Category: Writing

Live Review: The Lost at Oldcastle Theatre

16th January

BENNINGTON — On Friday evening, Jan. 10, Oldcastle Theatre opened the doors for the first-ever rock concert at its Main Street venue, welcoming local powerhouse rock trio The Lost and their crowd of hometown fans.

Since they formed in July 2012, The Lost has been fronted by lead guitarist, vocalist and keyboard player Cody Myers alongside bass and saxophone player Jake Hill and drummer Kevin Breese. The three musicians were all born in Bennington before traveling elsewhere, and now, after touring throughout the northeast, they simply consider themselves to be based in New England.

After a year of rehearsing on their own, the band played their first concert — a benefit for an artist friend. They came out of the show with high spirits, but Myers says they “quickly found out that the local venues can be pretty sparse, especially for a …

Profile/Live Review: Neffy

9th January

Published in the Bennington Banner on Dec. 30, 2013
Original article:

BENNINGTON — He may not be famous yet, but it takes more than a blizzard and below-zero temperatures to stop Neffy. After all, he’s from Vermont.

On Friday night, just hours after Winter Storm Hercules dropped a thick blanket of snow on the town, the now-empty storefront at 445 Main St. unlocked its doors for one of the town’s first concerts of 2014 — a repeat performance by Brattleboro rappers Neffy and Yung Hass, who drew a big crowd to the former site of Doug’s On Main Street just a few weeks earlier on Nov. 30.

In a town of museums, art galleries and the Sage City Symphony, hip-hop might seem like a faraway art form, a music genre that exists on the radio and Internet — but not on Main Street. However, …

2013: An artistic year in review

31st December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Dec. 30, 2013
Original article:

As we spring forward to a new year of unforeseen expression through the arts, this last Arts Weekend page of 2013 looks back at the exciting artistic events, developments and changes that happened around town during the past year, as documented in the pages of the Banner by former Arts editor Andrew Roiter and myself.

Although Andrew left Bennington at the end of the summer to explore the wide world of journalism abroad, he left behind a huge collection of stories that illustrate the eclectic energy of Bennington’s art community. I have tried to keep moving in the same direction since I took over the desk three months ago, and I’m still learning a lot about the self-reliant, deep-seeded creative spirit that exists in this beautiful corner of the world.

Thanks to this …

Live review: The Sacred Shakers at the Vermont Arts Exchange

17th December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Dec. 12, 2013
Original article:

NORTH BENNINGTON — A respected songwriter in her own right, Eilen Jewell returned to the Vermont Arts Exchange’s basement on Saturday with her country-gospel project The Sacred Shakers for a night of energetic, old-fashioned spirituals.

Named not for the religious sect, as Jewell explained, but rather after the frontwoman’s trusty maraca-like rhythm instruments, the Sacred Shakers rolled into North Bennington seven strong, with the band featuring Jewell on lead vocals and guitar, Greg Glassman (of David Wax Museum) on backing vocals and acoustic guitar, Jerry Miller on electric guitar, Johnny Sciascia on double bass, Eric Royer on banjo, Daniel Kellar on violin and Jason Beek on drums.

Missing from the crowded stage was singer Daniel Fram, a regular member of the group who Jewell said was “off getting his Ph.D. or something.”

While Jewell …

Mass MoCA announces spring performance schedule

17th December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Dec. 7, 2013
Original article:

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — In one fell swoop, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (better known as Mass MoCA) has announced a full slate of live performing events for the spring, including over two dozen concerts, films, art talks, plays, dance performances, special museum events and more, running through early May.

Performances will be held in Mass MoCA’s various performance spaces, including the Hunter Center, a massive black box theatre usually used for large concerts and theatre productions, and the more intimate Club B10 for small events.

In the spirit of the museum’s progressive approach to contemporary art, the spring performance lineup includes some well-known, nationally-touring acts as well as a diverse array of experimental, forward-thinking and non-traditional events, some of which defy genre categorization entirely.

Some of the biggest names on the bill …

Book Review: “Army Flunkies and Colorado Junkies” by Jed Donavan

17th December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Nov. 21, 2013
Original article:

In his new memoir “Army Flunkies and Colorado Junkies,” local author Jed Donavan offers an honest look into an immense, formative moment in his personal history: Getting clean after years of self-destructive partying and substance abuse. Unfortunately the story is as incomplete as it is interesting — the book skips over the story’s climax, showing his long descent into addiction before snapping straight to a brief, passing snapshot of his present-day success.

