Calling himself the "underdog," Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan formally launched his campaign to unseat 15-year incumbent Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell at the St. John's Club in Burlington on Thursday. Donovan and Sorrell — each from different clans with deep roots in Queen City politics — will square off this August in a Democratic primary that has become the race to watch this election year.
Here's video of Donovan's stump speech before a capacity crowd at the St. John's Club. Part 2 is after the jump.
Vermont Republicans are bringing to bear quite a metaphorical campaign against Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin.
In case you missed it, Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin) prowled the streets of St. Albans with an ursine companion during Sunday’s Maple Festival parade — presumably scouring for blueberries and votes. Brock and his furry friend were, of course, alluding to Birdfeedergate, a sorry incident involving a governor-sans-pajamas that we’d all prefer to forget.
State GOPers, however, seem to believe their metaphorical march will bear fruit. Maybe they think it has legs. Four of them!
In a new web ad released Thursday morning, Brock and the Vermont Republican Party bear down on Shumlin with a parody of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 “Bear in the woods” ad. Featuring footage of the governor’s favorite beast, a menacing narrator intones over a beating heart, “There’s a bear in the woods. For most people in Vermont, the bear is easy to see. But others, like Gov. Shumlin, don’t see the bear at all. Why can’t Gov. Shumlin see any of the bears?”
Since I spent the bulk of my column this week reliving SXSW fun, we're busting out a special online addition to Soundbites, filling you in on all the news that wasn't fit for — or at least didn't fit in — print.
Speaking of SXSW, I caught these guys while I was there. They rock. You should catch them when they're here this Sunday, March 25, at the Monkey House, with Nude Beach, Rough Francis and DJ Disco Phantom.
And speaking of the Monkey House, it'll be awfully nice to see our old friends Crinkles, who relocated to Brooklyn from Burlington, when they hit Little Williamsburg on Tuesday, March 27, with Brenda, SpoftSpot, tooth ache. and, of course, the ubiquitous Disco Phantom. (Is it possible he is, in fact, a phantom? Dude. Is. Everywhere.)
Why is being an asshole such an effective strategy for attracting the fairer sex? On “Jerk,” the lead single from their 2011 sleeper hit debut, Stephie Coplan and the Pedestrians cheekily cop to the frustrating but irrefutable fact that the quickest way to woman’s … er, heart is to have “I-don’t-give-a fuck-style.” The stylish video for that song has since gone semi-viral, rocketing the NYC trio to the top of many a “band to watch” list in 2012 and endearing them to legions of dickish lotharios and the women who love (and hate) them. This Friday, March 23, Coplan and company heat up Radio Bean. And here's that nifty video:
In nonvideo news, comedian Nathan Hartswick and his wife — and fellow comedian — Natalie Miller, recently launched a podcast series as a multimedia arm of their Spark Arts venture. The latest episode features Vermont native (and, full disclosure, longtime friend of yours truly) Steve Waltien. Waltien was recently added to the Main Stage cast at Second City in Chicago, which is a big freakin' deal in improv-comedy circles. Anyway, on the podcast, Waltien talks about comedy, his career in improv and, of course, growing up in VT.
Last but not least: Going to see Jay Sean this Saturday, March 24, at St. Mike's? Be sure to say hello to Rob Larow and Jeremy Skaller (ex-Belizbeha), two former Vermonters who flew the coop and made good. Larow and Skaller run Orange Factory Music, a studio and production company in NYC and have had a hand in a slew of Billboard chart-topping dance hits for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Beyoncé, as well as a bunch for Jay Sean. Here's one of them:
Using hidden cameras, the video shows a series of exchanges between individuals successfully obtaining ballots at Chittenden County voting places without showing identification. It contrasts those with scenes in which a bartender at the Vermont Pub and Brewery and a motel employee refuse to provide services to customers who fail to show ID.
“If people walked in to vote in the Vermont presidential primary and said the names of both living and dead people, could these people be offered ballots to vote for president without showing any valid identification?” the narrator asks.
Oddly, I was actually present for one of the exchanges documented in the video, which is part of O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas investigates voter fraud in America” series. It was somewhere around 11 a.m. on Town Meeting Day and I was dropping by my polling place at the Winooski Senior Citizens Center before stumbling in to work.
As I waited in line to vote, the man in front of me engaged in a weird back-and-forth with a poll worker. Still half asleep, I only tuned in to the conversation about halfway through, as the voter/videographer got all hot and bothered because the clerk didn’t want to see his ID.
The comedic icon, performing at the Flynn MainStage on Thursday, April 26, often tabs local comics to open her shows wherever and whenever she tours. And, sorry, ladies, she prefers the company of … er, the talents … (hoo boy) … she uses … (is it getting hot in here?) … men. She likes men. Wow, there's really no tasteful way to put that. Let's move on.
Anyway, to fulfill her unusual contract request, the Flynn is hosting an all-male comedic revue at the FlynnSpace on Thursday, March 22, dubbed "Win a Date With Joan Rivers." Ten local (male) comedians will vie for Rivers' hand, and a 20-minute set as her opening act at the Flynn.
The hopefuls represent some of the area's finest standup talent, including 2012 Higher Ground Comedy Battle winner Kyle Gagnon, 2011 HG Battle winner Nathan Hartswick, Levity owner Ryan Kriger, Colin Ryan, Tony Bates, Jason Lorber, Kevin Anglin, Justin Rowe, Ben Porter and Abhi Kulkarni.
Here's a clip of Rivers on the hilarious FX sitcom, "Louie."
And here's a Rivers classic from the "Ed Sullivan Show" in 1963.
