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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'The Goldfinch'

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 11:22 AM

  • Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The film:
The Goldfinch

Where to see it:
Amazon Prime Video; rentable on various platforms

The deal:
In this adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a terrorist bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art changes everything for 13-year-old Theo Decker (Oakes Fegley). His mother is killed in the blast, setting him adrift to find a home first with the cultured matriarch (Nicole Kidman) of a Park Avenue family, then with his deadbeat dad (Luke Wilson) amid the foreclosed homes of Las Vegas, then with a sympathetic antiques dealer (Jeffrey Wright).

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Monday, August 10, 2020

Vermont Humanities Announces Virtual Fall Conference on Democracy

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 5:06 PM

From 'This Is What Democracy Looks Like: A Graphic Guide to Governance' by the Center for Cartoon Studies - DRAWINGS BY DAN NOTT AND KEVIN CZAP
  • Drawings by Dan Nott and Kevin Czap
  • From 'This Is What Democracy Looks Like: A Graphic Guide to Governance' by the Center for Cartoon Studies

This year’s Vermont Humanities fall conference — an annual series of public lectures normally held at the University of Vermont each November — will take place, you guessed it, online. The program, titled "Democracy 20/20," will consist of 15 free virtual talks and workshops, streamed weekly between August 19 and November 13 on the theme of civic engagement.

Beginning in October, the lineup may also include small in-person events as public health guidance allows.

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Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Flynn Announces New Event Series, Hurly Burly

Posted By on Sat, Aug 8, 2020 at 2:09 PM

  • File: Luke Awtry Photography
  • Ray Vega
More live music is coming to the Burlington area, courtesy of the Flynn. On Friday, the performing arts center announced a new series called Hurly Burly, a string of free, outdoor, socially distant performances co-presented by the University of Vermont's Lane Series and the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. Beginning on Saturday, August 15, with Latin jazz trumpeter, educator, bandleader and VPR host Ray Vega, the series will continue through September.

"Hurly Burly is an experiment," Flynn artistic director Steve MacQueen wrote in a press release. "If people can't come to the arts, then we'll bring the arts to the people, and we'll do it as safely as possible."

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'The Old Guard'

Posted By on Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 3:15 PM

Charlize Theron as Andy - AIMEE SPINKS/NETFLIX
  • Aimee Spinks/Netflix
  • Charlize Theron as Andy
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The film:
The Old Guard

Where to see it:

The deal:
Her name is Andromache of Scythia (Charlize Theron), but you can call her Andy, and nothing can kill her. Stalking around in black jeans and sporting the deadpan charisma of vintage Clint Eastwood, Andy leads a team of centuries-old warriors with miraculous regenerative abilities. Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) date from the Crusades; Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts) from Napoleonic France. Together they while away their seeming immortality by fighting for good causes.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

350Vermont Launches 'Climate + COVID-19: A Community Conversation' Zine

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 6:02 PM

  • Courtesy of Jean Cannon
  • 'Predator Summit'
The climate crisis and COVID-19 are two topics likely to be weighing on Vermonters' minds. In a new zine presented by the Burlington-based climate justice nonprofit 350Vermont, writers and artists explore the intersection of the pandemic and Earth's changing climate.

In early May, organizers, including project initiator and 350Vermont staff collective member Lily Jacobson, put out a call for submissions. They were looking  for stories, essays, poems, drawings, photos, and other types of writing and visual art to fill a DIY publication, serving as "an artistic dialogue around the connections between COVID-19 and climate justice, aka the climate crisis," according to the call for submissions.

The response was enthusiastic. In a phone call with Seven Days, Jacobson said the team received submissions from 40 people, some of whom sent multiple pieces. With such a large number of works, organizers decided to parcel the zine, called Climate + COVID-19: A Community Conversation, into two issues.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

In Memoriam: Hobbes, Canine Host of the "Bruce & Hobbes" Radio Show

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 4:53 PM

Hobbes in the WVTK studio in 2012 - FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF BRUCE ZEMAN
  • File photo courtesy of Bruce Zeman
  • Hobbes in the WVTK studio in 2012
Hobbes has gone home for good — and animal lovers throughout Vermont are mourning his death.

