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Live Culture: Vermont Arts News and Views


January 17, 2014

RIP, Beano. Wards Founder Bob "Beano" Parker Passes Away

429061_3468799244992_1831449427_nThe Burlington music community was saddened to learn that guitarist Bob "Beano" Parker passed away last night after battling an undisclosed illness for the past two years. Parker was best known as a founding member of the Wards, widely regarded as the first punk band in Vermont.

In a career dating back to the late 1970s, Parker penned some 200 songs. In addition to the Wards, he was a member of X-tractions — a precursor to the Wards — Nation of Hate, Roman Shades, Cut and, most recently, Gas & Oil. Parker was 52.

We'll have more on Parker's life and music in next week's issue, including some great stories from his friends and bandmates, info on a show planned in Beano's honor at the Monkey House for Thursday, January 23, and that time the Wards ran for mayor of Burlington against Bernie Sanders. Like, the whole band.

In the meantime, here's a video featuring the Wards' signature song, "Weapons Factory," from their seminal 1984 record — pressed on blue vinyl! — This World Ain't Pretty and Neither Are We. RIP, Beano.






Movies You Missed & More: Paradise: Love

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 10.03.51 AMNext week I'll start reviewing some Movies You (probably) Missed that just received Oscar nominations. Meanwhile...

This week in movies you missed: A middle-aged Austrian frau tries sex tourism.

What You Missed

Fifty-year-old divorcee Teresa (Margarethe Tiesel) says goodbye to her teenage daughter and leaves her bleak apartment in Vienna for a sunny Kenyan vacation.

She finds herself in a sterile beach resort with armed guards protecting her from the populace. Her friend from home (Inge Maux) tells Teresa that great opportunities lie beyond the fences — namely, handsome young men who are eager to find European "sugar mamas."

Unlike her friend, Teresa hates the idea of paying for sex; what she seeks is a man who will look her straight in the eyes. After an awkward false start, she finds a young Kenyan named Munga (Peter Kazungu) who will interact with her like a lover and not a prostitute. Or so she thinks, until he starts asking for money.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed & More: Paradise: Love" »

January 13, 2014

Director Werner Herzog's Latest Film Is a Vermont Exclusive

UPDATES BELOW: 12/26/13 & 1/14/13

Though the semester is nearly over, a film class at the University of Vermont has welcomed a new student: acclaimed director Werner Herzog.

Herzog, who has been making films since the early 1960s and is best known for his films Aguirre, the Wrath of God; Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams, has been an artist-in-residence at Dartmouth College for the past semester, working with students and speaking at public screenings of his films.

UVM professor Peter Gruner Shellenberger, a visiting lecturer in film and photography, recently took some students in one of his filmmaking classes to Hanover to hear Herzog speak about his films. Shellenberger brought to the event a vintage Super-8 camera, preloaded with film and, at the Q&A session, asked Herzog if he would use the camera to make a film for the UVM students.

To Shellenberger's surprise, Herzog agreed.

"Did I think he would do this?" asks Shellenberger rhetorically. "Never in a million years. But, then, there’s a part of me that maybe knew that he would be open to it," he adds, referring to Herzog's reputation for unusual film projects.

Two weeks after giving Herzog the camera, Shellenberger received it in the mail, with a roll of unexposed film still inside it. Herzog also included a few unusual conditions:

What should happen is the following: please develop the film and hand it over to your students. My demand is the following: they have to make films, collectively or individually, which should include my footage. Obviously, they do not need to take everything, nor in the order I filmed the material.

The title of their film/films has to be WHERE’S DA PARTY AT?

In my footage this appears in one of the graffiti, and at least this portion of the text should appear in the film, or all the films.

Continue reading "Director Werner Herzog's Latest Film Is a Vermont Exclusive" »

Nail Man John Bisbee Brings Contemporary Art to the Shelburne Museum

Bisbee1Since construction began on the Pizzagalli Center for Arts and Education, excitement built about having a venue open year-round at the Shelburne Museum — and one that would enable the beloved folk art institution to exhibit current work in a state-of-the-art gallery.

So it's apropos somehow that an artist whose medium is building nails is the Pizzagalli's first contemporary artist (the venue opened last fall with an exhibition from the permanent collection). His medium is also in a line historically with the museum's collection of metal pieces, not to mention the blacksmith shop.

Maine sculptor and longtime Bowdoin College art prof John Bisbee (pictured right at his exhibit installation) employs foot-long nails — they're called Bright Common nails, I learned — to create both wall-mounted and freestanding works. Despite their heft and scale, they are graceful and elegant — and yet playful.

I'll be reviewing the show, "New Blooms," which opens this Saturday, in Seven Days at a later date, but wanted to note what fun my sneak preview last week was — both because the show was a revelation and seeing it come together even more so, and because its creator is, as museum director Tom Denenberg calls him, a "hurricane." In a good way.

Bisbee is warm, engaging, funny, direct and unconventional. No cooler-than-thou vibe here. His kinetic energy and enthusiasm is contagious; It was clear that he had charmed the socks off the museum staff, and kept his own crew — a mixture of students from Maine and relatives from Vermont — on task with wit, good cheer and a lot of positive reinforcement.

