Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chipmunks in Charge!

As part of my full-time 7Days job, I am making all sorts of cool new web content such as editorial vids that accompany an article, sort of like a photo used to. Below is a chipmunk video that goes with a story that you can read this week in Seven Days! Consider it a sneak peek!

Friday, June 29, 2007


HOLY SHIT! It has finally come, the day is finally here! I knew if I waited long enough my life would have meaning! The Spice Girls are reuniting to make a pot of money and I am gonna go see them in concert! YES YES YES!

On a side note, it is hellah hot (heat brings out my inner Californian DUDE) and I rode down Main St one-handed on a bike filming skateboarders and didn't drop my video camera - not even when I hit that bump and almost lost control of my bike. OH YEAH!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Geeks are Stuck in VT

Sunset at the Sunset Drive In

The month of July is going to be one hell of a ride for me so I snuck in one quick moment of summer fun at the Sunset Drive-In before going underwater.

Fresh Flatbread pizza was delectable, cold beer, good company, balmy weather, heavenly cola, sweet-n-sour candy, screens for the car windows and Johnny Depp seeing visions in the land of the dead.

It was a swell night, even if the pirate battles seemed neverending and the mosquitos never stopped swarming. Ok July, bring it...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Geeks, Berries and Chippies

What a weekend. Geeks, strawberries and chipmunks. Wow.

Above is a pic from Geek Week at the Langdon St Cafe in Montpelier. Liz Drake took the ab0ve pic and you can see more of Friday night's Sputnik show as well as a ton of other awesome local bands and events at her Flickr account.

Be on the look out for a Geek Week Stuck in Vermont vlog this week.

Above is Zena stuffing her face. I now know more about chipmunks than I ever thought possible. Did you know they eat insects, fight with each other, are solitary creatures, live in burrows under the ground and store their food in pantries!? Plus, now that a chipmunk has eaten out of my hand, I can die happily.

Sunday was a meeting of the blogs. In the old days there were ladies who did tea and now there are ladies who do blogs - and eat berries. Molly, Suzanne and I hit up the Intervale for some yummy strawberry picking/eating. Heavenly.

Below is the lovely Undead Molly (whose birthday is almost here) holding up a mutated "Bunny Berry."

Above is the matriarch of the Chipmunk Clan. Her name is Little Girl but do not step foot in her territory if you are a chipmunk because she will rip your leg off! Just ask Scardey who is a 3-footed chippie as a result - and he is her own son!

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's Official!

“The still must tease with the promise of a story
the viewer of it itches to be told.”

Cindy Sherman

As of this week I am officially working full-time - drum roll please - at Seven Days as a videographer/fresh-n-hot content provider. Yowzer!

This means I will continue to make the weekly arts & culture vlog Stuck in Vermont (and am shooting a particularly fun one tonight in Montpelier) as well as doing ads and editorial vids.

And after a week of 7Ds meetings and a Friday staff meeting that involved a feathery strawberry shortcake, I am brimming over with sugar, excitement and ideas for the weeks to come. YIPS!

There is this funny thing that happens when things finally converge onto the right track in your life (ever suspicious, I am furiously knocking on wood as I say this). It is almost a little frightening to get your dream job and dream house (more knocking) in the same week. Eerie even, and ever so suspicious. You start to look for holes in the paperwork, there must be a catch here, right?!

If I knew what the picture was going to be like I wouldn’t make it. It was almost like it was made already.. the challenge is more about trying to make what you can’t think of.
- Cindy Sherman

The first artist that really captured the essence of what I wanted to do when I grew up was Cindy Sherman. Her series of grainy black and white photographs of herself playing different working women on average moments in average days in their average lives each told a story far beyond the 2 dimensional image.

That is the sort of art I always longed to make. Something that told a story in a way you hadn't heard it before.

I've tried different story-telling mediums like zines, comics, paintings, and the written word. But digital video and the internet became my favorite tool as soon as I could access it.

I am still learning how to tell stories better and in a more cohesive way, trying to hone my deep, rich, resonant grandpa story-telling voice. But all that I really care about is that I am on my way. And the journey will be a wild one.

Oh, and I get to work with the coolest group of people at the best damn media conglomerate newsource in existence. Life is good. Thanks Cindy Sherman for pointing me in the right direction. One foot in front of the other...

Alcatraz Art Attack!

My new pal Matt made this awesome video about a wild event at Alcatraz that happened 2 days after I left SF (sniffle).

