These happy clouds are listening to Chance McNiff.
Hi! Amelia Devoid here. You may know me as the girl dancing like Kate Bush at the local rock show. Or maybe you stumbled into Halflounge to find me playing ambient music with two guys in frog hats backing me up on saxophones. I'm a local musician and a freelance music writer for Seven Days. But enough about me.
Seven Days has set up a play date for us every Friday, which we're calling Playtime. Each week I'm going to gush about my local music obsessions and play my favorite songs, some newer, some older, in the hope that they might also become your favorites. Send me your best friend's bedroom project, that record from your Dad's band from back in the day, videos of your cat playing the keyboard, and I'll write about them, too! Today, I'd like to introduce you to the one and only Chance McNiff.
In a small, well-lit space deep inside Burlington's Soda Plant, artist Kyle Sikora settles the skull of an extinct female North American lion onto a blue, padded frame. The Conant Metal & Light employee disappears behind the massive skeleton, more than nine feet long, as he crouches down to adjust its 17-inch noggin.
Alan Stout of Rome, Georgia, owner of the skeleton, keeps a vigilant watch from the room's entrance as he simultaneously entertains this reporter. A retired food-safety official,Stout now operates an online business called Dinoland Plus. It offers "museum-quality reptile and mammal pieces for sale, fossil preparation [and] knowledge of animals in all time periods."
But this lion reconstruction won't be for sale. At least, not for a while.
By Ken Picard
on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 5:27 PM
Courtesy of Amy Schwartz
"Amy, I'm only stopping this car once: Do you have to go No. 1 or No. 2?"
Amy Nicole Schwartz sums up her job as "basically dick jokes and boxes." As design director for Cards Against Humanity, the wildly successful and hilariously inappropriate party game, and its "boring business company" spinoff, Blackbox, Schwartz sets the creative vision for her companies' games, projects and subversive PR campaigns.
Believe it or not, there's more to her design responsibilities than laying out black-and-white game cards that read, "Toni Morrison's vagina" and "Watching an orphanage burn" in Helvetica Neue Bold.
Earlier this month, Frog Hollow Vermont Craft Gallery cleared out the back section of its Church Street quarters to make way for a special exhibition. "New Registrations," co-curated by Barre collector Mark Waskow and Frog Hollow executive director Rob Hunter, showcases prints that were created using nontraditional methods, materials and combinations of processes.
Walk past the displays of ceramic bowls, serene cow prints, stained glass and lake-stone jewelry to find, for example, gunpowder in a piece by Bill Davison aptly titled "Bullet"; a screen-print made with holy water on a massive sponge called "Madonna and Child (after Crivelli)" by Jeff Feld; a monoprint incorporating organic plant matter, "Double Reach," by Leslie Fry, and many more. Fourteen artists are included in total.
On Saturday night, at a gala on its Montpelier campus, the Vermont College of Fine Arts awarded the second annual Vermont Book Award to poet and University of Vermont professor Major Jackson for his latest collection, Roll Deep.
The widely published Jackson is the Harvard Review's poetry editor and the recipient of a slew of literary honors; his book Leaving Saturn was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
A lengthy 2004 Seven Days profile of Jackson by David Warner describes his work as "lin[ing] up between Langston Hughes and hip-hop." The piece quotes the poet's then-department head at UVM, Robyn Warhol, as saying, "I'm convinced that Jackson is going to be one of the voices they study when poetry of the early 21st century is written about."
It's a sad month for Vermont poetry. Northeast Kingdom poet Leland Kinsey died less than two weeks ago, at age 66. And early this Sunday morning, September 25, beloved poet and playwright David Budbill passed away, at 76. He had been diagnosed about a year ago with a form of Parkinson's disease called progressive supranuclear palsy, or PSP.
Budbill was a prolific writer of brilliantly lucid, Asian-influenced poems, as well as plays — his best known is Judevine , which also inspired the libretto for A Fleeting Animal, with Vermont composer Erik Nielsen. He also wrote essays, young adult fiction, a cyberzine and more. He was a musician who played the shakuhachi (a Japanese flute), and occasionally performed with his longtime collaborator, New York bassist William Parker.
Emotions ran high at the Swanton Public Library last week during the inaugural meeting of the newly formed anti-settlement group, Abenaki First.
“Enough is enough,” exclaimed group leader Don Edchute. “There are now more than 600,000 non-indigenous Vermonters living on this land. It’s about time we put our foot down and finally put an end to this reckless immigration.”
Edchute is part of long line of Abenaki ancestry that has occupied the Vermont area since at least the 1600s, when its tribes first came into contact with European settlers.
“Our culture has survived war, disease, tribal conflict, cultural diffusion and even forced sterilization. I’m finally starting to suspect that these settlers have no intention of ever assimilating our beliefs and traditions,” he explained. “Hell, it took until 2011, 400 years after our first encounters with European settlers, for them to even grant us state recognition here in Vermont.”
If you're still mourning the loss of the Purple One (and who isn't?), you might want to consider driving your little red Corvette to Middlebury this Saturday, September 24, for the 2016 premiere of Town Hall Theater's Rock on Film series. Purple Rain, starring the recently departed Prince, will kick off the season, which will feature eight or nine films.
By Dan Bolles
on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 1:06 PM
Courtesy of Henry Jamison
'The Rains EP,' Henry Jamison
Burlington-based indie-folk songwriter Henry Jamison is set to unveil a new recording, The Rains EP, next month. Ahead of that release, he's recently leaked a second single from the project, "Through a Glass."
If the song is any indication, The Rains EP would seem to build on the lush, multilayered soundscapes that Jamison forged with his Bowdoin College band, The Milkman's Union — which was also his pseudonym as a teenage songwriter. "Through a Glass" plays like the fleeting remnants of a disjointed fever dream. And it was, as Jamison recently told Consequence of Sound, in fact written in a fever.