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51 posts categorized "Art" Feed

October 04, 2011

NYC & Blue Man Group Love Vermont, Hate Irene

Land_venetian_header You can't throw a dart at the Seven Days calendar section these days without hitting an Irene benefit (because naturally, you'd be throwing darts at our paper, right?). They're everywhere from church basements to theaters to your neighbor's kid's romper room. And that's a good thing. We need to take care of each other, especially as lady winter breathes her icy breath down our necks, reminding us that tough times may be ahead for some. 

As we work to take care of ourselves and our neighbors, it's nice to hear that other places are trying to take care of us, too. On Monday, Oct. 10, a cadre of Vermont expats living in New York City are hosting a fundraiser for our brave little state. But not just any fundraiser featuring, say, the musical stylings of your cousin's garage band and a chicken supper by the local church's ladies auxiliary. This event, cheekily called I Vermont NY I-vermont-ny (think of an "I ♥ NY" T-shirt, then replace the heart with a silhouette of Vermont. Or just look at the photo at left), presented by Blue Man Group NYC and Brooklyn Bowl, will feature a handful of Blue Men, Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls and a few other special guests. Pretty big firepower for a flood fundraiser.

The event is organized by Vermont-bred artist Zea Barker, a clown, dancer, illustrator, makeup artist, art director, etc., and Isaac Littlejohn Eddy, an animator, cartoonist and Blue Man performer. Barker, who does makeup and wardrobe for the Blue Man Group in New York, says the impetus for the benefit was what she saw as a lack of national coverage of Irene's effect on Vermont. Few in New York took the storm seriously, Barker remembers. "There was a lot of attitude about how it was just nothing," she recalls. "But I started to realize very soon afterwards that Vermont was having problems."

Continue reading "NYC & Blue Man Group Love Vermont, Hate Irene" »

September 23, 2011

Expat Vermonters Launch Online Art Auction to Benefit Flood Victims

Rockwell_Telephone_Composite2final On the night Tropical Storm Irene pummeled her home state, Charity Clark was relaxing on her couch in Brooklyn, relieved that the much-hyped hurricane had passed without incident in New York. She took a break from reading The Count of Monte Cristo to noodle around on Facebook. That's when she saw the video of floodwaters swallowing up the Lower Bartonsville covered bridge.

"When I saw that video, I practically had to breathe into a paper bag," says Clark, who grew up in Ludlow and Manchester. Then she saw a post from her cousin, who lives in Ludlow, saying she and her mother had to evacuate their home. Clark was horrified. "Immediately you think of not just the covered bridges, but all the people who are suffering," she says.

Clark, 36, isn't an artist; she's a lawyer. But when her childhood friend Shane Chick, a stay-at-home dad and printmaker in Maine, posted a call to artists on Facebook for a flood benefit, she knew she had to get involved. Within 48 hours of the tropical storm, Chick and another Ludlow buddy now living in Brooklyn, Heather Conrad, had hatched "Highwater heART," a four-day online auction to benefit the Vermont Food Bank.

So far, more than 20 works from artists around the country have been donated, plus several pieces by Vermonters, including painters Warren Kimble and Katharine Montstream, cartoonist Jeff Danziger and woodcut printmaker Mary Azarian. The auction opens on the one-month anniversary of the flood, Wednesday, September 28, and continues through Saturday, October 1, at

Continue reading "Expat Vermonters Launch Online Art Auction to Benefit Flood Victims" »

September 02, 2011

Dance Review: No Boundaries in 'Critical State'

Lauren Stagnitti photo_3 Even if you're spending your weekend volunteering on the Irene clean-up, you'll need to take a break at some point. Head up to Morrisville for an unusual interactive evening with some of the area's most exciting performers.   

Polly Motley, a dancer and choreographer based in Stowe, premiered a work-in-progress of her "Critical State" a year ago. This time, the multimedia performance — including a constantly shifting landscape of sound, video, dance and performance art — feels richer and more sure of itself.

The venue, River Arts, is an intimate two-story building that feels more like someone's home than an art center. But Motley and her collaborators — five dancers, one composer, four video artists, one lighting designer — essentially transform it into a mixed-media fun house. The performance runs for three hours, but the action ebbs and flows, swelling in one room until a sound — or live video footage — from another draws the focus elsewhere.

It's best to take it in small spurts, says Motley. She suggests watching for a while, then heading into the elevator shaft, which is outfitted as a private dance station, complete with a disco ball and two fully loaded iPods with headphones. 