Though diminutive in stature, the tiny, brown, short-haired Dachshund reached unparalleled heights for a rescue dog, as the four-legged member of Bruce & Hobbes, America’s first human-canine radio team.

In 2013, the story of Hobbes’ rescue, by owners Bruce Zeman and Tami Crupi Zeman, became the subject of a children’s picture book, Hobbes Goes Home, copies of which were sent as gifts to then-president Barack Obama. The 44th president later wrote a letter to the Zemans telling them how much he enjoyed the book.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'Palm Springs'

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 6:48 PM

  • Jessica Perez/Hulu
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The film:
Palm Springs

Where to see it:

The deal:
At a swanky wedding in the desert, two disaffected guests meet cute — sort of. Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the sister of the bride, is drinking hard and on the verge of making a scene. Nyles (Andy Samberg), a bridesmaid’s date, isn’t particularly concerned when he catches his girlfriend (Meredith Hagner) hooking up with a groomsman. In fact, he isn’t particularly concerned about anything, including the armed mystery man (J.K. Simmons) who appears from nowhere and attacks him just as he and Sarah are about to have an ill-advised hookup of their own.

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Removal of Bank Street Murals Around Burlington 'Pit' Sparks Concern

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 4:22 PM

  • Courtesy photo
The murals along the Bank Street edge of the would-be CityPlace construction site in Burlington have been temporarily removed, as an SD Ireland crew works on restoring the sidewalk there. Over the weekend, the murals, mounted on plywood, were placed haphazardly in the pit, prompting concern from observers that the artwork was being mishandled. City staff and SD Ireland insisted that none of the murals was damaged.

A Seven Days reader spotted the murals in the pit over the weekend and photographed them, concerned that they were going to be trashed. Burlington City Arts commissioned 25  8-by-10-foot murals in October 2019 to adorn the construction barriers around the lot where the former mall stood, paying each artist $1,000 for their work. Last week, the city announced that Brookfield Asset Management, the project’s majority owner, wants to abandon plans to build two 10-story structures on the lot.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'The Great'

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 8:00 AM

Elle Fanning in "The Great" - ANDREA PIRRELLO/HULU
  • Andrea Pirrello/Hulu
  • Elle Fanning in "The Great"
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The series:
“The Great” (10 episodes, 2020)

Where to see it:

The deal:
In 18th-century Russia, a teenage princess arrives at the imperial court for an arranged marriage to the young emperor. Theirs is not a match made in heaven. While the bride, Catherine (Elle Fanning), is a dreamy bookworm who worships the thinkers of the French Enlightenment, the groom, Peter III (Nicholas Hoult), is a spoiled man-child who enjoys boozing, killing things, recreational sex and more boozing.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

Public Art Roundup: Black Lives Matter Murals, Big Birds and More

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 3:11 PM

Arts So Wonderful muralists at work in downtown Burlington - COURTESY OF JAMIE BEDARD
  • Courtesy of Jamie Bedard
  • Arts So Wonderful muralists at work in downtown Burlington
There's a pandemic going on, but not all artists have remained cooped up at home. The evidence? New public art has been popping up around Vermont, including Black Lives Matter-related murals and an outsize sculpture in Burlington.

While we can't include all the new public artworks spied around the state, here's a short sampling.

BLM Art and Vandalism

When Jamie Bedard started work on a Black Lives Matter mural on the wall of the old YMCA building in Burlington, she was surprised by how much attention she got. On the first day, when Bedard was painting with a group, a passerby stopped to ask why they weren’t painting All Lives Matter instead. Bedard and her friend did their best to explain the importance of recognizing Black oppression.

“It was a good way to talk about it together with someone,” Bedard said. “Just having that experience once, I feel better going into that conversation again.”

But on her second day of painting, when Bedard was alone, things were less civil.

“People were shouting out things like, ‘All Lives Matter,’ and ‘White Power.’ I was just shocked,” Bedard said. “I actually got the police called on me.” She assured officers that she had permission to paint on the building.

