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Live Culture: Vermont Arts News and Views

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May 2013

May 23, 2013

Democracy Now: Vote for Your Favorite Local Band to Play Grand Point North


As mentioned in this week's Soundbites column, we're running a contest to fill one last slot at this year's Grand Point North Festival, set for Burlington's Waterfront Park on September 14 and 15. The contest is open to any local musician, band or DJ.

The nomination period in which fans, or even bands themselves, can suggest bands they'd like to see is now underway. The caveat is that at least one band member has to currently reside in Vermont. And no, just because Neko Case lives here doesn't mean you can nominate the New Pornographers. (Well, I guess you could. But they probably won't show up if they win, so use a little common sense, m'kay?) 

Once all the nominees are in, we'll pare that list down to a select final few and put it to a vote to see who will be joining Grace and company onstage. For all the details and to start nominating acts, go here.

This is democracy in action, folks. So vote early and often. But don't take our word for it. Let's ask Puff Daddy how he feels about the importance of voting. Puffy?



New President Selected for Vermont Studio Center

GPC_portraitYou know how you go looking high and low for something and then find what you're seeking right before your eyes? It happens in the grocery store, and it happens in your closet. It can also happen in a job search.

In fact, it's not at all unusual for a nationwide search to result in finding the right man or woman very close to home — perhaps in the same organization. That's what happened at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson just this week.

After looking nationwide for four months, the board of trustees announced today that Gary Clark (pictured right) has been selected as the new president of the nonprofit artist residency retreat. Not only does Clark live, with his wife and three children, right in Johnson; he's already been active within the VSC community since 1993, serving as the writing program director and development director. Here's what the VSC press release says about his past and future responsibilities:

Gary has been responsible for envisioning and implementing an international program for writers and translators, which also inspired the construction of the Maverick Studios for writers, VSC’s first completely new building. He has initiated, developed, and maintained many of the enduring relationships with VSC’s individual and foundation supporters. 

Continue reading "New President Selected for Vermont Studio Center" »

May 22, 2013

Without Enough Funding, Dear Pina is Cancelled


Last January, Vermont choreographer Hannah Dennison announced plans to remount her ambitious dance-theater work, Dear Pina, which an ensemble of more than 30 local dancers performed at six sold-out shows in Shelburne Farms' soaring Breeding Barn last June. Feeling the production was still unfinished, Dennison said she was excited to "go deeper, to sharpen the edges, touch every part again, rub and burnish to a finish I had dreamed of last year but had to set aside because of time contstraints."

Unfortunately, she's setting that dream aside again — this time because of money constraints. Last year Dennison raised $112,000, $90,000 of which was used to pay dancers and collaborating artists. She wanted to pay them again this year, but says she couldn't raise enough up-front funds. 

So Dennison has decided to cancel Dear Pina, which was scheduled for June 25 through 29. "All of us — the 30-plus ensemble members and artistic collaborators — are deeply sad to not have this opportunity to work together again, complete the piece, broaden our understanding of each other and the audience, and dance again in the marvelous, magical Breeding Barn," she wrote in a press release. Read more from Dennison here.

The Flynn Center, which started selling tickets for the show last month, is issuing refunds to those who already bought them.

Still want to see the show? You can watch Lukas Huffman's hourlong film of last year's performance here.


Vermont Arts Council to See Increase in Appropriation From the State

6a00d83451b91969e2017eea89eba6970d-320wiWhenever the Vermont Legislature ends a session and goes home for the summer, some constituents are happy and others are not. Count the folks over at the Vermont Arts Council in the PDH (pretty damn happy) camp. That's because, for the first time in 20 years, the council got a raise — a 26 percent increase in its appropriation from the state budget!

The VAC asked the legislature to double its budget and that didn't happen. But 26 percent is nothing to sneeze at. Better yet, the amount agreed upon by lawmakers was enough to entitle the VAC to a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

As it happens, the NEA handed out a little less money across the board this year, thanks to sequestration, but the overall increase for Vermont with combined state and federal money is roughly $100,000.

