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Back Talk

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GETTING THE HANG OF IT Burlington’s Exquisite Corpse Artsite died slowly, and elegantly, at Jager DiPaola Kemp Design in July 1999. Employee Rachel Comey curated shows in the lower Maple Street space for three and a half years before the higher-ups pulled the plug. The costs of running a public gallery in a private business “really got kinda high,” says partner David Kemp, who handles the company finances. But the exhibition idea never went away. A little less than two years after its demise, a funky and less formal gallery has been resurrected in the design firm’s basement. Sanctuary Artsite opens its doors this Friday with a show titled “Reflector: Collected Skateboard Memories and Influences.” Although it looks like part of the show, the ramp in the middle of the room is permanent. “We see that as being part of our corporate culture,” says Kemp. Not to mention good client relations. JDK, which developed the graphics and marketing for Burton Snowboards, has also been doing brand identity work for the Segway Human Transport company. No $3000 scooters in this show, though. Twenty-five-year-old Nathan Nedorostek is curating the space, which Kemp promises will be “a progressive venue for art that might not be viewed in public galleries.” Friday sure won’t be your typical art opening. Along with the requisite wine and cheese, “Everybody is going to be free to skate the ramp,” Nedorostek offers enthusiastically. Even without wheels, you won’t be board.

WAITING FOR FALLOUT Call it absurd, but the estate of Samuel Beckett takes its stage directions seriously. The slightest alteration in script can set them off. When a prominent director wanted to update Endgame by locating it in a subway station, the estate brought an injunction against the theater company. So Mark Nash of Vermont Stage Company is justifiably nervous about casting a woman in the role of Lucky — one of five players in the minimalist drama. “I am not making Lucky a woman,” he explains, “and we are not changing the language. She is still referred to has a he.” Although he doubts the Beckett bunch would take on such a small theater company, he muses, “It would be an interesting fight.” That the Lucky lady happens to be his wife, Kathryn Blume, calls for a different defense. “I cast her about once a season,” Nash says of Blume, who played Stella in last year’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire. So far no one on the Vermont Stage board has charged Nash with nepotism. Because Blume is a non-Equity player, he notes, “she’s a good actor and less expensive” — by about $700 a week. “I was actually more concerned about casting myself, and thought I’d catch flack for that,” says Nash, adding that if Blume were overhearing all this, she’d be giving him “a look”… that Beckett would surely love.

NO-SHOWS Osama bin Laden took the fall for cancelled culture in September and October, but the war in Afghanistan had nothing to do with two recent no-shows that have made early January a little bit less entertaining. Hopkins Center Program Director Margaret Lawrence worked for three years to book a Dutch production of Quick Lime that was also scheduled for the Flynn. But instead of getting a U.S. premiere for her troubles, which involved overcoming management mishaps, personnel changes and lost e-mail messages, she got word the lead actor — the only actor, in fact — was suffering from a knee injury. “I felt like somebody had just run over my dog,” says Lawrence. “I had to give funding back to the Dutch Consulate. I hate giving funding back” . . . Back in Burlington, veteran playwright and director Steve Goldberg lost face when his leading man bailed six days before the scheduled opening of Rough Landing on a Soft Cranium. New York actor Jason Davis came to Vermont because he wanted to work with Goldberg. “It was all rehearsed. Then I got a call from him saying, ‘I don’t feel good about this,’” Goldberg says. “He was on ‘Dawson’s Creek’ for about three minutes. That was his big claim to fame.”

IN BRIEF: How many ice cubes does it take to transform the Flynn stage into a skating rink? Five tons, spread by hand using special rakes, according to a recent communication from the theater. The technical requirements for the St. Petersburg State Ice Ballet production of Slipping, er Sleeping Beauty are unprecedented. It takes 24 hours to fill and freeze a collapsable rink cooled by refrigerant delivered via a lacy network of plastic piping. More chilling, the Vermont Youth Orchestra is scheduled to perform the following afternoon on the same stage. Lutz of luck . . . It’s not going to help Rutland’s reputation, but Edgewood Studios has snagged a low-budget horror film — about spiders — that will shoot in late February. Brett Piper’s Arachnia is about a group of graduate students who discover a den of large, prehistoric spiders. Not surprisingly, the bugs are hungry and looking for food. Edgewood is looking for interns, extras and actors for the movie, including a lecherous professor, his stylish assistant and two “bubble-headed” college girls who are willing to bare more than just their long legs. Contact Melanie Baker at 773-0510 or check out the “web” site at www.edgewoodstudios.com for more information.

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