Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

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76 posts categorized "Television" Feed

July 24, 2012

WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey Breaks Bad

WhistlepigBBWho knew that a high-end whiskey crafted in Addison County was the drink of choice for DEA agents? It happened on last Sunday's episode of AMC's "Breaking Bad."

Alerted by this screenshot tweeted by Tom Fratamico of Stowe (@ElGuaposGhost), one obsessive local "Breaking Bad" fan (yours truly) decided to get to the bottom of WhistlePig's cameo on the kitchen-sink-noir drama.

Mild spoilers for the episode "Madrigal" (5.2) follow:

George Merkert, Asst. Special Agent in Charge at the Albuquerque office of the DEA, pours WhistlePig for Agents Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez as they discuss his taking the fall for the DEA's failure to bring down meth kingpin Gus Fring. They sip the rye (which lists at $79.99 a bottle) from coffee mugs as Merkert reminisces about socializing with Fring, who seemed like such a nice, mild-mannered fellow. The camera pushes significantly in on Hank.

But first, it offers a distinct shot of the WhistlePig label (pictured).

Continue reading "WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey Breaks Bad" »

January 12, 2012

7 Questions for ... Survivor Sophie Clarke

100564_D012888Editor's Note: Seven Days contributing writer Sarah Harris authored this post.

Sophie Clarke is tough and smart. That’s what it took for the 22-year-old medical student and recent Middlebury College graduate from Willsboro, N.Y., to win “Survivor: South Pacific.” Sophie endured 39 days in grueling conditions and bested 16 other competitors to come away with a million-dollar prize. She told Seven Days what it was like.
Seven Days: When you were filming, you had to keep the fact that you were on “Survivor” a secret. What was it like not to tell people you were having such an intense experience? By the same token, what was it like to have your whole community watch it unfold in this really public way?

Sophie Clarke: It was very strange for me, because immediately when I got home I was excited and I couldn’t tell anyone. I had a good feeling, I was in the final three, I thought I might win. I wanted to tell my family about it.  But it was much more exciting for my family to go and watch it each week and not know if I was going to get kicked off. I usually watched it with friends in the city, but even then it’s really stressful; they have so much footage, you don’t know what they’re going to show or not show.

But yeah, that’s a really difficult secret to keep, because it overtakes your life and it’s all that people talk to you about.

SD: How much surviving did you actually do?

Continue reading "7 Questions for ... Survivor Sophie Clarke" »

January 11, 2012

Huntington, Vt.'s Roy Haynes featured on TLC's "Extreme Cheapskates"


Clicking past the cable TV channel TLC is like trying to walk by a train wreck: It's a gruesome disaster unfolding before your eyes but your morbid curiosity just won't let you look away. Such was the case last night when some friends and I chanced upon TLC — which, I suspect, now stands for Total Lunatics Channel — only to see a recent episode of "Extreme Cheapsakes." The show regularly features "average" Americans who try to stretch every penny well beyond its normal tensile strength. 

As the episode started, it previewed all that was to come, including a Kansas City woman, Angela Coffman, who refuses to buy toilet paper for her family and instead uses reusable cloth wipes, which she washes wih the rest of her laundry. There was a collective groan of revulsion in the room at the sight of her kids holding up the skidmarked rags — "Don't worry, they're clean!" mom insists. But before the channel could be changed to something less nauseating, we all began to recognize some familiar local landmarks.

Lo and behold, this week's episode (original air date: December 28, 2011) prominently featured Vermonter Roy Haynes, aka the self-anointed "cheapest man in America." Haynes, 58, lives with his wife, LIsa, in a surprisingly attractive house in Huntington. There, the couple runs a dog-rescue shelter called Save Our Strays, which was featured in Seven Days' March 2009 Animal Issue. Previously, Haynes was also featured for his Dumpster-diving proficiency in this September 2003 7D story, "Cheap Tricks." 

Continue reading "Huntington, Vt.'s Roy Haynes featured on TLC's "Extreme Cheapskates"" »

January 09, 2012

Burlington Lawyer Fred Lane to U.S. Supreme Court: Let the Obscenities Fly!

CarlinIn 1973, legendary comedian George Carlin waded nutsack-deep into legal hot water with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after a New York City public radio station, WBAI-FM, broadcast his now-infamous routine, "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," from his live stand-up comedy album, Occupation: Fool. For the young and/or uniformed, Carlin's seven dirty words are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.

Shortly thereafter, a man who claimed his young son heard Carlin's 12-minute pants-shittingly funny monologue while riding in a car filed a complaint with the FCC against WBAI and the Pacifica Foundation, which ran WBAI. (Click here for a complete transcript of Carlin's monologue, courtesy of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. And you thought constitutional law was a snooze...)

