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Friday, September 22, 2017

Playtime: Freakshow Industries Makes 'Audio Effects for the End Times'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 11:17 AM

Screenshot of Freakshow Industries' landing page - FREAKSHOW INDUSTRIES
  • Freakshow Industries
  • Screenshot of Freakshow Industries' landing page
If one applied the Dungeons & Dragons Alignment System to audio startups, Freakshow Industries would definitely be plotted as Chaotic Good. The audio effects company allows users to steal its first plug-in, Backmask, which aligns with a general mission of good-natured disruption against order .

On its website, Freakshow states, "We believe that people who would buy software will buy software and we would rather give you our effects directly and unencumbered by archaic DRM." The company, which has a Burlington tie, adds that prefers not to send users "into the dark corners of the internet to grab questionable or altered versions of our work."  The theory is that offering freebies will encourage satisfied users to support the company by buying merch or other programs.  The statement concludes: "We believe that trust, generosity and goodwill are principles worth taking a chance on and so we put our continued existence into your very scary hands."
Freakshow's motto is "Audio Effects For The End Times,"  and they certainly dance on the grave of numerous conventions. The company's founders are audio industry veterans who formed Freakshow to "lovingly and repeatedly combat creative stagnation in the face, opening portals to new and unique sounds with exceedingly affordable audio product."

One of the founders, former Soundtoys employee Jasper Duba, is based in Burlington. Duba is the kind of modern renaissance man you'd expect to hide out in Vermont — he hunts mushrooms and throws pottery in his spare time.
Freakshow's first release, Backmask, is a chaotic reverse effect that appears to have been made by Rick Sanchez, the alcoholic scientist from the Adult Swim animated series "Rick and Morty." The interface is intuitive, with the emphasis on experimentation; basically half the fun is figuring what the controls actually do.

Backmask functions as a sample reverse with multiple effects options. But beyond that, describes it as "the most conceptual plug-in we've seen."

Don't let its eccentric design deter you from trying it: Backmask is actually super fun and fairly easy to create useable sounds with. The overall aesthetic is damn refreshing in an industry dominated by sterile design. Instead of technical explanations or comparisons to classic equipment, Freakshow's website offers mostly warped demo videos with a nihilistic sense of humor.

Check out Freakshow Industries haunted virtual laboratory at

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Changes at the Athenaeum

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 10:55 AM

Left: Williams Bouguereau's "Raspberry Girl"; Right: Alice Burnham as the Raspeberry Girl - ST. JOHNSBURY ATHENEUM
  • St. Johnsbury Atheneum
  • Left: Williams Bouguereau's "Raspberry Girl"; Right: Alice Burnham as the Raspeberry Girl
The exterior of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum received a small makeover last week, when staff members swapped out an entryway banner depicting Williams Bouguereau's "Raspberry Girl" for a slightly different version. (The 1890 original is housed in the gallery.)

Instead of the young girl clutching a lettuce leaf full of berries, the pastoral landscape now feature the figure of 91-year-old library docent Alice Burnham.

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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

  • 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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Monday, September 18, 2017

Joke of the Week: Aging Gracefully

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM

It's Monday, which means it's time for your weekly dose of locavore levity: the Joke of the Week! This week's joke comes from Burlington's Lindsey Haddad. Take it away, Lindsey…

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Burlington's Bern Gallery Fires Up for Pipe Classic 12

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Bern Gallery owner and Pipe Class founder Tito Bern - FILE: OLIVER PARINI
  • File: Oliver Parini
  • Bern Gallery owner and Pipe Class founder Tito Bern
Competitors, start your torches! Pipe Classic 12, Burlington's annual glass pipe making flame-off,  begins today, September 18, at 4 p.m. with a dozen glassblowers  competing for the top prize and bragging rights as the country's best glass pipe maker.

The event, held each year during the third week of September, lays claim to being the first-ever glassblowing competition to celebrate the art of glass pipes, bongs and bubblers. This year, 12 elite glassblowers — 11 men and one woman —  chosen from around the United States by a committee of 11 industry professionals, will go head to head as they try to push the envelope on what's possible with glassware. No Vermonters are competing in this year's event.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Seven Things to Know About Shrinedom 2017

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 11:00 AM

  • Courtesy of Vince Neil
  • Vince Neil
In the ’80s, the union of pop and rock and roll reached a critical mass. The guitar riffs were big, the hair was bigger and a monolithic, blown-out sound ruled the arena circuit. Whether you called it hard rock, cock rock or hair metal, maximum rock riffage and shout-along hooks dominated the charts and left a permanent mark on rock and pop culture at large.

