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The Arts | Autumn 2012

Written by Bill Anderson on . Posted in The Arts

From our Autumn 2012 issue:

Patrick Gym
Sept. 6
It might be a stretch to say that Seth Meyers helped change the course of American history. Still, coming out of the Republican convention in 2008, it seemed that John McCain had found a path to the White House in his dazzling pick for vice-president, Sarah Palin. Then, in short order, Palin was undone by a powerful one-two punch: her own fumbling performances in national media interviews, and the devastating parodies by Tina Fey on “Saturday Night Live.” After the election, one writer went so far as to say that if Palin were to have any serious future on the national stage, she would have to be “de-Feyed,” a fumigation that has yet to happen. Meyers had a big hand in all this behind the scenes, as co-writer of the skits and head writer of the program. Meyers also honed his touch with political satire over five years as Weekend Update anchor on the show, and he is a gifted mimic in his own right, known especially for his take on Sen. John Kerry during the 2004 presidential race. Meyers’ standup comedy act should be a perfect fit for September in an election year.
8 p.m., $27,

Waterfront Park
Sept. 14-15
While she climbs the rungs toward national stardom, Grace Potter has been keeping her ties to Vermont very much alive. A benefit concert last year for Tropical Storm Irene victims was one such event, and another is the Grand Point North Festival, launched in 2011 and now back with an even bigger supporting cast. Among the groups scheduled to perform are The Avett Brothers, Sam Roberts Band, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Galactic, and the festival also retains its Vermont-scene flavor with artists such as Bow Thayer, Gregory Douglass, Bob Wagner and Ryan Power. Lineups vary between Friday and Saturday, but Potter finishes both nights.
Gates open 4 p.m. Sept. 14, 3 p.m. Sept. 15; $65 two-day pass, $45 single-day,

Flynn Mainstage
Oct. 2
Rooted in traditional blues, California native Ben Harper was also looking ahead when he emerged in the mid-’90s, tapping in to a growing audience for meaningful new music that could encompass reggae, rock, world beat, folk and conscious lyrics. A spot opening for the Dave Matthews Band in 2000 took Harper beyond cult status, and since then he has been reliably restless and prolific, recording with such diverse artists as Ringo Starr, Jack Johnson, Pearl Jam, Taj Mahal, Beth Orton, and Blind Boys of Alabama.
8 p.m., $56,

Flynn Mainstage
Oct. 16
At this stage of his career, 53-year-old Morrissey is larger than life. The group that made him famous, The Smiths, is widely viewed as the most influential British indie band of the ’80s, and he is now referred to as “one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture from the last 20 years” (Pitchfork Media) or, simply, “one of the most influential artists of all time” (New Music Express). His highly literate brand of mordant disaffection eludes easy description, but a song title like “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful” gives you the idea. Michael Bracewell, writing in the liner notes of “The Best of Morrissey,” says, “One day there will probably be a Faculty of Morrissey Studies in more than one distinguished seat of learning. And, more than probably, Morrissey will make especially sure that he has nothing whatsoever to do with the proceedings.”
8 p.m., $60.75,

Flynn Mainstage
Oct. 19
Towering jazz figures in their own right, pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton have also made their mark as a duo, constantly refreshing their ideas over four decades of collaboration. Though they tour frequently, they record far less often, but this performance is tied to the newly released album “Hot House,” which features reimagined standards by composers ranging from Tadd Dameron to Bill Evans and Lennon and McCartney. The Harlem String Quartet will also perform, adding chamber jazz textures. All told, manna for discerning ears.
8 p.m., $65,

Town Hall Theater
Nov. 9
Late-blooming Iris DeMent was in her 30s in 1992 when she released her first record, “Infamous Angel,” a collection of songs so spare that music writer Gil Asakawa said they “already sound like Smoky Mountain traditionals.” Over the course of her career she has sung duets with artists such as John Prine, Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle, who were drawn to the timeless purity of her sound. “Her voice is clear and homey, with a high mountain twang and the slightest touch of country ornament; her lyrics rarely use a three-syllable word,” said the New York Times. “With that plainness, DeMent distills love, heartbreak, disillusionment and humor in songs that go straight for the heartstrings.”
7:30 p.m., $27,

Flynn Mainstage
Nov. 28
Shaolin monks date back 1,500 years in China, but as mainstream entertainment, they started in the ’70s with the TV series “Kung Fu.” Since then, Shaolin has been an object of fascination in movies, cartoons, video games and more. Rather than confront this commercialization in a fight to the death, the Shaolin hierarchy decided to embrace it, and now oversees their own theatrical troupes of preternaturally focused ambassadors. The result for audiences is a blend of believe-it-or-not physical stunts, eye-popping acrobatics, martial arts prowess and Cirque du Soleil-style stage spectacle.
7 p.m., $46,


• Dar Williams, an institution on the New England folk scene, performs a seated show Sept. 14 at the Higher Ground Ballroom in South Burlington.

• Henry Rollins, former frontman for L.A. hardcore band Black Flag, now has a multifaceted career as a radio DJ, actor and political satirist/activist. His spoken-word show “Capitalism” stops Oct. 26 at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier.

• Visit artists in their workplaces during the autumn version of Open Studio Weekend, statewide Oct. 6-7.

• The annual Made in Vermont Music Festival of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra makes numerous stops around the state: Sept. 21, Johnson; Sept. 22, Vergennes; Sept. 23, Derby Line; Sept. 27, Lyndonville; Sept. 28, Bellows Falls; Sept. 29, Randolph; Sept. 30, St. Albans; Oct. 1, Castleton.

• Book notes: The Burlington Book Festival runs Sept. 21-23; the Brattleboro Literary Festival is scheduled for Oct. 14-16. Check their websites for full schedules.

• Rutland’s “Art in the Park” takes place Oct. 6-7 at Main Street Park.

• Grammy-winning klezmer modernists The Klezmatics play Oct. 13 at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre.

• The 8th annual Plymouth Folk and Blues Concerts take place at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, Sept. 1-2. Performers include Lowell Thompson and Alastair Moock.

• Focused on the environment and human rights, the Vermont International Film Festival takes place Oct. 19-28 in Burlington.

• The 20th annual Art Hop turns Burlington’s Pine Street corridor into a two-day whirl of gallery going, live music and other creative economy happenings, Sept. 7-8.

• “The Vermont Barn,” a photography exhibit by Alan Nyiri of Poultney, runs Sept. 8 to Oct. 23 at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester.

• Polka-driven parody king “Weird Al” Yankovic plays the Flynn Center in Burlington, Oct. 20.

Please note:
• Schedules subject to change.
• Other events available at
• To sign up for our free monthly e-newsletter that contains updated entertainment suggestions, visit

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