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Bada Bing Bang

Back Talk


Published April 11, 2001 at 4:18 p.m.

It took a great performance by Ariel Kiley to earn “The Sopranos” a bad rap last week in the New York Post. The daughter of Vermont actress Grace Kiley got her big break playing Tracee, a 20-year-old stripper and single mom who is beaten to death by misogynist mobster Ralphie Cifaretto. Thankfully, the young Kiley got to show her stuff before she got the stuffing knocked out of her. Her tragic portrayal of a hapless prostitute was “acted remarkably,” according to the Post, in what columnist Adam Buckman describes as “an especially ugly episode.” Lamenting an escalating level of violence on the hit show, Buckman suggests no prior bloodshed has “compared to the sight of Ralphie laying into Tracee like she was a human punching bag.” Her mom had a similar reaction: “When they were beating her up, I kept saying, ‘This isn’t real. This isn’t real.’ So I could get through it.” Although the young actress is unlikely to appear again on “The Sopranos” this season, another Vermonter showed up in the credits of the most recent episode. “Second Opinion,” which aired Sunday night, was written by Lawrence Konner, a former Burlingtonian who once made a living selling sandwiches door to door at the University of Vermont. He relocated to Hollywood, where he collaborated on screenplays for a slew of bad movies, including Superman 4, The Beverly Hillbillies and Desperate Hours. He even produced a documentary, about homelessness, that showed up in the Vermont International Film Festival. Rumor has it Konner’s been chosen to write the final episode of the season with “Sopranos” creator David Chase.

WILD CARD: U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords is making waves in Washington, and the ripples reached all the way to a radio station in Winooski last week. WKDR talk show host Mark Johnson got a call from the White House, offering an eight-minute interview with chief of staff Andrew Card. “I think I got 15 minutes out of him,” Johnson says of the Wednesday exchange, during which the two discussed the tax cut proposed by President Bush. Jeffords stands —resolutely — in the Shrub’s way. “If Jeffords continues to be a critical vote, it might be helpful in getting important people in Washington on my program, and I’m happy about that — even if the senator is unwilling to appear,” says Johnson. Every little bit helps when you are losing the biggest mouth in the business. By the first of June, Rush Limbaugh will no longer be heard afternoons on 1390 AM. Clear Channel Communications, the megacorporation that owns distribution rights to his show, will be moving Limbaugh to its new talk station, “The Zone,” at 96.7 FM and 960 AM. That leaves a three-hour hole between noon and 3 p.m. on WKDR. Owner Ken Squier sums it up, “Just when we thought we had all the cats in the bag, one got out.”

IN BRIEF: “It’s getting embarrassing,” David Budbill says of his most favored poet status on Garrison Keillor’s morning radio show, “The Writer’s Almanac.” On Monday, the Wolcott wordsmith heard yet another of his poems read aloud on National Public Radio — his 15th in the past 17 months. In a separate deal, he got a choice seven-minute slot on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” during which he read “Bugs in a Bowl” with ceramic accompaniment. Still no invitation from Keillor for “Prairie Home Companion,” though. Says Budbill, “I’m waiting for him to come over and ask me to dance.” . . . . . Over at Resolution in South Burlington, they do a lot more than duplicate and ship videotapes all over the world. They produce and shoot specials and documentaries for cable networks like A&E and Discovery. Co-owner and cinematographer Jimmy Taylor has been nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Photography for the series, “Pets: Part of the Family,” which airs nationally on public television stations with host Gary Burghoff of M.A.S.H. fame. Taylor has shot 26 shows all over the English-speaking world. Ruff life. . . Muddy Waters flow south. After seven years of caffeinating crowds on Main Street, owners Mark and Carrie MacKillop are opening a new eating establishment in the Shelburne Shopping Plaza. Instead of coffee and scones, they’ll be serving pizza and salads. The name will be improved, too, from Pepperoni’s to Fibonacci’s, after the Italian mathematician . . . Burlington is expecting plenty of protesters in anticipation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas “meeting” in Quebec City next week. And Vergennes publishers Beverly Red and Mitch Hall hope to inspire them with Ignoring Binky: The Life and Times of Victor Evertor a self-published “graphic novel” that explores the mentality of an emblematic evil multinational chief executive officer. Red illustrated the anti-capitalist comic book that is on sale at Borders, Book Rack, Bear Pond Books, Vermont Bookshop and the Peace and Justice Center — easy reading for the road, or a few days in the slammer. . .

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