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Friday, March 31, 2017

Young Writers Project Wins Grant to Promote Islamic Art and Culture

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 2:02 PM

Muslim Girls Making Change slam poets - COURTESY OF YOUNG WRITERS PROJECT
  • Courtesy of Young Writers Project
  • Muslim Girls Making Change slam poets
For the first time, the Young Writers Project will receive a grant from the New York City-based Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. YWP is one of 11 organizations nationwide receiving the grants, which are funded by DDFIA's Building Bridges Program and designed to foster understanding of and reduce bias against Muslims across the U.S.

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Burlington Man Turns Waterfront Rocks, Driftwood Into Public Art

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Bryant Chase and his "African eland," right - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Bryant Chase and his "African eland," right
Bryant Chase gazed at his latest creation and chuckled. “This one reminds me of an African eland,” he said, pointing toward a rock formation he’d erected just south of Perkins Pier on the Burlington bike path.

All winter long, Chase has made similar artwork out of rocks and driftwood along the waterfront. Some mornings, he returns to find his towers still standing. Other times, they’ve been knocked over — by the weather or, more often than not, by some unknown troublemaker.

“As long as it makes people happy, I don’t care if the kids knock it down every night,” said Chase, 65. “I’ll just come back in the morning and keep redoing it.”

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

'On the Shoulders of Giants' Podcast Features Inspiring Vermonters

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 7:44 AM

Tinotenda Charles Rutanhira - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Tinotenda Charles Rutanhira
When Tinotenda Charles Rutanhira arrived in Vermont in 2000, he had $100 in his pocket. His first apartment in Burlington, he recalled, was so rickety, if you rolled a ball on the floor, you wouldn't know which way it would go. Rutanhira held multiple jobs, including as a waiter, dishwasher, cashier at a deli and daycare giver, to make ends meet.

Fast forward 17 years. Rutanhira is now a solutions strategist at and he's performing in the play The Call, at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in mid-April. The acting gig was borne out of his determination to do something that scares him each year. And it comes on the heels of an idea the Zimbabwean native finally put into action last October: making his own podcast.

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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

  • 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

  • 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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