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Monday, May 15, 2017

Joke of the Week: My Hero

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 1:08 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 Tim Bridge. Take it away, Tim…

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Montpelier Alive Issues Call to Parade Artists

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 9:13 AM

Montpelier July Third Parade - ROB SPRING
  • Rob Spring
  • Montpelier July Third Parade
Spring has barely sprung, but capital city nonprofit Montpelier Alive is already thinking about July. The third of July, specifically, and the patriotic celebrations that accompany that day.

Last Thursday, Montpelier Alive announced a new addition to the day's lineup of events: a parade competition with a hefty check for two winners. Officially titled the Union Mutual July 3rd Parade Competition, the event invites individuals and organizations to create patriotic floats, costumes, decorations and banners.

There's only one catch — they have to showcase "green initiatives." Organizers hope participants will use reclaimed and repurposed items, as well as objects that can be recycled post-parade.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Style Points: Natural Lingerie by Hanna Broer Design

Posted By on Sat, May 13, 2017 at 3:54 PM

Model Aubrey Ebony in pieces from Hanna Broer's spring underwear line - RUNWAY PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Runway Photography
  • Model Aubrey Ebony in pieces from Hanna Broer's spring underwear line

It’s finally spring. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining —  sometimes — and we're pushing heavy outerwear to the backs of our closets. It seems like a good time to introduce a new blog series focusing on Vermont designers, stylists, fashion mavens and textile-oriented entrepreneurs. For this inaugural post, meet eco-friendly designer Hanna Broer.

Broer first started designing under garments in 2011, when she was still living in her native Montréal. "One day I needed underwear, so I made some for myself and had a lot of fun," she said. "I was working for a Montréal fashion designer, [Katrin Leblond,] at the time, and I got a lot of encouragement, so I made more to sell. I’ve evolved a lot since then, but that’s how it started."

Now, the 27-year-old designer lives in Craftsbury, where she makes all of the organic cotton bras, panties and loungewear in her eponymous lingerie line. Her work features nary a whisper of underwire, relying instead on high waistlines downstairs and sleek-yet-comfortable cuts upstairs.

Lace makes an occasional appearance in Broer's ever-evolving lineup of intimates, but, for the most part, she produces comfy underwear sets in printed and solid organic jersey fabrics. Seven Days caught up with the designer over email to learn more about her business.

SEVEN DAYS: What was that first underwear like that you made, and how have things changed?
HANNA BROER: My first pair of underwear was the wide-band panty style. I was working in a fashion studio in Montréal at the time. I was wearing a pair of baggy jeans — really baggy, like some men wear it — and I was so frustrated with having to wear shorts underneath, so I made myself some undies that would give a similar effect to the boxers that show under men's pants. One of them even had a plaid print. I've refined the cut since then for a better fit, but the style is still the same. I've added other panty styles since, and I eventually started making bras to go with the bottoms.

SD: Why no underwire?
HB: There are a few reasons. First, comfort is essential to me, and underwire bras can be very uncomfortable if they don't fit perfectly. Then, a more practical reason for me is they are very time-consuming to make, and getting the right fit through only measurements can be quite tricky. I'm slowly teaching myself to make them fit comfortably and reliably. There are people who do prefer underwire bras for support, and one day I might offer them, but I'm not there yet. I do offer some bras that are still quite supportive for not having wires, and I have many happy customers in all ranges of breast sizes, including in my XL and XXL sizes.

Sierra McKenzie models Hanna Broer's spring line. - DAVE TADA
  • Dave Tada
  • Sierra McKenzie models Hanna Broer's spring line.
SD: On to materials. Where do you get your fabric? Is it hard to find organic materials, and how do you verify that?
HB: I buy most of my fabric online from a few wholesale companies. It is difficult to find organic materials and especially organic stretch jerseys, which I use for my undergarments. I spend lots of time searching!

