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May 2013

May 17, 2013

Movies You Missed & More: After the Wedding

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 2.17.30 PMThis week in movies you (probably) missed: Beware of last-minute wedding guests. Or: Hannibal Lecter plays a do-gooder.

Not really. But I'm so obsessed with NBC's "Hannibal" (and, if you enjoy David Lynch-esque imagery, fine food and/or the grotesque, you should be, too) that I've practically forgotten Anthony Hopkins. I can't look at Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (pictured) without thinking of him making sorbet out of somebody's spleen, and being so very civil and charming about it.

Because he's so memorable on the show, I decided to explore Mikkelsen's filmography, which is plentiful on Netflix Instant. I saw a trailer for the Danish film After the Wedding at the Palace 9 back in 2007; the Oscar-nominated drama played for about a week there, if I remember correctly. So there's a good chance you missed it.

What You Missed: Mikkelsen plays Jacob, who runs an orphanage for street kids in India. To secure a huge donation from a Danish businessman, he must return to his homeland for an interview — which he does with reluctance, leaving behind an orphan whom he treats like a son.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed & More: After the Wedding" »

May 16, 2013

Message in a Jar: Inspiration at the Burlington Waterfront

Poster_Jar You never know what you might uncover on the Burlington waterfront.

Photographer Paige Pasquini, who attended high school in Vermont, found a jar on the waterfront with an auspicious message inside: "Do not let yourself be defined by other people's opinion of you."

She was so moved by the anonymous message — and its serendipitous delivery system — she decided to replicate it at Saint Lawrence University, where she is a senior art student. She placed 24 jars around her campus — in trees, bushes, shelves, benches and library stacks — and left them there for a week. On posters and social media she spread the word that people should take what they find in the jars and leave something new for the next person. 

Screen shot 2013-05-16 at 11.25.35 AMOver the next seven days she documented the jars' constantly shifting contents: "quotes, notes, knick-knacks, doobies, drawings, dares, money, games, cigarettes, personal confessions, glitter pens, flowers, origami, sage leaves, stickers, stamps, gift certificates, beaded necklaces, gum, candy, friendship bracelets, tea, words of encouragement and invitations to campus events." 

Living in Burlington for the summer, Pasquini returned to the waterfront recently to leave a jar of her own. Have you seen it?

In Brownsville, a Tribute to 'Drunken Poet' Daniel L. Cady

1198Just about every town in Vermont has a group that keeps and celebrates its history, and many of them host periodic events centered on some minutiae of yesteryear. This week, my favorite is the West Windsor Historical Society in Brownsville.

Why? Because, along with the Mary L. Blood Memorial Library, it's putting on the First Annual Daniel L. Cady Day in Brownsville. Note the determined optimism of "first annual." Like me, you've likely never heard of Daniel Leavens Cady (pictured right), so allow me to explain why this caught my eye in the Vermont Historical Society newsletter (which in turn is my favorite source of arcane info about the state).

Cady, born in 1861, was a native Vermonter and University of Vermont graduate who practiced law in New York City for 20 years. At the age of 50, he retired to Burlington and turned his attention to writing poetry. So far so good. And boring. Until I got to this part:

"Although Cady wrote lovely pieces about his beloved state, he was seen by many residents of his former hometown as greedy, drunken and eccentric. He wouldn't donate any copies of his books to the West Windsor library, but spent $38,000 to erect a mausoleum in town, during the Great Depression, as a shrine to himself."

Continue reading "In Brownsville, a Tribute to 'Drunken Poet' Daniel L. Cady" »

May 15, 2013

Spark Improv Troupe Riffs Seven Days

In honor of our inaugural comedy issue, we asked the funny folks at the Spark Improv Troupe to make fun of … well, us. So they did! Here's what happens when the improv comedians play a game using only the words Seven Days as a prompt.


May 14, 2013

Grand Point North Lineup Announced!

GPN_PhilAndelmanPhotog med

Earlier today, Grace Potter and her merry band of insomniacs, the Nocturnals, released the lineup for the third annual Grand Point North festival, slated for Burlington's Waterfront Park on September 14 and 15.

Here are the national acts: Gov't Mule, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, City & Color, the Felice Brothers and Shovels & Rope.

But wait, there's more!

Part of what makes GPN (the fest) so great is that GPN (the band) make a point to include a healthy sampling of local acts. This year is no exception. The locavore options this year include Josh Panda & the Hot Damned, Scott Tournet & Ver La Luz, Belle Pines (an offshoot of Brett Hughes and Honky Tonk Tuesday regulars), Alpenglow, Rough Francis, Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band, Natalie Prass featuring Benny Yurco and Paper Castles.

But wait, there's even freakin' more!

This year, Seven Days is teaming up with GPN and Higher Ground Presents for a contest in which fans can vote their favorite local band onto the bill. Stay tuned for details on that.

Tickets for Grand Point North go on sale this Friday, May 17, at And while you're waiting, here's a slick video for GPN's single, "Stars."



May 10, 2013

Movies You Missed & More: Kumaré

KumareThis week in movies you missed: How hard is it to set yourself up as a guru? Relatively easy, this documentary reveals.

NOTE: Right now, I'm in an indecisive zone when it comes to obtaining Movies You Missed. While I decide whether to commit to a separate Netflix discs plan, I'll be doing this the cheapskate way, watching stuff that's available on Instant. Such as this 2011 flick from director Vikram Gandhi, which played at last March's Green Mountain Film Festival but never in the Burlington area.

