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Live Culture: Vermont Arts News and Views

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June 2013

June 14, 2013

Dizzying Paintings by Three Generations of Wyeths Hit Shelburne Museum

Andrew Wyeth, Soaring, 1942-1950, tempera on Masonite, 48 x 87 inches. ©Andrew Wyeth

There's something unsettling about the paintings of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. All three — father, son and grandson — use disorienting perspective and ominous imagery to "knock you off your pins," said Shelburne Museum director Thomas Denenberg, who co-curated the remarkable exhibit. "Wyeth Vertigo" opens next week.

"Strange is a term of endearment in the Wyeth world," Denenberg told a group of reporters at a preview of the show today. He stood before the enormous, foreboding Andrew Wyeth piece "Soaring," in which a trio of turkey buzzards seem to be descending toward a small white house that sits unnervingly exposed in an open field.

The tempera painting, part of the museum's permanent collection, was the impetus for the ambitious exhibit, which includes 39 works on loan from personal collections, the Wyeth family and museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Portland Museum of Art, Farnsworth Art Museum and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

The show also includes preparatory drawings for "Soaring" displayed alongside the finished painting for the first time. Wyeth kept a captured turkey buzzard in his studio for reference, Denenberg explained, after enlisting a neighbor to lure the bird into a trap with a calf placenta.

Continue reading "Dizzying Paintings by Three Generations of Wyeths Hit Shelburne Museum" »

Movies You Missed & More: Masquerade

MasqueradeThis week in movies you missed: Curious about the toilet, sex and eating habits of absolutist monarchs in early-modern Korea? Learn all about them in this sumptuous costume drama with a touch of comedy.

What You Missed

It's 1616. Gwanghae (Lee Byung-hun), a young king in Korea's long-lived Joseon dynasty, suspects someone is trying to poison him. He enlists his trusted chief secretary (Ryoo Seung-ryong) to find a lookalike who can foil assassins by standing in for him during the night hours.

The chief secretary finds Ha-seon (also played by Lee), a lowly entertainer who draws crowds with salacious routines in which he impersonates the king gettin' busy with his royal concubines. But he does look remarkably like the fierce monarch — and can imitate his voice and manner.

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

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on the Muddy Green

Edward1Ben & Jerry’s Concerts on the Green brought Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to the Shelburne Museum last Tuesday. And a nasty storm brought a steady downpour, transforming the Green into the Brown.

Still, throngs came out in ponchos to hear the 10-person band led by singer Alex Ebert — or Alexander, as you may have heard him called in the band’s 2009 hit “Home.”

Umbrellas and raincoats don’t do much for mud, so fans waded in, ankle deep. On stage, things were considerably less messy. A plethora of instruments, from piano to gourd, stayed dry under a protective overhang. Ebert, dressed in an off-white sports coat over a flowy tunic, nonchalantly took the stage with the rest of the musicians.

They opened with “40 Day Dream," a number enlivened by interludes of hand clapping and feet stomping. Jade Castrinos, Ebert’s partner in the band’s creation, introduced her clear, at times pining voice in “Janglin.” There was a playful dynamic between the pair, who allowed themselves to get carried away by their own performance, dancing until Ebert accidentally headbutted Castrinos.

“I guess if you’re the headbutter you get headbutted, too," Ebert said. "It just doesn’t hurt as bad."

Continue reading "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on the Muddy Green" »

Another Reason Why I Love Vermont

WickedSo I was up in the Northeast Kingdom yesterday, visiting the Museum of Everyday Life and other points of interest (more on that another time). I sailed past one of those points — Parker Pie in West Glover — and, looking for a driveway in which to turn around, I saw this road sign.

And that is another reason why I love Vermont. ’Nuf said.

June 13, 2013

Social Worker Launches Luxury Car Service With '75 Cadillac Convertible


Caroll Spelke had every intention of selling the old car she inherited when her dad died last year. But then she tried to park it in Manhattan. Cruising around the narrow streets of the financial district, looking in vain for a spot that could accomodate the 19-foot 1975 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, she suddenly noticed folks were staring — in a good way. People shouted out to her; they wanted to know more about the car. Some even said they would pay her for a ride in it.

That was all it took to change her mind about selling the car. Not only did she keep it, she decided to build a business around it: My Daddy's Caddy. Between May and October, Spelke will offer special-event transport and tours around Vermont in the classic car.

"This is probably one in 10 left in the world in this condition," says Spelke. There are only 17,000 miles on the Cadillac.