The ability to make everyone feel good while working hard is a gift, but no more so than Bisbee's way with nails. If it sounds simplistic to work with just one material, it is — and it isn't. You try inventing a polygonous form from welded steel nails whose sides resemble flowers and you'll see. Never mind then arranging dozens of these floral forms into a wall sculpture ("Floresco") that looks different from every angle.

Continue reading "Nail Man John Bisbee Brings Contemporary Art to the Shelburne Museum" »

Dispatch 011314 From 'Overheard on Church Street'

 No way, man. It’s too cold to get my lighter out ... Unless you got a joint?

— Two men


She broke my tooth. Bitch deserved it.

— Two women


One intrepid Burlington resident has been compiling random heard-on-the-street comments in a tumblr blog aptly called Overheard on Church Street since 2010. Every Monday, the blogger shares a couple of snippets with Live Culture. You can read more at the OOCS archive. Submissions are also welcome.

January 10, 2014

Movies You Missed & More: Blackfish

Blackfish_Dogwoof_Documentary_7_1600_900_85This week in movies you missed: Scientists call it orca. Native Americans call it blackfish. SeaWorld calls it Shamu.

Gabriela Cowperthwaite's Oscar-shortlisted documentary argues that we should treat the killer whale with more respect. The result: a raft of performers have canceled their SeaWorld appearances. (Today, for instance, Trace Adkins.)

What You Missed

In 2010, an experienced trainer named Dawn Brancheau was killed by an orca named Tilikum during a SeaWorld show. Nearly 20 years earlier, the same whale (according to some witnesses) had drowned a trainer at his original home in a British Columbia sea park. Tilikum is also considered responsible for the death of a disturbed man who decided to "swim with the whales" at SeaWorld in 1999.

Trainer carelessness? Psychotic animal? Or proof that orcas don't belong in captivity?

Blackfish strongly takes the third position. Its stance is summed up by one interviewee's soundbite: "If you were in a bathtub for 25 years, don’t you think you’d get a little psychotic?"

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

January 06, 2014

Dispatch 010614 From 'Overheard on Church Street'



You’re doing better than we are! I almost fell three times and broke my neck! This fuckin ice!

— Man yelling at man in wheelchair


Burlington’s bullshit but they got good breakfast.

— Three men


One intrepid Burlington resident has been compiling random heard-on-the-street comments in a tumblr blog aptly called Overheard on Church Street since 2010. Now, every Monday, the blogger shares a couple of snippets with Live Culture. You can read more at the OOCS archive. Submissions are also welcome.

January 03, 2014

Movies You Missed & More: Berberian Sound Studio

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 9.36.37 AMThis week in movies you missed: You've seen the "art of horror." Now hear the sound of horror.

What You Missed

Gilderoy (Toby Jones), a meek British sound engineer known for his work on nature and children's programs, has been hired to mix a brutal Italian horror flick in the Dario Argento vein.

He's way out of his depth at the Italian studio. The pompous producer (Cosimo Fusco) and lecherous director (Antonio Mancini) roll their eyes at Gilderoy's shyness and squeamishness. The secretary gives him the runaround when he tries to get his expenses reimbursed. And he just can't get used to the bearded Foley artists, known as Massimo and Massimo, who smash melons to approximate smashing heads.

Surrounded by the sounds of mayhem, Gilderoy starts to imagine himself the savior of a young actress doing ADR (Fatma Mohamed) who clashes with the producer over the volume of her screams.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed & More: Berberian Sound Studio" »

Winooski Circle Arts Loses Lease, Looks for New Home

Lizacowen121113With barely three months behind it, the cooperative gallery Winooski Circle Arts — yes, facing the infamous traffic circle — was informed by building owner Hall Keen that it had to move out by January 15. Co-owner Liza Cowan sent a letter to members of the nascent co-op yesterday giving them the bad news.

But, she said, there is also good news — almost. Cowan is in negotiations for another space "that will be even better than the one we are now in," and hopes to announce that next week.

Cowan put a positive spin on the developments:

When we started with the pop-ups in 2011, none of the commercial spaces were occupied, and it seemed nobody wanted them. When artists move in, they make a neighborhood exciting and desirable, and then others, with more income and cash flow, want to move in.

In the case of the Hall Keen building, this has been a good thing. This year oak45, the new bar, opened its doors, then Salon Salon, the hair salon, moved in, and soon Misery Loves Company will open its bakery. These are all wonderful, local businesses and we are happy that they are here, and wish them all the very best success.

Seven Days wrote — too optimistically, it turned out — about WCA settling in "to stay" in a State of the Arts story, and in our year-end follow-ups. But Cowan and fellow owner Jodi Harrington are nothing if not doggedly determined to show and sell art in Winooski. We have no doubt they'll find a new home. Meantime, the store is open 11-5 through January 15.

Stay tuned for updates.

Matthew Thorsen file photo of Winooski Circle Arts interior in December.



December 30, 2013

Dispatch 123013 From 'Overheard on Church Street'


From a physical standpoint and all, he’s totally her type. Besides the gun charge.

— Woman to man


I keep telling you fuckers why I’m miserable all the time but none of you ever listen to me.

— Three men

One intrepid Burlington resident has been compiling random heard-on-the-street comments in a tumblr blog aptly called Overheard on Church Street since 2010. Now, every Monday, the blogger shares a couple of snippets with Live Culture. You can read more at the OOCS archive. Submissions are also welcome.



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