SD: Why do you hand sew? Couldn't you get a factory to make all your designs and save time?
HB: I love to sew! I'm a very creative and hands-on person, and I love being part of the whole process. I also think that there are starting to be many lost arts in our culture, and I want to keep the craft of sewing alive here. Eventually, if I can't handle all the sewing, I will want to hire someone, or a few people, locally.

SD: What dictates how your designs change between seasons? For example, in 2017, you're using the same print in a variety of natural-looking colors. For 2016,  you used more lace and added more loungewear to the line.
HB: I like to create inspiration boards for myself with colors, textures, trends and details that inspire me. Ultimately, the decision is often more practical. Some of it depends on what fabrics I can find, and which colors compliment each other.  Some of it depends on the season; some of it comes from wanting to accommodate different body types, and it's all based on what I'm inspired to make.
Cait Lion in items from Hanna Broer Designs - CAROLYN JEAN
  • Carolyn Jean
  • Cait Lion in items from Hanna Broer Designs
SD: It looks like you recently started making swimsuits. Is that material harder to work with? Do you think you'll continue offering them?
HB: There are some challenges to making swimwear, and the material can sometimes be tricky, but it's not much more challenging than lingerie is for me. The biggest reason I haven't done swimwear until now is that I've committed to using environmentally friendly fabrics as much as I can. Since swimwear has to be made from synthetic materials, that has been a setback for me.

Recently I was able to find a company that uses polyester that has been produced using significantly less water than conventional polyester. I've been using that fabric for a small test run, and hopefully this summer I will be offering more swimwear made out of recycled polyester.

SD: What are your primary means of marketing your product?
HB: At the moment my primary marketing comes from social media (mainly Instagram), and through Etsy.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Magic Hat Receives National Arts Award

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 5:47 PM

Magic Hat Artifactory - LISA KELLY
  • Lisa Kelly
  • Magic Hat Artifactory
For the second year in a row, Americans for the Arts has recognized a Burlington-area business as one of its "BCA 10."  Each year, the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit's  Business Committee for the Arts highlights 10 businesses across the country for "exceptional involvement in the arts," according to its website. received the honor last year. This year it's Magic Hat Brewing Company. Burlington's South End Arts and Business Association nominated both businesses for the award.

Founded by entrepreneur Alan Newman and brewer Bob Johnson, Magic Hat began concocting its suds on Flynn Ave. in Burlington's South End in 1994. The company has since moved its production to Bartlett Bay Road in South Burlington, though its offices are presently located on Pine Street in Burlington. North American Breweries bought the company in 2010. In 2012, NAB sold to Cerveceria Costa Rica, a division of Costa Rica's Florida Ice & Farm Co.

Throughout its history, Magic Hat has made the arts part of its identity and mission. (Fun fact: The brewery's original name was the Magic Hat Brewing Company & Performing Arts Center.) Recent artistic endeavors have run the gamut from soliciting original artwork for the Labels for Libations project to hosting the annual Wall to Canvas event, a live art competition at the brewery that benefits the Shelburne Craft School.
Art Hop Ale label with illustration by Zelde Grimm. - MAGIC HAT
  • Magic Hat
  • Art Hop Ale label with illustration by Zelde Grimm.
This is only the second year SEABA has nominated a business for the award. According to SEABA director Adam Brooks, that's because he hadn't even heard about the BCA 10 until Americans for the Arts approached him two years ago.

"They came to me after hearing about our little South End Arts District and the South End Art Hop, and thought maybe we should nominate a business," Brooks writes in an email. " has been outstanding in supporting the arts community, so they were a logical choice."

Deciding who to pick this year wasn't easy, Brooks says. "There are many south end businesses who make it part of their mission to support the arts.  That's what makes this district tick."

But Brooks notes a few projects that put Magic Hat on the organization's radar. He cites Labels for Libations, which began in 2012 during Brooks' first year as director. The competition solicits artwork from local creators to adorn a limited edition 22-ounce "Art Hop Ale." Recent winners have included Zelde Grimm and Hillary Glass.

