Category Archives: Special Event

PBS Preschool Film READY JET GO! at Catamount

Ready! Jet! Go!READY JET GO! is coming to Catamount Arts! Come see this month’s free PBS preschool film on Friday, March 18 from 10:30 to 11:30 am at the Catamount Arts Center, 115 Eastern Avenue in downtown St. Johnsbury, VT.

READY JET GO! takes viewers on a journey into outer space, building on children’s curiosity about science, technology and astronomy. The series follows two neighborhood kids: Sean, who has an all-consuming drive for science facts, and Sydney, who has a passion for science fiction and imagination. They both befriend the new kid on their street, Jet Propulsion, whose family members happen to be aliens from the planet Bortron 7. Together, they explore the solar system and the effects it has on the science of our planet, while learning about friendship and teamwork along the way.

Catamount Arts is grateful to Vermont PBS for providing free children’s films each month. Free popcorn is provided at each screening in Catamount’s comfortable movie theatre. Childcare centers and families with small children are invited; grandparents too! Please register by contacting Sharon Marshall at or 802-748-2600 ext.108.

Edvard Munch – Free Film and Lecture

The ScreamSaturday, May 9, 2015, at 2:30 pm

A free lecture and screening of the film “Edvard Munch: Paintings” will be held at Catamount Arts at 2:30 pm Saturday, May 9. The film and lecture, which focus on Munch’s most famous painting “The Scream” are free and open to the public.

The 40-minute film was produced, directed and filmed in 1968 by Clifford B. West. Through extensive use of a hand-held camera, the film focuses not only on Munch’s best-known masterpieces, including The Scream; it also offers a particular insight into works from his later years, which, until recently, have rarely been shown. The narration is based exclusively on Munch’s own writing. Bente Torjusen, the executive director of the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, will also give a lecture on the film, one of thirty documentaries on art and architecture made by West, her late husband.

Publicity surrounding the work of the Norwegian artist Munch (1863-1944) has escalated considerably in the past few years, not least because of the then-record auction price fetched in 2012 for the sale of one of the four painted versions of his reverberating Scream. December 12, 2013, marked 150 years since Munch’s birth and worldwide exhibitions throughout his anniversary year gave testament to his significance as a pioneer of modern Expressionism.

Clifford B. West (1916 – 2006), painter, muralist, teacher, photographer and documentary filmmaker, lived and worked throughout the Unites States, in Guatemala, in Norway, and, for almost two decades, in Italy. He spent the last 25 years of his life in New England, where he was particularly involved with the Lebanon, New Hampshire-based nonprofit organization, AVA Gallery and Art Center, both as an exhibiting artist and as a senior faculty member. His work, which includes large-scale murals in the United States and Guatemala, has been exhibited nationally and internationally. West received numerous awards for his paintings and films, including three Cine Golden Eagle Awards.

Bente Torjusen has been AVA Gallery and Art Center’s Executive Director since 1986. An art history graduate from the University of Oslo (Norway), her scholarship centered on the art of Edvard Munch. As Curator of Education for Oslo Municipal Art Collections, of which the Munch Museum is a part, she has written extensively on the art of Edvard Munch, including for the catalogue of the major Munch exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, DC, in 1978. Her monograph, Words and Images of Edvard Munch was published in 1986 by Chelsea Green Publishing. She has also written narrations for several of the 16mm documentary films on art created and produced by her late husband, artist and independent documentary filmmaker Clifford B. West.

Catamount Arts on VPR’s Art Hounds

Catamount Arts’ 48 Hour Film Slam was mentioned on this week’s edition of VPR’s Art Hounds.

Melissa Leo from St. Johnsbury  recommended the Green Mountain Film Festival’s 48-Hour Student Film Slam at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury this Friday and Saturday, March 20th and 21st. The completed films will be screened Saturday, March 28th.

This year we have 14 teams competing in this year’s Film Slam for the grand prize of $1000! For more information about the film slam, please visit our website at the link above. All the films created as part of the Film Slam will be shown at an awards ceremony, which will also include our annual High School Filmmaker’s Showcase, during the St. Johnsbury Green Mountain Film Festival on Saturday, March 28th, 8:00pm at St. Johnsbury Academy’s Fuller Hall.

You can check out a short documentary video about last year’s event below.

