Nick Schroeder

Nick Schroeder

8 Days a Week: LSD Lessons, Ladies' Health Rallies, and Letter-Writing Parties


MADCAP THEATER | The actor and writer Brent Askari has spent the last several years carving out a status as one of the best character actors in Portland — truly, if only there were awards for such a thing. One wonders, however, that the distinction might overshadow his considerable talents as a playwright. His original comedy Digby’s Home drew strong praise in its production last year, and his award-winning madcap play Cocktails and Travails is featured this weekend at the Theatre Project in Brunswick. Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; and Sunday at 2. | $20 (or pay-what-you-want)| Theatre Project, 14 School St., Brunswick |


DRUG TEST | In modern American societies, stress and pain are consistently taboo subjects. Everyone surely has a complex personal experience of them, yet discussions are hard to embark upon. Maybe this is how you should approach this evening’s talk by Ayelet Waldman, the Israeli-American author whose books take unique, accessible approaches to the subjects of mood disorder, harm reduction, and alternative therapy. Her new one, titled A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, describes her experiences using microdoses of LSD to combat psychic pain, drawing upon literary and cultural histories of the drug from Lewis Carroll to the utopian 60s. Wild fact: Waldman is married to the novelist Michael Chabon. Don’t expect a dry science lecture. 7 pm | Print: A Bookstore, 273 Congress St., Portland |


FAKE YOUR OWN NEWS | According to a New York Times story published last weekend, President Trump spends most of his time sitting around in a bathrobe watching cable news reports about the ineptitudes of his administration, cloistered and muttering. Don’t be that guy! Protests against the regime are sustained and social phenomenon, in Portland and everywhere. Tonight, the University of Southern Maine’s Women and Gender Studies offer a follow-up for those who attended the Women’s March. Titled “We Won’t Go Back,” it collects reports from that day among other protests since Inauguration Day. 7 pm | University of Southern Maine, Wishcamper Center Room 102, Bedford St., Portland



DANCE CLOSE | It’s occasionally worth not forgetting that beneath the contortions and disfigurations of Valentine’s Day in late capitalism, there’s an underlying idea worth affirming. Winter’s harsh glare can turn even the supplest love to bone, and mid-February’s a fine checkpoint for couples to melt it down again. Do whatever Tuesday you want; but for our money, tonight’s show by El Malo in the dark and stormy jazz club Blue gets at the intimacy of physicality and play more than a nifty New American dinner. 10 p.m. | one-drink-minimum | Blue, 650A Congress St., Portland |


SHORT BURSTS | The New England winters are often best used to catch up on the cultural events and phenomena from the past year that we might have missed. Though we’re certain you’ve not fully digested the Top 50 album lists from Tiny Mix Tapes and Stereogum or whatever you’re into, we imagine you’ve fooled around with the feature-length Oscar-noms by now. Moonlight, La La Land, etc. Well, here are the shorts, a tidy assembly of both live-action and animated films from around the country. Both Oscar-Nominated Live Action and Animated Shorts are collected as separate, full-length visual stews. Plan, and you’ll have plenty of chances to see both, as they screen at Portland’s SPACE Gallery and Brunswick’s Frontier all week. 8 p.m. | $8 | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | | Frontier Café, 14 Maine St., Portland |


DOWNWARD GROG | We’ve heard tales of yoga sessions in expansive warehouse breweries, but not yet so in restaurant tasting rooms. Until now. The still-new Foulmouthed Brewery in South Portland is a straight-up rad spot, with chill vibes, solid design, and interesting lighting. They offer their spot for a yoga session tonight and every Friday, where afterward you can mingle and drink beer along with your electrolytes. 5:30 p.m. | $15 | Foulmouthed Brewery, 15 Ocean Street, South Portland |


EVERYTHING IS POLITICAL, BRO | After four students of color were the victims of a hate crime in Portland two weeks ago, threatened on the side of the road by a man using racial slurs and brandishing a screwdriver, Casco Bay High School Superintendent Xavier Botana wrote a powerful open letter in their defense. He’s now being attacked by the Maine Republican Party, whose head, Jason Savage, claims Botana has “politicized” the event on the taxpayer’s dime. Tonight at City Hall, a group “Stands in Solidarity with Our Superintendent” — if nothing else, it’s a lesson on the shifting definitions of “political” and “free speech.” 4:30 pm | City Hall, 389 Congress St., Portland


SING OUT | “Are you opera curious?” ask a group of Portlanders who newly stumbled upon the lovely idea of pairing beer with opera singing. The baritone Robert Mellon performs a series of arias at the Bissell Brothers tasting room. Free; donations support PORTopera. 5:30 pm | Bissell Brothers, 4 Thompson’s Point, Portland |




