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April 09, 2009

Asher Roth Dropped

St. Michael's students who love college, drinking, women, and college again (in that order) are waking up disappointed this morning. Asher Roth, the "I Love College" singer who was announced a few weeks back as the opener for Lupe Fiasco at the SMC Spring Concert April 17, has been dropped from the bill due to outcry from students, faculty and staff.

A campus-wide email from the Student Association Secretaries of Programming last night said that Roth was being canceled because his images and messages are "obviously inconsistent with our institutional mission," which I think is code for "People are understandably pissed."

My feelings on the matter are known, and yes, I'm very pleased with this decision. I sincerely believe that a college is represented by who it brings in for concerts, and being represented by a disposable act who so obviously panders to the lowest common denominator wasn't very comforting. Oh, and the blatant misogyny in his video and his songs like "Rub On Your Titties" (charming, isn't he) was pretty awful, too. Having that on my campus would have been far from my proudest moment at this school.

So while I'm still concerned that no one on the S.A. Programming Committee saw anything wrong with Roth's music and videos when they were considering him initially, I'm glad they were willing to listen to the campus community who didn't want to be represented by sophomoric, sexist nonsense.

Thanks to the St. Michael's Center for Women and Gender, and everyone else who let their feelings on Roth be known — and thanks to the S.A. for making the right decision in the end.

April 08, 2009

Of Onions and Rock Bands

Enough about student government/media drama for a while. Let's discuss more important things: the arts. Today's a big day for arts of the written, visual, and musical kinds at St. Mike's.

Today is the release date for the 2009 edition of St. Michael's annual literary arts journal, the Onion River Review.  The Review contains poetry, prose, paintings, drawings, and photography, and competition is tough every year to get in. I'm impressed every year at how professional and well-curated it is (and I'm not just saying that because I finally got a photograph accepted this year). There's a release party tonight at 6:00 in the Hoehl Welcome Center, but if you can't make it, you can grab a (free!) copy of the Onion River Review at locations around the area, including Crow Bookstore and Muddy Waters in Burlington and the Green Closet in Winooski.

Later tonight, Higher Ground hosts three St. Michael's bands, all graduates of our campus's Saturday night Turtle Underground concert/open mic series. The headliner is Cadrin, a four piece rock band. The band's titular singer-songwriter, Tom Cadrin, received a lovely review in Seven Days late last year with his previous album, and his music is even more well-rounded with a full band. Cadrin's music is blends emotive, singer-songwriter rock music with prog/math-rock influences like odd time signatures and all kinds of unusual structures. The band's got some chops. It's like pop-rock for music majors.

Opening the show are Fink, a jammy rock band that reminds me of Dispatch or O.A.R. plus jazz, and Free Louis, a scarily-tight bunch that will bring the heady instrumental jams. Show starts at 8:00 and tickets are $10.

April 06, 2009

Do You Know Where Your Campus Newspaper Is?

So I was walking through the Alliot Student Center on Friday morning when I noticed something awry in the west doorway to the building. This area is where most free publications are dropped off — Seven Days, a variety of free magazines, and the bulk of the copies of The Defender. Well, this past Friday, I noticed that all the copies of The Defender were gone. There were four stacks in that very spot the day before.

I knew people had taken a heightened interest in campus media this week, but that seemed a bit excessive. It was difficult not to wonder if the disapperance was related to the unflattering stories about the S.A. E-board published in The Defender and The Echo earlier that week. But then again, the story about the E-board's food purchases broke too late to be published in print. The top story in the paper was the (relatively less ugly) story about a potentially invalid S.A. amendment vote. (There was a lovely picture of a St. Michael's student working with Dominican children on a service trip there too, but no one ever gets worked up about those stories...)

Of course, Friday was the beginning of Family Weekend and the next day was an Accepted Students Day, so a lot of people had an interest in making the campus look as harmonious as possible for this past weekend.

I let The Defender advisers and executive editor know about the disapperence, and in turn the St. Michael's Office of Public Safety and Security got on the case. They recovered the missing bundles of papers later Friday afternoon and returned them to their usual Alliot place. The Free Press picked up the story and published a short story about the situation on Saturday.

