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I AM... 2021 | Featured Artists

LN Bethea | Bryan Blanchette | Rajnii Eddins | Samirah Evans | William Forchion | John Hughes | KeruBo | Nettie Lane | Toby MacNutt | Mikahely Riki Moss | Jericho Parms | Leaf Silver | Toussaint St. Negritude | Veronica Stevens | Shani Stoddard | Kaylynn TwoTrees | Cai Xi


LN  Bethea seen standing in overalls and a red and yellow scarf, smiling up at a blue sky.LN Bethea

Poetry/spoken word

Vermont has been LN's home for over 22 years. LN is the co-founder of Poetry People. LN has been featured at: Artsriot's Poetry Riot, Lamp Shop's Lit Club, Sundog Poetry Center's AMP Night and Delectable Delights, and Burlington's Pride Festival. In 2020, LN was featured at the Dianne Shullenberger Gallery's Delicious Words show. LN is a workshop leader for Sundog's Share Your Heart, a day of collaboration between students and professional poets, resulting in powerful and moving new poetry. She has helped organize Sundog's Justice and Poetry event. She is also a workshop presenter for Babatree International 's #WakeUpWalkTowards: a Telesummit for Transformational Change in the time of Covid, Climate Crisis, and Colonial Collapse. 

 

 

A screenshot of LN Bethea's video Invasive Species1. "Invasive Species"

Sign langauge interpretation by Erin Sanders-Sigmon. Download the text of "Invasive Species."

"Suddenly, teen suicide was trending. It was on the news. It was in the paper and everywhere online. Then one day, it was at my child's school. It reverberated through our community. There are no answers...only questions. Invasive Species is my search for understanding."

 

A screenshot of LN Bethea's Well Done video2. "Well Done"

"'Well Done' was written in response to the Gun Violence [sic] plaguing America. Conditioning ourselves and our children to this reality seems to be the only solution offered. Shooter drills in elementary schools are the norm. Metal detectors and police officers welcome students to school. Is this the best we can do?"

 

 

3. Poetry Spoken Here Episode #092: LN Bethea and Leonora Carrington

Hosted by Charlie Rossiter.

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Bryan Blanchette sitting cross-legged and cradling a guitar, looking into the camera.Bryan Blanchette

Music

It is said that if you sit by the rivers of New England, you can hear the songs of the ancestors, the Abenaki, carried on the wind or the rushing waters. Now there is a voice so powerful, it can honor the songs of the old ones.

Bryan Blanchette is a 21st century Abenaki artist. He brings 10,000 year old traditions into music and performance into a 21st century setting. A contemporary song may be sung in an Algonquian language, or a traditional pow wow song might be fused with a Euro American musicology. His music is the continuation of millenniums of music tradition of the land that flourished before America was America. Beautiful music and Abenaki heritage combine to create one of New England’s most original artists.

Blanchette’s musical talent is unquestioned. Whether singing at a pow wow with the Blackhawk Singers or performing solo at Vermont’s Flynn Theater, his voice makes listeners stop and take notice. A Native American Elder once told a young Bryan, “You have the voice of a warrior.” He plays multiple instruments, writes his own music and lyrics, and sings with a powerful, captivating Abenaki warrior voice. 

Blanchette is a New England native and member of the Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki tribe. He studied music at the world renowned Berklee College of Music. He started pow wow drumming in 1996. His group, The Blackhawk Singers are extremely popular and have performed internationally to critical acclaim. They have released two CDs. He began writing Abenaki language songs in 1998. His contemporary music has also played to critical acclaim throughout New England. 

Bryan is currently living in N’dakinna, the Abenaki homeland, Graniteville, Vermont.

For booking information and performance calendar, contact Blanchetteb1@yahoo.com.

1. "Merrimack County"

"This video is an Abenaki version of the Tom Rush song 'Merrimack County.' Special thanks go out to Tom Rush for allowing me to take it to this level, and to Sherry Gould for asking me to do this in the first place."

2. "Water is Rising"

Bryan Blanchette live at FlynnSpace in Burlington, VT on Dec. 17, 2019

"This video and song are about climate change, and how we as adults are leaving our children with the mess."

3. "Truth"

A social justice song inspired in part by the media fall out from the Parkland, FL shootings. Sung with both English and Abenaki lyrics, known to some as, "Abenglish.”

4. "Kwai"

Performed by Bryan Blanchette with Morgan Lamphere and Al's Pals featuring Alex Budney, Mike Fried, Cotter Ellis, and Dan Rahilly. This song is from the Nikwôbi set at the FlynnSpace in Burlington, VT on Dec. 17, 2019.

5. "Moon Hawk"

"'Moon Hawk' is a contemporary Abenaki language song about the night time activity of a Moon Hawk."

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Rajnii Eddins reading from his book, Their Names Are Mine, at a microphone in Battery Park in Burlington, VTRajnii Eddins

Poetry/spoken word

Originally from Seattle, WA, spoken word poet/emcee and teaching artist Rajnii Eddins has been engaging diverse community audiences for over 27 years. He was the youngest member of the Afrikan American Writers Alliance at age 11 and has been actively sharing with youth and community in Vermont since 2010. His latest work, Their Names Are Mine, aims to confront white supremacy while emphasizing the need to affirm our mutual humanity. Visit Rajnii's website to see more of his work.

 

 

 

1. Royalty Dignity Integrity Loyalty

"This is a song speaking on the need for loving ourselves and celebrating our legacy in unity. We must not succumb to others [sic] false image of us."

2. In Our Wake

Audio

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Samira Evans seen from the shoulders up, singing behind a microphone.Samirah Evans

Music

During her career as a performer and recording artist, Samirah has become known for her  dynamic and soulful approach to music, especially in the jazz and blues genres. Her  musical style is heavily influenced by the New Orleans sound where she was one of the  city’s most popular and in-demand singers for nearly 20 years.  

Her 1990 debut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival began a run of 15  consecutive appearances, either as a leader or featured vocalist, and she was a fixture in  clubs and concert venues throughout the Crescent City, including Snug Harbor, Tipitina’s  and the House of Blues.  

