brave little stateis Vermont Public's listener-focused journalism program. In each episode, we answer a question about Vermont that you, our audience, asked and voted on. Because we want our journalism to be more inclusive, transparent and fun.
In this episode, we answer a question inspired by a song you may have heard: "Stick Season" by Vermont musician Noah Kahan.
Noah grew up between Strafford, Vermont and New Hampshire. And he was inspired to write the song that quickly became a viral hit after returning to Vermont during the pandemic.
300 million views later and "Stick Season" is still a global sensation. And Sara Morin from Windsor wants to know:
"Noah Kahan's 'Stick Season' has people from all over the world singing about Vermont. What else has put Vermont on the cultural radar across the country and the world?"
To answer Sara's question, Myra Flynn goes from Brave Little State to Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles to get a sense of our state's reputation on the other coast. He then convenes a roundtable of Vermont experts for a pop culture edition ofbrave little state.
Note: In the spirit of March Madness (and in the spirit of fun, friendly competition), we've put together a group of 64 of Vermont's greatest influences on contemporary culture. Our goal? Determine once and for all which Vermont phenomenon has had the greatest impact.Learn more here!
Our show is made for the ear! We recommend that you press play on the audio posted here if possible. We also provide some recommended episodes written below.
- Jane Lindholm,Presenter and executive producer ofBut why: a podcast for curious children.Former presenter and editor ofVermont Edition
- Louis Calderin,Former Burton Snowboards Brand Manager & Director of Arts, Culture and Youth Vote for Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential Campaign
- Dan Bolles,Assistant Art Editor forSeven days
(zipped and edited for clarity)
Louis Calderin:I never take anything but Vermont maple syrup. It's really funny because there's a fake maple syrup called "Vermont Maid". It's like that maple syrup you buy in supermarkets all over the country.
Jane Lindholm: Maple flavored syrup.
Louis Calderin:It was a national play about Vermont maple syrup. But Vermont maple syrup. It's like, that's it. It's not real unless it's Vermont maple syrup.
Jane Lindholm:I mean, the thing about Vermont maple syrup is that Vermont produces by far the most maple syrup in the United States. And it certainly has a reputation for being the best maple syrup available. And I think anyone in Vermont would say it's the best maple syrup. But all we have to do is cross the border into Canada and dwarf our consumption and production of maple syrup.
Louis Calderin:We noticed. The brand is the winner here because perception is reality. Actually, Canada produces more. However, in North America and many other parts of the world, it is known as the "Vermont Maple".
Jane Lindholm:If you're from Wisconsin, you probably think you're from the cheese state, right? But we say, "Oh no, we're the cheese state... Have you had that yet?jasper hillcheese? It's so good." Sure, if you can afford $18 cheese, but if you're just going to buy some cheddar, you know, again, like, "I'll get youcabotCombined with my grilled cheese sandwiches… we have excellent cheese.” But also when it comes to production, when it comes to how other people feel about the cheese, it all depends on who eats the cheese, right? ...For the record, I love Jasper Hill cheese.
Jane Lindholm:To believeBen & Jerry'sit is one of the cultural touchstones most people know about Vermont.
Louis Calderin:It was actually one of those first Vermont companies to take over nationally and internationally, through licensing and just opening their own little shops everywhere. So it was really one of those brands that, from South Beach and Miami to Australia, actually had physical representation in many cities across the country and around the world in just a few short years. So he forced people to say, "What kind of brand is this?" And then learn a little about the state he's from and the values he knows he stands for in Vermont.
More from Vermont Public:
Dan Bolles:This statistic gets thrown out when people in Vermont talk about beer like we do.more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the country. And I think much of the craft beer boom that the country has experienced in recent years can be attributed to a few things that happened in Vermont. You know, the craft beer movement really predates when Vermont started it, it was a little bit more of a west coast phenomenon migrating east. But I think it's due to some of the early adopters, like brandsMagic hat, long way, catamount, which really helped make craft beer in Vermont more widely known and draw a lot of people there. And from there it just exploded... like beer tourism really existed, like people came to Vermont specifically to go to all these great breweries that we have here. So it's really something else that put Vermont on the map.
and sandwiches: Hallmark [posted] many of them themselves.christmas movie[in Vermont] - I don't know if I should admit this on air, but I'm secretly a Hallmark addict. And I love them. They are so stupid. Only one of them, as far as I know, was filmed in Vermont, and the rest were pretty much all filmed in Western Canada.
Jane Lindholm: Do you still remember?Captain Phillipsmovie? That, of course, was about Captain Phillips, who is from Vermont, and his ship was hijacked and held captive for a while. There's a scene where he's going to the Burlington airport, and he's on a five-lane highway with overpasses, and you know, it's one of those scenes where you're like, 'Oh come on.
Myra Flynn: And then there are some movies that were shot here, right?Me, me and Irene.Actually, my husband was in that movie because there were very few black men in Vermont who needed extras.
Jane Lindholm: Maybe I met your husband then because they were filming a lot of those scenes in Middlebury and... I lived in Vermont for the summer and couldn't get home from my waitressing job because the film crew had blocked a road. to my house. So every day I thought, 'Damn,Me, me and Irene."I still have two kilometers to walk to get home."
Myra Flynn:beetle juiceon the right was filmed here and therefunny farmjBaby boom. And then some things that everyone wanted to talk about, like the Bob Newhart Show.