The perpetrator has not been publicly identified, though. Was it an S.A. associate angry about the recent negative press? Was it a member of college administration who didn't want parents or prospective students to see any negative news stories? Was it a janitor on their first day of work who didn't know that was the preferred spot for newspapers? Was a party-happy student looking to build a bonfire later that night? We'll never know...

Recently, 3,000 issues of Catholic University's student newspaper were trashed around campus, apparently in protest of the paper's discussion of gay rights. The Student Press Law Center has an alarmingly long list of similar cases around the country. If wannabe censors are motivated to silence a story, it seems that trashing papers only attract more press and attention.

As for the St. Michael's incident...well, I hope future bonfire-starters will consider using wood instead.

April 01, 2009

St. Michael's Student Gov't Shenanigans UPDATE

Bad day to be a member of the St. Michael's Student Association E-board yesterday. The Defender/Echo published a pair of stories that did not reflect so well on the S.A. E-board: one on how a recent vote on a constitutional amendment proved controversial and may be void, and another revealing that the S.A. President and Finance Secretary have spent student money on personal food purchases.

Transparency has been raised as an issue this semester, largely due to the efforts of S.A. senator Josh Hoxie, the senator who got access to the E-board's budget and exposed the wings/pizza story. The biggest issue has been the fact that an up-do-date copy of the S.A. constitution is impossible to find — hard copies are tough to come by, and only an outdated version exists on the S.A. Web site.

Similarly, the contents of the E-board's budget have been a mystery until now. Student clubs, funded by the student activities fee that's overseen by the S.A., have the S.A. keeping tabs on their budget all year, and the finance secretary has to sign off on all purchases. Thus it's been something of a double standard that the S.A. E-board has had the ability to spend their money in secret, without oversight. Kudos to Hoxie, the other S.A. members who've been pushing for transparency, and the reporters who followed the story.

Last night there was an open forum for the candidates for Student Association positions for next year. About 150 students showed up, and many posed pointed questions to the candidates about budget and procedural transparency, as well as issues of sustainability and social justice. For example, the (unopposed) Class of 2010 VP candidate was asked, after he made a speech detailing all the sweet senior socials we'll have, if he had any plans for the class to make a wider impact in the community instead of just social events. Zing. Perhaps the Barack Obama era really has inspired a new level of political involvement by our generation, even at the college election level.

(Full disclosure note: I work on the staff of The Defender/Echo. I'm the editor of The Naked Opinion though, so I wasn't privy to the details of this story until I was putting it on the Web site just before publishing. I've got my own bone to pick with the school regarding the selection of Asher Roth as our spring concert opening act, which I discussed here, but that's a story for another time...)

UPDATE: As expected, the plot thickens. S.A. president Steve O'Neil, and finance secretary Jon Kaptcianos sent a campus-wide email today, rebutting the claims made against them. They say that the nearly $2,000 was spent on buying E-board members meals in the campus dining hall, so that they could "increase the visibility" of the E-board after their meal plan of 40 meals ran out. $900 was spent on food for finals-week study spaces.

They do admit to some personal meals taken, though. $70 was spent on Wings over Burlington after an S.A. meeting one unspecified night (no doubt that anyone who's ever been to one of those dreary borefests wishes they could have wings on someone else's tab as a reward for sitting through it). About $70 more was spent on pizza for three E-board members on the day in which they were having budget meetings with clubs. Makes sense that they would want some sustenance for dealing with budgets for an entire day — but clubs have been forbidden from using their funds to buy food this entire year, unless the food was for an event open to the entire campus. In this sense, there's clearly a double standard.

Most interesting is that the email claims that the invoices for all of these purchases "are available to anyone who would like to see them." Based on discussions that occurred in public at the candidates' open forum last night, amongst other evidence, this is not the case. I vividly remember last night that a Class of 2011 presidential candidate said he attempted to get access to the budget "several" times and was never successful. Additionally, the article on the food-spending controversy says, "Defender and Echo editors have made numerous requests to review S.A. club expense reports, as provided for in the S.A Constitution. Each request has been denied."

