Live Culture | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Thursday, February 20, 2020

UVM Prof, Author Emily Bernard Wins Christopher Isherwood Prize

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 8:29 PM

Emily Bernard - COURTESY OF STEPHANIE SEGUINO
  • Courtesy of Stephanie Seguino
  • Emily Bernard


Emily Bernard, a professor of English and critical race and ethnic studies at the University of Vermont, was named the recipient of the Los Angeles Times' prestigious Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose for her 2019 essay collection, Black Is the Body: Stories From My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine.

Each essay presents a different vantage of Bernard's experiences "as a woman, a black American, a teacher, writer, mother, wife, and daughter," as she writes in the book. Bernard reflects on what it feels like to be a person of color in Vermont, on the process of adopting Ethiopian twins with her husband, and on going to Mississippi, where her close relatives live, in the wake of her grandmother's death.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Drag Queen Sasha Velour to Speak at Center for Cartoon Studies Commencement

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 11:15 AM

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The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction announced on Friday that its 2020 commencement speaker will be Sasha Velour, a CCS alumnus and an internationally acclaimed gender-fluid drag artist.

Velour, who graduated from CCS in 2013, became a household name after winning the 2017 season of "RuPaul's Drag Race." In an interview with WCAX-TV after being crowned "America's Next Drag Superstar," Velour told host Darren Perron that her performance career began in White River Junction, when she would dress up to attend "Drag Race" watch parties.

Through her performances, Velour said, she channels her background in cartooning: "I always think about designing a character that would read in a comic book, and then I just get to put it out into the world," she said. 

"Cartooning played a crucial role in Sasha Velour's origin story," said James Sturm, cofounder and director of CCS. "She was asked to be the commencement speaker because she is brilliant and inspiring. I don't know what Sasha will say, but I do know that Sasha knows exactly what it feels like to be on the other side of the podium and can speak to the excitement and dread the graduates may be feeling as they leave a tight-knit community to make their way in the world."

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Pharoah Sanders, Fantastic Negrito to Headline 2020 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2020 at 11:07 AM

Pharoah Sanders - COURTESY OF BURLINGTON DISCOVER JAZZ FESTIVAL
  • Courtesy of Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
  • Pharoah Sanders
The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival released a sneak preview of its 2020 lineup on Monday. The annual 10-day music marathon unleashes its awesome powers on the Queen City from Friday, June 5, through Sunday, June 14. As usual, world-class talent from near and far will descend on Burlington, filling practically every venue in town, from major performing arts centers like the Flynn MainStage to bars, restaurants, coffee shops and, of course, the Church Street Marketplace.

This year's top headlining honor is a bit of a déjà vu: legendary tenor saxophone player Pharoah Sanders, who was scheduled to play the 2019 BDJF but unexpectedly canceled his performance in April. The 79-year-old artist was a member of John Coltrane's band in the 1960s and has gone on to become a jazz titan in his own right. Sanders plays the Flynn MainStage on Saturday, June 6.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Post-Fire, Center for Cartoon Studies Recovers From Water Damage

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2020 at 9:01 PM

The saturated laboratory at the Center for Cartoon Studies - DAVE LLOYD
  • Dave Lloyd
  • The saturated laboratory at the Center for Cartoon Studies
Updated February 5, 2020.

If the fire doesn't get you, the water does. That's what the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction learned the hard way last month.

On January 3, when the school was on break, an accidental fire broke out in an apartment over its offices and lab space, in a former department store called the Colodny Building. (CCS' classrooms and extensive library are in a second building, the former post office, just down the street.) The apartment was unoccupied and being worked on when a fire started and was quickly contained.

But not quickly enough to prevent the sprinkler system from doing its job, which was to saturate everything in sight.

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Flynn Center Hires Charlie Smith as Interim Executive Director

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 1:11 PM

Flynn Center for the Performing Arts - DIANE SULLIVAN
  • Diane Sullivan
  • Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
On Thursday, the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts announced the hiring of Burlington's Charlie Smith as the organization's interim executive director. The announcement comes one week after current executive director Anna Marie Gewirtz announced she was stepping down from her position for family reasons.

Smith officially takes the helm on January 31 and will stay on until the search for a permanent executive director is completed. Gewirtz will remain involved with the Flynn Center in a consulting role during that period.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Executive Director Anna Marie Gewirtz Resigns From the Flynn Center

Posted By on Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 4:06 PM

Anna Marie Gewirtz - FRÉDÉRIC SILBERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Frédéric Silberman Photography
  • Anna Marie Gewirtz
On Friday, Anna Marie Gewirtz announced her resignation as executive director of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. In a press statement from the Flynn's board of directors, she cited "family reasons" to explain her departure from the Burlington nonprofit after roughly 18 months. Gewirtz replaced the previous Flynn Center executive director, John Killacky, in July 2018. Her family has since been split among Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey, the announcement said.

