There’s two big events to nerd out at today in Vermont

If you’re looking for something to do today, you’re in luck: there’s a pair of events running in Vermont today if you like games, cosplay, and comics.

The first is the Champlain Games Festival, which is taking place at the the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. It’s a showcase of locally-made video, PC, console, VR, mobile, board and card games. Tickets are $15 at the door ($10 for youths 11-17 and free for 10 and under). Members of the 501st Legion’s Green Mountain Squad will also be there. Doors open at 10am.

If you’re into comics, the Green Mountain Comics Expo is taking place at the Barre Civic Center in Barre, featuring local comic artists, cosplayers, and quite a bit more. The event runs on Saturday and Sunday: tickets are $20 for a weekend pass.


Vermont House passes resolution to urging restrictions on violent video games

The Vermont House of Representatives has passed a resolution (H.R.23), which calls on Governor Phil Scott to study the connection “between excessive video game playing and the propensity to engage in gun violence,” reports VT Digger.

Rep. Douglas Gage, (R-Rutland City) wrote the resolution, which passed in the house by a wide margin: 107-12.  The resolution asks the Governor to commit funds to study the connection and to propose limits on sales to underage buyers next year.

The resolution comes after the Governor passed a set of restrictions on gun purchases, and states that some video games portray violence and cites research that there’s a connection between gaming and gun violence.

Resolutions aren’t laws: they’re a motion that essentially is just a statement: The house passed resolutions “congratulating the 2018 Mount St. Joseph Academy Mounties on winning a fourth consecutive Division IV girls’ basketball championship,” “recognizing the centrality of small business in the growth and prosperity of the Vermont economy,” “commemorating the 50th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act and designating April 2018 as Fair Housing Month in Vermont,” and which designated this past Tuesday as “Equal Pay Day.” According to VT Digger, Scott will be establishing a “Violence Reduction Task Force”, and if they deem it appropriate, they’ll look into it.

But this type of resolution is worrisome, because it really isn’t true, and video games are often the target of reactionary legislation or blame following mass shooting events like what happened in Parkland, Florida. The Columbine school shooting was blamed on Doom, and following the recent shooting in Florida, President Trump gathered together video game developers to castigate them for the content of their products. But while there are studies that claim to find a link, they don’t prove that this is the case — it’s even been brought to the Supreme Court.

It’s frustrating to see this pop up, and for the resolution’s author to say that the evidence that there’s a connection is “overwhelming,” where it really isn’t.

Here’s the schedule for this weekend’s Tolkien conference at UVM

UVM’s Tolkien in Vermont Conference has posted its schedule for this weekend’s event, which will take place in the University’s Waterman building. Registration for the event is $25 ​​for ​​the ​​general ​​public; ​​$15 ​​for ​​Vermont ​​residents; ​​free ​​for ​​students ​​at ​​the ​​University ​​of ​​Vermont. ​​

☼ Friday, April 6th, 2018

Interview and Q&A with keynote speaker, Dr. Andrew Higgins

Friday evening Tolkien fireside readings 2018

☼ Saturday, April 7th, 2018

8:00 – 8:30: Continental breakfast

8:30 – 9:45: Session #1

  • ‘There he came walking into the woods of Ithilien’: Robert Quilter Gilson and the foundation of Tolkien’s scholar-soldier
    • Sian J. Pehrsson • Geological Survey of Canada
  • Tolkien’s auctorial finesse with word hoards, archaisms, and the depths of time
    • Gerry Blair • independent scholar
  • Tolkien and Anglo-Saxon
    • Leslie Stratyner • Mississippi University for Women

9:45 – 11:00: Session #2: UVM undergraduates

  • So beautiful, it’s scary: Tolkien, the romantics, and the sublime
    • Matt Gattulo • English ’21
  • Theodicy in Middle-earth
    • Lucas Hilker • Political Science ’18
  • A finger’s difference: The wise and the fools
    • Peter Larsen • Mathematics ’19
  • Environmental holocaust: Environmentalism in Tolkien’s legendarium
    • Dan Poll • Philosophy ’19

11:00 – 12:15: Session #3

  • Wilwarin, Darwin’s moths, Elachista Finarfinella, Mirkwoodian Black Emperors, and Edith Bratt’s mottephobia: Moths and butterflies in Middle-earth
    • Dr. Kristine Larsen • Professor of Physics and Astronomy • Central Connecticut State University
  • Mapping Mordor: Normalizing Tolkien’s maps as the first step in examining his worldbuilding method of construction-by-revision; or, Yet further confirmation (as if we needed it) that Tolkien had no master plan, did not “first make a map and make the narrative agree,” and, in fact, never did produce a map that exactly portrays what’s described in The Lord of the Rings
  • Tolkien, archaism, and translation practices c. 1900 – 1960s

