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Friday, May 15, 2020

Middlebury College Students Create Website for 3,000-Year-Old Assyrian Panels

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 1:23 PM

  • Middlebury College digital methodologies class
  • Detail of the NW x NE website home page
On May 4, the 10 Middlebury College students in Sarah Laursen’s course on digital methodologies for art historians held their final class of the semester on Zoom. That wasn’t unusual, because Middlebury, like other colleges around the state and country, had sent their students home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

However, the guests Laursen invited to the Zoom call were notable: Sarah Graff, an associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; and Sean Burrus, the Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral curatorial fellow at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

While Seven Days listened in, Laursen’s students presented to the two art historians their semester-long project: a website examining one of Middlebury College’s first art acquisitions, which is a carved stone panel nearly 3,000 years old. The detailed relief, depicting a muscular, winged man with an impressive beard, is one of hundreds that once adorned the interior walls of the Northwest Palace, built by the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (who reigned from 883 to 859 BC), in Nimrud (near present-day Mosul, Iraq).

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Who's Leaving Inspirational Painted Rocks Around South Burlington and the South End?

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2020 at 3:52 PM

A Love Rock in South Burlington - DAN BOLLES
  • Dan Bolles
  • A Love Rock in South Burlington
Like most Vermonters abiding by the rules of self-isolation and quarantine,  I've been talking a lot of walks. Once a day or more, my furry sidekick Mookie Petts and I venture out for a lengthy constitutional to get some air, stretch our six legs and generally do what we can to avoid losing our minds. (He's doing a better job at the last than I, most days.)

Since mid-March, our usual outdoorsy haunts have become overrun. Formerly peaceful, these excursions to places like Red Rocks Park and Mount Philo State Park have become nerve-wracking experiences — less cardio than an exercise in passing silent, fuming judgment on our peers: What does six feet look like to you, pal? You know your mask doesn't work if it's around your neck, right?  Can you get the virus from your poop bag left on the side of the trail?

So these days, we've been spending more time closer to home, jogging on a wide recreational path nearby or aimlessly wandering the quiet streets of our burbs-y neighborhood along the border of Burlington and South Burlington. It's been far more enjoyable than white-knuckle walks in the woods — and not just because it's typically less crowded.

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Sunset Drive-In to Reopen Friday

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2020 at 11:26 AM

The Sunset Drive-In - EVA SOLLBERGER
  • Eva Sollberger
  • The Sunset Drive-In
Since late March, the only movies playing in Vermont have been in people's living rooms. That changes this weekend. Peter Handy, owner of the Sunset Drive-In in Colchester, announced on Facebook Wednesday that he will start showing movies on Friday and continue all week.

The announcement arrived the same day as Gov. Phil Scott's latest press conference on the state's COVID-19 response. After discussing the possibility of drive-in graduations, Scott was asked about drive-in movie theaters.

"I'm not aware of drive-in theaters being precluded from opening at all," the governor responded. He noted that the state has "encouraged drive-in religious services," then reflected that the coronavirus response might lead to "a revival of the past in many respects. We're seeing carhops and curbside service and so forth, and we may see more of the drive-in theater approach."

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

UVM Professor Emily Bernard Named a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2020 at 4:27 PM

Emily Bernard - ANDY DUBACK
  • Andy Duback
  • Emily Bernard
Pandemic aside, Emily Bernard is having a pretty good year. The University of Vermont English professor is fresh off winning the Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose in the Los Angeles Times 2020 Book Prizes competition. That was one of numerous accolades for her 2019 collection of autobiographical essays Black Is the Body: Stories From My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine. This week, she was awarded yet another prestigious honor.

Bernard was named a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The fellowship includes a $200,000 prize, given to scholars to support "research in the humanities and social sciences that addresses important and enduring issues confronting our society." Bernard was among 27 fellows elected from a pool of more than 300 nominations.

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'Upload'

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2020 at 5:00 PM

Nathan (Robbie Amell) discovering his new world in "Upload" - COURTESY OF AMAZON STUDIOS
  • Courtesy of Amazon Studios
  • Nathan (Robbie Amell) discovering his new world in "Upload"
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The series:
“Upload” (season one, 10 episodes, 2020)

Where to see it:
Amazon Prime Video

The deal:
In 2033, no one has to die — no one who can afford to have their consciousness digitized and uploaded to a virtual afterlife, anyway. Twentysomething tech bro Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) hasn’t yet made provisions for his own untimely demise, which occurs in the pilot episode when his self-driving car rams itself into a truck.

