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Monday, August 2, 2021

Elka Schumann, the 'Heart and Soul' of Bread and Puppet, Dies

Posted By on Mon, Aug 2, 2021 at 1:23 PM

Elka and Peter Schumann - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Elka and Peter Schumann
Elka Schumann, whose personal and artistic partnership with her husband, Peter, was a guiding force of Bread and Puppet Theater for almost 60 years, died on Sunday. She was 85.

Her death, at North Country Hospital in Newport, was confirmed by  Michael Romanyshyn, a family friend and longtime puppeteer.  Elka was "everything" to Bread and Puppet, Romanyshyn said. "She was the heart and soul."

Elka was born in Russia in August 1935 to a Russian mother and an American father. Her family left that country, bound for the United States, when she was a young girl.

Elka met Peter, an artist and puppeteer, in his native Germany while she was a college student studying abroad.  The Schumanns were married in 1959 and lived in New York City, where Peter founded Bread and Puppet on the Lower East side of Manhattan in 1963. The couple moved with their five children to Plainfield in 1970, before settling at the Bread and Puppet farm in Glover in 1974.

She was the "bedrock" for both the family and the theater, said her son, Max Schumann.
Peter and Elka Schumann - GLENN RUSSELL
  • Glenn Russell
  • Peter and Elka Schumann
This summer, Bread and Puppet is celebrating the 50th anniversary of  its  Domestic Resurrection Circus. Elka, dressed in white, walked arm in arm with Peter across the natural amphitheater on July 11 at an opening performance of the season  to take her seat on the grassy stage. She played recorder during the show. She also participated  in last Saturday’s performance, Romanyshyn said.

In recent years, Elka became interested in gatherings to remember and mourn the dead in the pine woods at Bread and Puppet, where a memorial village of sculptures, paintings and installations pay tribute to deceased puppeteers, artists, friends and family. One little house honors Elka's parents, John and Masha Dikareva Scott.
Peter and Elka Schumann - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Peter and Elka Schumann

Walking through the memorial village two summers ago, Elka stopped at a site in the grove of trees and listened to Peter as he talked about people dear to them whose names he had carved on a board to mark their deaths.

When he got to the last name, where space had run out on the carving, Elka said: "Peter, you really should make another board."

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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Lou Barlow To Play Burlington Record Plant

Posted By on Sun, Aug 1, 2021 at 4:19 PM

  • Courtesy of Lou Barlow
  • Lou Barlow
Every now and then, a show is announced that warrants a double take. One could be forgiven for blinking and refreshing the browser upon seeing that Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Folk Implosion) is playing a show at — of all places — the Burlington Record Plant.  The news is real, people: On Monday, August 2, Barlow will indeed perform at the BRP.

"Nick Mavodones from Waking Windows, Bobby Hackney and I were trying to get someone a little bigger, from out of town, to come in and play an acoustic set," says BRP owner Justin Crowther. "Then we heard that Lou Barlow was looking to play some more off-the-beat kind of places on his tour. So Nick reached out, and it came together pretty quickly."

Barlow helped pioneer the early 90's low-fi indie-rock sound and has rightfully earned his place among the legends of that generation of rockers. He's even in the midst of a late-career resurgence with Dinosaur Jr., who have returned to releasing albums and touring regularly.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

251: Tracing History at Bennington Centre Cemetery

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2021 at 3:56 PM

Bennington Centre Cemetery - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Bennington Centre Cemetery
If my father had been with me on Saturday at Bennington Centre Cemetery, he would’ve died and gone to heaven — if he hadn’t already achieved the former.

At Vermont’s oldest cemetery, I found a few of his favorite things: U.S. history, poetry, peace and quiet. He also loved graveyards themselves and this one — with a mountain view; stones carved with birds, flowers and angels; and a grassy path to a gravestone etched with an epitaph for the ages — is hard to top.

The cemetery is on Monument Avenue in the historic district of Bennington, next to the Old First Church. The people buried on its grounds include 75 soldiers who fought for the nation’s independence, five Vermont governors and the author of the state’s Declaration of Independence.

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Friday, July 23, 2021

William Tyler Cancels Backside 405 Set After Testing Positive For COVID-19; Steve Gunn Set Still On

Posted By on Fri, Jul 23, 2021 at 7:10 PM

  • Courtesy of William Tyler
  • William Tyler
Los Angeles-based indie-folk artist William Tyler has canceled the remainder of his shows for the next week, including this Saturday at 405 Backside in Burlington, after positive for COVID-19. Tyler is currently touring with guitarist Steve Gunn, who will perform as scheduled.

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Don't Call it a Comeback: Vorcza, Sabouyouma, Brooklyn Circle Highlight Inaugural Maple Roots Festival

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2021 at 1:29 PM

  • Jordan Adams ©️ Seven Days
  • Sabouyouma
New festival alert! The inaugural Maple Roots Festival kicks off this Saturday, July 24, featuring a talented lineup of Vermont musicians, including Vorcza, Brooklyn Circle, Dan Ryan Express, Sabouyouma and others.

The festival is the pandemic-inspired brainchild of drummer Dan Ryan (Madaila, Dan Ryan Express) and guitarist Michael-Louis Smith (Brooklyn Circle). During quarantine, the two musicians would chat over Zoom and scheme ways they could revitalize the community once live shows returned.

