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

Live Culture: Vermont Arts News and Views

Main | May 2013 »

April 2013

April 23, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday: The DuPont Brothers, "Tapped In"


The duPont Brothers
The DuPont Brothers, courtesy of Lily Chau

This week's Soundbites column features a heaping helping of praise for the contemporary folk brilliance that is the DuPont Brothers. The Burlington-based duo of Zack and Sam duPont are set to release their debut EP in the relatively near future. Frankly, even that's too long for our eager ears to wait.

Fortunately, the duPonts were kind enough to recently release a few videos from their EP recording session at Egan Media, including this slice of awesome called "Tapped In."

Those familiar with Zack's solo work will likely recognize his soft, dusky croon and intricate acoustic fingerpicking. I've previously likened his earlier efforts to softspoken bards such as M. Ward, Iron & Wine's Sam Beam and the late Nick Drake. And on "Tapped In," it seems the elder duPont brother is channeling Bryter Layter-era Drake. Specifically, the song's gently bustling piano arrangement and deft horn flourishes remind this listener of Drake's "One of These Things First." That's not exactly a bad thing.

Here's the video. And stay tuned for details on just when that EP will be made available. 


April 22, 2013

Monday's Child: Hangin' With Richard Sher of 'Says You!'

Sher2Well, I didn't exactly hang out with Richard Sher, host of the public-radio show "Says You!" But he and his cast of panelists were guests at a reception put on by Vermont Public Radio in Stowe last Saturday, and so was I. And though I'd had no idea what Sher looked like prior to this night, I recognized his voice immediately.

An interesting connection of dots happens when you meet someone you've known only through one modality, whether voice or written word (email, newspapers, books, etc). It's like little cognitive pieces fall into place, correcting misperceptions you didn't even know you had.

I'm not sure I'd given much thought to what Sher looked like, to be honest, but I've listened to him and his panelists many times — I'm often in my kitchen cooking dinner when VPR broadcasts his show on Sundays at 6. Sher has a slightly mournful, soulful face, with big, expressive eyes. (That's him in the photo here, with VPR president and CEO Robin Turnau). In person he's warm, down-to-earth, unpretentious and witty. As we were about to witness, he — and his panelists — are even funnier in action. Or what passes for action on the radio.

Sher and crew were in Stowe for a live taping of their show at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center. My friend and I arrived a tad late, having started the evening at an art opening down the road at the West Branch Gallery. After making our way from the bone-chillingly windy parking lot through the maze that is Spruce Peak, we got to the reception with enough time to down a glass of wine and a couple hors d'oeuvres, rub shoulders with some VPR peeps and meet Sher. Then it was time to retrace our steps back to the resort's beautiful theater (and if you haven't been there yet, check out the performing arts and film season here).

"Says You!" is a show about words — or, as its tag line helpfully specifies, "a game of words and whimsy, bluff and bluster" — played/performed before a live audience. From what I could glean on the "Says You!" website, it's taped about half the time at home in Boston and the other half at venues around the country. The nationally broadcast show has a lot of fans, including in Vermont: Saturday's event (which recorded two shows) at Stowe was sold out, as was the one in Bellows Falls on Sunday (ditto). My friend and I were lucky enough to get front-row seats, right next to VPR's Turnau.

Continue reading "Monday's Child: Hangin' With Richard Sher of 'Says You!'" »

Abby Manock Travels With "Noodles" to Coachella

AbbyThis week Burlington artist Abby Manock will return home from her debut installation at Coachella Music and Arts Festival, which just ended its two-weekend run yesterday in Indio, Calif. Her joyous contribution? The Noodle Family Traveling Circus.

Manock describes the vermicular, constantly moving inflatables as a "reappropriation of the popular air-powered, inflatable roadside attention grabbers designed to attract more customers" to a business. Though, in this case, Manock's 18-foot "noodles" emerging from a platform stage were more likely to inspire dancing. Probably, um, noodle dancing.

Manock's put-a-smile-on-your-face artwork often features anthropomorphized nonhuman shapes — blogs, wiggles, critters and edibles. Burlingtonians may remember her tall, "human-powered" murals titled "Monkeys vs. Bananas" that scrolled down the side of the BCA Center a few years back, and invited the public to paint them. Her works are playful, brightly colored and appealing to the inner child of all ages.

Manock is no stranger to large-scale projects elsewhere, either. From her first concert installation at Phish's 2003 It Festival in Limestone, Maine, she has exhibited her work literally around the globe, from Boston to LA, El Salvador to Japan.

What will she come up with next? Visit Manock at her Pine Street Studio and find out.

