Monthly Archives: March 2015

A Magical Evening of Comedy and Tricks!

Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4, 7:00pm

Fuller Hall–St. Johnsbury Academy
1000 Main Street, St. Johnsbury, VT

Opening Act – the Music Styling of The Endorsements!

Main Act – The Comedy and Magic of National Known Performer, Glenn Strange.
A Family Friendly evening – not to be missed.

Tickets: $20, $15, $10

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Yes, “Strange” is his name … his real name. Once upon a time, many years ago, in a nearby county, Glenn found a magic shop. Forty eight hours later, he had business cards, and was dangerous. He had discovered a tool (magic) that had given him a reason to be funny in public. Up until that time he had only been funny for friends, family, and coworkers, behind closed doors. He started out by performing for kid’s birthday parties …. or anyone else that would stand still for two or more minutes. Today, Glenn’s funny business specializes in providing quality entertaining and meaningful programs for corporations, churches, and associations all over the United States.

Glenn Strange is MUCH MORE than a magician. His programs contain comedy, magic, recorded music, humorous stories, and just the right amount of audience interaction. Glenn’s clients are amazed as how he transforms his audiences from high energy hilarious laughter to being attentive and receptive to a sincere uplifting message. Glenn’s worked years developing and honing his one-of-a-kind style that’s Guaranteed to generate huge laughs and never embarrass or make fun of anyone.

People love experiencing real time situation comedy routines. They eagerly volunteer to be treated like the stars of the program, and their unrehearsed spontaneous comments and actions determine the comedy avenue Glenn takes them down. Every program is different, because each program is unique to the audience. Glenn makes sure each attendee has a great fun time laughing, forgets their everyday problems, and returns home with fun memories. Unlike a standard magic show, that ends with a, “Wow, how did-he-do-that?”, Glenn’s programs are built around a purpose, and close with a heartfelt inspiring meaningful message, that touches peoples emotions, and makes a difference in their personal and professional lives.

Suitable for children ages 7 and up.

Proceeds to Benefit the St. Johnsbury Academy Future Business Leaders of America Club.

Lunchtime Poetry Readings – PoemTown St. Johnsbury

PT_stjohnsbury_logo

The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum will host five lunchtime Poetry Readings on Wednesdays in April, beginning April 1st from noon-1PM. The readings are part of PoemTown St. Johnsbury, a town wide celebration of National Poetry month hosted by Catamount Arts, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce.

The readings on April 1 will include Louise Rader, a local poet and participant in the Poems on Display Event. The Athenaeum Director, Bob Joly and library staff will also read. Subsequent lunchtime readings will welcome other PoemTown participants, Northeast Storytellers and other local poets or those interested in sharing their favorite poems.

Anyone wishing to participate, please contact Shara McCaffrey at 802-748-8291 or smccaffrey@stjathenaeum.org

The Academy Award Nominated Live Action Shorts of 2014 Reviews

As per usual, the Academy Awards nominated five shorts for their live action category this year that span many different countries and languages. The five shorts are: Parvaneh (Switzerland); Butter Lam (France / China); The Phone Call (U.K.); Aya (Israel / French); and Boogaloo & Graham (Northern Ireland). Each of these shorts have very different tones and approaches as I’ve described in my following reviews.

Parvaneh – A Review
The first short was made in 2012, but not released worldwide until 2014. This film, made in Switzerland, is about an Afghan immigrant refugee named Parvaneh who has just arrived in Switzerland. The short mostly deals with her getting to know her new country as she befriends a young Swiss girl.
This is a pretty good short that I actually think would benefit from a slightly longer runtime. Not necessarily feature length, but an additional 10 minutes could greatly help to develop our characters more. As it stands though, this is a solid character piece.
What I particularly liked about the short was the segment in which Parvaneh is walking down the street and passing by places in the area she lives. The scene is mostly silent with just music played in the background, and the actress playing Parvaneh, Nissa Kashani, has a bit of nice levity in her performance. I also liked the relationship between Parvaneh and the Swiss girl she ends up befriending. It’s realistic enough for me to appreciate it. In general, I’d say Parvaneh is a solid short, that’s good enough to see.