The final act of “Army Flunkies” makes it clear that Donavan’s life story is one of extraordinary resolve, strength and redemption. Unfortunately, this book doesn’t seem interested in telling that story. Instead, Donavan seems preoccupied with delivering a provocative “sex, drugs, and rock & roll” story, albeit one with no sex and only occasional music references. So basically, most of …

Theater recap: “Urinetown” at MAUHS

17th December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Nov. 14, 2013
Original article:

BENNINGTON — Last weekend the Mount Anthony Union Drama Club staged their production of the hit Broadway show “Urinetown: The Musical,” bringing the satirical play to life with student talent.

Set during a 20-year drought, “Urinetown” tells the story of a struggling society where a corporation controls all toilet facilities, forcing the impoverished city-dwellers to pay a mandatory fee to use the public restrooms. While it admittedly contains a few bodily-function jokes, the play spends most of its time skewering corporate America and making fun of the musical theatre genre with witty self-conscious asides.

Some of the show’s funniest moments come from an unlikely pair of narrators: A young beggar named Little Sally, played by MAUHS senior Sarah Mattison, and a villainous police officer/corporate henchman named Officer Lockstock, played by senior Sachel Lefebvre. …

Theater review: “Grandma Moses: An American Primitive” at the Oldcastle Theatre

17th December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Nov. 9, 2013
Original article:

BENNINGTON — Local painting legend Grandma Moses lived both an ordinary and an extraordinary life, and they were both fascinating.

Before she began painting at age 76, Anna Mary Moses lived on farms in Virginia and nearby parts of New York, running the household and raising five children. Then, after being “discovered” at age 78, Moses became an international celebrity — appearing on magazine covers and showing her art worldwide. She even visited the White House, where President Harry S. Truman played piano for her. This unexpected dichotomy is central to “Grandma Moses: An American Primitive,” a new play running through Nov. 17 at the Oldcastle Theatre, 331 Main St., Bennington.

Written in the late 1980s by Stephen Pouliot, who is mostly known for his work writing television awards shows, the play toured …

Theater preview: “Grandma Moses: An American Primitive” at the Oldcastle Theatre

17th December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Oct. 31, 2013
Original post:

BENNINGTON — Starting this Friday, Nov. 1, the Oldcastle Theatre will close out its inaugural season on Main Street with a three-weekend run of “Grandma Moses: An American Primitive,” a biographical play with strong local ties.

“Grandma Moses lived very nearby, in Eagle Bridge and Cambridge and Greenwich, New York, and the Grandma Moses Schoolhouse is at the (Bennington) Museum, so it seemed ideal,” said Eric Peterson, Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director, who is also directing the play. “Oldcastle has always tried to do plays that have to do with our region” he continued, “we try to do things that speak directly to our audience.”

Written by television writer Stephen Pouliot, the play toured nationally four different times in the 1990s with Cloris Leachman (of the Mary Tyler Moore show and many others) …

Theater review: “Sherlock Holmes – Knight’s Gambit” at Oldcastle Theater

17th December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Oct. 10, 2013
Original article:

BENNINGTON – The game is afoot at Oldcastle! Opening last weekend and running for the next two weeks, Oldcastle Theatre Company’s theater on Main Street hosts “Sherlock Holmes–Knight’s Gambit,” a new mystery story written specifically for small theaters like Oldcastle by playwright Paul Falzone. Directed by Eric Peterson, Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director, the show captures all the suspense, wit and intrigue of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous stories using a single set and a small cast.

While the production itself may be relatively modest, the scale of the story is as ambitious as we’ve come to expect from the Holmes canon. Set in 1905, towards the end of the detective’s career, Falzone’s story hinges on events that take place around the city of London and elsewhere in Europe – even though his …

Feature: Parsonsfield

Published in Berkshires Week on July 22, 2014 Original article:

BENNINGTON — There’s a good chance that your next favorite band is playing at the Vermont...

Feature: North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show

Published in Berkshires Week on July 16, 2014 Original article:

NORTH BENNINGTON — Route 67A in the village of North Bennington will have a little more...

Feature: Summer Sonatina

Published in Berkshires Week on July 16, 2014 Original article:

BENNINGTON — With accommodations for 42 campers and a staggering total of 30 pianos placed strategically...