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Live Culture: Vermont Arts News and Views


December 26, 2013

Andy Williams, aka DJ A-Dog, Passes Away

Bites-A-Dog_byNexusArtistsThe local music community was deeply saddened to learn this morning that Andy Williams, aka DJ A-Dog has passed away. Williams, 38, was diagnosed with leukemia in December 2012 and had been receiving treatment in Boston. Specific details of his passing are as yet unknown to 7D, but we'll report back when they emerge.

In the meantime, we'll add our voice to the chorus of those heartbroken by Williams' death. He was a tremendously talented DJ. But he was also one of the sweetest, most generous people we've ever had the privilege of knowing. We'll miss you, Andy.

In the words of Dead Prez — as reimagined/"refixed" by A-Dog himself — all my dogs, stay real.


[UPDATE: A candlelight walk in rememberance of Williams is scheduled for this Saturday, December 28, at 5 pm at the top of Church Street in Burlington. The procession will make its way down Church Street and will be followed by a vigil at the Waterfront Skatepark. Candles and warm clothing are encouraged.]

December 23, 2013

Dispatch 122313 From 'Overheard on Church Street'


You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to kill someone. Trust me.

— Man to young man


You wouldn’t want me on top of you. You’d fuckin' die.

— Woman to man


One intrepid Burlington resident has been compiling random heard-on-the-street comments in a tumblr blog aptly called Overheard on Church Street since 2010. Now, every Monday, the blogger is sharing a couple of snippets with Live Culture. You can read more at the OOCS archive. Submissions are also welcome.

December 22, 2013

Political Art Show at BCA Center: The Lighter, the Better

Reference for Radicals_Gregg BlasdelYou can have yourself a very leftist Christmas at the BCA Center’s “Reference for Radicals” show. It features work by a dozen local artists who have given visual expression to political terms included in a booklet on “movement building” that was compiled for this project.

 Many of the terms — such as direct action, Occupy movement and empowerment — will be readily familiar to most viewers. Definitions are probably unnecessary, but the show’s organizers provide them anyway. They also present a lot of amateurish art. But a few professionally executed pieces make it worth visiting a show that runs through January 8.

The most artistically successful work in the exhibit is its least explicitly political. (That combination will not surprise aesthetes who regard “political art” as an oxymoron.) Carol MacDonald’s monoprint etching of a flock of birds encircling a piece of red fabric — or possibly a bloody gash — is correlated to the term “vigil,” though it’s not clear why. The birds appear to be about to pull and peck at the object; it’s not as though they’re bearing silent witness to whatever it is.

But the apparent disconnect between word and image won’t interfere with viewers’ appreciation of MacDonald’s skill.

Continue reading "Political Art Show at BCA Center: The Lighter, the Better" »

December 18, 2013

Poetry on Your Pillow? Hotel Vermont, Burlington Writers Workshop Hook Up

WintersWeightThe new Hotel Vermont has been winning praise from all quarters for its architecture and décor, cuisine and use of local resources and products, from granite to soap to original art (including the found-wood "painting" by Duncan Johnson pictured at right).

Now, along with that warm blankie from Johnson Woolen Mills, all 125 guest rooms will offer a small book filled with Vermont words. Writing, that is, by members of the Burlington Writers Workshop.

In an announcement today, BWW organizer Peter Biello said, "Our writers get a wider audience, and Hotel Vermont's guests get a pleasurable reading experience. It's a win-win."

It would be especially winning, Biello added, if one of those guests had the power to advance any of the writers' careers.

Regardless of serendipitous "discovery" by a visiting publisher, the writers can at least hope hotel visitors will choose their poetry, stories or essays for bedtime reading.

These pieces — I'm calling them "locavore lit" — will be chosen by staff at Hotel Vermont and and compiled into a modest publication on a quarterly basis, said the announcement.

Hotel Vermont marketing coordinator Tori Carton added, "The arts are an integral part of the Hotel Vermont experience and we hope that our partnership with Burlington Writers Workshop will continue to advance the arts in our community, and give our guests a well-rounded and unique stay in Burlington.”

By the way, a member of the BWW, Michael Freed-Thall, has a fiction story in this week's Winter Reading Issue of Seven Days. You can read "Fort Stockton Blues" here. And here's a glimpse at a past BWW workshop.


'Curves in the Capital' Brings Holiday Heat to Montpelier

Fishnets1Here's something to help you shake off the shivers. Green Mountain Cabaret is performing tonight at Montpelier's Lost Nation Theater in a one-night-only, 21+ burlesque show. And if you don't feel like shaking — or shimmying — Alexa Luthor and Her Sugar Shakers will do it for you. And then some.

Formerly living in Chicago, Luthor returned to her native Vermont a couple years back and brought professional burlesque along with her, not to mention her husband, MC Leif Peepers. Since then, she's trained other dancers in the North Country, some of whom will be entertaining central Vermont hippies, er, Montpelierites tonight — Trixie Hawke Siouxsie Chrisse, Aeshna Mairead, Swizzle Schtick and Merrique Hysteric.