The FCC subsequently censured Pacifica and WBAI. But Pacifica, the oldest public radio network in the country, challenged the FCC action in federal court on First Amendment grounds. Over the next five years, the case wound its way through the courts until, on July 3, 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in FCC v. Pacifica Foundationthat Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" were "indecent but not obscene." Translation: You can't say those dirty words on broadcast radio or TV during hours when young and impressionable ears might be listening.

Continue reading "Burlington Lawyer Fred Lane to U.S. Supreme Court: Let the Obscenities Fly!" »

December 09, 2011

Movies You Missed 17: Portlandia

PortlandiaThis week in movies (or TV) you missed: Finally, someone made a sketch comedy show about all the different subcultures in Burlington. OK, not really. But close enough.

What You Missed

Until now, I was under the mistaken impression that "Portlandia" was a web series. It actually airs on IFC in 20-minute blocks, but a lot of the sketches have found their way to YouTube.

As you may have deduced, the setting is Portland, Ore. Most of the parts in these loosely connected sketches are played by Fred Armisen of "Saturday Night Live" and Carrie Brownstein, late of Sleater-Kinney. In the first sketch of the first episode, Armisen plays an Angeleno who returns from a trip to Portland to tell his friend about the magical place he's discovered — a city where political earnestness, slacking and "the dream of the '90s" never died.

I didn't have to watch much of the ensuing musical number to realize that Burlington and Portland are spiritual twins. Lines like "It's where young people go to retire!" sounded like outtakes from my inner monologue. Even Portland's fictional mayor (played by Kyle MacLachlan) kind of has a Bob Kiss vibe to him.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 17: Portlandia" »

December 05, 2011

Brianna Maitland Missing-Persons Case Airs Tonight on Investigation Discovery Show

Image002Sometimes, television can help shake loose pieces of a puzzle that have remained hidden from investigators for years. At least, that's the hope this week of Vermont police, as well as family and friends of Brianna Maitland, the Montgomery girl who went missing at 17 on March 19, 2004 and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

On Monday night, the cable channel Investigation Discovery airs a new episode of its hit show "Disappeared," which recounts Maitland's mysterious vanishing more than seven years ago. As the promotional material describes it:

"Seventeen-year-old Brianna Maitland found life on her parents’ remote farm boring, so in the fall of 2004, she transferred high schools to be with her friends. But after a short while, Maitland dropped out and couch-surfed with help from friends and boyfriends. With no consistent place [to] sleep each night, it took four days for her family to realize she had gone missing. After numerous searches and an extensive investigation, the Maitlands are left to wonder what really happened to their daughter. Police think it all points to foul play, while others speculate that the teen was taken. But by whom?" 

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November 15, 2011

Brattleboro's Prison Legal News Featured on NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!"

-Peter-and-brian-in-jailLocal listeners of National Public Radio's Saturday-morning news and humor show, "Wait,Wait...Don't Tell Me!" may not have picked up on last Saturday's Vermont connection. Each week, host Peter Sagal invites a celebrity guest to play a game called "Not My Job," in which the celebrity is asked three questions about a topic that, presumably, he or she knows absolutely nothing about.

Last weekend's program featured Seth MacFarlane, creator of such adult cartoon hits as "Family Guy," "American Dad" and "The Cleveland Show." MacFarlane played a game NPR's Carl Kassel dubbed, "Five hours in the slammer will change a man," in which MacFarlane was asked three questions about how the wealthy are treated differently in prison than the average shmo. As Sagal noted, those questions were based on an article published in Brattleboro's Prison Legal News, called "Prison Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," by Matt Clarke.

PLN, the nation's largest and longest-running prison publication, was founded in May 1990 by journalist and prison activist Paul Wright. Wright, himself a convicted murder who has since paid his debt to society, moved to Vermont after his release in 2003. He still muckrakes about the abysmal conditions in U.S. prisons, including the pervasiveness of abuse, medical neglect, prisoner-on-prisoner violence, guard brutality and retaliation. Wright was featured in a March 7, 2007, cover story in Seven Days, called "Doing Wright." 

Continue reading "Brattleboro's Prison Legal News Featured on NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!"" »

October 07, 2011

Behind the Scenes: The Ex-Pan Am Stewardess Photo Shoot at BTV

It sounded a little too good to be true.  PanAmPix

Burlington International Airport was going to let me, Seven Days designer Celia Hazard, photographer Andy Duback and three former Pan Am stewardesses have our way with a JetBlue plane during the hour it sat on the tarmac between flights. They'd fling open the back door, wheel up a staircase, and we could take all the pictures we wanted for our cover story this week. 