Bedard, an art teacher, paints murals regularly for Arts So Wonderful, a nonprofit founded by Bruce Wilson to provide artistic opportunities for young people and to create public art. The Arts So Wonderful crew often paints electrical boxes and walls that are otherwise frequently tagged with graffiti. Its members have painted several other colorful murals in Winooski, Burlington and beyond over the past few months.

Burlington's Black Lives Matter mural has been vandalized once, but Bedard returned to touch it up.

“I actually started adding more flowers to it,” she said. “If it does keep getting vandalized, I’ll just keep adding more flowers.”

In Rutland, a massive painting of a child’s face and sunflowers is in progress on the back wall of the former Strand Theatre, facing the city’s Center Street Marketplace Park. Artist Lopi LaRoe, known as LMNOPI, is calling the nearly four-story mural “We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest Until It Comes.”
Artist LMNOPI working on "We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest Until It Comes" in Rutland - COURTESY OF LOPI LAROE
  • Courtesy of Lopi LaRoe
  • Artist LMNOPI working on "We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest Until It Comes" in Rutland
“I hope that by creating this mural in the commons of downtown Rutland, our [Black, Indigenous and people of color] community members, especially the kids, will feel seen, appreciated, welcomed and know that we are fighting for a better world for them,” LMNOPI wrote in a recent press release. “This mural is an act of love. Let it serve as a rallying cry for those of us who believe in freedom.”

The artist is also no stranger to vandalism. Last fall, her Rutland mural of climate-crisis activist Greta Thunberg was defaced. LMNOPI restored it.

An official unveiling and reception for the new work will be held in the Center Street Marketplace Park on Monday, July 20, at 6 p.m.

In Swanton, the village’s board of trustees voted to remove public art walls after they became a source of community strife, according to reporting by Some local residents have painted Black Lives Matter messages and images on the boards, and other residents promptly covered them up. Trustees decided the art walls, which are free to be painted by anyone in the community, were not intended to be used for “political messages.”

Big Bird

If you’ve driven along Maple  Street in downtown Burlington recently, you’ve probably spotted a giant red-winged blackbird peering down at passersby from its perch on a tall cattail. It’s the latest larger-than-life public sculpture from Jake Pill and Kyle Sikora, the artists behind the honeycomb and bee installation on a wall of the Cathedral Square senior living facility in South Burlington.
"Bird and Cattails" in Burlington - MARGARET GRAYSON ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Margaret Grayson ©️ Seven Days
  • "Bird and Cattails" in Burlington
Pill and Sikora met while working at Conant Metal & Light. They originally proposed the sculpture "Bird and Cattails" to Burlington City Arts for potential placement near the long-delayed CityPlace Burlington development. Instead, BCA suggested the pair site it in the rain garden at the intersection of St. Paul and Maple streets.

“It ended up being pretty tricky to place them in the rain gardens,” Pill said. A rain garden is designed to capture stormwater runoff and absorb it into the soil, so Pill and Sikora had to work closely with the Department of Public Works on their design to make sure it didn’t interfere with the garden’s functionality.

They went with a red-winged blackbird because it’s native to Vermont’s wetlands and has a symbiotic relationship with the cattails. The artists like to highlight natural relationships and local ecology in their work, Pill said, “especially because a lot of this public art comes out of city development and growth.”

The sculpture is crafted from foam, fiberglass and steel, and painted with the kind of paint that gives roller coasters their bright finishes. Vermont weather requires a lot of consideration, Pill and Sikora said, especially if a work needs to last for years.

Out of Step

July 16 tweet from University of Vermont police - SCREENSHOT ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Screenshot ©️ Seven Days
  • July 16 tweet from University of Vermont police
A statue on the University of Vermont campus is missing its prized accessory. UVM Police tweeted on Thursday that the cane held by the statue of the Marquis de Lafayette on the University Green had been stolen and requested tips on its possible whereabouts. The statue depicts the Revolutionary War officer who visited Burlington for one day in 1825. (But you might know him better from the musical Hamilton.)

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