Evans has toured North and South America, Europe and Asia, sharing stages with a  multitude of New Orleans notables and legendary artists, including James Brown, B.B.  King, Dr. John, Aaron and Charles Neville, Sheila Jordan, Terence Blanchard, Donald  Harrison Jr., Michael Franks, Poncho Sanchez, Katie Webster, Bob Dorough, Irma  Thomas, Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty, Duke Robillard, Levon Helm, Jaimoe (of the  Allman Brothers), and Sam Kininger.  

The New Orleans Times Picayune named Evans’ debut CD, Give Me a Moment, the fifth  best new release of 2002. She has recorded two other full-length CDs as a leader, My  Little Bodhisattva (2007) and Hot Club: Live at the Vermont Jazz Center (2009), in  addition to several downloadable singles. She has also appeared as a featured or  supporting vocalist on other artist’s recordings in New Orleans and New England.  

Evans dedicates time to perpetuating American Jazz and blues music. She is currently an  Artist Associate in Jazz Voice at Williams College, and offers vocal instruction from her  home studio. She founded the “Ladies in Jazz” series to highlight collaborations between  female singers and musicians, and the “Sam’s Sunday Set and Shed” musical mentoring  

program to spotlight artist-protege relationships in the region. In New Orleans, Evans  participated in the Blues Schoolhouse sponsor  

Hurricane Katrina caused Samirah to relocate to her husband’s hometown of Brattleboro,  Vermont. She has since been performing in venues and festivals throughout the northeast  with her band, Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils as well collaborative projects  with fronting other New England artists.  

Learn more and purchase music at Samirah's website.

1. "Hot Club"

2019, Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils concert.

  • Venue: 1794 Meeting House New Salem, MA
  • Composers: Samirah Evans and Chris Lenois (released 2011)
  • Artists: Samirah Evans (vocal) Franz Robert (piano) Conor Meehan (drums) Michael Zsoldos (sax)

"'Hot Club' is arranged in the fashion of the New Orleans style known variously as Dixieland, Hot Jazz or 'Trad' (Traditional) Jazz. This style was most popular in the 1940’s and continues to be sought after in New Orleans today. The intention was to offer a fresh take on this genre of music by melding it together with lyrics that contained contemporary references."

2. "New Orleans Dreamin'"

2019, Samirah Evans and Trailer Park Mardi Gras concert.

  • Composers: Samirah Evans and Chris Lenois (released 2010)
  • Venue: Shea Theater, Tuners Falls, MA 
  • Artists: Samirah Evans (vocal) Tom Mahnken (Bass), James Robinson (Guitar), Joe Fitzpatrick (Drums),  Greg Lauzon (Saxophones) and Rick Page (Saxophones) Dave Trenholm ( saxophone) Peter  Jones (pianist) 

"'New Orleans Dreamin’' is our homage to New Orleans culture, including some of its iconic  artists and personalities (as well as its beloved football team!). The music is driven by a classic  New Orleans street beat rhythm, and features jubilant horns often heard in Mardi Gras music and parades."

3. "My Little Bodhisattva"

Composer: Samirah Evans (released 2008) 

  • Album: My Little Bodhisattva. Title cut from the 2008 release recorded in Baton Rouge, LA
  • Artists: Samirah Evans (vocal) Mike Esneault (piano), Roland Guerin (bass), Troy Davis (drums) 

"'My Little Bodhisattva' (A Bodhisattva is a being whose greatest satisfaction is to save a life  of another.) This song was written as a lullaby to our unborn child in gratitude for potentially sav ing my life. I believe that my child, during its brief time with me, had a mission to reveal a tumor  that was discovered as a result of trying to conceive. If it had continued to develop, the resulting  surgery to remove it may have been fatal. As a buddhist, I believe that life is eternal and the  child and I will forever be connected. This belief is how I found solace. It is my hope that sharing  this experience will inspire others to find purpose and therefore peace, even in the most trying  circumstances in their lives."

4. "We Shall Overcome"

Composer: Charles Albert Tindley (published 1901)  

  • Venue: Brattleboro Music Center - Brattleboro, VT 
  • Artists: Samirah Evans (vocal), Franz Robert (piano), 2021 video recording  

"'We Shall Overcome' is a gospel song that became a protest song and a key anthem of the  American Civil Rights movement. Franz Robert and I have performed frequently over the past few years. We Shall Overcome has recently become one of our favorite songs to perform together as a duo. We completely im provise the song and connect in a way that allows us to take a journey, and trusting each other  to follow the ride to where it lands, which is in a delightfully unexpected place every time."

5. "Haven't We Had Enough?"

Composers: Samirah Evans, Chris Lenois and Trailer Park (released 2020) 

  • Artists: Samirah Evans (vocal), Tom Mahnken (Bass and vocals), James Robinson (Guitar and vocals), Joe Fitzpatrick (Drums and vocals), Greg Lauzon (Saxophones and vocals) and Rick Page (Saxophones and vocals). Video produced by Joe Fitzpatrick (drummer of Trailer Park)

"'Haven’t We Had Enough?' was conceived out of complete frustration with former President  Donald Trump and his administration. The lyrics lists many of the atrocities assailed upon our  country and world due to their incompetence, mismanaged responsibilities, and corruption  while in office, ultimately threatening our democracy. The music was created to mimic a live  marching protest. The single was released a few weeks before the election to encourage folks  to get out and vote. The song was also used as a means to raise money for the DNC."

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William Forchion seen from the shoulders up, smiling lightly at the camera in a maroon shirt, black tie, and boater hat.William Forchion

Poetry/spoken word

William Forchion: director, producer, poet, clown, acrobat, stuntman, father, friend, minister, coach, writer, and teacher, all in one package. William is fueled by his desire to educate, inspire and entertain. He strives to create art that connects audiences while promoting emotional, spiritual, and mental growth.

