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

Vermont Artists

October 22, 2008

James Kochalka [101]

Kochalka_cuties 10/16/08: Local artist and rock star James Kochalka has been drawing his daily comic book strip, American Elf, for 10 years this Sunday.

American Elf is about James' daily life so we went to his house and followed him around for a day to see how his characters behave in 3D.

Music: James Kochalka

Location: Burlington, VT

Editor's Note: James Kochalka was the main feature of the very first Stuck in VT vlog.  It seems fitting that he should be both the 1st and the 101st Stuck in VT.

Watch it on YouTube here.

Also new this week: 7DTV13: NRG Systems

May 28, 2008

Jericho-Underhill Open Studio Tour [81]


5/25/08: Farm machinery sculptures, water-inspired jewelry, layered swaths of recycled fiber and marbled paper bowls - and that is just a sampling of the art you can find along one remote dirt road in Jericho.

During Vermont Open Studio Weekend, artists across the state open their doors to the public.

The Jericho-Underhill Open Studio Tour is a group of artists who have fostered a fertile rural community. 

I began the day at HQ, the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery where I met some photographers, and got a map and directions.  Then I visited artists along Nashville Rd. 

Peeking inside artists' studios is a real thrill, especially when they live in such funky, unique homes.  Nature and art intermingle in a symbiotic setting.  There must be something in the water.

Music: Ryan Power, It Is Happening, "The Repelican"

Location: Nashville Road, Jericho Vermont

Click here to see this video on YouTube.

February 07, 2008

Kat Clear [65]

Kat10 1/24/08: Chances are, you have seen a Kat Clear sculpture or sign around town: the eye-catching bike racks outside Burlington Telecom and Radio Bean, snazzy signs for Burlington Electric, The Green Room and Blue Star and her latest addition, the massive Queen City Crown in the Church St Mall.

Kat is hard at work on a new sculpture series entitled "The Whoopsie Girls" which captures pin up girl poses in various states of haphazard undress.

Three "Whoopsie" girls traveled to Montpelier in January and Kat will have a show at the Flynndog in the spring to unveil all 12 scantily-clad ladies.  Join us for a sneak peek and a giggle.

Sassy music by Missy Bly off her album Clean Bee, "She N' Me."

Watch this video on YouTube here.

Read the full story Seven Days here.

December 26, 2007

Goodbye 2007 [59]

Goodbye_2007_2 12/24/07: Eva says goodbye to 2007 and looks back at one full year and 59 episodes of Stuck in Vermont. 

What is next?

Music: The Smittens, "I Hate Vermont" Gentlefication Now!

The Jazz Guys, "Jungle Jackson," So Moped Puree

Colin Clary, "Me Loves You," "The Year of Having Fun," Apocalypse Yow!

For more Stuck in VT year end review fun, check out Eva's 2007 Year End Survey at the excellent music blog False 45th.

You can watch this video on YouTube here.

October 23, 2007

24 Hour Comics Day [50]

Are you up to the comics challenge?  Are you prepared to exercise your mighty drawing skills and indulge your inner night owl? 

On October 20th, in honor of 24 Hour Comics Day, 1,200 novice and experienced cartoonists each drew a 24 page comic in 24 hours.  Across the world, there were 87 similar events taking place in 18 countries and 28 US states.

Comics10In Williston Vermont at Artists' Mediums, 10+ artists gathered in the front of the store to put their artistic skills to the grueling test. 

Could they stay up the entire 24 hours?  Could they complete a comic with no preparation time allowed?  And most importantly, would the brownies last all night?

Ages ranged from 11 to 76 and styles varied considerably.  Artist and teacher Robert Brunelle told the story of a house's transformations through the centuries and his neighbor Bob Marney drew the tale of a beast heedlessly abused by the government.

Naps were had, sodas were consumed and a father/son team told haunting, imagination-rich tales touching on Norse mythology, the three fates, a dark twist on Alice in Wonderland, a soul-sucking witch and impending doom.

This is the 50th episode of Stuck in Vermont and the topic matter could not be more fitting: artistic people who love what they do, regardless of popular opinion.  Cheers to 50 more episodes and thanks for all the support!

Music: The Jazz Guys, A Blessing in Disguise, "The $6,000 Million Dollar Man"

You can watch this video on YouTube here.

September 04, 2007

Bag-Tag [43]

Bagtags6 Abby Manock's show at Studio STK last Friday involved bi-polar bears transforming into bag ladies, colorful children's toys, paper plate noise makers, a garbage can gathering and an exciting race to the finish line.

