November, 2006

DiFranco, DeFrankly:
Righteous Babe & Woman of Courage

Burlington’s music oracle Melo Grant, mainstay of WRUV radio, has seemingly always had the uncanny knack of recognizing up and coming talents to keep an eye on. So we found ourselves in 1990 among the lucky few dozen people in the audience at Club Metronome, candlelight flickering at each round table, nonchalantly waiting to hear a young singer/songwriter hailing from Buffalo, NY. Melo, enticed by the fresh, original sound she’d heard from an advance EP recording, assured us post-punk feministas that we were going to like the kinds of things the Buffalo girl had to say, too. For that’s what she was, a girl, barely 18 if that.

She came out, a lone figure deftly wielding a guitar with a voice and delivery style that left everyone present sitting up and taking astonished notice.

She was just a babe, and was she ever righteous, if by that we mean a force to contend with who left an inspired new community in her wake.

Read the full article

Ani DiFranco


A Brief Trek through Ani's Ever Inspirational Discography

Ani DiFranco has an impressive catalog of music – 18 albums released in 16 years and many live recordings. Her songs have played through more than half of my 20-something life, marking my years almost as intimately as she sings of her own. A few summon dream-like slideshows, charged snapshots from my past that span more than a decade. Without DiFranco’s voice--ranging from sweet and folky to beautifully tortured in its fullness--and lyrics--forthright, poetic, deeply personal and political--it would be much more difficult to be the woman, and the feminist, that I am.

With hundreds of songs worthy of mention, a walk through DiFranco’s music can be like a five-day tour of Europe, an odd smattering of history and quick finger-points to the must-see landmarks while whizzing off to the next, even more astounding experience.

Read the full article


Death with Dignity
Do We Have the Right to Write Our Own Ending?

Two of the most controversial political issues in the U.S. today are abortion
and physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. What values do the people on opposite sides of each of these issues share in common with one another?”

So reads the final question on the midterm exam I gave my Ethics 101 students at the Community College of Vermont last week. The question combines several threads of classroom discussion: perceptions of the ‘enemy’; the relationship between religion and moral values; the application of moral reasoning to assess supportable facts on both sides of any ethical decision; and the neo-Druidic proverb, “From the point of greatest instability arises one’s greatest strength.”

Read the full article

Hoff, Kunin and Snelling:
Weighing In for Death with Dignity

Perhaps asking a newly-wed about her end-of-life wishes would provoke a stern reprimand from Miss Manners, but Madeleine Kunin, who recently remarried, answered my questions frankly and openly at her lakeside Burlington home as the late afternoon autumn light glanced off the waves of Lake Champlain. “Especially as you get older, you start thinking about these things,” Kunin says in a television ad campaign this summer for the Vermont organization Death with Dignity. Three of Vermont’s elder statespersons – former Governors Phil Hoff, Madeleine Kunin, and Lt. Governor Barbara Snelling – are taking the lead as prominent public voices in support of the campaign. Though the trio doesn’t presume that a bill, even if introduced in the 2007 session, would actually pass this year, they each unequivocally believe it is high time that Vermonters should have this option. “It is,” Snelling said, “compassion.”

Read the full article


Barbara Snelling

Three Women of Jerusalem:
Three Faiths,
One Unceasing Nightmare –
…and their Dream for Peace

Bowing with his palms pressed together, a man at the back of the audience addressed the evening’s featured speakers and said, “I am from Ramallah. Thank you, thank you for telling your stories, for telling the truth.”

This man’s response encapsulates best the two-hour Partners for Peace presentation “Jerusalem Women Speak: Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared Vision." Ghada Ageel, Shireen Khamis, and Rela Mazali – Muslim, Christian, and Jewish, respectively – spoke about their experiences enduring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as part of the twelfth annual Jerusalem Women Speak national tour of over 30 U.S. cities.

Read the full article


UVM to Stage the Impossible

Screening Monday, Nov 6 at 7:00 p.m.
Performance of the play, Dec. 1st, 2nd & 3rd at 7:30 p.m.

The scene is Calcutta, the French Embassy in the 1930s. A man and woman dance slowly to a blues piano tune. The Ganges murmurs nearby. The queer light of monsoon season falls on the oleanders in the ambassador’s garden, on his gilt and white colonial decor. From two women speaking offstage in hushed, halting tones, we learn that the dancing lovers are Anne-Marie Stretter, wife of the French Ambassador, and the Vice Consul of Lahore, who has left everything to be with her.

There is something very English Patient about this opening, promising romance in that familiar elegiac colonial strain. But read (or watch) on, and something odd happens. We never do hear directly from those dancing lovers, nor do we ever see—or learn the identity of—those two women, who are later joined by two unnamed men’s voices. There is an entire embassy party scene, filled with gossiping and arguing, in which not a word is ever uttered by the people onstage; all their chatter is overheard from offstage as the guests mill about in carefully choreographed sequences...

Read the full article

India Song


Gubernatorial Candidates Tackle Questions on the Next Generation

Outside, the sleet was flying while inside it was, um, words that were airborne.

On October 20th in Stowe, gubernatorial candidates Jim Douglas (R) and Scudder Parker (D) faced-off in a 45-minute debate sponsored by the Vermont Association of Educators of Young Children (VAEYC). The event capped the organization’s daylong conference, which was attended by 410 members and featured industry speakers of national renown. The inclement weather, however, left approximately 35 people to hear the candidates’ thoughts on topics ranging from state funding to what lessons have carried over from their own childhood.

Read the full article