MAKE YOURSELF LAUGH | A modern, lightly political comedy, Molly Smith Metzler’s play The May Queen follows a high school darling through her mysterious and adventurous adulthood, fending off questions and concerns from authoritative figures — often male — throughout. Directed by Brian Allen and starring Rob Cameron, Thomas Campbell, Laura Houck, Abbie Killeen, and Hannah Elizabeth Perry. A Maine premiere running through February 26, see it today at 3 or 7:30 pm | $22-30 | St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland |


INVITE YOURSELF | Once considered pure novelty, the Portland dance troupe Vivid Motion have hung around long enough to achieve institutional status. If you’re among the many who have seen their Nutcracker Burlesque and thought, damn, that looks fun, spend some hours this morning wrestling with the possibility of auditioning for their next production, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. They’re body-positive, so don’t try to pull any weird self-flagellation excuses. 10 a.m. | Dana Warp Mill, 90 Bridge St., Westbrook |


LAWS OF THE BODY | How do you feel about a world where rallies and protests make up a sizable chunk of the city’s social events? Because that’s the one we’re in. A massive rally in support of Planned Parenthood, whose fight is about to get quite real, goes down today at noon. Organizers for this have taken steps to present this as an intersectional feminist event, with positions of solidarity for those fighting for racial and LGBTQ civil rights along with women’s reproductive rights. Noon | City Hall, 389 Congress St., Portland


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KEEP UP WITH ART | Portland is running out of its outskirts galleries, the ones that show great contemporary art on the peripheries of the city, and of the fashion. The political reasons for that we won’t go into, but it’s more vital than ever that contemporary artists get support. If the last month has been too much a mess of distractions for you to check in, make an effort tonight to observe the “7 Maine Abstract Painters,” a collection of artists curated by the MECA professor and fantastic painter Michel Droge through the art school’s continuing studies program. With works by Emily Blaschke, Jenny Campbell, Alicia Ines Etheridge, Celeste June Henriquez, Doreen Nardone, Brenda Overstrom, and Donald M. Peterson, it closes tonight with a reception and discussion with the artists. 5-8 pm | Zero Station, 222 Anderson St., Portland   


DANCE YR VALUES | Speak About It, a vital organization teaching consent, health, and inclusive sex-education for young people, help cut the tensions of the week with a massive ’90s dance party at Oxbow tonight, with proceeds directly supporting Planned Parenthood. 8 pm | Oxbow Blending and Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland |



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GOD IS AN IDIOT | Movie day, my dudes. Portland Museum of Art’s fine film series screens The Brand New Testament, a tongue-in-cheek feminist comedy that takes as its premise the existence of God: a scruffy white guy who lives in a high-rise apartment in Brussels, never taking off his pajamas. Fed up with the torment of living with his bored and insipid cruelty, his daughter Ea hacks onto his computer and releases sensitive information to his vast and unsuspecting subjects. Screening Friday at 2 and 6:30 pm; and Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. | $8 | Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Sq., Portland |


LOVE IS COMPLICATED | You know what? A spirited production of Romeo and Juliet is fitting for the season, and might just be the thing to stuff your heart with love. Obvious reasons! This one’s got the work of solid theater people all over it, including the smart directorial eye of Stacey Koloski. The quintessential impossible love story is in its final weekend at the proscenium stage of Portland Players in South Portland. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2. | $20 | Portland Players, 420 Cottage Rd., South Portland |



POP LIFE | The dance-pop band Strfkr — say it with me now — play Port City Music Hall tonight, on tour from Portland, Oregon on the strength of their new album, Being No One, Going Nowhere, released last fall on Polyvinyl Records, which once brought the groups American Football and Braid into your life. Be apprised that bandleader Joshua Hodges, back in 2007, named his project what he did as a joke, and it stuck. Perhaps the whole world is a joke that stuck. They play at 9 p.m. | $17 | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland |



GET EPISTOLARY | The nascent group Get Ready Weekly hosts a Valentine’s Day letter-writing party, that also doubles as a write-your-Senator party, at Oxbow (49 Washington Ave.) tonight. Meanwhile, the local content production firm Knack Factory stands up for the ACLU, hosting a “Libations for Liberty” cocktail party and donating its proceeds to the vital civic institution. 7-10 pm | 24 Free St., Portland |



YOUR WORLD | If you keep up with modern music, you may already be familiar with the degree to which the London artist Sinkane, the performing alias of Ahmed Gallab, has owned Portland crowds before. With his band’s infectious blend of jazz, afro-pop, krautrock, funk, and Sudanese pop, Sinkane is on tour in support of the new album Life & Livin’ It — inspired, he says, by Funkadelic’s America Eats Its Young. All in all, it’s a pretty surefire bet for a transcendent show — particularly when paired with the captivating Providence-based songwriter Mal Devisa and local DJ Mosart212. Go. | $12 adv, $15 day of | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St. |



FOCUS | Next week’s highlights include an inclusive variety show at SPACE Gallery, the Boston-based songwriter Will Dailey at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, and the funk group Shut Down Brown return to Portland to play P.H.O.M.E. Stay healthy.

