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Friday, February 26, 2016

Bernie Sanders
Local Artists Feel the Bern, Raise Money for Sanders Campaign

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 10:49 AM

Phinneus Sonin, acting as auctioneer, calls for bids with ONE Arts Center staffer Mellisa Cain. - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Phinneus Sonin, acting as auctioneer, calls for bids with ONE Arts Center staffer Mellisa Cain.
"OK, let's practice stretching those arms out," the auctioneer called from the stage of ArtsRiot in Burlington on Wednesday night. Some 100 audience members obligingly raised their hands in the air. It was practice for bidding on art to benefit Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.

The Bernie Pop-up Art Show & Auction,  organized by Burlington's ONE Arts Center, raised $2,275 by the end of the night, and donated all of it to the campaign. 

Between 30 and 40 artists donated works to the event, said ONE Arts co-director Margaret Coleman. Most are Vermonters, but she said her call to artists on Craigslist garnered a few entries from as far away as California. 

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bernie Sanders
So, Is a Thing

Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 12:57 PM banner - COURTESY OF BERNIESINGLES.COM
  • Courtesy of
  • banner
Gloria Steinem recently opined that young women favor Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in Democratic presidential primaries not because they identify more with his progressive politics or find his grouchy fire inspiring, but because, well, they're looking for dudes.

"When you're young, you're thinking, Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie," she said on the HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher."

The feminist icon's remarks were widely criticized as being patronizing to young liberal women. But is it possible she was onto something?

Nope, not at all. Steinem's comments were ill-advised and insulting — not to mention heteronormative — by any measure. But a new dating website,, does suggest that maybe Bernie-boosters are indeed looking for love in addition to social justice, income equality and political revolution.    

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bernie Sanders
Who Really Won New Hampshire? Vermonters!

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 1:02 PM

Craig Mitchell's Bernie Sanders tattoo - COURTESY OF CRAIG MITCHELL
  • Courtesy of Craig Mitchell
  • Craig Mitchell's Bernie Sanders tattoo
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won the New Hampshire primary in convincing fashion earlier this week — superdelegates be damned. But ol' Bernardo didn't hog the media love for himself. In share-the-wealth fashion befitting a democratic socialist, he shared the national and local media spotlight with a number of Vermonters in the wake of the primary.  

Here's a quick roundup of those getting some shine this week.

Vermont musicians were featured prominently at Sanders events, official and otherwise, in New Hampshire, most notably Kat Wright and Brett Hughes and Dwight & Nicole. A picture of Hughes and Wright made the print and digital editions of the Washington Post. And Wright, Hughes and Dwight Ritcher — aka the "Bernie Sanders Singers" — were the subject of the short New York Times video below.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bernie Sanders
The Popular Art of Populism: Bernie Sanders Edition

Posted By on Sat, Feb 6, 2016 at 5:03 PM

Anthill Collective's Bernie Sanders mural behind ArtsRiot - COURTESY OF ANTHILL COLLECTIVE
  • Courtesy of Anthill Collective
  • Anthill Collective's Bernie Sanders mural behind ArtsRiot
Art can be many things. Sometimes it's a photograph of a potato that sells for more than $1 million; other times it's creative expression, political mobilization and marketing all rolled into one. 

Last September, Bernie Sanders promised, "I will be an arts president. Art is speech. Art is what life is about.” Now, with promising results at the Iowa caucus, the Sanders campaign has picked up momentum — and its art game. As musicians including Vampire Weekend, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and a slew of Vermont artists have clamored to sonically show their support, visual artists are stepping up as well. And not just by designing merch

Perusers of the Bernie Instagram may have noticed a new logo cropping up on certain images: an eagle clutching pen and paintbrush in its talons. The official logo, created by Burlington designers Marin Horikawa and Dennis Healy, has emerged in conjunction with the traveling exhibition "The Art of a Political Revolution." It was organized by the Sanders campaign's arts, culture and youth director Luis Calderin, who issued a call to artists last fall.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Bernie Sanders
Soundbites Extra: Signals Series Returns, LIVE at ArtsRiot Begins, Another Bernie Tribute

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 10:58 AM

  • Courtesy of Waylon Speed
  • Waylon Speed
The news about Alan Newman buying a stake in Higher Ground ate up most of this week's Soundbites column, so a few items got bumped. With the weekend nearly here, let's take a quick look at those bits and pieces.

