Category: Writing


Infographic: George Orwell’s 11 Golden Rules for Brewing Proper Tea

19th July

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Feature: Essential Prayers

25th September

Published in Berkshires Week on September 24, 2014
Original article: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_26596672/riffing-prayer

Starting this Friday evening, a group of young musicians will be returning to Bennington College, their alma mater, for a weekend of harmony, prayer, and just a little bit of rock.

The weekend centers around a collaboration between Bennington College composition professor Kitty Brazelton and Trevor Wilson, a former student of Brazelton’s who now fronts the New York-based vocal group Anawan, who have joined forces to present renditions of various prayers sung a cappella. The project, titled “Essential Prayers,” is designed as a digital experience — the recordings will be uploaded to the internet for free streaming when the project launches in spring 2015.

In advance of the launch, Brazelton, Wilson, and the other members of the eight-piece chorus recruited to sing the prayers will be performing the project live on Saturday, Sept. 27, …



Feature: BCCS’ Cailin Manson

25th September

Published in Berkshires Week on September 25, 2014
Original article: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_26596555/new-leader-enlivens-choral-society

BENNINGTON — After 38 years under the direction of Edwin Lawrence, who recently retired, the Bennington County Choral Society has begun a new season of song and community with some fresh faces in its ranks, most notably its new director, Cailin Marcel Manson.

An accomplished singer in his own right, Manson started his music career at Temple University in Philadelphia, his home town, where he went on to found the Germantown Institute for the Vocal Arts and the Germantown Concert Chorus. He also earned a master’s degree in opera and orchestral conducting at Universitat Mozarteum Salzburg, one of Europe’s most prestigious music universities, in Salzburg, Austria — the hometown of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Manson has also toured the world as an operatic soloist, performing across Asia and Europe in hallowed venues like Notre …



Interview: Sam Amidon

25th September

Published in Berkshires Week on September 3, 2014
Original article: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_26459985/whose-woods-these-are-i-think-i-know

NORTH ADAMS — After performing at Wilco’s most recent Solid Sound festival in 2013, Brattleboro native Sam Amidon returns to Mass MoCA this Sunday to perform at FreshGrass, the museum’s yearly bluegrass and roots music festival. A confident fiddler, banjo player, guitarist and singer, Amidon will release his sixth solo album, “Lily-O,” on Sept. 30. Like his earlier albums, the songs on “Lily-O” are largely original re-imaginings of traditional American folk songs.

JPM: How do you think your music fits in the surroundings of Mass MoCA?
Sam Amidon: It’s right in the middle of beautiful New England, and many of the songs I sing — especially the shape note songs — come from that. It has all the weird, beautiful old brick, and the crazy modern art.

JPM: Alison Brown, another FreshGrass artist, said that modern art is …



Feature: Robert Frost in Bennington

24th September

Published in Berkshires Week on September 3, 2014
Original article: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_26459985/whose-woods-these-are-i-think-i-know

SHAFTSBURY — Bennington County is well known for its Revolutionary War history, but it holds a significant place in literary history as well. This area is the former home of Robert Frost, as well as his permanent resting place.

In 1920, having already published his famous collection, “North of Boston” and immortal poems like “Mending Wall” and “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost moved with his family to a small cape house in Shaftsbury, now known as the Robert Frost Stone House Museum. Although he would eventually move to his summer home in Ripton, much of his family remained here, and after his death in 1963 Frost returned to be interred in his family plot behind the Old First Church in Old Bennington, which he bought during his time in Shaftsbury.

“He didn’t go to …



Preview: Garlic Fest

24th September

Published in Berkshires Week on August 27, 2014
Original article: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_26416966/garlic-garlic-everywhere

BENNINGTON — Garlic ice cream? Garlic cupcakes? Garlic peanuts? Unexpected flavors will tempt the crowds this weekend when the annual Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival returns to Camelot Village on Route 9 west just outside of downtown.

Along with music, kids entertainment, drinks and food, more than 100 vendors will sell their garlic, garlic-related products, herbs and crafts at the festival. Many of these foods and items will be made especially for the festival and hard to find elsewhere, so garlic lovers and local food enthusiasts alike can stock up now for the winter.