Continue reading "Dance Review: No Boundaries in 'Critical State'" »

July 21, 2011

An Estranged Son of Westboro's Fred Phelps Wants to Help Drive 'The Bus' to Topeka

250sota-JimLantz What do cult filmmaker Kevin Smith and Burlington playwright James Lantz (pictured) have in common? They're both taking on the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., with their latest projects — and drawing support from estranged members of preacher Fred Phelps' family.

Smith screened his movie Red State — which features a fictional antigay preacher extremely similar to Phelps — in Kansas City. Lantz wants to bring his play The Bus — a drama about teens, religion and small-town homophobia — to the "front steps" of the WBC itself.

Smith has fame capital to invest in his mission. Lantz doesn't — he's raising money on Kickstarter. But he does have the public support of Nate Phelps, who's been estranged from his father and the WBC since he left home at age 18.

Continue reading "An Estranged Son of Westboro's Fred Phelps Wants to Help Drive 'The Bus' to Topeka" »

July 14, 2011

Wanna Help Redesign Burlington's City Hall Park?

Have you ever walked through Burlington City Hall Park and thought, This place is nice and all, but it could really use some more public art. Or maybe regular circus performances, or a public garden?

Now's your chance to voice your opinion; Burlington City Arts just received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to completely re-envision the park — and it wants to hear your ideas. 

The grant, which is one of 51 awarded nationwide, is part of a new NEA initiative called Our Town, which aims to bring together "partners from the public and private sectors to strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city or region around arts and cultural activities."

BCA's partners include the City Hall Task Force, the Burlington Business Association, the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Merchants Bank, Preservation Trust of Vermont, King Street Center and the city of Burlington, as well as landscape architects David Raphael of Landworks in Middlebury and Jeffrey Hodgson of the H. Keith Wagner Partnership in Burlington.

The first step in developing a master plan for the park, says BCA executive director Doreen Kraft, is engaging the community — and not just through traditional town meetings, but also with activities that are a little more, well, arty. During BCA's annual Festival of Fools next month, for example, the organization will set up a StoryCorps-style recording booth, in which people can share stories of their experiences in the park. "We want to hear about everything you've done there that's great — or foolish," says Kraft.

So, go ahead, let your imagination go wild.




June 21, 2011

Art Auction Provides Aid for Japan

Thumb_1307102890_img1 Remember the earthquake in Japan? That disaster and its grim consequences have almost disappeared from the headlines here — particularly since Vermonters have been focused on their own tribulations from the flooding. Americans in general have woefully short attention spans under the best of circumstances.

But in Burlington, Marin Horikawa isn't giving up. A native of Tokyo, he's been employed as a design director at Jager Di Paola Kemp for 10 years, and works primarily on graphics for Burton Snowboards. After the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster struck his homeland, Horikawa decided to do what he could to help.

What he did is organize an online art auction. "Art Helps Japan" includes work from nearly 50 internationally known artists, some of them Vermonters. The online version ends this Saturday, June 25. Those who prefer live auction action, though, could come to just that at JDK's new café, Maglianero, this Friday, June 24, from 6 to 10 p.m. At 8, the event will present a real, live auctioneer — you know, those people who can say incomprehensible things really fast.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the online and live auction will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross. So, go ahead, buy art if you can.

Pictured: "Komfort" by Travis Millard, one of the artworks on auction

June 20, 2011

An Alternate, Augmented Reality in Woodstock

-3 I've heard a lot lately about augmented reality, one of those brave-new-world-type tech trends people talk about at web conferences. It's basically the ability to create an altered version of reality that's accessible to anyone looking through the lens of a smartphone.

I had my first experience with it on Saturday. I expected that to happen in a big city, maybe Boston or New York. I never would have guessed that I'd encounter my first augmented-reality objects on a walking tour in Woodstock, Vt.

New-media artist and Pace University professor Will Pappenheimer led the tour. That morning, Pappenheimer had placed virtual, 3D, animated objects in various spots around town. At the start of the afternoon excursion, he asked the eight of us who joined him to load the Layars app onto our smartphones. Then he led us to the installation sites, instructed us to turn on our video cameras, and told us where to look.

At each site, we saw an object that seemed to be just part of the scenery. The image above, of the blue flowery thing floating inside the covered bridge, is not Photoshopped — it's a screenshot from 7D deputy web editor Tyler Machado's iPhone.