Portland Food Council Celebrates Launch, Offers Plan for Sustainable Food Systems

The Portland Food Council celebrated its official launch this week, giving a presentation which included a blueprint for a dynamic local food system that involves urban agriculture and sustainability practices.

The reception marked an evolution of the Council since its original inception in 2012 as the Mayor's Initiative for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System, which launched by then-Mayor Michael Brennan out of ideas from a community food forum, which included Jonah Fertig of MOFGA, Tim Fuller of the city's Healthy Portland program, Lisa Fernandes of Bayside permaculture organization the Resilience Hub, and Jeremy Bloom, who runs the website Internet Farmer.

The present-day Food Council will endeavor to clear access for the sourcing of "healthy, local, and sustainably produced foods by Portland institutions and public schools."

“The Council will bring together community members, food producers and businesses, and city government to create values-based food policies,” said Meghan Quinn, Board Chair of the Food Council.

The Portland Food Council will be informed by numerous models around the country, writes Quinn in an email to the Phoenix; in particular, the Urban Agriculture and Food Policy Plan in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Some of the methods there include shared-use kitchens and urban farm incubators. In recent years, some of the ideas of the Portland Food Council have included "goat mowing" initiatives, community gardens, and public orchards. 

The Food Council has a 15-member Board, including representatives from Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Food Strategy, Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative, Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, Cumberland County Food Security Council, Fork Food Lab, Forager App, Cultivating Community, UMaine Cooperative Extension, Sodexo, Rosemont Market, Portland Food Co-Op, and the Wayside Food Program. 

"The Portland Food Council is the community's voice and connection to the city," writes Quinn. "It will bring together the community; city government; and the private sector to create values-based policy to foster a healthy, sustainable, and resilient food system for Portland." 

“It’s vital for organizations like this to help government move forward with policy in our community,” said Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling. “By bringing together diverse stakeholders, the Portland Food Council will have a unique ability to develop recommendations for the city.”

With its board in place, the Food Council is essentially a container for a community volunteer effort. The group encourages those interested in volunteering to join the next Council meeting, and help craft and implement its design, on March 15 from 4–5:30 at City Hall in Portland. 

8 Days a Week: Playing Rough, Standing Up, and Fighting the Fight


BITTER SILVER | There's a silver lining to this moment in history, albeit thin, and it's this. If you're a person who's feeling stressed, unsafe, or in despair, conditions are actually better than ever that you could talk to someone about it. A friend, acquaintance, bartender, stranger — whoever — they're probably feeling similarly. (I wouldn't bother the bartender too much if they're working. On the other hand, what is work, really?) Not all people find comfort commiserating this way, but many do. It reminds me, in a distant and emotionally neutral way, of the summer of 2009, when Maine received record-setting rain through June and July. Life was miserable! And for me, the only thing that made it better was the feeling among Mainers, the majority of whom are ideologically geared to appreciate the summer months, of being able to tap into a shared acknowledgement of near-universal commiseration. People were pissed! And they were pissed together. And that was kind of nice. After weeks of gray, damp weather, it no longer felt appropriate think of glumness or frustration as some personal failing, or internalized injunction to work harder. That feeling wasn't yours! It was all of ours. Even the most despairing among us realized this, and paradoxically, that revelation was joyful. The misery belonged to us all! Sharing it was the only thing that made us feel better, and through those shared expressions — eye-rolls at the coffee counter, naked declarations of f-this-s on the street — we eventually came up with new ways to support each other. I suppose if you were someone who liked the rain, it was different. That was your prerogative. But past a certain point, being a person who enjoyed the rain must have collided uncomfortably with the feeling of enjoyment of, or even complicity in, the misery of the majority of people who, quite reasonably, felt oppressed by incessantly grey, soggy weather. Some people are just like that! Nothing to be done there. But the rest of us, the majority, can and should take solace in the fact that we don't like feeling oppressed, or seeing our neighbors oppressed. And we should talk about it. Because if the clouds won't clear, we'll have to figure out a way out ourselves.