I attempted to copy a by-the-numbers explanation from the VAC's newsletter and it's not pretty, but still tells the tale. See it below the break:

Continue reading "Vermont Arts Council to See Increase in Appropriation From the State" »

The Snobbiest Town in Vermont

Screen shot 2013-05-22 at 12.45.16 PM

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the snobbiest of them all?

Vermonters love to brag about their state — and why wouldn't they? This place has the quaintest little towns, the greenest mountains, the tastiest craft beers, the stinkiest (in a good way) cheeses, the most kick-ass quality of life. As if that weren't enough to qualify us as the most righteous of all states, Vermont was recently rated No. 1 in sexual health.

So we were psyched to discover this hilarious tumblr on our Facebook feed this morning: NoseUp Vermont. In it, voters are asked to pit 32 Vermont towns against one another to determine which is the biggest snob. 

"For years the residents of the Green Mountain State have touted their superiority to all others — healthiest, smartest, greenest, beeriest," writes the "prestigious and highly secretive" NoseUp crew. "But the question remained, who rules Vermont? Finally, we shall settle the age-old debate and determine what town looks down upon all others in Vermont."

In the first round, Middlebury destroyed North Hero in the Farm Division. Burlington edged out Killington by a measly 7 percentage points in the City Division. The mysterious Guildhall was obliterated (we'd say unfairly, since who's ever heard of Guildhall?) by Stowe in the Mountain Division. And Manchester wiped the floor with Brattleboro in the Southern Division.

It's unclear whether you're supposed to vote for the town you genuinely think is the best (making you, the voter, the snob), or the snobby town you think would consider itself the best.

Whatever. It's all in good fun. 

Cast your vote here before Round 2 ends on May 27. And keep up with race on Facebook and Twitter.

May 21, 2013

Tom Ayres Takes Helm of First Night Burlington

213First Night Burlington has annnounced it's hired a new executive director, Tom Ayres. Once public relations director at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Ayres is returning to the area's arts scene. He had positions at a Portland, Maine, performing-arts organization, the Champlain Valley Area Health Education Center and the Humane Society of Chittenden County in between.

Before his brief sojourn in Maine, Ayres was also a popular DJ at WRUV, spinning primarily roots and Americana music.

The animals may be sad to see their pet-loving CEO go, but Ayres sounds pretty happy to make the move.

"I am delighted to reconnect with Vermont's vibrant and ever-evolving arts community," he said in a press release issued today. "I look forward to leading our organization into its next evolution."

Ayres replaces former director Jennifer Crowell, who relocated to western Massachusetts.

First Night Burlington, a substance-free celebration of the arts and New Year's Eve, will turn 31 on December 31, 2013, with music and other performances at venues throughout the city.



Katra Kindar Brings a Slice of Paris Life to a Shelburne Coffee Shop


This guest post comes from Carley Stempel, a newly minted UVM grad who has just wrapped up an internship at Seven Days.

Visitors to Shelburne's Village Wine & Coffee this month find might themselves feeling transported from the bustle of Shelburne Road to the streets of Paris on a balmy spring day. Katra Kindar’s watercolor series "Les Bicyclettes de Paris" depicts the romantic nooks and crannies of the City of Light as seen through the spokes of its bicycles.

At 8 a.m. on a recent Wednesday the specialty wine and coffee shop’s patrons are primarily on the go. People place orders at the coffee bar, chattering over the frequent churn of the coffee grinder. The tables in front of the far wall, where Kindar’s work hangs, are vacant, allowing the watercolors to take center stage. Patrons who stop to look will find the whimsical paintings a pleasant respite from the chaos of their morning commute. They're worth lingering over.

“Each painting has its own story to tell, its own narrative,” writes Kindar in an artist statement accompanying the exhibit. “Very simply, 'Les Bicyclettes de Paris' expresses the functional and elegant beauty of the bicycle in the most beautiful and elegant city in the world.”

The Vermont artist is no stranger to the delights of Paris — her son, tightrope artist Jade Kindar-Martin, lives there, and she visits him often.

