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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Alison Bechdel to Be Next Vermont Cartoonist Laureate

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 4:07 PM

The passing of the cartoonist laurels - EDWARD KOREN AND ALISON BECHDEL
  • Edward Koren and Alison Bechdel
  • The passing of the cartoonist laurels

Next Thursday, April 6, Edward Koren will pass the torch — er, laurels — to his successor, Alison Bechdel, as Vermont Cartoonist Laureate. In a ceremony at the Statehouse, the longtime Bolton resident, creator of the strip "Dykes to Watch Out For," and author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic will become the third cartoonist laureate in the only state to regularly appoint one.

The initiative originated with the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, the professional school founded by James Sturm and Michelle Ollie 10 years ago. Bechdel succeeds New Yorker cartoonist and Brookfield resident Koren, who in turn succeeded Vermont's very first cartoonist laureate, James Kochalka of Burlington.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

New Parent University Cycle Offers Volunteer Opportunities in Schools

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 2:03 PM

Parent University program coordinator Ali Dieng  (far left) briefing Gita Dhakal, Chacha and Janine Ndagijimana - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Parent University program coordinator Ali Dieng (far left) briefing Gita Dhakal, Chacha and Janine Ndagijimana
Gertrude Moundouti believes in giving back to the community and making an impact. Last Friday, the Congolese  woman attended the kick-off for a new session of Parent University at the Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler in order to share her experience as a graduate of the program.

"Someone asked me to come, and I came and I learned," said Moundouti in an interview before the event. The 2016 graduate learned that she could approach other members of the school community for help, depending on the situation. She also learned to make fruit popsicles.

"[Previously], for me, it was just the teacher," Moundouti  said. "Now, I want other parents to learn, too, to be part of the community and be able to help their kids with school." To show support for the new participants, she'll be on hand to interpret for parents who speak Lingala or French.

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Joke of the Week: Pet Names

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 10:39 AM

It's Monday, which means it's time for your weekly dose of locavore levity: the Joke of the Week! This week's joke comes from Burlington's Eric Dreiblatt. Take it away, Eric…

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Playtime: RIP Halflounge / 'Rocking Time,' Urian Hackney

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 11:51 AM

Urian Hackney - SAWYER GREEN
  • Sawyer Green
  • Urian Hackney
Hello again, humans. I am a little teary-eyed this week over the closing of Church Street's Halflounge Speakeasy. The tiny bar was a hidden cove for local misfits for nearly a decade. Each summer weekend the place was packed from the blue-and-pink lit basement to the front patio. I'm stuck in my feelings for that little dance floor, so I'm going to unload some of my favorite memories of the place. If you aren't a nostalgic baby-blanket like myself, skip a couple paragraphs to read into the future of Vermont reggae, okay?

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alex Aldrich to Step Down From Vermont Arts Council

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 9:12 PM

Alex Aldrich - COURTESY OF VERMONT ARTS COUNCIL
  • Courtesy of Vermont Arts Council
  • Alex Aldrich
Vermont Arts Council announced today that executive director Alex Aldrich will be stepping down from his post on April 14, after more than 20 years of service. Aldrich joined VAC in January 1997, by way of his role as business manager for the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Teri Bordenave will serve as interim director while the VAC board of trustees conducts a nationwide search for Aldrich's replacement.

"[My departure] clears the deck for new innovative thinking," Aldrich told Seven Days by phone. "I think it will be really good for the council, and it'll be good for me … It's been a really good run."

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mike Finoia's Comedy Album 'Live in Burlington' Out Now

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Mike Finoia - COURTESY OF MIKE FINOIA
  • Courtesy of Mike Finoia
  • Mike Finoia
This just in: Mike Finoia hid a bunch of weed somewhere in Burlington back in November.  At least that's what the NYC comedian claims on the opening track of his new comedy album, Live in Burlington, which was released last Friday, March 17.

"Somewhere in this city I hid a full jar of amazing weed and it's up to you to find it," he tells a hysterical crowd. "So tomorrow, just Pokémon Go yourselves around Burlington, follow your nose. Champ helped me hide it, so it might be by the lake. It might be at Nectar's. I don't know."

Calls to Champ and Nectar's regarding the hidden weed were not immediately returned … or made.

