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Monday, May 25, 2020

Couch Cinema: The Wolf House

Posted By on Mon, May 25, 2020 at 6:46 PM

María tries to feed her "family" in The Wolf House. - COURTESY OF KIMSTIM
  • Courtesy of KimStim
  • María tries to feed her "family" in The Wolf House.
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 movie:
The Wolf House (La Casa Lobo) (2018; released in the U.S. 2020)

Where to see it:
Currently available for rent on the Vermont International Film Foundation’s Virtual Cinema platform.

The deal:
This 73-minute stop-motion animation took Chilean artists Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña five years to create. It’s immediately clear why — every second is mesmerizing.

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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Vermont Shakespeare Festival Puts the Bard in Your Yard

Posted By on Sun, May 24, 2020 at 2:04 PM

John Nagle as Don Armado - PAMELA POLSTON
  • Pamela Polston
  • John Nagle as Don Armado
Clad in a frilly white shirt and jeans, a sword dangling from his belt, Don Armado tore into his scene. Passion drove his speech, dramatic gestures his actions. Smitten by secret love, the Spaniard conveyed his heart's desire to, um, an audience of two on a patio shielded by a magnolia tree on South Winooski Avenue.

My patio. My magnolia tree. Don Armado, aka actor and Vermont Shakespeare Festival cofounder John Nagle, presented one of the first home deliveries of "Shakespeare to You" on Saturday afternoon — a monologue from Love's Labour's Lost. Somehow the play, written by William Shakespeare in the 1590s, seemed just right for a warm spring day during a pandemic in 2020. All socially distanced and everything.

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Barbacoa Play Pop-Up Concert in Burlington's Old North End

Posted By on Sat, May 23, 2020 at 7:30 PM

Barbacoa - JORDAN ADAMS
  • Jordan Adams
  • Barbacoa
You can't stop the music.

That's what Burlington surf-rock band Barbacoa proved on Saturday as they played a pop-up concert in the parking lot of a vacant building in the Old North End. Despite state-mandated restrictions on public gatherings, the long-running Queen City outfit performed to a crowd of about 40.

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Vermont Jazz Center Awarded CLIR Grant to Preserve Attila Zoller Archives

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2020 at 5:26 AM

Attila Zoller - COURTESY OF THE VERMONT JAZZ CENTER
  • Courtesy of the Vermont Jazz Center
  • Attila Zoller
Earlier this month, the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro was granted nearly $41,000 from the Virginia-based Council on Library and Information Resources to preserve a special chapter in jazz — the Attila Zoller Collection of Historical Audio Recordings: 1955-1996.

That cache contains hundreds of hours of largely unheard recordings featuring Zoller, the legendary guitarist and Vermont Jazz Center founder, as well as many of his equally notable pals from the New York City jazz scene. These include hepcats such as drummer Bob Moses, saxophonist Joe Farrell, trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, pianist Don Friedman, guitarist Jimmy Raney and saxophonist Lew Tabackin, to namedrop a few.

Those are just some of the celebrated players found on Zoller's 200 reel-to-reel recordings of which the Jazz Center is aware. Even more tantalizing are the performances still to be unearthed. Recently, a recording was discovered of what appears to be an undocumented concert with the Oscar Peterson Trio.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Missing Campus, Vermont Students Recreate Their Favorite Haunts — in Minecraft

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2020 at 7:00 AM

The in-progress UVM Minecraft campus from above - COURTESY OF UVM CAMPUSCRAFT
  • Courtesy of UVM CampusCraft
  • The in-progress UVM Minecraft campus from above
The University of Vermont campus is a quiet place these days. With online learning in place, most students have returned home to 47 states and 67 countries. For students like Lauren Posklensky, it was lonely to be suddenly separated from campus and her friends there. Transitioning to online classes, she said, was “pretty rough.”

But Posklensky kept in touch with a group of friends from UVM and often played Minecraft with them. That's a video game in which players can build and manipulate a blocky, 3D world.

Posklensky heard about a school in Japan hosting a virtual graduation ceremony in Minecraft. She half jokingly suggested to her friends that they should try to recreate the UVM campus in the game.

And UVM Campus Craft was born. The students have built the Dudley H. Davis Center, complete with a cozy version of Henderson’s Café, and have made progress on the Old Mill and Waterman buildings. Their main goal is to finish the UVM Green, adjacent to Waterman, so graduating seniors can virtually walk across it like they would during a normal UVM graduation ceremony.