Maybe those invoices are available to everyone NOW, but this transparency has not been available until this controversy blew up.

Congolese Playwright to Speak at Champlain College

Pierre Continuing our jump into theater, Champlain College's first City of Refuge Visiting Writer and internationally acclaimed writer and intellectual, Pierre Mujomba, will be at the Alumni Auditorium to speak of his life on April 7th. Mujomba's speech, "A Writer in Exile: Reflections on Censorship and Freedom," draws from his views on censorship, and the hardships he had with artistry and expression as a playwright in The Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mujomba, who formerly worked as an African linguistics consultant at MIT, Boston University, and Brown's African Studies Department, fled the Congo in 2003 after the publication of his best-known play, The Lost Envelope. He has been awarded the Roger H. Perry endowed chair, and has spent much of his time at Champlain lecturing to classes and writing plays. Mujomba has a fascinating story, and is certainly worth seeing.

The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6pm.

Champlain Theater at The Flynn

Champlain College playwright and director of Champlain Theater, Joanne Farrell, will be showcasing the College's acting chops with a presentation of "The Beauty Queen of Leanne" this week at the Flynn. The Irish drama, written by Martin McDonagh, takes a hard look at mental illness, loneliness, and betrayal. Knowing Joanne Farrell, I'm sure this work will be done justice.

Performances are April 1st-4th and April 9th-11th and all start at 8pm.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Flynn website.

March 29, 2009

An Amazing Acoustic Night with Jeff Tweedy

2009_0326jefftweedy0020_500 I'll cut right to the chase: Jeff Tweedy's show Thursday night at Higher Ground was a masterpiece. The lead singer of Wilco (and Loose Fur and Uncle Tupelo) treated Vermont to a rare solo acoustic show that's been sold out for six weeks.

After a short but solid opening set of jazzy pop-rock by Pronto, a Brooklyn band led by Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen, Tweedy took the stage and went into "Via Chicago," a Wilco favorite from the album Summerteeth. The rest of the night similarly highlighted Tweedy's back catalogue, as he pulled most of the set from 1990s Wilco albums and his previous band, Uncle Tupelo. He did treat the audience to two brand new songs as previews of the upcoming Wilco album, due in June. (And if any snooty hipsters are wondering, no, they don't sound "dad-rock," thanks.)

Tweedy was in a great mood all night, engaging in plenty of funny and good-natured banter with the crowd, including his story of how earlier in the day he was nearly run off the road by overzealous fans while riding his bike around town, saying he "felt like Princess Di." More musicians should go for black comedy. He also entertained a few impromptu audience requests, and threw in some unexpected covers of Bob Dylan's "Simple Twist of Fate" and, more surprisingly, The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog."

My fanboy meter was overloaded during Tweedy's first encore, as he played my favorite Wilco songs together.  "A Shot in the Arm" was even more desperate and affecting in acoustic form, while Tweedy transcribed the many parts and voices of "Muzzle of Bees" into a surprisingly complex, fascinating version.

He took another encore and returned with Jorgensen on keyboards to play a pair of songs from A Ghost is Born, "Hummingbird" and "Theologians," though it must be said that these songs were really sloppy. I'm glad they went for it, though. Tweedy capped off the night by playing Wilco's "Someone Else's Song" and Uncle Tupelo's "Acuff-Rose" totally unplugged, standing atop the stage monitors and belting out the words sans microphone. It was the most intimate, beautiful moment in a night full of them.

A major reason the show was so great was that the crowd was really fantastic. I've had quite a few experiences at Higher Ground where the crowd treats the venue as any Burlington dive bar, too busy drunkenly chatting to even pay attention to the show they paid to see. But the crowd at this show was amazingly attentive, staying eerily quiet at the right moments, saving the whoops and yells for between songs, and singing along fervently when the song merited it. I don't know if it was because the show was so hard to get tickets to that only the diehards were there, or if Wilco fans are just an amazingly cool bunch, but it made the show an absolute blast to be a part of, and created the sort of feeling of communal happiness that only a great rock show can provide.