William is the author of Billosophy: meditations on God, movement and miracles, Sacred & Sacrosanct: a collection of poems, and his latest project “#ApoemAday” a year-long project of daily poems. He hosts and produces the Billosophy101 podcast and the Billosophy101 vlog on the Billosophy101 YouTube channel. William grew up in Hammonton, NJ where life on a farm nurtured his creative imagination. In 2017, he was selected to be a U.S. State Department cultural exchange Ambassador for the Arts, making two trips to Turkmenistan. William was summer camp director at Circus Smirkus in Greensboro, VT in 2019 and 2020. The proud father of 3 beautiful children, William has called Brattleboro, VT home since 1998. His creations are supported by patrons on Patreon.com, sales of his book through amazon.com/author/williamforchion and sales of merchandise at teespring.com/billosophy101. Visit William's website for more of his work.

 

1. "Sit Down"

"Inspired by events of 2020 I was compelled to write a poem that could be pertinent today and also written 100 years ago or 200 years ago. I wanted the poem to have a spark of hope while still recognizing the struggle that remains."

"Sit Down"

It’s alright to rest a moment
You fought the fight when no one else knew what you were fighting
You’ve built your muscle by walking strong through storms that others did not weather,
Sit down
The living you’ve lived is like no other
And millions more can tell similar tales
You grew strong when you heard what was said and you did not breathe fire
Sit down
You’ve been brave 
Showing up when only you looked like you
And your parents before you were brave yet could not share all they went through
You smiled when the tornado of razor blades was cutting you on the  inside
You showed up when you didn’t want to but you had to
So now I invite you to sit down
Not because you earned it
Because you are worth it
Because you loving you sometimes looks like sitting down
Go on now,
Sit down
God is working miracles

2. "Declaration"

"Declaration sheds light on words from the US Declaration of Independence and the US Bill of Rights that have a profound sting to Black folks in the US. As was highlighted yet again by the civil unrest of 2020 has not been achieved in the 240+ year existence of the USA."

"Declaration"

We hold these truths to be self evident that all humans are not created equal,
Some have been created with more
while some have been created with less
Some are rewarded in life
while some are barred from success,
We hold these truths to be self evident that all lives matter
although some matter less.
We are all entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,
Unless it is determined by majority decision that you are not,
The pursuit of happiness is for all
until the powers that be decide that rules do not apply to everyone,
Yet those rules will apply to everyone in accordance to how they react to the sun.
Life is only fair if you are fair
In all fairness you will fair less if you lack fairness,
So great is the sin to lack fairness of skin
That all rules must be laid by
By show of darkness
You must be prepared to accept less
So be it known that only some were created in the image of God.
And you know who you are
after all why would God create your defective bod?
We hold these truths to be self evident
In God we trust.

3. "Resurrection"

"A poem about shedding light into the dark spaces, never giving up and believing in yourself. Resurrection is a reminder that our joy is personal and up to us to maintain and sustain."

"Resurrection"

I died five years ago.

The moment I let doubt overshadow hope.

When I stopped believing
that which I am was enough

and started accepting I need to do more.

I stopped breathing when I

started listening to my ego

and stopped following my heart.

It slowed at first, but
then stopped beating.

Consumed by keeping up with
the Joneses, whoever they are,

I stopped dreaming.

There is food on the table,

but my soul stopped feeding years ago.

The shame is no one missed me.

No one misses what I did not do

because it was not expected to be done.

No one knew that I was the one,

the one who conjures the miracles.

Unseen miracles are not missed.

I miss me.

As of today, I stopped doing
what is expected of me.

Today, I return to the place I died,

to the place I remain unmoving.

I have found the courage
to breathe life into me.

We need, hell, I need me
to bring back the miracles.

I need me to, once again, close my eyes,

and see that doing, doing is not living.

Doing is not living life.

I died five years ago.

Today, I resurrect me.

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John Hughes smiles at the camera with a stringed instrument in handJohn Hughes

Sculpture and music

John Hughes is an internationally renowned composer, kora player,  percussionist and vocalist whose style crosses myriad cultural boundaries  and fuses disparate influences. Playing ancient traditional instruments not  often heard in the United States, many of which he builds himself, John  takes his audience on an intimate musical tour of universal expressions of  joy and hope that soothe and up-lift the spirit. Whether playing elegant  and stately pieces from the classical repertoire of the Jeli’s (Griot’s) of West  Africa or original compositions, John Hughes' kora playing has an  uncommon beauty that is, at once, exquisitely detailed and bold. His  signature pieces are rhythmically nuanced and laced with syncopations that  cascade off the strings into whirlpools of mesmerizing sound. John has  released 6 CDs of original music.  

Also a sculptor, dancer, instrument builder and educator, John holds a  B.F.A. from the Tyler School of Art of Temple University and the West  Surrey College of Art and Design in Farnham, England and an M.F.A. from  the University of Wisconsin in Madison. John has taught sculpture,  drawing and design in schools and universities across the United States  including The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Skidmore College.  

John has studied the music, song and dance of West Africa for over 29  years, training with numerous master drummers and dancers from Guinea  and Mali, including Mamady Keita and Famoudou Konate. As a Kora  player, John is entirely self-taught and has, thus, developed a style all his  own. Having intently studied traditional kora music for 10 years before he  even touched the instrument, however, his playing is deeply rooted in the  ancient Mande tradition.  

John has been teaching drumming classes and workshops across the U.S.  And Canada for the past 25 years, maintaining weekly classes in  Northampton, MA and in his studio in Brattleboro, VT.  

John is available for hire to play concerts, perform at weddings, parties, etc. Learn more at John's website.

1. No Title

Steel, paper, nylon, felt, maple, copper, acrylic polymer. 27 x 37 x 24 inches. 1996

2. No Title

Mulberry paper, steel, courd, copper, ebony. 26 x 22 x 14 inches. 2002

3. No Title

Steel, copper, mulberry paper. 49 x 25 x 28 inches.1997

4. No Title

Steel, birch, cotton, maple, copper, brass, cellulose, rust. 42 x 23 x 22 inches. 1993

5. Klezmer-Maqsum 2

Video

John Hughes plays an original piece on a 22-stringed kora (West African harp) of his own design and construction. Recorded on April 5, 2020 in Brattleboro, Vermont.

