Kosi is a New York City based singer-songwriter with jazz roots. Although she always brings just a little drama to her compositions and interpretations, she’s more than just a drama queen. She’s got piercing eyes and a voice that’s larger than her body. But, small as she is, she won’t fit in a box. She switches styles more quickly than you can follow: from jazz, to rock, then folk, but never more than a few steps away from the blues. Kosi performs at Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1.
Kosi cites Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone as her main influences, and has been compared to Tracy Chapman, India Arie, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith. However, despite her comparisons and influences, everything about Kosi, from her sometimes bare feet and occasionally jarring lyrics to her now-she’s-sweet-now-she’s-screaming dramatic interpretations, radiates authenticity.
“I am not creating anything,” she says, “nor am I deconstructing anything. I am neither an iconoclast nor a follower. I am simply myself, and that is enough.”
Tickets are $20 (pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required); call 802-247-4295, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.
Artist Ken Smith
Ken Smith’s “Abstractions in Fabric” will be on exhibit Aug. 25-Oct. 13, at The Bank Gallery, 104 Merchants Row. The public opening reception will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25.
This exhibition is a collection of fabric compositions that explores the use of bright and contrasting colors in abstract space. The pieces were created by sewing random scraps of fabric together, and letting the piece evolve from there.
Smith is a Vermont-based improvisational artist who primarily works with solid colored fabric as his medium. He started his artistic journey in December of 2015 to spend more time with his wife, Kelley McCrory, who is a lifelong clothing designer and textile artist who has an extensive studio setup, which afforded Smith the opportunity to work in a dedicated art space.
Hours are: noon to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; call 802-282-2396, or go online to www.castleton.edu/arts/art-galleries/.
New film and VSO
Award-winning filmmaker Robin Starbuck will present her newest film, “How We See Water,” at the Mahaney Center for the Arts at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26.
This experimental documentary explores the intersections of indigenous history and contemporary life in Chiapas, Mexico through the lives of two young women who work to gain education and independence. The film features live accompaniment by an ensemble from the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and an original score by Middlebury alumnus and composer Matt LaRocca, ‘02. This event is a three-way collaboration between the Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO), and the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.
Tickets are $12 at the door, no charge to MNFF pass holders; for passes or information, go online to middfilmfest.org.
David Auburn’s “Proof,” which combines mystery, surprise and old-fashioned storytelling in a compelling evening of theater that won both the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize, opens Friday, Aug. 31 in the Oldcastle Theatre Company’s intimate space on Main Street.
“Proof” is a play of ideas. The play’s intricate twists and turns take a dramatic and comic ride through the lives of a brilliant mathematician and his two daughters. “The machinery is working,” Robert exultantly tells his daughter. He is referring to the creative powers of his mind as the play takes us through a jigsaw puzzle that appears to be about the fragility of intellectual brilliance, but is more deeply about the jagged, seemingly unconnected pieces that come together to make relationships, rife with expectations, compromises, risks, and disappointments.
All the action takes place on the back porch of a house in Chicago, close to the university and Lake Michigan. Catherine has sacrificed her college education to care for her father, a professor and one-time cutting-edge mathematician unable to keep a grip on reality. Robert and Catherine’s loving relationship is complicated by his illness, but it is also rooted in a shared passion for numbers.
The production is being directed by the company’s Founding Producing Artistic Director Eric Peterson.
“This is one of the best American plays of the 21st century,” Peterson said. “It has humor, warmth, mystery and complex, fascinating characters. As with most great American plays, it centers on the family. It is a challenge and an honor to work with a text this good.”
“Proof” runs through Sept. 9. For ticket reservations or additional information, call 802-447-0564, or go online to www.oldcastletheatre.org.
Tecari Shuman paintings
Brandon artist Tecari Shuman will present an exhibition of 42 paintings of abstract and modern art that he has developed over the past year and a half, Aug. 31-Sept. 29, at Compass Music and Arts Center. The public opening reception will be held 4 to 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31.
Shuman’s work explores the depth of his personal trials and life experiences creatively and imaginatively expressed through his art. Surviving and recovering from polio as a child in Flushing, Queens, Shuman became a landscape designer, nature photographer, furniture craftsman, and the director of a California Health Center. But, as fate would have it, Shuman’s life took a serious turn, when, as an adult, he developed post-polio syndrome, compounded by a hydrocephalous condition and the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. Shuman turned to painting as a solace and inspiration to find deeper meaning in his life.
As Shuman explains it, “New images dance before my mind’s eye, and each painting finds its own spirit. My fingers on the brush, unfold the rich, wet colors until I arrive at a point where there is no more to do and the painting is done.”
Hours are: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; call 802-247-4295, or go online to www.cmacvt.org. The Compass Music and Arts Center’s main exhibition space, located at 333 Jones Drive.
High School graduate Allison Vigue presents her directorial debut with “Crooked,” a three-person contemporary play telling the story of Laney, a 14-year-old aspiring writer who has just moved with her mother to Mississippi. The small cast explores the world of family, friends, and love in this one-act play, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25 at New England Youth Theatre.
As a part of a mentor project, this show has been almost entirely student run, from its student director and actors, to the technical design and the photography. “After taking NEYT’s directing class I wanted to learn how to put on a full show, pulling the aspects I learned together,” says Vigue.
Admission is by donation at the door.
Artist Ashley Wolff
The Brandon Artists Guild (BAG) will present a show of new paintings by Leicester artist Ashley Wolff, “Reinventing the View,” Aug. 31-Nov. 5. The public is invited to meet the artist at the opening reception, 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.
Wolff has built a devoted following with her colorful watercolors, gouache paintings and children’s book illustrations. The vibrant, celebratory pieces she has selected for “Reinventing the View” stem from a more personal source.
“I chose the title, ‘Reinventing the View’ to mark being back in my home state, but without either parent,” Wolff explains. “After 34 years in California I returned to live close to my mother. The lush bouquets of flowers painted in gouache are an outpouring of emotion following Mom’s death in May. She loved saturated color and anything purple.”
The other half of the show includes transparent watercolors. “It’s a medium I first learned and practiced with my father, who died 30 years ago,” Wolff says.
Hours are: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; call 802-247-4956. The BAG is located at 7 Center St.
“Fences” will be the next FOLA movie, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, at Heald Auditorium at the Ludlow Town Hall.
“Fences” is a 2016 American period drama film produced, directed and starring Denzel Washington and written by August Wilson, based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. In addition to Washington, the film also stars Viola Davis as his wife.
Troy Maxson (Washington) makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player but was deemed too old when the major leagues began admitting black athletes. Bitter over his missed opportunity, Troy creates further tension in his family when he quashes his son’s chance to meet a college football recruiter.
Admission is free (donations are appreciated); call 802-228-7239, or go online to www.fola.us.