Confused?  Abby explains all, sort of.

Pretty music by Colin Clary, "Of the Stars," Sweater Weather or Not, These Are the Songs that I Got.

You can watch this video on YouTube here.

June 19, 2007

The Identity Project [32]


Spectrum10_2 The Identity Project is a show of photographs and oral history interviews on display throughout June at the Metro Gallery in Burlington's City Hall.  The artwork was created by homeless and at-risk youth and gives the community a rare glimpse into their world.

Spectrum Health and Family Services and the Community Health Center of Burlington joined forces to bring you this exhibit.  Both organizations provide a sense of family, security and support to youth who often have no where else to turn.

Sammie, one of the artists, has been on the street since he was 15 yrs old and is not sure what may have become of him without the food, shelter, clothes, and friendship that Spectrum has to offer.

Spectrum12Another artist named Lizzy lives at home but goes to Spectrum One Stop regularly to see her friends and people she can relate to.

Sometimes it is hard for people to believe homelessness exists in Vermont and harder still to accept that young people live on the streets.  They are often hungry, cold and desperate for a routine and something to channel their energies towards.  Spectrum provides them with all these things.

More than anything, Sammie and Lizzy just want to be seen and accepted for who they are, instead of being treated like invisible outcasts.  They are tired of being ignored, brushed aside, stereotyped and misunderstood.  Bringing their voices and their artwork to City Hall is a step toward being heard and exposing their identities to the public.

Spectrum11_2 Lizzy carries a doll named "Jaded Jenny" around with her everywhere she goes.  She says that Jenny gets a lot of stares and this is a good thing because, "It gets [Lizzy] noticed.  Makes [her] stand out..."

The Identity Project is in its third year bringing these artists' voices, talents and personalities into the public spotlight.  Brian Plisko from Spectrum and Colleen Dwyer from CHCB are the main organizers of the co-sponsored event. 

The Identity Project is up at Metro Hall through June 29.  There is an opening reception this Thursday, June 21st from 4-7pm.  You can meet the artists and the staff and find out more about what you can do to help. 

Spectrum_7 The photos can be purchased for $20/each, half of which goes into the artist's pocket (Lizzy is hoping to buy her mom a birthday present) and half of which goes to the programs which benefit these artists.

So the next time you walk by Spectrum One Stop on Pearl St, try making some eye contact or stopping to say hello. 

According to Lizzy, they are loud and boisterous at times simply to get people to SEE them.  And if you see Lizzy and Jenny or Sammie, why not talk to them about their art show in City Hall.

Music is The Breaking In off their album Darkness Has Taken Hold Again.  The song is "Dark Winter."  You can catch The Breaking In playing at Club Metronome on June 29th with The Jazz Guys.  Also, they are releasing a new album!

And dearly departed Casey Rae Hunter's, AKA The Contrarian's, song "Soft Rock One" off his Soft Rock album.  Miss you and Brooke!

Selene Colburn [31]


Selene_6 Selene Colburn's "The History of the Future Suite" is a work in progress which was performed at the Flynn Space Sunday night to a full house. 

Speaking of the future, many babies and toddlers were in attendance including Selene's (pronounced Selena) own children. 

Selene was the recipient of the Flynn Center's spring 2007 New Art Space Assistance (N.A.S.A.) Grant. "This grant provides Vermont artists, working locally, with the development time and space in which to engage in process and thus to create new and meaningful work."  They are accepting applications right now so apply before the August deadline!

Selene_7 You can read more about Selene's process at the Flynn Blog.  She had an open door policy for the past two months, letting any community member participate in the dances and their creation. 

In the past month, the final group of performers solidified and they began to plan the show.  The dancers' experiences, backgrounds and ages vary wildy.  It is a diverse slice of the Vermont community in which we live.

Selene's show explored themes of twins, science, the future and her own life.  After suffering a debilitating back injury, Selene had to re-learn how to move, starting with her fingers.  Selene's solo dance incorporates finger dancing as well as spoken words about her experiences.  This is her first performance since her injury years ago.

What does the future hold?  As Selene says at the end of her solo piece, "In the future, I am a dancer..."   After Sunday, nothing could be clearer.

The show was followed by cupcakes!

The music is by melodic Carrigan, off their album Young Men Never Die, and aptly titled "Moving Bones."