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KeruBo seen from the shoulders up wearing orange silks and a blue velvet headwrap, smiling at the cameraKeruBo

Music

KeruBo is a singer/song-writer and Afro-Jazz artist, originally from Kenya who now  lives in the Burlington area. She has more than 20 years’ experience performing all over the world in music  festivals. Her style of music is a blend of African Traditional Music, with inflections  of Brazilian Samba/Bossanova, Jazz, and Blues.  

KeruBo sings African folk music, Afro Pop, and Afro jazz — from African laments to  more modern arrangements. Her influences are from generations of music artists  and songwriters but more particularly – Achien’g Abura, Miriam Makeba, Dorothy  Masuka and Nina Simon. She feels that these notable, strong-minded, female singers effectively used their  music as a powerful medium to bring awareness to social issues and to rebuke  social injustices. They sang candidly about issues without worrying  about consequences.  

KeruBo’s music is about healing, preserving African culture and heritage, while  highlighting social issues affecting vulnerable minorities such as women and  children.  

KeruBo is a member of the Windows to A Multicultural World teaching artist team at  the Clemmons Family Farm.

Music video (gallery items 4 and 5) credits:

  • Artist: KeruBo is the singer and songwriter. She collaborates with her husband Michael Webster on composition, arrangement and production.

  • Instrumentalists on “Baba Djei”: Michael Hartigan on piano, Cody Sargent on drums, Mame Assan Coly on percussion, Michael Webster on guitar, and Mikahely Antone on valiha.

  • Instrumentalists on “Inga Obwanchani”: Michael Hartigan on piano, Cody Sargent on drums, Mame Assan Coly on percussion, Michael Webster on guitar and percussion, and Mikahely Antone on valiha.

  • Videography: Michael Webster

1. KeruBo performing at Champlain College

March 18, 2018. Photo by Stephen Mease.

2. KeruBo performing at Burlington Discover Jazz Festival

June 10, 2019. 

3. KeruBo performing at a Levitt AMP concert

Sept. 22, 2019 at Dog Mountain. Photo by Derek Campbell.

A screenshot from KeruBo's music video, Baba Djei4. "Baba Djei"

"Baba Djei means 'father of Djei' in the Swahili language. In the Kenyan culture, it is very common for a parent to be addressed by the name of their first child. The song is both a lament and a call to action from a woman whose husband is lured by the desire to get rich in the big city. He leaves his family in a rural village, but does not return. She pleas for her husband, Baba Djei, to return home. While facing stigma from the community and abandoned by Baba Djei, she begins to feel like a widow.

I find this to be one of the serious social issues, which is not highlighted enough as it affects the emotional well-being of families all over the world. When a father is absent from home it can leave lasting mental and emotional wounds. These wounds often end up being acted out in ways that adversely impact society."

A screenshot from KeruBo's music video Inga Obwanchani5. "Inga Obwanchani"

"Inga Obwanchani means 'give me love' in the Kisii Language (a Kenyan tribal language). The song was inspired by the plight of street children that are victims of extreme poverty in Africa. Some are orphans or may have run away from home due to abuse. This song is from the perspective of a child who hungers for love more than food itself."

 

 

 

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Nettie Lu Lane seen sitting cross-legged in the roots of a large tree, hands outstretched and smiling upward.Nettie Lane

Performing arts and writing

Nettie has been blessed with many successes in her life. For example, she communes every morning with the chickadees and tufted titmice. And when they trust her enough to land on her head or eat out of her hand, her heart smiles. When she creates clown shows, or any performance, and the audience leaves the room smiling and animated, their joy palpable, her heart soars.

Walking into a room or situation and feeling the heavy energy or tension, and then dissolving and transforming it through loving intention, thoughts, and presence... that's when she is being a magician (and guess what, you can be one, too!).

Her desire is to be a lighthouse no matter what the weather is doing.

It took a while, but her search revealed that the word 'error' comes from Latin, 'errorem' and means wandering, straying or meandering. After all, the path of the heart is not always a straight line. 

Her curiosity has led her to appreciate, explore and connect many strands such as writing, clowning, circus arts, performance, theater, healing arts, and the natural world. 

Once, when she was 6 years old, her mom looked out the kitchen window and saw her running back and forth, crunching the autumn leaves and singing at the top of her lungs. When asked what she was doing, Nettie answered, "Playing with God."

Visit Nettie's website to learn more about her work.

1. The Artful Play of the Red Nose Clown - Graduates from 2016 - 2020

A photo collage of some of the graduates from Nettie Lane's clowning class and the Annual Clown Soiree.

"My approach to Clown is through a body-based movement process that aids in the discovery of each person's unique clown. It is personal, but not private - a colorful journey filled with beauty, terror, humor, emotion and vulnerability. And fun! Let’s not forget fun! We laugh a lot! In this work, laughter is a form of empathy, and through this practice we meet together in the field of our shared humanity. Each clown has courageously risked with daring honesty. As a 'clown midwife' it has been an honor to guide, witness and hold space for the labor and delivery of each clown's birth. 

Clown is a beautiful, poetic, generous and challenging art form. It asks us to peel away the layers and protections we've accumulated in life and hearken back to the 'Innocent One.' The one that has no past to regret and no future to fret. The one that lives purely in the moment, in authenticity, with an ever opening heart."

2. Count to Twelve: Finding Our Way Home (Research/work in progress showing)

Conceived and performed by nettie lane with collaborating artists Molly Gawler and Lao Tan. Brattleboro, VT, 2016.

Stories move in circles, they don't move in straight lines. So, it helps if you listen in circles. There are stories inside stories and stories between stories, and finding your way through them is as easy and as hard as finding your way Home. And part of the finding is getting lost. And when you're lost, you start to look around and listen.

—A Traveling Jewish Theatre, "Coming from a Great Distance"

"Count to Twelve: Finding Our Way Home is an interdisciplinary performance work and community art installation/event - a response to the realities of climate change. Through visual and physical storytelling, and drawing upon theater, circus, and yarn-spinning, it is a tale of being lost and finding one's way Home.

