Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog
ARTS AND MOVIES NEWS: Updated at sevendaysvt.com

51 posts categorized "Art"

August 30, 2012

20 Years After Clinton-Gore, a Burlington Artist Reflects On His Iconic T-Shirt Design

Curefortheblues-1While Republicans from around the country gather in Tampa this week, a Burlington designer is looking back on his small but significant contribution to a different presidential campaign.

In the summer of 1992, Doug Dunbebin was a graphic artist living in Beltsville, Md. when he came up with a design and slogan for the Clinton-Gore ticket that would soon catch fire and become one of the iconic images of the 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns.

In June 1992, then-candidate Clinton appeared on the "Arsenio Hall Show" and ripped out a bluesy version of Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" on his tenor saxophone. It was a seminal moment in Clinton's political career — as Hall remarked afterward, "It's good to see a Democrat blow something other than an election" — and earned him new found respect and support among young and minority voters.

Click here to continue reading on Off Message, our new politics blog.

July 06, 2012

An Old Tower Clock Is Discovered Anew at Green Mountain College

Tower clock_3297smGreen Mountain College's Ames Tower was looking pretty shabby, so facilities director Glenn LaPlante was inspecting its domed cupola, airborne in a hydraulic lift, paint scraper in hand. And that's when he made an amazing discovery: a glass-encased, art deco clock, still in "excellent condition," LaPlante declared, despite a layer of 1960s-era paint.

It was time to call in an expert and, as it happens, there was one nearby. Joe Duffy operates, with his brother, Christopher, Church Specialties right in Poultney. Their specialty? Church bell and clock tower restoration. The college contacted Joe Duffy to come and look at their clock, which he determined is a Telechron model.

Inventor Henry Warren established the Telechron company in Ashland, Mass., in 1912 and made battery-powered clocks. Three years later, he invented a "self-starting, synchronous motor consisting of a rotor and coil," reports college spokesman Kevin Coburn. When Warren retired in 1943, General Electric absorbed the business, and clocks labeled "Telechron" or "General Electric" were made in the Ashland plant.

In fact, it's still operating. Duffy got in touch and agreed to deliver the GMC clock to Ashland.

He said it could be functional again with a new motor and some "superficial cleaning," says Coburn.

Why was the clock painted over? No one at the school remembers. "The Ames building was dedicated in 1908, and photos show a clock, but it couldn't have been this one," Coburn says. "We think in the 1930s it was replaced with the Telechron, and painted in the ’60s." And then, everyone simply forgot about it.

Coburn says the clock should be returned in about three weeks and once again will tick off the minutes in the life of a small Vermont college. "We want it in place when students arrive the third week in August," he notes.

Just in the nick of time.

Photo courtesy of Green Mountain College

June 14, 2012

Shelburne Museum Opens 'Time Machines,' and Not a Moment Too Soon

Flash_Gordon_puzzleAll of the exhibits the Shelburne Museum opened last month are pretty groovy — from vintage snowmobiles to man-stitched quilts to life-size metal elephants — but the one that's arguably the coolest is finally opening this Saturday: "Time Machines: Robots, Rockets and Steampunk."

Along with other members of the media, I got a preview today, and I can vouch for its coolness.

The general idea for "Time Machines," curated by Kory Rogers, is visions of the future ... from the past. And so there is a fantastical replica Time Machine inspired by the H.G. Wells novella and realized, at least on celluloid, in a 1960 movie. There are baby-boomer-nostalgic midcentury toys in the Flash Gordon (see puzzle, right) and Buck Rogers vein. And there are post-Sputnik (1957) items of both Soviet and American origin —from "Star Trek" figures to Apollo 11 memorabilia to Russian posters.

Continue reading "Shelburne Museum Opens 'Time Machines,' and Not a Moment Too Soon" »

June 06, 2012

Radio Show 'State of the Re:Union' Comes to Vermont

Stateoftherunion_wrj_vermont1-300x201A few months ago a young woman named Katrina Roi contacted Seven Days. She's an intern at "State of the Re:Union," a syndicated public-radio show and website that reports on locales around the U.S. I had heard this program on Vermont Public Radio a number of times and really enjoyed its in-depth explorations of not just the who/what/where of a place but of what makes its people tick. The soul of the community, as it were.

I also enjoyed the show's host, Al Letson, who's the executive producer, as well. He came from the poetry-slam movement and really gets delivery.

So I was excited to find out that SOTRU was coming to Vermont. Tropical Storm Irene was the impetus; Letson and crew wanted to know how Vermonters lived through, and came out of, that experience, which devastated so many small towns in our state.

Continue reading "Radio Show 'State of the Re:Union' Comes to Vermont" »

June 01, 2012

'Courageous Conversations,' With Art, Launch in St. Johnsbury

559549_272058466226794_1285184283_nThis month Catamount Arts begins a series called "Courageous Conversations" that will address somber issues "facing the nation in general and the Northeast Kingdom in particular," says an announcement from director Jody Fried. Poverty, mental health and disabilities are the general topics for June, July and August, respectively.

So what's the art part?

Artists have long tackled weighty topics using a variety of media, and the "Conversations" series follows suit. Catamount is augmenting its live community/panel discussions with relevant films on Monday evenings and visual-art exhibits in the organization's Eastern Avenue gallery.

