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Live Culture: Vermont Arts News and Views


January 24, 2014

Grace Potter to Perform National Anthem at the Pro Bowl. So What's the Over/Under?

5ec5cdc4eca3a6dd4688992765f3332fNo, it ain't quite as prestigious as the big name next Sunday — that's the Super Bowl, for you non-sports people. But the pregame ceremonies for this Sunday's NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii will have a local flavor. Earlier today, Grace Potter announced via Twitter that she'll be belting out the "Star Spangled Banner" prior to the NFL all-star game:

I was really hoping to find a betting line on how long Grace's rendition of the anthem would be. That's always one of the funnier prop bets for the Super Bowl.

Alas, since the Pro Bowl is the lamest all-star exhibition of the four major American pro sports leagues and not even degenerate gamblers watch it, there are no such gambling lines set for the game. But that doesn't mean we can't set one anyway, right? 

Continue reading "Grace Potter to Perform National Anthem at the Pro Bowl. So What's the Over/Under?" »

November 13, 2013

Burlington ... the Closest Thing to Montréal? For Jay Baruchel's New Sitcom, It Will Be

This-is-the-End-Jay-BaruchelJay Baruchel has no immediate plans to visit the Queen City, as far as we know — in reality, that is. But in bizarro TV reality, Burlington is the Canadian comedian's hometown.

The actor's face and voice are familiar from a slew of movies, including Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder and How to Train Your Dragon. He starred in Judd Apatow's series "Undeclared" and wrote the excellent hockey comedy Goon. Now Baruchel has a deal with ABC to produce a pilot for an autobiographical sitcom in which he'll play a famous actor who chooses to leave Hollywood, return to his hometown and move in with his buds.

Baruchel really does live in his hometown — Montréal. On TV, however, his character will settle in Burlington.

Say what? Despite their relative physical proximity, last time we checked, BTV and Montréal were about as much alike as ... a small, quirky American college town and a glittering, ethnically diverse metropolis. Both wonderful towns, but apples and pamplemousses.

So ... why?

Continue reading "Burlington ... the Closest Thing to Montréal? For Jay Baruchel's New Sitcom, It Will Be" »

September 24, 2013

"Little Jerusalem" Doc Wins Vermont History Prize

VPTwinsAward b&wEach year since 2006, the Vermont Historical Society has presented the Richard O. Hathaway Award for "an outstanding contribution to the field of Vermont history." Past winners have included books, documentaries and plays. Last Saturday, the prize was presented to Vermont Public Television for its documentary "Little Jerusalem."

Dorothy Dickie (far left) produced the doc, which was nominated by VPT's chief content officer Kathryn Scott (second from left).

The film, which debuted late last year, is the first Hathaway winner to deal with Jewish themes, in this case the immigrant community that sprang up in Burlington's Old North End in the 1880s.

What cemented its win? According to VHS executive director Mark Hudson (second from right above), the professional quality of the movie impressed the selection committee. "It had a great story and richness in telling the story of the community and the individual lives that were represented in the story as well," he added by phone.

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September 13, 2013

Read About Vermont's 'Queen Dad' in the HuffPo — and Watch His Sitcom Pilot

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 11.54.04 AMA homophobic young man meets his father for the first time ... and Dad is in drag. That's the premise of "Queen Dad," a web-series pilot shot in the Burlington area with a local cast and crew. It stars Sëan Moran (pictured left) as the dad — a regular-dude plumber and bisexual drag performer. Matt Parisi (right), a familiar face from local theater productions like The Moreau Horrors, is his incredulous offspring.

"Queen Dad" is the brainchild of business and writing partners Moran, who lives in Shelburne, and Kansas-based Don Bledsoe. Both come to the project from careers in the entertainment industry: Moran danced in the movie Grease and seems to have appeared on every '90s TV show, from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to "Nash Bridges" to "ER." (Check out his IMDB page.) More recently, he was in Flags of Our Fathers and The Devil's Rejects.

Moran and Bledsoe are running an $8000 Indiegogo campaign for partial funding of their first season (they say they've already negotiated a deal for half the required funds) and hope to sell "Queen Dad" to a network. Bledsoe says the remaining five episodes of the season will also be shot in the Queen City area, and they're paying the cast and crew.

Continue reading "Read About Vermont's 'Queen Dad' in the HuffPo — and Watch His Sitcom Pilot" »

August 30, 2013

Breaking Bad With Middlebury TV Scholar Jason Mittell

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 11.54.32 AMBack in 2009, when I interviewed Middlebury prof Jason Mittell for a Seven Days cover story, I asked him about his favorite new TV shows. Mittell, a professor of Film & Media Culture and American Studies, focuses his research on television. (He's taught a whole course on "The Wire.")

Mittell raved about a then-obscure AMC drama called "Breaking Bad," in which a high school chemistry teacher (Bryan Cranston, pictured at right) starts cooking methamphetamine to pay his family's bills after he's diagnosed with cancer. "It’s so intense and focused," Mittell said.

I watched the show. I got addicted. And so, it seems, did a large swath of people around the world who are currently following "Breaking Bad"'s final season (five episodes to go!) with baited breath and more than occasional heart palpitations.

Mittell has been writing season 5 episode reviews for cultural-studies blog Antenna that go up shortly after each Sunday episode airs. Because I can never get enough of discussing "Breaking Bad" (to the annoyance of everyone I know who doesn't watch it), I decided to draw on his expertise and ask him questions about Skyler hate, serialized TV, Walt's karma, the great spoiler debate and anything else I could think of. Warning: intense wonkiness about "BB" and television generally from both of us ahead!

No spoilers for the show's specific plot points follow, but there is discussion of overall character arcs into early season 5, and an oblique reference to something that happens in episode 5.11.

Continue reading "Breaking Bad With Middlebury TV Scholar Jason Mittell" »

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