PoemTown St. Johnsbury April Events Announced


PoemTown St. Johnsbury, a month-long celebration of poetry in April – National Poetry Month – kicks off on March 21 with a workshop for students in grades 4-8, led by Sharon Kenney Biddle. “Making a Small Painted Cover for a Poem or Two” will be held on Saturday, March 21 from 10am-noon in the classroom in Catamount Arts Center. Students will bring a poem or two they have written and will create beautiful painted covers. The covered poems will be displayed at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum throughout the month of April.

The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum will host a series of Lunchtime Poetry Readings on Wednesdays in April from noon-1pm. They will also host the first of a series of poetry slams, on Thursday, April 16 at 7pm with local slam poet Geoff Hewitt. Additional poetry slams will be held on Saturday, April 18 at 6pm at Washburn Tattoo, and on Thursday, April 23 at 7pm at Kingdom Taproom.

Poems submitted by poets of all ages will be displayed on store windows throughout St. Johnsbury for the entire month, and a public reception for the poets will be held on Friday, April 25 from 5-7pm in the Catamount Arts Gallery. In addition, poems will be posted on this blog throughout the month of April.

Keep checking this blog for information on other poetry events happening in the Northeast Kingdom. PoemTown St. Johnsbury is a collaboration between Catamount Arts, the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, and the St. Johnsbury Chamber.

Our First Annual Oscar Celebration

This Sunday evening, February 22nd starting at 6:30pm, the Kingdom Taproom and Catamount Arts are hosting our 1st Annual Oscar celebration. Catamount has or will have screened all but ONE of the films nominated this year for best picture.

We will offer swagbags as giveaways to the first 75 people who RSVP. The capacity is 95 so please get your RSVP in! And it is FREE!! You can RSVP by calling Amy Stetson at (802) 748-2600 ext. 101 by February 18th.

In addition there will be fantastic door prizes, including gift certificates, merchandise, and big surprises! Come casual or come glamorous!! ANYTHING GOES!! More importantly just come!!

It is nice and cozy in The Taproom so don’t let the cold keep you in.

If you can not be there please spread the word and invite your friends, film buffs, etc.

Gloomy Sunday

Tonight I walked all over the place looking for someplace to eat — and wound up back at thw Botanic Inn juat a block away. They have good meals, and a pint is just one pound extra.

Sunday was one of those days where nothing seemed to go right, but it all worked out for the best in the end. First of all, I was short on sleep, so after breakfast I took a long nap. It was sprinkling and gloomy, and I was in no hurry to get going. My goal was another play, at the MAC — another art center; but when I got there I learned I was at the wrong place — I had gotten different venues confused in my notes — I was supposed to be at the Lyric Theatre, and by this time the only hope of getting there on time was to take a cab. So instead, I opted to stay in the Cathedral District downtown. [I Discovered today That The Lyric Is Just A Stone’s Throw From my Guesthouse!!]

The MAC is a modern, high-tech center with several galleries, so I felt quite at home visiting their exhibits.

Next, off to St. Anne’s Cathedral (Anglican/Church of Ireland). I walked around for a bit, but they were getting ready for an afternoon sevice; I thought I’d stay for a bit, but wound up remaining (near the back) for the entire service. The processional was nostalgic for me, and reminiscent of my younger years. The choir was quite good, and some of the service was chanted in a foreign language. The carillon and organ played a dandy recessional, which I recorded. The cathedral was constructed in the early 1900s, as were most of the congregants.

My next stop was Belfast Exposed — a photographic gallery with studios, dark rooms, classes, etc., on two floors. The current exhibit is entitled “How we Learn,” and there were some especially interesting photos of children, with the objects of their attention (such as a computer or a garndparent) digitally removed. Since their Sunday hours were new, there were some sponsor promotions. I received one for a discount at a cafe in nearby St. Anne’s Square, where I enjoyed the most decadent and rich brownie I’ve ever known to exist, along with a cappuccino.

There were other stops and events, but I won’t bore you with the details, because the best part of the day turned out to be one of those rare treats which happen only unplanned and unexpectedly. I found the Duke of York Pub in a little lane off Donegal Street, and at Susanna M’s insistence I felt I had to try it. It’s full of historic memorabilia, and is rich in history. Because “Guinness is good for you,” that was the order of the day — and no, it is not served at room temperature! The place was quite crowded, but I eventually became aware that the music I was hearing was actually live, and coming from the other end of the main room. The closer I got, the better it sounded. Here was a handful of fellows all seated around a round table, singing and playing Irish and Scottish fok tunes — guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bodhran. But my jaw dropped when I heard the main singer — a strong, clear, pure tenor voice, which could be heard over all the noise of the bar. I moved in as close as I could to take some videos, which I do hope turn out o.k. I noticed that occasionally someone would sit in with them, and they would sometimes shift and share instruments.

