Tim Gillis

Tim Gillis

Looking ahead to PortFringe, by the numbers

For a bunch of artsy types, organizers of the PortFringe festival sure use a lot of numbers when they talk about this year’s festival, which kicks off June 20.

Like 58 acts and 116 individual performances over eight days.

And like this from their PR materials: “A recent Americans for the Arts Economic Impact calculation estimated that our five-day 2013 festival generated about $150,000 of revenue for our city and business community. PortFringe demonstrates that there is a hunger in Portland, Maine for eclectic, homegrown, and fun arts programming — and that such creative pursuits can also be economically viable.”

Crewe’s $3 million gift brings music-art studies front and center at MECA

Robert Crewe wanted to leave a legacy. The songwriter, dancer, singer and record producer has done just that, with a $3 million gift to the Maine College of Art that will allow the school to offer courses exploring the intersection between music and art.

Crewe died last September, but he already had a memorandum of understanding in place with Don Tuski, MECA president.

  • Published in Features

The Sun Parade rides into Portland fresh off ‘Heart’s Out’ debut


The Sun Parade plays Portland Wednesday, Feb 18, at a residentialvenue that looks a lot like a well-kept frat house. The Northampton-based band is hot off the video premiere of “Heart’s Out,” the title track from the new album of “love collisions, the casual sandwich obsession, and psychedelic, basement guitar licks,” according to Christopher Marlon Jennings, lead singer. Last Friday night, at the Parlor Room in Northampton, the band held a viewing party of the music video, which aired on Culture Collide, a new editorial platform founded by Alan Miller, the co-founder of FILTER magazine. “It was in the middle of a storm, but it was a good turnout — about 75 people,” Jennings said. The band is influenced by Afro-pop, Elliott Smith, bluegrass brother harmonies and the Beatles. They opened for Lake Street Dive on a recent tour, and earned a cheeky kudos from breakout band of 2014. “They smack your buttocks with the utmost loving intent and rock 'n' roll tenderness,” said Lake Street Dive’s Rachel Price. In 2012, The Sun Parade released a full length LP “Yossis” and the single “Need You By My Side,” a regional hit voted the No. 1 song by WRSI 93.9 The River. In 2014, they released the joyful pop EP “Heart's Out” and went on tour with LSD. This year, The Sun Parade is touring the Northeast with their “soul mates, the accessible unconscious existential indie glitter popsicle crisis band And The Kids,” said Jennings who is joined by Jeffrey Lewis, from Islesboro, on lead guitar and vocals, Jared Gardner on bass, and Noam Schatz on drums. Jennings and Lewis have been together the longest, for four years as a duo partnership, and the band’s latest incarnation is in its third year. Jennings learned how to play guitar from his father, Michael “Spike” Jennings, who had been in a boys’ choir as a youngster and, later, the Irish rock band, Dicey Riley. “We’d play songs together when I was first learning. I latched onto it, and started writing songs right away,” said Jennings who started a band in high school that was called The Outlets and the 21-Hour Sandbox before settling on Nor Whale. Jennings has a voice like a folk version of Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, with no nasal annoyance, and his lyrics are simple and clever and deeply affecting. Fans who find their way to Poland Street Wednesday night are in for an up-close encounter. Check out “Heart’s Out” the new video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3f_lZa3Qas and “Need You By My Side,” an earlier hit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFmzz9eUHro

  • Published in Features
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