Here’s a quick preview of some of the rare and unusual garlic goodies to look for at this year’s Garlic Fest.

Garlic peanuts, spices, sauces and pottery from Bald Mountain Garlic Farm

In nearby Salem, N.Y., owner Bob Nopper at Bald …



Feature: Sculptor Lauren Ewing

17th September

Published in Berkshires Week on September 17, 2014
Original article: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_26551871/installation-artist-returns-mountains

BENNINGTON — The cooler temperatures and changing leaves mark the return to classes for local students, teachers and professors, as well as the return of Bennington College’s visual arts lecture series, which brings esteemed artists from around the country to Bennington for free, open-to-the-public talks on their work and career.

Sculptor and artist Lauren Ewing will give this year’s first talk. Best known for her public sculpture installations, Ewing is also a respected teacher and former member of the Williams College faculty, said Bennington professor Jon Isherwood, making this visit a homecoming of sorts.

Besides her connection to Williams, Ewing’s relationship with this area has lasted decades. In 1980, she was one of several artists invited to spend the summer creating a site-specific sculpture installation on the Bennington campus.

“I built a piece, which has …



Interview: William Jakubowski, Bennington Car Show

10th September

Published in Berkshires Week on September 10, 2014
Original article: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_26505417/classic-wheels-roll

BENNINGTON — This weekend at Willow Park the Chamber of Commerce and local Rotary and Lions Clubs will host the 48th annual Bennington Car Show, drawing hundred of vendors, classic car owners and enthusiasts.

As the proud owner of a 1952 Ford F1 pickup truck and a member of the Norshaft Lions, William Jakubowski is one of the key figures behind the show, and it’s his job to get all the cars lined up and organized into their correct classes. We talked to Jakubowski about his truck and his expectations for this weekend’s show.

BWSV: How much work have you done on your truck?

WJ: I’ve had it for 17 years. It was painted when I first got it, and I had to put in a new pickup bed, the wood and the rails. And …



Feature: Northern Borders

10th September

Published in Berkshires Week on September 10, 2014
Original article: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_26505412/northern-borders-returns-bennington

BENNINGTON — The cast of Jay Craven’s film “Northern Borders” brings in veteran actors — but Craven staffed his crew with a team of 34 students from 15 liberal arts colleges.

Set in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and based on Howard Mosher’s 1994 novel, “Northern Borders” brings together Academy Award-nominated actors Bruce Dern and Geneviève Bujold, who play the grandparents of the film’s young protagonist, Austen Kittredge, played by Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.

The film will return to the Bennington Museum for an encore screening at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12.

Craven chose his crew as part of a project, “Movies from Marlboro,” which offers undergraduates the opportunity to spend a semester gaining hands-on film production experience.

“It’s based on the John Dewey concept of intensive learning that enlarges meaning through the shared experience of joint action,” Craven said. …



Feature Obituary: Rick Burgess

5th September

Published in Berkshires Week on September 5, 2014
Original article: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/ci_26470764/rick-burgess-remembered-devoted-musician-loyal-friend

BENNINGTON — In all parts of his life, as a family man, caretaker, musician and friend, Rick Burgess was known for giving everything he had.

After a short illness, Burgess passed away peacefully on Tuesday, surrounded by family. Shocked by the loss, members of the local community have responded with an outpouring of love and affection, remembering Burgess’ selflessness, kindness and heart.

“He was there for anybody, at any time, for anything,” said Ken Pallman, Burgess’ close friend and bandmate in the local band Blues Sanctuary. “Regardless of what was going on in his personal life or in his business life, he was there for the people that he loved. And frankly, he was there for just about anybody. He gave so many things to this town.”

Born in Bennington in 1950, Eric “Rick” Burgess attended …




A list of things you really shouldn’t name your boat.

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The songs that made my year

This year, in lieu of any categorical rankings or countdowns, I’ve simply decided to highlight my favorite music of 2014 by offering a smattering...