Continue reading "'Courageous Conversations,' With Art, Launch in St. Johnsbury" »

May 10, 2012

Vermont Gets Its First State Craft Education Center

IMG_0276The big, red, Fairfax barn that houses Vermont Woodworking School was abuzz yesterday celebrating its new designation as Vermont's first State Craft Education Center.

VWS joins the ranks of the state's other official craft centers, Frog Hollow in Burlington, Artisans Hand in Montpelier and Gallery at the Vault in Springfield.

The designation is largely symbolic; it doesn't secure the organizations any extra funding or perks (besides a flashy decal to place in the window and a listing on the state's website). But the nod lends a dose of prestige to the school, which is still relatively new.

Continue reading "Vermont Gets Its First State Craft Education Center" »

April 08, 2012

America's Most Popular Artist Heads to Heaven

SOTA-kinkadeAmerica's most popular — and richest — artist died in California on Friday at age 54. But unless you're an aficionado of kitsch, you may not have been familiar with Thomas Kinkade. He made many, many millions by painting pictures that deftly catered to mass tastes but caused outbreaks of aesthetic hives in those who look to art for something more than syrupy sweetness, corny theatrics and unnatural scenes of rural bliss.

The Middlebury College Museum of Art presented a sampling of Kinkade's work in 2009, with curators proceeding from the premise that his popularity warranted thoughtful appraisal. The nonjudgmental approach did help illuminate the reasons why the self-styled "painter of light" was so successful in market terms. But Kinkade, who actually functioned more as a corporation than as an individual creator, was a terrible painter in the ways that matter most. The organizers of the Middlebury show surely knew that, and their unwillingness to say it seemed disingenuous.

Image courtesy of Middlebury College Museum of Art for Seven Days' review of "Making Sense of Thomas Kinkade."

 

March 12, 2012

RIP Sid Couchey, Cartoonist of 'Richie Rich' and Champy

Artreview1_6I'm sad to pass along the news that Sid Couchey died yesterday at the age of 92. I had occasion to meet and interview this delightful, funny and humble gentleman for an article in 2010. He was not a household-name cartoonist, but fans around the world knew his work, primarily from the 1950s comic book "Richie Rich." It had been translated, he told me, into many languages.

Later, the story of the tow-headed "world's wealthiest kid" — ever clad in a prissy black jacket and oversize bow tie — was reincarnated in an animated TV series and, in 1994, in a film adaptation starring Macauley Culkin. Couchey also drew for the comics "Little Lotta" and "Little Dot," among others. (He proposed to his sweetheart, Ruth, in a "Little Lotta" episode, he told me, some 52 years ago. The couple were married more than 50 years.)

Couchey worked for Harvey Comics (now Harvey Entertainment) in New York City, but lived since 1961 in Essex, N.Y., — a ferry ride from Charlotte, Vt., and quick zip down Rt. 9. When I went to visit him on a warm summer day, Couchey graciously showed me some comic-book archives that collectors would have drooled over, as well as casual piles of other drawings. Many were of Champy, his affectionate nickname for the Lake Champlain monster that residents on either side of the water like to claim as their own.

Continue reading "RIP Sid Couchey, Cartoonist of 'Richie Rich' and Champy" »

February 23, 2012

Burlington's Decidedly Un-arty Mayoral Candidates Speechify About the Arts

-1The last time I sat in the audience at Burlington's FlynnSpace, I was riveted by Jane Comfort's wild and inventive dancers (including one in a Superman suit) as they brought Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie to life.

This afternoon's FlynnSpace offering was considerably less inspiring.

Mayoral candidates Miro Weinberger, Wanda Hines and Kurt Wright gathered for a "conversation on the arts" sponsored by the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington City Arts and the South End Arts and Business Association. It was the only event on the campaign trail, Miro said, that was devoted to the arts.

So what did I learn?

Here's where I admit this was my first Burlington mayoral debate. My first mayoral anything. (I live in Winooski, OK?) In fact, I don't think I've ever seen Miro, Kurt or Wanda in person. I'm much more familiar with the caricatures in the Marc Nadel illustrations we've been using since the race began.

So here's the takeaway: All three are pretty satisfied with the art community's "status quo," and nobody wants (or would admit to wanting) to slash the city's art funding (duh). Miro's really into development and boosting the creative economy on a larger scale. Kurt repeatedly invoked his decision last year to redirect money from the city council account, rather than pit the city's art against its library budgets. Wanda spent most of the hour and a half shifting the questions back to the audience ("I want to hear what you want") and reminiscing about a collage she made in 1975.

Continue reading "Burlington's Decidedly Un-arty Mayoral Candidates Speechify About the Arts" »

February 09, 2012

Performance Artist Unsettles Burlington Commuters

AlsothereHave you seen this person?

A Seven Days reader nearly drove off the road the first time she did. The white-clad figure was walking down the sidewalk on Shelburne Road near Liberty Inn & Suites around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.

"It's the strangest thing, they wear this ankle length white puffy coat with large red balls hanging off of it," writes the reader. "The coat is a little odd, but typically, I wouldn't take much notice. It's the fact that they are also wearing a very bizarre white plastic mask (kind of like Phantom of the Opera, but covering their entire face)."

Continue reading "Performance Artist Unsettles Burlington Commuters" »

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684