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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Vermont Pride Theater Evolves Into Vermont Social Justice Festival

Posted By on Sat, May 1, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Actors in 'Family Holiday,' a 2017 Vermont Pride Theater production - COURTESY OF TIM CALABRO/FIRST LIGHT STUDIOS
  • Courtesy of Tim Calabro/First Light Studios
  • Actors in 'Family Holiday,' a 2017 Vermont Pride Theater production
After 10 years hosting festivals and benefits to celebrate LGBTQ theater, the Vermont Pride Theater at the Chandler Center for the Arts is relaunching as the Vermont Social Justice Festival. The event, which will begin in summer 2022, is widening its scope to examine diversity, inequality and other issues.

Vermont Pride Theater began a decade ago to bring LGBTQ voices to the stage in Randolph and has since presented more than 50 events. According to Chandler executive director Karen Dillon, 10-year lifespan was always the plan; that milestone gave the Chandler board a chance to deliberate on what would come next.

Using Vermont Pride Theater as a springboard, they decided to go bigger.

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Friday, April 23, 2021

'Pandemic Passings' Video Documents Transitions in the COVID-19 Era

Posted By on Fri, Apr 23, 2021 at 9:13 AM

Still from 'Pandemic Passings' - COURTESY OF PASSING PROJECT
  • Courtesy of Passing Project
  • Still from 'Pandemic Passings'
What does the word “passing” mean to you? For Vermont artist and healer Tracy Penfield, it could mean a transition, such as a move, a divorce, a job loss or the death of a loved one. Or it could be a transformation brought on by circumstance or inspiration.

Penfield’s new video, Pandemic Passings, cocreated with fellow artist Tess Holbrook, documents a range of passings Americans have experienced during the COVID-19 era. In the 51-minute video, 10 people aged 13 to sixtysomething, share their own passing stories. Hailing from Vermont, other New England states, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York City, professionals and amateurs alike sing, dance, read prose and show visual art and photographs. The video premieres on YouTube Sunday, April 25, at 7 p.m.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Burlington Mourns Beloved Bartender Monique Ford

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 4:53 PM

Monique Ford - COURTESY OF MATT PERRY
  • Courtesy of Matt Perry
  • Monique Ford
The first flowers appeared by the front door of Three Needs Taproom in Burlington sometime on Sunday night. By Monday morning, several more bouquets had joined those in the entryway of the Pearl Street bar, along with candles, a few cards and at least one bottle of Polar seltzer. As of this writing on Tuesday afternoon, the shrine is overflowing onto the sidewalk with flowers, tokens, candy, chalk drawings and other offerings to the memory of a Burlington legend.

Monique Ford died suddenly over the weekend. The cause has not yet been determined. Her unexpected death sent shockwaves through the Burlington community and beyond. In Queen City circles, social media have largely focused on two topics since Sunday: people registering for or getting the coronavirus vaccine and those sharing memories and grief about "Mo."

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Media Note: Josh Crane and Myra Flynn Join Vermont Public Radio

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 5:14 PM

Josh Crane (left) and Myra Flynn - COURTESY OF JOSH CRANE AND MYRA FLYNN
  • Courtesy of Josh Crane and Myra Flynn
  • Josh Crane (left) and Myra Flynn
Podcast producer Josh Crane and singer-songwriter Myra Flynn, a former journalist at the Burlington Free Press, have joined Vermont Public Radio as engagement producers. They'll primarily support the station's Brave Little State podcast, an investigative program that uses audience-sourced queries as the foundation of its stories.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Judge Says Vermont Law School Can Cover Controversial Murals

Posted By on Wed, Mar 17, 2021 at 6:00 PM

KHWANEIGQ | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Khwaneigq | Dreamstime.com
In an order last week, a judge denied a preliminary injunction filed by artist Sam Kerson to stop his mural at Vermont Law School from being covered on the grounds that covering it would violate a federal statute protecting artwork. Kerson, the judge wrote on March 10, “is unlikely to succeed on the merits in this case.”