Continue reading "Social Worker Launches Luxury Car Service With '75 Cadillac Convertible" »

R.I.P., Vermont Musician Mike Deutsch


Mike Deutsch, courtesy of Paul Sarne
Mike Deutsch

The local music community was stunned and saddened to learn that musician Mike Deutsch has passed away unexpectedly at the age of 41.

Deustch, known familiarly as "Meistah," was a talented multi-instrumentalist who played in a number of local bands, including, among others, Outer Mongolia, the Black Sea Quartet and, most recently, Space Tiger.

That last band was fronted by his son, Aidan Patterson Deutsch. (See the "Stuck in Vermont" episode on that band below.)

Deutsch leaves behind his wife, Erika, and two children.

An informal memorial for Deutsch will be held at Radio Bean in Burlington on Thursday, June 13, at 8 p.m.


June 12, 2013

Katharine Montstream Gallery Now Open in Downtown Burlington

AllankathIt was just a couple weeks ago that we reported Silver Maple was moving on — that is, closing up the retail shop on St. Paul Street across from Burlington City Hall Park, and moving its still-popular art-lamination business to PhotoGarden in South Burlington. In that article, Megan James noted that local artist Katharine Montstream would be moving in.

Well, she did. So quickly that the address still hasn't changed on her website from 1 Main Street.

Montstream credits her husband, Alan Dworshak, with quickly transforming the one-room space. I happened to walk by this afternoon and was surprised to see the doors thrown open, with a beautifully appointed gallery exposed.

The walls have been repainted a chocolate brown, Tuscan gold and a robin's egg blue, and an office/framing area is corralled in one corner with barnboard half-walls. The whole effect is just as pleasing to the eye as Montstream's pretty landscape paintings.

MontgalleryThis Saturday, patrons of the farmers market will have one more place to stop, browse and perhaps buy.

Photos by Pamela Polston.

Play-Me Pianos Pop Up Around Middlebury

Five years since the Town Hall Theater opened in Middlebury, executive director Doug Anderson decided a celebration was in order. This past Memorial Day, he planted five pianos — painted and adorned by local artists — around downtown, then floated by in a glorified truckbed in the Memorial Day parade, playing a sixth piano. The idea was that passersby would sit down to the ivories and give impromptu concerts.

The THT's festivities culminate on Saturday, June 22, at the Town Hall Theater’s 5th Benefit Birthday Gala. Performers from past productions — including bluegrass duo the Connor Sisters, dancer Patty Smith, the cast of Annie, and the Hadippa Dancers, among many others — return for two shows, at 5 and 8 p.m. In between those performances, Merchants Row will be roped off for a street party, complete with snacks, birthday cake and music.

As for those pianos, they're only up through July 4, so take advantage while you can.

I recently spent some time loitering by the pianos and capturing the sounds of Middlebury's newest street performers.

Click to listen.                                                                                                                                                                                 IMG_0547

Henry, age 9/2 — born on a leap day, he explained. 

Continue reading "Play-Me Pianos Pop Up Around Middlebury " »

New Tunes: The Pilgrims, "Duck and Cover"

Artworks-000050203038-7r3hlu-largeAfter shaking and stomping to the new Persian Claws record all week, we're officially in summer music mode. Now, if only summer would cooperate and actually show up, eh? In the meantime, here's a new cut from cheeky Upper Valley punks the Pilgrims that we'll (hopefully) be blasting in the ol' ear buds at the beach from now until Labor Day.

The song, "Duck and Cover," is the first single from the band's new album, Buss, due out on Windsor-based label What Doth Life in July. The record is a followup to their underrated but wholly excellent 2011 debut, Nobility, and 2012's equally cool It's Not Pretty. 

The new track is a scraggly little pop gem with subtle shades of early Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. And it portends very good things for the new album. Or as the band's Brendan D'Angelo put it in a recent email, "It's kinda catchy and rusty. Like tetanus!" Yup.   



June 11, 2013

Burlington Artist Kate Donnelly to Begin BCA Residency

3.AlsoThereLast January, Burlington City Arts announced that Burlington artist Kate Donnelly was the 2013 recipient of the annual Barbara Smail Award. That honor, named for a late local artist, comes with a $1500 stipend, $1000 worth of classes in any BCA studio, and three months in the fourth-floor space of the BCA Center.

Thing is, it wouldn't kick in until June 12. But that happens to be tomorrow, and Donnelly is ready to get crackin' on her ... "examination of the mundane routines in everyday life." Huh?

In a recent grant application that Donnelly shared with me, she sheds a little more light on her hard-to-explain project, called "A Period of Confinement."

Continue reading "Burlington Artist Kate Donnelly to Begin BCA Residency" »

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