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Noted Sportswriters to Speak at 'A Night of Hall of Fame Hoops'

Posted By on Sun, Jan 12, 2020 at 1:23 PM

Jack McCallum - COURTESY OF JACK MCCALLUM
  • Courtesy of Jack McCallum
  • Jack McCallum
If you were to put together a dream team of some of the most accomplished and influential basketball journalists of the last 40 or 50 years, you might start with Bob Ryan. The semi-retired Boston Globe columnist is as respected a basketball writer as there is on the planet, and as recognizable a figure in Boston sports as any non-player. That's due to his decades of coverage dating back to the late 1960s, when he started as a Celtics beat writer.

After Ryan, you might tab his onetime Globe colleague Jackie MacMullan, now a senior writer for ESPN. She's authored or coauthored some of the seminal books on the NBA's golden age, including 2009's When the Game Was Ours with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. And since she played Division 1 hoops for the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, Jackie Mac would be an asset if and when a pickup game broke out.

Middlebury's Alexander Wolff would be a natural choice, too. He's a longtime Sports Illustrated writer and author of the 2016 book The Audacity of Hoop: Basketball and the Age of Obama.

And speaking of SI writers, the captain of this little dream team would almost have to be Jack McCallum. After all, he wrote the book on the real Dream Team.

'Dream Team' by Jack McCallum
  • 'Dream Team' by Jack McCallum
McCallum, 71, is a former SI senior writer who started at the magazine in 1981. He's the author of Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever, a 2012 book about the 1992 U.S. men's Olympic basketball team.

He's also the author of, among numerous other books, :07 Seconds or Less — My Season on the Bench With the Runnin' and Gunnin' Phoenix Suns, for which he embedded himself with the Suns for the entire 2005-06 NBA season.

Presently, McCallum is teaching a sports journalism course at Middlebury College for its winter semester, the second year in a row he's taught that class at the school. McCallum's son Jamie, also an author, is an associate professor of sociology at the college — though the sportswriter says it was actually another Middlebury prof who suggested he teach the class.

As part of that intensive course, on Wednesday, January 15, McCallum moderates 'A Night of Hall of Fame Hoops,' a panel discussion with Ryan, MacMullan and Wolff at the McCardell Bicentennial Hall at Middlebury College. (BTW, if you wanted to round out our dream team's starting five, you could include sportscaster Curt Gowdy. Each panelist, including McCallum, is a recipient of the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, hence the evening's title.)

Ahead of the event, which is is free and open to the public, Seven Days spoke with McCallum by phone.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Jimmy T Thurston, 'Vermont's Grandfather of Rock and Roll,' Dies at 78

Posted By on Wed, Dec 18, 2019 at 9:06 PM

Jimmy T Thurston - COURTESY OF JAMIE LEE THURSTON
  • Courtesy of Jamie Lee Thurston
  • Jimmy T Thurston
On Friday, December 6, Jimmy T Thurston played a show at the Old Post with his longtime band, the Cobras. In true Jimmy T style, it was a rowdy and raucous night at the South Burlington roadhouse.

"I heard it was crazy good," said Thurston's son, country singer Jamie Lee Thurston. "The whole place was standing up, guitar player ripping solos. I heard it was great."

Though no one knew it at the time, it was also Jimmy T's last show. The Vermont rocker, known to many as "Vermont's Grandfather of Rock and Roll," died on Sunday, December 15. He was 78.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Comedian Anya Volz Returns to Vermont to Host 'Thirst Trap'

Posted By on Tue, Nov 26, 2019 at 1:56 PM

Anya Volz - MINDY TUCKER
  • Mindy Tucker
  • Anya Volz
Comedian Anya Volz's big break rather literally came at the 2015 Vermont's Funniest Comedian contest at the Vermont Comedy Club — or, more specifically, a few nights before. Just prior to the annual local standup competition, Volz broke her leg. It would have been understandable — and probably her doctor's advice — for the comic to sit out the contest. But she chose to compete anyway.

"I was like, 'Oh my God. Am I really gonna do this really intense competition when I really should be in bed on pain meds?'" Volz recalls.

Performing on crutches for three straight nights, and forgoing painkillers in order to keep her mind clear, Volz took second place that year. That result led to regular feature appearances supporting nationally touring acts at the then-brand-new Burlington comedy club. Volz also curated her own regular standup showcase at VCC, called Welcome to Girlington.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

A Champlain Student's 'Ok Boomer' Song Went Viral on TikTok. Can He Turn It Into a Career?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 3:37 PM

Peter Kuli - FACEBOOK PROFILE PHOTO
  • Facebook profile photo
  • Peter Kuli
It’s been a weird few weeks for Peter Kuli. The 19-year-old Champlain College sophomore has been caught up in a massive social media wave that has sprung from the video-sharing app TikTok to the pages of the New York Times, from high schooler Instagrams to the New Zealand Parliament. It all boils down to two words: “ok boomer.”

In early October, Kuli made a song on his laptop. It was a remix of clips made by his friend Jonathan Williams, a college student in California, including lyrics mocking baby boomers (“You think I respect your opinion when your hairline looks that disrespectful?”) and a clip of Williams yelling, “Ok, boomer!” Those same lyrics became the song’s title.

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