Mike Finoia, 'Live in Burlington' - ALBUM ART BY BRUNO TRACY
  • Album Art by Bruno Tracy
  • Mike Finoia, 'Live in Burlington'
Finoia recorded the album over a two-night, four-show run at the Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington in November, just days after the election. Naturally, Trump comes up occasionally, alongside sharp riffs on love, marriage and aging. But Finoia's favorite topic might be the Queen City itself.

As Finoia told Seven Days before the recording, he's had a crush on Burlington since college. He even plans to call BTV home someday.

"Everybody has their own definition of success," he said in that interview. "Mine is just to have a place on the lake in South Burlington and live amongst the great people of Burlington."

Finoia's affection for Burlington is on display throughout his new album — not to mention on the cover, which was designed by local artist Bruno Tracy. But that doesn't mean he's above skewering some of our more insufferable Vermont-y traits.

"I love Burlington. I love coming up here," says Finoia as he takes the VCC stage. "I love being reminded of how shitty and unhealthy I really am by you jerks. Just when you start to feel good, I see a Subaru Outback with a 26.2 sticker on the back and I wanna fuckin' kill myself."

Listen to the first track from Live in Burlington below.  The album is available for purchase at iTunes.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Joke of the Week: the Gateway Drug

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 9:16 AM

It's Monday, which means it's time for your weekly dose of locavore levity: the Joke of the Week! This week's joke comes from Bridgewater's Collen Doyle. Take it away, Collen…

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Hirsute Pursuit for Make-A-Wish Vermont

Posted By on Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 2:50 PM

Vermont Beardies contestants at ArtsRiot in Burlington - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Vermont Beardies contestants at ArtsRiot in Burlington
Last night, ArtsRiot in Burlington was packed — with beards. It was the first annual Vermont Beardies competition, in which participants raised money for Make-A-Wish Vermont by showing off their luxurious facial locks.

The event itself was an informal affair. Contestants had about an hour to display their fuzzy features for the judges, who included Jonathan Goldsmith, the former "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis ad campaign.  Goldsmith and ArtsRiot employee Ben Rutter were charged with collecting the funniest — or most poignant — beard-related stories. At another judging table, Wish Kid Noah Cohen evaluated beards based on how many plastic clothespins they could hold.

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'The World According to Sound' Brings Audio Show to Vermont

Posted By on Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Sam Harnett and Chris Hoff of "The World According to Sound" - GUNDI VIGFUSSON
  • Gundi Vigfusson
  • Sam Harnett and Chris Hoff of "The World According to Sound"
This week, what is possibly the world's shortest radio show comes to Vermont. Kind of. The World According to Sound is a  90-second sonic series produced by San Francisco-based radio guys Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett. It airs weekly on public radio stations including NPR's "All Things Considered."

On March 25, Hoff and Hartnett will stage a live — and extended — version of the show at the University of Vermont. The performance kicks off their East Coast tour, which also stops on March 31 at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury.

Each episode of the show focuses on a different sound, as the title implies. Their selections are unpredictable and yet somehow completely mundane: Sounds made by people, animals and things that we usually only pay attention to in the context of a larger story. Together, Hoff and Harnett have broadcast the fuzzy thump of a pulsing artery, the roar of political protest, the labored sound of a coal miner's breath, and the wet gurgle of mud pots.

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Vermont Expat Comedians Rally Laughs and Loot for Stern Center

Posted By on Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 6:30 AM

Steve Waltien - COURTESY OF STEVE WALTIEN
  • Courtesy of Steve Waltien
  • Steve Waltien

Steve Waltien has a pretty funny boss: Jon Stewart. But Waltien is no slouch himself. The 38-year-old comedian and Shelburne native is an alum of the famed Chicago improv comedy theater, the Second City, and a member of the Improvised Shakespeare Company. He's now a writer on Stewart's new animated HBO series. While there is no official air date yet for the former "Daily Show" host's news parody show, Waltien says it will come out "soon."

In the meantime, local comedy fans can look forward to the Vermont expat's homecoming this week. Waltien returns to the Queen City for Laughter for Learning: Stern Center Benefit, a four-show, two-night run of improv comedy at the Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington on Wednesday and Thursday, March 22 and 23. Proceeds from the shows benefit the Stern Center for Language & Learning in Williston.

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