12:15 – 1:30: Lunch

1:30 – 2:15: Keynote address

  • Dr. Andrew Higgins • PhD ’15 • Metropolitan University, Cardiff

2:15 – 2:20: Coffee & tea break

2:20 – 3:50: Session #4

  • Of Elbereth, Elvish greetings, and Ëarendil’s star: Etymology, linguistic esthetic, and mythopoeia in The Lord of the Rings
    • Dr. Marc Zender • Assistant Professor • Tulane University
  • Finding footing in a forest of fins: Name etymology as a characterization technique of the Finwëan Noldor
    • Dawn M. Walls-Thumma • Coventry Village School
  • Subtle seeds: A look at the hyphenated words of The Hobbit
    • Sparrow Alden • Preceptor and student advisor • Signum University
  • Black speech, the Mouth of Sauron, and the acousmatic voice in the Lord of the Ringsand Hobbit films
    • Jeffrey Bullins • Assistant Professor of Communications • SUNY Plattsburgh

3:50 – 5:00: Session #5

  • The language of light: Traversing female landscapes in Middle-earth
    • Annie Brust • Kent State University
  • Tolkien’s English mythology: Beorn and the veteran’s liminal identity
    • Marcy Nardi • Simon Fraser Univerity
  • Riddles and laughter: Powers for good in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
    • Ian Gauthier • Children’s Librarian • Aldrich Public Library

Following the event, The Groennfall Meadery will be hosting the Tolkien Party at the Mead Hall, for those wanting to continue to revel in Tolkien’s world.

Green Mountain Comic Expo cosplayers to march on Barre’s City Hall

The folks behind Barre’s Green Mountain Comic Expo and Vermont Comic Con have been out and about throughout central Vermont to promote the pair of upcoming shows (happening in April and September, respectively), and on a recent outing in Barre, one cosplayer found herself the target of ridicule online. The organizers have announced that they’ll be attending a city council meeting next week to take a “stand against harassment and bullying.”

The cosplayer noted in a Facebook post that she spent most of Easter “reading terrible messages directed at me.” She was reportedly captured in a video dressed as Harley Quinn, carrying a bat. The person who posted the video captioned the video “be careful picking up hitch hikers,” and racked up a number of comments before it was removed.

The organizers have announced their intentions to attend a Barre city council meeting next week:

The community has been bullied and shamed by video. We are bringing three shows to Barre and want your support! We will march down the sidewalk from Barre Civic Center at 6pm to City Hall for the 7pm meeting. This is a show of unity among the fans and those who are bullied and shamed. Join us!! You can come in cosplay or come as you are.
 Barre’s city council meets each Tuesday at 7:00PM in Council Chambers
City Hall at 6 N. Main Street in Barre.

Upcoming Event: MEGA Spring Meltdown

The Green Mountain Gamers are holding their annual MEGA Spring Meltdown event on April 7th in Fairlee’s Lake Morey Resort. The annual microcon is a great gaming event.

Preregistration ends today — tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, $40 for families, and admission for children 12 and under is free. (Tickets at the door will be $20 for adults, $15 for students.) The event will feature door prizes, while there will be plenty of games to try out throughout the day.

The organization will also hold its annual meeting onsite at 8:30AM.

Today on Vermont Edition: AI

VPR’s weekday magazine Vermont Edition will be be covering an interesting topic this afternoon: Artificial Intelligence. The Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill, H.378, which calls for the creation of an Artificial Intelligence Commission, with an aim of supporting artificial intelligence development in Vermont.

Vermont Edition will discuss the bill and its topics today at noon.

New Studio Art Space in Essex

There’s a new art studio in Vermont that’s catering to comic artists and publishers: Words & Pictures, according to Seven Days.

The studio comes from Kristin Humbargar of Essex Hub for Women & Business, who recruited Stephanie Zuppo, the cartoonist behind Ladybroad Ledger, Andy Kolovos of the Vermont Folklife Center, and cartoonists Jesse DuRona and Iona Fox.

Zuppo is currently using Kickstarter to fund the project (currently at $2800 of a $6000 goal), which is located in Essex Hub’s Main Street Studio. The studio will serve as a workspace for cartoonists and will provide access to “graphic arts and DIY publishing tools—everything from design software and digital printing to silk screening and book binding.” The kickstarter will allow them to purchase some additional equipment: a new sink, an enclosure, racks, computers and software, and other things that they need.

The studio, according to Seven Days, is looking for a fifth member, but is also offering general memberships.

Ready Player One advance screenings

The adaptation of Ernie Cline’s novel Ready Player One is hitting theaters this week, with the one perfect director at the helm: Steven Spielberg.

Here’s where you can watch the film early, on Wednesday, March 28th:

  • Essex Cinemas, Essex. 7:00PM.
  • Flagship Cinemas, Rutland. 7:00PM and 9:45PM.
  • Majestic 10, Williston. 7:00PM.
  • Merrill’s Roxy Theater, Burlington. 7:00PM.
  • Middlebury Marquis, Middlebury. 7:00PM.
  • Palace 9, South Burlington. 7:00PM.
  • Paramount Theater, Barre. 7:00PM.
  • Springfield Cinemas 3, Springfield. 7:00PM.
  • Stowe Cinemas, Stowe. 7:00PM.

Here’s where it’s opening normally on Thursday, March 29th and Friday, March 30th:

  • Village Picture Shows, Manchester.