Hip hop artists, painters, sculptors, cabaret performers - all invading the desolate and beautiful island of Alcatraz in the middle of the night!

Wish I coulda been there. Too bad we don't have an Alcatraz to visit in the middle of Lake Champlain! ZOWIE!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My New Internet Friend

Matt Petty is my new internet friend. He is the art director at the SF Chronicle and he makes these super cool videos on the side. They are the closest thing I have found to Stuck in Vermont out there in the alt weekly online media scene. Matt's vids are called Art Adventures and they are about these uber cool obsessed Bay Area artists AND they have MONTAGES!!!! YIP!!

Below, Mr T dolls, I PITY THE FOOL WHO DON'T WATCH THIS VIDEO (this exhibit is SO San Francisco, we loves it):

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spectrum is Stuck in VT

Selene Colburn is Stuck in VT

Note from Cindy Sheehan

I met Cindy Sheehan on a rickety old bus during a blizzard. She was stumping for Bush's impeachment back in March and I was vlogging her visit to VT.

After spending a day with her, my impression was that she is a complex, single-minded individual. She never once stopped talking politics, even when she looked ready to drop. She was on a mission.

Her affect on other people was also interesting to watch first hand. People had to touch her, hug her and tell her their stories. She left a trail of fans everywhere she went. If they didn't love her, they hated her and called her an "insult to the word mother." She was anything but mediocre.

Now she is selling Camp Casey and taking a break from the mad media malestrom she has been caught up in since 2005. We are MySpace pals and that is where this bulletin (below) came from.

Her departure from politics makes me sad even if I understand and sympathize with her decision. It isn't easy being America's Most Reviled/Adored. As she joked on the bus, Michael Moore once thanked her for taking the pressure off of him.

And even though I know Cindy is no angel, I also know she did the absolute best she could to make this world a better place as best as she knew how. Thanks Cindy, peace out!

Jun 19, 2007 4:18 AM
Subject Turn, Turn, Turn by Cindy Sheehan

To everything there is a season.
A time for war, a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes, Hebrew Scriptures

I wish I could say I thought of something profound as
I saw the president and his wife’s picture on that
billboard on Hwy 317 in my rear view mirror on my way
out of Crawford today. I will be back for the final
weekend farewell to Camp Casey on July 6th, but I
won’t be back as the owner of property there, or as a
leader of the American peace movement.

The protests that were Camp Casey I and II that
evolved into the five acres on Hwy 317 (Lone Star
Parkway), which was known as Camp Casey III,
definitely were effective and served a relevant
purpose in the national discourse of the pros and cons
of the war. In an occupation that was and still is
kept far from apathetic American eyes, summer ’05 was
one of the first times the cost of BushCo’s Iraq
fiasco was made public and many people sympathized and
resonated with and some even traveled for miles to be
with the Mom in the ditch.

When I announced that I was going to put my five acres
up for sale in Texas, the horrible anti-peace;
anti-American group, Move America Forward announced
that they would buy it to erect a “Memorial.” This
group still cheer-leads and supports a war where our
troops are clearly being misused and mal-treated by
their civilian leadership and celebrates each death as
a sacrifice for the neo-con, obscene, and Orwellian
idea of “freedom.” Move America Forward is still
collecting money for their memorial, which will never
be built on my old property and if they really wanted
to buy it, they wouldn’t have sent out a press
release---they just wanted a few more minutes of fame
off of my misery!

Into all of the drama, radio talk show host Bree
Walker enters. She could not bear the thought of Move
America Forward or any other right-wing fascist group
buying Camp Casey, so she cashed in her corporate
buy-ins and bought my land to leave as a legacy to
peace---and a true memorial to our children and the
people of Iraq who have been killed for corporate and
political greed. Bree is putting her money where her
mouth is, too, and we Camp Casey-ites were relieved
and overjoyed when she purchased it!

I was in Crawford this past week to transfer the deed
to Bree and to take care of some last minute business.
Selling my land and kicking the Crawford dirt off of
my flip-flops was bittersweet. I have had some of my
highest-highs in that ½ horse town, but also some of
my lowest lows.

August ’05 was the happiest, yet the 2nd most
stressful time of my life. The people who saw my
sunburned face, wild hair and chapped lips every time
they turned on their TV never saw me tossing and
turning in my tent or trailer on a nightly basis
totally stressed out about the Rovian smear campaign
and worrying about what lies were going to be told
about me, or what attack was coming next. It seemed
like everyone with an agenda from “Israel is the
culprit” to “9-11 was an inside job” flocked to
Crawford to have a moment in the blazing hot sun with
me. Soldiers came from Ft. Hood to secretly be in
solidarity with me and parents of live and dead
soldiers also came: Mostly to stand in solidarity with
me, but some to try and take Camp Casey over to mold
it to their own agendas.

