Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

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129 posts categorized "Video" Feed

December 02, 2011

Burlington Decoded: Stereogum Dishes On 802 Music

Burlington's music scene got some national love today when online tastemaker Stereogum included the 802 in its "Area Codes" feature, an ongoing series profiling various lesser known music scenes around the country. The piece has some nice quotes about the Queen City from local music mavens Alex Crothers of Higher Ground and Nick Mavodones from Angioplasty Media. (Mavodones also works at HG, BTW.)

Although the 802 area code encompasses the entirety of the state, the Stereogum piece is particularly Burlington-centric. Aside from passing mentions of Brattleboro and Bennington, music made outside of the state's biggest little city is pretty much ignored. That's somewhat understandable, especially considering it's a short piece coming from a writer with an outside perspective. Some small acknowledgement of the great tunes coming down from the mountains woulda been nice. But that's a minor quibble. 

The piece does a admirable job of dispelling the myth that Burlington is still a jam band haven. (It ain't. And if you think it is, you should try getting out more often since 2001.) Mavodones in particular notes the city's burgeoning indie, experimental and hip-hop scenes. And the inclusion of some videos from the likes of indie space rockers Parmaga, Death's punk progeny Rough Francis and indie folk sweetheart Maryse Smith, as well as links to download tunes from Villanelles, the Vacant Lots and Lawrence Welks and Our Bear to Cross, among others, is some cool exposure. But to really capture BTV music — an admittedly tall order in a scant 500 words — it might have been wise for Stereogum to cast its gaze a little wider than the Angio/NNA Tapes crew and their associated acts. Not that those bands and labels don't deserve the love — they certainly do. But the piece feels a little clique-y and narrow in focus. Still, it's always nice to see the spotlight shone on our humble little corner of the world.

Here's a link to the entire story. And here's a new video from a great non-Burlington Vermont band, Wooden Dinosaur


November 11, 2011

Apparent Suicide at Occupy Burlington Camp - Updated, 11/12 at 8:40 p.m.

Occupy-scene Latest update to Storify: 11/12, 8:40 p.m.

Update, 11/11, 2:26 p.m.: In a briefing this morning, police identified the deceased as Joshua Pfenning, 35, a transient in the Burlington area. Police say Pfenning had consumed a "large quantity of alcohol," and that he pointed the gun at and threatened another person in the tent before the shooting. Police have contacted one witness who was in the tent at the time the shooting occurred and are looking for another, although they did not release the missing witness's name. The handgun used in the incident was apparently stolen from a home in Derby in 2009.

Responding to rumors that the victim was a military veteran, Deputy Chief Andi Higbee said that Pfenning was in the Army at one point, but was discharged after two weeks in boot camp.

Police Chief Michael Schirling says the city is now trying to balance public safety and its own investigation with the rights of Occupy Burlington protesters to assemble. The southern half of City Hall Park, where the Occupy camp is, will remain cordoned off indefinitely while the investigation continues The northern half remains open for all and Occupiers are welcome to continue demonstrations there during the hours the park is open. Police will no longer permit tents in the park, though.

According to court records, Pfenning has a criminal record dating back to 1999. He received a suspended jail sentence and probation following a drunk driving arrest in Orleans County in 2006. In September 2009, he pleaded guilty to DUI and operating with a suspended license in Chittenden County, and paid a fine. He pleaded guilty to DUI #2 and operating with a suspended license in Caledonia County in October 2010. He received a suspended jail sentence and was ordered to complete 40 hours of community service, and attend  alcohol screening, counseling and treatment. He was on probation through October 23, 2012.

Court records also indicate he was born in Middlebury, and that his birthday was Nov. 6 — four days before his apparent suicide.  

Andy Bromage contributed to this report. Click here to download the full text of Police Chief Michael Schirling's statement on the investigation and the future of Occupy Burlington.

Original post: Yesterday evening, police cleared City Hall Park to investigate the shooting death of a man who allegedly shot himself at the Occupy Burlington encampment. Occupiers, Burlington police and Mayor Bob Kiss met in the park and later inside City Hall to discuss how to proceed. The situation became tense after police detained a protester and displayed tear gas guns and other larger weapons. Kiss successfully negotiated the release of the protester, and a pastor from the Unitarian Universalist church invited Occupiers to spend the night there instead.

