Labor Day Celebration: Vermont Workers Center Presents Bernie Sanders

For those of you on campus this coming Labor Day weekend, make sure to check out the Vermont Workers’ Center’s Labor Day Celebration on Monday, September 1, starting at 5:00 PM on the Town Green.  Sen. Bernie Sanders along with other Vermont labor leaders will speak at 5:30 following a cook out and live music from the Bob Mackenzie Band.  It has been a big year for labor in Vermont, between the CCTA strike this past spring, an increase in the state’s minimum wage to $10.50 over the next 3 years, and Vermont homecare workers winning their first contract, just to name a few among many landmark events.  And what better way to celebrate than with the much loved Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has hinted at providing a challenge from the left in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries, and has a long history of fighting on behalf of labor in his home state as well as the national stage.  The event is co-sponsored by Vermont Workers’ Center, UE, Vermont AFL-CIO, Vermont NEA, VT State Employees Association (VSEA).  Hope to see you there.

When: Monday, September 1 5:00 PM food and band, 5:30 speakers
Where: Middlebury Town Green
Cost: Free

Music Update: Eric Benoit ’16 at Manhattan’s Legendary Bitterend

This summer, while many Midd kids spread far and wide — traveling, documenting, interning, studying, relaxing, playing, writing, working – Eric Benoit ’16, independent artist and member of the Mamajama’s, spent endless hours perfecting and performing his original acoustic music. Frequent WOMP attendees (that’s Wednesday Open Mic Performances in the Gamut Room for new frosh, a weekly event you really shouldn’t miss) are familiar with Benoit’s seamless vocals, heart-wrenching lyrics, unique chord progressions and all-around adorableness. Whoever broke up with this kid seriously messed up, but we appreciate the resulting product.

Moving on (temporarily) from our beloved Gamut Room, this August Benoit took the stage at the Bitter End (!!) in Manhattan, New York, his musical project titled Ben Wht. If you’re unfamiliar with the Bitter End, it’s a pretty big deal: legendary artists like Billy Joel, James Taylor, Curtis Mayfield, and, sure, Taylor Swift, have all performed at this hip Greenwich Village music hub (also New York’s oldest Rock Club). So, that Benoit performed on the same stage, framed by the Bitter End’s iconic exposed brick walls, is reaaaaally cool to say the least. Plus, he sounded fantastic.

Be sure to check out Benoit’s Bitter End performances on the two Youtube videos included in this post, and, if you’re a fan, check out his personal website and Soundcloud page. Most importantly, get psyched to see Benoit, along with numerous incredibly talented Middlebury singers, songwriters, and musicians this fall (AKA less than two weeks!) when the new and highly-improved music scene blows up on campus. With the new music-dedicated Bunker space (very big deal, freshman), various highly-anticipated concerts, WOMP, a cappella (stay tuned for upcoming auditions), and much more, you can be sure we’re gonna have quite a good time.

UPDATE 8/27/14: Benoit was just selected to be featured as the artist of the month for the Bitter End Singer-Songwriter Series for September 2014!! To read more about this incredible honor, check out Benoit’s feature here (will be available very soon, says Benoit).

For more info on Eric Benoit and his music project Ben Wht, read his personally written bio beyond the jump!  Continue reading

Breaking News: Midd Graduate Peter Theo Curtis Freed After Being Held Captive in Syria by Qaeda Affiliate For Two Years

Today, breaking news revealed that after being held for nearly two years in a prison run by an affiliate of Al Qaeda in Syria, American freelance writer and Middlebury graduate Peter Theo Curtis was unexpectedly freed on Sunday after emissaries from Qatar’s government won his freedom on humanitarian grounds. While Curtis‘ relatives are not aware of the exact terms of the release agreement, they were told that no ransom was paid, in alignment with the US government’s long-standing policy not to negotiate with terrorists. This incredible event is undoubtedly a blessing to Curtis‘ family, the Middlebury community, and our nation at large, though it stands in a stark contrast to the brutal decapitation of fellow war correspondent James Foley last week, which must not, and cannot, be forgotten.

Curtis, now 45, wrote freelance journalistic dispatches under the name Theo Padnos and authored two books: “My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun,” a memoir about teaching literature to young offenders at a correctional facility in Vermont, and “Uncovered Muslim,” investigating Islamic extremism in Yemen. Curtis was taken near the Syrian border in October 2012 by Al Nusra Front, one of the groups seeking to overthrow President Bashir Assad of Syria that also has ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist network. His 22 month captivity was kept private, at his family’s request.

After graduating from Middlebury College, Curtis, an Atlanta native, went on to earn a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Massachusetts. He is fluent in French and Arabic, and also speaks German and Russian, according to his family.

Middbeat, as well as the entire Middlebury community, extends its relief, and love, to Curtis and his family, while continuously mourning the loss of James Foley and remaining hopeful for the many other journalists presently held captive over seas. Significant information on Curtis‘ release, captivity, and career is available — be sure to read up here, or at your preferred news source.