I fell in love at Camp Casey and had my heart broken
again there. I found true friends and learned how to
distinguish between true friends and people who only
pretend to be your friends until your usefulness to
them is over. I smiled more than I frowned; I laughed
more than I cried; I danced badly and sang out of
tune; I received more love than animosity and I think
thousands of us were given renewed hope and energy
because Camp Casey existed.

I will always be grateful for this experience that did
have an intense and positive effect on the world but I
am also content I have chosen a new direction and can
rest easily in the fact that we did do good. It’s time
for someone else and something else to manifest itself
in Crawford and time for some of us to ride into the
beautiful Texas sunsets that I definitely will miss.

I think when one is heading in the wrong direction, it
is always prudent to change direction---even if you
have to pull over and ask the way to go, and very
imprudent to stay a ridiculous and mistaken course.

I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love,
support, and financial support that has come my way
since my resignation from the peace movement. My
medical bills will be paid off and because of Bree’s
generosity, I have a financial cushion to help me on
to the next phase: helping humans who have been hurt
by US corporate imperialism. I want to also thank
everyone who has helped me along the way so far and
encourage people to stay their courses if they think
they are being productive and supported.

The millennia old season of war is getting tiresome
and while never good, is growing in evilness as the
people who run the wars become more corrupt, callous
and as far removed from their conflicts as they can
possibly get.

There is a season for peace---I hope for all of our
sakes we reach it soon.

Cindy would like to invite everyone to her 50th
Birthday Party and Camp Casey final celebration the
weekend of July 6 to 8 at Camp Casey in Crawford, Tx.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Loopy Loo Landscape

Courtesy of StrangeMaps and Junk Thief! I think it pretty well maps out this strange new online landscape we inhabit. What a perfect compass with which to map out my everyday activities.

Now take me through the Gulf of YouTube and around the Bay of Angst Captain Ahab! I have a HOT date on The Lonely Island (upper left hand corner)!

Culture Shock Sunday

To look at the cross-section of any plan of a big city
is to look at something like the section of a fibrous tumor.

- Frank Lloyd Wright

Today I drove downtown for the first time since I've been back from California. It made me glad to be greeted by the breathtaking views of Lake Champlain while driving down Main St. Still, things do feel smaller here. It is sort of like my scope just shrank.

But I do not necessarily mean that in a bad way. San Francisco was almost too much for me to handle. Too much rushing, too much money spent, too many dates, too much eating, too much drinking, too much energy spent maintaining my force fields, weaving through crowds, ignoring bums and trying to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape around me.

In Vermont I can relax my force fields, breathe a deep sigh of relief and But I miss having a cell phone that rings a lot. And I miss having friends to see regularly. And it was nice to be unattached to a computer for 7 whole days, a little scary too.

Tonight at Selene Colburn's work in progress, "The History of the Future Suite" at the FlynnSpace, I saw a dozen or so familiar faces. They were from all sorts of different local places like VCAM, Pure Pop, SpielPalast, the Smittens, Kasini House, the Old Northender and the Flynn Center. Burlington really is a small town.

And right now, a small town is where it is at for me. But I can't help but miss the big town with the arched red bridge, the floating sushi boats, twinkling lights at night and the smell of salt water.

The screech and mechanical uproar of the big city turns the citified head, fills citified ears - as the song of birds, wind in the trees, animal cries, or as the voices and songs of his loved ones once filled his heart. He is sidewalk-happy.
- Frank Lloyd Wright

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Future of Alt Weeklies?

As a new member of the alternative weekly newspaper scene, I felt it my duty to sample the alt weeklies available in Northern California: East Bay Express, SF Bay Guardian and SF Weekly while on vacation last week.

Within their pages I found fewer arts & culture articles and fewer features than in our own dear Seven Days. However, I did find a hell of a lot more risque ads for escort services, "massage," and plastic surgery - eat your heart out American Apparel. As a biased observer, I would have to say that we hold up pretty damn well with these Bay Area behemoths, with fewer resources and a whole lot o' VT spunk.

Inside The SF Guardian was an interesting story about the San Francisco Chronicle (SF's equivalent of the Burlington Free Press) and the San Jose Mercury News laying off a quarter of their staff. Ironically, the Chron created a blog to help axed staffers find new jobs. Yes, the blog giveth, and the blog taketh away.

