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Saturday, March 19, 2016

BCA Center Curator Is Moving On

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2016 at 2:16 PM

DJ Hellerman - BCA CENTER
  • BCA Center
  • DJ Hellerman
The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, N.Y., is a blocky, minimalist masterpiece, the first museum designed by  I.M. Pei. When it opened in 1968, the building was deemed a career launcher for the now world-renowned architect.

The Everson may not catapult DJ Hellerman as it did Pei, but taking a job there as curator of art and programs is a certain step up the career ladder for the BCA Center chief curator and director of exhibitions.

Burlington City Arts executive director Doreen Kraft revealed in a newsletter this week that Hellerman would be leaving in April. He's been with BCA since July 2012.

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What I'm Watching: Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2016 at 9:00 AM

The first time I saw Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, it was on a ninth-generation VHS tape that one of my college film-nerd friends had dug up somewhere. Upon recently rewatching it for the first time in 20 years (thanks for the heads-up, Bobby!), I found it even more thought-provoking than I did when I was one of those film nerds. OK, I’m still a film nerd.

Superstar is famous for two things. It was effectively banned by a court order (about which more below), and it uses Barbie dolls as its main “actors.” The dolls are not animated, but are operated, with deliberate crudeness, as puppets, manipulated by unseen hands in real time as the camera rolls.

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Call to 'Starving' Artists: New BCA Fund Is Accepting Proposals

Posted By on Sun, Mar 6, 2016 at 1:20 PM

BCA Center behind a pile of money - JOHN JAMES
  • John James
  • BCA Center behind a pile of money
On Friday, March 4, Burlington City Arts made a big announcement. Acknowledging the city's growing number of artists and their financial needs, the organization has created a fund to support locally produced works. 

It's a new move for BCA, which has been criticized for exhibiting out-of-state contemporary artists at its Church Street gallery. (Though it's noteworthy that half of the artists in current ceramic exhibit "Dysfunction" are based in Vermont.)

For this pilot year,  $35,000 has been allocated for the Burlington City Arts Community Fund. The BCA board raised $15,000, and the City of Burlington contributed $20,000. Both are outside of BCA's annual operating budget. 

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Friday, March 4, 2016

BIG Maker Presents Engineer David Sengeh

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 4:32 PM

David Sengeh - JOHN WERNER
  • John Werner
  • David Sengeh
David Sengeh is no stranger to amputation. While the biomechatronics engineer — who will receive his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this spring — has all of his limbs, thousands from his native Sierra Leone are not as fortunate. (Amputation was a common form of brutal intimidation employed by the Revolutionary United Front during the country's nine-year civil war.) 

That's one reason Sengeh devoted his graduate career to solving a globally applicable problem: the fact that most prosthetic sockets, where the limb attaches to the prosthetic, are incredibly uncomfortable. Last night at Champlain College, as part of Generator's ongoing BIG Maker series, Sengeh spoke about his work in that area. 

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Movies You Missed: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 2:12 PM

Still from What Happened, Miss Simone? - COURTESY OF SUNDANCE INSTITUTE
  • Courtesy of Sundance Institute
  • Still from What Happened, Miss Simone?
Recently, after I made a passing reference to Nina Simone in my writing, I learned that I am old. Most Millennials and younger folks, I was told, have no clue who this person is.

Perhaps that has changed in the past week. The trailer for the forthcoming Nina biopic —starring Zoe Saldana with dark makeup and a prosthetic nose — is now making the internet rounds, drawing strong reactions on Twitter and elsewhere.

It was that flap that made me realize it was time to correct my own ignorance about Simone. Fact is, almost all I knew about her came from references in movies. For me, Simone was the chain-smoking diva Julie Delpy imitates at the end of Before Sunset, or the source of the song that Gugu Mbatha-Raw performs unforgettably in Beyond the Lights.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

U.S. Promotes LGBT Rights With Fun Home

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 4:56 PM

Alison Bechdel at Fun Home - EVA SOLLBERGER
  • Eva Sollberger
  • Alison Bechdel at Fun Home
Vermont cartoonist Alison Bechdel has had an exhilarating decade. Her 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was a bestseller. In 2014 she became a MacArthur fellow, and Fun Home was made into a musical that won five Tony Awards last year. Oh, and Bechdel got married last year, too.

Today, a Reuters story (as reported on joemygod.com) heaps more accolades on Fun Home from an unexpected source:  U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. According to the story, Power  took 15 fellow ambassadors from countries around the world to see the Broadway show as part of an effort to promote LGBT rights. She told Reuters that the lesbian coming-of-age story "brings home the challenges that LGBTI  are facing every day around the world."

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Special Collections: 'Small Worlds'

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 3:59 PM

Miniature of Marcel Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel" readymade by Andrea Rosen - COURTESY OF ANDREA ROSEN
  • Courtesy of Andrea Rosen
  • Miniature of Marcel Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel" readymade by Andrea Rosen
When  Andrea Rosen, the new curator of UVM's Fleming Museum of Art, was growing up in New York City, she and her family would pilgrimage to the annual convention of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans. Before returning home, she and her sister would be allowed to purchase one or two treasures made by exhibitors. These things, Rosen says, still make her happy whenever she sees them on the dresser in her mother's home: a dish of Purina dog food, a music book,  a pack of M&M's, all of which could easily fit in the palm of her hand. 

Rosen related this early memory to a small but invested audience during her March 2 lunchtime lecture, "Small Worlds: Miniatures From the Fleming Collection." 

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bernie Sanders
Watch Bernie Sanders and Vermont Musicians Sing 'This Land Is Your Land'

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Toward the end of last night's Super Tuesday rally in Essex, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined pianist Ben Folds and a crew of local musicians onstage to perform "This Land Is Your Land," a signature song of his campaign — at least in Vermont.  We've definitively established that Bernie's not much of a singer, but he had plenty of help. Although he wasn't on mic, we did get to witness some of the man's legendary rhythm.

You'll recognize several of the singers from a video some of his very talented constituents released in January. Vermont musicians Dwight Richter, Nicole Nelson, Kat Wright and Brett Hughes belted the gospel-inspired, acoustic arrangement, joined by Sanders staffer Paul Stovall (who earlier performed the national anthem) and Folds on piano. Wife Jane O'Meara Sanders, son Levi Sanders and a collection of grandchildren also joined the candidate onstage.

Without further ado, here's the video:

  • Video by James Buck

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