First Wednesdays

Free Public Talks at Libraries around Vermont

Printed Essex Junction First Wednesdays brochure

Download the 2019-2020 Essex Junction Schedule (PDF)

All First Wednesdays events are free and open to the public!

Wed 04

Food Across Borders

December 4
7:00 pm
Brownell Library, Essex Junction
Our production and consumption of food relies on a series of border crossings that we often take for granted. Dartmouth professor Matt Garcia highlights how food and the boundaries it crosses lead to new thinking about what it means to be an American and a Vermonter. Read More »
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Wed 08

The Science of Happiness

January 8, 2020
7:00 pm
Brownell Library, Essex Junction
Amherst College professor Catherine Sanderson describes cutting-edge research from the field of positive psychology on the factors that do (and do not) predict happiness, and shares practical ways to increase one's own psychological well-being. Read More »
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Wed 05

Love and Rockets and Alternative Comics

February 5, 2020
7:00 pm
Brownell Library, Essex Junction
The 1980s comics movement offered an alternative to earlier mainstream superhero comics with groundbreaking works like Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez’s series Love and Rockets. Middlebury professor Enrique Garcia discusses the importance of this series and how its use of irony, parody, and nostalgia play with readers’ notions of race, ethnicity, and gender. Read More »
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Wed 04

The Poetics of Protest in Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam!”

March 4, 2020
7:00 pm
Brownell Library, Essex Junction
In 1964, Nina Simone performed the protest song "Mississippi Goddam!" at Carnegie Hall in front of mostly white audiences. When the live recording was released, many radio stations destroyed the albums. Middlebury professor Matthew Evan Taylor discusses how Simone's protest is found not only in her words, but also in the musical structure. Read More »
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Wed 08

Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Couple in Early Vermont

April 8, 2020
7:00 pm
Brownell Library, Essex Junction
Drawing from the Sheldon Museum collections, archivist Eva Garcelon-Hart presents the story of two extraordinary women, Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake, who were accepted in early 19th-century rural Vermont as a married couple. Read More »
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Wed 06

Edward Gorey’s Morbid Nonsense

May 6, 2020
7:00 pm
Brownell Library, Essex Junction
Critics never knew quite what to make of Edward Gorey (1925-2000), the author and illustrator whose picture books full of murder, mayhem, and discreet depravity influenced Tim Burton, Lemony Snicket, and Guillermo Del Toro. In this illustrated lecture, cultural critic Mark Dery reveals the surprisingly serious themes woven through Gorey’s whimsically sinister body of work. Read More »
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