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Burlington

September 28, 2008

Update: Kesha Doesn't Care About Lawn Signs

Kesha_headshot On Saturday I got the chance to sit down with Democrat Kesha Ram at her apartment in Burlington. Kesha is running to represent Chittenden 3-4 (the Hill, Old North End, and University District) down in Montpelier come November. We met so that she could challenge the idea being asserted by some people (ahem) that her small market-share of supportive lawn signs indicates that the race is not boding well for her.

Needless to say, she doesn't buy it.

In fact, Kesha tells me that she believes the race is going well. She is confident that her challenge to the Progressive ticket of Chris Pearson and David Zuckerman will break this district's two-cycle tenure holding the "lowest turnout" title.

The smell of change is in the air this autumn, and Kesha wants to ride the tide. While she wouldn't come out and explicitly say that David Zuckerman, who came into office "all those years ago" as a fresh-faced UVM graduate, is not too old and out-of touch with the young and growing student population, she does drop some serious hints: ""Twelve years. That's a long time, and there's turnover for a reason."

I ask her if she thinks lawn signs are the best real-time polls available. "No," she says. "I don't even have a sign on my lawn." She doesn't. Her warm, clean, and surprisingly new (for Burlington) apartment, with its signless front lawn, sits directly between the end of the UVM Central Campus and the beginning of the off-campus housing sprawl — perhaps a metaphor for the two communities she's trying to bridge if she wants to win this election.

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September 19, 2008

Totally Exhausted

Thanks, everybody, for coming to the Bands of Burlington show last night. It's been a while since I was out that late on a school night. I didn't leave until 1 a.m. And I'm dragging this morning.

But I told two people who won Sugarbush season passes last night that they could pick them up today — between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. And since I had the passes, I had to be here at 9 in case they showed up.

No sign of them yet. Good thing I got my double mocha on my way into work.

September 11, 2008

Bad Cats, Bad!

Some email scorn from the UVM administration:

This weekend has been called by some Burlington residents "the worst ever" in terms of noise, public drunkenness, etc. An e-mail to me highlighted that the behavior this past weekend "disturbed families with young children; working people; and elderly folks. And, in some cases has caused issues for off-campus students who have had groups of people they do not know and have not invited to their homes trying to enter or hanging out outside drawing the attention of neighbors and police."

Citations and tickets for public urination, noise ordinance violation, minors in possession, furnishing for minors, disorderly conduct etc. are no joke at all and besides draining your pockets will remain on your permanent record. I know several people who have experienced this and it's sad to think of something like that defining your time at UVM.

A new semester at the Universitas Viridis Montis wouldn't be complete without an email relaying B-Town's horror at the spectacle of prides of thirsty Catamounts descending from the top of the hill. The same "we had no idea this was coming and now we're totally shocked" attitude from University and City officials is a staple of these electronic scoldings.

But the big Burlington and UVM boss dogs aren't the only ones who experience annual amnesia in this regard. Over the summer, party-hungry Cats consistently forget what to do when a burgeoning Burlington bash gets busted by the bad boys in blue.

Some tips (2012, listen up):

1 - Do. Not. Freak. Out. There's a reason this is at the top of the list. All too often, an early-semester off-campus rager actually gets exacerbated when the po-9 arrive. Amidst the incomprehensible roar of voices comes "Cops!" The birdcall spreads like wildfire: "Cops! Cops!" Before you know it, a stampede ensues. People are running to the back doors, jumping fences, bolting to the basement, trampling over passed-out girls, hiding under tables, breaking shit... Not necessary. If you don't live at the house and you're not completely shit-wasted, just wait patiently. In a few minutes, the po po will ask you to leave, go home, and be quiet. No names, no numbers, no nuffin.

2 - Don't say "Shhh!" I hope this dumb phenomenon is not unique to UVM. When the police arrive, it's because the party is too loud. Cops may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer, but they're not going to be fooled if a 10-alarm rager suddenly goes silent. And besides, when everyone starts yelling "shh," the house doesn't get quiet...it just sounds like there's a serious gas leak coming from everywhere at once. And that sucks. Same goes for turning off all the lights. Just keep your voice down and be patient (see tip 1).