I was enthralled, and couldn’t get over how good they were. So as I left I asked one of the bartenders if they were more than just amateur locals from the neighborhood. They turn out to be a group called The Rapparres, with three CDs, and they’ve toured all over the world (including the U.S.). The fellow with the fine voice is Joe McKeague, who has been described as “one of Ireland’s finest ballad singers.”

Imagine…they were just sitting informally around a table at the old Duke of York, and was I ever lucky to have missed the play at the Lyric!


“Here it is Monday, and I’ve Still Got a Dollar”

Hello everyone…

Hard to believe it’s Monday already. I started out to write this on my private terrace (some would mockingly call it a “fire escape”), but it began to sprinkle. In fact, the day started with rain, and I got a bit soaked going downtown. But I did notice that the large section of Shaftesbury Square which was closed for last evening for repaving as I came through, had the complete first layer down, and the lines had been repainted by this morning. St. Johnsbury could take a lesson here!

My Saturday adventure began with my second day on the tourbus, but I made the mistake of trying to pick it up near my hotel — not thinking that I would have to wait nearly 2 hours for the first departure to make it to this point! But I struck up a conversation with a nice father and daughter from Florida, who had evidently made the same error.

First stop: the Titanic museum, which is massive (“titanic”) in every respect. They begin with a history of the growth of business and industry in Belfast. For example, it was once the largest manufacturer of linen in the world. [I subsequently learned that the growth of this business was due in large part to the American blockade of cotton exports from the Confederate South…intersting, huh?]

The shipyards of Belfast grew to be the largest in the world, and the company which built Titanic launched nine or ten other ships the same year. You will be as surprised as I to learn that that company (Harland anf Wolff) is still in business today, though is quite diversified. It was also astonishing to learn that by 1912 the White Star Line was a wholly owned subsidiary of an American company, which was financed by J. P. Morgan! The museum building contains a wonderful ride, which takes the visitors down into the depths of recreated iron works. It was here that I learned Titanic was the largest single object ever moved by man up to that point. The building and museum have several interesting aspects; not only is it exactly at the end of the drydock where the boat was launched, but each corner of the building represents the height of the main deck from the water.

Now here’s a novelty from Belfast, and you can say you read about it here first! After walking the length of the Titanic, from the museum to the water’s edge, I saw something which is surely to catch on in the U.S. At the water’s edge was a pole, atop whcih was a pulley with a double cable, similar to a washline off a tenement porch. It ran across the expanse of water to the other side, where there was another tall pole and pulley. Get the picture? In the water was a kid in a wet suit with handles and cable similar to a waterskiing tow rope, except the cable was attached to the cable between the pulleys. His feet were in a cross between a snowboard and a surfboard — wide like a surfboard, but short and curved front and back like a snowboard. I believe that he controlled everthing from his hand grip, as when he seemed ready, the cable (clothesline) would start to run, and up he would go like a surfer! In case you don’t get the complete idea, I’ll post something on YouTube when I get home.

I retraced some of the Friday’s route on the tourbus, as I wanted to see a bit of the Peace Wall again. Here are a few interesting facts I’ve picked up about the city:

–Two-thirds of the world’s whiskey was once made here, but U.S. Proibition nearly killed this industry.

–The portable defribillator was invented here. At the same time, Belfast has the highest incidence of heart disease in the U.K. (or was it Europe?) “Basically,” the guide said, “If you can fry it, we’ll eat it.”

–Milk chocolate was developed here.

–There was a small Jewish community in Belfast, and the second President of Israel was from here.

In the evening I attended a play just up the street in the black box theatre of the Crescent Arts Centre — very similar to Catamount, except on a grander scale, but without cinema. The play was “The Trials of Oscar Wilde,” with a cast of just three fellows, who played all the roles. It was quite cleverly acted, funny in some parts, but overall serious. The lead actor (John Gorick) has done a lot in England, and there’s a very funny skit with him on YouTube:

It’s fun to hear people’s response when I tell them I’m from Vermont (only after they ask). The fellow at the information office said he’s been in A.A. for many, and he knew that the founder was from Vt. (And I surprised him when I told him that the Dr. Bob house is in St. Johnsbury.) Last night one of the performers at a pub said “That’s in Canada, right?” To which I replied “almost.” A guide on the Belfast Barge said he knew Vermont because “that’s where they made ‘White Christmas.'”

Well, enough for now. I’m heading out for some supper, and it’s just stopped raining.