Narrative Essays & Features
In December of 2014, I embarked on a two-week journey to visit a friend serving in the Peace Corps in Lesotho. Landlocked by South Africa, Lesotho is a tiny, rural nation of breathtaking beauty— and difficult realities for its citizens.
The Otis Mountain Get Down music festival in Elizabethtown, NY has grown from humble beginnings into a mystical, end-of-summer escape. Intrigued by the mountain's storied past, I arrived a few days early to meet the crew, witness the work that goes into producing this weekend-long event, and learn about one of the lost ski areas in the Northern Adirondacks.
Burlington, Vermont is home to numerous music venues, from major concert hall Higher Ground, to eclectic coffee shop and watering hole Radio Bean, to Nectars— the legendary birthplace of Phish. Yet, Winooski— Burlington's scrappy, former mill-town neighbor— is quickly making a name for itself as one of Vermont's premier summer music festival destinations. The annual Waking Windows festival, held in downtown Winooski, brings over 100 performances, from major national bands to up-and-coming local acts. I wrote an in-depth guide to this three-day, ring-around-the rotary party.
Artist & Musician Profiles
Nebraska native Hana Zara found her musical home on the shores of Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont. After winning a local singer-songwriter contest in 2013, Zara has become one of the Queen City's leading lyricists. I sat down with her to find out what makes her tick, why childhood fairytales can still be meaningful to adults, and how she proposes to inject a shot of love into the world.
Eric George's sincere, often nasally, voice recalls country-folk crooners of yore like Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie. But his finger-picking guitar riffs reach back even further to the likes of legendary Delta bluesmen Son House and Robert Johnson. Prior to the release of his self-titled debut album, George discusses his influences, the recording process, and why his tastes tend toward the analog.
Located in Charlotte, Vermont, Cumbancha Records is committed to releasing world music and introducing international musicians to an American audience. Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate's dynamic, complex sound exemplifies Cumbancha's global mission. To read more about Cumbancha's excellent releases, check out my review of Israeli artist Idan Raichel's solo album here.
Using reclaimed materials to breathe new life into old metal, Molly Conant forges her own path with her vintage jewelry making business. Conant's clean aesthetic makes her pieces highly wearable, while unique resources lend a one-of-a-kind vibe to the collection.
I've done dozens of album reviews for Seven Days—Vermont's alternative weekly newspaper and the leading source on all things arts and culture around the state. Below are a few of my favorites. Links to other reviews are located here.
Art-rockers Swale continue their experimental blend of shoegaze, punk, and nocturnal garage-rock, but delve into darker territory on their second full-length album.
Dance-pop juggernauts Rue Mevlana create a glittering, snappy album that weaves techno, glam-rock, and all things 1970s.
Sleek, brooding electronic tracks set the scene for late-night conversation on Guthrie Galileo's new effort.
Local News & Community Interest
I've done a series of local author interviews and profiles for two Vermont newspapers, The Colchester Sun and The Essex Reporter. Vermont has a rich independent publishing community. Many authors choose to self-publish or choose to print their work in a small, limited-release fashion. Some have worked with historical societies and other organizations for special-interest books. Others have successfully partnered with major publishing houses and received significant advances and book contracts.
Mercy Connections is a Burlington, VT based educational non-profit that seeks to help women maximize their economic futures and learn entrepreneurial skills. In a state where 43% of women who work full-time do not earn enough to meet basic expenses and where women are significantly more likely than men to live in poverty, personal finance and economic literacy is critical for all women.
This piece for Thread Magazine (now Offprint Magazine) describes Burlington's burgeoning literary scene and the writing opportunities available to all Vermonters.
Burlington artist Aaron Stein prepares to elaborately outfit — then ruthlessly destroy — his beloved car, Eustace Bloom. It's all part of the Champlain Valley Fair's annual Demolition Derby. In an interview for Seven Days, Stein talks about the twin impulses to create and destruct— and why wrecking objects of importance can be a form of emotional and artistic therapy.
Political & Economic Profiles
The 2015 Burlington mayoral race pitted several candidates against Democratic incumbent Miro Weinberger. Progressive Party candidate Steve Goodkind sought to capture the spirit and legacy of Senator Bernie Sander's tenure as mayor of Queen City back in the 1980s. This profile describes Goodkind's record of public service and election platform.
Burlington North End resident and seasoned digital marketing consultant Sean Hurley sets his sights on a new startup—that helps other startups. To do it, Hurley enlists a team of tech-savvy individuals to vet potential businesses.