Also, stay tuned for exclusive Middlebury Magazine coverage of Curtis‘ release.

20 Things Liberal Arts Students Need to Know At a Professional Internship

Reposted from For all you Midd Kids on the summer intern grind…

hipster-ariel-meme blank


So it’s late July, and if you’re a college student packed in a sweaty shoebox-sized city apartment like I am, you’re probably a large portion of your way through the “golden ticket” to post-grad success: the summer internship.

At small liberal arts colleges (hello, NESCAC) like mine, once April rolls around “So what’s your summer plan?” questions start spreading like the flu in January, and if you haven’t landed a summer internship, well, “Yikes!” Now, of course, there are many of us that graduate and lead successful, fulfilling careers without ever achieving intern status (Yes, really!). But we aren’t TOTALLY crazy: According to the National Association of Colleges & Employers 2014 Internship & Co-op Student Survey, about 60 percent of interns received full-time job offers last year.

Unpaid, paid, stipend, free Chipotle under the table — however they’ve lured you in, you’re here: the aspiring liberal arts academic pretending to know something about law, finance, marketing, journalism, you name it. Plus, if you spend the other nine months a year amid farmland like me, you’re probably equally overwhelmed by the subway system (wait, they don’t stop for bikers here?!) as you are by the professional work environment.

But as liberal arts students it seems we are taught just about everything BESIDES professional skills. Sure, we’ve read an (un)healthy amount of Shakespeare, can lead a kick-ass community service project, and can likely spit a random fact or two about anything from quantum physics to Russian history (ask us about our distros, I dare you). But is being “well-rounded” really the key to success when your boss is spitting terrifyingly unrecognizable acronyms and you’re the only one in the room not salivating like Pavlov’s dog (hey, at least we get the reference!)?

We might have some seriously frustrating moments, but we’re doing a hell of a lot better than you might think based on the smirks people give you when you tell them you’re English major. Check out this list for a laugh about everything us lib arts kids know (or NEED to) so we can swim, not sink, among our fellow pre-professional interns this summer.

1. The majority of co-workers don’t recognize your school.

They probably don’t know it by name, or know where it is. Nothing makes you cringe like hearing “Oh I’ve never heard of it, is that a community school?”

2. You should appear totally chill when no other interns know your college.

It’s not the Harvard business major’s fault that the whole world heralds her brand name. Plus, your less-blabbed-about institution just amps your unique flare.

Continue reading

7 Ways to Relieve Your Ridiculously Awful Weekend Hangover at Middlebury

Your Sunday just got a whole lot easier...

So while many of you have deserted campus for the summer, some of Middlebury’s finest have stayed to soak up those Vermont rays, check out all the best hidden swim spots, and, oh yeah – party (maybe a little too much, but hey, no classes right?!). We’re here to share some tips on navigating your mind-numbing hangover, Midd-style.

1. 11 AM(ish) Proctor. Be there.

What better way to alleviate your morning-after headache-slamin’ sorrows than seeking solace in the masses? Thankfully, there’s a solid chance at least 75% of the dining hall is suffering right along side you. Grab some grub, a good viewing table (beware of proximity to last nights HU, or sit awkwardly close. Whatever works for you), and remember (or try to) all your Saturday night escapades alongside Middlebury’s finest.

2. Shower and change those clothes.

Nothing worse than wearing Grille remains or evidence of last night’s punch. Whether it’s a too-tight dress or a questionably stained T-shirt, a solid wash and switch to Sunday’s best (or just a your favorite sweatsuit) can go a long way to preserve any semblance of personal integrity.

Continue reading

Alpenglow July Tour – BURLINGTON, SATURDAY 7/19



1538671_791671237552080_2244547970361924239_nMiddlebury’s favorite folky band’s July tour is in full swing, featuring stops throughout the Northeast over the next month.  The Alpenglow tour will most likely feature new material from the band’s forthcoming EP “Chapel” due out this fall, and the band will be featuring Vermont filmmaker John Douglas’ Glacier to accompany their already ethereal sound.  Whether you’re doing an internship in D.C., NYC, or Boston, on a New England vacation, chilling in the Catskills, or spending the summer at Midd, Alpenglow won’t be far off, so don’t miss out.  For more deets on the tour, see here, and click after the jump to check out the band’s new video for “Brothers in Crime” from the upcoming EP.


Continue reading

Hot New Map of Swimming Holes near Midd!

Need to cool off? In Middlebury for the summer, or dreaming of the Green Mountains while melting in a far-away city? Check out this map of the best swimming, jumping and sunbathing spots close to Midd. Map designed by Levi Westerveld ‘15.5, Dan Barnes ’15, and Teddy Smyth ’15, with extensive field testing.  Comment with other spots or rating corrections.