The Bay Area news market is about to be flooded with about 160 out of work reporters, not to mention more over-priced houses as fired journalists default on their mortgages. It is a sad state of affairs when the biggest paper in the area cannot afford to keep its employees and suffers from mysterious financial losses. And odder still, the Chron's online site, SF Gate, flourishes in the midst of these cuts.

Papers are in an awkward stage at the moment. The advent of online media is threatening to wipe out print journalism as we know it and yet, according to this article in the Guardian, paper's online sites such as the Chron's SF Gate have yet to rake in any sort of tangible profit.

Indeed, is among the most regularly visited newspaper sites in the country, and the model has greatly expanded the paper's readership. But Curley explained that local advertisers "don't necessarily want to reach someone in Zurich who might be interested in reading our political analysis." For most papers, online ads still generate remarkably little revenue." - Paper trail BY G.W. SCHULZ

So what is the future? Are blogs, vlogs, Craig's List and YouTube the future? Are skintennas next? During my time in SF, I had some interesting YouTube discussions that led me to believe that even The Mighty YouTube is struggling with the same financial insecurity beast of burden. They are not sure how to make money off their content yet either. No one is.

Will it all unfold like the first dot-com bubble and its inevitable POP? Will the airy quality of online media amount to miniscule profits and fade into the ether? And if so, what will take its place?

Well, being a vlogger, I have to stay positive and hope for the best. I mean, I look at it this way, where else can we go at this point but up? There is money out there, I can smell it, my Spidey sense is tingling!

There was another article in the SF Weekly about blogger Jeff Wolf who was recently let out of prison after spending 7 months there refusing to give video footage of a G8 protest to the government. Writer Matt Smith joked about the ambiguous lines drawn in the sand between journalism and "bloggerism" which are becoming more and more transparent these days.

Amateur blogger Josh Wolf last week revealed he'd become a professional journalist, in the process helping professional journalist Matt Smith emerge as an amateurish blogger.
- Stern Reprimand, Matt Smith

Cross-overs like this are bound to happen. I didn't go to journalism school but some journalists at WCAX joked to me that no one needs to anymore. If journalists want to be bloggers and vice versa, then which way is up?

During his seven and a half months of incarceration — the longest anyone has spent in jail protecting source — bloggers and writers for newspapers hotly debated whether Wolf was a "true" journalist or just a blogger, and thus whether or not he was truly fit for status as a journalistic martyr. Cogniscenti fretted: was Wolf a journalist, or a blogger, or an activist, or an anarchist, or something else? - Stern Reprimand, Matt Smith

Jeff Smith seemed a wee bit irked by this entire affair and you can see him speak about it in his video and blog. Read the comments if you have time, talk about snarky! Smith was accused by many as being sickly jealous of Wolf's marytr-status; well, who wouldn't be?!

Who knows what the future holds for alt weeklies, but for a bit of good fun, check out Jeff Wolf on Stephen Colbert (watch video). Stephen Colbert crossed over from comedy to TV to politics so I suppose anything is possible.

Jon Stewart for president!

PS And at the risk of tooting my own horn, I also noticed in my online perusals of these Bay Area alt weeklies, that not one of them had video content even close to the quality of Stuck in Vermont. Toot, toot!

PPS DAMN! Tooted too soon! I found Matt Petty's most awesome culture vlogs on SF Gate (figures). His videos are beautiful, inspiring and make me want to make art! WOW!

Excitement-Eating in California

"...the Fitzgeralds did not seek ordinary pleasures. they wanted something unusual to happen, some act that they might not even understand. Zelda had never seen a young man who loved excitement, antics, outrageous happenings as much as she did, perhaps more."
- The Women of Montparnasse, The Americans in Paris
by Morrill Cody and Hugh Ford

Zelda Fitzgerald described her youthful, heedless life as excitement-eating. Zelda was a terrible flirt and men like Hemingway got pissed when she didn't deliver.

Zelda was a girl after my own heart, leaving Scott to go to her own set of parties, competing with him for attention and trying to become a ballerina late in life. She ate much excitement, she had her fill and some helpings from other people's plates as well. She was an excitement-glutton.

Let's not think about the fact that she lived out her later, less-excitement-filled years in a loony bin, abandoned by Scott, until she was burnt up in a fire that is. Loony bins lock you into your room at night so if a fire breaks out...Shudder.

