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Stuck in Vermont: 100% homegrown Vermont vlog about art, music, obsessions and outsiders

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July 2007

July 31, 2007

The Ramble [38]

Ramble2 The Ramble is a free for all festival that takes place in big and small locations all over the Old North End, an eclectic Burlington neighborhood packed full of farmers, artists, young families...and chickens?! 

The Ramble was started by Heather Driscoll and Lee Anderson 4 years ago and is currently helmed by Lee and Sage Tucker-Ketchum of Studio STK.

Some major events this year included The Old North End Parade, Crombie Street Block Festival, performances by Very Special Arts at Studio STK, a community graffiti mural at Kriya Studio, a bike parade, and a big closing party at 294 North Winooski Ave.

Ramble4 Artists opened their studios, businesses opened their doors with special offers, residents had yard sales, and there was an abundance of free food, balloons and face painting.  The entire community was outside meeting and greeting one another.

Field Day, also known as War of the Wards is an athletic event pitting the North side against the South Side.  Organized by Adrian Tans, Michael Nedell and Lee Anderson, it was a flashback to elementary school but a lot more fun. 

Games included water balloon toss, 100 yard dash, hula hoop race, standing long jump, bowling ball shotput, the mile, sack race, arm wrestling and a giant tug-of-war.

Ramble16_2 Despite the occasionally rainy conditions, attendance was good, if a bit late to arrive.  The North had more people but the South fought long and hard. 

Last year with similar circumstances, the South managed to pull together a win and the North was determined to prevent this from occurring once again.

The final event was the Tug of War.  Who won the War of the Wards?  Watch and see. 

And why do so many North Enders have chickens anyway?

"Ramble On!"

Most perfect diddy by Colin Clary and the Magogs, Her Life of Crime, "The Shape of this Town."

July 24, 2007

Harry Potter [37]


Harry3At midnight on Friday, July 20th 2007, the last installment of the Harry Potter series was released in bookstores across America. 

At The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne VT, owners Elizabeth Bluemle and Josie Leavitt have been celebrating Harry Potter book releases for years.

The costumed crowd numbered in the hundreds and the air was thick with excitement. 

Harry5 Anxious house elves, thunder-bolted wizards, Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, high-hatted witches and even a Hagrid waited for midnight to roll around so they could read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Why do people love Harry Potter so much and what will the final book tell us?  Watch and see...

July 17, 2007

Rosie's Girls [36]

Rosies_girls7 Do you know how to transform a copper pipe into a bracelet?  How to cut shapes out of sheets of metal and attach them to one another in a sculpture? 

How to hammer evenly and keep your hair from catching on fire while welding?  Me neither but some 9-12 yr old girls showed me the basics.

Rosie’s Girls Summer Program is a three-week day camp for girls entering 6th – 8th grade that is organized by Vermont Works for Women.  The camp is named after the WWII fictional feminist icon Rosie the Riveter who commandeered the phrase, "We can do it!"

During the three weeks of intense activities which include carpentry, bike repair and welding, many of the girls discover that they can, indeed, do it.  Whatever "it" may be.

Rosies_girls4For three days, campers attended metal workshops at Kat Clear and Kate Pond's St Griswold studio in Williston.  Kat and her assistants showed the girls how to use the Mig welder (a glorified sewing machine with sparks), the oxyacetylene torch and the plasma cutter.

These are all formidable looking tools that blast impressive sparks and intense heat.  It took some getting used to but after three days, the tools felt familiar to the girls and they were able to make their own abstract sculptures as well as a Rosie the Riveter bracelet (I am wearing mine right now!).

Rosies_girls3 Even if you don't know Kat, you have probably seen her work all over town.  Whether it is the classy sign hanging above the Green Door, the fanciful bike rack outside Radio Bean or the monkeys hanging around outside the Monkey Bar. 

Kat shared her love of welding with the girls and showed them that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

There is an elemental time period in many girl's lives when they cross over from girlhood to adulthood.  It is a time when many women lose their voice and their self-assurance and spend years trying to get back to their confident, carefree, adolescent selves.