The Caiçara: J-term Documentary by Tommy Hyde ’14.5

Whether you were interested in the beautiful country of Brazil before this summer’s ragin’ World Cup or not (BTW USA! FUCK YA @ 4PM TODAY!), once you watch this awesome documentary-style video by Tommy Hyde ’14.5 you will certainly be scratchin’ for a trip down south. Tommy spent J-term 2014 living the Brazilian beach life in the small, non-touristy, fisherman-fueled town of Bonete, Brazil. This video was his final project. Check out Tommy’s description of the experience below. Definitely worth watching (make sure those subtitles are on unless you’ve mastered português as well)!

“So this was pretty much the best month of my life. Rita Croce ’14 was a hero and set me up with a little hut her family owns on this beach. I got to eat coconuts, surf everyday, and hang out with these really amazing fishermen.

For the first week or so, I got a lot of weird looks. For one – there are very few tourists that stay in Bonete for longer than a few days, and it’s extremely rare to see any Americans. So a gringo staying for a month was confusing for the people there. However I gradually started to integrate – surfing with the locals, drinking beers with the old folks at the little bar at night, and even going to a few church services.

Marcelo, the centerpiece of the doc, was also a very shy guy. He is a man of few words, and was at first hesitant to open his life to me…even more hesitant about sharing with the camera. By the end of January however, right when my Portuguese was decent, he opened up and allowed me to film two days at his fishing outpost and conduct a single interview. It was a learn-on-the-fly experience in every way, and I’m privileged to have spent quality time with such an inspiring person in such a beautiful place.”

And here’s the link to the video again if ya missed it:

The Bunker Returns!

Beau Young Prince at the Bunker back in the day

Beau Young Prince at the Bunker back in the day

Hey Middlebury, you know how there’s not a lot of student-run spaces on campus, and at times it feels like the college puts its goals of being a corporation before its goals of being, you know, a college?

Well we have a HUGE win to share with you. This past semester, Middlebury Musicians United—the student org that helps facilitate shows, manage practice spaces, and make musical gear available to student bands—worked with the administration to establish a plan for the infamous and grossly under-utilized space known as The Bunker. The result: the entire western mod of the Freedman International Center (!!!) is now a student-controlled space, made up of the 2500+ square-foot Bunker concert venue, lounge and practice space for bands/whoever wants to chill, brand new storage lockers, a dope-as-fuck patio, as well as the MMU Recording Studio in FIC basement.

Bunker was once the home of college-sponsored, notoriously aggro dance events, as well as a student-run bar, but it began its humble life as a “social dining unit” when FIC was built in 1969. Now, the ex-dining hall, ex-bar returns to open its doors as the hippest new music space on campus. We, the peeps of MMU, look forward to adding the Bunker to a small-but-growing list of cool student-run spaces that help to create authentic social environments.

Here’s where you come in: a great new venue is dependent on great people at cool shows. So, if you want to see a thriving music culture on this campus, feel free to get involved. Bring a band to campus with go/bringaband, or hell, start your own. Best of all, when you see a show on your favorite student-run blog (hint: it’s not middblog), then make that not-so-far trek to the Bunker, where the tunes are sure to be bumping. We’ll see you there—we’ll be kicking things off with a great show on Saturday, September 20th, featuring the talents of Boat Taxi, Icarus & the Waxwings, and UVM’s Smooth Antics.

Special thanks so Dave Kloepfer, JJ Boggs, Mary Carr Stanley, and all others at Student Activities and Facilities who helped make this student music vision a reality. Also a big shout to the previous generation of MMU dudes—Mike Gadomski ’13.5 and Parker Woodworth ’13.5—who inspired this sort of blue sky thinking.

Support Midd Filmmakers: “Cowgirls”

Today is the last day to support a Middlebury student/alumni project on Kickstarter! Midd grad Ben Kramer ’13.5 is working on an epic filmmaking project this summer along with Maddie Lawler, Anna Carol, Tito Son, and Sarah Briggs (all ’14.5) and they could use your support.  Here’s a brief excerpt from the project description, but check out the page for much more info and to donate.

American folklore is anchored by legends of the frontier and the men who tamed it. The cowboy is iconic—we see him in John Wayne, the Marlboro man, the hero who rides into the sunset. But there is a glaring absence in the cultural documentation of the American West… what about the cowgirl?

Our vision is to create a documentary about Claudia Ogilvie and Patti Hayes, two cowgirls who over fifty years of riding horses and working together in the stock industry of the West have formed a life long friendship. These two women grew up doing anything that a cowboy could do and oftentimes doing it better.

A note from Kramer – “The topics, characters and landscape all have a ton of potential and although we’ve already reached our goal, each and every donation helps the final product. Everything is appreciated. Hop on board before it’s too late!”

I can’t wait to see the final product. For those loyal readers who might know me (tutankhamen), you know that I have graduated. I will submit my official resignation from middbeat soon, I promise. But for now I can’t help but promote awesome student projects like this.