Arts & Culture

VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

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'Vermont Edition' sought out the scariest ride at the Champlain Valley Fair.

A few years ago, Vermont Edition dispatched a team of producers and reporters to the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction for a single day. Their mission? Capture personal stories as diverse as the crowd itself. And did they ever! We'll listen back to all the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the fair.

A collection of front pages from the Burlington Free Press.
Matthew Smith / VPR

America's two largest newspaper companies are merging, and after GateHouse Media's purchase of Gannett is complete, the Burlington Free Press — and more than 260 other papers across the country — will have new owners.  We're talking about what the merger means for these papers and how the changes affecting the news and media industries are being felt in Vermont.

Author Toni Morrison reads at a podium to people gathered
Eric Borg / Special Collections, Middlebury College (courtesy)

Toni Morrison died last week at the age of 88. Author of novels including Beloved and Song of Solomon, as well as winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, Morrison leaves a lasting impression on the American literary landscape — but she also left an impression on those who attended Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Ripton, Vermont, during her time as a faculty member in the 1970s.

A dog waits for a treat during a heat wave in Romania on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019.
Vadim Ghirda / AP

It's easy to spot a well-trained dog. Maybe the pup is well-behaved in a large group of people or other dogs. Perhaps the pooch can sit, shake and roll over on command. But what's involved in training your pet that molds a calm, confident and well-behaved dog? We're talking about dog training and dog psychology with two Vermont dog trainers. 

A man in gold-rimmed glasses and a Malcolm X shirt stands outside a library.
Elodie Reed / VPR

On an evening in late June, Burlington poet Rajnii Eddins stood at a podium at the Fletcher Free Library. He wore a sweatshirt printed with Malcolm X’s face and looked out at the room through large, gold-rimmed glasses. 

Author Rick Winston's book "Red Scare In The Green Mountains" looks at the era of McCarthyism in Vermont from 1946 through 1960.
Rootstock Publiching, Courtesy

Vermont Edition presents two encore interviews with Vermont authors who wrote about some rather compelling moments in the state's history: how Vermont weathered instances of Red Scare, and a judiciary scandal that reached all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Listeners ask a lot of questions. And VPR's Brave Little State is there to find answers. 

A partially unfurled pink yoga mat on the floor
D-Ozen / iStock

The practice of yoga dates back over 5,000 years to northern India, but it has enjoyed newfound popularity in the west over the past couple of decades. While some people are adherents to the spiritual tenets of yoga, many do it for exercise and body health.

However, ancient yoga poses were not developed with the modern physiological needs and challenges our bodies face.

Do you want fries with that? It's complicated.

Americans have a torturous relationship with fast food. We often vilify it for expanding our waistlines, yet we also look at it as a way to treat ourselves. And part of the reason we seek the guilty pleasures to be found in burgers, shakes and fries is the familiarity such foods evoke, says writer Adam Chandler.


We often hear state leaders lamenting the so-called brain drain – meaning young people who move away - and the burden of caring for the Medicare crowd. Our demographics are a problem, they say, while credit agencies insist that in order to keep Vermont’s credit rating high, we need a bigger, younger population to spur economic growth.

A man in a hawaiian shirt against a red background.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Josh Collier first came to Vermont to sing with Opera Company of Middlebury in 2014. He and his wife liked the state so much they moved to Brandon two years ago, and since then, the 32-year-old has made it his mission to bring world class opera to the community with his wildly popular Barn Opera series. 

A stage full of actors performing the play that turned their testimonies into "Standing In This Place: Growing Up LGBTQ in Rural Vermont."
Randy Papp / Chandler Center for the Arts

Saturday at Randolph’s Chandler Center for the Arts will be the second — and final — staging of a play that tells the stories of LGBTQ Vermonters growing up in the state. 

A July 3, 1928 photograph of reconstruction of the Winooski Bridge after the 1927 flood, looking toward Winooski with the Champlain Mill in the background.
L. L. McAllister / UVM Howe Library Special Collections via Vermont Green Mountain Digital Archive

It's an issue the Green Mountain State has grappled with for generations: how can Vermont develop its economy and attract new workers without losing the qualities that make Vermont, well, Vermont? We're talking about this "paradox of development," how Vermont has attempted to answer these questions in the past, and what that history can teach communities in Vermont today.

Japanese beetles devour leaves, left; squash bugs threaten pumpkins, gourds and melons, center; and powdery mildew on zucchini leaves are among the challenges Vermont gardeners are seeing at this time of year.
C. Watts via Flickr Creative Commons / Jeffrey Hahn with the University of Minnesota / Scot Nelson via Flickr Creative Commons

Summer has finally given way to warm weather, bountiful blooms and — if you're a gardener — ripening fruits and veggies. But all that growing goodness also means a plethora of pests: worms, beetles, mildew and more. Garden expert Charlie Nardozzi joins Vermont Edition to talk about protecting your fruits and veggies from summer pests, keeping plants healthy and planning for a second planting. 

Headshot of author Miciah Bay Gault
Daryl Burtnett

Goodnight Stranger is a psychological thriller focused on a brother and sister, orphaned after the death of their parents. The tense tale is the debut novel of Miciah Bay Gault, who teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

A woman stands between two barn doors painted with a chicken.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Mary Lacy is a Jericho native who thinks big. She paints outdoor murals: giant images, usually of nature, that adorn urban landscapes. Her paintings of fish, hummingbirds and bees splash across buildings and along byways in vibrant color.

still image of man sitting on a stump at a campfire.
Josh Melrod, Courtesy

In early July, Barnard resident Josh Melrod won the "Best Director" title at the Ischia Film Festival in Italy.

Melrod wrote and directed the film, titled Major Arcana.

Montreal's annual Just For Laughs festival is best-known as a showcase for current and future stars of stand-up comedy. Not as well known to people who've never been here is that laughs of all kinds can be found outdoors, for free, throughout Montreal's cultural district, the Quartiere des Spectacles. Professional musicians, magicians, acrobats, jugglers, puppeteers — the outdoor performers' punch lines don't need words. That helps, since Just For Laughs/Juste Pour Rire is a bilingual festival for both French and English speaking performers and fans.

The words General Store written in red text on a white sign atop the exterior of a building.
LordRunar / iStock

Oddertown is a small, fictional village in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom that actually seems quite real. In Gary Meffe's debut novel, The Wizard of Odd, life in Oddertown orbits around its tiny general store and the colorful characters who eat, drink and hold court there on nearly every topic under the sun.

Three musicians - one with a cello, one at a piano and one vocalist - inside of a barn.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Yellow Barn music festival in Putney is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.