Television | Live Culture | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice


Monday, October 9, 2017

Alison Bechdel Is One of Three Female Cartoonists Spoofed in "The Simpsons"

Posted By on Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 12:11 PM

You know you've made it in the world of entertainment when you get drawn with yellow skin and four fingers. (Unless you're Jesus or God. Then you get five.)

Chalk up yet another comic coup for longtime Bolton resident Alison Bechdel. The 57-year-old Vermont Cartoonist Laureate and veteran Seven Days  contributor  is perhaps best known for her syndicated  comic strip, "Dykes to Watch Out For" and for her graphic novel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. The latter was later adapted into a 2015 Tony Award-winning musical. (Find a review of the current Vermont Stage production in this week's issue of Seven Days.)

On Sunday night, Bechdel played herself as one of three female cartoonists — along with Roz Chast and Marjane Satrapi — spoofed in classic "Simpsons" style. The episode's title, "Springfield Splendor," is a riff on the late comic Harvey Pekar's "American Splendor."

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Ben Stiller Brings Casting Call for Prison Escape Series to Plattsburgh

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 1:08 PM

Ben Stiller - DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
  • Ben Stiller
In recent weeks, Ben Stiller has been spotted in various locations around Plattsburgh and upstate New York.

And just what is the famed comedic actor doing in the sleepy Lake City, exactly? Pounding Bud Light Limes at the Naked Turtle, perhaps? Getting in some quality "me time" after splitting with longtime wife and fellow actor Christine Taylor? Scouting locales for Zoolander 3, Meet the Grandparents or (pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease) Mystery Men 2?

Almost, but not quite.

Stiller is indeed scouting locations for a new project. He's directing an untitled miniseries for Showtime centered on the June 2015 prison escape of two inmates from the Clinton Correctional Facility in nearby Dannemora, N.Y.

And guess what? You can be in it! A casting call for the series is slated for this Saturday, July 22, at the Strand Center Theatre in downtown Plattsburgh.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

PBS to Air Documentary on Rutland Basketball and Racism

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM

'Divided by Diversity' film poster - COURTESY OF DUANE CARLETON
  • Courtesy Of Duane Carleton
  • 'Divided by Diversity' film poster
Local filmmaker Duane Carleton's documentary, Divided by Diversity, premieres on Vermont PBS  on Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m. The doc centers on the Mount St. Joseph Academy basketball team that won the 2011-12 Division II high school state championship.

Specifically, Carleton's film chronicles the racism that five black athletes from the Bronx faced after enrolling at the private Catholic school in Rutland to play basketball. Some parents and players complained about losing playing time to "outsiders." The five players also endured racist epithets from rival fans during games.

Cam Whittemore, a postal service worker
 who played surrogate mother to the athletes, was featured on the cover of Seven Days in December.

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

"Tanner on Tanner" Launches Film Series at Main Street Museum

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 11:06 AM

Michael Murphy and Cynthia Nixon in "Tanner on Tanner" - SUNDANCE CHANNEL
  • Sundance Channel
  • Michael Murphy and Cynthia Nixon in "Tanner on Tanner"
Burlington resident Allan Nicholls may be best known to movie lovers for his role as team captain Johnny Upton in the 1977 hockey comedy Slap Shot. Canadiens fans apparently still feel the same: When Nicholls, a Montréal native, attended a game earlier this year, the Centre Belle camera operator found Nicholls in the crowd and broadcast his image on the mega-screens. The crowd roundly cheered.

Nicholls’ career in film is better defined, however, by his decades-long collaboration with Robert Altman. He worked with the renowned director in a variety of capacities on some two dozen films. That makes him uniquely qualified to introduce a screening of Altman's incisive 2004 political mockumentary series “Tanner on Tanner.”

On Friday, April 1, the event kicks off a new monthly series called Alt: Cinema at White River Junction’s Main Street Museum. Its mission is to use film as a catalyst for community discussion.

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Vermont PBS Begins Series With Tech Star Victoria Taylor

Posted By on Sat, Jan 16, 2016 at 1:49 PM

  • Courtesy of Vermont PBS
  • Victoria Taylor
Last fall Vermont PBS announced that Victoria Taylor, former organizer of the popular "Ask Me Anything" forum on reddit, would be the face of its new tech-focused show, "InnoVaTe." The six-episode mini-series, which features Vermont's tech entrepreneurs, launches in its entirety online on Tuesday, January 19.

Each 10-minute episode takes viewers behind the scenes of tech-centric companies such as Generator, Burlington's maker space; and Logic Supply, the manufacturer of compact industrial computers. Seven Days' annual Tech Jam gets a spot, too. 

When reporter Ethan de Seife wrote about Taylor's new gig in October, he called her an "ideal choice" to host the show because of both her love for public television and her tech savvy. Find out more at Vermont PBS, and watch the promo below:

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Vermont's Ernest 'E-Knock' Phillips Competes on 'The Amazing Race'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Vermont dancer Ernest "E-Knock" Phillips is no stranger to reality television. He's shown off his sizzling moves on "So You Think You Can Dance" and "America's Best Dance Crew." But this summer, Phillips went after something even bigger: the $1 million grand prize on CBS' globe-trotting competition "The Amazing Race." He and his brother, Jin Lao, were one of 11 teams competing on the hit show's 27th season, which hits the air waves on Friday, September 25.