The title is inspired by Pablo Neruda's poem, Keeping Quiet and the above quote from the Traveling Jewish Theater. Other inspirations include Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer's book Braiding Sweetgrass as well as her work on the Grammar of Intimacy, cultural anthropologist Dr. Angeles Arrien and her research on archetypes, and Dr. Bernie Krause's work in bio-acoustics and ecological soundscapes.

This project and vision is a merging of my love of circus arts, the natural world and Story - hearkening back to when performance was ritual and came with an urgency of time and place. As writer Barry Lopez says, 'sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.'"

A screenshot from Nettie Lu Lane's video of Puppets in Paradise3. Puppets in Paradise

Performed by Nettie Lane, Shoshana Bass, Riley Goodemote and Satnam Naur. September 2016.

Underneath an apple tree, the wind blows, the trombone sounds, and two clowns awaken to a mischievous hat and the joy of a bird in flight. Through the help of a dancing magical, musical being, they learn to embrace life, death and rebirth.

 

 

A screenshot from Nettie Lu Lane's trailer for Annabelle's Kitchen4. Annabelle's Kitchen (trailer)

Annabelle's Kitchen was created as part of Sandglass Theater's Winter Sunshine Series. All four episodes feature Annabelle the Clown who is more than delighted to have company in her kitchen as she leads you through a family-friendly recipe each week. Just don't forget to add the most important ingredient! 

Learn more about the Winter Sunshine Series.

 

 

5. "Darkness"

A personal and poetic musing on our spectacular demise...or rise?

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Toby MacNutt standing with forearm crutches and a back brace, smiling at the camera with trees behind themToby MacNutt

Dance

Toby MacNutt is a queer, nonbinary trans, disabled artist, author, and teacher living in Burlington. Their work in all genres often engages themes of embodiment, fluidity, and change. Toby's current dance work is A Singular They, and prior works include Enter the Void (2018) and One, Two (2014). They have choreographed for AXIS Dance's Choreo-Lab and for Abilities Dance Boston, and have danced with Tiffany Rhynard's Big APE, Lida Winfield, Heidi Latsky's GIMP Project, and others. Their work on aerial silks began with Nicole Dagesse (Murmurations Dance), with whom Toby has also performed. They have taught dance technique, adaptive skills, and communication/consent for various colleges, the New England Center for Circus Arts, Inclusive Arts Vermont, and other organizations. Toby is also a published poet and author of speculative fiction; their debut collection If Not Skin was published in 2018 by Aqueduct Press.

Exhibited photos and videos are part of Toby's work A Singular They, currently in progress.

A Singular They is a full-length solo dance work for ground, aerial, and mobility equipment. It includes eight different solos, five co-choreographed with guest choreographers. Each explores a different aspect of identity and embodiment—such as disability, pain, masculinity, freedom—through the lens of change. It is still in development, slowed down by covid-19, but I am planning for its full public premiere post-vaccine.

1. A moment from "binary system"

Photograph by Serenity Smith Forchion at the New England Center for Circus Arts, 2020

Co-choreographed with Noah Witke Mele

"binary system" and its magical cape open A Singular They and welcome the audience to the experience. The cape both hides and reveals, and in its attachment to my crutches, can swirl with a phenomenal wingspan. It also references a very early queer dancemaker, Loie Fuller.

2. A moment from "Time Dilation"

Photograph by Robyn Nicole for Dancing Queerly Festival, 2019

With side lighting, "Time Dilation" gains the appearance of floating in space, detached from reality. This was the first public performance of this segment during development.

Toby MacNutt performs against a black backdrop, seated with legs raised in a cycling positions3. "Time Dilation", 2019

"In 'Time Dilation', I draw on my experience of chronic pain and the way it alters my perception of time. Struggle, precarity, strength, and balance are all present, as time stretches and compresses. This was filmed very early in the development process."

 

 

 

Toby MacNutt performing on a dark stage in a red shirt and forearm crutches, descending into a kneeling pose4. "(It Takes) Two", 2018

As performed for the Fresh Meat Festival for Queer & Trans Performance, San Francisco, CA

"'(It Takes) Two' was the first solo I created, initially for my work One, Two, but evolved and carried over into A Singular They. It is based on my relationship with my crutches, and the way they are part of me but also separate from my body - the piece is constructed as an intimate duet. The lack of musical accompaniment is intentional, letting the audience experience the natural sounds of organic and inorganic body working together, and to hear the effort it takes."

 

A Singular They is made possible with funding from the MAP Fund, the Vermont Arts Council's Creation and Artist Development grants, and by the New England Foundation for the Arts' New Work New England program, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Seedlings Foundation, the Fund for the Arts at NEFA, and individual donors. It is supported with fiscal sponsorship from the Vermont Dance Alliance.

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Mikahely leans against a colorfully painted wall, holding a guitar and smiling at the cameraMikahely

Music

Mikahely hails from the beautiful island of Madagascar, but his music is out of this world! A self-taught musician, he draws inspiration from traditional Malagasy rhythms to create his own unique sound on guitar and valiha (a zither-like instrument made from bamboo). Having toured in Madagascar and Europe, he now brings his music to new audiences in the United States and has been based in Burlington, Vermont, since 2018. 

Listen to and download his new single, "Samby Tsara."

 

 

1. Mikahely performs live streaming from Robot Dog Studio

Created June 6, 2020 in Burlington, Vermont.

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Riki Moss sitting at a table with bookscases behind her, resting her chin in her hand and looking off cameraRiki Moss

Sculpture and fiction

Riki Moss explores the mutual gaze between humans, animals and nature in a layered archeology. Creativity slides and surges as a three-way conversation through a call, the artist’s response and, finally, the interpretation by the viewer or reader. There is no message or purpose, only curiosity and wonder. Throughout a long career, she has worked with various media: clay, encaustics, paper, night, video and sound, creating singular pieces and installations exhibited locally and internationally (Nagoya Japan and Holland at the Paper Biennale, light sculptures at The Smithsonian Crafts.)