DON'T FORGET YR ART | One last political point: engaging in the arts is a vital part of keeping yourself healthy. Do it without reservation. Tonight, you can exercise that by reveling in the incredible artistic capacities of Clint Fulkerson, the Portland mixed media artist whose "Fluid Geometry" exhibition — a mural and 15 paintings — opens within the Area Gallery at USM. If you haven't realized it, Fulkerson is incredible! Likely you've sold him coffee or passed him on the street countless times — he looks just like any other dude. But his intricate, some-might-say obsessive designs recall both Renaissance perspective drawings and computer-generated imagery. I didn't make that up! It's a comment provided by Mark Wethli, Midcoast painter and art professor at Bowdoin College. Even if you're someone who doesn't "understand" or have time for art, surely you can relate to the meditative practices and careful, generative expression. Yours can be whatever. Fulkerson has mastered his! And he lives among us. Fulkerson delivers an artist talk at a reception from 5–7 pm, and his exhibit is up through March 31. | Free | University of Southern Maine, AREA Gallery, Bedford St., Portland |




STAY ALIVE | Yes! There are a ton of protests right now, on top of all of the other very real things you have to do in your life — from earning an income, exercising, feeding your kids, having sex, buying groceries, phoning old college friends, playing cribbage, all of that. It's hard! We know, and we believe in you. After work today, consider the "Say No To Racism" rally in Monument Square. You don't even have to stand with them; just consider them. And recall that one of the tactics of fascist regimes is to steer the public toward protest exhaustion. 5:30 pm | Free | Monument Square, Portland


DRINK THE WINE | It's First Friday! A time to observe the Portland art world in its breadth and depth. Start that search at the Portland Museum of Art, when they unveil their "Lights Across Congress" exhibit, a 130-foot cinematic projection of their façade, in concordance with their grand re-opening. A big deal art event! | Free | 7 Congress Sq., Portland |


BEYOND PRETTY | Or, head to the ICA at MECA for the "Collective Actions II" exhibition, a union of three printed matter shows modeling the social fabric and community engagement forms that bind us. The first, "The Unity of Opposites," is a visual play on the game of telephone (from Portland's Peregrine Press and Zea Mays Printmaking). The second, "Print Lab," connects collaborators Colleen Kinsella and Elizabeth Jabar with student artists from MECA's zine club. And the third, "Mobile Print Power," is a public printmaking and design showcase from artists out of Queens, New York. Memorable, even useful stuff. | Free | 522 Congress St., Portland |


VISIONING WORK | Are you a therapist, medical worker, bodyworker, or other service professional in consistent interaction with the public, and also are interested in supporting a Trump resistance? Poke into a workshop tonight titled "Creating Safer Spaces — A Workshop for Helping Professionals," hosted by veteran social workers Sage Hayes and Lisa Newell. It's a little pricier than events we typically list in this space — $80 to $170 sliding scale — but worth it to those asking questions about how to leverage privilege. The workshop is spread over two sessions — Friday from 6-8:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 to 5. | $80-170 | One Tree Center, 72E MacArthur Circle, South Portland |


ACTORS ARE BOLD-ASS HUMANS | In the return of Naked Shakespeare, an ensemble of actors explore the often tenuous relationships between fathers and daughters in the Bard's texts. Directed by the esteemed Carmen-maria Mandley, the production's cast of local performers includes Megan Tripaldi, Ella Mock, Khalil LeSaldo, Noah Bragg, Bob Petee, Christopher Hoffman, Sarah Barlow, David Handwerker, Rocco Tripaldi, Julianne Shea, and Beth Somerville. Watch them work through these themes tonight in the first of two performances at the Mechanics Hall, tonight and Saturday at 7 pm. | By donation Friday; $10 Saturday | Mechanics Hall, 519 Congress St., Portland |


SWEAT SAVES | You need to dance it out, my fine dudes. Agree or no, two hot options exist tonight for just that — one is Oxbow's weird and kinda ironic dance party, hosted by DJs Hi-Duke and Fava Le Chic spinning ’80s dance-jams, boogie shakedowns, and funk blasts. It's called "On the One," and it's at 9 until the end of time. | Free | Oxbow Blending and Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland |


BODIES ARE MAGIC | ...meanwhile, the other is across town at Flask Lounge, where DJ Jamie O'Sullivan hosts his very respected "LOVE" night of house and techno. With DJ Nocturnal, and out-of-towners Mike Huge and Dan Desumthin. | Free | Flask Lounge, 117 Spring St., Portland |


BACK TO PASTURE | One of Maine's finest exports is Aly Spaltro, the singer-songwriter who goes by Lady Lamb. Raised in Brunswick, she famously wrote the songs from her first album in the basement of the video rental store she worked at. Now, she's an indie-rock darling living in New York City. That happens sometimes! She's touring in support of her new seven-song EP, Tender Warriors Club, an experiment in radical vulnerability which some fans might find a maturation. | $15-18 | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland |


KEEP ROUGH | But if you're in the mood for something heavier and more propulsive, join the large Maine following celebrating the return of Rough Francis, the Vermont-based punk rock group undeniable energy. With local louds Covered in Bees, a storied death-punk group with some incredible wit, and the stripped-down melodic trash-punk group The Worst. 9 pm | $7-10 | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland |



FUZZY HUMOR | The Kittery-raised comedian Juston McKinney returns to Maine to hit the City Theater in Biddeford tonight. Besides that rogue 'o' in his name, McKinney's likely best known for being an ex-cop! What a hoot! 8 p.m. | $20 | City Theater, 205 Main St., Biddeford |


WARLOCKS AMONG US | Does anybody remember laughter? (Or does anybody remember who I'm quoting there?) Anyway, the question stands. The answer, still, is stuff like what you'll find at "SpinS: A Contemporary Circus Show," which collects jugglers, comedians, puppetry masters, unicyclists, wizards and witches, and so on. Might be the antidote to whatever you've got going on. 7 pm | $12-18 | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland |

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GET OUT OF YR WORLD | The Israeli composer and oud player Yuval Ron brings his eclectic and musically adventurous ensemble to Portland tonight, performing at USM's Hannaford Hall with Dervish Aziz, the dance artist. The production draws from numerous Middle Eastern traditions, and should offer a sensorial delight for those weary of the cold season. 8 pm | $42-45 | 8 pm | $42-45 | USM’s Hannaford Hall



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THEATER IS THE LIFE OF YOU | Check in with Portland Stage's production of the classic play Arsenic and Old Lace, a dark, farcical comedy by Joseph Kesselring written in 1939. The original Broadway production starred Boris Karloff; this one's got fantastic local actors Maureen Butler, Will Rhys, and James Patefield, among many others. A serious romp, guided by the trusty directorial hand of Paul Mullins. Through February 19; see it today at 2 p.m. | $38-43 | Portland Stage, 25A Forest Ave., Portland |




FILM BREAK | Park Chan-wook's crime drama The Handmaiden explores the political and social dynamics between a landed Japanese woman on her secluded estate, and her Korean woman servant, who plots to con her out of an inheritance. Visually stunning, the film has received high praise for its atypical love story and cinematic beauty. 7:30 pm | $8 | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | 




SPIRITUALS | Nova Scotians Scott MacMillan and Colin Grant, a fiddler and guitarist, play their improvisationally enlivened folk songs in the Celtic tradition, tonight at One Longfellow Square. Lively, well-studied, and playful. 7 pm | $15 | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland |




VOTE LOVE | Frontier in Brunswick packs a fine doubleheader of entertainment today, from a 2 p.m. screening of The Loving Story, a drama inspired by a couple — Mildred and Richard Loving — who were persecuted for violating anti-miscegenation laws in 1950s Virginia. And at 7:30 pm, hang in their lounge with the string group Los Galactacos. | $8 film; free music| Frontier, 522 Maine St., Brunswick | 




DRUGS ARE COZY? | Among the highlights of next week, join writer Ayelet Waldman talk about microdosing, how her decision to take small amounts of LSD per day helped treat her mood disorder. She discusses the issue — maybe it's controversial? — at the new and excellent bookstore PRINT at the foot of Munjoy Hill as she discusses her book, A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life. 7 pm | Print, 273 Congress St., Portland |

"Move That Way!" Mainers Share Lessons from the Women's March

Last weekend, the collective strength of the Women’s March resulted in the largest mass protest in U.S. history. While the movement’s massive scale was inspiring — an estimated 5 million people worldwide, and 500,000 in the nation’s capital — it offered important lessons in intersectionality and inclusion of political resistance going forward.

As the activist and scholar Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor wrote in In These Times this week:

“The United States has just experienced a corporate hijacking. If Donald Trump’s inaugural speech did not alert you to the fact that they intend to come after all of us, then you are not paying attention.

The scale of the attack is as deep as it is wide, and this means that we will need a mass movement to confront it. To organize such a movement necessarily means that it will involve the previously uninitiated — those who are new to activism and organizing. We have to welcome those people and stop the arrogant and moralistic chastising of anyone who is not ‘woke.’”

Among the many narratives emerging after the march — and the Trump administration’s fascist-leaning first days in office — two seemingly contrary ones stand out. Today’s resistance movement will need to make space and practice compassion for people with middle-of-the-road politics and privileged identities. And those middle-of-the-road types need to cede the floor and the design to marginalized people and those on the left.