All the airport wanted from us were our driver's licenses. 

Half an hour before we were set to meet at BTV, I got a call from JetBlue marketing: They wanted a synopsis of the story. They didn't want their logo appearing in anything they hadn't pre-approved. I assured them the story wasn't scandalous and that we might even Photoshop their logo out entirely. 

They were not happy about this. "OK, we won't Photoshop anything, we'll just avoid logos altogether," I told the JetBlue marketing woman. She was very sweet, but had clearly already decided she was not letting us anywhere near that plane. 

She called back 10 minutes later with the bad news (we couldn't use the plane), but our team headed to the airport anyway. We'd figure it out. Heather Kendrew, director of maintenance, engineering and environmental compliance, had assured us we could at least get out on the tarmac. And she'd set us up with airport operations specialist  — and our awesome escort — Andrew Jones. PanAmPix2

We arrived at the check-in area to find the three ex-Pan Amers — Nina Falsen, Daphne Walker and Susan Barron — dressed to the nines. In the short time they'd been there, the women had already been mistaken for on-duty flight attendants multiple times. It wasn't hard to see why; they were decked out in crisp, white, button-down shirts and navy-blue blazers, with Pan Am wings — and one golden clipper ship — pinned to their lapels.

Continue reading "Behind the Scenes: The Ex-Pan Am Stewardess Photo Shoot at BTV" »

September 24, 2011

Movies You Missed 5: The Kennedys

Kennedys This week in new DVDs: Katie Holmes impersonates Jackie Kennedy. A nation doesn't bother to weep.

Each week I review a brand-new DVD release picked for me by Seth Jarvis, buyer for Burlington's Waterfront Video, where you can obtain these fine films. (In central Vermont, try Downstairs Video.) And this week, with Netflix apparently poised to transform its streaming service into the new Blockbuster, distancing itself from customers who like to watch the broader selection only available on disc, may be a good time to appreciate your local video stores.

What You Missed:

Last Sunday was the Emmy awards. The "Breaking Bad" episode that followed obliterated my memory of every single thing that happened during that ceremony, save one: Controversial miniseries "The Kennedys" received a bunch of nominations. Barry Pepper, who played Bobby Kennedy, took home Outstanding Lead Actor.

This was kind of a surprise, since up till now "The Kennedys" has mainly been known for the controversy that got it kicked off its original network, the History Channel. A board of historians had pointed to factual inaccuracies in the screenplay for the eight-episode dramatization of the JFK presidency, produced by "24" creator Joel Surnow. Result: The History Channel, which we all know is scrupulously dedicated to historical accuracy, pulled the plug.

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August 31, 2011

Putting Snooki on Hold to Save Vermont

215594_10150581311000297_624280296_18426137_3821723_n The "Jersey Shore" and disaster relief go together like spray tans and muck boots. Which is to say, not at all. But somehow, the folks behind the Tropical Storm Irene relief website are making it happen. Inexplicably, the team connecting Vermont storm victims with eager volunteers are also the people in charge of a fledgling business called Reality Venture Capital. Their company name is a bit deceiving — a deep-pocketed venture capital firm they are not. At present, they run reality television fantasy leagues. Yep, that's right. Fantasy leagues are no longer the dominion of armchair quarterbacks. Reality tv fans can get in on the mix, too.

Sarah Waterman (who we recently wrote about here), 27, and Matt Sisto, also 27, are the masterminds responsible for creating the reality tv fantasy league concept. And don't let any reality tv fantasy league biters tell you differently. The business began as a hobby, says Sisto, who with a friend started assigning points to various reality show themes — vomiting, crying, hooking up, the word "situation," etc. Within three years, the idea grew into an online enterprise for the general reality tv-addicted public.

At present, they run a fantasy league for the "Jersey Shore," and they are just about to launch two other leagues — one for the "Real Housewives" series and one the upcoming Kim Kardashian wedding. So far, they have about 30 players, who get points when the characters they pick to be on their team do or say certain reliably predictable reality show things like getting drunk or telling someone that they're "not trying to make any friends."

The leagues, which are free to join, make money via web ads. Recently, they've been working on their business plan and getting all their legal ducks in a row (there has been some unwanted encroachment from sports blog Grantland, the pair say). But then Irene rolled in and soaked and flattened much of southern Vermont. That's when Waterman, a veteran Hurricane Katrina volunteer with a masters desgree in public administration, kicked into action. The pair, along with "social media ninja" Katie Kent, quickly set up to serve as a one-stop shop for people looking for Irene resources. 

Continue reading "Putting Snooki on Hold to Save Vermont" »

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