May 08, 2007

Liminal Engagement [24]


Liminal_engagement_3_2 What do you get when you combine plastic cups, chain link fence, string and rocks painted brown? 

Dartmouth University art professor Soo Sunny Park's "Liminal Engagement" opened Friday, May 4th at the Firehouse Gallery on lower Church St.  The warm weather combined nicely with the Friday Art Walk and the downtown was crawling with art lovers. 

Some plowed through the interactive artwork, leaving tangles in their wake. Others felt the need to take the time to meticulously untangle the strings.

Liminal_engagement_11 This installation by Soo Sunny was inspired by Vermont, her visually stunning drives to Stratford and the snow peaks melting into the dirt.   

"Liminal Engagement" was assembled over the course of 2 weeks with the help of 16 Firehouse Gallery staff, interns and volunteers, and much coffee!

Is it a jellyfish, an underwater scene, clouds, snow peaks, honeycomb, a baseball field - come visit and you be the judge.
  Soo Sunny Park's installation "Liminal Engagement" will be at the Firehouse Gallery from May 4-June 2, 2007.

Music: "Air," Curling Pond Woods, Greg Davis, Copyright 2007 BMI

April 25, 2007

Mail Art [22]


Mail_5 Studio Place Arts is having three art openings on each of its floors this Friday, April 27th in Barre Vermont. One of the floors will be devoted to items that have been shipped through the post, thereby transforming themselves into mail art.

Gabrielle Dietzel and Delia Robinson have been sending mail art for decades. When they were neighbors, they sent each other strange things in the mail which they never spoke of: dog toys, children's shoes, a french press lid.

The trick is to mail the object WITHOUT an envelope or box. It only becomes "art" if it travels through the post without protective covering.  But be careful!! Once you begin the rebellious and thrilling act of mailing flip flops, chess games, birds' nests and half eaten muffins, it can become both addictive and competitive!

Mail_3 The Mail Art Show opening this Friday at SPA will include many objects that Delia and Gabrielle have sent to each other as well as many items mailed from all over the world.

Lovely tunes by Colin Clary and the Magogs, The Shape of this Town and Hearts with Little Strings from "Her Life of Crime."


April 03, 2007

Stuck in Vermont 16: Clark Derbes and Barnes


I want to go back to 2nd grade again, is that so wrong?   I mean, look at all the fun the 2nd grade classes of Miss Deirdre and Mrs. King at Lawrence Barnes Elementary School in Burlington's Old North End are having! 

With the help of local artist Clark Derbes, the students are making mobiles inspired by their characters, letting their creativity run wild, experimenting with abstract art projects, dancing, rapping and singing, taking fun field trips to fancy schmancy art galleries and playing an important role in their community.  Where do I sign up?

Artist Clark Derbes bold and colorful show, "Life in the Slow Lane," decorated the walls of the Sanctuary Artsite at JDK Design in Burlington for most of the month of March.  Clark had already visited the 2nd grade classes at Barnes to collaborate with them on their mobiles.  This time it was the kids turn to visit Clark's art exhibit at JDK.


When you meet someone as youthful, creative and non self-critical as Clark, it is hard not to feel giddy.  The kids are drawn to his flexible face and vivacious personality.  As Angela McGregor of the Shelburne Farms' Sustainable Schools Project says of Clark, "He's got this crazy presence, too.  He's like an enormous kid!" 

We met up with the kids at Barnes and then bussed over to JDK where the 2nd graders asked Clark many questions, imagined what sounds his art might make, danced as though they were painting, got a tour of JDK, went wild running all over the skatepark in the basement and created a piece of abstract art on cardboard with Clark.


After three hours with these high energy kids, I was exhausted but also inspired.  Like Clark, they seem to run on pure adrenaline - they do not waste time second guessing themselves or their art. 

In an earlier Seven Days interview, Clark's artistic "manifesto" was, “To be fast and fearless with my mark making. Seeing the [Jean-Michel] Basquiat retrospective was huge for me — that guy was complete with his fearlessness and RAW with his art . . . Anxiety + weirdness makes good art.

A similar equation can be made for the day I spent with Clark and the Barnes 2nd graders on Wednesday, March 28th.  Clark + kids makes good art.


Clark's JDK exhibit was recycled last week but you can see his art this month at Pursuit Gallery.  Opening reception is April 6th, Friday from 6-10pm (802.862.3883).  Thanks to Angela for organizing this fabulous event AND for letting me know about it and tag along!