For a variety of reasons, there were a few items we couldn't get to in this week's Soundbites. So in the interest of filling you in on all the music news that's fit to print — but didn't quite fit in the print edition — we're serving up a special Leap Day addendum to the column.
Thursday, March 1, is a big night for the local EDM scene, as two events look to capture the hearts, minds and shakin' asses of B-town bass heads.
Up first, we have a throwdown called Hoptronica M3 Edition, curated by Nexus Artist Management. The two-venue, three-room dance party will occupy Burlington's 1/2 Lounge, Red Square and the Red Square Blue Room and feature some 15 local, national and international (well, Canadian) DJs spinning a variety of genres, from hip-hop (Queen City DJs A-Dog and Dakota) to house (Nexus' Justin REM and Chris Pattison) and techno (Montréal's DJ Mini) to dubstep and moombahton (Montréal's Elo!I & Heights). There will also be a video DJ on hand, Boston's Jay Nightride.
Meanwhile, at Club Metronome, your bass-lovin' pals from Mushpost are hosting a Mardi Gras kickoff highlighted by a pair of up-and-coming live electronic acts, Shigeto and Mux Mool. Both artists have recently scored national love from the likes of Pitchfork and Stereogum — the former for a snazzy, jazzy new LP called Lineage, the latter for a "mini" LP of beat collages and synth experiments, Planet High School. Also of note, local indie electro act Errands open the show.
Some might call it a long ad for fancy hotels. The press release from Starwood Hotel Group calls it "a cinematic experience that offers a glimpse into the hidden treasures of some of America’s favorite destinations." But there's no doubt that "Here," the new 15-minute film (or ad) from the acclaimed director of I Am Love, is quite a showcase for the Equinox Golf Resort and Spa in Manchester.
Here's the plot (which, by the way, was cowritten by Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton): A flawlessly attired and groomed young woman, played by model Agyness Deyn, receives a cryptic, handwritten message telling her to "Take the train till you're here."
Rather than tossing the missive and returning to her busy life, as some of us plebeians might do, our heroine smiles, crosses out everything in her appointment book and hops a train to Vermont, where she explores the Equinox and does a spot of rowing and falconing. Though it's foliage season, the inn appears creepily empty.
This week's Seven Days features a story called "Say What?" that examines the origins and somewhat uncertain future of the native Vermont accent. To help illustrate just what the heck we're talking (er, talkin') about, we mined the depths of YouTube to unearth a few videos that showcase the local vernacular in all its glory.
The Vermont dialect has a few distinct characteristics.
Fronting: This refers to the flattening of certain vowel sounds and is most noticeable in words that normally have an "ow" sound. It can also give one-syllable words two syllables. For example,"cow" becomes "kee-ow." (Go ahead, say it out loud. You know you want to.)
Raising: This elongates certain vowel sounds, especially the "I" sound. So, for example, "kite" becomes "koit." It works with other vowel sounds, too. Like the word "bad," which gets stretched out like "baahd."
Glottal Stop: Probably the best known aspect of the Vermont accent, and the most pervasive, even among flatlanders who, over time, can unconsciously adopt a slight Vermont twang of their own. The glottal stop drops the "T" from certain words. Some classic examples: the town of Milton becomes "Mil-uhn" and Vermont becomes "Vermon'."
Some other words and phrases that are fun to say in a Vermont accent (from Bill Simmon's Candleboy blog): bottle rocket, boutonnieré, Budweiser, ointment, dude, intermittent, potentate and, of course, wicked.
As campaign season heats up around the country, it's a safe bet the internet will soon be deluged with music videos produced by musically inclined boosters in support of their preferred candidates.
Typically, this is a national phenomenon reserved for presidential elections. (Remember Obama Girl? How about Hank Williams Jr.'s "The McCain-Palin Tradition"?) To our knowledge, there has never been an original music video made in support of a local candidate for any office at a town, state or federal level — though why "Bernie and the Jets" doesn't exist yet is beyond us.
That all changed today when Nate Orshan — aka Nato — threw his musical weight behind the Democratic candidate in Burlington's mayoral race, Miro Weinberger, with a song and video called "Let's Go Miro."
In just under three catchy-as-hell minutes, Orshan espouses Weinberger's various virtues, including that he's a "Green Mountain Boy through and through," has "mad negotiation skills" (skillz?), and will "get with our creditors and sort out all our bills." High praise. Though that last one is a touch confusing, since in general pop-music parlance, when you "get with" someone, it means … er, something other than negotiating. Then again, that could well be a creative strategy for reining in the city's debt.
Vermonters for a Clean Environment released new video last night of the Dec. 5 arrest of six protesters, as well as journalist Chris Braithwaite of the Barton Chronicle, who was covering the recent standoff on Lowell Mountain. The video shows the orderly and nonviolent arrest of six activists (including the videographer) who stood in the middle of the Lowell Mountain clearcut wearing shirts that read, "Ridges aren't renewable" and "Once it's destroyed, it can't be put back." As construction vehicles roll by, an Orleans County Sheriff's deputy, backed up by a Vermont State Police trooper, explains to the activists how they'll be detained and transported off the mountain.
Unfortunately, the activist's video camera couldn't capture the audio of Braithwaite's confrontation with Orleans County deputy Phil Brooks. But the 67-year-old founder, co-owner and publisher of the Chronicle spoke to Seven Days shortly after his release on Monday to explain what transpired.
"I did what I've always done up there, which is cover any protests and gone wherever the protesters go," Braithwaite says. "So, in this case, they were in the middle of the crane path, and so was I."