March 18, 2009

UVM Springfest Tickets on Sale Today

The super-awesome instrumental hip-hop/electronic band Ratatat is headlining the 2009 edition of UVM's Springfest, with more bands TBA.  Tickets are set to go on sale today on and at the ticket office in the Patrick Gymnasium, and cost $5 for college students with ID and $20 for the general public.  Major, major props to UVM's SA Concert Board for making the student discount price good for all college students and not just UVM students--us St. Mike's kids have to rely on UVM to bring cool music to Burlington-area colleges, after all.

(If 90s nostalgia is more your bag, Higher Ground just announced that Third Eye Blind is coming to town May 5. Have to admit that band hasn't crossed my mind in about eight years, but uh...glad to see they're still alive.)

March 11, 2009

UVM and New Yorkers: Not Fond of the Heartland Institute

University of Vermont student Connor Gibson spent last week as one of the 204 UVM students in Washington D.C. as part of Power Shift, where 12,000 students from around the country convened at the Capitol to demand a shift towards greener environmental policy. After the conference he traveled to New York and helped to film and edit this video, asking New Yorkers what they thought of the International Conference on Climate Change, a gathering of global warming skeptics being held near Times Square by the Heartland Institute. The results are amusing.

I don't see what's so bad about global warming myself — it'd allow us to catch a nice tan year-round even in Vermont, right?

David Byrne is Playing at the Shelburne Museum on June 1

Yesterday, Higher Ground unveiled the lineup for the 2009 Ben & Jerry's Concerts on The Green, a series of concerts taking place over the summer out on the beautifully scenic green at the Shelburne Museum. Each of the previous summers I've attended one of the shows (Wilco in 2007, Feist last year), and I wondered how they'd top those acts this year.

Answer: David Byrne.

Yes, the same David Byrne who made his name as the frontman of Talking Heads. Last year he reunited with famed producer and electronic music pioneer Brian Eno for the album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, which contained perhaps Byrne's strongest songs since the heyday of Talking Heads in the mid 80s. Since then, Byrne has been touring with a new band and a setlist centering on the songs Byrne and Eno collaborated on--both from their two albums together as well as from the three Talking Heads albums Eno produced.

I got to see the tour's Montreal stop back in October and it was a brilliant show. Byrne hasn't lost a step, and his voice is as strong as ever (obviously thanks to all that bike riding he does). If this show is anything like that one, expect inspired dancing and Byrne sounding as fresh as ever.

March 03, 2009

Checking in with Kesha Ram

0206091146 I recently had the opportunity to spend a Friday morning with UVM alum and newly elected Representative Kesha Ram at her new digs — the statehouse in Montpelier.  

I had never been to Montpelier before. The capital of Vermont, like most Green Mountain towns outside the Burlington metro area, consists of no more than one or two main commercial roads. It’s the only state capital without a McDonalds. The statehouse, a marvelous golden-domed building, brilliantly stands out from the rest of the rather mundane State Street.  

Regardless of how you voted (or didn’t vote) in the November state legislative election, you've got to admit that Kesha Ram is an exciting figure. On a purely superficial level, Representative Ram stands out like no other legislator. Her young voice, tiny frame, and darker complexion bring a welcome breath of fresh air to a chamber occupied by generally older, whiter, (and quite a few plumper) legislators. She also stands out for her mini-celebrity status within the statehouse. As we walked the halls chatting, our conversation was interrupted more than a dozen times with political action-types introducing themselves, confessing how they’re so excited to finally get to meet her.

What has yet to significantly stand out, however, is her own voice. Throughout the campaign, Ms. Ram defended attacks from her Progressive opponents that her decision to run as a Democrat would not hinder her ability to speak clearly and independently on behalf of her Burlington constituents. To her credit, the current legislative session is only a few months old. However, it must be noted that Representative Ram did tell me that as a new member of the chamber, she’s accepted taking a back seat to some of the more experienced voices.  