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'Normal People'

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 5:00 PM

HULU ORIGINALS
  • Hulu Originals
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:
“Normal People” (Season 1, 12 episodes, 2020)

Where to see it:
Hulu

The deal:
Based on the best-selling 2018 novel by Sally Rooney, “Normal People” follows the evolving relationship between Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal), who grew up in the same town in Ireland’s County Sligo. We meet them as high schoolers: Both are intellectual achievers, but Connell is a beloved athlete and Marianne a pariah. Social class separates them, too: Connell’s mom (Sarah Greene) cleans the mansion where Marianne’s mom (Aislín McGuckin) presides.

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Middlebury Family Cranks Out COVID-19-Themed Music Videos

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 3:02 PM

From left: Ty, Sam and Clint Bierman - SCREENSHOT OF "HOME SCHOOL"
  • Screenshot of "Home School"
  • From left: Ty, Sam and Clint Bierman
The pandemic has proven that Vermont musicians' creativity while in quarantine knows no bounds. From tunes about proper sanitation to social distancing, local artists have been dropping COVID-19-related music videos left and right. Now, a Middlebury family has put out a quadrilogy of comedic coronavirus-related music videos.

Middlebury musician Clint Bierman, of funk-rock band the Grift and Lion Tone Studio, got about a week into quarantine before he started working on the first of his family's four vids.

"I write songs all the time," said Bierman in a phone call with Seven Days. "I thought immediately about doing comedy, because everybody needs comedy."

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Stowe Jewish Film Festival Goes Virtual

Posted By on Sat, May 16, 2020 at 2:05 PM

Still from 'Crescendo' - COURTESY OF MENEMSHA FILMS
  • Courtesy of Menemsha Films
  • Still from 'Crescendo'
Now in its fifth year, the upcoming Stowe Jewish Film Festival is embracing social distancing with an all-virtual experience. And — more importantly, perhaps, for anyone who's running out of thought-provoking streaming options — it's free. For that, founder and cochair Edee Simon-Israel thanks "generous sponsors" and "our marketing and technology partner," Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, which served as the fest's venue in 2019.

The fest will last three weeks, starting May 24, with each of three films available to stream for three days.

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Middlebury College Students Create Website for 3,000-Year-Old Assyrian Panels

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 1:23 PM

Detail of the NW x NE website home page - MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE DIGITAL METHODOLOGIES CLASS
  • Middlebury College digital methodologies class
  • Detail of the NW x NE website home page
On May 4, the 10 Middlebury College students in Sarah Laursen’s course on digital methodologies for art historians held their final class of the semester on Zoom. That wasn’t unusual, because Middlebury, like other colleges around the state and country, had sent their students home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

However, the guests Laursen invited to the Zoom call were notable: Sarah Graff, an associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; and Sean Burrus, the Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral curatorial fellow at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

While Seven Days listened in, Laursen’s students presented to the two art historians their semester-long project: a website examining one of Middlebury College’s first art acquisitions, which is a carved stone panel nearly 3,000 years old. The detailed relief, depicting a muscular, winged man with an impressive beard, is one of hundreds that once adorned the interior walls of the Northwest Palace, built by the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (who reigned from 883 to 859 BC), in Nimrud (near present-day Mosul, Iraq).

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Who's Leaving Inspirational Painted Rocks Around South Burlington and the South End?

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2020 at 3:52 PM

A Love Rock in South Burlington - DAN BOLLES
  • Dan Bolles
  • A Love Rock in South Burlington
Like most Vermonters abiding by the rules of self-isolation and quarantine,  I've been talking a lot of walks. Once a day or more, my furry sidekick Mookie Petts and I venture out for a lengthy constitutional to get some air, stretch our six legs and generally do what we can to avoid losing our minds. (He's doing a better job at the last than I, most days.)

Since mid-March, our usual outdoorsy haunts have become overrun. Formerly peaceful, these excursions to places like Red Rocks Park and Mount Philo State Park have become nerve-wracking experiences — less cardio than an exercise in passing silent, fuming judgment on our peers: What does six feet look like to you, pal? You know your mask doesn't work if it's around your neck, right?  Can you get the virus from your poop bag left on the side of the trail?

So these days, we've been spending more time closer to home, jogging on a wide recreational path nearby or aimlessly wandering the quiet streets of our burbs-y neighborhood along the border of Burlington and South Burlington. It's been far more enjoyable than white-knuckle walks in the woods — and not just because it's typically less crowded.

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