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Friday, May 28, 2021

'Hadestown' Returns to Broadway

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2021 at 2:03 PM

  • Courtesy of Matthew Murphy
  • Cast of Hadestown
The smash musical Hadestown returns to Broadway on Thursday, September 2. Written by Vermont singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, the show won eight Tony Awards in 2019, and was nominated for an additional six. Performances on Broadway were suspended in March 2020, when all of New York City's theaters closed due to the pandemic.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Higher Ground and Burlington City Arts Announce New Event Series, Backside 405

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2021 at 10:28 AM

DJ Disco Phatom behind BCA Studios - JORDAN ADAMS ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Jordan Adams ©️ Seven Days
  • DJ Disco Phatom behind BCA Studios
Higher Ground and Burlington City Arts are teaming up for a new outdoor event series in the South End. Backside 405 will take place behind BCA Studios at 405 Pine St., and feature live music and DJs, food trucks and alcohol sales. The series, which begins this weekend, will start out with a 500-person capacity.

Backside 405 is set to run every Friday and Saturday through July. The kickoff on Friday, May 28, features DJ Disco Phantom. Saturday's show brings surf-rock band Barbacoa and psych-rock trio Quiltro. View the full lineup on Facebook.

Gates will open at 7 p.m., and music will run from 8 to 10 p.m. with a hard cutoff time. Tickets are expected to be in the $10-15 range. A season pass is available for $99.

“Since most indoor venues (including HG) aren’t reopening in earnest until the end of the summer, we wanted to provide a summer stage to artists who are hungry to perform again,” Higher Ground co-owner Alex Crothers wrote in an email.

The performance area will be protected from the elements, and the shows are rain or shine. Masks are encouraged but not required for the event, according to a press release from Higher Ground.

The Burlington City Council recently pushed back a vote to eliminate the citywide mask ordinance to June 7. Though masks are currently still required in Burlington city buildings and retail establishments, other Queen City spaces are regulated by the state's guidance, which says that only unvaccinated people need to wear masks. Capacity on outdoor events is currently limited to 900 unvaccinated people.

Find ticket info for Backside 405 here and at

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Friday, May 14, 2021

Potter Jeremy Ayers Fends Off Corporate Copycat

Posted By on Fri, May 14, 2021 at 5:21 PM

Jeremy Ayers in his studio - COURTESY OF JESSICA SIPE
  • Courtesy of Jessica Sipe
  • Jeremy Ayers in his studio
When is imitation not the sincerest form of flattery? When it's actually a rip-off.

Vermont potter Jeremy Ayers recently learned from an observant Instagram follower that a corporate behemoth appeared to have copied one of his designs. Clothing and home goods retailer Anthropologie was offering a mug that looked suspiciously like one Ayers has been making for the past decade.

It's a distinctive design — striped glaze, "accordion" shape. But Anthropologie's version had a crucial difference: "The handle sucks," Ayers wrote on his Facebook page. Indeed, any experienced potter — or frequent holder of mugs — could see that the semi-circular handle of the Anthropologie mug is not hand-friendly.

And, of course, there was another key difference: price. Anthropologie's mug was priced at $14.99, Ayers said. His mugs, thrown one at a time in the artisan's Waterbury studio, sell for $40 apiece.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival Announces Lineup

Posted By on Tue, May 11, 2021 at 2:49 PM

  • Courtesy of Daniel Bernard Roumain
  • Daniel Bernard Roumain
The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival is back.

From Friday, June 4, through Sunday, June 13, the annual music marathon returns to various locations around the Queen City, centering on the Church Street Marketplace, organizers announced in a press conference on Tuesday. In 2020, BDJF pivoted to a fully virtual experience called the Burlington ReDiscover Jazz Festival. This year's edition marks the first major live event to hit the Green Mountains since the coronavirus pandemic decimated the performing arts industry in March 2020.
BDJF 2021 will be scaled down from past years, but will nonetheless include a robust selection of local and regional artists, as well as local school band performances. Except for a few ticketed shows at Main Street nightclub Nectar's and Church Street mainstay Halvorson's Upstreet Café, all BDJF performances will be free to the public. See the full lineup below.

The festival kicks off on June 4 with an event called 50 Saxophones on the Burlington Waterfront. Led by local funk icon Dave Grippo, scores of local sax players will converge for the inaugural event.

While the bulk of BDJF shows will happen on the Church Street Marketplace,  green spaces such as Roosevelt Park, Starr Farm Park & Playground and Smalley Park will also host performances. These include sets from Dwight & Nicole (Saturday, June 5), Kat Wright (Sunday, June 6) and Matthew Evan Taylor featuring JACK Quartet (Sunday, June 13). An extension of the Flynn's 2020 event series, Hurly Burly, the park shows will feature artists performing on makeshift stages wheeled in on the back of flatbed trucks.

Additionally, the entire block of Main Street in front of the Flynn will become a Hurly Burly block party on Saturday, June 12, with performances from Ray Vega and his Latin Jazz Sextet, plus psych fusion outfit Barika.
Other performances of note include what are being called "conversations" between disparate artists who've never previously worked together. Conceived of and curated by Saint Michael's College associate professor of art Bill Ellis, the unique pairings include saxophonist Brian McCarthy and rapper Edwin Owusu (fka S.I.N.siZZle), pianist Tom Cleary and Afro-jazz duo KeruBo's Irene Kerubo Webster, vocalist Amber deLaurentis and cumbia bandleader Maïz Sandoval, guitarists Paul Asbell and Mikahely, and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain with percussionist Gopal Niroula. Dates and times are TBA.

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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Vermont Pride Theater Evolves Into Vermont Social Justice Festival

Posted By on Sat, May 1, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Actors in 'Family Holiday,' a 2017 Vermont Pride Theater production - COURTESY OF TIM CALABRO/FIRST LIGHT STUDIOS
  • Courtesy of Tim Calabro/First Light Studios
  • Actors in 'Family Holiday,' a 2017 Vermont Pride Theater production
After 10 years hosting festivals and benefits to celebrate LGBTQ theater, the Vermont Pride Theater at the Chandler Center for the Arts is relaunching as the Vermont Social Justice Festival. The event, which will begin in summer 2022, is widening its scope to examine diversity, inequality and other issues.

Vermont Pride Theater began a decade ago to bring LGBTQ voices to the stage in Randolph and has since presented more than 50 events. According to Chandler executive director Karen Dillon, 10-year lifespan was always the plan; that milestone gave the Chandler board a chance to deliberate on what would come next.

Using Vermont Pride Theater as a springboard, they decided to go bigger.

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