VLS is free to install acoustic panels on a frame in front of the mural, which the school says will not touch or damage the painting in any way. Kerson, who filed suit in December in U.S. District Court, wanted to halt that construction for the duration of the trial.

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Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Bushy Tale of Peanut the Squirrel

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2021 at 8:12 PM

Peanut - COURTESY OF AIMEE BROWN
  • COURTESY OF AIMEE BROWN
  • Peanut
Peanut, a squirrel with the backing of more than 9,000 humans, will live — contrary to the fears a Vermonter expressed in an online petition.

A blind squirrel who resides in a cage in Barre, Peanut will not be removed from her home with a wildlife rehabilitator, and the animal will not be euthanized, according to Col. Jason Batchelder, director of enforcement for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

“As of this moment, I don’t have any plans to [take] it,” Batchelder told Seven Days. “And the wardens don’t have any plans to do that.”

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

State Issues New Guidelines for Indoor Music Practice in Schools

Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2021 at 4:20 PM

© JACRISPY | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • © JaCrispy | Dreamstime.com
The state of Vermont released new safety guidelines on Wednesday for in-person music education in schools. The pandemic-era protocols allow for indoor group practices under specific conditions for the first time since schools reopened in the fall. The move comes after months of advocacy by music educators pushing for the state to sanction indoor group rehearsals.

Among the guidelines are that musicians can play together indoors separated from each other at six-foot intervals. Rehearsal spaces must be equipped to complete three air exchanges per hour and one full exchange between rehearsals, which are limited to 30 minutes with no audiences.

Singers and musicians must wear masks at all times. Woodwind and brass players are permitted to wear masks with a slit for their instrument’s mouthpiece while playing. Those instruments must also be equipped with a bell cover — essentially a cloth mask for the end of the instrument.

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Monday, February 15, 2021

KeruBo Release New Vaccine-Themed Music Video, "Chanjo"

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2021 at 3:29 PM

KeruBo's Irene Kerubo Webster (center) with AALV staff in the "Chanjo" video - COURTESY OF KERUBO
  • Courtesy of KeruBo
  • KeruBo's Irene Kerubo Webster (center) with AALV staff in the "Chanjo" video
Though Vermont's COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been relatively smooth, Afro-jazz artist and social worker Irene Kerubo Webster has noticed some hesitancy to get vaccinated among the Burlington area's resettled African community. Originally from Kenya, Webster works for the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV), a nonprofit that helps Africans and other New Americans living locally achieve independence and acculturation.

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Katie Runde to Paint Alexander Twilight Portrait for the Statehouse

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2021 at 4:10 PM

Alexander Twilight - COURTESY OF THE OLD STONE HOUSE MUSEUM
  • Courtesy of the Old Stone House Museum
  • Alexander Twilight
Middlebury artist Katie Runde has been commissioned to paint a portrait of Alexander Twilight to hang in the Vermont Statehouse, which will make him the first person of color featured in a portrait there.

Twilight, believed to be both the first African American college graduate and first African American legislator in the U.S., was a Brownington-based educator and minister who lived from 1795 to 1857. He was elected as a Vermont State Representative in 1836. Last year, state lawmakers established September 23, 2020, as Alexander Twilight Day.

The portrait was commissioned jointly by the Friends of the Vermont State House and the office of the Vermont State Curator and is being funded by the National Life Group of Vermont.

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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Waking Windows Postponed Until 2022

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2021 at 3:37 PM

Australian rock band Pond performing at Waking Windows 2017 - FILE: LUKE AWTRY
  • File: Luke Awtry
  • Australian rock band Pond performing at Waking Windows 2017
Waking Windows has been pushed back to May 2022.

After all but confirming the postponement in a January email to Seven Days, the Winooski-based indie music and arts festival's organizers released a statement on Thursday announcing their decision to not go forward with the event this year due to continued safety concerns around the pandemic. The 2020 festival, which would have marked the event's tenth anniversary, was also canceled because of the coronavirus.

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