After an abbreviated floor session, I sat in on a committee meeting with Representative Ram and about five of her colleagues. They were hearing testimony from representatives from Wal Mart, who came to speak against a pending resolution to be sent to the Virginia state government, urging them to stop the building of one of their stores on Civil War ground where many Vermonters died. During the 45-minute meeting, Representative Ram asked no more than five questions, and certainly wasn’t the one driving the conversation.

Granted, to ask any freshman legislator to storm in and take charge may be too much to expect. And spending one day in the statehouse is just a snapshot. But for someone who vigorously defended her ability to act just as independently as her Progressive opponents, it is indeed worth noting.

Kesha Ram surely stands out on strictly biographical grounds, generating an excitement and general goodwill towards her that gives her a leg-up on any run-of-the-mill freshman legislator. As her tenure in the legislature continues, Burlington residents should hope Representative Ram capitalizes on this excitement around her to speak up a little more. That’s a large task to ask of an ordinary freshman representative, but Kesha Ram has proven that she's not ordinary.  


Note: This is my last post for WG.  I will be moving on to fully focus on my duties as Editor-in-Chief of The Water Tower, UVM's alternative student newsmag. Thank you to Seven Days and Online Editor Cathy Resmer for this great opportunity.

February 25, 2009

UVM Students Protests Job Cuts

Students from the University of Vermont led demonstrations to protest the move by administrators to slash jobs, an effort to meet their budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Richard Cate, Vice President of Finance at the University, attempted to calm tensions, reassuring students that the University is not pleased to make cuts, but it's the sad reality of the situation. It's actually a pretty intense video.

[Ed. note: The video was shot and produced by multitalented Burlington Free Press photo/multimedia editor Ryan Mercer.]

Stimulating Burlington

Wondering what that stimulus package might buy for Burlington? According to the United States Conference of Mayors report on the stimulus, Burlington has submitted a mere $145 million worth of projects for consideration in the stimulus package.

Check out the list of proposed projects at The projects named range from the mundane (building bus shelters, renovating lights in city parking garages) to the spectacular (building a friggin' funicular to the waterfront).

I'm not an economics major, but I'm going to go ahead and guess that the city will actually get about 3% of that $145 million. Will that ugly median on Main St. up in the Davis Center area get transformed into something other than an eyesore? Will we be riding around on a new fleet of clean-burning CCTA buses in a few years? Will the Moran Plant be redeveloped into an ice rink/climbing center? I'm kind of rooting against that last one actually — I know the Moran Plant currently looks like it got a bomb dropped on it, but it makes for some damn cool photographs.

There's no doubt that conservative Burlingtonians (both of them) will decry all these projects as nothing but "pork," and they may have a point — but come on, riding a funicular down to the lake would be pretty cool.

February 23, 2009

Jon Stewart to Appear at UVM

Jon Stewart, the salty, satirical host of The Daily Show, will be performing at the Patrick Gym on March 28th at 8 pm. Tickets for UVM students will cost $25, and for non-UVM students, $40, when they go on sale to the general public on March 9th. My guess is UVM students get them earlier. Not fair!

In other news, a 19 year-old received his white jacket to UVM's Medical School. Ronald Masson, a California native, is believed to be the youngest student in the College of Medicine's history. He went to college directly after eighth-grade. Eighth grade! I was begging to be let out of lockers at that time, making awkward, possibly creepy gestures to older women. And Doogie Howser was already in college!  Once again, not fair.

Hey, at least the weather's nice!

February 20, 2009

Warning: Mild Grossness Ahead

In little over a week, I will begin a semester-long study abroad program in Salvador, Brazil. Salvador is Brazil's third largest city and has earned the nickname "Brazil's capital of happiness" for its street carnivals and beach-loving population. Forget the Elysian Fields, this sounds like my vision of paradise.

However, preparing for departure has been proving far from blissful. I currently have a small dose of the live yellow fever virus swimming in my system, as well as a week's worth of typhoid pills. My arm is still sore from a diphtheria vaccine. All these meds have left me with a case of nausea, alternating fevers and chills, and mild delirium. Although, it is hard to tell if the delirium is a recent development.

