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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 31, 2018

Higher Ground Website Temporarily Shut Down Amid Ticketfly Hack

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 4:58 PM

High Ground logo - COURTESY OF HIGHER GROUND
  • Courtesy of Higher Ground
  • High Ground logo
Ticketing service Ticketfly recently shut down its website — as well as the sites of certain music venues that use the service — after it determined that it had been the victim of a "cyber incident." Websites of concert venues around the country, including South Burlington nightclub Higher Ground, are currently offline. 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

After Months of Searching, Islamic Society of Vermont Hires New Imam

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 1:29 PM

From left to right: Taysir Al-Khatib, Abd’Llah Al-Ansari, Yusuf Ali - SAMANTHA LORD-KONARE
  • Samantha Lord-Konare
  • From left to right: Taysir Al-Khatib, Abd’Llah Al-Ansari, Yusuf Ali
The Islamic Society of Vermont has hired Abd'Llah Al-Ansari, a U.S. army veteran, prison chaplain and scholar of Arabic and Islamic studies, to be its new imam. Al-Ansari's first day as ISVT imam is April 1.

Islam Hassan, the ISVT's former imam, relocated to Ohio last summer.

Detroit-born Al-Ansari was one of three shortlisted candidates, said Yusuf Ali, head of the imam-hiring committee. The 10-member group includes ISVT president Taysir Al-Khatib, two women and two University of Vermont students.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tibetans Honor Longtime Activist at New Year Festivities

Posted By on Tue, Feb 20, 2018 at 4:15 PM

Grace Spring (center, first row) with representatives from International Campaign for Tibet and Tibetan Association of Vermont, and her daughter, Cassandra Corcoran (far right) - TSETEN ANAK
  • Tseten Anak
  • Grace Spring (center, first row) with representatives from International Campaign for Tibet and Tibetan Association of Vermont, and her daughter, Cassandra Corcoran (far right)
Last Saturday, about 150 people gathered at Faith United Methodist Church in South Burlington to honor  Grace Spring, an artist and a longtime activist and Tibetan supporter. The award ceremony was held in conjunction with Losar — the Tibetan New Year — celebrations.

Spring, 84, is arguably best known for staging a vigil every Friday outside the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., for more than two decades to protest Chinese rule in Tibet. She moved to Middlebury last April, said her daughter, Cassandra Corcoran.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Flynn Center Executive Director John Killacky to Step Down

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 7:45 PM

John Killacky - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • John Killacky
In a release this evening, Burlington's Flynn Center for the Performing Arts announced that its executive director, John Killacky, would be stepping down from his role in June 2018. Killacky arrived at the Flynn in 2010.

During his tenure, the release says, the Flynn flourished, "growing to a $7.7 million operating budget while maintaining the organization's commitment to presenting exceptional artistic, educational and community engagement programs."

In addition to securing significant grants for the performing arts facility, Killacky is perhaps proudest of the nonprofit's commitment to access and inclusiveness. The Flynn works with 75 human and social service agencies to provide discounted tickets for their clients; of the 38,000 students who annually attend shows, 7,300 attend for free; and the organization provides $30,000 in scholarships yearly for kids to participate in camps and classes.

Reached by phone for comment, Killacky said, first of all, that "all things are good" and he's "not going anywhere." While he wouldn't call this transition a retirement, Killacky noted that when he was interviewed for the ED position in 2010, he told the board that, if hired, he would stay "for five to seven years, and then my service would be done."

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stowe Scores Major Tennis Tourney, Teaser for U.S. Open

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 11:03 AM

Spruce Peak Stadium - COURTESY OF LAURA MARTTINEN
  • Courtesy of Laura Marttinen
  • Spruce Peak Stadium
From August 22 to 24, the largest summer sporting event will happen in Vermont — and it’s not baseball or boating. It’s tennis, bringing some of the tour’s top male players to the Green Mountain State on the eve of the U.S. Open in New York City.

Playing host are Grand Slam Tennis Tours, a Stowe-based travel company that has worked with Stowe Mountain Lodge to build a brand-spanking-new stadium, invite athletes and sell tickets. “What we’re doing here in Stowe goes beyond a tennis tourney,” says public relations director Kyle Ross. “It changes the American tennis landscape.”

This week, Seven Days lobbed a few questions at Ross about the Stowe Mountain Lodge Tennis Classic.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Visionary Editor Judith Jones, of New York and Vermont, Dies at 93

Posted By on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 6:07 PM


Judith Jones - FILE
  • File
  • Judith Jones
Judith Jones, an editor,  author and part-time Walden resident, died early Wednesday morning at her home in the Northeast Kingdom, according to her stepdaughter Bronwyn Dunne of South Burlington. The cause was complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Jones was 93 and had worked as an editor at Alfred A. Knopf for more than half a century.  She was perhaps best known for seeing to publication the manuscripts that would become the books Anne Frank: The Diary of  a Young Girl and Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.  In a 2010 interview with this reporter , Jones described  Child's cookbook as  "manna from heaven."

In addition to her work with cookbook writers, Jones was a literary editor who edited all the novels (and other books) by John Updike. Other authors Jones worked with include John Hersey and Anne Tyler.

"I think her most important contribution was  probably making cookbook writers be significant," Dunne said. "That is, she kind of blended her literary tradition with her interest in food.

"There was this kind of marvelous thing that she loved the writer's voice," Dunne continued. "She felt that way about John Updike and she felt that way about Lidia Bastianich.  It was very important that their voices be heard."

Jones grew up in Manhattan and her primary home was in the city, but she had lifelong ties to Vermont. Her paternal grandparents lived in Montpelier, in the big white house on the corner of Bailey Avenue and State Street. As a child of 11 or 12 she left New York and the Brearley School for a year to live with her grandmother, a choice Jones made for herself, Dunne said.

It was during childhood visits to her grandparents' home that Jones first gained an appreciation for food, she told Seven Days in a 2011 piece about a dinner in Greensboro to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Vermont Arts Council Selects a New Executive Director

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 6:17 PM

Karen Mittelman - COURTESY OF VERMONT ARTS COUNCIL
  • Courtesy of Vermont Arts Council
  • Karen Mittelman
The Vermont Arts Council announced today that it has found a replacement for former executive director Alex Aldrich, who stepped down in April. Karen Mittelman will take the helm at the state nonprofit organization in October.

Mittelman is currently director of the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C., where she has worked since 1998. With a doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Pennsylvania, she has also held positions at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

VAC selected Mittelman from a pool of 70 applicants from Vermont and across the U.S. Her ties to the Green Mountain State have been in the form of visits to the Bennington area throughout her life.

“We are thrilled that Karen Mittelman has accepted the executive director position,” said VAC chair Bob Stannard in a press statement. “In a time when federal arts funding is uncertain, it is vital to have an executive director who has significant experience in a national leadership role."

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Vermont Organizations Receive NEA Grants

Posted By on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 5:18 PM

Miro Weinberger participates in the Festival of Fools, an annual affair staged by Burlington City Arts. - COURTESY OF BURLINGTON CITY ARTS
  • Courtesy of Burlington City Arts
  • Miro Weinberger participates in the Festival of Fools, an annual affair staged by Burlington City Arts.
The National Endowment for the Arts announced its spring grants on June 14. Because, despite concerns, the organization continues to function. And while President Trump has made his feelings for the NEA clear, the 2017 budget he signed on May 5 actually included a 2 million dollar increase for the arts. Vermonters are set to benefit from the moolah flowing out of Washington, D.C., to a variety of programs.

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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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