In the ’90s, other styles — such as grunge and jam-rock — swept in to take pop metal's place. But for some devotees, the electrifying strains of juiced-up riffs and screechy vocals were as good as it gets. And this weekend, fans of coiffed locks and tight pants can return to the arena, figuratively speaking, with an epic concert: Shrinedom 2017.

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Jake Blend's Spirograph Is One for the Record Books

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 9:01 AM

  • Courtesy of Jake Blend
  • Jake Blend
This spring, South End artist and maker Jake Blend's daughter, Alexis, was playing with sidewalk chalk. Specifically, she was trying to draw some sort of "tear in reality," Blend told Seven Days during a recent visit to his Generator studio.

Her endeavors got him thinking about trying to make a Spirograph — that nostalgic geometric drawing toy made of interlocking gears — for sidewalk chalk. And then Blend started thinking about making a really, really big Spirograph — Alexis wants to be in the Guinness Book of World Records, he explained. And so began a project of massive, geometric proportions that debuted at this past weekend's South End Art Hop: the World's Largest Spirograph.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Comedian Jenny Zigrino Dishes on Her Hilarious Cooking Show

Posted By on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 2:30 PM

  • Courtesy of Jenny Zigrino
  • Jenny Zigrino
Jenny Zigrino is one of comedy's truly ascendant young stars. The standup comic, writer and actor recently scored a featured role in the movie Bad Santa 2 alongside Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates and Christina Hendricks.

She costars with her pal and fellow comedian Jen Saunderson in the IFC web series "The Filling Is Mutual." That's a cooking show in which the duo concoct offbeat recipes based on their friends' standup bits. (Our favorite: White Devil Eggs, a take on deviled eggs inspired by a Langston Kerman bit about racism.)

In March, Zigrino dropped her debut comedy record, JZ's New Album.  And later this month — September 23, to be precise — her first half-hour standup special will air on Comedy Central. Zigrino tours nationally — she headlined the Vermont Comedy Club earlier this year. She's on the road again and heading back to Burlington this Thursday, September 14, to perform at the Flynn MainSta … wait, what?

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Joke of the Week: Ghost Story

Posted By on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 12:19 PM

It's Monday, which means it's time for your weekly dose of locavore levity: the Joke of the Week! This week's joke comes from New Haven's Katie Gillespie. Take it away, Katie…

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

First Friday Roundup, September 2017: The South End Art Hop!

Posted By and on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 8:53 PM

"M Is for Magic" by Sarah Letteney - COURTESY OF SARAH LETTENEY
  • Courtesy of Sarah Letteney
  • "M Is for Magic" by Sarah Letteney

Hope you caught our story for this week's Seven Days, which surveys the 25-year history of the South End Art Hop — an extravaganza that happens to be (insert drumroll) this weekend!

Given the scale of this massive event, we thought this month’s First Friday Roundup might best serve you with a handful of our personal selections for this crazy weekend, September 8 through 10.

The Art Hop reportedly attracts upward of 30,000 people (though not all at once). You'll want to roll in prepared.  So we've helpfully included page numbers after each event or happening listed here that corresponds to the Art Hop guide created by SEABA (the South End Arts and Business Association, which produces the Hop). Pick up a copy at participating venues before diving in.

Note: Even if you don’t use this guide, do take this advice: Wear comfortable shoes and pack water and a snack. Though both are available along Pine Street, the lines can get long. Take a breather at some point. Above all, enjoy the party — and, of course, the art.’s STEAM Parking Lot Party

This will be Jill Badolato’s last Art Hop with The former director of corporate social responsibility spearheaded numerous colorful public art projects locally, and we predict this will be no exception.

Although she was among the employees recently laid off by the tech company, Badolato is following through with her commitment to Dealer’s celebration of STEAM education — that’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Among the festivities will be ongoing demonstrations of the world’s largest Spirograph, constructed by Jake Blend — ’90s babies, you know what these are. This one is so big, you have to ride it. Also expect a live fire performance and something called “LED periodic table hula hooping.” We don't know what that is, but we want to see it. (Page 13)

Barge Canal Market

Last year, our first stop at the Art Hop was Julianna Brazill’s Artival — an art carnival. The art-centric, old-time game zone is back this year as “Phony Island.” Pop in and cool down at the fortune teller’s booth (a perfect Instagram opportunity) or in one of the shop’s gorgeous midcentury chairs. (Page 15)

Rachel Elizabeth Jones at last year's Artival - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Rachel Elizabeth Jones at last year's Artival

Soda Plant

We can’t name the number of artists who will show work in this building, which turns 100 this year. Stop in early, because it can get crowded.

