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Live Culture: Vermont Arts News and Views

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September 2013

September 09, 2013

Mysterious Stone Cairns at the Burlington Waterfront

Cairns-waterfrontThere was plenty of art on display this weekend during Burlington's 21st annual South End Art Hop. I spent hours on Friday and Saturday wandering through galleries and gaping at outdoor installations.

I always feel a little sad driving into town on Monday morning after the artists have packed up and gone home. So I was excited today to find a little sculpture garden growing down on the Burlington waterfront.

I went for a walk this morning and counted about 150 stone cairns standing on the rocky shore between ECHO and the observation deck on the boardwalk.

Some cairns are made from heavy slabs of granite, tilted at an angle, some incorporate metal or driftwood. I climbed down onto the beach and walked among them, snapping photos.

Who made these stone sculptures? I've called around to Burlington Parks and Rec and Burlington City Arts, but they don't seem to know. I even reached out to Jacques-Paul Marton, who created these cairns in South Burlington. "I am not the person responsible," he writes in an email, "but I am elated that Cairns are appearing elsewhere. It's an ancient Spirit that occurs spontaneously all over the World." 

Maybe. But it also reminds me of last winter's impromptu public art project in City Hall Park. I wonder if those guys are responsible?

Here are a few photos, to ease your Art Hop withdrawal:

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September 06, 2013

Movies You Missed & More: The Killer Inside Me

090529-The Killer Insi0009This week in movies you missed: a mostly faithful version of Jim Thompson's pulp classic about a sociopath hiding in plain sight.

What You Missed

Everybody in the Texas town of Central City likes Lou Ford (Casey Affleck). He's such a nice, clean-cut, soft-spoken young man — a sheriff's deputy who doesn't even carry a gun. Sure, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, and his corny remarks get on your nerves, but he's a good guy.

They don't know that Lou Ford has a pretty kinky thing going on with the prostitute (Jessica Alba) who lives on the edge of town. They don't know his slowness is an act. They don't see him letting off steam by putting out his cigar in a bum's palm.

They don't know that Lou Ford has a plan to avenge himself on an old enemy (Ned Beatty) that happens to entail a vicious, cold-blooded double murder. And then another murder, and another.

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September 04, 2013

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins Coming to Vermont

BillyCollinsFaceLike President Obama, Billy Collins has the distinction of being a two-termer. Happily for Mr. Collins, his job as U.S. poet laureate did not require making decisions such as whether to bomb Syria, or getting along with Congress. No, Billy Collins had only to concern himself with the matter of poetry.

And the man is on a mission to bring verse to the people. His recent stint of filling in for Garrison Keillor on "Writer's Almanac" on public radio may well have brought him more listeners than ever. But in Vermont, it is Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, a book Collins edited, that is getting all the attention.

That's because it is the 2013 selection for Vermont Reads, a statewide literary program available to nonprofit communities and organizations courtesy of the Vermont Humanities Council. In celebration of the program's 10th anniversary, the council decided to focus on poetry.

What's more, it's bringing Billy Collins himself to Vermont this fall.

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Self-Published Book of the Week: Encounter With Japan: An Adventure in Love

Photo(1)So in case you didn't already know, it is now relatively cheap and simple to publish your own book. Here at Seven Days, we receive the fruits of that tech shift: self-published books from fellow Vermonters. Lots and lots and lots. Indeed, each year we receive more.

Do we review them in our pages? Rarely; it takes a very special book to sway us. But we'd like to recognize more writers' efforts, and we think local readers might be curious about what their neighbors are self-publishing. This blog feature may also showcase books from small or academic publishers that we can't cover in the paper.

Before submitting your own book, please see the lengthy disclaimer below!

The Book: Encounter With Japan: An Adventure in Love by Adelaide E. Katz, PhD, and Susan Katz Saitoh. Paperback, 164 pages with full-color illustrations. $20.

What's It About?

How many people have sat at a dying loved one's bedside and wished they could tell the world that person's story? Susan Katz Saitoh does that with this book. Actually, she leaves most of the actual telling to her late mother, Adelaide Katz, a fine writer who left behind journals, poems and more.

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September 03, 2013

The Queen Is Coming to Vermont, and She Is Helen Mirren

Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren)I don't know about you, but I think Helen Mirren is more than a queen; she's a goddess. But in the live National Theatre broadcast of The Audience this week — at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury — she is indeed playing Queen Elizabeth II. Word has it, Mirren is stunning, and I'm not surprised.

Actually, the show isn't "live" from across the pond this time — The Audience played at THT in June to rave reviews and sold-out shows. This week's two encore performances are literally back by popular demand.

Peter Morgan's play, which has been a huge hit in London, is structured as a series of "audiences" the Queen holds with a series of prime ministers who have served during her long reign. Who remembers John Major?

The Audience will be screened at 1 and 7 p.m. at THT in Middlebury. But that's not all! In honor of the occasion, the Middlebury Inn will be serving a British-style high tea after the 1 p.m. showing. Plan on a few extra squats to work off that clotted cream and trifle, mates.

Tickets for both The Audience ($17) and the high tea ($15) are available through the THT box office at 382-9222 or online.

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