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Monday, July 19, 2021

Francesca Blanchard, Vermont Symphony Orchestra to Perform 'Under the Stars'

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 4:32 PM

  • Courtesy of Patrick McCormack
  • Francesca Blanchard
It's a big week for Francesca Blanchard. For starters, she joins the Vermont Symphony Orchestra this weekend as part of the VSO's "Summer Under the Stars" series at Shelburne Museum. Her performances with the VSO on Saturday, July 24, and Sunday, July 25, mark the indie-pop singer-songwriter's official return to live shows since the pandemic hit last year.

"Being a featured performer with the VSO is an honor," Blanchard said about the gig. "To come back to live shows with something like this, it feels unreal. It's just such a cool kind of homecoming, I can't wait."

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Vermont Comedy Club to Reopen in September

Posted By on Tue, Jul 13, 2021 at 5:41 PM

  • File: Matthew Thorsen ©️ Seven Days
  • The Vermont Comedy Club
Knock knock.

Who's there?

The Vermont Comedy Club.

The downtown Burlington venue announced Tuesday that it will reopen on Thursday, September 2, with a three-night run featuring comedian Kyle Kinane performing his "So...Where Were We?" tour. The "Paradise PD" voice actor was the last comedian to headline the VCC before it closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

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Monday, July 12, 2021

The Flynn to Reopen in October, Announces New Shows

Posted By on Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 12:00 PM

  • File: Margaret Grayson ©️ Seven Days
  • The Flynn marquee
It's official: The Flynn is reopening its doors on Saturday, October 23. The Burlington performing arts center has been dark since its closure in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The significant moment will be marked by a full evening of reunions, tributes, dancing, stories, and incredible music," read a press release on Monday morning.

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Friday, July 9, 2021

Guster Return With Shelburne Museum Show

Posted By on Fri, Jul 9, 2021 at 1:12 PM

  • Luke Awtry Photography
  • Guster
Ryan Miller, singer and guitarist of indie-rock veterans Guster, is gearing up for one memorable summer. After a gig-less year-plus because of the pandemic, he's finally taking his band to a sold-out, headlining show at Colorado's famous Red Rocks  Amphitheatre on July 25.  The only problem? The band hasn't even rehearsed in 2021 yet.

So the band booked a hell of a warm-up date at a venue Miller calls "the greatest in New England" — Shelburne Museum. Guster plays there this Saturday, July 10, as part of Ben and Jerry's Concerts on the Green series, with support from Burlington's Henry Jamison. And don't worry —  they'll have rehearsed by then.

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Friday, July 2, 2021

251: A Mini Art Gallery in Middlebury

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2021 at 9:49 AM

Free Little Art Gallery at the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Free Little Art Gallery at the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury
The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History in Middlebury will open on July 13, marking the return of visitors to the museum after an 18-month absence. But a small annex of the museum — emphasis on small — is currently open daily from dawn to dusk. The mini delight on Park Street is a make-it, take-it gallery similar in size and feel to a free little street library.

The Free Little Art Gallery is housed in a glass case at the entrance to the Sheldon’s lovely flower garden. Its contents change as people contribute a piece of art they make or select one to take. Drawings on paper, paintings on canvas and a ceramic vessel were among the pieces on display early this week. A clutch of yellow flowers set below an abstract painting echoed a hue on the canvas.

Sheldon Museum associate director Mary Manley read about a similar gallery in Seattle and thought it would be neat to make one in Middlebury, she said.  Then, last spring, a free little gallery opened in Essex Junction.

Manley said she’s hopeful similar galleries will pop up around the state.  A June 5 article in the Washington Post describes a national trend of Free Little Art Galleries, or FLAGs.

Free Little Art Gallery in Middlebury - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Free Little Art Gallery in Middlebury
The Sheldon's gallery  is designed on a scale of 1:12, in which one inch is a foot in a standard gallery. It’s intended for works of art, as opposed to miniatures like doll house furniture or trinkets.  Size-appropriate canvases lean against a wall for the taking — an offering of en-
Free Little Art Gallery in Middlebury - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Free Little Art Gallery in Middlebury
couragement for would-be artists.  Mounting material is provided to hang art.

“People who are established artists have participated, as well as young kids,” Manley said. “It’s been really fun. We encourage the community to take part."

The tiny museum in front of the big one — the latter a repository of regional art, objects and history that opened in 1884 — can be appreciated in a matter of moments. But let it welcome you to the grounds of the Sheldon with its beautiful plantings, sculptures, and stone benches — a peaceful oasis in the center of Middlebury.

Kate Pond sculpture at the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Kate Pond sculpture at the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury
These days, the garden also presents a preview of sculptor Kate Pond’s forthcoming exhibit at the Sheldon, “From the Heart: A Sculptor’s Process." Three sculptures by the Burlington-based artist are in the garden, including a maquette of  "Kiss #2," her piece in front of the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington.

How wonderful that a renowned artist's metal sculpture shares space on the grass with a child’s drawing of a rainbow.

"Come by and come often," Manley said of the people's gallery. "Because it changes."
Garden entrance to the Henry Sheldon Museum - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Garden entrance to the Henry Sheldon Museum

251 is a series of on-the-road stories, coming soon to a town near you.

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