Last fall, local experimental music composer Greg Davis served as the first-ever sonic artist-in-residence at Champlain College. As part of that endeavor, he curated a music series called the Signals Series. It featured notable experimental composers from around the country, including Jeffre Cantu, Ben Vida and Davis himself.

The series was such a success that Davis and Champlain College are bringing it back for the spring semester. The first installment is tonight, February 5, at the Lounge Gallery in the Center for Communication and Creative Media at Champlain College. This one presents Montréal duo Le Révélateur. Here's what you can expect, according to the artists themselves:

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bernie Sanders
BTV Musicians Honor Bernie With 'This Land Is Your Land'

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 5:10 PM

R to L: Dwight Ritcher, Nicole Nelson, Kelly Ravin, Kat Wright, Brett Hughes, Francesca Blanchard, Marie Claire Johnson, Stephanie Lynn Heaghney
  • R to L: Dwight Ritcher, Nicole Nelson, Kelly Ravin, Kat Wright, Brett Hughes, Francesca Blanchard, Marie Claire Johnson, Stephanie Lynn Heaghney
As anyone who has heard his 1987 folk album We Shall Overcome knows, singing ain't exactly Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) strong suit. Fortunately, he's got some tremendously talented constituents in his hometown who can lend his message a slightly less gruff and agitated voice.

Recently, an all-star collection of local Bernie-rooting singers and musicians joined forces at Burlington's Signal Kitchen, "We Are the World" style, to do exactly that, recording a soulful, gospel-inspired rendition of Sanders' favorite song, Woody Guthrie's iconic "This Land Is Your Land."

The band is a veritable who's who of local talent, including vocalists Dwight & Nicole, Francesca Blanchard, Marie Claire Johnson, Smooth Antics' Stephanie Lynn Heaghney, Waylon Speed's Kelly Ravin and Kat Wright. Several members of Wright's band, the Indomitable Soul Band, turn up, too. Among these are Josh Weinstein (bass), Ezra Oklan (drums), Bob Wagner (guitar) and Shane Hardiman (keys).

Rounding out the group are guitarists Lowell Thompson and Brett Hughes, the latter of whom organized the supergroup session with Wright and Bernie staffer Luis Calderin. Here's Hughes on how the project came together: 

During many conversations with Luis Calderin, Bernie's Arts & Culture and Youth Vote coordinator, we discussed trying to build interest and participation in the campaign process around music and musicians, both from the local scene and nationally. He really wanted a version of "This Land Is Your Land" that felt like it was both updated and classic, and asked if Kat Wright and I could put together a version and pull in the musical community for a recording. The version that emerged came out of thinking about where the country is at the moment, and where we hope to see it moving toward. We wanted to add texture and dynamics as the song progresses, in the way that more people joining a movement add their voices and their energy.  
If the apex of Bernie's movement is anywhere near as dynamic and moving as the climactic end of this tune — particularly the jaw-dropping interplay between Wright and Nelson — it would bode awfully well for his presidential hopes. Check it out:    

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders
Burning the Bern: Ashley Campbell's Presidential Pumpkin

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 2:08 PM

  • Courtesy of Ashley Campbell
  • The completed Bernkin
All hail the BERN-KIN! 'Tis the season for crunchy leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and combining political iconography (read: Bernie's face) with beloved Halloween traditions.

As far as carving jack-o'-lanterns goes, some people can only manage the classic "triangle eyes" design, or prefer not to wield knives at all. But Ashley Campbell of Campbell Carvings is not one of them. This year, the co-owner of Shelburne's Rustic Roots restaurant has put her prodigious carving skills to work creating an ephemeral masterpiece of socialist portraiture. 

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bernie Sanders
Bang the Drum Slowly: HuffPo's Hilarious New Bernie Video

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 1:24 PM

Bernie Sanders Plays The Bongos To Ben Harper's ‘Burn One Down’

Bernie breaks it down with "Burn One Down."