Finally, the lightest, airiest and most dense material of all: words. She is the author of a novel An Obese White Gentleman In No Apparent Distress, first published by North Atlantic in Berkley, now out of print and self-published in a revised edition, and the editor of It’s A Lot Like Dancing with several anthologized short stories. She leads writers workshops for the Burlington Writers Workshop along with retreats. She is presently in lockdown in the Champlain Islands. 

 

1. A composite of Curious Life forms

Handmade Abaca paper over armatures. Exhibited separately or in an installation of 30-50 pieces called The Parade.

2. A composite of sculptures from the The Paper Forest

Handmade Abaca paper over foam and metal armatures. Motion activated sound clips. The size of the room.

3. A still of an installation for the BCA titled Water Watchers

Video with audio behind three plaster sculptures. Two figures approx. 6 feet tall. One animal 3 feet tall.

4. Publications

Covers for two editions of An Obese White Gentleman In No Apparent Distress

It’s A Lot Like Dancing

Unpsychology Issue 6, Other Than Human

5. "How to Catch a Hound in a Pandemic" (excerpt)

Audio

An excerpt from a short story by Riki Moss called "How to Catch A Hound in A Pandemic." Read by the author.

Listen to Riki reading "How to Catch a Hound in a Pandemic" (approx. 16 minutes).

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Jericho Parms seen from the chest up wearing a black collared shirt, smiling lightly at the cameraJericho Parms

Essays

Jericho Parms is the author of Lost Wax (University of Georgia Press). Her essays have appeared in The Normal School, Hotel Amerika, American Literary Review, Brevity and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, noted in Best American Essays, and anthologized in Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction, Waveform: Twenty-First-Century Essays By Women, and Don’t Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn’t Seen. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a consulting editor at Fourth Genre. Learn more at Jericho's website.

 

 

1. "Night"

An earlier version of the essay “Night” first appeared in Brevity, January 2016. 

Excerpt from “Night”:

“In my dorm room, on my desk, I had one of those Japanese lanterns, and he brushed the paper globe with his fingers. I don’t remember what his hands looked like, but the paper was the paper of mulberry trees, both fibrous and translucent, stretched over bamboo ribs. I imagined if we spun the lantern we might overcome all our brooding uncertainty, we might discover where we were meant to be, find somewhere without boundary or constellation, the land itself terra incognita—a time before the North Star of the Big Dipper, before the dimly lit planet of Buchenwald. A time before windows needed treatments, and night was something to draw closed. Before art and science and religion emerged as arbiters of history. When fragments were really just fragments. When love was simply love.”

Listen to Jericho reading from "Night."

2. "Sugar"

An earlier version of the essay “Sugar” first appeared in Upstreet, August 2020.

Excerpts from “Sugar”:

“Not lovely or girlfriend, starlight or boo. The difference between white and brown sugar is molasses, which is how my best friend’s older sister described D’Angelo’s voice, her lips oohing along to the title hit of his 1995 debut album Brown Sugar. A couple of years had passed, and we were less consumed with our calculator and receipt paper than we were with sizing up the boys in our class. I’ve described my mood at times in similar slow, syrupy terms, the way my mind moves, my inability to make decisions. An overall sweetness with a hint of something burning.”

“In the book of pet names and ornament, sugar might be the closest thing to love, from Sukkar, from Sanskrit, from cane to Chinese manuscripts, cooling in the open palm of India, from factory to dice-sized cubes. Sugar is not a word I would fall into bed with, but the confection—all powder and lace—reminds me of the widows of New York and New England. Or rather, the legacy of my grandmothers. Or rather, whatever woman I will become assuming I don’t lose sight of her. And if I do, perhaps I’ll find her in the diner on the corner, lifting sugar packets from the table and dropping them into the safe of her handbag which is stuffed with all manner of ephemera—eyeglasses and urns, sapphire and diamonds.”

Listen to Jericho reading from "Sugar."

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Leaf Silver seen from the shoulders up, wearing a cap and smiling wide at the camera.Leaf Silver

Mixed media

Leaf Silver (they/them) is an artist and designer from Vermont. With a BFA degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, their primary focus is in making sculptural objects which blur the line between functional design and unique pieces of art using ceramic, fabric, wood, and food as art. They have exhibited work at LVL3 gallery, ADDS DONNA, SITE galleries, the Sullivan gallery and Woman Made Gallery. They use an interdisciplinary approach to design to help individuals and small businesses with graphic design, website design, online management, professional photography, organization and creative problem solving. Visit Leaf's website for more of their work.

 

 

1. When the Shadows Get Long

Mixed media. 2020

A crocheted blanket of a red and blue, radially symmetric, gradient pattern hangs from the wall. To the right hangs a photograph of a drip of chili oil on a dining table in a thrifted picture frame. Nestled in the corner between, a wicker side table with a fresh coat of teal paint rests upon a detached corner of the blanket on the floor. The two front table feet sit atop crocheted coasters. On top of a green placemat “rug” sits a miniature glazed ceramic living room set: a couch with a flax-seed-filled fabric cushion, floor lamp, side table and lucky bamboo plant. A brass locket with a photograph of 公公 and a hand carved maple wood hair barrette sit on the couch together.

2. Sitting on the Couch Together

Mixed media. 2020

Placemat/rug, glazed ceramic miniature couch, side table, floor lamp, and lucky bamboo. Flax-seed-filled red cushion, brass locket, carved maple wood hair barrette.

3. 鸡蛋番茄 Recipe Tray

Cherry hardwood, fabric, plastic, tomato, egg, scallion, salt, sugar. 15” x 21”. 2018

Oblong, rounded, wooden tray with handles on either side has indentations of various shapes. There are removable, spoon-like objects of the same material fitting just right into each of their respective places. The shape of each ‘spoon’ corresponds to and holds an ingredient used to make a commonly eaten, popular Chinese dish. 

