Because I had no idea that chainsaw artists were a legitimate demographic. 

The Big Buzz Chainsaw Carving Festival. Chainsaw artists from around the country will convene in Chester, VT from today until October 8 to carve new work together, culminating the festival with an auction next Monday. Not recommended for the delicate of ear. More information here.

Because gallery openings are always the best. 

“Drive by Love” by Eric Eickmann opening reception. Speaking Volumes gallery in Burlington will celebrate the installation of Eickmann’s work – large-scale acrylic paintings of women juxtaposed with unexpected backgrounds – with an opening reception from 7 to 9 pm on October 5 featuring music by local blues artist Dwight Richter. For more info click here.

Because I can’t resist a good portmanteau. 

“Frog Halloween” exhibit opening. The group show at Frog Hollow gallery in Burlingon features work inspired by Grimm’s fairy tales. The opening event will run from 5 to 8 pm October 5. Confirm it here.

Because I’m slowly learning to see the upside of technology. 

Manhattan Short Film Festival. The collection of ten exemplary short films will be shown simultaneously in theaters (including Town Hall Theater at 7:30 pm on October 6) across the world (6 continents!) for viewers to vote upon a winner. If no other reason than to marvel at the coordination of time-zones, this looks fascinating. More info and tickets can be found here.

Because the posters are lovely and enigmatic.

“The Stronger,” a fifteen-minute play. Christina Fox and Izzy Schill star in Strindberg’s one-act play, which is apparently comprised of a single dramatic monologue. It will be performed at 8 and 9:30 pm on October 6 in CFA 232. I’m so intrigued.

Because apocalyptic fears are way too relatable. 

Take Shelter screening. This week’s Hirschfield film “revolves around a man, haunted by apocalyptic visions, who resolves to build an elaborate storm shelter – a decision that threatens the fabric of his family and his sanity.” It will be screened at 8 and 10:30 on Saturday in Dana. Full details here.


10800 Seconds is a round-up of arts events within three hours driving distance of Middlebury. The events are chosen with the utmost arbitrariness and thus represent a not-at-all comprehensive list.

September 25:

Because outsider art is in. Thorton Dial, Sr.: Thoughts on Paper and Outcasts and Rebels: Prints by William Blake and Leonard Baskin opens at the Fleming Museum. Thoughts on Paper features some of outsider and folk artist Thorton Dial, Sr’s earliest works, which feature “Dial’s characteristic and broadly coherent iconography of women, fish, birds, roosters, and tigers, rendered in a variety of media” and deal with themes of gender and human relationships. Outcasts and Rebels serves as a complementary exhibit to Dial’s work. Both exhibits will run through December 14. For more information visit the Fleming Museum’s website.

September 26:

Because I can’t resist recycled art. Make Stuff! Night at Bike Recycle Vermont. Every Wednesday volunteers gather at BRV to make art and jewelry out of discarded bike parts. Proceeds from the sale of the creations goes to supporting BRV, an insanely cool charity that refurbishes donated bikes and provides them to low-income Vermonters. Find out more here.

September 27:

Because the Johnson poster sale hasn’t happened yet. 5 and Dime exhibit and art sale at The Backspace Gallery. With prices ranging from $5 -100, you’d be hard pressed to find a more student-friendly venue for purchasing art. The Backspace Gallery is located in the same space (The Soda Plant Building) as The S.P.A.C.E. Gallery, which has a really cool looking mixed media show running right now. Both the sale and the show end Saturday, so hurry out! Check out their website here.

Because I have a supercrush on Philippe Petit. wire2 is a “short, original show integrating music, dance, circus, and theatricality.” It’s free and in the CFA, so there’s really no reason not to go. Plus, it was created by brother-sister duo Ben and Rachel Schiffer (’10 and ‘6.5) and features wirewalking, so there’s every reason to go.  Full deets here.