The tour was part of the inaugural Woodstock Digital Media Festival, an event that aimed to showcase "the most interesting, progressive and accessible work in the world of digital media today." Organizer David McGowan, a media executive who splits his time between Woodstock and London, hopes the festival will become an annual occurrence.

I hope so, too. I was there to moderate a panel discussion on "Digital Vermont." I was initially a little skeptical about the digital art, but every time I would start to head to the car to drive home, something else would pull me back in.

Continue reading "An Alternate, Augmented Reality in Woodstock" »

June 17, 2011

Digital Media Festival Tomorrow... in Woodstock?

Woodstock Woodstock, VT: A lovely town, but not exactly a hub of cutting-edge tech trends. Except for tomorrow, when it hosts the Woodstock Digital Media Festival, a celebration of new media, digital art and innovation.

The morning session starts things off with a pair of panel discussions. Christine Paul, the curator of new media at the Whitney, will lead a panel with digital artists on current issues in new media art. Simultaneously, Seven Days online editor Cathy Resmer will lead a Vermont-centric panel on the challenges and opportunities of creating digital media in the Green Mountain state. Panelists include founder and editor Anne Galloway, Green Mountain Digital founder Charlie Rattigan, and eVermont director Helen Labun Jordan. 

A pair of interactive workshops follows. Participants can take part in a "mapping party" with, or go on a digital nature walk with the National Park Service and the founder of the Project Noah app. In the afternoon, digital artists set up shop in a number of venues in downtown Woodstock, showing off and discussing their work.

The festival ends, ironically, with presentations at the historic Billings Farm and Museum. The evening event features a performance by "post-cyberpunk electronic musician" Nullsleep, whose music the festival's website describes as "a combination of distorted synthpop, electro, and industrial produced with repurposed low-bit electronics." Not what you usually expect to find at the Billings Farm... So there you go.

Continue reading "Digital Media Festival Tomorrow... in Woodstock?" »

May 31, 2011

Goodbye, 215 College Gallery and the Art House!

Jackson It's always sad to see an art gallery close. Especially when it's a place with vision and a great track record for interesting shows. Vermont will lose two such galleries at the end of June: 215 College Gallery in Burlington and the Art House in Middlebury. 

Sculptor and painter Catherine Hall planted the seed for the artist-run cooperative 215 College Gallery five years ago. The rent had gone up at the College Street space she had been using as her studio, and she was about to move out, when she had a change of heart. What if she and some of her artist friends pitched in to make it a gallery?

She enlisted her friend Charlotte Hastings, a sculptor and educator with a can-do spirit. Together they rounded up a dozen artists to split the rent and show their work on a rotating schedule. Hastings died of pancreatic cancer before the first show, but the 11 current artist members credit her enthusiasm and energy for getting the gallery off the ground. 

"We are proud to have been able to realize the goal of Charlotte's efforts: an independent, successful, artist-run gallery," the members wrote in a press release at the time.

Continue reading "Goodbye, 215 College Gallery and the Art House!" »

May 27, 2011

Hanging Out With the Fort Ethan Allen Laundry Line

IMG_3042 This garganutuan clothesline hung across Fort Ethan Allen Park, which appeared earlier this week, is actually a work of art, courtesy of Essex Junction artist Ann Laberge. She describes her guerilla art as "a gift." But the 74-year-old man walking the path beneath it Thursday morning sure didn't see it that way. 

"Do you know anything about this nonsense?" he spat in my direction. I was stepping over clumps of freshly mown grass, trying to photograph the faraway t-shirts and socks. I explained to him that it was the work of a local artist who wanted to promote the use of clotheslines and, you know, just to generally surprise and delight people. 

Photo(3)I was one of the surprised and delighted. When I first saw a huge navy blue sheet flapping in the wind from Route 15, I thought someone's laundry had flown up into the trees, or that a circus with colorful tent flags had come to town. But as I got closer, I could see the clothesline stretched out across the width of the park, attached on either side to the tippy-tops of the pine trees.

Laberge didn't want to talk about her Fort Ethan Allen piece — she prefers an element of mystery surrounding her public art — but on her website, she describes another clothesline project. "I love the look of laundry hanging on the clothesline, the fragrance, the knowledge of others living close by going about their daily lives." 

Continue reading "Hanging Out With the Fort Ethan Allen Laundry Line" »

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