3 - Drop your damn drink.  There's always someone at a busted off-campus party who can't bear to part  with his or her drink and absolutely must smuggle it out of the house, past the watchful eyes of the 5-0. Don't do it. Not only will you look like a total tool, but you'll probably get caught and get slapped with an open container violation ($50) or an underage possession violation ($200-$300). BPD like to shine flashlights on the exit parade, so anything you're concealing will be quite illuminated. Besides, how badly do you need that half-finished Natty Ice?

Being at a busted party is annoying, but it's not the end of the world. Although the semesterly "you guys are so bad when you go off-campus" email is unavoidable, getting stuck at a busted party is not. Underclassmen: don't travel in groups over ten (five is really best), don't go into a party that's already overflowing onto the street, and avoid ragers on main roads (South Union, Pearl, College, etc). And be nice to our townie neighbors...

September 05, 2008

Last Pursuit Gallery Opening TONIGHT!

Sotapursuit_2 Sad news regarding the local art scene — Pursuit Gallery is shutting down.

It especially bummed me out because I wrote a little spotlight about them for the What's Good Gallery Guide. Here's the write-up, which appeared on pg. 82:

Looking for skater and graffiti art? Find it at Pursuit. This wedge-shaped gallery on the Burlington Bike Path is home to Driven Studios, a multimedia design agency that specializes in youth culture. Designer Seth Neary and photographer Skye Chalmers have worked with Burton Snowboards, Gravis, Red Bull and Analog. They showcase work by urban artists you wouldn’t expect to see in the Green Mountain State. And their art openings are just an excuse to host a party.

Their last opening is tonight — 5-10 p.m. in the Wing Building on the Burlington Bike Path (Art Hop site 41). Just go. The exhibit's up until September 25. Photo by Jordan Silverman.

August 27, 2008

Totally NOT Welcome

“What’s Good” is just one of the cooler cousins on the outskirts of the “what’s up” family tree. Close relatives include “what’s goody,” “what’s goodington” and “what it is yo.” No relation to “you good?”

“What’s Good” applies to a lot in the Queen City. But one thing that’s never going to be good is the relationship between the hordes of UVM students that descend upon B-Town come August and the year-long residents who don’t always take kindly to our arrival. I mean, I don’t know why Mrs. Hardass who lives on College Street has problems with inebriated frat pledges urinating on her petunias at 2:30 in the morning. Or why Mr. Weaksause of Hungerford Terrace feels the need to rudely intrude upon the small intimate gatherings of, say, 85 close friends across the street by phoning the 5-0.

But no matter what their lame reasons may be, students who live and travel off-campus will find that these people (UVM Community Relations adorably calls them “UVM Neighbors”) aren’t too quick in dispatching the welcome wagon. In fact, as Mike Ives reports in this week’s Seven Days, City officials have been trying to work for a decade to limit Catamounts from descending down the hill. It’s a cool little article — definitely worth reading.

I don’t know where they get the nerve to try and hold us at bay on campus. Don’t our UVM neighbors know that underage drinking, smoking, gathering in large numbers, and excessive noise are all prohibited up in those jail-cell dorms? Don’t they care about our needs?

But now you’ll have to excuse me. It’s getting late, and there’s fifty people in my backyard who want some music to rock to. Maybe I’ll idle my car in the street and treat my new neighbors to some old-school gangsta rap. Now that’s what’s good.

Welcome to What's Good

Minicover_2 This is the spiffy new website that goes along with What's Good: The Students' Off-Campus Guide to Burlington, a swell 96-page magazine available in various Burlington-area locations.

Below is our group blog, written by and for local college students. Er, mostly written by students. Seven Days staffers might chime in, too.

Back to School Stories

Fshortbus_3 There are a bunch of them in this week's Seven Days:

August 21, 2008

Welcome to B-Town

Hey everyone!

Welcome to Burlington. You're going to have an awesome time here — it's a great place to be during your first "non-parent" years. I feel like it's safe to assume that most of you reading this are brand new to Burlington and need a bit of prep to really get out there into the Queen City.

  • Step #1 — Pick up a copy of What's Good: The Off-Campus Guide to Burlington, if you don't already have one.
  • Step #2 — Open it.
  • Step #3 — Look at all of the sweet stuff you can do around here.
  • Step #4 — Go do some of that stuff.
  • Step #5 — Check back here for more WG info, like student bloggers, school-related stories, funny videos and much more...

That's pretty much all you have to do to get acquainted up here. The key to school in Burlington is to get off-campus, so do it.

But first, a look back at the pain you just endured — the move in. Seven Days videographer Eva Sollberger shot this at UVM last year.

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