4/20 Spark Improv Troupe Show Was a Trip

Improv1You're watching a scene from the highly acclaimed film Dance of the Walrus Hunters. A grizzled hunter and a questing novice stand in the frozen wastes of Antarctica, scoping out the walrus population.

"How are we going to kill it?" the novice asks. "A gun? A spear?"

"No," the hunter intones. "To kill the walrus, you have to make love to it."

A voice offstage announces, "This is your Oscar-winning moment!"

An über-schmaltzy soundtrack kicks in as the hunter steps forward to deliver a stirring monologue about the first time he killed something by, er, expressing his affection toward it: "She was 12 years old," he begins, his voice quavering Oscar-clip style. "She was orange. She was my favorite cat."

It just got weirder from there.

Continue reading "4/20 Spark Improv Troupe Show Was a Trip" »

Waterfront Video to Close

Work-2After 17 years in business, Burlington's last dedicated video-rental store will close its doors at the end of the business day on Tuesday, April 30.

Store buyer and curator Seth Jarvis explains that "We are closing due to a confluence of circumstances — most notably the passing of Waterfront Video's owner and patron saint, Murray Self — as well as significant changes within the industry."

To newcomers to the Queen City, it may come as a surprise that Burlington has a video store, much less a video store that carries as many art-house flicks and documentaries as blockbusters.

Somehow this local business outlasted the Blockbuster chain, even as research firm IBIS World declared video rentals a "dying industry" (along with newspaper publishing, for the record) and even Netflix tried to exit the physical DVD rental business.

Old-timers know how the store held on to its loyal customers.

Continue reading "Waterfront Video to Close" »

April 19, 2013

Movies You Missed 83: Cartoon College

Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 1.47.51 PMThis week in movies you missed: This one's different.

Cartoon College isn't on DVD yet. It's also not in theaters. But you don't have to miss this professionally made documentary that brings you inside Vermont's own Center for Cartoon Studies. (Trailer here.)

If you love comics, you shouldn't miss it. Especially if you've ever dreamed of drawing them for a living.

Filmmaker Tara Wray did. In 2007, she headed to CCS as a comics fan and potential student — but eventually decided she "couldn't draw," she told me in a 2008 interview. Instead, she stuck around to film the students as they progressed through the rigorous two-year program, from first-year "boot camp" to a nail-biting final thesis review.

Wray and codirector Josh Melrod ended up spending three years filming the students in White River Junction, and followed them to a convention in New York City where they strove to market their wares. The filmmakers collected interviews with famous indie cartoonists, such as Art Spiegelman of Maus, Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, Charles Burns and Francoise Mouly.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 83: Cartoon College" »

April 18, 2013

Seven Questions for... Theatre Mosaic Mond Founder Georgette Garbès Putzel

1261525Did you know that Asterion is one of the names given to the minotaur in Greek mythology? You know, the half-man, half-bull creature who is condemned to spending his life in a labyrinth? I didn't, either.

This weekend, Theatre Mosaic Mond presents the play Asterion, which asks, "What happens when the labyrinth turns into a waiting room, and the mythological beast into the body of an immigrant?"

Vermont playwright and actor Diego Mattos, who is himself an immigrant, wrote and stars in this one-man show. According to a statement from TMM, it is "rooted in the works of the famous Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges," and is also based on Mattos' experiences dwelling between two cultures. 

I remembered that Theatre Mosaic Mond had put on a bilingual play based on Sartres' No Exit — in English and in French — a couple years back. Apparently the company was on sabbatical in 2012. But this year, founder Georgette Garbès Putzel is back with three works in the hopper. The first one, Asterion, runs this weekend at the Off Center. I asked her these questions:


SEVEN DAYS: Theatre Mosaic Mond sounds français, and so is your name. Are you French?  

GEORGETTE GARBES PUTZEL: Actually the term “theatre” is French, but in England and in many places in the U.S. the term “theatre” is spelled the French way. "Mosaic" is English (in French it is “mosaique”), and "mond" is neither. (The French term “monde” needs an “e” and means world.) I meant the name to relate to the symbolism of the mosaic and the world.

Like Asterion, I am a migrant by background. I left Algeria, where I was born. I lived where my mother had grown up (although she, too, was an immigrant from Italy) in Burgundy, but did not feel at home. I immigrated to Montréal, Canada, where I met my American husband, Roger, and we moved to Vermont, where we raised our two American children. I have three passports: French, Canadian and American. And if I could have a few more, I would.

SD: You started the theater company in 2009 and seem to wear a lot of hats. Are there others in the company? 