Maybe start off with a captivating cocktail from Alice and the Magician, then wind your way through the maze of businesses and galleries. Conant Metal & Light is sure to shine. The S.P.A.C.E. Gallery will exhibit works by resident studio artists, alongside a large group show called “Represent,” in which the participants self-curate their own allotted wall space.

If you happen to miss out on Friday night, head over on Saturday to check out the Vermont International Museum of Contemporary Art + Design, a mini mobile museum, and get a tintype portrait — for $50 a pop — by Jeff Howlett.

(Pages 15 and 48 and on Facebook.)

"Mr. Biglysworth" by Matt Morris, on view at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery - COURTESY OF MATT MORRIS
  • Courtesy of Matt Morris
  • "Mr. Biglysworth" by Matt Morris, on view at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery

‘Sleeping Babies/Social Sculpture: Baby Monitors’

In late July, local choreographer Erika Senft Miller handed out color-coded baseball caps to about 200 folks, whom she then led through a site-specific performance on an abandoned road in the South End. Sound intriguing? It was. The performance was inspired by Burlington artist Clark Derbes’ parenting/painting multitasking ritual of "self-commissioned" works. It included a cast of dancers and frolickers, custom costumes, music composed by Matt LaRocca, and lots of skateboarding.

Featuring photographs, a documentary film premiere and live music from Derbes and LaRocca, this event kicks off the afterlife of Senft Miller’s fleeting work. Try to grab one of the beautiful zines/programs available at Solidarity of Unbridled Labour on Friday evening.

More info here

Bobbin Mills Community Center

The Voices of Home project combines audio narratives of Burlington Housing Authority residents with their portraits, painted by South End artist Corrine Yonce. With broad brush strokes, Yonce gives the stories in the recordings a place to land, visually, making them all the more compelling. Some BHA residents will also display their work.

"Andrew Bolognani" by Corrine Yonce for the Voices of Home Project - COURTESY OF CORRINE YONCE
  • Courtesy of Corrine Yonce
  • "Andrew Bolognani" by Corrine Yonce for the Voices of Home Project

Additionally, Kylie Dally will demonstrate her new, participatory project for BHA residents, in which she paints using a projection of collected objects onto canvas. Her project is supported by the Burlington City Arts Community Fund. (Pages 15, 16, 23, 24, 30, 51)

The Hive

This congregation of artist studios behind Speeder & Earl’s Coffee on Pine Street includes printmaker Jabari S. Jones, sculptor Lydia Kern and illustrator Sarah Letteney, among others. Jones’ prints wax political, Kern has a penchant for bones and glitter, and Letteney’s drawings are both macabre and adorable — without being cheesy. We dig them. (Page 46)

"Fleet" by Lydia Kern - COURTESY OF LYDIA KERN
  • Courtesy of Lydia Kern
  • "Fleet" by Lydia Kern

Roundtable on the South End’s Future

Yeah, there’s been a lot of dialog about the South End in recent years. But this  community discussion on Sunday morning  at

Arts Alive Gallery @ Main Street Landing has the distinction of bringing together far-flung artists and entrepreneurs who witnessed — and contributed to —  the birth of the area as a creative hub in the 1980s and early ’90s. In conjunction with the exhibition of works by “founders” called “Crunch + Funk,” the public is invited to hear what the participants have to say about the early days — and the next three decades. (Page 30)

All-Night Meditation (& Napping)

Maybe you want to clear your head before cramming it chock-full of sensory stimulation, or perhaps you just want a little rest between attractions. Whatever your state of mind, Railroad Apothecary wants to help you enjoy the Art Hop healthfully — with yoga, meditation, video installation and an all-nighter more restful than the ones you pulled in college. (Page 16)

Paint With Your Pup!

Art does not discriminate on the basis of species. For $10, Play Dog Play doggie daycare will help you and your pooch (or someone else's) co-create your very own painting. For $10 more, you’ll have access to grooming supplies to clean up the mess. Seriously, how often does an opportunity like this come along? (Page 29)

SEABA Juried Show

The juror for this year’s show is New York gallerist Asya Geisberg. She selected 35 works by local artists that are now hanging in the SEABA Gallery and will select first-, second- and third-place winners from that lot. (Page 17)

"Unapologetically political art" print by Jabari Jones on view at the Hive - JABARI JONES
  • Jabari Jones
  • "Unapologetically political art" print by Jabari Jones on view at the Hive

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