I was a special guest at a Burlington City Arts board dinner last Tuesday night. So was Peter Shumlin, but Vermont's good-natured governor-elect got the "royal treatment."
Between appetizers and dinner, a tiara-clad Miss Vermont instructed him to get down on his knees, placed a costume crown on his head and proclaimed Shumlin the "arts governor." If he had a "Silly Hat Rule" moment of doubt, Shum Dog never showed it. Nor did his subsequent speech reference Michael Dukakis, the former governor of Massachusetts whose presidential campaign blew up in his face because he posed for a photo wearing a combat helmet.
The hand behind the hat trick? Burlington City Arts Director Doreen Kraft. Shumlin told her in advance of the event that he wanted to be the first "arts governor" since Madeleine Kunin. Take that, Howard Dean.
Wisely, Kraft devised a creative way to publicize Shumlin's promise in front of some of the biggest Democratic movers and shakers in the state: Billi and Bobby Gosh, and Pat Robins and Lisa Schamberg, to name a few.
Shumlin's parting words — "Buy a lot of art tonight" — set the stage for the auction portion of the evening. Items donated by the board members ranged from paintings, photographs and prints to catered dinner parties and vacation home stays. Attorney Peter Langrock served as the fast-talking auctioneer, comically pressuring people to bid high.
Langrock and his wife, who raise animals, offered a big hunk of premium pig, which sold for more than $100. You could say this fun crowd shared a deep appreciation for... ham.
Anybody got a photo of Shumlin in his crown? I wasn't quick enough on the draw with my iPhone.
Update from the editor: Thanks, blog reader, for the photos!