Kindar’s series beckons with an alluring color palette, and perspectives that may make viewers feel as if they'd hopped a ride on the handlebars. In these paintings, bicycles are the real denizens of the city.

Continue reading "Katra Kindar Brings a Slice of Paris Life to a Shelburne Coffee Shop" »

May 20, 2013

Tonight! "Johnny Jam" Celebrates Life of Former Burlington Musician John Carleton

JohnWhen John Carleton died last February, the victim of a traffic accident, he left a legacy in his former home state of Vermont. A drummer who played with numerous groups around Burlington throughout the 1980s and ’90s, he touched a lot of lives with his powerful playing. He also will be recalled for having an audacious sense of humor and adventure.

Carleton will be remembered — and may very well be there in spirit — tonight at Club Metronome when old musical pals throw a John F. Carleton Memorial Jam, aka "Johnny Jam," in his honor. The "house band" will include Aaron Hersey, Martin Guigui, Russ Lawton, Joe Moore and Guy Burlage — and whoever else shows up to play.

Hersey, a bassist, shared this sentiment with Seven Days:


"We were all blindsided by the sudden loss of John Carleton to a traffic accident (of all things) this past February. John and I were the best of friends, more like brothers, through our twenties and early thirties: roommates, band mates, and running partners; one never more than arms' length from the other for the better part of a decade.

"As young wild ones often are, he was a bit of a handful at times, I suppose we all were, but when push came to shove, that boy was true blue and always had my back.

"I've been listening back to our old recordings and, man, nobody but nobody could lay it down like Johnny Boy. Equal parts Gene Krupa, John Bonham and Phil Collins; everything he played had a big-band swing and blues sensibility that seemed so obvious, yet it was all his own, 100 percent authentic and straight from the heart. Honestly, it's weird getting used to the idea that that drum groove is gone.

"So some of the old buddies are getting together at Club Metronome on May 20 to sing and play, have a beer or two, tell some Carly stories from back in the day, and try to lay some grooves in there the way he would have done for any of us. It's sure to be a great night.

"Come on down, we'd love to see you there!

Tonight, doors at 7 p.m., Club Metronome in Burlington, $5.


Previewing the Shelburne Museum's Newest Acquisition: A Beautiful Building

OutsideThis week I was among a group of so-called "Barnstormers" who got a sneak peek at the new Center for Art and Education on the graceful grounds of the Shelburne Museum. It won't officially open until August 18, but the place was sufficiently finished to allow visitors to troop through and deliver their oohs and ahhs.

And I have to say the building is impressive. The handsome, contemporary structure — designed by Ann Beha Architects of Boston — employs local granite and other stone, lots of glass and natural wood. Its sleek geometry fits right in among the much older buildings on the campus, updating but not overwhelming the museum's proportions. 


Continue reading "Previewing the Shelburne Museum's Newest Acquisition: A Beautiful Building" »

May 19, 2013

Remembering Poet T. Alan Broughton, 1936-2013

Sota-Book-worldVermont writer and teacher T. Alan Broughton passed away in the early hours of Friday, May 17, at Vermont Respite House. He will be remembered by generations of University of Vermont students — Broughton began teaching English there in 1966 — and by readers of his novels (four), short stories (two collections) and powerful poems (nine collections).

The last of those poetry collections was A World Remembered (2010). It's a searingly eloquent work that deals from many angles with the prospect and fear of death. "The terror of obliteration threads its way through this work devoted to preserving something from that fate," I wrote in my review. "Though the author declares himself a nonbeliever in any afterlife, his words often take on the tone and force of prayer..."

In 2003, Peter Kurth reviewed Broughton's short-story collection Suicidal Tendencies for Seven Days. He quotes Broughton as saying that "every time he sits down to write he still feels 'baffled and anxious. ...I only wonder how I got away with it.'" But he assuredly does "get away with it," Kurth continues.

Continue reading "Remembering Poet T. Alan Broughton, 1936-2013" »

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