Category Archives: dance
This summer we were overjoyed to revisit our most beloved spots, events, and people – before the snow flies and COVID handcuffs us anew. Yet another winter where we don’t get to hang out with people indoors? Oof. We’ve gotten clever, though. We’ll find new ways not to lose our minds.
Temporarily freed this summer, we jetted around like dragonflies suddenly winged. We went to Chandler, the Bethel Drive-In, Montague golf course, Vermont’s rivers, ponds, and lakes (nice and full due to RAINS), White Cottage, Blue Moon, and Red Door (free jewelry cleaning and inspection! Watch batteries!), hardware stores, and pizza joints, to name a few. Now we’re scrambling to do things outside even when unmotivated because, suddenly, the sun is low in the sky. Winter is coming.
Which is good news because sometimes summer goes on a little too long, no? Maybe not for college kids, whose schools summon them earlier and earlier, but, growing up, the last two weeks of summer were just painful. That lingers today for me, though I still manage to be saddened by the closing of each pool, park, festival, and outdoor eatery at end of season.
Like many, I hates change and was crushed to return to Vermont and see Belmains and the Woodstock yarn store gone forever … among other places … poof! But gladdened to find other joints afloat or nascent, with open doors and rules in place. Randolph’s Playhouse Movie Theater and Chef’s Market and Rumor Has It. Colorful Life Creations in Bethel. Libraries, public pools, and post offices. Hair salons galore. Must be more heads around here than are evident.
Togetherness made a comeback, carefully. People got together in ways they have been unable to for a long time. With travel still iffy, looking for ways to connect? Try a chorus, or house of worship – before the COVID numbers go up and make things go virtual again (one church in Randolph is in a thrift store—I’ll bet it’s good). It can give you a real boost. Most Sundays I cry at incredibly poetic or moving words, spoken by ordinary folk. Or try volunteering with youth. That’s cheering, for whatever reason. Their little faces? Their energy? When they listen to what you have to say, and you listen back? Another option: talk to strangers, where convos are very surface-y and likely to be upbeat and interesting. There was a great article in The Atlantic on this.
Or create togetherness. Start a blog. What’s that? A Web-log. You’re reading one right now. No one does these any more, some say. But I believe that everyone who wants one should make one. It’s easy and free. You can count your viewers and countries of origin. Heartening. My most popular search terms people use are hilarious (to me): The Mullet is Making a Comeback, Dear Certified Finalist, and Skinny-dipping in Vermont.
I have not actually seen the mullet make a comeback, but other things have. The Rolodex® (you can’t mistype what you’re entering into it, repeatedly – it’s paper!); the flip-top desk (hide your mess from view with a swing of your arm!); going to bed early (why stay up soaking in bad global news?). Also a resurgence in nature: birds, bees, and butterflies everywhere.
Other things making a comeback, from the nutters I call friends: puzzles, Pinochle, cribbage, bridge. Sundays at the lake. Eighties fashions, overalls, rompers, hair scrunchies, hair bonnets, high-waisted jeans, hot dogs, fanny packs, the ukulele (again?), state fairs, tumbleweeds, saying Eureka!, steak sauce, shoe cobblers (let’s hope), fascism. My boyfriend when they were invented loathed the term “fanny pack.” He swung his around to the front and called it a Crotch Pouch.
Mercifully, Randolph’s New World Festival made a delightful, controlled comeback. Mental snapshots I won’t forget: women dancing in the rain; the little boys talking to their idols, the big boys; Le Vent du Nord whipping the dance floor into an otherworldly frenzy. These musicians are intergalactic beings sent by God to uplift.
Next up, Tunbridge World’s Fair. Catch you there, even if we don’t recognize each other masked. Name tags might make a comeback. Good health, and good day.
Let’s start with fireflies. These magical beetles (lightning bugs) fire up the woods with bioluminescent abdomens to attract mates or prey. It’s odd they use their glow to attract both of those things. I guess people use money for that.
In some of the 2,000+ species of fireflies, the females are flightless — an unkind world where pedestrian women bugs who can’t get a pilot’s license date flying male bugs that can just take off, lit. and fig. Females lay eggs on or near the ground. The larvae eat slugs and snails, and as adults become either predators or nectar-guzzling vegetarians. You can’t eat them. They taste bad or, worse, poisonous. It is thought that Caravaggio used a photoluminescent powder from crushed fireflies in his photographic painting process, their powder also used back then for FX in the theater. (No PETA.)