Recognizing these complexities, we asked Mainers who participated in the protest, in Washington D.C. and Augusta, to share their stories and sentiments. (Note: Their inclusion here should not be read as commentary on their degree of wokeness.)

To start, we’re publishing a response from Sherri Mitchell, a civil rights lawyer and Penobscot leader who attended the march in Augusta, at length.

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Saturday was a very important day for many reasons.

It demonstrated the power of the people, which is the heart of true democracy. It also demonstrated the strong commitment that the people of this country have to social justice. Last weekend’s marches were about promoting unity, acceptance, justice, progress, and love. I am incredibly inspired by the marches that erupted here, and across the planet today. They sent a strong message — love and unity can change the world. I hope that this is only the first step in a broad-scale movement that will bring us all closer to the world that we most want to inhabit.

Here in Maine, there were marches across the state. I chose to participate in the march that took place in the state’s capital, with 10,000 other beautiful and caring souls. My day began with about 100 of those people, on the side of the road, in prayer. Then, we marched together to join the larger group.

I had serious concerns about attending, due to questions that I had around the organizing of the event. Though I am very glad that I went, my concerns were not allayed by my attendance. In fact, they were affirmed. We have a lot of hard work to do.

Each one of the speakers was articulate and powerful, and I honor their presence, the stories that they each carried, and the words that they shared.

However, I was also struck by the fact that on a panel of eight women, there were six white women, one black woman, who spoke eloquently about immigrant issues, and one native woman, who spoke beautifully on behalf of the water and the need to protect Mother Earth. When the organizers were approached to add another Native woman, to speak about social justice and the need for unifying our movements, they said “but, we already have a native speaker,” as though having two would be redundant — if you hear from one native you’ve heard from them all, right? The suggestion of one of the organizers when faced with the dilemma of adding another native speaker was to either replace the current native speaker or split her time, which I found to be incredibly insulting and a diminishment of the voice of the woman already scheduled. I don’t know what the conversation sounded like regarding the one black woman on the panel, but I do know that I felt the glaring absence of the voice of other black women who have been immersed in their own struggles on the streets of this country for generations. Which begs the question, do black lives matter here in Maine?

My perception, which may be clouded by my own life experience, is that the six white women were allowed to give voice to a broad spectrum of issues, while the women of color were reduced to singular representation of their group — this is tokenism.

There are women of color that represent every one of the issues presented today. Women that have been deeply engaged in the ongoing struggles being faced here for generations. These women have varied areas of expertise and life experiences, differing ideologies and world views. They have opinions on reproductive health, social justice, women’s rights, the environment, and LGBTQ issues. And, they're not hard to find.

If we fail to recognize that these women are living examples of intersectionality, then we will never be able to address the complexities of intersectionality within our movements. We must be able to look at each other more deeply, and challenge ourselves to see beyond the blind spots in our own vision. We cannot allow the images from this movement to be replicas of the status quo. If we truly want to create a movement that represents us all then the public representations of our movement must be reflective of that intent. There is no reason that this panel of eight could not have been comprised of two white women, two black women, two native women, and two immigrant women. Surely, there are sufficient representatives among those populations to elegantly give voice to all the issues covered, while also providing the movement with a more inclusive face.

If we truly want to create change, we are going to have to get really honest with ourselves about the ways we are preventing that change from happening. And we are going to have to have the courage to face those issues and get to work addressing them.

It’s something to think about as we move forward.

Sherri Mitchell, TK


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From Washington, D.C.

One of the most powerful moments of the weekend occurred late Saturday night, after the Women’s March. My sister-in-law and I stopped at a bodega/diner to purchase water and use the restroom. On my way to the restroom, I encountered three women eating dinner together. They stopped me, thanked me for protesting, and asked me to take a photograph with them. One woman made a joke that one of the other women couldn’t be in the photo. I asked why. They replied that she was a Trump supporter and had voted for him. I invited her to join the picture, which she did. I then sat down with them briefly and tried to speak with her respectfully and calmly, asking her for her perspective and focusing on responding to her statements with more questions rather than with my own opinions. For a few brief moments, we had a real conversation. And though there were definitely some pitfalls, and I wish it had lasted longer, I left convinced more than ever that individual human interaction and open dialogue are the only real way through this national divide. I was encouraged that these three women were still friends eating dinner together in a diner despite their differences. I left determined to have more such conversations when I returned home to the 2nd District of Maine, where I have friends who have many different viewpoints. And I strongly encourage my fellow Mainers to welcome any opportunities they may have to come together despite opposing beliefs and to try to really listen to one another.

