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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Flynn Center Races to Complete Repair Work After Flooding

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 9:40 PM

Repair work outside the Flynn Center - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Repair work outside the Flynn Center
The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts is in a race against time to ensure that the flooding repair work in the FlynnSpace is completed before the upcoming performing arts season.

A water main pipe, located under the marquee, burst early Monday morning, causing water to flow into the downstairs venue and a storage area where production equipment, including lighting, was kept.

"We are too early on in assessing the damage," said Anna Marie Gewirtz, who assumed her new role as executive director of the Flynn just six weeks ago. "We are doing everything in our power to get things back in pristine condition and working order."

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Vermont Stage Finds a New Home at Black Box Theatre

Posted By on Sat, Aug 11, 2018 at 10:31 AM

Kim Rosenstock's 'Tigers Be Still,' from a review April 25, 2018 - COURTESY OF LINDSAY RAYMONDJACK
  • Courtesy of Lindsay Raymondjack
  • Kim Rosenstock's 'Tigers Be Still,' from a review April 25, 2018
Vermont Stage is leaving the FlynnSpace after 17 years to take up residence at the Main Street Landing Black Box Theatre.

"We have become a victim of our own success,"  wrote board chair Peter Espenshade in an email. "The move will allow us to meet the demand for live theater and will allow us more room, from the lobby to backstage, to produce world-class theater," he said.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Refugee Communities Find Cause for Celebration During Difficult Year

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 4:09 PM

Interpreter Poe Poh (left) and Thaw Theet at Leddy Park in Burlington - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Interpreter Poe Poh (left) and Thaw Theet at Leddy Park in Burlington
For the last seven years, Thaw Theet has always attended local festivities to commemorate World Refugee Day, which is observed across the world on June 20.

"I came here as a refugee," said the South Burlington resident. "Even though I am now a U.S. citizen, I will never forget where I came from." Though Theet understands English, she's shy about conversing in the language and chose to speak through an interpreter instead.

Theet, an ethnic-Karen from Myanmar, isn't alone in wanting to honor her history. Last Saturday, upward of 300 people — refugees, former refugees, social service providers and community partners — gathered at Burlington's Leddy Park to celebrate World Refugee Day.

"It's a happy day for me," said Theet, 33.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Burlington's Flynn Center Hires a New Executive Director

Posted By on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 12:43 PM

Anna Maria Gewirtz - COURTESY OF THE FLYNN CENTER
  • Courtesy of the Flynn Center
  • Anna Maria Gewirtz
The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts has a new leader at the helm.  Anna Marie Gewirtz, recent acting president and CEO at State Theatre New Jersey, brings to Burlington two decades of experience in Garden State arts and culture.

Gewirtz replaces outgoing executive director and CEO John Killacky, who announced in September that he would be leaving  the Flynn after eight years. In April, Killacky, who lives in South Burlington, declared his candidacy for the Vermont House of Representatives.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Former South Sudanese Refugee Shares His Post-Independence Reflections

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2018 at 5:06 PM

Abraham Awolich - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Abraham Awolich
In 2011, Abraham Awolich left the U.S. to return to his native South Sudan. He confessed that he had thought about moving back to Vermont since then. Intense clashes between rival political factions in 2014 and 2015 had left him "sometimes scared," and living conditions in the capital, Juba, remain difficult, he said.

Awolich is in Burlington for a week to reconnect with his friends, as well as to ask the public to continue to support his projects in South Sudan. On Tuesday, he gave a presentation to a group of about 30 people at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Many, if not all, in attendance had known Awolich and his peers since they first arrived in Vermont 17 years ago.

What has kept him in South Sudan these past few years, Awolich said, is a sense of purpose and commitment. In the wake of the country's independence in 2011, he wants to help negotiate what he calls "rapid" and "dramatic" transitions.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Cultural Mosaic: The Kiesse Brothers Bring Congolese Performing Arts to Vermont

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 1:54 PM

Rodrick (left) and Beny Kiesse - COURTESY OF BENY KIESSE
  • Courtesy of Beny Kiesse
  • Rodrick (left) and Beny Kiesse
Beny Kiesse describes himself as a producer, singer, dancer, designer, illustrator and model. Recently,  he's earned another title:  community organizer.

On Saturday, May 12, Kiesse will perform alongside his brother Rodrick and other local artists at the Social Club & Lounge in Burlington for an event that he's dubbed "International Affairs Night."

"Many of the performers are talented but don't have any support," explained Beny, whose stage name is BenyGola. He said it took him about a month to organize the event, which will include performances by A2VT and Cadoux Fancy. "The sole purpose of this show," he continued, "is to show everyone that we, indeed, have undiscovered talents within the city."

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Bhutanese Community Prepares to Host Major Kirat Rai Festival

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 1:10 PM

Sakela dance rehearsal at the Old North End Community Center - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Sakela dance rehearsal at the Old North End Community Center
For the past three years since he resettled in Vermont in 2014, Harka Rai was unable to perform ceremonial rituals to celebrate Ubhauli Sakela. On that day, members of the Kirat Rai community ask Mother Nature for healthy crops and protection from natural calamities.

Last week, the octogenarian was at the Old North End Community Center in Burlington to watch a dozen people practice a dance that they'll perform on Saturday, April 28, to mark Ubhauli Sakela. "It's good. This is the way," Rai said of the dance rehearsal.

And Rai will lead the day's rituals, as the local chapter of the Bhutanese Kirat Rai Organization of America hosts the festival in Vermont for the first time.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Sudanese Community Rallies to Send Kids to Camp Rock Point

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 10:51 AM

From left: Deacon Stan Baker, Rev. Sherry Osborn, Bishop Thomas Ely, Chol Dhoor - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • From left: Deacon Stan Baker, Rev. Sherry Osborn, Bishop Thomas Ely, Chol Dhoor
This summer might bring a new experience for fourth graders Nyankoor Anyang and Rosa Kuku. Along with their teammates from Chittenden County's Nile Bright Stars Academy soccer team, the students hope to spend a week at Rock Point Camp in Burlington. The entire local Sudanese community is rallying behind them.

Last Saturday, the Sudanese Foundation of Vermont and the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington  organized a fundraiser dinner so that kids from the Sudanese community can attend Rock Point Camp, which is run by the Episcopal Diocese.

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Young Writers Project's 'Soundcheck' Addresses Gun Violence

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 9:56 AM

Workshop attendees, left to right:  Rivan Calderin, Alex Haag, Emma Haag, Rick Haag, Liz Mariani - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Workshop attendees, left to right: Rivan Calderin, Alex Haag, Emma Haag, Rick Haag, Liz Mariani
The Burlington-based Young Writers Project held a special Soundcheck event last Friday to address gun violence, youth activism and school safety.

Twice postponed due to inclement weather, the event at the BCA Center consisted of a writing workshop led by slam poets and educators Rajnii Eddins and Denise Casey, as well as an open mic session.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Chip Appeal: UVM Students Mock 'Doritos for Her'

Posted By on Sat, Feb 10, 2018 at 11:21 AM

Woman with Doritos. - SEANLOCKEPHOTOGRAPHY | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Seanlockephotography | Dreamstime.com
  • Woman with Doritos.
Remember when Kendall Jenner brought the revolution with a can of Pepsi? In an era when big brands seem especially desperate to prove they're woke, PepsiCo has again ignited ridicule, this time for CEO Indra Nooyi's comments in a January 31 interview with Freakonomics.  Speaking with interviewer Stephen J. Dubner, Nooyi described how  PepsiCo has been working to develop female-friendlier versions of their snack-food. Among the considerations, she said, were that women "don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth."

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