Wonderful songs are "Dandelion Wine," "Distance" and "The Drone" by The Cush (MySpace) from New Appreciation for Sunshine.



March 20, 2007

Stuck in Vermont 13: Craft Mafia

Craft_1_2Friday night in the Old North End and Studio STK was hopping with crafty items created by the recently formed Burlington Craft Mafia.  Homemade hats, shirts, jewelry, bags, belts and haute couture fashion was artfully displayed around the room to the delight of shoppers. 

Even the food looked good, bright green cupcakes and little sandwiches cut with love to look like ducks and stars.  On the stairs, Colin Clary sang and played guitar in a rainbow colored sweater. 

I talked to some of the featured artists and members of the crowd about crafting, obsession, inspiration and recycling. 

Craft_5I have to admit it, I am a craft addict.  And I am an obsessed artist who spends most of her time snipping away at tiny bits of video footage.  These talented, hard-working women inspire me.

I can so totally relate to Joanne when she talks about how her happiness is intertwined with making things (which leads to not sleeping much). There is something so satisfying about making something that other people can enjoy and wear daily.   When you are doing that, who needs sleep?

I also talked to Allison about her haute couture fashions which carve out their own niche in the Craft Mafia and involve an impressive swath of recycled materials - a zipper from an industrial sleeping bag, fabric from yard sales and a dress made out of t-shirts.  Makes you think anything is possible!

Craft_2_evaThe evening started out slow but ended with a bang.  I walked out with a beautiful blue beaded necklace (thanks Kacey) with a flowered heart at the end.  And that showed a massive amount of self-restraint because the place was packed to the gills with delectable items.

You can find out more about the artists and purchase their amazing goods by visiting their individual websites which are all listed here.

The wonderfully whimsical song is "Some of My Favorite People Are..." by Colin Clary off his craftily-packaged sweater album, "Sweater Weather or Not, These are the Songs I Got."

PS My apologies for the crunchy look of the Stuck in Vermont videos.  I am going to make a concerted effort to find some better YouTube compression settings.  As much as I like the DIY, low fi look of the STVT vlogs, it would be nice if people's faces were not crawling with pixels!   If anyone knows of any YouTube compression magic tricks, please let me know. 

March 14, 2007

Stuck in Vermont 12: dug Nap



dug Nap is an interesting fellow.  I first became acquainted with him the way most people do, someone gave me one of his greeting cards - the one with the urgent VT State Trooper's report about the crack in the center of the road and the pie stolen off a know the one?

I was living in Oakland at the time and the yearly murder count was climbing past 100.  Blinking police cars parked on my corner every weekend and no doubt their police reports were pie-free.  I loved the image of Vermont dug Nap was selling,  quirky, refreshing and all his own.

dug Nap wears many hats: visual artist, performance artist, rock musician, poet, writer.  Friday night he wowed a sold out crowd at the FlynnSpace with his one-man, one-night-only show, "My Imaginary Girlfriend."

This vlog does not contain any of the show itself, dug decided he was not ready to release that just yet.  Instead, it is a record of the evening and a sampling of dug's many fans who packed the house Friday.


Sadly, the demand for seats was so high that even dug's optometrist was not able to get a ticket.  Alas.  Many of the ticket-holders knew dug from the old days when his band Pinhead opened for the Clash (!?) or through his paintings and greeting cards which are renowned in Burlington and internationally as well.  Some came with no preconceived notions at all (the group sitting next to me for instance) - out of simple curiosity to see the man behind the cards.

And once Bob Klink took the stage and switched from hat to hat, script in hand, much of the audience was mesmerized.  There is no doubt that dug is a powerful performer with an unusual perspective and a clear voice.   He took us on a strange and wonderful ride and we never looked back.

Dug_nap_1I spoke to dug both before and after the show.   Appropriately, he wore a different hat during both interviews.  It makes me glad to know such a unique voice can find a spotlight and an audience. 

And with a sold out show, standing room seats all taken and 50 people turned away after that, it is clear that other people are interested to hear what dug has to say as well.   Artist, performer, outsider artist or insider, it is clear that his many hats fit him well.

Wonderful song is "You vs Them" by The Hero Cycle (MySpace) off their brand spanking new album "Lakes and Ponds."  They have a record release party at Club Metronome March 16th, check it out!Dug_nap_4_1


February 24, 2007

Stuck in Vermont 7: First 50

A_11 Friday night at 64 North St was hopping as artists and art lovers alike crowded into Kasini House for the opening of First 50.