_ Julie Bouwsma, poet/editor, New Portland

An hour and a half it was set to start, it seemed clear the crowd was too big to actually march. I’m not going to lie — it was scary to think we were stuck in the middle of half million people with no way out. We weren’t given updates we could hear and no one knew what we were supposed to do. But then, the most amazing thing happened that really was a testament to what we were all there for — to help each other move forward in situations that are scary. There were crowds of people standing on top of port-a-potties who could see how far back the crowd on each avenue went, and saw the best option for how we could all get out. They let us know, and in unison we all started chanting “Move that way! Move that way!” pointing in the direction we needed the crowd to move. Within five minutes, the crowd started to move. And then we marched, not toward a single meeting point, but toward where we all needed to go to move forward. That was a pretty incredible moment.

_ Kate MacPherson, Yarmouth

The auditory quality of the mass of people was the first thing to strike me. Even during relative quiet, there was a dense murmur that felt like wearing headphones playing crowd noise, interrupted by waves of cheers originating hundreds of yards away. What left the deepest impression on me, though, was those marching despite probable physical discomfort; elderly folks, people using canes or walkers, who were likely on their feet for hours. I’m sure there were many marching despite emotional discomfort too, due to the intensity of the crowd, or for POC, the inevitable racial ignorance within a population that seemed only slightly less white than Portland. 

_Eric Spalding

I got there at 5:30 am Saturday and the subway was already full. Next stop was the Hirshhorn Museum to meet hundreds of Mainers gathering for the rally. Our unifying chants of “Dirigo” were met with puzzled looks. Our group ended up on a side street, unable to hear or see much of the speeches or music, but somehow that didn’t matter. We stood together for five hours, chanting and, when cell service was available, listening huddled over phones broadcasting the event via C-Span radio. No matter how uncomfortable people were, or how jostled, they were cheerful and polite, calm and smiling. Rumors started circulating about the march being cancelled, and it was impossible to confirm one way or the other because of poor cell service and our inability to hear whatever they might be telling people from the stage. People began to make their way to the National Mall, where it became clear that there was going to be a march no matter what. This was ultimately my favorite part of the day — watching the rivers of people stream by with signs, flags and costumes. Dance parties sprung up. 30-foot inflatable globes marched by. Brass bands played. I led chants and talked with people from all over the country, admiring the beauty and force of the crowd. Just as we started to head back to the Metro, another spectacle headed our way down Madison. Women on stilts and large puppets, followed by more large puppets and signs. It was the famous Bread and Puppet from Vermont. At every turn, we were greeted by people and positive energy and powerful messages of resistance. I am so grateful to have been a part of this beautiful, imperfect, awe-inspiring, exhausting day.

_ Sally Streuver, artist/organizer, Portland

It’s hard to put into words the transformative experience this weekend was. I have found myself speechless, moved, and teary-eyed more than once. After returning from the march, I had the courage to share parts of myself and my past with the people closest to me. I shared with them this weekend what I am moved to share on this platform now: I am a survivor of sexual assault. Organizing for this march as a member of the International Socialist Organization has given me the confidence to own this aspect of my identity, and match tragedy with solidarity and oppression with resistance.

I was the lead organizer for our Maine contingent. Once arrived, we were met by comrades far and wide who embraced us in tears, in chants of solidarity, in love, and marched with us against our oppressors. For me, this was my march of resistance against my attackers. To make that march with nearly five million people worldwide alongside me in that fight, pledged to fight back against sexual violence, forever changed the way I see myself and the world around me. I can now say with confidence that I am here, I am not going anywhere, and I believe that we will win.

_ Caitrin Smith, organizer, International Socialist Organization, Portland

Women's March Solidarity Ripples Through Maine

What began as a singular protest and coalesced into a massive movement nationally, internationally, and statewide, the Women's March on Washington will mark the first day of Donald Trump's presidency.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, January 21, ralliers will begin to collect in D.C., in solidarity with a national citizens' movement for human rights. And as of Tuesday afternoon, 616 sister marches have been registered worldwide, occurring in all 50 states and 61 countries (a spokesperson from Women's March Global told us there were 44 countries involved, though 61 are listed on the organization's website). 

At least six of those occur in Maine — in Portland, Augusta, Brunswick, Sanford, Kennebunk, Surry, and Fort Kent (with rumors of other gatherings in Brunswick and Eastport). Organizers at the state level say that 50 women at the state level have been organizing, acting as bus captains, captaining, and stewards for getting folks down to the capitol, but those staying local have plenty ways to express their solidarity with the movement.