Butter Lamp (2013) – A Review
A Chinese and French production filmed in Tibet, Butter Lamp mostly centers around Tibetan nomads who are being photographed in various backgrounds.
This might be my favorite of the shorts that were shown. What I particularly liked about this short is the inherent simple nature of it. It’s just a bunch of people being filmed with a camera in front of various backgrounds. Despite the simplicity of the whole thing, it manages to have some very humorous moments. In particular, I liked the scenes where a baby is shown grabbing a goat, and the scene that opens up with a shot from Disneyworld that is quickly covered up by a picture of a Tibetan temple. Those scenes were quite amusing, as was much of the film.
The rest of the short is overall quite good, and I liked it, but some people might think that nothing really happens in terms of a story line. Still, I would recommend seeing it.

The Phone Call (2013) – A Review
The Phone Call is a short from the United Kingdom that deals with Heather (played by Sally Hawkins), a women who works at a Helpline Call Center. She receives a phone call from a mysterious man (played by Jim Broadbent, whose voice is heard, but never seen) who is very depressed and has taken too many antidepressants. Most of the short deals with her trying to help this man and find out where he lives.
Of all the short films nominated, The Phone Call is easily the most powerful and most well-acted of them all. Sally Hawkins turns in a fantastic performance per usual, as a women who is clearly worried for this man’s life. Hawkins plays her performance with restraint, until later she becomes very dramatic when the short calls for it. Jim Broadbent also shows how clearly skilled he is as an actor, as he manages to give an incredible performance as a man with a serious problem, despite his performance being predominantly voice only. Later on, some of the scenes are shot from the room of Jim’s character, but we still don’t see his face, as the scenes switch back and forth between both locations.
Of note, is the terrific jazz score, especially for a short film, which is used at the beginning and end of the film. Additionally, The Phone Call won the Oscar for best short, and although it’s not my favorite, I do believe it’s a worthy winner.
While not necessarily my favorite, I will acknowledge that The Phone Call deals with a very serious topic and handles it in a very serious manner, which I very much appreciate, and along with the great performances, definitely makes it worth checking out.

Aya (2012)
At 40 minutes in length, Aya is the longest of the short film. An Israeli and French production, Aya tells the story of two strangers: a woman named Aya and a man named Mr. Overby. These two meet at an airport by accident when the man encounters the women and mistakes her for his assigned driver. She decides to go along with it, and the two go on a road trip where they talk about themselves.
Aya is nicely paced and well done, with good acting from the leads. The relationship between the two main characters is handled nicely and the short is very realistic when it comes to depicting the situations they find themselves in. The film can also be very humorous, with lines like “I guess the Danish are some wild people” which made me laugh, with good dialogue between the two characters in the car. The short doesn’t shy away from being serious, and Aya’s predicament and truth is addressed later on. I especially liked the scene where the man is in the car and seems to be listening to music, although it’s not totally clear as he entire scene has no talking, just a music score. Aya is a very good short, has nice humor and overall while dealing with a serious subject, is still good to watch.

Boogaloo and Graham (2014)
Running at 14 minutes, making it the shortest of the nominees, Boogaloo and Graham made in the United Kingdom, deals with two Northern Ireland boys named Jamesy and Malachy in 1978, who are raising two young chickens when their parents tell them that big changes are coming. Big changes that they don’t want to deal with. Their parents are having a baby and the two chickens need to go.
Boogaloo and Graham is a very innocent short that is a good depiction of childhood. Jamesy and Malachy are very realistic young kids, who don’t know any better, claim they want to be vegetarians, but also want to start a chicken farm (even though they have no idea how to do that), and aren’t at all happy when their parents want to take the chickens away. The film has Irish unpredictably and goes to places that I didn’t expect it to go. Heck, it opens up with shots of what appear to be soldiers going to war, even though, this has nothing to do with the short and is somewhat misleading to the audience.
The short itself has moments of humor, especially when the boys make their outrageous claims. It’s clear that they have no idea what they are talking about when they want to become chicken farmers.
There are a few problems I had with this short though. Near the end it becomes dramatic, and the switch was rather unexpected. Also, the dialogue for the boys did not really need to be translated into subtitles. I understand that thick Irish accents might be hard for some people to hear, but I understood what they were saying just fine. Overall, Boogaloo and Graham is a very amusing and sweet look at childhood.

Gallery reception for “Jon Imber: Curious Narrative” Friday, March 27, 5:30pm

Jon Imber
Filmmaker Richard Kane filming Jon Imber painting George Nick during filming of Jon Imber’s Left Hand. Photo: Jill Hoy.

Jon Imber—Curious Narrative

Dear Friends,

Please join me, Jill Hoy and filmmaker Richard Kane for a special event this Friday, March 27 at Catamount Arts Film and Art Center in St. Johnsbury, Vermont in celebration of a screening of the film Jon Imber’s Left Hand and opening of a new exhibition of Jon’s work entitled Jon Imber: Curious Narrative.