Posted by The Huffington Post on Wednesday, October 21, 2015
There has been no shortage of funny Sen. Bernie Sanders videos throughout the early presidential primary season. There was the "Bernie Sanders Is Not Boring" sketch for Funny Or Die. There was the "Bernie Damn Sanders" mashup. And, of course, there was the cold open segment with Larry David as Sanders last weekend on "Saturday Night Live." (BTW, Bernie responded to SNL's sketch with his own impression of David on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" last night.) But yesterday, while everyone else was getting their Back to the Future on, the folks at the Huffington Post quietly raised the bar for bizarro Bernie bits with what might be the funniest Sanders video yet: Sanders playing the bongo part to Ben Harper's "Burn One Down" at last week's Dem debate on CNN.

Obviously, the title of Harper's earnest stoner ballad makes the song rife for a Sanders parody. And that proves doubly true given the weed legislation segment of the debate, which HuffPo video editors Oliver Noble and Ben Craw handle masterfully. But the real brilliance of HuffPo's video is that it tweaks a key Sanders trait that most parodies have thus far overlooked: his emphatically percussive gesticulation. Brilliant.

Click here to watch the video on HuffPo.    

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bernie Sanders
This Week in Weird Bernie Sanders Crap: Comics and Porn!

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Bernie's Desire by I.I. Dene
  • Bernie's Desire by I.I. Dene
This just in: Bernie Sanders gets people hot. And not just in that feverish "We are the 99 percent!" kind of way. As reported by Jezebel's Ellie Shechet, the excitement over Sanders' presidential run has reached a climax in the form of a 67-page work of erotic fan fiction titled Bernie's Desire.

The eBook, penned by I.I. Dene, is the first in the Presidential Passion Series and follows in a longstanding historical tradition of erotic fan fiction dating back to the 1788 hit Washington's Cherry — though the phenomenon truly peaked in 1865 with the S&M novel Honest Abe's Chains of Bondage. A posthumous Lincoln sequel, POTUS Interruptus, was not as well received, for obvious reasons. 

Dene's outlandishly porneriffic novella features the distinguished gentleman from Vermont — and his wife, Jane Sanders — in all manner of compromising situations, including, but not limited to, orgies, drug parties and, in one particularly imaginative passage, shapeshifting sex. But it's meant to be as educational as it is titillating, using salacious scenes as a means of kinda-sorta explaining Bernie's socialist, ahem, positions. 

(Rumors of a follow-up erotic novel, Feel the Bern, about a perhaps inevitable trip to the VD clinic, are, as of press time, completely made up by me. We suspect its publication will depend on Sanders' ability to achieve and sustain his election.)

"Politcal Power: Bernie Sanders"
  • "Politcal Power: Bernie Sanders"
For a different kind of Sanders porn, we turn to the comic book world, where this week graphic novel publishing company StormFront Entertainment released "Political Power: Bernie Sanders." The comic is the latest in a series of biographical comics about presidential hopefuls, following books about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul. Yes, it seems even in the funny pages, as in the national media, Bernie gets, well, trumped for coverage.

Judging by sample pages sent to Seven Days, the comic applies the superhero narrative arc to politicking, zealously painting Bernie as a righteous, non-caped crusader for the common man. Writer and illustrator Joe Paradise, who also drew the Clinton, Bush and Paul comics, offers Sanders' humble origin story, his unlikely rise to power and highlights epic battles he's fought against supervillains such as evil-doing Republicans and the NRA — all in the name of truth, justice and the American way, of course. Here's hoping that if he's elected, Bernie remembers that most important of lessons from another comic, "Spiderman": With great power, comes great responsibility. 


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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bernie Sanders
It's Bernie Damn Sanders, Yo!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2015 at 2:19 PM

  • Courtesy of Daniell Krawczyk
You know what's been missing from Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign? I mean, like, aside from serious coverage from mainstream media outlets? A bangin' hip-hop video, that's what. Thankfully, that issue was addressed earlier this week, when a group of friends based in various states throughout the country collaborated on a new song and vid called "Bernie Damn Sanders."

The video uses old Bernie footage from the archives at CCTV Channel 17 in Burlington that alone is worth checking out — especially the opening segment featuring a young-ish Bernie clumsily referencing Rambo and "Stylvester Stalloney." BTW, local multimedia guru Bill Simmon consulted on the editing process.

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