Preserving Queer Space — An Interview with Wendy Chapkis about the LGBTQ Oral History Project

While strides have been made for rights and visibility of LGBTQ+ people in American life overall, they’ve accompanied an unfortunate decline in bars and other designated queer spaces, which have been vital in fostering culture and community for generations. Portland witnessed this first hand last winter, when longtime Old Port dance club Styxx closed. One person hoping to raise awareness to this alarming trend is Wendy Chapkis, USM Professor of Sociology and Women and Gender…

Bana Mboka in Portland — How Three Congolese Artists Sustain A Movement

David Mayestro recounts in striking detail the moment he first stood on the Maine coast. He was at the SMCC campus to inquire about English courses and decided to take a stroll along the campus boardwalk.“I saw a film unravel in my mind right there,” he says, describing a scene of Congolese sapeurs strutting along the sandy beach, their vibrant dress a splash of color against the muted blue and evergreen backdrop. A self-proclaimed artist…

An Interview with Jill Stein: Russian conspiracies, Ranked Choice Voting, and the Future of Democracy

Last week, former Green party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein visited Augusta for the Maine Greens Convention, where she thanked her supporters for "leading the charge" on progressive issues like food sovereignty, ranked choice voting, climate change, and the legalization of marijuana. She opened her speech by spurring the crowd to "keep fighting the neoliberal assault" and encouraging others to vote on values instead of fear.  Stein spoke with The Phoenix ahead of her Maine visit…

Amid Referendum Push, Fair Rent Portland Explains the Difference Between 'Rent Control' and 'Rent Stabilization'

Over the last five years, Portland rents have increased by 40 percent. Meanwhile, income has barely moved. The Portland Press Herald reported on Fair Rent Portland earlier this week ["Portland citizens group seeks referendum on rent control, other tenant protections," by Randy Billings], blurring the distinction between the "rent control" and "rent stabilization." Fair Rent Portland says the latter more aptly describes their mission, which distinguishes it from failed measures (in New York City and…

Clean Energy: Too Expensive? Or Our Only Choice?

In order to spare future generations the devastating environmental and health effects of climate change, many scientists say we must stop using virtually all fossil fuels by 2050. If you think that’s a tall order, it is, but several cities across the U.S. — like San Diego, Burlington, and Aspen (as well as big corporations like Apple, Google, and Coca Cola) have stepped up to the plate and pledged to cut fossil fuels from their…

Trump(Don't)Care: How the AHCA Should Reinvigorate the Push For Universal Health Care

It’s a stretch to say the firing of FBI director James Comey and Trump’s declassification of sensitive information to Russia are stratagems meant to distract you from the AHCA. But in case it’s having that effect, let’s gloss over the brutality in store for Americans if TrumpCare passes the Senate. In simple terms, the American Health Care Act would position Mainers and Americans vulnerable to a health care system that could be so inaccessible that…

"Do You See Me Now?" Photographers reveal Portland's opiate crisis with "Grit, Grime, and Grace"

Shaun Buck, pictured alongside this article, was supposed to be the “posterboy” for a new photography exhibition titled “Grit, Grime, and Grace,” aimed at humanizing people who use opiates and their struggle to get clean.    But four days before the exhibition’s opening, Buck was found dead inside a Porta Potty in Deering Oaks park. He had died of an opiate overdose.   Buck’s portrait, a photograph by Joanne Arnold, still hangs proudly at the…

Poliquin Takes Heat for AHCA Vote; Kindling Fund Grantees Make Hot Art

On May 4, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act by a vote of 217-213, a significant step in the Trump Administration’s quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the signature achievement of President Obama’s administration. The bill is estimated to kick 24 million Americans off health care, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.   In the week since, citizens have rallied in numbers against U.S. Representative Bruce Poliquin…

Five surprising facts about video games and their impact on the real world

The perception of a gamer as a socially awkward outcast who barely experiences any light or human interaction apart from their television and their mother has long since eroded. With 2 billion gamers worldwide, and the global gaming market surging past 100 billion dollars last year, calling yourself a “gamer” in 2017 is almost like calling yourself a cell phone user. Indeed video games and their creators have long fantasized of overtaking Hollywood as the…

BobbyWasabi Goes Pro: A Teenage Portland Gamer's Quest for Glory and Riches

Soccer moms load their kids in minivans, encouraging their dreams of going pro. Dads pace or squirm nervously on sidelines or in the stands. High school coaches steer young athletes toward playing sports in college or beyond. But while competitive sports can be their own reward, those seeking big money for their efforts often do so in vain. Statistics show that very few traditional athletes that play in high school continue onto college or pro…
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