Continue reading "Apparent Suicide at Occupy Burlington Camp - Updated, 11/12 at 8:40 p.m." »

November 10, 2011

Man in "Grave" Condition After Shooting At Occupy Burlington Encampment (VIDEO)


UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: WCAX-TV is reporting the man has died.

The Occupy Burlington encampment remained roped off with police tape Thursday afternoon after a 35-year-old camper apparently shot himself in City Hall Park.

Burlington police said the man was in "grave" condition. Numerous occupiers told Seven Days they believed the man, who they know only as "Josh," was dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Earlier in the day, police were seen removing a body from one of the tents.

Deputy Chief Andi Higbee said police received a 911 call around 2 p.m. reporting gun shots in the park. Higbee said the victim was in "grave" condition and "receiving treatment at the hospital." Police have recovered a weapon and identified the victim but did not release his name pending notification of his family.

"We do not have any reason to believe the public is at risk," Higbee said, adding that the shooting happened "inside or nearby one of the tents."

By late afternoon, the future of the three-week-old Occupy Burlington encampment appeared in doubt. Mayor Bob Kiss planned to meet with key deputies about the incident this afternoon. Organizers of the movement huddled in the park to mourn and plot next steps.

Asked by a reporter if the shooting gives him pause about the future of the occupation, Higbee replied, "Yeah, I think that's a fair statement." (Video of Higbee's statement below the break).

Asked if he thinks it should be shut down, Higbee replied, "I don't think I'm at a point where I could characterize that. It certainly gives us cause for concern. Our responsibility is to keep the public safe and discharge of a firearm in a public place like this, you know, it gives me pause."

Continue reading "Man in "Grave" Condition After Shooting At Occupy Burlington Encampment (VIDEO)" »

November 06, 2011

Occupiers and Environmentalists Confront Vermont Democrats (VIDEO)

E89dbec8a219fc75215f8571163e02fb_viewYesterday was a rough day to be a Vermont Democrat.

First, labor activists got pissed off when party chairman Jake Perkinson quashed an effort to have a pro-state-worker resolution taken up at the party's annual organizational meeting. The resolution was prompted by some Democrats concerned that Gov. Peter Shumlin was interfering with state workers' collective-bargaining rights by filing a grievance over being denied emergency pay in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

Then, a few hours later, a group of about 50 people confronted the governor, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and other Democratic bigwigs as they entered the Socialist Labor Party Hall in Barre for the fall fundraising dinner.  

The group of protesters had a mixed bag of concerns, but all revolved around the state's energy policies: the industrialization of Vermont's ridge lines, specifically the Shumlin administration's precedent of turning the Lowell Mountain ridge lines into an industrial wind farm, and what that may bode for other mountain vistas in Vermont; and the corporatization of the state's utilities. They voiced objections to the state's  increasingly cozy relationship with Green Mountain Power.

Continue reading "Occupiers and Environmentalists Confront Vermont Democrats (VIDEO)" »

October 17, 2011

Two Days, Two Rallies Bring Hundreds to "Occupy" Burlington (VIDEO)

IMG_3012Vermont's Occupy Wall Street solidarity movement saw some of its biggest rallies yet this past weekend, and its first steps toward harnessing the energy from these protests into more concrete action.

On Saturday, roughly 500 people filled City Hall Park and then marched up Church Street before heading up the hill to Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont. There, protesters called for fair contracts for staff at the two institutions.

Contract talks between the administration and all three of UVM's unions are at an impasse, while nurses are already engaged in tough negotiations for a new contract.

On Sunday, fewer than 200 protesters gathered in City Hall Park for the first "general assembly" after four consecutive weeks of protests and speakouts.

Continue reading "Two Days, Two Rallies Bring Hundreds to "Occupy" Burlington (VIDEO)" »

October 05, 2011

GPN to Air on VPT

41576377 Miss out on tix for this Sunday's Irene benefit show with Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at the Flynn? You're in luck. Vermont Public Television will carry two hours of the gig, live on the teevee beginning at 8 p.m., and stream the broadcast on their website, And just so viewers don't feel like they're freeloading in our state's great hour of need, they can chip in with donations via phone or online during the broadcast. They won't, however, be able to sample Long Trail's Goodnight Irene Ale, a smooth-drinkin' brown ale brewed up especially for the show, which will be served at the Flynn and other bars around town. They'll just have to settle for cans of Heady Topper at home.

