Muskrats Take the Hamptons (and PBS, Too)

Adages Gets His Fix of Sticks

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If you've read this column more than once, you know that Adages has a soft spot for what city dwellers call "the sticks." So it was a banner week in terms of mail for us. First, we received a DVD copy of "Muskrat Lovely," a film directed by Amy Nicholson, who is a director at Hungry Man, New York. (She's also worked at Fallon McElligott, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Wieden & Kennedy.) It's a documentary centered on the National Outdoor Show in Golden Hill, Md., a teensy town on the Chesapeake Bay where the muskrat reigns supreme. The National Outdoor Show is known for two things: the crowning of the "Miss Outdoors" queen and the fastest-muskrat-skinner contest. This, as they say, is right up our alley. After all, we hail from a region that has a festival and a queen for every occasion (Cotton Festival, Yambilee, Crawfish Festival and, our favorite, the Smoked Meat Festival). So it was like a little taste of home (we've never eaten muskrat, but we have enjoyed squirrel) right in our DVD player. And you too can see the movie. It will be showing at the Hamptons International Film Festival this weekend, and PBS is showing the film as part of its Independent Lens series Oct. 31.

CEO gets his motor running

In other advertising news that our parents actually find interesting, we received notice from Durham, N.C.-based McKinney that one of its clients has thrown down the gauntlet. Polaris CEO Tom Tiller has challenged the CEOs of other ATV manufacturers to a "live, head-to-head riding competition." (Yes, that means the CEOs themselves have to ride.) A website at polarisduel.com will chronicle the events, and commenters have already taken to Tiller's blog to talk smack about their favorite ATV, whether it be Arctic Cat, Honda or another brand. There's even an original theme for the duel by the sartorially named ad band we can't name in this space.

When we e-mailed Papa Adages to tell him of this event, he replied: "I'll pass the word about this. Uncle Boo is the only one in the neighborhood with a Polaris, and he swears by it."

The lute: the new black?

Sting showed up at the Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center Monday night for a taping of XM's "Artist Confidential" program and played to an audience of XM Radio advertisers there as part of an upfront event. The British rocker showed off his newest talent-no, not tantric sex, you sickos-but the lute. For those who haven't been keeping close enough tabs on him, he's now into 16th-century Renaissance music-specifically that of John Dowland, a British lutenist (yes, that's a real word) who was dissed by the court of Elizabeth I because he was Catholic (or so the story goes). Sting's playing partner is Edin Karamazov. Before the concert, Paul Bachmann, who runs XM's classical channels, interviewed the pair about how they connected. Karamazov was gigging around Europe in a circus when Sting and his wife saw him and asked if he'd play a party they were hosting. No, Karamazov told them flatly, I don't do parties. (Only circuses, apparently.)

We like how Bachmann envisioned the conversation between Sting and his record label when Sting brought to it the idea of recording the lute songs for a CD. "So what did you do, take it to the record company and say, 'I have an idea: 16th-century lute songs! The lute: It's the new black!"' Not only is it black, but it's scary as well! "It scares me now looking at it because I have to play it tonight," Sting said. "[But] I enjoy serving apprenticeships. They're good for me, good for my musicianship. You make yourself uncomfortable and see what happens. ... Boy, am I uncomfortable."

Incidentally, you can catch Sting playing the lute on this week's "Studio 60" on NBC.

The voice of a new generation

Barnett Kiel, a freelance editor in Southern California, is still pinching himself. After 15 years of putting his voice on TV spot rough cuts, the South African native hit pay dirt. Carmen Dorr, exec creative director at Colby & Partners, said Suzuki's shop hadn't picked a narrator for 2007 TV car ads when they heard the distinctive voice of Kiel, their freelance editor at Santa Monica's Aero Film, and decided he was it. Kiel says Ms. Dorr asked him if he was sitting down before she told him he was the new voice of Suzuki. The 15-year editing veteran reports he just joined SAG and was seeing agents last week. Still, he adds: "I have a lot of humility about it."

Contributing: Jean Halliday, Abbey Klaassen Four-wheel it with kwheaton@crain.com
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