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Letters to the Editor (5/21/14)

Published May 21, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.

Faulty Ordinance

The examples given of people causing trouble within stores are a red herring [Burlington's No-Trespass Ordinance Is Working, But Its Days May Be Numbered," May 7]. A store owner, or the owner of any private property has the right to issue a no-trespass order to anyone the owner deems to be undesirable, so long as the order does not discriminate against a protected class under the Public Accommodation Act. The rationale for this ordinance sounds a lot like what we heard from New York City justifying Stop and Frisk.

Barry Kade


Piano Woman

Thanks for the story ["Key Performers: Sizing Up Local Venues' Grand Pianos," May 7]. It's also tough for nonclassical piano players like myself to play around Burlington when there are no pianos in any of the clubs or restaurants. When I first moved to Burlington in 2004, I had to start my own piano bar by moving my grand piano into what used to be Wine Works. The idea soon caught on and another venue on St. Paul Street followed suit so suddenly, there were two piano bars! Unfortunately, all the bars now tend to cater to the younger crowds using DJs. There are so many fine piano players here in town and folks who love the older style of music and would love to gather 'round the piano and hear all their favorite songs. If any investors are out there reading this, I think it's high time to create an elegant listening room for us players to entertain and for many to enjoy!

Dawna Hammers


Sensual Deprivation

Burlington City Arts has mounted many wonderful shows, but the ones that come to mind — Combat Paper Project, Gail Salzman, Wylie Garcia, Carol MacDonald, Linda Jones — are all local. So I'm grateful that in his review of "Abstract Terrains" at BCA Center's fourth-floor Vermont Metro Gallery [April 2], Kevin Kelley writes, "BCA should have installed the modestly sized gallery at the Church Street Marketplace level."

I, too, worry that many people are too intimidated by the sometimes-cerebral work at street level to venture in and up the four floors it takes to reach the local work. "Conceptual art" is a term bandied about these days for the type of art fancied for street-level exposure. I often love conceptual art, as long as it moves in, around, from and with the sensual. A recent visit to the street-level BCA left me feeling sensually deprived and, well, sad. Several small videos — diluted and disembodied — looped on the gallery wall while the viewer's eye was drawn to the plastic bodies of the projectors sitting mid-floor, exposed and soulless. In another area, I was told that a cellphone was required so that I could call the artist and have him explain the pieces to me. Should I have simply stayed home and watched the whole thing from my computer?

I have nothing against technology in art; in the right hands the results can be awe-inspiring. But sometimes I fear that technology is being used for technology's sake — or to mask instead of reveal. The subject being discussed in this particular show was a mother's suicide. Shouldn't it be a little messier? More visceral? Making my way home, I stopped at Mirabelles on Main Street, where Marian Willmott's delicious paintings were color-rich and sensuous. Sometimes I wish our big, beautiful, three-dimensional gallery space in the heart of downtown could more consistently celebrate what brings us to our senses.

Sharon Webster


More Than a PR Problem

Many thanks to Kathryn Flagg for her article "Pipe Dreams," in which she captures the perspectives of many of us Vermonters — landowners, environmentalists, and local communities — who oppose the International Paper pipeline.I must challenge the flawed premise, however, that everything would be fine if Vermont Gas Systems were better behaved. While the company's missteps have opened more people's eyes to the issue, you can't put lipstick on a pig. Better PR would not change the affront to our rights and our environment by the proposal to use Vermont's pristine land to transport fracked gas from Canada to New York State, with all profits going out of state.

The White House and the U.N. recently issued the direst warnings yet about what will happen if we don't scale back all fossil fuels, and new research from Cornell University says fracked gas is worse for the climate than coal or fuel oil. But we don't even have to agree that this pipeline would aggravate climate stability. It's unethical to ask Vermont to endure costs and risks for the exclusive benefit of multi-billion-dollar companies based in Canada (Vermont Gas) and Tennessee (International Paper).I hope to see all who are concerned about Vermont's integrity at the next public hearing on the International Paper pipeline: Thursday, June 12, at 7 p.m. at the Middlebury Union High School Auditorium.

Rebecca Foster


Taste Test

Regarding Sean-Patrick Burke's letter [Feedback, "Back to 1994," April 30] in which he writes about the first GMO food, the tomato, and that he would like to be able to feed his daughters the way our senators' parents fed them as children, I have an even simpler desire: I'd like to be able to eat a tomato that tastes like a real tomato.

Ed Shoop

Essex Junction

Great New Cartoon

Just when I thought you guys could not do anything better with your paper you proved me wrong! Michael DeForge is a brilliant cartoonist and "Sticks Angelica" is every bit as hilarious and intelligently funny as "The Far Side" and "Calvin and Hobbes" is and was. Keep doing what you're doing because it makes me laugh. Thanks.

Erik Plane



The name of the cartoonist who created last week's Drawn & Paneled was missing. The work should have been attributed to Kevin Huizenga. Our apologies for the omission.