GGP: Overall about 30 people will have helped TMM since our founding. Depending on the project, more and different people will join. (For example, we have already been working with two violinists, one tabla player and one accordionist for Camille Claudel. In 2013, Diego Mattos joins TMM’s creative team on a more regular basis.

SD: On your website you state that diversity is essential in the arts as well as in biology. Could you elaborate a little on what that means to you with regard to theater? 

Continue reading "Seven Questions for... Theatre Mosaic Mond Founder Georgette Garbès Putzel" »

Video by Flynn Director John Killacky Featured in Exhibit at Bennington Museum

KillackyAn exhibit organized by VSA Vermont and called "Engage" was the subject of a Seven Days article I wrote more than a year ago — in February 2012. Since then the show, which features works in multiple media by artists with disabilities, has been displayed at venues around the state.

"Engage" is currently at the Bennington Museum, through May 7, and accompanying this iteration is a video created by John Killacky, executive director of the Flynn Center for Performing Arts in Burlington.

"Dreaming Awake," made in 2003, juxtaposes a narrator in a wheelchair with close-up shots of dancers (attention, parents: the dancers are nude). Just six minutes long, this dreamy, sensual and poignant work was created after Killacky's experience with a surgical mishap that left him paralyzed — until he worked his way (mostly) out of it.

I wrote about that, too, in an article about Killacky shortly after he arrived for his new job at the Flynn in the summer of 2010.

Also on view at the Bennington Museum are "Crip Shots: Six Performative Portraits," a film by Killacky and his spouse, Larry Connolly; and Jay Craven's documentary about the late Vermont artist Gayleen Aiken, called simply "Gayleen."  Admission to the films is $8 for members, $10 nonmembers.

All three films will be shown on Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. You can watch "Dreaming Awake" here.

Image above (by Laurie Toby Edison) and video courtesy of John Killacky.


April 17, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday (Wednesday Edition!): Doctor Sailor, The Greatest Lyric


Doctor Sailor, The Greatest Lyric

Damn you, Villanelles. First, you go on hiatus after releasing one of the better local indie rock recordings in recent memory, 2011's Kiss My Grits EP. (Which, for those keeping score, was an EP. In 2011.) Then, just when word leaks that your looooooong awaited followup is pretty much in the bag, your front man, Tristan Baribeau, up and moves to Alaska. Like, polar bears and Sarah-effing-Palin Alaska. Now we've gotta wait, like, three months until he comes back to hear it. It's enough to make a man… well, want to move to Alaska. But that's beside the point.

The point is: "Northern Exposure" was an awesome show.

The other point is that before he left, Baribeau was kind enough to release a new record under his solo-ish side-project sobriquet, Doctor Sailor, called The Greatest Lyric. We like. And we imagine anxious Villanelles fans will find a lot to like, too.

Dr. Baribeau is a touch more laid back and introspective than the frantic dynamo we've come to know and love as the front man for Villanelles. Doctor Sailor songs could be viewed as skeletal versions of Villanelles tunes, the bare bones under all that fleshy keyboard bombast and guitar jangle. But that's not quite accurate. There are certain discernable similarites between the two projects, especially melodically. But the fare comprising The Greatest Lyric generally falls closer to the folk and pop sides of the indie-(blank) hyphen than rock. It's a mellow but stylistically diverse and subtly complex suite of songs that finds a more contemplative, and at times wistful, Baribeau than Villanelles fans have grown accustomed to. That's not to say Baribeau is suddenly all mopey and serious. With his soft, high croon he retains his winking, boyish charm, even in more downcast turns. But there's an edge here that is darker than the Villanelles' typical playfulness.

Here's a track from the record called "Sunroom." The entire album is available here, for a limited time as a name-your-price download.

Doctor Sailor - The Greatest Lyric - 07 Sunroom

In Winooski, Heron Dance Gallery to Close Its Doors

618-SOTA-HeronSeems like just last week we wrote about North Ferrisburgh artist Rod MacIver (pictured right) opening Heron Dance Wild Nature Art Gallery in a capacious, light-filled space next to the Winooski Welcome Center. In fact, it was February 27. And already, the gallery is closing.

It wasn't MacIver's choice, and he's none too pleased about it.

When he moved in, MacIver anticipated giving his successful web-based enterprise — selling his Tao-accented watercolors, cards, prints and calendars — a bricks-and-mortar presence. He also looked forward to having the space to accommodate much bigger paintings and, MacIver told Seven Days in February, planned to invite a sculptor to show large-scale, freestanding works, as well.

The Winooski venue, with its 24-foot-high ceiling and proximity to the broader art market of Chittenden County, seemed perfect. Plus, the rent was low.

So what happened?

Continue reading "In Winooski, Heron Dance Gallery to Close Its Doors" »

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