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Letters to the Editor


Published August 19, 2009 at 7:41 a.m.


In the opening paragraph to her story, “Some Like It Red Hot” [July 29], Alice Levitt refers to Plattsburgh as “the city known to many as Wiggletown.” Actually, the nickname Wiggletown is one used by locals to refer to another community in the area, not Plattsburgh.

A more appropriate nickname for Plattsburgh would be “Dogtown” — not because of the Michigans and Red Hots sold around here, but instead the chronic problem with canine litter.

Watch your step when you visit.

Luke T. Bush



Thank you for publishing the article “Big Enough” by Kirk Kardashian [July 29], featuring his two fine photos of the building I designed for the BigTown Gallery in Rochester. Unfortunately my name was omitted: I am “the local architect” with whom the owners worked to transform the existing house into an art gallery and residence. I designed both the 36-foot high octagonal shingle style “lighthouse-like tower” containing a spiral stair to the living quarters and the “giant circular entrance” façade. It may interest your readers to know that my inspiration for the 16-foot diameter circular entrance was Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1948 V.C. Morris gift shop and art gallery in San Francisco. Other influences were the circular façades of architects Louis I. Kahn and Paolo Soleri.

Robert Melik Finkle A.I.A.



Two of the letters in the July 29 issue seemed to relate to each other. The first, “Daysie Dis,” took Seven Days to task for not including any theater-related categories in this year’s Daysie competition. The reasoning for the omission was the lack of response in past years when such categories were included. The other letter, “Quad Questions,” was the response from Burlington International Waterfront Festival producer Jay Craven to previous comments in Seven Days. What’s the connection? Money. Our money.

How much city money and time was spent on the festival and other Quad-related activities? Yes, revenue was made from tourists coming into the city to attend events. But what about the people who live here? Can we have some of that money now? Burlington City Arts FY ’09 budget is listed as $1,067,904 (including $719,451 in salaries). How much of that is being spent on local theater-related activities? If money is spent on bringing a show or two to Burlington, that money leaves the city along with the production company. Having worked with Vermont Rep, Lyric Theater Company, Green Candle Theater Company, The Open Stage and various independent productions, I have found support from City Arts, if available, difficult to acquire. And the one thing that BCA would/could offer, the use of Contois Auditorium, while never ideal, seems to be a thing of the past for use as a performance space.

So, perhaps if BCA would focus some more time and money towards the local theater community, more people would be aware of the many exciting productions that do occur, and this art form could take its rightful place on the Daysie ballot.

Bob Bolyard



I have admired Shay Totten for years. So I was surprised by his frothing attack on Ed Flanagan’s mishaps — stemming, Shay says, from physical trauma. Given all the data Shay gives, I wonder if he’d prefer Flanagan to be shot in the kneecaps — or worse.

He who is without sin, and so forth.

Jerry Weinberg



I was delighted to read Al Salzman’s letter in the July 29 issue of Seven Days describing how touched he was by “the extraordinary concert” given at the Radio Bean by young artists of the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. The Radio Bean gig was one of four such performances in downtown Burlington. Several other free concerts were given across the state, all of which were made possible by a grant to the festival from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The outstanding performers Al heard were among 117 aspiring young artists admitted by audition to the festival. This season, they came from 25 states as well as from China, Japan, Korea, India and Costa Rica. For four weeks, they were totally immersed in the study and performance of chamber music. They practiced for hours daily, were given private instruction by an internationally acclaimed artist-faculty (numbering 32 this year), participated in master classes by world-renowned performers and were coached in the art of ensemble playing. They were also a joy to witness at the artist-faculty concerts and performances by their peers when they displayed their unbridled enthusiasm for performances with whoops and hollers!

For five seasons, the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival has made its home at UVM for the month of July. All concerts, whether by artist-faculty or young artists, as well as the master classes were held at the UVM Recital Hall and were open to the public.

The festival has acquired a reputation among young artists for affording them performing opportunities. I hope Al will stay in touch and that he and others will suggest possible venues where next year’s students might display their extraordinary talents.

Jean Pilcher



In Shay Totten’s column [Fair Game, 7/29/09], he succumbs to an unfortunate yet popular journalistic practice. His exposé of Ed Flanagan’s alleged inappropriate behavior at the YMCA is locker-room gossip about a man whose distinguished career in public service has been marred by a terrible tragedy. Ken Picard’s article in May comprehensively addresses concerns over Flanagan’s ability to represent his constituency post-accident. Fair game. While I am a fan of Totten’s work, both he and the Seven Days editorial staff showed remarkably poor judgment here. Flanagan’s behavior as it pertains to his work in the State Senate deserves scrutiny. His actions as described in “Fair Game” have bearing on the political front simply because they appeared in print. When journalists resist temptation to report the purely salacious private behavior of our politicians, it serves us all well. I think it is worth remembering that, apart from being their constituency, we are also their neighbors.

Barbara Shatara



I saw the play on opening night, and want to urge serious and occasional theatergoers to see the extraordinary production of Waiting for Godot at Lost Nation Theater [“Lost Nation Theater Brings a Light Touch to Waiting,” August 12]. It is lucid, moving, charming, surprising and beautiful. I have seldom seen a production more clarifying — of a play which, though famous, is little understood. It is living theater at its quintessential best.

Cora Fauser



Marc Awodey’s review of “Exposed! 2009” was pretty off base [“In and Out,” July 29]. Most outdoor work made today is about the relationship between people and the larger environment. Site-specific pieces are not meant to be autonomous (unlike most work made for a gallery setting). By not being autonomous, they express a symbiotic relationship with the world. That is the point. This current (but recurring!) trend is probably the result of many forces — global warming, opposition to irresponsible power trips via the financial sector, the government, etc. But this doesn’t seem like the appropriate venue to explore that! I would guess about two-thirds of the pieces, or more, (including the works you mentioned) really needed trees/grass/etc., to complete them. It is not merely about the work being so ginormous that it can’t literally fit into a gallery. Duh.

Caroline Byrne



Only five years ago Burlington was a great place to be a baseball fan. We had major-league baseball 90 miles away, and minor-league and college baseball right here in town. Strike one: The Montréal Expos moved to Washington, D.C. Strike two: UVM announced the cancellation of its baseball program. Now we’re facing the prospect of strike three: losing the Lake Monsters. [“Field of Dreams Deferred,” August 5.]

Preservation Trust of Vermont’s offer to help the community raise $7 million for Centennial Field gives us local baseball fans “that hope which springs eternal in the human breast,” to borrow a phrase from “Casey at the Bat.” We might put up even money, now, with mighty Leahy at the bat. But unless both UVM and the Lake Monsters are willing to commit to a very long-term lease, does it make sense to spend that kind of money to bring Centennial into compliance with MLB’s standards?

The outlook isn’t brilliant, but thanks in part to the attention brought by your Baseball Issue, if we do strike out, at least we’ll go down swinging.

Tom Simon


Simon founded Vermont’s Gardner-Waterman Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research. He also edited Green Mountain Boys of Summer: Vermonters in the Major Leagues, 1882-1993, published in 2000 by New England Press.


In last week’s article about the Community Halal Store on North Street, owner Abdi Sharif was misidentified as an intern at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program. In fact, he’s an interpreter for the organization.

The Diocese of Vermont, Ohavi Zedek and the Islamic Society of Vermont are “supporters” of Kids4Peace, not “sponsors.”

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