Speaking of Irene bennys, here's a vid put together by the fine folks at Okay Okay Creative documenting the recent Brave Little State benefit concert at Higher Ground.


October 04, 2011

For a Big-Nosed, Dyslexic Peter Shumlin, It Got Better


As a kid, Gov. Peter Shumlin struggled with having severe dyslexia. And a big nose.

But it got better. Now he's the governor of Vermont. Suck on that, small-nosed bookworms!

Shumlin just released a video for the "It Gets Better Project," an initiative launched by syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry in response to a number of suicides by bullied teens. "It Gets Better" presents videos and stories that offer hope to young people facing harassment, delivering the simple message that life won't always suck as much as it can during your teen years.

The list of people who've contributed to the project since it began in September, 2010, includes President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ke$ha and 25,000 other people.

And now, Peter Shumlin.

September 16, 2011

Shumlin Says VT Should "Look the Other Way" on Illegal Immigration, Republicans Pounce

Shumlin Gov. Peter Shumlin has added fuel to the fire over this week's bust of undocumented migrant farm workers by the Vermont State Police.

In an interview with WPTZ-TV's Stewart Ledbetter yesterday, Shumlin said Vermont should "look the other way" when it comes to dealing with immigrants working illegally on Vermont farms. "We have always had a policy in Vermont where we kind of look the other way as much as we can," Shumlin told WPTZ. "I just want to make sure that's what's we're doing. [Vermont farms] can't survive without workers from outside America. It's just the way it is. "

On Tuesday, two farm workers from Mexico — one of them an outspoken activist — were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol after state police stopped a car in which they were passengers for speeding. Members of the Vermont Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project branded the incident "racial profiling" and formed a human chain to block the border patrol SUVs from driving off with the farm workers — leading to the arrest of three protesters. (Clip below, full video here).

Shumlin ordered an investigation of the incident on Tuesday to determine whether the traffic stop violated with the state police's "bias-free policing policy."

Not surprisingly, the Vermont Republican Party pounced on the gov's "look the other way" comment — after first explaining why Shumlin was partially correct.

Continue reading "Shumlin Says VT Should "Look the Other Way" on Illegal Immigration, Republicans Pounce" »

September 05, 2011

Waterbury Cleans Up After Irene [VIDEO]

Last week, Eva Sollberger took her video camera to Waterbury to record the flood-recovery efforts. She captured footage of volunteers ripping out the bar at the Alchemist Pub and Brewery, and talked with Jeremy Ayers, who sells his pottery at Burlington's Artists Market. Says Eva, "Community spirit is high as neighbors and volunteers join together to dig in and clean up."

September 02, 2011

Movies You Missed 2: True Adolescents

Sam-pole-f A young woman buys a cheap video camera to record the progress of the storm forecast to hit her town. What she ends up filming is far more than she bargained for — hours of crouching in an attic with her husband, neighbors and dogs as water rises around them.

I thought of this movie most people probably missed, Trouble the Water  from 2008, last Sunday.

That storm was Katrina, and the woman with the camera, Kim Rivers Roberts, survived, along with her family, to give her terrifying footage to two documentary filmmakers, who then followed Roberts as she returned to her wrecked home.

Last Saturday, I wrapped up my "assigned" Seven Days-related movie watching for the week, thinking power might go out on Sunday. Little did I know I would spend large parts of that day watching videos on YouTube that were almost as harrowing as what Roberts' camera captured. I saw our rivers ravage southern Vermont, and then worried about the fate of establishments like the Savoy Theater as floods tore through central Vermont, too.

Back before Irene rearranged our landscape and our priorities, I was looking forward to reviewing a movie I missed, new on DVD this week, called True Adolescents. Aside from some superb footage of surf pounding the Washington state coastline, and a reminder that Converse All-Stars are not an adequate substitute for hiking boots, it has nothing to do with the powers and terrors of Mother Nature. Still, here's my review.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 2: True Adolescents" »

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