Now I’ve seen a few glowing abdomens in my day, but not like these babies’. In the woods they’ve been going haywire. Glowing and throbbing and luring sexy dates every which way from Sunday; there should be a bumper crop of larvae next spring. And so here Tip #1 to be happy and more productive: glow, lure, frolic, multiply, and be poisonous. Fly if you can!
Wow, everything’s rutting this time of year, seems like. It’s technically productive, but causes a lot of road kill as animals race around the woods and highways with one thing on their minds. The young male moose have been kicked out of their fams by now, so (Tip #2) be careful out there. You will be less happy and productive if you drive into a giant quadruped or even a chipmunk for God’s sake.
Tip 3: Studies have proven multi-tasking to be a crock. If you’re doing 2 things simultaneously, you’re doing only one of them well — if that. My idea of multi-tasking is clipping my toenails while listening to music, or doing the dishes while the washing machine does the laundry. That’s doubly productive enough for Bonzo. As for the rest of it — texting while conversing with a “live” friend right there in front of you, driving while digging something out of the seat crack, smoking while changing a diaper: don’t do it.
Tip #4: Compound words like Brexit, the Chunnel, BritComs, brunch and linnner are effective time-savers, as are acronyms. Acronym is in fact an acronym for all characters represent one notion you MIGHTNOTSINGLYRECALL. By necessity in NYC, I invented 5MPL (5 military police? No, avenues, west to east: 5th, Madison, Park, and Lex.). Feel free to use it.
I dig acronyms, esp. the one in Silent Bob. Here’s an acronym for the iGraphics we insert in email and texting. They’re hard to find on your phone because there are so many of them. This acronym will help you locate, say, the nearly invisible “waste basket.” Categorically, from left to right they are: Favorites Emojis Bodyparts People Clothing Animals Nature Weather Food Sports Music Transpo Vistas Skylines Celestial Buildings Tech Tools Whimsy Mail School/Office Hearts Glyphs Shapes Clocks Flags. Resulting acronym: FEBPCANWFSMTVSCBTTWMS/OHGSCF. That should speed things along nicely. You’re welcome!
Numero 5: Last season’s antioxidant is this year’s pro-biotic. All the rage, Dear Reader. These li’l critters allegedly prevent everything from bloating to depression, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s via the gut-brain connection. Check out kombucha and other SCOBY-based, cold-pickled foods and vinegars. Ferment and pickle your heart out. SCOBY sure beats “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.” PS SCUBA is “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.” My brother taught me that 20 years ago when my memory worked. Let’s hope SCOBY can DO my memory right. Please read online warnings about DIY kombucha, though. Just buy it on tap in Woodstock, I say.
#6: Move. Get up from your chair 20 times a day like we did when there was Telex, interoffice mail, lunch hours, and disco. The physical ailments we got at age 40 now show up in 30 year-olds who sit all day and night. Lets groove tonight. It’ll save you a mint in chiropractic and Advil®.
Naturally, I close with #7: laffs. If you laughed or moved even once during this Upper Valley divertissement, you will be happier and more productive for the next five minutes. Glow, frolic, rut, monotask, abbreviate, probioticize, groove, and snicker. Pay it forward as you choose, for the happiness hog and efficiency monster in us all. Good holiday, and good day.
Ann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter handle: @uvgvt.
My sister-in-law, a former costume designer for film and TV, is the craziest mad genius, what with the portraits she does of people’s homes using their own memorabilia, and how her talents are put to use at the Russian school and dance recitals. All the children of the Lands should be so lucky as to have a Natalya in the wings.
See more Russian kids’ costumes here, including those made by other parents, most if not all designed by my beloved золовка. Love the Sun and Moon executed by Marina Bagrova! Don’t miss Natalya’s stunning sketches of the costumes as they appeared in her noggin, before their worldly realization, at the end of this version. Quick, before that page changes!
[I’m Tweeting cool little mesmerizers like this from @annVTPBS if you want in.]
With last week’s cosmic Soopermoon and unexpected low humidity, Vermonters were feeling their oats—a horsey expression referring to “hot” feeds such as oats that provide extra equine energy. Carbo-loading for ponies.
We’ve been flat-out frolicking. As we bike, swim, and tool about our gorgeous state via horse, cycle, and golf cart, we inhale gnats and drink in the astounding natural beauty of the Land. No matter our troubles, her scenic landscape’s backdrop to our drama grows, flows, and enchants mightily. The Creatures of the Land also sparkle. Musicians strum, hummingbirds hum, and stories fill out ears with delight. Campfires! Charades! Laffs!
Deliriously happy, we pack on summer blubber by way of chips and macaroni salads (hot feeds), with dripping cones, toasted marshmallows and extra mayo all around. Chomping chewing gum with the ferocity of a jungle cat, I wear a bikini as a disturbing incentive to avoid the snack bar lakeside. Unsightly, but y’all don’t look that slender, either. As a friend’s father happily observed, “There are no Beautiful People at Silver Lake.” It’s Vermont. We just don’t care.
With little rain, the long and sunny days demand movement. Soopermovement. Early we rise, to tend gardens and hit balls, knowing that pacing oneself now is not an option. For soon the air will grow cold, leaves will float down the brooks, and the Tunbridge World’s Fair will be upon us. Is this year’s theme The Year of the Insect?? Giant horseflies take meaty chunks from us daily. I hope they are having a good time.
The tourists are. As they cram our roads with Corvette Clubs, motorcycle brigades, and kayak-lidded vehicles, they stuff our coffers with (hopefully) enough wampum to get us through what friend Sassy calls “the dark months.” While we lament oftentimes the physical and financial hardships of Vermont, visitors envy our visual bounty from the windows of inns and restaurants. Let us see, as they do, that the grass is in fact greener here. There’s a heck of a lot more of it.
With all our rivers, woods, and contradancing, we get physical without pricey gym memberships. Fishing and tennis are almost no-cost, and you can’t live here without knowing someone with a canoe or bike to borrow. We get our ya-ya’s out for next to nothing. People everywhere need to get their ya-ya’s out because life in Modern Tymes is vexing. Tech nuisances drive us batty, our free time devoured by the modern bane that is overcommunication. Which disPinterested, Twitterless, Linked Out Facebidiots like me don’t do much of, yet it’s still exhausting. Many here lack—or shun—the [devil’s!] tools needed to overcommunicate, a source of ruin. Good for them. It seems to me that the more we communicate, the more we worry. More people to worry about, I guess. More worrisome details shared. Just. More. Worrying.
I told my friend Kay I was glad in some ways I have no kids, so in our “sandwich generation” years I am open-faced, with only parents to be concerned about. Her reply:
“One thing better about parenting elders than parenting kids is that people are not competitive about their aging parents. Imagine if they were. ‘My mother got into Green Mountain Golden Years Assisted Living. It was her reach facility, but she got in! Her safeties were Maple Heritage and Mellow Manor Northeast Kingdom.’ ‘Well, my mother was sent to prison and it’s not costing me a dime. Free dental!” We could brag about who has lasted the longest without a walker. That would be like lettering in track. Blood test results as SAT scores…’My dad’s combined LDL and HDL were under 250!’ ‘Wow, you must be so proud. I’m going to make my dad take it again. Surely he can improve over last time.’ I feel a Roz Chast cartoon coming on… ”
A toast to Green Mountain splendour, hay-makers, canoe-loaners, tech-shunners, shenaniganers, parenters, summer fatties, and sooperfriends who supply laffs. Thank you all. Good day.
While pagan America is getting its jollies skipping around a beribboned pole today, some of us are crying May Day over the decline of the English language.
That George Orwell thought English was going down the flusher some 80 years ago is a comfort. This article covers that nicely in its analysis of weird, annoying language in the workplace. The Comments reveal how workers across the Land have secretly played Corporate Jargon Bingo during meetings. Hats off, keepers of the language! And way more fun than a silly Maypole.
But we’ve only just broached this topic. Stay tuned.
Despite odds and favorites, endorsements and hype, in sporting events ya just never know. In the Olympic opening ceremonies, for example, the U.S. did not medal during the Parade of Nations. Sartorial dark horses Tonga, Kazakhstan, and Andorra (a “landlocked microstate in southwestern Europe”) beat the literal pants off Ireland, Germany, Italy, and the US. That’s with Ralph Lauren et al. hurling unimaginable coin and muscle at it. Better luck next time, soopertailors!
All manner of factors can throw athletes off their game. Weird uniforms, weird weather, weird slogans (Hot. Cool. You. Huh?), old injuries, new injuries, the incessant clanging of the cowbell slopeside…not to mention Olympic pressure. I for one couldn’t do a giant slalom in front of a single, napping four-year-old. Flop sweat would soak my snowsuit, which would not be a stylin’ hipster snowsuit, but an old beater poofy one (see “weird uniforms” above). Sounds like the making of a terrific nightmare. Don’t worry, the Olympic Committees have enough on their plates with the Junior Olympics, Paralympics, the Senior Games…there will be no Doughy Unfit Sloblympics. Reality TV has that covered, if inadvertently.
The Sochi games were, in a word, fabulous. The opening ceremony was as good as Athens and Vancouver and better than Beijing or London. Kudos, komrades! The $51B price tag, higher than all prior Winter Olympics combined, was naughty but, man, artfully spent. The venues were knockout, the Caucuses backdrop spectacular. If you were lucky enough to see the nighttime bird’s-eye view of the Olympic Village on a high-def TV: Prekrasno!
Another word: incredible. The skaters’ costumes were better than ever, due in part to advances in adhesives, faceted sparklers, and stretch netting. Velikalepno! The jumps, lifts, and spins (twizzles!): umopotressauschee. The women’s biathlon, wherein women ski uphill with guns, their buff, eurochick bodies rocking gorgeously engineered outdoor wear: totally Bond! The commentators’ near-hysterical coverage during the men’s biathlon: hilariously stirring! The medals? Elegant! Mary Carillo’s cultural vignettes? Captivating! We even dug the ads, from Cadillac’s In America, We Work Hard (“N’est-ce pas?”) to the endlessly repeated Chevy Cruze one (the pained expressions of the car music-haters never grew old) to P&G’s teary series saluting athletes’ mothers. Yo, where’s the fathers’ tribute? Pony up next time, WD-40.
Exciting. Now I hates change (less cowbell? Nyet!), but I suspect that newly added sports grabbed today’s athletes and viewers more than winter’s curling (a popular drinking sport…150 years ago?) or summer’s gymnastics stick-and-ball thing (made sense in… ancient Greece?) New winter additions such as parallel slalom, ski halfpipe, snowboardcross, chick ski jump,and luge team relay engaged the nutters of many nations both on the slopes and off. Zdorovo!
Magical. It seemed nothing could ruin the Olympics for viewers: neither the barrage of pre-game negative press, nor too-warm snow conditions (ruinous to top skiers who didn’t medal), nor worrisome developments in Ukraine, nor an Olympic ring that didn’t open (“Keep going, Vladimir…four—eet’s enough—go!”), nor Johnny Weir’s distracting accoutrements, nor even dumb push notifications and moronic newspeople announcing who’d won before we got to watch it at night. Stoic Putin never devolved into the out-of-control rootin’ tootin’ Pootin I’d hoped for, but he did crack the occasional smile as fellow Russkies went bonkers around him.
Full-on crazy. The Russians did go nuts. So did everyone else. Everyone went wild. People were yelling and texting and jumping up and down around the globe, astonished by the feats of these magnificent young gods and goddesses. Whether it was a nailbiter of a hockey game, a mindbender of a halfpipe trick, a heart attacker of a downhill ski race, an eye-shutter of a skeleton run, or a jawdropper of a figure skating routine by—gasp—a tiny teenager, the fans went wild. What’s more fun than that? All the earthly peoples clapping and crying and grinning and screaming Wow! in 6,000 different languages, including Russian (Ogo! Or if you prefer: Va-ooh!). No really: what’s better than that?
Unforgettable. Who could forget the incredible wins and losses, the moments of jubilance and of crushing defeat after years and years of training? Competitors holding hands, or throwing themselves on the ice, off the podium, into the arms of loved ones…too many to list. I just hope you saw them, along with the breathtaking closing ceremonies. With some systems, you can view the Sochi games over and over. I’ll see you tube-side…knitting and weeping, admiring the determined faces and ripped bodies of the brave, beautiful YPs of all the Lands. Good bawling, and good day.
Quote That Took The Gold
Olympic halfpipe champion Iouri “iPod” Podladtchikov on if he could have beaten Shaun White without YOLO, iPod’s insane signature rotational flip: “Yes. Just with my looks, I could have won.”
Foliage season (the tail that swings the bull of Vermont commerce), means time to reflect. With July’s hot rains there were reflecting pools (skeeter habitats) aplenty. Between that and August’s cool drought, who knows what colors our foliage will turn? It’s looking knockout.
Color me optimistic, but I feel a shift. Much terrible news notwithstanding, the People of the Land seem…hopeful! Energetic! We’re making music—beating drums, blowing horns, plucking strings with vigor—as squirrels scamper and crows caw. Hurricane-induced bridge repairs are complete. Fragrant apples fall with a thud while bears bang on the porch door. “Open up. I know you have product in there.”
The Tunbridge World’s Fair was better than ever. Kindly Ambassadors directed confused fairgoers and the Golf Cart Squad ferried the weary. The Year of the Swine theme provided natural hilarity; there’s just something funny about a pig, a nutty beast that keeps getting…larger. The revamped barns, nicely appointed with flora (kudos, Decorating Committee!), housed all manner of superb creatures basking in their creaturehood. Chickens with far-out hairdos, calves with soulful eyes, strutting peacocks, soft bunnies, a sow with 12 piglets (oof), and oxen with team names (Ben and Jerry) endured petting (and finger pokes) like pros. I asked my mother why she always walks outside of the cattle barn peering into windows, is she afraid of getting kicked inside? “I don’t want to be around if someone drops one,” she answered. A decades-old mystery solved.
Other quotes amused. Here now three: (1) My aunt has two sets of false teeth: her Smiling Teeth and her Eating Teeth. One year she lost the latter just as she was about to tuck into her fair fare (fried dough?). My father observed in the retelling, “The timing could not have been less fortunate.” (2) Upon leaving the heaving fairgrounds, I speculated how nearby houses cannot be a good place to live during the fair; you couldn’t stand the traffic so you’d sit at home for four days. Someone added after a moment, “The General Store is probably out of beer.” (3) During the Livestock Cavalcade, a senior woman resembling Katharine Hepburn whistled so loudly with her fingers that I said, “You’re good whistler!” She replied somewhat cryptically, “I stopped the California Zephyr with that.”
The Applause-O-Meter fairly exploded at the Costume Class, wherein 4H children dress up themselves and their farm animals, this year’s winner being Tunbridge Fall Formal—two girls in gowns and wrist corsages, their yoked oxen in tuxedos and top hats. The fans went wild. Except for the Harringtons of Pomfret, who had settled deeply into seating inside the Larkin Dancers’ tent and could not be reached for comment.
If you love contra dancing, Randolph’s New World Festival on Labor Day Sunday (brainchild of madman Kevin Dunwoody) is where you want to be, despite this year’s wafting BO due to unusually high temps. Although Duck for the Oyster baffled the boisterous Boyce family, who simply do not give contra dance instruction the attention it deserves, dance callers catered nicely to novices while allowing seasoned pros to peacock it with beskirted flourishes. The music enthralled, the marionettes entranced, and the hardworkin’ McMeekins held up…even if their hair didn’t in 100% humidity. The fans again went wild, as they did at the Tweed River and Bethel Forward festivals and the Festival of Fools. Things are looking UP.
Your monthly Useful Information is this: the 4 H’s in 4H Club are: head, heart, hands, and health. Your Good News is a quote from a dear friend my age: “I have a layer of cellulite over my entire body. But underneath that is a layer of muscle.”
Thank you, festival organizers, for hours of unbridled joy just when summer’s departure tries so hard to make us melancholy. We switch out swim trunks for Carhartts, kiss macaroni salad goodbye, and say Hello! to apple pie. Setting a slice aside for the bears. Like the Whos down in Whoville, we are happy. We are hopeful. We cannot be subdued. We are the Upper Valley of the Connecticut River. Good day.
There is no greater fun than the 5th annual Tweed River Music Festival, happening this weekend in the middle of Vermont.
Here is a schedule/overview of the artists. Stick around for musical wizard and host Bow Thayer, whose great new line-up is on at 9 pm on Friday; his other rockin’ outfit, Perfect Trainwreck, will perform Eden in its entirety on Saturday night (a spectacle!) Ask me now and I’ll give you particulars. Find me there, and I’ll tell you what to buy at the merch tent. We’ll dance.
Come! Camp or stay at an inn, swim & fish in Silver Lake or the Tweed & White River swimming holes…skinny-dip, tube, kayak, vegetate, and ~ oh yeah ~ listen to kicka** music outdoors in gorgeous Vermont.
Kudos to Tweed River Productions for scheduling PERFECT weather: hot enough to swim by day, cool enough for jackets by night. Hey music fans, Tweet this Tweed!