Features (188)

The New Sound of Portland? Prism Analog opens Vintage Recording Studio in Bayside

American life is contradictory. It’s cheaper to consume music more than any time in history, and technology has given listeners access to a truly limitless amount of recordings. Yet vinyl record sales have increased for the ninth consecutive year. It’s as if — just spitballing here — something about the mass digitization and availability of cultural commodities leaves some people with a diminished sense of meaning and connection. According to Nick Johnson, the engineer set…

Stories from the edge: Exploring what unites us with the Maine Jewish Film Festival

When Gabrielle Zilkha arrived in Accra, the capital of Ghana, she didn’t expect to find any fellow Jews there.   She travelled to the West African country to work at a women’s rights NGO for six months — a Canadian Jew awash in a sea of African Christians. Although Zilkha felt welcome, she also felt isolated, like a fish out of water; feelings that were intensified by the fast-approaching Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah…

WHAT IS A CRIMINAL? The intersection of racial justice and policing in Portland

Jean Valjean is hungry so he steals a loaf of bread. He cannot work and his family is starving, so he commits this necessary act. But Javert, the local police official, considers it a threat to society and pursues the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables for hundreds of pages, convinced he is a criminal who will always return to committing crimes. The reader, on the other hand, roots for Valjean. Rodion Raskolnikov, Dostoevsky's protagonist…

The Shared Spaces of Ernest and Mike

  The photos above represent two people sharing a space. The setting they share is the same but the people are different. When two people physically occupy a shared space in shared time, does it strengthen their commonality? Does the culture and community of Portland foster commonality? Ernest and Mike would say yes. While there are many differences between them, both Ernest and Mike share a love of life and a joy to be living…

Free Speech in the Trump Era: A Means or An End?

The fiery, cacophonous clown car of a Trump presidency cleared its first-month checkpoint this week, dominating news cycles, asserting broad executive power and blanketing America’s most vulnerable people in a fog of confusion, disruption, and fear. But listen closely and you can hear another sound, an odd yet persistent rumbling, of a bemused electorate grappling with the pulpy, fibrous concept of free speech. I’m being glib — how do you find humor in this nightmare…

10 Art and Resistance Resources Since the Election

If you think we’re writing a lot about anti-Trump resistance in these pages lately, you’re correct. That’s because anti-Trump resistance is driving the culture more than anything else right now, and political activism — the sustained, organized kind — is more deeply embedded in American daily life than any other time in generational memory. An estimated 5.2 million people participated in Women’s Marches on January 20 last month. A recent Washington Post poll reported that…

A Love Letter to Cuba: Or Why Americans Should Go

I met my wife Brenda one day after I moved to Costa Rica. I was running away from Finland. I wanted a fresh start and my recent trip to Cuba had sparked an interest in Latin culture. The year was 2001 and I was in my early twenties. Brenda was a frequent business traveler before meeting me, traveling thru mostly Central and South America. The next 15+ years we have lived and traveled to almost…

Mainers Abroad: Why Everyone Should Travel To India

Mark Twain once described India as the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, and a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.   The two guitarists from the local Americana band the Ghosts of Johnson City, Amos Libby and Douglas Porter, would agree. They recently returned to Portland after a trip to the exotic subcontinent and shared highlights from their spiritual (and musical) adventure…

Pop Idols, Language Barriers, and Smashing Stereotypes: Why this young Muslim's fascinated with South Korea

For most of her life, Mary Kadhim, a 16-year-old Iraqi-born student at Deering High School, held a deep fascination with South Korean culture.   It started when Kadhim first tuned into “Boys Over Flowers,” a short-lived but hugely successful dramedy television series that follows a spunky schoolgirl trying to balance romance and education at a South Korean academy.   “At first I thought it was weird,” said Kadhim. “But then I started really liking it,…

IT'S LEGAL: Maine's Guide To The New Marijuana Law

State lawmakers had to jump through numerous political hurdles to get to where we’re at today, a time where recreational marijuana is finally legal in Maine.   After clashing with House Republicans in staunch opposition to legalization, and enduring a recount effort (that was eventually ditched) and a marijuana smear campaign led by Governor Paul LePage, proponents of legal weed won a major, albeit slim, victory. But the battle’s far from over, as recent events…
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