Freelance

You Got This! (Bicycling Magazine)

Published August 1, 2014 in Bicycling magazine.

Bicycling August 2014

It's no fun hauling your bike to the shop only to hear that your problem is user error. Mechanics face these five customer woes all the time. Here's how to solve them yourself.—Lindsay J. Westley

 


A bike tour of Vermont's Lake Champlain Islands (Washington Post)

By Lindsay J. Westley.  Published July 18, 2013 in the Washington Post.

Biking A mid-ride beep from my neon-colored GPS watch usually signals a moment of weakness: a stop for a gulp of water or to rest quivering calves after climbing one of Vermont’s many mountains. Today, as I wheel my bike around the potholes in a farm lane, it’s signaling a more important item on the agenda: maple creemees.

The rest of the country calls the frozen treat twisting into my cone “soft serve,” but here in Vermont, it’s a creemee. Made with farm-fresh milk and a high grade of real maple syrup, it’s a delicious start to the weekend — and the official guarantee that no cycling speed records will be broken over the next two days. But we will eat well. And often.

After all, we have the home-court advantage on this vacation. My husband and I have been living on the southernmost tip of Vermont’s Lake Champlain Islands for nearly two years, having moved here from Pennsylvania as newlyweds.

Mush! A dog-sledding adventure in Maine (Washington Post)

By Lindsay J. Westley, Published: November 26 in the Washington Post

The air is charged with the sound of 17 howling huskies, and the snow brake I’m standing on with both feet quivers as the brawny dogs in front of me strain against their harnesses.

It’s not a moment for misgivings or second thoughts: Either you hold tight as you release the brake and the dogs snap forward, or you’re left behind as the sled races toward the mountains in the distance. I choose to hold on.

Already charged with adrenaline, I’m prepared for the rush of euphoria that accompanies our first leaps across the ice, but I wasn’t expecting the silence. One moment, it’s orchestrated chaos accompanied by nose-to-the-sky howls; the next, it’s utterly hushed except for the crunch of snow beneath the runners.

Escapes: A tour of western Pa. Amish country (Washington Post)

Amish plowing

There’s no sign out front, so my mom and I trust our instincts — and the smell of fresh sawdust — to guide us as we pull off the dirt road and approach the weathered workshop. We’re in search of an authentic Amish-made rocking chair, and judging from the woodworking tools and gently curved rocker bottoms propped against the doorway, we’re in luck.

The noise from the belt-driven bench sander drowns out the sounds of our approach, so it takes a minute before a young Amish man looks up from where he’s sanding the armrest of a nearly completed rocker. His brother, barefoot and probably about 8 or 9 years old, looks up too, giving us a shy grin from beneath the fringe of hair cropped straight across his forehead and flaring out over his ears.

Q&A with Vermont Architect Marcel Beaudin (Dwell)

In my quest to find examples of modern design around Vermont, I frequently came aross the work of Marcel Beaudin. Now in his 80s, Beaudin is still designing new projects and renovating his old projects for former clients and friends. Here's my Q&A with him for Dwell:

Interviews: Architect Marcel Beaudin at Dwell.com

Weathering a Real "Tempest," the Show Goes On for Vermont Shakespeare Company

TempestIt’s ironic for a performance of The Tempest to be canceled — twice — by rain. Actors and audiences were sent scrambling for cover on both Friday and Saturday nights in North Hero as rain sheeted across the open-air stage, robbing Prospero of the prospect of concocting his own tempest with magic and incantations.

But that’s the risk you take when performing outdoors in Vermont, as Vermont Shakespeare Company’s executive director, John Nagle, ruefully acknowledged in his introductory remarks: “We were going to do, The Winter’s Tale next year — but after this year’s tempest, maybe we won’t.”

Burlington's Festival of Fools Brings Vaudeville to Town (Seven Days)

Vaudeville comedian Woody Keppel of Charlotte wears many hats. Sombreros, fedoras, pink aviation hats, wigs, coonskin caps and the occasional shoe or rubber chicken have all been spotted on his head at various times. His role as artistic director of the Festival of Fools is yet another “hat,” one that Keppel will wear as he corrals the jugglers, dancers, contortionists, tightrope walkers, fire breathers and acrobats on the streets of Burlington this Friday through Sunday.

The fest itself is a family reunion of sorts for Keppel, who has worked with many of these performers over the years. And festivalgoers may find among the exotica some familiar antics, if not familiar faces: Your zany uncle might be reflected in Michael Trautman’s impossible stunts and mayhem, or your daredevil kid brother in David Aiken’s “Stunts of Death.” Kate Wright, aka Yvonne, an “Aussie beautician on a mission,” could remind you of your batty great-aunt.

With a New Theater, the Shows Must Go On (Seven Days)

David Klein as FalstaffHenry IV, Part 1 is one of the Bard’s history plays, but at Unadilla Theatre on July 19 — one night before its opening — it was quickly turning into a near-tragedy.

The situation unfolded with the timing, dramatic arc and suspense of Shakespeare: On opening-night eve, three Vermont state building inspectors arrived at the Unadilla Theatre site in Marshfield requesting an evaluation of the newly built second theater. At the conclusion of their 11th-hour visit, the inspectors presented landowner and theater founder Bill Blachly with a written mandate detailing necessary changes and pronounced the building unsafe, thereby canceling all performances of Henry IV in the space until repairs are made.

“They handed us two pages of things we had to change before the show, most of it having to do with what we were planning for electricity and things like exits and facilities,” the 88-year-old Blachly says. “I suppose we were naïve to think that we could do another theater under the same permits as our original, but we’ve always been a seat-of-the-pants business up here, and it never really occurred to us.”

A Multimedia Work in Progress Thinks Inside the (Music) Box (Seven Days)

Orkestriska's BoxJudging from a description of the upcoming dance-theater piece “Orkestriska’s Box,” you would be forgiven for thinking it’s a surrealist version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame set to music and given a female protagonist.

The work’s influences are varied: turn-of-the-20th-century ballet and grand opera; Gestalt psychology; burlesque theater; the 1951 film The Tales of Hoffmann; a little girl in a tutu; the Folies Bergère; gender stereotyping. Add stop-motion animation and an original score composed for an old-fashioned Porter music box, and the imagery practically gets up and tap dances across the room.

“Orkestriska’s Box,” which premieres in November, is a collaborative production of Burlington’s Tuppence Coloured Ensemble and Thoughtfaucet, and the Porter Music Box Museum of Randolph. Tuppence principal Trish Denton, an actor, dancer, street performer and teacher, conceived and wrote the script, which was initially inspired by a 3-year-old in a tutu dancing inside a miniature puppet theater.

The New Guard (Dwell)

cover

 

 

 

 

 

I wrote three short pieces on up-and-coming designers for the Now 99 issue of Dwell, published in May 2012. Click here for digital version; pdf of pages available here.