4. Leftovers 01 (From Last Night’s Dinner)

Leftovers, trimmings, remnants, extras, hardware. 14” x 14”. 2018

Daikon radish medallions connected with jump rings, carrot peel flower, ginger slice earrings, scallion root, mung beans in a glass jar, stained egg shell half, tiny soy sauce bottle, rice noodle bundle bound with embroidery thread all sit on a bed of rice. They shrivel and dry out over the course of the afternoon.

5. Tiny Kitchen

Ceramic stoneware with clear glaze. 3” x 4”. 2018

A tiny tea pot with a tiny lid that comes off sits next to a tiny mug with a tiny handle. 

The tiny stove has a tiny towel draped over the door handle and a tiny wok sitting on the stove top.

A tiny bowl of noodles has a tiny egg and a tiny pair of chopsticks.

There is also a tiny stock pot and a tiny ladle for the pot, a stool for tiny sitting and a tiny apple pie.

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Toussaint St. Negritude seen from the neck up, smiling toward something off camera with a view of mountains and blue sky behind.Toussaint St. Negritude

Poetry and music

Afrofuturist/Oro-shamanic poet and bass clarinetist Toussaint St. Negritude is lushly informed by the pan-cosmic realms of creative liberation and our collective transformations forward. Inspired by the surrounding mountains of Vermont, Toussaint sees poetry as a potent means of healing. Visit Toussaint's website to see more of his work.

 

 

 

1. "I'm Gonna Let It Shine"

Poem and music © 2020 by Toussaint St. Negritude

"Greetings Dear Co-Survivors of Covid 19. Here's a bit of hope, vision, clarinet and poem for all our heroic transitions through this storm. Wishing us all health of breath, health of mind, and health of soul, I wish us all blessings towards another beautiful day. PEACE!"

"I'm Gonna Let It Shine"

I stand on the banks of tomorrow
and my soul looks vast and wonders

how in the world
any other vision could ever be so fine.

I stand on the banks of tomorrow
and my soul looks vast and wonders

to which flowing glory
shall I rise divine.

I stand on the banks of tomorrow
and my soul looks vast and wonders

my feet may be bound
by the shores of a current denial

but with this little light of mine
I can fly like a bird in the sky.

I can fly like a bird in the sky.
I stand on the banks of tomorrow

wondering how in the world
any other vision could ever be so fine.

© 2020 by Toussaint St. Negritude

A screenshot of Toussant St Negritude's music video for "Like Alice in the Garden of Satchidinanda"2. “Like Alice in the Garden of Satchidinanda”

Jaguar Stereo! performs “Like Alice in the Garden of Satchidinanda.” Video by Seamus Hannan.

 

 

 

3. "A Sweet Date Of My Own"

I invited myself to dinner.

It was such an honor to be asked.
I love to cook for myself.
Tonightʼs dish is a derivative of multiple sources: lots of affirmation
on a wild bed of sheer gratitude
peppered with a generous hand of raw satisfaction
creating a particularly scrumptious blend of joy and
kisses all simmered in a one pot compendium of loving
forces topped with a courageous garnish
of personal resolve.

I love to cook for myself.

Thanks for coming.
Thanks for being.

Letʼs do this again.

© 2019 by Toussaint St. Negritude

4. "Rise and Shine (Or Seven Steps To Going Rogue)"

Place your spirit above your head.

Gently step forward
leaving all boundaries behind you.

Leap mountainously towards your highest aspirations.

Land each foot squarely upon the high forest floor.
Position your emancipation as the basis of all steps
further.

With your stars beaming thusly

rise and shine the vastness of your own pristine
wilderness... summoning your freedoms

to blossom as foretold.

© 2019 by Toussaint St. Negritude

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Veronica Stevens seen from the chest up, wearing a gold butterfly necklace and smiling lightly at the cameraVeronica Stevens

Visual arts

Veronica Stevens is a visual artist who draws her inspiration from her outdoor experiences and her love of the natural world. Combining nature scenes with her imagination, she relies on watercolor pencils and ink as her primary medium. Veronica’s use of color and scale blends aspects of reality with more abstract and dreamlike images. Her emphasis on minute detail helps to create a more realistic illusion. 

Veronica has been drawing and doodling since childhood. She believes that her past contributes to her artwork. She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and arrived in the U.S. at age seven. Her past experiences as a child in the Russian orphanage system led to her yearning for a brighter reality. Veronica believes that her drawings reflect both her desire to escape the earlier surroundings of her childhood and her current experiences as an observer and hiker in nature. 

At age 17, Veronica was accepted into the Early College Program in Performing Arts at Castleton University where she is currently in her sophomore year. Veronica plans to follow her undergraduate studies with pursuit of a law degree focusing on family law and the protection of children’s rights. She wants to help and be a role model for children facing adversity in their own lives.    

Veronica is also an actor, singer, musician and dancer. Whether leading a Brazilian Samba band, starring in the Rock River Player’s production of The Fantasticks or opening for the headliners at the Vermont Ukulele Harvest Festival, the style, the smile and the energy is always pure Veronica.

Learn more at Veronica's website.

1. No Place Like Home

Watercolor pencil and ink. 9 x 12. 2020

"The sun and the moon in the daylight and night sky represent the long, or seemingly long, journey home.  I love the expectation of seeing my family and pets when I arrive.  As they say, 'The best part of going is getting there!'"

2. Honey Moon

Watercolor pencil and ink. 9 x 12. 2020

"The interplay of reality and fantasy permeates my drawings and this piece is no exception. Look closely—the dripping honey moon shines over a couple on their honeymoon."

3. Celestial Dream

Watercolor pencil and ink. 9 x 12. 2020

"This drawing illustrates how colorful, out of place, and nonsensical dreams can be. Some aspects of this drawing such as the color palette and the landscapes, come directly from my childhood dreams"

4. Tree of Life

Watercolor pencil and ink. 5 x 5. 2020

"I like to make my drawings intricate enough that I can pull out a portion of the original and have it stand alone. This mandala-like design is the focal point of a larger watercolor pencil and ink drawing."