How far around the world did E-Knock get? You'll have to watch to find out. Meanwhile, watch the CBS video embedded here, in which he and Lao introduce themselves and explain why they're after the prize. Phillips describes himself as working "four jobs" and sleeping in his car. He also says he doesn't like flying with his brother — which could cause some ratings-bait friction as they race from one pit stop to the next. For his part, Lao describes Phillips as the "Eddie Murphy" of the duo, because he's seldom at a loss for words.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trekonderoga Beams 'Star Trek' Into the North Country

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 1:33 PM

  • Courtesy of Trekonderoga and Retro Film Studios
  • The bridge set on USS Enterprise
For Trekkies, Vermont and the North Country often feel like the outer reaches of the galaxy, where no Star Trek convention has gone before.

But for three days this weekend, starting at noon Friday, September 4, fans of the classic 1960s sci-fi television series — commonly referred to as "Star Trek: The Original Series" — can beam down to Ticonderoga, N.Y., for the inaugural Trekonderoga 2015.

The first-ever Star Trek convention in the Adirondacks is being co-hosted by the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance and Retro Film Studios. The latter is a Ticonderoga-based fan film group that produces "Star Trek: New Voyages" episodes based on the original series, all of which are available on the internet and viewable free of charge here.

Fans of "Star Trek: TOS" series will definitely want to check out the set of the bridge from the first USS Enterprise, which Retro Film Studios recreated using original blueprints acquired from Desilu Productions.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Vermont — and Howard Dean — Star on 'Jeopardy!'

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 6:31 PM

Earlier this month, Monkton teacher Kate La Rivière-Gagner walked away from the "Jeopardy!" teachers tournament with $10,000.

Turns out that's not the only moment of "Jeopardy!" stardom Vermont achieved in February: The program devoted an entire category to the Green Mountain State on last night's show.

Thanks to some helpful fans on the forum, we dug up the full list of Vermont-centric questions. Er, we meant answers.

The $200 clue: "The French words 'Vert' & 'Mont' mean this, giving the state its nickname as well as its name."

For $400, continuing the total softball trend: "About 8,000 folks living there make this the least-populated state capital."

Next, "The Vermont quarter shows a hardy resident holding a bucket to tap 2 of these trees."

Really, though, would it have been a category about Vermont if it didn't mention maple? After all, Vermont produces the most maple syrup of any state in the nation. (No, Québec, you don't count).

Incidentally, Stephanie Engel, one of last night's contestants, taps maples at her home in Pennsylvania. Despite her hobby, she was not the first to ring in.

The $800 clue was trickier: "Naturally, the 400-mile-long Connecticut River forms the boundary between Vermont and this state." Don't lie — if you didn't live here, you'd probably have guessed Connecticut, too.

And finally, the $1,000 clue was "Time for a shout out to this ex-Vermont governor." Though by "shout," we're pretty sure they meant "scream." The Vermont State Police apparently dominated the round:
We're just glad there were no questions about the vocal Facebook opponents of the state's proposed Latin motto.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Vermont Historical Society Gets 'Lost in Space'

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 8:25 AM

Of course it's Vermont. Just look at all that plaid! - LOSTINSPACE.WIKIA.COM
  • Of course it's Vermont. Just look at all that plaid!
You won't find the small Vermont town of Hatfield Corners on any road atlas, or even in the most complete of gazetteers. You can't even get there by car. For that, you'll need a specialized gizmo ... from outer space.

Hatfield Corners exists only in "Return From Outer Space," a first-season episode of the classic mid-1960s TV show "Lost in Space." In it, Will Robinson discovers an alien device that somehow beams him back to his home planet, and the earthly spot where he lands just happens to be a fictional Vermont town. And, wouldn't you know it, the locals don't believe young Will's story that he's been alienistically transported there from somewhere beyond Alpha Centauri. Poor Will Robinson. Always in danger.

Attendees of the Vermont Historical Society's Annual Meeting and Fall Conference are encouraged to watch "Return From Outer Space" (it's streaming on Hulu), the better to appreciate public programs coordinator Amanda Gustin's talk, "Vermont vs. Hollywood: The Green Mountain State on Film." The talk will also feature other film and television clips that depict fictional versions of Vermont.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vermont Filmmakers Contribute to CNBC Doc on Mac Parker

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 7:13 AM

Mac Parker - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Mac Parker

Followers of the Mac Parker saga, which Seven Days and other local news outlets have covered extensively for the last several years, have come to expect curveballs. The most recent development is less of a headline-grabber, but one that will likely lend some context to the fascinating story of this man's alleged criminal activities. Two Vermont filmmakers have contributed to a new, soon-to-be-broadcast documentary that details the tale's strange twists and turns.

Rob Koier, the director of the 2012 documentary Strength of the Storm, and Mark Covino, co-director of the music doc A Band Called Death, are developing a full-length film about Parker. For now, some of the footage they've shot will appear in an episode of the long-running CNBC series "American Greed." The deal to license the footage was struck in January, and the episode will air later this week.

Parker, an Addison County-based storyteller, was convicted of defrauding investors of $28 million to fund a putative film project called Birth of Innocence. Most of the money was reportedly funneled to Parker's "silent partner" and former spiritual guru, a Connecticut man named Louis Soteriou. Soteriou has been sentenced to seven years in prison; a judge recently upheld Parker's own 55-month sentence for his part in the fraud scheme.

The footage that Covino and Koier licensed to CNBC originates from three lengthy interviews that Covino shot with Parker in October 2013. In the first, Parker told the filmmakers about his background; the second, clocking in at seven hours, finds Parker discussing Birth of Innocence and his ensuing legal troubles. The third interview, says Covino, wasn't even intended to be an interview — just some shots of Parker arriving at prison in upstate New York.

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