5:30-7:30 pm: Opening Reception in Catamount Arts Gallery

8 pm: Film screening, followed by conversation and Q&A with me,  Jill Hoy and Richard Kane

For more information about other screenings as part of the Green Mountain Film Festival, or to sign up for Catamount Arts newsletter, please visit our website.

Hope you can come this Friday or at some point in the future! I look forward to welcoming you.

All best, Katherine

Katherine French, Gallery Director
Catamount Arts Film and Art Center

 

Northeast Storytellers Host Events to Complement PoemTown St. Johnsbury

 

 

Northeast Storytellers, a group of writers, readers, and appreciators of prose and verse who meet monthly at Catamount Arts, will host several events during April to complement the events presented by PoemTown St. Johnsbury: an open house with brief presentations and mini-workshops (April 4), a haiku workshop (April 12), a Robert Frost remembrance (April 14), and a reading of maple-related verse and prose (April 25).

 

Group Open House: On Saturday, April 4 from noon to 1:30pm at Catamount Arts, the Northeast Storytellers regular monthly meeting will be converted to a group open house. Brief instructional presentations on poetry-writing by group members will be followed by mini-breakout sessions to apply them. Members of the group will layout various forms and techniques of writing poetry, sharing aspects of their individual knowledge and expertise. Following a break, mini-workshops will offer hands-on learning of the topics presented. Free refreshments will be served. All are welcome to stop in to learn something about poetry, practice writing it, and meet fellow area writers.

 

Haiku Workshop: On Sunday, April 12 from 2 to 4pm, the Northeast Storytellers will host a workshop on writing the Japanese style of poetry known as haiku—designed to take participants from a study of classic haiku, and its underlying structural dynamics, to writing their own originals. Workshop leader Judy Hishikawa, Northeast Storytellers’ haiku poet, lived and taught language in Japan. Her chapbooks will be available. The workshop will be held in the Burke Community Center located at 212 School Street in West Burke, Vermont.

 

“Remembering Robert Frost”: On Tuesday, April 14 from 2 to 3pm the regular Poetry Tea Party will be a special gathering dedicated to the memory and poetic works of longtime Vermont poet laureate Robert Frost. Residents of the Good Living Senior Center, members of the public, and members of the Northeast Storytellers will share readings, biographical sketches, anecdotes, scrapbook items, and experiences they’ve had learning from this great poet. This gathering will take place at the Good Living Senior Center (formerly St. Johnsbury House) located at 1207 Main Street in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

 

Maple Poems and Stories: On Saturday April 25 from 1:30 to 3:00pm, during the 2015 St. Johnsbury World Maple Festival, readings of maple-related prose and verse will be hosted by the Northeast Storytellers and emceed by group founder Brooke Cullen. This event will take place at the Boxcar & Caboose Bookshop Cafe at 394 Railroad Street in St. Johnsbury.

 

All events are free and open to the public and all are welcome to attend. Individual flyers for each event will be posted at host sites and circulated prior to. For more information, or to participate, call Brooke Cullen at 802.751.5432.

 

National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 and is held every April throughout the country. It is the largest literary celebration in the world—with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital role in our lives. Poetry events taking place nationwide may be followed on Twitter at @POETSorg or through hashtag #npm15.

 

The Northeast Storytellers meet regularly the first Saturday of every month from 11:30am to 2:00pm at Catamount Arts. The public is welcome to attend and new members are always encouraged to join.

Poetry Events in Craftsbury Inspired by PoemTown St. Johnsbury

Our friends at The Art House in Craftsbury will host several events in April in celebration of National Poetry Month. Events will be held at the Masonic Hall in Craftsbury:

April 10, 6-7pm: Poetry Open Mic and refreshments; 7-8:30pm: Celebrate Vermont Poets! with Syd Lea, April Ossman, Harley Meyer, Beth Pecoraro, and Peggy Sapphire

April 17, 6-7pm: Poetry Open Mic and refreshments; 7-8pm: Readings of Shakespeare’s Poetry
For more info visit www.vermontarthouse.org or call 802-586-2200.

