8 Days a Week: Disney Burlesque, Haitian Pop, and Showin' Up

THURSDAY 17   FINGERS CROSSED FOR URSULA | In a reckless world, onight's burlesque show is something you can put some faith in. Produced by the smart, silly, multimedia-friendly Voulez-Vous Cabaret, who've become one of the foremost such troupes in the city, audiences by now know they're not getting an old-school, male-gazey show complete with hot cars, leopard prints, and pin-up girls. Tonight's act has broader designs. And, titled Bippity Boppity Boobs, it packs a…

8 Days A Week: Dead Whales, Resurrected Goddesses, and Other Hallucinations

THURSDAY 10   ATLANTIC INJUSTICE | The sixth screening in the Portland Public Library’s free Point of View Documentary Series commences this night, offering a break from an otherwise stressful and menial existence. Watch it, and step into the lives of others who undoubtedly have it worse off than you, but still manage to be more interesting. That’s because the film, The Islands and the Whales, follows the people of the North Faroe Islands and…

A Story of Fire and Gold — 'Dawson City' Shows the History of Film

Celluloid nitrate, the medium of the first motion pictures, is a direct descendent of a military explosive. Stored improperly, it spontaneously bursts into flame. Most of it has burned or been lost. But some reels in the Yukon have survived an improbable life, death and rebirth. Filmmaker Bill Morrison lets the film itself tell its story, in his ingenious, mesmerizing documentary, Dawson City: Frozen Time. Early on, the camera pans over sepia stills of shiny celluloid…

Ogunquit's 'Ragtime' Revives the Musical Ideal

The defining characteristic of ragtime music is its “syncopation” — a style in which the melody falls in between the beats instead of on them. Syncopated rhythms, which originated with African-American musicians, give the sense that the melody is slightly ahead of or even moving against its own beat, and they were new and jarring in early nineteenth-century America. These rhythms are an apt vehicle for the cultural and personal intersections of Ragtime, the musical epic of three very…

Remembering How to Draw at the Bowdoin Museum of Art

Using words alone, it is difficult to capture the historical arc and import of “Why Draw? 500 years of Drawings and Watercolors,” a summer exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. The show spans the centuries from the Renaissance to the the present day, with something for every taste.   The first room contains the Old Masters, small works on dark papers in brown ink and red chalk. The kind of things that an…

Monmouth's Excellent 'Red Velvet' Depicts a Society Unable to Act its Values

In 1833, London was embroiled over slavery in Britain’s colonies: after a revolt in Jamaica and pressure on the home front, Parliament instituted the Slavery Abolition Act. Enter Ira Aldridge (the excellent Ryan Vincent Anderson), a young African-American actor, to replace an ailing Othello at Covent Garden — and to expose, as the first black actor on that stage, London’s hypocrisies and bigotries. In the beautifully crafted comedic drama Red Velvet, on stage at the Theater at Monmouth, playwright Lolita Chakrabarti imagines what happened offstage at Covent Garden. Jennifer Nelson directs a dynamic and deftly performed production of the play, both an affecting portrait of Aldridge and an acute meditation on the politics and powers of…

8 Days a Week: Rainbows, Moonlight, Ghost Stories, and Dark Stars

THURSDAY 3 PICTORIAL BUCKET LIST | Maine folks could soon be running out of chances to see Moonlight, Barry Jenkins's gripping 2016 coming-of-age tale about a young black man growing up in Miami. The Best Picture Oscar-winner ran through Portland months ago, but Frontier twinkles a week of screenings at us from up north, with scattered times through August 6. See it tonight at 7 pm. | $8 ($7 seniors/students) | Thu-Fri 7 pm; Sat-Sun 3…

Monmouth's 'Macbeth' Searches for the Damned Spot

The Theater at Monmouth’s Macbeth takes some pains to convey an out-of-time Scotland for its horrors of avarice. The inter-scene music is aggressively modern — industrial metal, dissonant synth-rock. Colored lights pulse through layers of gray and fraying sheaths. Is this a steam-punk world? Cyber-punk? The costumes keep us wondering: leather vests over blood-splattered t-shirts; straight-up Victorian jackets and bowlers. Setting thus feels unsettled in this Macbeth, directed by Dawn McAndrews and performed in rep as part of this…

8 Days a Week: Beer Festivals, Country Dads, and Radical Compassion

THURSDAY 27   LET IT DRIPPETH | All damn day, the folks at the Oxbow facility in Portland host a tap intrusion by Jester King, a farmhouse brewery outta Austin, Texas, said to eff around with fermentation and weird cultures. The Jester King folks have brought five strains of their beer for us to sip on. If one of them is the Atrial Rubicite — which boasts a quite-high rating on Beer Advocate — then…

A Show of Support — Able Baker's 'Selvedge' Sees Painting Through a Totally Different Grain

In a show that feels both formally radical and historically reverent, Selvedge — on view now at Able Baker Contemporary — grapples with the practice of painting through a new lens. The nine women’s works shown in this exhibition — including Portland painter and muralist Tessa Greene O’Brien, who began curating it last November — share in their effort to sublimate the process of painting through methods and practices associated with textile-making. This allows an…
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