What You Missed

Gandhi is a third-generation Indian American who grew up in New Jersey. His parents schooled him in Hinduism, but he was skeptical of religion from an early age. And, he says, every encounter with a guru, whether in the U.S. or in India, just made him more suspicious. Sure, these self-styled holy men were charismatic, but what made others follow them? Were they really giving any spiritual sustenance their followers couldn't give themselves?

To find out, Gandhi devised a Morgan Spurlock-style stunt: He would be a guru. And, of course, film the process. (Watch him on Colbert here.)

Continue reading "Movies You Missed & More: Kumaré" »

Holy Smit! "First Bus," The Smittens

Here's a little indie-pop sunshine for your rainy Friday, courtesy of the Smittens. The Burlington-based twee-ty birds are seen here playing "First Bus" from their 2012 record, Believe Me, unplugged at their campsite after rocking the Island in the Sun festival in Finland last summer. Interesting side note: Since said island is so far north, there is daylight for most of the day. This video was actually shot at about 9 p.m., which means … something. 


May 08, 2013

Soundbites Extra: Suck It Julian Lennon Edition

Since this week's Soundbites column went a bit long previewing the upcoming Waking Windows III fest — got yer tix yet? — and reviewing last weekend's Higher Ground Comedy Battle, we didn't have space for our usual snappy roundup of music new bits and pieces, BiteTorrent. So here it is, now featuring 100-percent more children of former Beatles.


On Monday, the cool kids over at Stereogum premiered the new single from local "avant pop" auteur Ryan Power, "The Prize." The song is an advance cut from Power's forthcoming LP, Identity Picks, due out on Burlington's NNA Tapes on June 25. It is also totally rad, sounding something like if Michael Jackson had fronted "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" era Hall & Oates. Take a listen.


Last month, Chicago-based EDM crew Orchard Lounge canceled their Burlington date at the last minute, bumming out loccal bassheads and confirming the "Tour Date Curse" — they were the second band in a row to appear on the Seven Days music podcast and then unexpectedly bail on their B-town gig; Jamie Lidell was the first. Anyway, OL are back in town this Sunday, May 12 at Club Metronome. And if you missed their Tour Date visit, you can check it out here.


This week's issue features a glowing review of Nuda Veritas' new EP, Meaty Hooks. In tandem with that release, NV has a nifty new video out for the song "Opposites Attack." In a word, spandex.



Finally, Nectar's will play host to a sort of rock and roll royalty on Wednesday, May 15, when James McCartney rolls through town. Yup, he's the son of Sir Paul and Linda McCartney. But you'd barely know that reading through James' press materials, which make only passing reference to dear old dad in a quote from the Boston Globe. It seems the younger McCartney is doing what he can to distance himself from his legendary pop — his forthcoming full-length debut is titled, rather tellingly, Me

Granted, you could make the case that he doesn't need to explicitly trade on his father's legacy, since the name pretty much sells itself — it certainly piqued my interest. But to his credit, James' music bears little resemblance to that of Paul, except in the way that almost the entirety of modern pop rock can trace its lineage to the Beatles in some form or another. Actually, it kind of reminds me of this …


Seven Questions for... Painter Ruth Hamilton

IMG_3490When it comes to painting, Poultney artist Ruth Hamilton tends to create fantastical, richly colored landscapes. But lately, she's flirted with a sillier subject: the lovable characters from her favorite British comedies.

Hamilton donated a series of portraits — including ones of the king of awkward, Mr. Bean; misanthropic hotel manager Basil Fawlty; and "Keeping Up Appearances'" Hyacinth Bucket (it's pronounced Bouquet) — to Brandon's new Compass Music and Arts Center.

The paintings were auctioned off last month at several Vermont Public Television Britcom Tea events, during which Anglophiles select which British television shows VPT will air in the coming year.

Hamilton made note-card versions of the paintings, too, which you can buy here. Proceeds benefit the Compass Music and Arts Foundation.

Seven Days caught up with Hamilton over email to find out more about the project.

SEVEN DAYS: When (and why) did you decide to start painting Britcom characters?

Continue reading "Seven Questions for... Painter Ruth Hamilton" »

Elfriede Abbe (1919-2012): A Short Appreciation of an Amazing VT Artist

Screen shot 2013-05-08 at 11.56.47 AM
Editor's note: This guest post comes from Robert Resnik, a librarian at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, host of Vermont Public Radio's "All the Traditions" and, according to his VPR bio, a well-known "wild mushroom hunter and chef." — M.H.

My acquaintance with Elfriede Abbe (1919-2012) began with one book about ferns and too many about mushrooms.

In the winter of 1998 I was dealing with what might be described as a “mushroom book problem.” What had started as one bookshelf full of field guides and beautifully illustrated, antique tomes had blossomed into a crazy collection of hundreds of books, from the potentially psychedelic kid’s classic The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet to arcane British textbooks about fungi. I had no room left in the house and no time to read. And, honestly, most of the books were of no use to me or anyone else.  

It was about the same time that a friend, University of Vermont botanist David Barrington, showed me his copy of The Fern Herbal, a hand-printed book full of vibrant, alluring woodblock prints. Barrington had helped Elfriede Martha Abbe, the author and illustrator, with some of the information in the book, and as thanks had received one of 150 signed, handmade copies.

The prints that illustrated Abbe’s book were exquisite: various shades of green printed on handmade paper; lovely, handset type; and details that seemed impossible with only hand-carved woodblocks and ink. I wanted one, badly.

Continue reading "Elfriede Abbe (1919-2012): A Short Appreciation of an Amazing VT Artist" »

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