council's Executive Director Alex Aldrich says lawmakers showed their faith in the arts this session by increasing funding by 25 percent.

But Aldrich expresses concern that a change in Vermont's tax code could drive away wealthier residents and donors.

VPR's Neal Charnoff talks about these issues with Aldrich, who also gives us a few summer Art Hounds recommendations.

Thea Alvin

This week, Mary Williams talks with Morrisville artist Thea Alvin who creates arches from stone. Working at her craft for 30 years, she builds enormous arches and spirals--some weighing 12 tons--that look natural in their settings as though created by nature itself.