Aside from preparing myself against a spectrum of infections, I am also getting used to the idea of eating meat again after spending most of my college years on the tofu-bandwagon. But how could I not eat meat while living with a family who has kindly opened their home to me in a country that is the largest exporter of both beef and poultry by volume? At least, I have little fear of struggling to find local meat, as I try to insure that the meat I do consume was raised fairly. Be prepared for a Brazilian food review in the coming months! In the meantime, if you are like myself and intrigued by Brazilian culture, I have found a couple options to investigate that don't require air travel. Check out Souza's Brazilian Steakhouse, the Burlington Brazilian Jiu Jitsu School, or the annual Montreal Brazilian Film Fest. Just talking about all these Brazilian influences in our area is getting me excited to travel. Now I am just hoping I won't regret not receiving those rabies vaccines....

February 17, 2009

Burlington is the New Brooklyn

Tweedy1 I just wanted to take a moment to give props to the people over at Higher Ground for the fantastic lineup of shows they've booked for late March and April.

The big win is Jeff Tweedy of Wilco (pictured) playing a solo acoustic set on March 26. Considering all three Wilco shows I've seen have been at big outdoor amphitheaters with capacities in the thousands (including a show on a beautiful evening at the Shelburne Museum two summers ago), seeing Tweedy in such an intimate setting will be a treat. Better yet, Tweedy is known to play not just songs from the Wilco catalogue at his rare solo gigs, but also tunes by his numerous other bands (Uncle Tupelo, Loose Fur, etc.) plus unreleased songs and covers, so we're certain to get something special. One last bit of icing on the cake: Wilco's fantastically bespectacled keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen is opening the show with his other band, Pronto. No way this won't sell out, so don't procrastinate on getting tickets.

The following week, the Welsh indie pop/punk group Los Campesinos are playing the little room at HG. The week after that gives us two nights of awesome with the brilliant singer/violinist/whistler Andrew Bird playing Sunday night (guess he liked us from the last Higher Ground show he played in 2007), followed the next night by the punk cabaret act World/Inferno Friendship Society. Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock plays April 14, and finally O.C.-approved singer Alexi Murdoch closes out this great run of shows on April 19.

It's really cool to see such a nice chunk of indie rock shows lumped in with the more common Higher Ground fare of jam bands, rappers, and NPR-friendly acts. Here's hoping that this trend keeps up. And here's my public plea to the Higher Ground people: Bring M. Ward to town. Please.

And who knows--maybe we can turn Burlington's reputation as a haven for smelly hippie jam bands around...

February 12, 2009

Trayless Movement at SMC = Epic Fail

Remember when I blogged about how St. Michael's was joining Middlebury, Champlain, much of UVM, and other schools by ditching trays in the dining hall?  Well, never mind.

As announced at a recent Student Association meeting by Secretary of Student Life Gary Levante, and elaborated upon in this Defender/Echo article, the plan to ditch the trays in the Green Mountain Dining Room has been scrapped, and trays are back. Why? Because the cost it took to clean up after messes left behind on tables literally outweighed the amount of money saved by not having to put trays through the washer.

This is one of those things that makes me more than a bit embarrassed to be a St. Michael's student. What is the problem? Were my classmates never taught the most basic of table manners? Are they just savage eaters? Or are people here just so self-absorbed that they can't be bothered to pick up after themselves? If Middlebury and Champlain had no problem going trayless, there's no reason that it should be a problem here. I guess we just have a higher proportion of inconsiderate assholes.

There is good news though. Based on my own completely unscientific observation, it looks like most students here have made the personal decision to stay trayless, even though the option of trays is still present. So there's that. My vitriol is really directed at a relatively small slice of the student body. Though that small slice is still unfathomably lame in my mind. It's hard not to get discouraged about making any progress on the environmental front here when nonsense like this gets in the way.

Worst of all: My hope to take all those unused dining trays and start a tray-sledding club will remain but a pipe dream...

