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Arts Beat for Sept. 8 — Multimedia dance performance reflects life's stories

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Posted on October 7, 2013 |
By Greg Pahl



Art Beat for July 7: Festival to offer great music all week plus dancing

Bryce Dance Company will present “To You, Around You, About You” along with a work-in-progress performance of “Breathing Under Water” at Town Hall Theater on Sunday at 2 p.m.

For most, contemporary dance is not the first thing that pops into mind when thinking about independent or assisted living facilities. For the Bryce Dance Company and the 13 Vermont-based “movers” involved in their piece “To You, Around You, About You,” it is.

This is a multimedia dance performance piece that contemplates themes related to end of life: aging, memory and illness. It is performed by a company committed to presenting work that truthfully reflects the stories and interests of the individuals and communities that they are working with.

Heather Bryce and Kayla West, the originators of this piece, collaborated with the company members and the residents of an area independent living facility in order to develop this work. To accurately reflect the stories told, this piece will be performed by movers from a variety of backgrounds that stretch the full length of the age range.

Tickets are $20, and may be purchased at www.townhalltheater.org, 382-9222, at the THT box office or at the door.

BLUEGRASS AT THT

A good time will be had in Middlebury at 8 p.m. on Friday, when Snake Mountain Bluegrass, with special guests The Connor Family, play their annual gig at Town Hall Theater.

Middlebury College teacher Gregg Humphrey and Middlebury construction company owner Mike Connor formed Snake Mountain Bluegrass about 25 years ago. At the time, both Humphrey (guitar and vocals) and Connor (banjo and vocals) were living near Snake Mountain, and someone asked them what style of bluegrass they played. “Snake Mountain Bluegrass” was their immediate response, and the name has been theirs ever since. They are joined in the band by Earle Provin (mandolin and resophonic guitar), Randy Kirby (bass) and Chris Prickett (fiddle).

In recent years the band has joined forces with Connor’s relatives, the Connor family of Orwell, which features the amazing trio of Monica, Katie and Megan. Their 11-year-old brother Joseph also sings bluegrass songs and has lately been sitting in with the group.

Tickets are $17 general, $10 students, and may be purchased at townhalltheater.org, 382-9222, at the THT box office (Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.) and at the door, if available. A cash bar and snacks will be available.

CAT VIDEOS AT THT

Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater is known for Broadway musicals, Met Opera broadcasts, serious plays and great concerts. What’s next? Cat videos. The Internet Cat Video Festival, in collaboration with Homeward Bound and the Walker Art Center, will be screened at Town Hall Theater on Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.

In 2012, the Walker Art Center, a leading contemporary art museum in Minneapolis, tried a small experiment. It collected an 80-minute long selection of the best cat videos on the Internet and showed it on a big screen. The result was massive: 10,000 cat lovers showed up to participate in an activity usually enjoyed alone. After its success in 2012, the festival was repeated in 2013 with a new reel of cat videos shown to an even larger audience.

Due to the international popularity of the Internet Cat Video Festival, The Walker now allows the collection to be shown across the globe.

Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students. Fifty percent of the proceeds will benefit Homeward Bound, Addison County’s Humane Society. Tickets may be purchased at townhalltheater.org, 382-9222, at the THT box office or at the door.

MODERN GRASS QUINTET

The Modern Grass Quintet will be performing for the Burnham Music series at Burnham Hall in Lincoln on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m.

The MGQ is a high-energy, risk-taking, contemporary bluegrass band based in northern Vermont. Formed in 2009, the group is comprised of the area’s finest pickers, including Andy Greene on guitar and vocals, Adam Buchwald on banjo, Todd Sagar on fiddle and dobro, Stephen Waud on mandolin and vocals, and Kirk Lord on upright bass.

Vermont Public Radio’s Robert Resnik, host of “All the Traditions,” says, “In addition to being great musicians, the members of the MGQ create a natural swing which makes them stand out among many pickers.”

Tickets are $8 for adults, teens and kids are free. Doors open at 7 p.m. For more information, call 388-6863.

LIVE MUSIC AT 51 MAIN

There will be three live musical events this week at Middlebury’s 51 Main. At 8 p.m. on Thursday, Tim Cummings, Pete Sutherland and Dominique Dodge will perform. Middlebury College’s three traditional music affiliate artists combine to share spirited dance tunes and timeless folk songs from the British Isles and Appalachia.

Then, at 8 p.m. on Friday, The Hip Replacements take to the stage. Calling themselves a “neo-folk string band,” these five friends come to play fine tunes (well-known and not) and to bring broad smiles to the audience.

