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Monday, April 24, 2017

Joke of the Week: Decisions, Decisions

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 12:46 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 Paul Church. Take it away, Paul…

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Playtime: Femme Techno Night at Speaking Volumes

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 9:32 AM

Hey there, earthworms and early robins. Welcome back to my online music zone!

Earlier this week, Seven Days music editor Jordan Adams introduced you to local fringe music enthusiasts Caroline DeCunzo and Jack Braunstein. The two are high-functioning mitochondria in the cell of Burlington music and social action groups, Pushing A Brain Uphill and Babe Paradise. Adams' article gave you the head's up about PABU's experimental sound festival this weekend at Burlington City Arts and Speaking Volumes. I'm going to fill you in about Friday night's PABU event, Femme Techno Night, co-hosted by Babe Paradise.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

South African 'Visual Activist' Zanele Muholi at Saint Michael's

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 2:00 PM

"Bester IV, Mayotte, 2015" - ZANELE MUHOLI
  • Zanele Muholi
  • "Bester IV, Mayotte, 2015"
Zanele Muholi is an internationally renowned photographer and self-described visual activist who has made her career taking portraits of members of South Africa's queer  community.

Muholi came of age — and came out — as the country's apartheid policies were falling apart. In 1996, post-segregation South Africa became the first country to draft a constitution explicitly forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation. Despite this progressive legal stance, wrote Jenna Wortham in a 2015 New York Times article, anti-gay hate crimes have been pervasive, and many of the country's lesbians are still subjected to "corrective rape."

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Art With a Twist: Pretzel Drawings at Feldman's Bagels

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 12:53 PM

Drawing by one of Leslie Fry's students, Blair Shields - COURTESY OF LESLIE FRY
  • Courtesy of Leslie Fry
  • Drawing by one of Leslie Fry's students, Blair Shields
A new art show at Feldman's Bagels on Pine Street comes full circle — or full twist. Drawings of pretzels by students in sculptor Leslie Fry's University of Vermont introductory drawing classes will occupy the cheery yellow walls of the bagel joint through the end of April.

Fry, who's taught as an adjunct at the university on and off for the past 20 or so years, says she got the idea during a conversation with Feldman's original owner, Roy Feldman. "We were eating pretzels," she recalls, "and he mentioned how there are similarities between the ways he makes pretzels and I make sculptures. And all of a sudden I thought, Isn't a pretzel a great shape?"

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tlingit Weaver Ricky Tagaban Visits Johnson State College

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 6:35 PM

  • Courtesy of the artist
  • Ricky Tagaban
"We don’t have a word for art in Tlingit," says Ricky Tagaban, "because
almost everything that we would make would have a crest on it."

The significance of languages — written, spoken and visual — and their intrinsic relationship to multiple identities is a strong thread that runs through the artist's tandem engagements as a contemporary artist, indigenous weaver and drag performer.

The Juneau, Alaska-based artist is in residence this week at Johnson State College, as part of the university's annual Ellsworth Lecture programming. Tagaban delivered his talk, “Weaving Politics and Process: Expressing Northwest Coast Textiles Through a Two-Spirit Life,” on Wednesday, April 12, and will offer a public weaving demonstration on Friday, April 14, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Dewey Hall Commons.

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PBS to Air Documentary on Rutland Basketball and Racism

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM

'Divided by Diversity' film poster - COURTESY OF DUANE CARLETON
  • 'Divided by Diversity' film poster
Local filmmaker Duane Carleton's documentary, Divided by Diversity, premieres on Vermont PBS  on Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m. The doc centers on the Mount St. Joseph Academy basketball team that won the 2011-12 Division II high school state championship.

Specifically, Carleton's film chronicles the racism that five black athletes from the Bronx faced after enrolling at the private Catholic school in Rutland to play basketball. Some parents and players complained about losing playing time to "outsiders." The five players also endured racist epithets from rival fans during games.

Cam Whittemore, a postal service worker
 who played surrogate mother to the athletes, was featured on the cover of Seven Days in December.