Selma – A Review

Selma is a very well made movie. Directed and ghost written by Ava DuVernay (Paul Webb was given credit because of WGA rules, but much of the film was rewritten), Selma deals with a very powerful subject: the 1965 Montgomery Alabama march, involving African Americans in the south trying to get the right to vote led by Martin Lither King, Jr.. Along with superb directing and a powerful performance by David Oyelowo, as Martin Luther King Jr., Selma is not a film to miss.
Selma is a very strong movie. The film opens with a shot of Martin Luther King, Jr. talking to himself. At first glance, with the slightly distorted picture, it looks like he’s in a random area, but as it turns out a minute later, he’s actually talking to himself in a mirror while he’s puts on a tie. The use of good direction helps to make this opening scene rather poignant. This highlights one of Selma’s biggest strength’s: its use of camerawork, direction and editing. Throughout the film, many of the biggest events that occur are typed down across the screen, as if they’re being written on Martin Luther King’s typewriter. Another great scene that occurs in Selma, is the scene of their first march with the first part consisting of nothing but powerful music as we see the people marching for the right to vote. This scene is well shot and powerful.
Another thing I especially appreciated about Selma was the fact that it didn’t try to sugar-coast everything. The African Americans aren’t simply the heroes, and whites aren’t simply the villains. Many white people eventually join in the marches, as happened in real life, and we see white supporters who have some character development in the film.
The acting for the most part is very, very good. David Oyelowo, is a bit of a revelation as Martin Luther King, Jr. He is more or less from my perspective, Dr. King personified. When he gives speeches throughout the films, he delivers them in a very well mannered, educated, powerful way. The scene in the church where he delivers his speech about Jimmy Johnston, a follower who had just been killed, features some of his finest acting in the film.
The rest of the supporting cast is also good, Tom Wilkinson portrays President Lyndon B. Johnston less as a villain, and more as a doubter, like so many people claimed. Carmen Ejogo is supportive and good as Martin Luther King’s wife, Corretta, but at times seems to be left to the wayside in terms of the plot. Oprah Winfrey (who also helped produce the film) shows up at the beginning as Annie Lee Cooper, a women who was part of Martin Luther’s King team, and shows up randomly throughout varying shots of the film. Other actors in the film include: hop artist Common as James Beval; Tim Roth as Governor George Wallace; Cuba Gooding Jr. as lawyer Fred Gray.
The film is not without flaws. At times, it can seem overly sentimental, but, that said, it is much more than your basic inspirational true story movie. The one scene that did not work well for me was the march “fight” scene, where King and his followers are attacked by the Alabama officials, because of the way it is frantically directed and the background music.
Overall, Selma is very well directed, features some superb performances, especially from David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a very powerful and moving picture, and is definitely worth checking out.

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.

Court Street Arts at Alumni Hall Present: Eye of the Storm – Spybird Theater

EyeoftheStorm

Friday, March 20, 6:30pm
Cafe Open for Dinner & Drinks starting at 5:30pm

Location:
Court Street Arts at Alumni Hall
Haverhill, NH

Tickets: $4 kids, $8 audlts

Award-winning Spybird Theater’s Eye of the Storm is a fairy tale told with rod and hand puppets, shadows and original music that unfolds a visual word that explores community and staying connected. Stunning visual effects, humor and poignant storytelling are the hallmarks of Spybird Theater. The ensemble has performed across North America and was awarded a prestigious Jim Henson award. A family show appropriate for ages 8 and up.

Sponsored by THE PUFFIN FOUNDATION & NEW HAMPSHIRE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

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St. Kieran’s Community Center for the Arts Present “Suzie & David”

Susie Burke and David Surette

Saturday, March 21, 7:00 pm

New Hampshire’s Favorite Folk Sweethearts

Location:
St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts
Berlin, NH

Tickets: $12.00 adults and $8.00 (under 18)

Warmth, vitality and spontaneity mark the performances of Susie Burke and David Surette. They have earned their reputation as one of the finest acts on the lively New England folk scene. Susie’s beautiful complex voice and David’s graceful, nimble-fingered string playing combine with extraordinary results for their own blend of contemporary, traditional, and original folk and acoustic music. Together since 1988, Susie and David have built a loyal following for their music through a steady series of concerts and well-received recordings; their most recent release is Wonderland (2011).

Recipients of Individual Artist Fellowship awards from the NH State Council on the Arts, Susie and David are also on the Council’s Touring Arts roster. Between their solo and duo projects, they have released ten albums since 1990 on the Madrina Music label which have received positive responses from both critics and audiences. Together, they bring skill, taste, feeling, and pure enjoyment to their music which appeals to an ever-widening circle of listeners.

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