MORE BLOGS: Off Message (News & Politics) | Bite Club (Food & Drink) | Stuck in Vermont (Videos)

Live Culture: Vermont Arts News and Views

February 09, 2014

Dispatch 020914 From 'Overheard on Church Street'

“I bought a fuckin' case of bagels, didn’t even get laid. I ain’t worried about the four dollars.”

— Two men smoking cigarettes

“I woke up with no clothes on and a wine bottle between my fuckin' legs.”

— Two men


One intrepid Burlington resident has been compiling random heard-on-the-street comments in a tumblr blog aptly called Overheard on Church Street since 2010. Every week, the blogger shares a couple of snippets with Live Culture. You can read more at the OOCS archive. Submissions are also welcome.

February 07, 2014

Movies You Missed & More: Dirty Wars

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 10.43.08 AMThis week in movies you missed: We reach the end of this year's Oscar-nominated documentaries. Those are The Act of Killing, The Square, Cutie and the Boxer, 20 Feet From Stardom (which doesn't qualify as an MYM) and now this documentary about covert U.S. counterterrorism efforts from director Richard Rowley and journalist Jeremy Scahill.

What You Missed

Maverick war correspondent Jeremy Scahill (of the Nation) is hanging around Kabul, getting sick of reporting on canned news from the war zone. He heads out to rural Gardez, where a family tells him a harrowing story of the "American Taliban" soldiers who raided a celebration and killed several of them, including pregnant women.

Scahill starts digging into the evidence to find out who's responsible for this mistaken attack on Afghan civilians — and for covering it up. He learns about the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the elite unit that would later become famous for killing Osama bin Laden.

Scahill tries to return to his normal life in Brooklyn, but he just can't let the story go. He ends up traveling from Yemen to Somalia in search of victims of this covert U.S. counterterrorist effort, and meets with a Deep Throat-type informant who suggests that JSOC is actually creating more new terrorists than it eliminates.

All the while, our hero gets more and more scruffy and haggard, his eyes haunted by the specters of bereaved children and grieving parents. His attempts to speak truth to power net him lots of talk-show appearances, but little attention from Congress.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed & More: Dirty Wars" »

February 06, 2014

No New Lease for Winooski Circle Arts — Yet

Sota-mt-LisaCowan010814Last December we reported in Seven Days that Liza Cowan and Jodi Harrington had launched Winooski Circle Arts, featuring artworks and gift items by local artists, at a sunny venue on the Winooski traffic circle. In January, Cowan told us the landlord was not renewing their lease and they would be closing up the shop on January 15. However, she was in negotiations for another location nearby.

Today Cowan let us know the unhappy news: "Negotiations failed for the new lease for Winooski Circle Arts. So no store, at least for the time being."

Cowan and Harrington both have been avid supporters and purveyors of local arts, and we're certain this isn't the end of the story. "We will have to see what the future brings," Cowan says. 

File photo of Cowan in the shop by Matthew Thorsen.

Ramble On: Rick & the Ramblers Nominated for a Major Award

2012 File Photo: Rick Norcross by Matthew Thorsen
2012 File Photo: Rick Norcross by Matthew Thorsen

Burlington Western swing songwriter Rick Norcross is capping 50 years in the music biz in style. Yesterday, he announced that his band, Rick & the All Star Ramblers, have been named as finalists for the "Best Western Swing Duo or Group" award by the Academy of Western Artists, an organization based in — get this — Gene Autry, Okla.

The AWA's stated mission is to "recognize and honor outstanding individuals who, through their accomplishments, preserve and perpetuate the traditions, values and heritage of the American cowboy." We're biased, but we'd say Rick Norcross qualifies. 

Last year, Norcross celebrated a half-century of rambling by releasing and touring behind a biography penned by Vermont author Stephen Russell Payne and an accompanying album, both dubbed Riding My Guitar. The album, which we reviewed last August, has been garnering airplay around the world and serves as a fitting restrospective of the man's fascinating career.

BTW, said fascinating career includes palling around the London folk scene in the 1960s with "some guy named Paul Simon"; working as a rock journalist and photog for the Tampa Bay Times, where he covered the likes of Janis Joplin and Led Zepplin; and then later as a professional songwriter himself. And that's to say nothing of the museum-worthy stash of American Western culture memorabilia and ephemera that crowds his eclectic Burlington apartment. The place is like a Western Music Hall of Fame in its own right. 

Norcross is up against some stiff competition, including Al Dressen's Super Swing Revue from Austin, the Tulsa Playboys, Vince Gill's the Time Jumpers from Nashville and a Candian entrant, the Western Swing Authority from Waterloo, Ont. But, as the cliché goes, win or lose, it's honor to be nominated. And we expect Norcross to keep rambling no matter the outcome. The only real question is whether he'll be taking his famous green 1957 Starliner tour bus, the Pickle, to the awards ceremony in Dallas next month. 



February 05, 2014

Interview: Shannon McNally Doesn't Suck, and Other Assorted Thoughts About Muppets, Music and the Genius of Bobby Charles

Shannon McNally
Shannon McNally

On her latest record, Small Town Talk, songwriter Shannon McNally pays tribute to her friend and overlooked American songwriter, Bobby Charles. Charles, who passed away in 2010, was dubbed the "King of Swamp Pop" for penning seminal early rock-and-roll cuts such as "See You Later, Alligator" and "Walking to New Orleans," among many, many others.