Louis Calderin: I take it - says the Cuban from Miami. SoBob Newhart-showIt was late 70's I think, early 80's. ButNieuwhartThe show was set in the mid 80's or early 90's. And the whole show was about some kind of big city guy repositioning himself in a quaint Vermont town... So for me, as a kid and I watched TV in the Times, moving to Vermont was literally like leavingMiami policeANieuwhartshow.
Dan Bolles:I think when we talk about the Vermont phenomenon in relation to music, the conversation starts and ends withphishing. They are almost unimaginably large. In the 1990s, when they were at their peak, they were regularly in the top four or five highest grossing touring bands in the world... [The company] has the likes of Madonna, Elton John and Metallica on that list, as artists iconic , iconic And then there's this weird, weird band from Vermont. But to me, aside from its incredible popularity, Phish became sort of synonymous with Vermont music. It had a ripple effect on the Vermont music scene, where Burlington became known as a haven for jam bands. When I was at UVM, there were literally people who went to UVM just because Phish was from Burlington.
but frombrave little state:Why do people like Phish? A guide for the uninitiated.
Jane Lindholm:The wonderful thing about itHadestown…people outside of Vermont don't necessarily associate it with Vermont, but the people of Vermont are really proud of itAnaïs Mitchelland am very proud of itHadestowncame here to bubble up a bit. It was a little traveling show! She wrote it, she's from here, she studied here. She lived here. She wrote this and then toured places like Montpelier. And you know, people saw it in the beginning and loved it. And so I think here in Vermont we're proud of someone who made this great thing here and it's not known as part of Vermont but we in Vermont you know we claim Anais Mitchell whether she likes us or not. .
Dan Bolles:I discussed it when Anais first performed it. And I went to all the rehearsals at the Barre Labor Hall, like this little secluded place in Barre. And that production cast a lot of local people... so it's a really cool success story in Vermont.
They want morebrave little state? Sign up for our newsletter and receive program updates approximately every other Saturday.
Jane Lindholm: Vermont is known for nature. And I think that's part of our prestige. And it is certainly part of the tourism campaign. But it's also part of who we are as a state and what we value. We don't allow billboards, we try to connect with our wildlife, we try - sometimes it fails - to have farmland that can preserve our rural nature. I think as we continue to grow and see more climate refugees, we're going to have to grapple with some of that, but it's part of what Vermont is fundamentally about: a place that values the outdoors.
Myra Flynn: Bernie came inSaturday night live, just as people have portrayed Bernie. He has also become famous as a character, this”meme bernie.”... Why did you become so famous as a character?
Louis Calderin: I mean, it was super surreal, this whole thing about, you know, just becoming part of pop culture. And I think the senator was aware of that, yes. But then, and I still think, he was quite focused on his main issues. He was always aware of everything that happened, but he always tried his best to acknowledge it and get back to the main issues that arose.
Myra Flynn: So when Cardi B supported him and dated him, did he understand that he had made it big in the world of hip-hop?
Louis Calderin: I had the chance to meet him and say, "Hey, there's all the big rappers, you know, talking about you. There's a guy named Killer Mike, and he's a big fan." And he goes, "So that Killer Mike, is he any good?... I don't know if you noticed, but I'm an old white guy. I don't know much about hip-hop."
Jane Lindholm:I think what Luis says is part of what makes it so memorable. You know, Bernie will be Bernie, he'll be focused on the things that matter to him. And her choice of clothes is not something that worries her. Ten years ago, there was a national article about how Bernie Sanders "seemed to change his appearance" because his hair was being brushed more often in the Senate. It was like this breathless article about how Bernie is cleaner than usual. But he never seemed to care... and that won't change because he's become famous.
Other topics mentioned in the episode:Farm to Fork Movement, Egalitarian Marriage, Luis Guzman, A Band Called Death, Eugene Hütz, Morgan Page, Caroline Rose, King Tuff, tUnE-yArDs, Grace Potter, Ray Vega, Big Joe Burrell & The Unknown Blues Band, Robert Frost, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Rudyard Kipling, Shirley Jackson, Chris Bohjalian, Katherine Paterson, Kekla Magoon, Galway Kinnell, Hayden Carruth, Grace Paley, Alison Bechdel, Harry Bliss, Ed Koren, Burton Snowboards, Kelly Clark, skiing, foliage, bridge cutlery and Howard Dean.
Thanks to Sara Morin for the good question.
Myra Flynn reported and produced this episode and did the mixing and sound design. Editing and additional production by the rest of the team: Angela Evancie, Josh Crane and Mae Nagusky.
Ty Gibbons composed our theme music; other music by Blue Dot Sessions, Noah Kahan, Ari Joshua, Russ Lawton and Ray Paczkowski.
A special thanks to James Stewart, Mikaela Lefrak, Peter Engisch, Mary Engisch, Mike McCallum, Clay Thomas, Alice Thomas, Oscar Deal and Skylar Clauder.
As always, our journalism is better when you're part of it:
- Ask a question about Vermont
- To voteabout the question you want us to answer next time
- Sign up for the BLS newsletter
- say hello belowInstagramjReddit@bravestatevt
- Send us an e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call our BLS hotline: 802-552-4880
- make a giftto support people-driven journalism
- Tell your friends about the show!
Brave Little State is a Vermont Public production and a proud member of the NPR Network.
Subscribe for free so you don't miss a single episode: