RR Arts Preview

Comic Tina Friml returns to her hometown of Middlebury March 16 with Vermont comedy all-stars.”

Contributions should be sent to jim.lowe@rutlandherald.com at least two weeks in advance.

Comedy all-stars

MIDDLEBURY – Tina Friml grew up in Middlebury, and though her parents were involved in local theater, she never considered herself a performer until she took a class in standup comedy. Two-and-a-half years later, she’s been voted Vermont’s funniest comedian.

Friml’s unique brand of comedy uses her disability as a starting point, and she gets a lot of laughs out of how well-meaning people stumble in their interactions with disabled people. But like any good comic, her topics range to the many things that challenge all of us this crazy world.

“I caught Tina’s act just recently at the Vermont Comedy Club,” says THT Artistic Director Douglas Anderson, “and she had everyone on the floor. It was the funniest comedy set I’ve seen in years. There was no question that it’s time to have her on the Town Hall Theater stage.”

Friml will appear at Town Hall Theater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16, joined by her friends and fellow comics Tim Bridge, Tracy Dolan and Sky Sandoval.

Friml is the 2018 winner of “Vermont’s Funniest Comedian” at the Vermont Comedy Club. She was featured on the NBC Comedy Spotlight Series at the 2018 Women in Comedy Festival, along with the Boston Comedy Arts Festival. She was credited as one of Vermont’s most influential female comedians by Seven Days and was featured on VPR’s Vermont Edition with Jane Lindholm.

Friml currently is featured with national headlining acts at The Vermont Comedy Club and co-produces a monthly standup showcase, “F.O.M.O.” at Foam Brewers in Burlington. She regularly performs all over Vermont, along with Boston, New York and London.

Tickets are $15-$20 main floor; call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org. Town Hall Theater is located at 68 S. Pleasant St.

‘Adult Theater’

WALLINGFORD – The Sparkle Barn will present “An Evening of Provocative Adult Theater” with two one-act plays by Stacy Harshman, “The Portraits of Vivian” and “Ghosting and the Sex Pillow,” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23.

“The Portraits of Vivian” is a fun romp into the world of lead character Vivian’s head. As she embarks on a new relationship, Vivian’s inside voices let her know exactly what they are thinking. This short piece is not for the fainthearted. In “Ghosting and the Sex Pillow,” join Girl and Guy as they explore the world of ghosting, and a stolen sex pillow.

Tickets are $15 (sneak peek dress rehearsal at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21, is $5); go online to www.thesparklebarnshop.com.

Durham County Poets

BRANDON – Brandon Music will welcome back Durham County Poets at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 15.

Hailing from Ormstown, Quebec, and the surrounding Chateauguay Valley, the five seasoned musicians, all of whom are songwriters, work together individually and collaboratively in composing their music. Delving into a variety of styles and genres, their musical influences include a broad range of artists. From The Band to Dire Straits, Leon Redbone to James Taylor and Neil Young, they have managed to put it all together to create their own musical style best described as bluesy country/folk with a lot of verve.

“There’s something about the Durham County Poets that leaves you feeling that everything might be OK in the world after all. There’s a human spirit that lives in these people and their music is the medium that allows that spirit to roam free,” wrote Bill Hurley in Extended Play Sessions.

Tickets are $20 (pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required); call 802-247-4295, or email info@brandon-music.net. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.

Native American art

RUTLAND – The Chaffee Art Center invites the community to “Pieces of the Past,” a Native American exhibit on display until April 26.

The exhibit features a wide variety of items created by earlier generations and contemporary artists from the Abenaki and Mohawk people of the Champlain Valley region. This project is a result of the collaboration between the Chaffee, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, College of St. Joseph and professor Kurt Fetter, and the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs.

The first-floor galleries will include clothing and accessories made for daily wear and special occasions, century-old baskets from both Abenaki and Mohawk artists, a beaded handbag made of tanned deer hide, jewelry, flags, a lacrosse stick, musical instruments, and other objects for ceremonial use. Visual arts include paintings, drawings in ink and charcoal, and photographs that reflect both Mohawk and Abenaki life.

“It is good to have a balance between ancient and contemporary,” Fetter said. “Otherwise a particular kind of narrative is propagated about Indigenous people.”

Winter hours are: noon to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; call 802-775-0356, or go online to www.chaffeeartcenter.org. The Chaffee Art Center is located at 16 S. Main St.

Russell Malone Quartet

BRATTLEBORO – The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes guitarist Russell Malone to its stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16. He will appear with his established quartet, including pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Luke Sellick and drummer Anwar Marshall. Perhaps best known for his Grammy-nominated work with vocalist Diana Krall, Malone is one of the leading guitarists on the jazz scene today.

Malone says, “I feel that working bands are very important. … Over time, you develop a certain level of trust that only comes from spending time playing together. I’m very happy with these musicians.”

Tickets are $20, $15 for students; call 802-254-9088, ext. 1, or go online to www.vtjazz.org.

‘Chef Flynn’

MIDDLEBURY – The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival will present the documentary “Chef Flynn,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 17, as its featured March film for the MNFF 2018-19 Winter/Spring Screening Series at Town Hall Theater. The series retains its exclusive focus on prominent work by first- and second-time filmmakers.

“‘Chef Flynn’ is the kind of immersive documentary that brings viewers into a colorful and rarified world, where a child cooking prodigy and his mother both collaborate and butt heads as his burgeoning career as a world-class chef develops,” noted Lloyd Komesar, MNFF producer. “The film is really revealing and entertaining, and we are delighted to bring ‘Chef Flynn’ to our audiences as part of the Winter/Spring Screening Series.”

A second feature documentary from director Cameron Yates, “Chef Flynn” traces the remarkable rise of Flynn McGarry from the start of his career as a 10-year-old making meals in his bedroom outfitted with elaborate kitchen equipment to the heralded opening of his pop-up restaurant in New York nine years later. Along the way, the film reveals the complex relationship between young McGarry and his very attentive mother, Meg.

As John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter observed, “Being a prodigy can be tough. Even if your parents aren’t the kind of taskmasters who insist on overachievement to the exclusion of fun, you’re almost certain to be resented by the less-talented kids around you and the older pros who don’t see what all the fuss is about.”

Tickets are $13; call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org.

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