5. Ethereal Dream

Watercolor pencil and ink. 5.5 x 8.5. 2021

"Sometimes I like to play with the juxtaposition of simplicity against exquisite detail—in this case, the marked contrast of the stark, leafless tree against the geometrically patterned mountains in the background and the flowers, mushrooms, crystals and cairn in the foreground."

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Shani seen "out of drag" from the neck up wearing in a cap, smiling calmly into the cameraShani

Drag

Shani received Musical Theater and Dance training at the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City, before returning home to Vermont to pursue a B.A. in Cultural Studies at Northern Vermont University in Johnson, Vermont. 

In 2017, Shani competed in and was crowned the winner of Vermont Drag Idol; an annual event sponsored by Outright Vermont. 

Shani takes what you know about drag, what intrigues you about pop culture, and what excites you about live entertainment, shakes them up and brings it to you every ball.

Shani has performed with Queen City Cabaret, Paint Cabaret, Green Mountain Cabaret, Capital City Queens, The Vermont Comedy Club, Vermont Pride, and has been a featured performer in drag showcases in Boston, Massachusetts, in addition to a growing number of virtual events. 

He has been a featured guest on Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition, where he joined host Jane Lindholm and State Rep. Taylor Small to discuss Vermont’s evolving drag scene. 

Recently, Shani was selected by the Emmy-nominated HBO docuseries We’re Here to represent the state of Vermont as part of GLAAD’s 2020 Get Out The Vote campaign. 

This past year has given Shani the opportunity to redefine what it means to be a performance artist in rural Vermont. He hopes to use this platform to continue building creative relationships with other artists and performers in his community.

All gallery items are self-portraits.

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Kaylynn TwoTrees seen from the neck up, smiling at the camera, a bright window and flowers behind her.Kaylynn TwoTrees

Mixed media

Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees is an artist/catalyst/guide who works across mediums, connections and social constructions focused on creating sacred space for deep remembering and reciprocal communication/relationship with Nature and the unseen world

Her work (performance, installation, sculpture, video, artist books) focuses on creative ways to evoke/invoke/provoke a regeneration of an essential relationship with Nature as a means of connection with the Sacred. She is a past recipient of the Lila Wallace International Artist Award and her work has been exhibited and in collections is US, Europe and New Zealand. She is currently Artist in Residence in the Masters of Leadership for Sustainability Program at the University of Vermont. 

Over the past 40 years, TwoTrees has received and shared teachings with the input, support and guidance of many indigenous elders. Through her work Practice for Living, Living Practice she continues to offer these teachings and practices through divinations, coaching and retreats. She has shared this work with individuals, communities and organizations (schools, healthcare, prisons, social change) as well as in cross cultural mediation.

1. Natives, Slaves, Settlers, and Visitors—Seen and Unseen

TwoTrees exhibiting in Burlington City Arts' Of Land and Local project in 2017.

2. Leave No Footprints

A 1995 performance by TwoTrees.

3. wolfgirl asleep in harlem/awake in the desert

A 1990 performance by TwoTrees.

4. Gallery overview

TwoTrees gives an overview of her work in this online gallery.

5. PowerPoint presentation

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Cai Xi seen from the chest up, in a blue and white patterned garment, smiling lightly at the cameraCai Xi

Visual arts

Cai Xi is a painter, taiji master, caterer, language instructor of The Putney School, artistic director and co-founder of the Asian Cultural Center of Vermont, and owner/curator/chef of C.X. Silver Gallery and Cai's Dim Sum Catering.

“I envision art-life, applying my art practice in whatever I do, cooking, teaching, taking care of health, painting and drawing, and everyday living, sharing contemplation, insight and the joy of making with others.”

Cai has been giving Chinese cultural and arts performances and individualized instruction for three decades, presenting for early childhood through college-level adults. She has been the organizer and leader of a study abroad program in China for high school students. Her residencies have included statewide arts events, public and private schools, homeschooling, summer programs, teacher training workshops, community festivals, online Zoom classes, the Vermont Studio Center, and an Emily Harvey Foundation residency in Venice in 2021. With a grant from Vermont Community Foundation, Cai designed and produced a program and book on student art and poetry inspired by Chinese characters. Envisioning kitchen-as-studio, the food and meal as art, Cai also explores food as healing and the Chinese Five Elements. She has worked in film, theatre and television doing scenic painting, costume, make-up and stage design. Her versatility in artmaking includes traditional Chinese brush, ink and calligraphy, abstract performance action painting, luminous landscapes, monumental portraits,  mixed media installations, and socially engaged art.

Cai’s Earth and Sky series has been inspired by the New England landscape and openings to the wide sky: “Since the early eighties, I have been playing with abstraction in my painting, which allows me to explore my emotion more freely. Since 2001, I have been with the beauty of the Vermont landscape. In the past 20 years, nature has taught me that my idea, desire and style are not important. Contemplating nature through painting is a way for me to acknowledge Nature’s gifts to us humans. There is a feeling of completely melting into each painting, an ongoing prayer for peace on Earth.”

Her live action painting, performance art, and art happenings have been presented on Vimeo, YouTube, in Boston and Manchester, Vermont, and in Brattleboro on the New England Youth Theatre stage, and filmed live for Brattleboro Community TV and in New York on WNYE. Cai has her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Collaborating with Brattleboro Museum, Cai was featured in the historic exhibition 'Hot Pot: A Taste of Contemporary Chinese Art', a panelist for ‘Food As Artistic Expression’, and designer of ‘Art As Food As Art’ museum dining and making one’s own edible art. Cai was featured on NPR's 'State of the Re:Union', and in SevenDaysVT Food Annual.

The landscapes from the ‘Earth and Sky’ series are presented and for sale at artsy.net/cai-xi, and all her other artwork is presented and for sale through C.X. Silver Gallery.

1. Earth and Sky #28

Oil on canvas. 36” x 44”. 2004

2. Earth and Sky #36

Oil on canvas. 40" x 50". 2005

3. Earth and Sky #37

Oil on canvas. 40" x 50". 2005

4. Earth and Sky #39

Oil on canvas. 40" x 50". 2006

5. Earth and Sky #47

Oil on canvas. 40" x 50". 2020

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