It is exciting to imagine these Rosie's Girls going forth into the world, breaking down stereotypes, being comfortable with who they are and braving their own road.   I can't wait to see what comes next. 

"Ground Level Up" by Antara off her album, "All the Strays."   Could any song fit as perfectly?

UPDATE: 8/12/07 - YouTube featured Rosie's Girls on their Howto & DIY homepage which lead to 128,000 hits as well as a spirited debate about VT and the abilities of women.  Additionally, there were these honors:

July 10, 2007

Cirque du so Gay [35]


Cirque_du_so_gay2 On July 7th, hundreds of people in Burlington celebrated 25 years of PRIDE in Vermont. 

After a rainy day parade,  revelers squeezed into tight corsets, applied pasties and false eyelashes, adorned themselves in bold stripes, domineering top hats, riding crops and a plethora of sequins for Cirque du so Gay at Higher Ground.

I asked party goers what "pride" means to them.  Like their costumes, their answers were wildly different.  Common themes were community, celebration, a chance to look back at history, self-acceptance and freedom to be who you please and love whom you like.  The night was all about love, fearlessness, self-expression and boundary busting.

Cirque_du_so_gay6 The evening included peacock-like go go dancers, local and regional performers including Karen Grenier, Nebulai, Antara & The Chris', Poof!, Rue Melvana, The 4th Annual Vermont Drag Idol & DJ Precious. 

Shawn Lipenski, the Ringmaster, towered above the rest of us mere mortals in 5 inch boots and a formidable top hat.  Allison Davis, the sultry Ringmistress, helped keep the rowdy crowds at bay with her lightening quick riding crop.

There were many lovely drag queens in attendance and I felt like a midget beside these towering Super Models: Chastity Pariah, Miss Kayla, Victoria Demeanor, Celeste LeRue, Margaurite LeMay, Lucy Belle LeMay, Liza Little, Amber LeMay, and Precious.

Cirque_du_so_gay15The Poof! Drag Cabaret performers were kind enough to let me into their sanctuary/dressing room as they were changing out of their show costumes and into their party ensembles. 

Celeste showed me her "cutlets" and Kayla modeled her purple creation, the "Kylie Minogue dress."  You can see more of Poof! in this video.

Many attendees mourned the loss of Pearls and its negative effect on the gay community.  There are currently no gay bars in the state of Vermont.   The future of the local bi/gay scene remains to be seen.

After a unifying, celebratory night like Cirque du so Gay, it is hard to go back to the "real" world - there are not enough sequins, feathers or diamonds...

For more Pride photos, check out The House of LeMay blog.  Those classy dames sure can party!

July 03, 2007

Circus Smirkus [34]


Circus2 This summer is the 20 year anniversary of founder Rob Mermin's Circus Smirkus.  What began as a little itty bitty dream to begin a circus in Vermont has turned into a formidable institution. 

Sunday was the opening day of the tour in Greensboro, VT.   1 Circus Road in Greensboro, the original home of Smirkus, is remote and beautiful. 

After 3 weeks of intense rehearsals, the 75-member staff and crew will tour for 7 weeks throughout New England, performing twice every other day for a total of 71 shows.

Circus3The young performers are skilled in multiple circus arts such as the diablo, single, double and triple point trapeze, rings, juggling, the plank, the tightrope, fabric and clowning. 

Or they might just use a couple of ladders to perform balancing tricks, you never can tell what is coming next.

In the beginning, the troupe consisted of farm hands learning how to juggle.  Thanks to the prominence of circus camps and training programs, performers now travel from all over the world to be a part of Circus Smirkus. 

Circus6 The giggly contortionists from Mongolia, the nimble tightrope walker from Columbia and the rosy-cheeked hula hooper from Minnesota - they are all part of one big circus family. 

All come together and become friends almost instantaneously, immediately trusting one another as they hang by each other's ankles, balance side by side, and rocket each other into the air. 

These days, it is less about running away to the circus and more about proudly adding it to your resume.  But one thing hasn't changed, the kids in the audience still squeal with delight at the simplest of gags and pies in the face are always in style.


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