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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Ashley Jimenez Leaves Burlington City Arts

Posted By on Sun, Sep 24, 2017 at 11:22 AM

  • Burlington City Arts
  • Ashley Jimenez
On November 1, Burlington City Arts will say goodbye to gallery manager and assistant curator Ashley Jimenez.

Jimenez, 30, says that she's "ready and eager" to move on to a new chapter. "I will always value the relationships that I’ve made with the artists that I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past four years," she tells Seven Days. "I’ve made some good friends through BCA, put together some great exhibitions and have been a part of an organization that makes a profound impact on its community."

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Jensen Beach Receives Vermont Book Award

Posted By on Sat, Sep 23, 2017 at 11:08 PM

Allison Titus and Jensen Beach, holding his Vermont Book Award made by artist Jesse Cooper. - MARGOT HARRISON
  • Margot Harrison
  • Allison Titus and Jensen Beach, holding his Vermont Book Award made by artist Jesse Cooper.
At a gala in Montpelier earlier this evening, author Jensen Beach was pronounced the winner of the 2017 Vermont Book Award for his 2016 short  story collection Swallowed by the Cold. The $5,000 award is given by the Vermont College of Fine Arts every year to the author of an outstanding work of literature.

Poet Major Jackson, who received the honor last year, made the announcement. In addition, VCFA founding president Thomas Christopher Greene used his time on the stage to unveil a new scholarship sponsored by Phoenix Books in late Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher's name for students in VCFA's writing and publishing program.

Selected by the judging panel from eight finalists for the award, Beach teaches in the undergraduate program at Johnson State College and is a faculty member in the graduate writing and publishing program at VCFA. When he took the stage, he said, "I've never won anything in my life — not even a fucking lottery ticket." He tacked on praise for the college and Vermont itself, saying, "this place means a lot to me."

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Playtime: Freakshow Industries Makes 'Audio Effects for the End Times'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 11:17 AM

Screenshot of Freakshow Industries' landing page - FREAKSHOW INDUSTRIES
  • Freakshow Industries
  • Screenshot of Freakshow Industries' landing page
If one applied the Dungeons & Dragons Alignment System to audio startups, Freakshow Industries would definitely be plotted as Chaotic Good. The audio effects company allows users to steal its first plug-in, Backmask, which aligns with a general mission of good-natured disruption against order .

On its website, Freakshow states, "We believe that people who would buy software will buy software and we would rather give you our effects directly and unencumbered by archaic DRM." The company, which has a Burlington tie, adds that prefers not to send users "into the dark corners of the internet to grab questionable or altered versions of our work."  The theory is that offering freebies will encourage satisfied users to support the company by buying merch or other programs.  The statement concludes: "We believe that trust, generosity and goodwill are principles worth taking a chance on and so we put our continued existence into your very scary hands."
Freakshow's motto is "Audio Effects For The End Times,"  and they certainly dance on the grave of numerous conventions. The company's founders are audio industry veterans who formed Freakshow to "lovingly and repeatedly combat creative stagnation in the face, opening portals to new and unique sounds with exceedingly affordable audio product."

One of the founders, former Soundtoys employee Jasper Duba, is based in Burlington. Duba is the kind of modern renaissance man you'd expect to hide out in Vermont — he hunts mushrooms and throws pottery in his spare time.
Freakshow's first release, Backmask, is a chaotic reverse effect that appears to have been made by Rick Sanchez, the alcoholic scientist from the Adult Swim animated series "Rick and Morty." The interface is intuitive, with the emphasis on experimentation; basically half the fun is figuring what the controls actually do.

Backmask functions as a sample reverse with multiple effects options. But beyond that, describes it as "the most conceptual plug-in we've seen."

Don't let its eccentric design deter you from trying it: Backmask is actually super fun and fairly easy to create useable sounds with. The overall aesthetic is damn refreshing in an industry dominated by sterile design. Instead of technical explanations or comparisons to classic equipment, Freakshow's website offers mostly warped demo videos with a nihilistic sense of humor.

Check out Freakshow Industries haunted virtual laboratory at

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Changes at the Athenaeum

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 10:55 AM

Left: Williams Bouguereau's "Raspberry Girl"; Right: Alice Burnham as the Raspeberry Girl - ST. JOHNSBURY ATHENEUM
  • St. Johnsbury Atheneum
  • Left: Williams Bouguereau's "Raspberry Girl"; Right: Alice Burnham as the Raspeberry Girl
The exterior of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum received a small makeover last week, when staff members swapped out an entryway banner depicting Williams Bouguereau's "Raspberry Girl" for a slightly different version. (The 1890 original is housed in the gallery.)

