Virtual Ventures 4: Digital Talks, Time Capsule Stories, Karibu Fashion | Visual Art | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Virtual Ventures 4: Digital Talks, Time Capsule Stories, Karibu Fashion

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Zahara Abdi at the Karibu fashion show - COURTESY OF JEFFERY TACKIE
  • Courtesy Of Jeffery Tackie
  • Zahara Abdi at the Karibu fashion show

This is the fourth and final week of our online offerings series, though we'll continue to report on compelling digital doings, here and on the Seven Days Live Culture blog, as long as the pandemic partners us with our laptops. Even as Vermont reopens a sliver of real life each week, social distancing is still the order of the day — and night. So we'll persevere in suggesting ways you can engage and stay safe.

Meantime, here are three options to watch, do and help.

Watch

In pre-pandemic times, the Vermont Humanities First Wednesday talk series was held monthly in local libraries and other venues around the state. Since mid-April, the organization has offered weekly talks in digital form. Register by Monday to "attend" a free Wednesday talk. If you miss any, you're in luck: All of them are archived in the "digital programs" section of vermonthumanities.org.

This Wednesday's pertinent talk, "The Salt of the Earth: The Rhetoric of White Supremacy," starts with a viewing of the documentary Man on Fire, about a 79-year-old white minister in Texas who self-immolated in 2014 to protest racism in his town. Then, on Vermont Humanities' Facebook page, join in a discussion with coproducer and Middlebury College assistant professor James Chase Sanchez about how communities might counter bigotry.

Archived presentations include lectures on the "morbid nonsense" of artist Edward Gorey and Katherine Paterson's popular book (and film) Bridge to Terabithia; author-illustrator David Macaulay speaks on the building of the last great steamship, SS United States.

Vermont Humanities' archives include First Wednesday talks going all the way back to 2016, so give a listen or three. Animal Crossing will wait.

Do

When you're in the business of presenting live theater, a pivot to virtual productions can be ... unacceptable. That pretty much sums up the feelings of Cristina Alicea, artistic director of Vermont Stage. "A lot of theaters are doing stuff online, but it didn't sit right with me," she said in a phone call last week. "I felt resistant and was waiting for something more meaningful."

That something has manifested in the shape of a Virtual Time Capsule project, for which Alicea is inviting people to share their experiences during the coronavirus crisis and quarantine. "There are so many stories out there — harrowing and heartfelt, small and large," Alicia said. "I wondered what individuals and families are going through."

She's not putting limits on the forms such storytelling might take: "written, video, audio, photography, poetry, visual art, dance, song — whatever means through which you feel most comfortable expressing yourself," according to a description on the Vermont Stage website. The day after Alicea announced the project, she got several responses, "including one from a woman who dressed up in a panda suit to cheer on [hospital staff]," she said. "I'll be interested to see what else comes in."

Will the collection of submissions result in a theatrical presentation someday? Probably, Alicea said. "But I don't foresee us doing anything with this until next year, or maybe the year after that."

Her immediate objective with Virtual Time Capsule is to engage with the public. "This feels more interactive than just sharing something online," Alicea said. "I'm prompting people to express themselves, and that's an engagement."

Want to share your story? Email Alicea at cristina@vtstage.org.

Help

The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity won't let a global pandemic stand in the way of a good fashion show — and benefit. Every year, the Burlington-based nonprofit presents Karibu — "welcome" in Swahili — to celebrate the cultural diversity of the area's New Americans and to raise funds for asylum seekers. CVOEO's Asylum Seekers Assistance Program provides those seekers with help navigating the tangle of red tape and funds to purchase essential items, from food to diapers.

This year, Karibu's "runway" will be virtual — on Facebook. New American models will compete for cash prizes, and the public is encouraged to vote on finalists, as well as to donate to the program.

Models, submit your photos by May 31 to karibuvt.com. Everyone else, check back at facebook.com/karibuvt. Winners will be announced on June 27. Donations for emergency funds can be made at cvoeo.org/karibuvt.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Pandemic Pastimes 4 | Virtual ventures from the creative sector"