Because I was busy when Young Man in America was released. Anais Mitchell’s barnstorming tour hits Bristol, Bellows Falls, and Burlington. The  singer-songwriter will be in Bristol on Thursday, Bellows Falls on Friday, and Burlington on Sunday. Hopefully, one of those location-time combos will work for you. They’re also a convenient way to give being a folk groupie a trial run.

Please let me know if you know of any upcoming art events that other people should know about. Also, please let me know if you think any grievous omissions have been made from this week’s calendar. I can edit it.

Seeing the “How Did You Get Here?”promotional materials around campus always sends me into a bit of an existential tailspin. Suddenly, I’m not sure how I got here, what I’m doing here, or even where exactly here is. Luckily for all of us, we go to school with some really cool people who know how to respond to that question much more interestingly and eloquently.

Produced by the Narrative Journalism Fellows (including M Gal Hannah!) and advised by media queen Sue Halpern, How Did You Get Here? consists of sixteen digital portraits of current Midd students. At the opening event (Today! From 3-5!), these stories will be looped on projectors around the gallery. Naturally, there will also be awesome snacks and even more awesome company.

Yeah.  Read that title again.  People, the M Gallery is proud to present, for one night only, the musical stylings of Aubrey Dube, Ava Kerr, and Dane Verret.  The talented Ava (of NYC) will be on cello and the stellar duo, Aubrey (originally of Botswana) and Dane (of New Orleans) will be spitting rhymes that are for the most part, as far as I’m informed, on-the-spot improv.  Ava is known for her incredible versatility and ingenuity with her classical stringed instrument–a couple weekends ago, I heard she gave a killer performance as part of a band covering Nirvana in the Voter suites.  So, like, better get in the marriage proposal line rill rill quick, my friends.  Aubrey is one of the first people I met at Middlebury, and is not only one of the sweetest cats around, but he also taught me some words in Setswana (Dumêla!  I think that means “Good day?”), also the language in which he raps many of his verses.  This show is actually Aubrey’s senior work (most fun Midd senior work to-date?).  And Dane is already a renown spoken word poet at Middlebury and will surely bring his game.

Are you as stoked as me?! Do you not yet see the marvelous juxtaposition of this group?!  Cello.  And rap.  THAT IS CRAY.  AND TOTALLY GREAT.  Also, these three superstars are graduating in like, a week, so come bid them a rousing farewell!

Show starts at 10pm Thursday (5/10) in the M Gallery.  Perks-you’ll get to see the film photography exhibit, “35,” still gracing the gallery walls, you’ll get to see me, Ava might sign your forehead, Aubrey might teach you a swear word in Setswana…

A few weeks back, I admitted to you that I spent many (many, many) hours drilling over accent marks and hyphen placement as a member of my high school’s spelling and vocabulary team. The truth is, my obsession with nomenclatural precision extends back far further than that. As a wee one, I memorized Crayola color names with a borderline religious zeal. Poring over the paper wrappers, I learned to define my world and myself in Crayola’s terms. My cat was Timberwolf with Silver stripes. My hair was Macaroni and Cheese. My skin was Apricot. On several occasions, I came across difficulties communicating with peers, teachers, and relatives who failed understand that Carnation Pink would not work as well as Salmon, and that Purple Mountains’ Majesty was absolutely not light purple. I looked upon people who refused to recognize Crayola’s obvious authority in the world of color names with a precocious mixture of pity and disdain.

As I’ve gotten older (hipper! cooler!), I’ve realized how misguided I was. Crayola color names are obviously arbitrarily created by marketing executives, subject to consumer trends and political forces (Flesh, anyone?). Pantone, on the other hand…well, there’s some real authority. One needs only to dip their toe into the design world to become aware of this. Pantone, with its Pantone Matching System (PMS? Really?), can be used to codify and categorize absolutely everything; from mugs to matryoshkas, from flash drives to food, Pantone makes everything more legitimate, more reliable. ….Right?

Honestly, while it may be tantamount to heresy to suggest it, I have to say no. I don’t think that I connected the color Purple Mountains’ Majesty with the song lyric once in my elementary school career. Tangerine Tango or PANTONE 17-1463 is no less abstract and no more relevant.