Instead of the young girl clutching a lettuce leaf full of berries, the pastoral landscape now feature the figure of 91-year-old library docent Alice Burnham.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Flynn Center Executive Director John Killacky to Step Down

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 7:45 PM

  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • John Killacky
In a release this evening, Burlington's Flynn Center for the Performing Arts announced that its executive director, John Killacky, would be stepping down from his role in June 2018. Killacky arrived at the Flynn in 2010.

During his tenure, the release says, the Flynn flourished, "growing to a $7.7 million operating budget while maintaining the organization's commitment to presenting exceptional artistic, educational and community engagement programs."

In addition to securing significant grants for the performing arts facility, Killacky is perhaps proudest of the nonprofit's commitment to access and inclusiveness. The Flynn works with 75 human and social service agencies to provide discounted tickets for their clients; of the 38,000 students who annually attend shows, 7,300 attend for free; and the organization provides $30,000 in scholarships yearly for kids to participate in camps and classes.

Reached by phone for comment, Killacky said, first of all, that "all things are good" and he's "not going anywhere." While he wouldn't call this transition a retirement, Killacky noted that when he was interviewed for the ED position in 2010, he told the board that, if hired, he would stay "for five to seven years, and then my service would be done."

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Joke of the Week: Aging Gracefully

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 3:24 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 Lindsey Haddad. Take it away, Lindsey…

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Burlington's Bern Gallery Fires Up for Pipe Classic 12

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Bern Gallery owner and Pipe Class founder Tito Bern - FILE: OLIVER PARINI
  • File: Oliver Parini
  • Bern Gallery owner and Pipe Class founder Tito Bern
Competitors, start your torches! Pipe Classic 12, Burlington's annual glass pipe making flame-off,  begins today, September 18, at 4 p.m. with a dozen glassblowers  competing for the top prize and bragging rights as the country's best glass pipe maker.

The event, held each year during the third week of September, lays claim to being the first-ever glassblowing competition to celebrate the art of glass pipes, bongs and bubblers. This year, 12 elite glassblowers — 11 men and one woman —  chosen from around the United States by a committee of 11 industry professionals, will go head to head as they try to push the envelope on what's possible with glassware. No Vermonters are competing in this year's event.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Seven Things to Know About Shrinedom 2017

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 11:00 AM

  • Courtesy of Vince Neil
  • Vince Neil
In the ’80s, the union of pop and rock and roll reached a critical mass. The guitar riffs were big, the hair was bigger and a monolithic, blown-out sound ruled the arena circuit. Whether you called it hard rock, cock rock or hair metal, maximum rock riffage and shout-along hooks dominated the charts and left a permanent mark on rock and pop culture at large.

In the ’90s, other styles — such as grunge and jam-rock — swept in to take pop metal's place. But for some devotees, the electrifying strains of juiced-up riffs and screechy vocals were as good as it gets. And this weekend, fans of coiffed locks and tight pants can return to the arena, figuratively speaking, with an epic concert: Shrinedom 2017.

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Jake Blend's Spirograph Is One for the Record Books

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 9:01 AM

  • Courtesy of Jake Blend
  • Jake Blend
This spring, South End artist and maker Jake Blend's daughter, Alexis, was playing with sidewalk chalk. Specifically, she was trying to draw some sort of "tear in reality," Blend told Seven Days during a recent visit to his Generator studio.

Her endeavors got him thinking about trying to make a Spirograph — that nostalgic geometric drawing toy made of interlocking gears — for sidewalk chalk. And then Blend started thinking about making a really, really big Spirograph — Alexis wants to be in the Guinness Book of World Records, he explained. And so began a project of massive, geometric proportions that debuted at this past weekend's South End Art Hop: the World's Largest Spirograph.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Comedian Jenny Zigrino Dishes on Her Hilarious Cooking Show

Posted By on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 2:30 PM

  • Courtesy of Jenny Zigrino
  • Jenny Zigrino
Jenny Zigrino is one of comedy's truly ascendant young stars. The standup comic, writer and actor recently scored a featured role in the movie Bad Santa 2 alongside Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates and Christina Hendricks.

She costars with her pal and fellow comedian Jen Saunderson in the IFC web series "The Filling Is Mutual." That's a cooking show in which the duo concoct offbeat recipes based on their friends' standup bits. (Our favorite: White Devil Eggs, a take on deviled eggs inspired by a Langston Kerman bit about racism.)

In March, Zigrino dropped her debut comedy record, JZ's New Album.  And later this month — September 23, to be precise — her first half-hour standup special will air on Comedy Central. Zigrino tours nationally — she headlined the Vermont Comedy Club earlier this year. She's on the road again and heading back to Burlington this Thursday, September 14, to perform at the Flynn MainSta … wait, what?

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