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Signals Experimental Music Series Returns with Koen Holtkamp

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 11:31 AM

Koen Holtkamp - KHO WONG
  • Kho Wong
  • Koen Holtkamp
Since October 2016, experimental and avant-garde musicians from all over North America have presented their work as part of the bimonthly music series Signals. Local sonic innovator Greg Davis curates and hosts the series in conjunction with local creative audio software company Soundtoys. Brooklyn-based composer Koen Holtkamp is next on the docket and performs this Saturday, April 15, at Soundtoys' Hood Plant location in Burlington.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Curator Kerri Macon Departs Burlington City Arts

Posted By on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 5:16 PM

  • Courtesy of Burlington City Arts
  • Kerri Macon
After seven years with Burlington City Arts, Kerri Macon has left her position as the organization's director of art sales and curator of the Vermont Metro Gallery. Macon joined the organization in 2010, after having worked as the Fleming Museum's business manager and as an independent arts consultant. Macon plans to dedicate herself to completing an autobiographical book about her family history, and to continue to work independently in artist development.

"I’ve spent the last seven years really supporting other people’s creative visions," Macon told Seven Days by phone, "and I sort of wanted to turn the tables a little bit and be on the other side. I was sort of at the end of my run at BCA in terms of where I could grow and the types of ideas I could explore."

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Joke of the Week: Making a Scene

Posted By on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 10:05 AM

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 Nilima Abrams. Take it away, Nilima…

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International Fashion Show Showcases New American Designs

Posted By on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 9:58 AM

Sahar Alsammraee - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Sahar Alsammraee
In Iraq, Sahar Alsammraee operated a clothing design studio out of her home. Her stock-in-trade were elaborately embroidered designs for traditional Arabic/Islamic dresses called abaya. That all came to an end when the 55-year-old designer fled to Syria at the start of the Iraq War in 2003. When conflict escalated there she returned to Iraq, then migrated to Vermont in 2014.

Alsammraee provides home care for her mother. And it's taken her some time to save up for sewing machines and fabric. But this year she has returned to the practice she loves: designing and sewing abaya.

And now, she has an outlet to show those designs: The Karibu (Welcome) International Fashion Show. Staged by the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, the show takes place on Thursday, April 13, at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge in South Burlington.
A traditional Iraqi dress by Sahar Alsammraee. - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • A traditional Iraqi dress by Sahar Alsammraee.

Aslammraee is one of three designers preparing garments for the show. The others, Pamela Tshilemba and Virginie Diambou, are from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, respectively. The show features 21 models from far flung countries such as Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Iraq, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, China, Nepal, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo.

CVOEO associate director Sandrine Kibuey, formerly of the DRC, cohosts the event with Alex Hirsch from WCAX-TV.

Alsammraee was preparing four pieces for Karibu in her Winooski apartment on Tuesday afternoon. The designer doesn't speak fluent English, so Houda Musanovic, formerly of Morocco, translated.

One red evening gown with long sleeves not yet sewn to the bodice was draped on the couch near a small sewing machine set up on a folding table. She'll be making two dresses in that style.
Detail of evening wear dress by Sahar Alsammraee - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Detail of evening wear dress by Sahar Alsammraee
The other two, which she has already finished, are abaya in seashell pink and turquoise. One is adorned with glitzy rhinestones, the other bearing an appliquéd band of silver lace trim down the center.  The dresses are composed of two parts — a loosely fitted, ankle-length sheath dress in poly-blend satin topped with a layer of sheer chiffon.

The designer says she gets her fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts in South Burlington, but that it's more expensive than the material she used to work with in Iraq. She's also using machine-embroidered fabrics from Jo-Ann. In Iraq she designed embroidery patterns and commissioned area seamstresses to fashion them either by hand or machine, depending on the complexity of the design.

Alsammraee and Musanovic explained that the light, flowing abaya are typically worn "the day just before a wedding, henna day." On that occasion, women dress up and gather to adorn the bride-to-be with temporary henna tattoos. "Just girls," Musanovic says, adding, "sparkle is very important."

Aslammraee is excited for people to see her designs. "It's just the beginning, she says." She hopes to grow her business here and be successful with it, as she was in Iraq. She adds, "It helps to be known in the community."

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