Finally, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Greenbush will perform. An original Vermont instrumental band fusing bluesy rock and funky jazz, these talented musicians bring decades of experience to their craft.

All ages, no cover. For additional information visit www.go51main.com or phone 388-8209.

JAMES BLAIR AT THT

James Blair worked as a staff photographer for National Geographic magazine for 30 years. He has had more than 45 stories published in the magazine, and more than 2,000 of his photos have appeared within its covers.

Blair will give a talk at Town Hall Theater based on his recent exhibition, “Being There,” that recently appeared in the Jackson Gallery. The talk will take place on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m., and will include projections of his work.

The subjects of the photographs in his “Being There” exhibit ranged from Martin Luther King Jr. during his “I Have a Dream” speech to Hungarian refugees before departing for safety in the U.S., to a Peace Corps nurse comforting a patient in Tanzania.

There is a $10 suggested donation.

WOODCHUCK’S REVENGE

Brandon Music is ushering in the fall music scene with a performance by Vermont favorite Woodchuck’s Revenge on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Their repertoire, which has been described as encyclopedic, ranges from New England fiddle tunes to modern cowboy songs; from Irish ballads to folk, blues and bluegrass. Songs about Vermont mountains and life in New England are staples of the group’s performances, along with a healthy dose of humor and a growing number of original songs.

Tickets for the concert are $15. A pre-concert dinner is available for an additional $20. Reservations are required for dinner and recommended for the show. The venue is BYOB. Call 465-4071 or e-mail info@brandon-music.net for reservations or information. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road in Brandon.

BENEFIT IN BRANDON

In an effort to repair a deteriorating section of the town hall roof, the Friends of the Brandon Town Hall will be holding a special fundraiser on Friday at 7:30 p.m. featuring national touring and recording artist Scott Helmer.

Helmer is working to help historic theaters across the U.S. to raise funds to preserve their legacy for future generations. He has opened for iconic acts including Heart, Eddie Money, Big Country and 3 Doors Down. Brandon’s newest string band, Tintype Gypsies, featuring Emily Nelson and Angus Chaney, will be the opening act.

Tickets are $20 per person with all proceeds going to the town hall for the roof repair. Tickets can be purchased at Carr’s Florist & Gifts or at the door.

INT’L FILM SERIES

The exciting 2014-2015 Hirschfield International Film Series begins on Saturday at Middlebury College with the 2014 USA/UK/France film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” directed by Ethan and Joel Coen.

The latest Coen Brothers movie is an original and intoxicating ramble through one struggling musician’s fraught efforts to navigate the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. “This soulful, unabashedly lyrical film is best enjoyed by sinking into it like a sweet, sad dream,” says Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post.       

The film will be shown at 3 and again at 8 p.m. in Dana Auditorium on College Street. It’s free. Some of the films in this series may be inappropriate for children.

NEW EXHIBIT AT COLLEGE

A new exhibit of Buddhist figures, “Picturing Enlightenment: Tibetan Tangkas from the Mead Art Museum,” opens on Friday in the Christian A. Johnson Memorial Gallery at the Middlebury College Museum of Art.

This exhibition highlights 18 centuries-old scroll paintings of Buddhist figures from the collection of Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum. So fragile that they have remained largely inaccessible to scholars and museum visitors for nearly six decades, these tangkas, primarily from Tibet, have recently been gently cleaned, stabilized, and repaired. Vibrantly colored, intricately patterned, and ranging in height from two to nine feet, each work rewards close study. The exhibit, which runs through Dec.7, is free.

TWO BROTHERS TAVERN

There will be two live musical performances this week at Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury. On Wednesday, the tavern will feature Open Mike Night, beginning at 9 p.m. Hosted by Kai Stanley, the Open Mike Night follows Trivia every Wednesday. The stage is open to musicians and performers of all kinds on a first-come, first-served basis, and it’s free to enter. There is no cover.

Then, on Saturday, the tavern presents Jester Jigs at 9 p.m. Formed at the turn of the century, Jester Jigs have been bringing their brand of crushing rock to New England audiences for over a decade. They’re full of energy and ready to rock. There is a $3 cover charge. For more information, call Two Brothers at 388-0002.

MARK LAVOIE AT COLLEGE

There will be a performance by Mark LaVoie at 8 p.m. on Saturday in the concert hall at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts. Affiliate artist Mark LaVoie has been playing harmonica and performing for over 42 years. His unique acoustic style is reminiscent of the late harmonica legend Sonny Terry, who was his mentor. With more than 35 harmonicas in his case, he plays with great range and brings his long history of authentic blues performance to this solo concert. It’s free and the public is welcome.

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