Brooks also mentions the company's support of nonprofits such as the Shelburne Craft School and Big Heavy World. Magic Hat hosts the HeavyFest music festival, a BHW benefit, next Saturday, May 20, at the brewery.

"They are an extremely creative and artistic-minded business," Brooks says.

In an email statement to Seven Days, Magic Hat brand manager Lisa Kelly writes, "Since we opened our brewery doors in 1994, [Magic Hat has] embraced our incredible and vibrant arts community and wished to play a big part in that and help nurture and grow it." Kelly notes that the brewery also hosts art exhibitions in its retail store and tasting room, the Artifactory.

"We are proud to work with and support SEABA and participate in the South End Art Hop year after year," Kelly continues. "We invite the local Burlington arts community to share this award with us. Because without their inspiration and welcome, we would not have found ourselves in this amazing position."

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Comedian Russell Howard Talks Travel, Trump and a Global Approach to Standup

Posted By on Tue, May 9, 2017 at 5:02 PM

  • Courtesy of Russell Howard
  • Russell Howard
Russell Howard is bigger than Barry Manilow.

OK, he's maybe not that big. But, earlier this year, the British comedian and television host did headline 10 straight nights at London's famed Royal Albert Hall, breaking the record previously held jointly by Manilow and some guy named Frank Sinatra. That ain't bad.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Joke of the Week: So You Drink You Can Dance?

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 3:05 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 Lyndonville's Caleb Teske. Take it away, Caleb…

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Shifting Places in Burlington's Soda Plant

Posted By on Sun, May 7, 2017 at 6:30 AM

The entrance to S.P.A.C.E. Gallery in the Soda Plant - PAMELA POLSTON
  • Pamela Polston
  • The entrance to S.P.A.C.E. Gallery in the Soda Plant
Last week, Seven Days learned that the owner of Brickwork Art Studios evicted its tenant artists at 266 South Champlain Street in Burlington's South End Arts District.  This week, more movement is afoot with studio spaces: Backspace Gallery, a part of S.P.A.C.E. Gallery in the Soda Plant, is going to be reclaimed by property owner Steve Conant beginning June 5, according to studio manager Christy Mitchell. Backspace houses six artists as well as a gallery and event space. Conant is the founder of Conant Metal & Light, a fabrication shop also located in the building.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Phoenix Books Burlington Unveils Kid-Friendly Mural

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Mural by Kristin Richland at Phoenix Books Burlington (detail) - MARGOT HARRISON
  • Margot Harrison
  • Mural by Kristin Richland at Phoenix Books Burlington (detail)
Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline marching in front of Edmunds Middle School. Frog and Toad in City Hall Park. Dragons who love tacos catching a bite on Church Street. Stephen Huneck's Sally getting a walk — from a cat! — near the Winooski Bridge.

These are some of the whimsical details that careful observers will spot in the mural by Underhill artist Kristin Richland that was officially unveiled last night in the children's section of Phoenix Books Burlington. It's part of Children's Book Week (May 1 to 7), which the store will also celebrate with a special story time on Saturday devoted to Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri's Dragons Love Tacos.

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Playtime: Waking Windows Pep Talk

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 10:46 AM

  • Amelia Devoid
Hey, dudes. I have to admit that I possibly drank too much coffee before writing this post. I'm trying to sit here and write about my personal must-see bands appearing at Waking Windows in Winooski this weekend, but it's taking forever. Each time I listen to a band in the line-up, I literally get out of my chair and start dancing like the woodland montage in Hot Rod.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

8084 Release Tribute to Jennifer Foxx, "When Angels Slip Away"

Posted By on Thu, May 4, 2017 at 2:58 PM

8084 - COURTESY OF 8084
  • Courtesy of 8084
  • 8084
Sometimes, the only way to say goodbye is through song.  In the tradition of memorial anthems like Michael Jackson's "Gone Too Soon" or Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," Vermont's 8084 recently released "When Angels Slip Away," a tribute to their longtime friend and supporter, Jennifer McClintock. Listen below.

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