To make that record, McNally enlisted the help of some heavy-hitting talent, including Dr. John, Derek Trucks, Luther Dickinson, Vince Gill and Will Sexton. When she plays the Skinny Pancake in Burlington this Thursday, February 6, she won't have that cast of all-stars behind her. But she'll still have a pretty crack band to help her flesh out Charles' tunes.

McNally will be backed by her old friend Brett Hughes and his Honky Tonk Tuesday band, the Honky Tonk Crowd, which includes Brett Lanier, Leon Campos, Pat Melvin and Sean Preece.    

In advance of that of that show, Seven Days caught up with McNally by phone. Here is an edited version of that conversation.

Continue reading "Interview: Shannon McNally Doesn't Suck, and Other Assorted Thoughts About Muppets, Music and the Genius of Bobby Charles" »

February 04, 2014

They All Fall Down: Domino Extravaganza in Brattleboro

There is something terrifically satisfying about watching a careful array of dominoes collapse. Maybe it's the pleasing clickety-click, or the careful design, or (my candidate) the ephemerality of the whole thing. It takes hours, maybe days, to set up one of those complicated, thousands-of-dominoes arrays, and just a couple minutes for the whole thing to come crashing down.

But then, that's the whole point, right?

Aficionados of tiny, colorful, clacking controlled chaos need to get themselves to the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center for the Seventh Annual Domino Toppling Extravaganza on Monday, February 17, at 5 p.m. Thousands upon thousands of the colorful little tiles will fall on cue to the delight of onlookers.

Last year, the event set a record: 27,134 dominoes. The video of that event is huge fun to watch. Check it out below.

Continue reading "They All Fall Down: Domino Extravaganza in Brattleboro" »

February 03, 2014

What I'm Watching: 'Heathers'

Teenage suicide. Don't do it.

One career ago, I was a professor of film studies. I gave that up to move to Vermont and write for Seven Days, but movies will always be my first love. In this feature, published occasionally here on Live Culture, I'll write about the films I'm currently watching, and connect them to film history and art.

When the fondly remembered cult film Heathers was released in 1988, I was only a year or two younger than its main characters, who are high school juniors and seniors. My friends and I loved it and talked about it often — especially when cable and dear old VHS gave us the chance to watch it again and again. And even though our own high school afforded us unlimited opportunities to observe the cruelty of the Popular Kids and the thoughtless acts engendered by cliquishness (the film’s chief satirical targets), I can say with certainty that, still, we didn’t fully “get” Heathers.

Continue reading "What I'm Watching: 'Heathers'" »

Edward Koren Chosen as Next Vermont Cartoonist Laureate

Ed-BioFWWhen he learned he's to be the next cartoonist laureate of Vermont, Brookfield resident and longtime New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren said, he was "touched and bemused by it all." It's a typically low-key, self-deprecating response from the guy who has drawn more than a thousand wryly witty cartoons. Featuring hairy creatures with long noses, the single panels gently skewer human foibles — particularly those of the overly earnest, PC-obsessed type.

"It's a goof in a way, isn't it?" Koren said, then immediately began to riff on the idea of a laureate. "I'm growing indoor laurels — I'm making a wreath." He paused a beat and then added, "Maybe one made of copper so I can wear it year-round in Vermont."

Koren will be recognized on the Statehouse floor, with or without wreath, on Thursday, February 27. He's just the second cartoonist laureate of Vermont, following on the heels of Burlington's James Kochalka.

During his three-year term, Kochalka presented cartooning workshops all over the state, created a poster celebrating winter in Vermont and collaborated with Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea to produce the Vermont Double Laureate Team-Up book for the Vermont Arts Summit last fall.

Will Koren follow suit? That remains to be seen. He will be giving a public lecture following the Statehouse recognition, though, at 3 p.m. at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction.

Continue reading "Edward Koren Chosen as Next Vermont Cartoonist Laureate" »

Dispatch 020314 From 'Overheard on Church Street'

Yo, I just got told by some 15-year-old that she’ll cut me if I touch her boyfriend again.

—  Two young men

 It’s a great day to commit adultery.

—  Two men

One intrepid Burlington resident has been compiling random heard-on-the-street comments in a tumblr blog aptly called Overheard on Church Street since 2010. Every Monday, the blogger shares a couple of snippets with Live Culture. You can read more at the OOCS archive. Submissions are also welcome.

January 31, 2014

Movies You Missed & More: Cutie and the Boxer

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 12.34.26 PMThis week in movies you missed: We continue with the current Oscar nominees for Best Documentary. When I'm done viewing them, I'll predict the winner.

But I can already award the Most Memorable Title award to Cutie and the Boxer, Zachary Heinzerling's study of the 40-year marriage of two artists. (Trailer is here.)

What You Missed

Eighty-year-old Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko, live in a sprawling living/studio space in Brooklyn. He has been creating ferocious neo-Dadaist art — including canvases that he attacks with paint-covered boxing gloves, hence the nickname — since his angry-young-man days in Japan. She draws wry cartoons about their turbulent relationship and grumbles about being in his shadow.

Together, they worry about making the rent. For all Ushio's '60s celebrity — the Guggenheim is considering acquiring one of his boxing paintings — money is tight.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed & More: Cutie and the Boxer" »

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684