And if any readers are expecting, I strongly suggest you consider one of these names for your impending child.

LNT actually said in a press release that Green Mountain Cabaret is "Ass-tronomically talented," so what more do you need to know? Except that tickets are $15 and the show starts at 8 p.m. tonight and you can only go if you are 21 or older.

Photo by Matthew Thorsen accompanied a story about Luthor in February, which you can read here.

The Holliest-Jolliest Concrete Mixer You Ever Will See

CAM00068-TWINKLESpotted on King Street in downtown Burlington on the evening of December 17 was quite possibly the awesomest, sparkliest, most winterrific-est vehicle on the road today. Thank you, S.D. Ireland.

The glitter effect was automagically added by Google, and it couldn't be more appropriate.

Truckers of Vermont, the gauntlet has been thrown down. The next logical step — and we should expect nothing less — is Dekotora, those completely insanely decorated semis that brighten Japan's highways.

December 16, 2013

Dispatch 121613 From 'Overheard on Church Street'

He’ll probably be dead by the time we get there for Christmas, so that’ll be interesting.

— Young woman on cellphone


I’m the kind of motherfucker that goes all night, bitches!

—  Man yelling alone


One intrepid Burlington resident has been compiling random heard-on-the-street comments in a tumblr blog aptly called Overheard on Church Street since 2010. Now, every Monday, the blogger is sharing a couple of snippets with Live Culture. You can read more at the OOCS archive. Submissions are also welcome.

December 13, 2013

BCA to Buy UVM's Fine-Metals Equipment, Set Up Studio

Sota-peters-ripls112713Here's a feel-good story for the end of the year. It's a story about perfect serendipity, and turning lemons into lemonade.

"Lemons" in this case were the news that the University of Vermont art department was going to phase out its fine-metals program upon the retirement this year of its longtime instructor, Laurie Peters. (An example of her work is pictured here.)

That news was part of a November 27 article I wrote about a then-upcoming exhibit featuring jewelry by Peters and a number of her former students, who have gone on to make beautiful, sculptural work and names for themselves. Names such as Timothy Grannis, Jacob Albee and Jane Koplewitz, among others.

That exhibit opened on Wednesday with a buzzing reception at Von Bargen's in downtown Burlington, and continues through December 18.

But on to the lemonade.

Continue reading "BCA to Buy UVM's Fine-Metals Equipment, Set Up Studio" »

Movies You Missed & More: Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and 2012

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 12.02.04 AMThis week in movies you missed: Michael Cera plays against type in the indie movie with the year's best title, hands down (though Netflix just calls it Crystal Fairy).

What You Missed

Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann) who led a charmed life of doodling in her journal and accruing good karma with random acts of kindness. Then she took a trip to Chile, where she met her nemesis, the Pollo Loco.

Actually, his real name was Jamie (Cera), and he was an American tourist like Crystal Fairy. When they met at a party, he told her he was on a mission to consume as many hallucinogens as possible, specifically a cactus fabled to grow in a small rural town.

Crystal Fairy was totally down with ascending to a higher plane of consciousness, especially in 2012, the end of the material world as we know it. So when Jamie suggested she meet up in the boonies with him and his three Chilean friends (Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva and Agustín Silva), she did just that.

Only then Jamie did a 180 and started acting like a control-freak douche-nozzle. He ordered his three friends around, he pretended he'd never invited Crystal Fairy on the trip, and he pursued his magical cactus with the aggressive humorlessness of a businessman demanding the right amount of foam on his latte.

That's when he got his nickname — and Crystal Fairy set out to teach him how somebody really seeks enlightenment.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed & More: Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and 2012" »

December 12, 2013

Vermont Architecture in the News: Green Building, Top Interiors

Slide1-635x411Recording studios aim for the best possible sound, but who said they can't also be pretty — and green?

Not Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects. The New York-based group was just awarded the 2013 Award of Merit from the Vermont chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its design of Guilford Sound. The sustainably built, energy-efficient facility is owned by Dave Snyder.

The place was chosen, according to a press release, for its relationship to both the land and to other buildings on the property, including a renovated 19th-century farmhouse and a building that houses a wood-fired boiler.

Also this week, Burlington's TruexCullins Interiors was given the 2014 Interior Design Award for New England by the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality. It's a good trick to get an award from the future. But then, 2014 isn't all that far away.

Founded in LA nearly three decades ago, the nonprofit NEWH is dedicated to "fostering and celebrating women leaders in hospitality design," according to a press release. Closer to home, principal Kim Deetjen and her team can lay claim to the renovation of Topnotch Resort & Spa in Stowe and the interior of Hotel Vermont in Burlington. The latter, by the way, was included in the top 10 new hotels of 2013 by TripAdvisor. 

You can watch Deetjen talk about her design inspirations here


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