After 7 days of excitement-eating in Northern California, I am ready to gobble Pepto Bismo, but also, ready to take on my next set of tasty tasks. Chomp, chomp, You see, things are afoot and it looks like I may be Stuck in Vermont for a good long while. Oh boy! Slurp, munch!

More than anything, I am just so damn happy, and so dang lucky! Lucky to have such lovely and talented and thoughtful friends and happy to have been able to see so many of them in flesh and blood, face to face. I'm not worthy. God, I miss 'em something terrible.

And oooh, the landscapes, the majesty, San Francisco, the Bay Area, they never cease to amaze me, and when you combine 'em with the people, well, YUM: cheese and baked goods and massive renovation in North Berkeley, heavenly meatballs in Piedmont with Robin, crazy views from Sarah's bird's nest in the Fillmore...

...a picnic lunch at Fort Mason overlooking Alcatraz, never ending sushi boats in Japan Town with Danny, the lizard-like shapes of over-lapping freeway overpasses, Hawaiian drinks with Jeff and Robin and an active volcano, a gang of school kids in the Marina...

...the nose-bleed SF hills that leave you worried you might tip over, the red bridge looming on the horizon from Lev's convertible, Market Street after dark falls, Lemondrops underneath the Bay Bridge with Sarah, a sudden burst of bougainvillea (ab0ve with Miss Jackson)...

...lying on the grass outside the De Young with Travis, a drunken meal in the Mission with Renee, Joanne and Jeff, a 50s Brit girl band in a packed club, bubbly in an Albany backyard with strawberries, Sue and Jen, ice cream on a Friday night near Dolores Park and an art show in Margaret's apartment.

Everything is so big and impressive and colorful in California, even a simple mural in a pee-infested alleyway in the Mission leaves an impression on a country mouse like me.

It all makes me feel so small and awe-struck. It is almost too much, too beautiful to be real. California dreaming seems more accurate, reality has no place in those surreal landscapes.

I spent much of my vacation marveling quietly to myself and savoring these awesome fluttery feelings whilst riding on BART trains, the 38 Geary bus or in my friend's Bugs, Minis and Miatas.

My love affair with California is not over yet. I think I saw sides of her that I never knew existed, little corners of her personality that were obscured when I lived inside her gates.

I plan to visit Cali at least once a year, so there VT, you will just have to accept that my heart will always belong to San Fran Sissy. No offense. I love you both equally. And as everyone who carded me noticed, "You look so happy in your license picture!"

"That's right," I said and then I told them the story of my recent move to VT and how shocked I was when the people at the DMV were NICE in Vermont, chatty even, laid back!

Unlike the Oakland DMV where you knew that any moment someone might snap, break out of a long line of angry people and start shooting, and that it might be you who pulls the trigger.

"So THAT is why I am smiling! Because VTers are nice." My little VT story. I swear, I told that to about 5 strangers in Cali this trip. Did they care? I think the girl at the Mac counter may have been listening...

More Cali blogs to come, pictures a plenty even if I did manage to resist bringing my video camera. But look at this here, a Castro collision of Junk Thieves and Deadbeats over tea as chronicled by Monsieur Thief.

IS it me or do I look like I am about to EAT him in this pic? I got carried away with my excitement-eating, as usual. Gobble, gobble.

Most importantly of all, the main reason for my trip, to SURPRISE the SHIT outta Jeffrey Raymond at his 40th birthday party as planned by his ultra amazing hubbie Charlie. Well, total success.

After a morning of sky diving, the boys returned to their NEW house (yes, apparently it is still possible to buy a home in SF!?) to a room full of well-wishers. I thought Jeff might screech bloody murder and run down the street screaming (I would have) but no, he did the gracious thing and entered the house to talk/hug/shower love on people.

Jeff is not much for birthdays, surprises, attention or large groups of people. So he did an amazing job of hosting, even after Charlie went to bed. What a swell 40 yr old guy.

I love you Jeffrey! And damn you for looking so young and vibrant and putting the rest of us ol' codgers to shame! Can we sit on a porch and whittle when our excitement-eating days are through!??!

And in closing, a word from Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, which, I must add, takes place in SF and is my current HOT read:

"Well don't dynamite her too much, what do you think of her?"

"Sweet! And you telling me not to dynamite her."
Archer guffawed suddenly without merriment.

.... "Where Bush Street roofed Stockton before slipping downhill to Chinatown, Spade paid his fare and left the taxicab. San Francisco's night-fog, thin, clammy, penetrant, blurred the street."