February 05, 2009

Taste Testing the Grilled Cheese Movement

11cheese600.1a On a recent Tuesday, I found myself in the basement of the UVM Davis Center thanking whatever higher power blessed me with a lactose tolerance. I was examining an enticing menu of creatively filled grilled cheese sandwiches made by the student-run, non-profit group FeelGood.

With local chapters across the nation, this group sells grilled cheese sandwiches from locally-donated ingredients and donates 100% of the profits to the Hunger Project.  "Ending global hunger, one grilled cheese at time," proclaims the FeelGood website. I was excited to do my small part to support this cause, but overwhelmed by the options.

There was the "Cheesus Loves Me," boasting cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach. And the Shelburne Sandwich (a tribute to Shelburne Farms for donating over 60 pounds of cheese a year): a melty mixture of onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and of course, cheese. For those with a sweet tooth or with the ample appetite needed to follow a savory sandwich with a dessert sandwich, salvation came in the form of the "Cheese Louise." Apples, cheese, and the choice of cinnamon sugar or honey mustard were grilled between two slices of bread on this newest of the FeelGood sandwiches. The list went on, including the cleverly named "Catamelt," and sandwiches dedicated to supporter Jerry (as in friend of Ben) and Klinger's, which happily donates its breads. With nearly four years of operation behind them, UVM FeelGood president Margaret said club members have had the time to get creative.

I settled on the "Cheesus Loves Me" with added pesto (and a fortuitous bite of my dining companion's "Cheese Louise") and happily parted with my four dollars. It seemed a small price to pay to help end world hunger and my own simultaneously.

UVM FeelGood sells its grilled cheeses for lunch on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the tunnel entrance in the Davis Center. All the sandwiches named above can be spotted, concocted, and devoured there.

February 03, 2009

The Logger to Speak at Champlain College

AZ-rusty Rusty Dewees, famous for his "Logger" comedy routine, is bringing his skills and "backstage secrets" to Champlain College's Alumni Auditorium. While Dewees is perhaps Vermont's most beloved comedian, he is far more than the blue collar logger act he plays. Dewees is an entrepreneur, musician, actor, producer, and "master of duct tape." The 1984 graduate of Champlain College will be speaking for the BYOBIZ Guest Speakers program, "Speaking from Experience."

Check it out tonight at 7pm in the Alumni Auditorium.

January 30, 2009

Sue Johanson's Sex Talk

10294 Reports of sexting got you worried about the state of sex education today? Sex expert Sue Johanson was certainly hot and bothered about the information adolescents are receiving when she spoke to a packed auditorium a couple weeks ago in the University of Vermont Davis Center.

The 78-year-old sex educator and former talk show host gave a lively lecture and led an anonymous question-and-answer session for an event sponsored by UVM's Center for Health and Well-being. I had the chance to speak with her beforehand, and I had prime viewing of her suggestive and acrobatic antics from my seat in the front row. I know for a fact that my grandmother is not that flexible!

Ms. Johanson started her career as a sex educator after finding that as easy as it was to talk to other people about sex, she preached and moralized to her own kids. Since then, she told me, she has devoted herself so much to improving sex education that she has even taken to the field to learn tips from Toronto prostitutes on how to keep sex both erotic and safe.

Before opening the floor for questions, Ms. Johanson emptied her bag of sex toys onto the table onstage and gave her personal recommendations to the crowd. She travels with them to every lecture she gives, which can make going through airport customs a drag. "Don't ever get behind me at the airport!" she says.

Unfortunately, the talk ended abruptly when the audience and Ms. Johanson were informed that the Davis Center would be shutting down for the night... but not before one male student had the chance to ask if participating in the winter naked bike ride could have caused certain sexual, er, malfunctions. That's certainly one argument that hasn't come up in the debate over shutting down the biannual bare tradition.

Editor's note: Sorry it took so long to bring you this report. Mariah filed it shortly after the talk and I didn't see it until just now! Yikes! Sorry about that. -- Cathy Resmer

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