Luckily (or unluckily) for him, his image-obsessed girlfriend, Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), comes from a 1 percent family with “unlimited data.” As medical personnel fight for Nathan’s life, she persuades him to let himself be preemptively uploaded to the swanky Horizen Lakeview, a rustic grand hotel inside a computer server. (Exteriors were filmed in a real place: Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y.)

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Friday, May 8, 2020

The Mask Is the Message on a Barre Sculpture

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2020 at 6:49 PM

"Youth Triumphant" - SUE HIGBY
  • Sue Higby
  • "Youth Triumphant"
Face masks have been appearing on public artworks since the pandemic began, from Wuhan to Rome to New York City to … Barre. Sue Higby, director of Studio Place Arts in Barre, took this shot of  "Youth Triumphant" — a sculpture that presides over the intersection of Main and Washington streets downtown — and sent it our way.

As symbols go, a mask over the mouth would seem to suggest being silenced, and yet this masked man has something important to say.

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Quarantine Book Club: Reading Recommendations From the Flying Pig Bookstore

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2020 at 2:46 PM

Elizabeth Bluemle at the Flying Pig Bookstore window - COURTESY OF ELIZABETH BLUEMLE
  • Courtesy of Elizabeth Bluemle
  • Elizabeth Bluemle at the Flying Pig Bookstore window
As Vermonters remain hunkered down during the coronavirus pandemic, finding ways to stave off boredom is more important than ever. But what to do when you've already burned through the home library? Throughout this indefinite period of isolation, we're checking in with local booksellers for reading tips. Next up in the Quarantine Book Club: the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne.

On the eve of the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in July 2007, the Flying Pig hosted a massive outdoor event that drew 1,500 muggles to the shop. The celebration featured herbology and potion-making classes and an owl demonstration by the Audubon Society.

Then, at midnight, those lucky readers with golden tickets lined up to receive their copy of the final book in J.K. Rowling's epic series from Flying Pig owner Elizabeth Bluemle. She handed them out through a window on the side of the store.

"That window has a happy history," said Bluemle.

Now, a new chapter of the window's history is being written. Since March,  the Flying Pig has offered contactless pickup, like other bookstores throughout Vermont. But rather than curbside, the store has delivered books, games and puzzles to customers via its handy window. 

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Middlebury's McLeod Kredell Architects Named to Design Vanguard

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2020 at 10:22 AM

The Mad River House in Warren by McLeod Kredell - ERICA ALLEN STUDIO
  • Erica Allen Studio
  • The Mad River House in Warren by McLeod Kredell
McLeod Kredell Architects in Middlebury has garnered a slew of awards, which the firm modestly buries within its website. These include American Institute of Architects-Vermont awards for excellence in design in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and AIA-New England awards in 2013 and 2017.

On May 4 this year, it won recognition of a more international sort: McLeod Kredell  became the first Vermont firm to be named to Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard. The industry’s leading magazine in the U.S., which has a broad global readership, started the Design Vanguard award in 2000. Each year, its editors identify 10 emerging firms to watch around the world.

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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Rachel Bissex White Light Fund Launches $1,000 Mother's Day Songwriting Giveaway

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2020 at 2:38 PM

  • Courtesy of the Rachel Bissex White Light Fund
  • Rachel Bissex
In most years, the Rachel Bissex White Light Fund teams up with Advance Music and 104.7 FM the Point to provide the cash prize for the annual Advance Music Singer/Songwriter Contest. But since the pandemic has put the kibosh on large public gatherings, this year the organization is taking a different tack.

Recently, the White Light Fund invited songwriters to write and record songs about or inspired by mothers, or that have a motherhood theme, and post them to the In Love and Memory of Rachel Bissex Facebook group. Submissions will be accepted through Sunday, May 10 — that's Mother's Day, BTW,  in case you'd forgotten. On Monday, May 11,  10 submissions will be drawn at random, and each of those songsters will receive a $100 cash prize — or "gig money," as a flyer detailing the giveaway calls it.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Vermont Poet Laureate Mary Ruefle Named a Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2020 at 2:06 PM

  • Courtesy of Hannah Ensor
  • Mary Ruefle

The 2020 Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday afternoon via livestream, but Vermont poet laureate Mary Ruefle did not tune in. Ruefle, who lives in Bennington, doesn’t own a computer; her sole portal to the internet is her iPad, which she checks a couple times a day to stay apprised of the news.

Later that evening, as she caught up on headlines while making dinner, Ruefle discovered that her poetry collection,
Dunce, was one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. She went on cooking.

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