First 50 is a true exercise in democracy as the first 50 artists to have their names drawn by lottery were featured in the show. 

As fast-talking, wunderkind Ric Kasini Kadour explained to me, despite the element of chance, there were many happy symmetries present: a mother and daughter team, a group of paintings by women exploring the female form, a picture of a son taken by a father and a picture of a father taken by a son (the latter is pictured above and is by photographer Matthew Thorsen).

Ric is amazingly articulate and entertaining and he can talk up art like nobody's business.  Editing his interview from 10 minutes down to 2 minutes seemed so wrong.  Ric's resume is impressive and there does not seem to be one bit of the VT art world that he does not have a finger in. 

It makes me so glad to know that Ric and Kasini House are here to bring more attention to Vermont artists, breathe some new life into North St and connect the Burlington arts scene to Montreal's.

A_10I also spoke to three of the artists featured, Yulia Goncharov, Damien Cross, and most likely the youngest person in the show, Evie Salisbury (pictured to the left).   

Evie was not too interested in answering my dull questions but within seconds she had commandeered my camera and was shooting footage for me.  My first intern!?  As an odd aside, I ran into Evie's parents at the Sonic Youth show Sunday.  I love this small town!

If you pay closeA_12 enough attention to the vlog, you may even see the piece of art by S.R.Wild who designed the Stuck in Vermont logo (to the right).   S.R. Wild is featured in the show and, if you were lucky, you got one of his handmade business cards Friday night.

The music is courtesy of the most awesome local band, The Jazz Guys who are hard at work on a new album and will hopefully show up in a very jazzy vlog real soon.  Have you seen their movies?  Very funny and neato special effects!

After the Kasini House opening, we popped in briefly to Studio STK which is just down the street and had fashions by Anthony Russo on display.  Margot and I spent money we do not have on funky, one-of-a-kind silk-screened clothes.  Anthony will be a having a fashion show at STK on March 23rd which I hope to vlog as well.

All in all, a lovely evening was had by all and it was a resounding success for Kasini House and the artists featured!  First 50 will be at Kasini House through March 10th, be sure to check it out!

February 01, 2007

Stuck in Vermont 1: Comics

Last Friday night, the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe was bustling with activity as many fashionable folk in black streamed into its doors for a much anticipated gallery opening.  Fine Toon: The Art of VT Cartoonists is an excellent exhibit with pieces by 13 artists with VT ties.

The show’s central connection, of course, is Vermont: The featured artists live here either full- or part-time, or they were born here and moved elsewhere. Most of them are in the first camp — a remarkable fact, given the state’s diminutive size. Then again, the number of artists in Vermont may soon surpass that of cows, if it hasn’t already. Seven Days, Pamela Polston

I like those odds.  Although artists provide a very different sort of milk, no less nourishing as Friday night proved. There were gigantic strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, assorted gourmet cheese platters and a hip art crowd buzzing around the artwork like honey bees. 

The gallery has a lot to celebrate with a new Executive Director, Nathan Suter, and a new Exhibitions Director, Idoline Duke.  Without a doubt, the Helen Day was the happening place to be Friday night!

I shot my very first Stuck in Vermont vlog at this fine event and was lucky enough to talk to James Kochalka - Vermont-based, internationally famous cartoonist/rock superstar! I was nervous but he was very nice and is not really an elf after all - unless his ears are retractable!?

James told us about a brain parasite in humans which is contracted from cats and makes us neurotic.   But don't bother throwing out your cat, once you got the parasite, it is there for life.  I have yet to research this news but that does explain a lot.

Plus, it turns out that the famous Spandy, who is featured in many of Kochalka's cartoons, is really not all that special after all - perhaps that is what makes her so special?!  I am a card-carrying member of the Spandy Fan Club.

The Stuck in Vermont vlog will focus on local artists, musicians and outsiders (all of whom are stuck here for one reason or another) and bring more attention to all the hip-n-hot VT art happenings and goings on 'round town. It'll be 100% VT-based 'cause there is plenty in this little state to keep me busy vlogging about.

I plan to make 'em short and sweet but it remains to be seen if I will be able to keep them under 3 minutes.  This one clocks in at 3:30.  There might be some longer vids with extra footage for those interested since there is lots of good material (imho). Without futher ado, here is the first installment of, Stuck in Vermont whose wonderful theme song is courtesy of local indie darlings, The SmittensAin't it nice to be stuck in Vermont?:

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