All of this is a very rambling (and possibly ranting) way of introducing a fantastic piece by needlepoint artist and poet Stephen Beal. The piece, The Periodic Table of Artist’s Colors, is based off of set of poems that he wrote based on his associations with and relationships to the various colors of embroidery floss that he used in his needlepoint work. Meta, right?

I love the way that the intensely personal nature of The Periodic Table builds gradually as you look at it. Oxford ochre, Istanbul twilight, Schiaparelli! – all of those could probably be found amongst the paint chips at your local hardware store. The thrill comes from finding the stories hidden in the jargon – Charlie’s car that stays at home, Half of Haydee’s wardrobe (on both red and black), Daddy’s memory – and then maybe realizing that the jargon isn’t jargon after all, but rather more stories. Stories that are just as poetic and idyllic sounding as the ones that Crayola crafts, only real.

Like Hannah and her dead technologies, I’m very wary of being cast as the girl crying petulantly for authenticity in everything. If you’d prefer, I could frame this as a brilliant subversion of capitalistic hegemony or as an ironic juxtaposition of art and science or something else SOAN-y. Or I could just tell you to look at it and find your own words.

I think that’s what I’ll do.

For a better look at The Periodic Table of Artist’s Colors, click on the link below to download the pdf. It’s worth it, really.  PeriodicTable

Update (5/14/12): I just ran across this post on Krulwich Wonders, one of my favorite NPR Blogs. It has some super interesting information on Crayola colors and even talks a bit about artist Christian Faur, whose piece “True Color Series Boy 2” starts off this post.

Summer is coming! Which not only means driving around  with the windows down, barbecues, catching fireflies and summer festivals, it also means awesome art exhibits. Nerdy? Absolutely. But for those of you in, around or traveling to any metropolitan areas this summer there is bound to be an exhibit around the corner.

Here is a round up of what I have decided are the coolest exhibits to check out. Now all I need is a car, some good tunes and an art-museum road trip buddy…

Keith Haring: 1978-1982
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Through July 8th

This highly anticipated exhibit is the largest retrospective of Keith Haring’s work. Including his sketchbooks, journals, photos, experimental videos, works on paper, and even some of his subway drawings, it is filled with many works that have never been displayed publicly. Haring’s influence on contemporary art, street art and social issues make this a do-not-miss show.

Can’t get to Brooklyn? In conjunction with the exhibit, the Keith Haring Foundation is publishing his journals, one page a day, to a tumblr account! It’s a really neat way to get a look at his creative process.

Weegee: Murder is My Business
International Center of Photography, New York
Through Sept. 2

This exhibit brings together Weegee’s earlier and formative photographs. This exhibit traces his early years in the 1940s as a full-time photographer while he developed his tabloid photojournalist style. Known for his sharp, gritty, often gruesome, but always captivating images, Weegee often photographed New York City crimes. Although he worked for tabloid magazines, his photographs transcended these confines and are considered art in and of themselves.

PARRA Weirded Out
Through July 29th

Parra, the dutch graphic artist with a cult like following is featured in his first U.S. museum exhibit. His work bridges the gap between design and art. Although his work is similar to contemporary street art, it also references the pop art and psychedelia of the 1960s. His work is bold, bright and playful and this is sure to be a cool exhibit.

Bonus: As part of the the exhibit, he created a giant mural in the museum. Watch this cool time-lapse video of him working on the the mural.

Spectacle: The Music Video
Cincinnatti Contemporary Art Center
Through Sept. 3rd

We all know music videos are awesome, so why wouldn’t you want to go to a museum to see them? This exhibit traces the music video as an artistic tool and its rise of importance within the music industry. From A-Ha’s classic “Take on Me” video to Ok Go’s never ending awesomeness the exhibit spans decades of innovation. Obviously included are the videos themselves, but the exhibit is also filled with props and costumes, photography and “immersive environments.” That all sounds pretty awesome to me.