Earlier this week, the Women's March on Washington released a mission statement attesting to a worldwide vision of women's rights values. The core principles are reprinted here:

  • Health — Health care is the foundation of women’s well-being and economic stability. Women’s March Global advocates for access to affordable and inclusive women’s health care regardless of nationality, age, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
  • Economic Security — Women are powerful drivers of economic growth, and their economic empowerment benefits all nations. Women’s March Global supports the dismantling of economic barriers that obstruct women’s full and equal access to local, national, and global economic systems.
  • Representation — Women are under-represented globally, adversely affecting our collective health, safety, and economic security. Women’s March Global seeks fair and just representation of women locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Safety — Every woman has the need and right to feel physically secure, and security for women should be assured through sound legal practices. Women’s March Global stands behind the principle that women are not to be held accountable for actions that are outside their control — particularly regarding all forms of assault — and that fair legal action must be applied to prevent these crimes.

Genevieve Morgan has been acting as the Maine state administrator of the national Women's March organization, and is serving as the official liaison between the national effort and its Maine arm. 

"As a massive and diverse group," Morgan says, "The WMW statement is a beautiful document that encompasses the desire for a truly enlightened society for all people, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual status or identity, immigrant status, or physical ability."

In Portland, a local effort begins with a 1.5-mile walk beginning on Congress Street and the Eastern Promenade on Munjoy Hill. 
"We are in complete solidarity with marches in Washington and Augusta," says local organizer Kathryn Yates, who, like Morgan, counts her activist status as a direct product of the election. 
"For me, there are three components. There's the organization of the physical event. The philosophical piece — showing up for what you believe. That's very personal. And the third piece is the most important," she says. "And that's: What are you gonna do on the 22nd?"
As Trump's administration has promised an "active" first few weeks, activists and supporters of the movement echo that energy from Saturday's rally will result in sustained efforts as well.
"On both a state and national level," says Morgan. "We hope to continue to encourage the outflow of positive and enthusiastic energy from the folks who are participating in the marches.
Managing 11 regional hubs in the state, Morgan says she has been working tirelessly to help get marchers down to D.C. An artist and writer, she says she has never organized on such a massive scale before the election — a status she recognizes in many of the movement's participants.
"Our grass-roots network will continue to serve as a database and hub for people who want to stay engaged (or get engaged) with local campaigns and politics," she says. "We hope to support our people who choose to run for office, and to back up those already in office who understand our message and work to represent us. Most of all, we will serve as a massive cohort that will be vigilant when rights are trampled and backdoor deals are made that undermine the health and safety and welfare of we, the people. We will lean on each other when we get tired, and we will lift each other up when we fall, but we will not be silent, and we will not go away. I am personally dedicated to changing things up on the state level in 2018."
"One of my favorite things about the Women's Walk [in Portland] is the positivity," says Lauren C. Anderson, a consultant and organizer with Empower the Immigrant Woman who has worked alongside Yates to assist the Portland. "A lot of components of the media talking about it as an anti-Trump event. It's not, really. It's a pro- event," she says, pointing to the movement's direct, positivist principles and demands.
"That's even true of the national march. We encourage people to be positive."
As the Women's March has grown in support, one of its chief concerns has been the attempts to define its inclusivity and intersectionality. (Organizers do, of course, welcome and encourage participation from men.) While the mission language speaks in broad strokes, its efforts have grown from advocating for health-care coverage and reproductive rights, and the continued funding of Planned Parenthood, to more expansive aims, like stricter gun laws.
On the other side, some have criticized it as a movement of privilege. "I didn’t want to be part of the march if it was going to be a white-woman kumbaya march,” said Jo Ann Hardesty, president of the NAACP chapter of Portland, Oregon, which pulled out of its support of the city's march earlier this month.
Activists for the Portland group say they have addressed this concern. "We've done a lot of intentional outreach. People have said back to me that there's a perception in the new Mainer community that it's a white woman's thing," Anderson says, something organizers have attempted to address at the city level.
"We are talking about things that impact all of us," says Anderson, adding that Saturday's walk in Portland will include an address by Ridelphine Katabesha, a human rights lawyer from DR Congo.
Portland | 10:30 a.m. | Eastern Promenade
Augusta | 10 a.m. | 111 Sewell St., Augusta
Fort Kent | 9 a.m. | Century Theater, 13 Hall St., Fort Kent
Surry | 10:30 a.m. | 1208 Surry Rd, Surry
Kennebunk | 10:30 a.m. | Main St. (near Town Hall), Kennebunk
Sanford | 10 a.m. | Main St., Sanford

8 Days a Week: Anti-Inaugurations, Counter-Inaugurations, and Other-Inaugurations


SEE OR DON'T SEE | Set to tour her debut album — aptly titled Have you SEEN This Woman? — the jazz-cabaret singer VIVA plays a sayonara set at Sonny's tonight. A beam of light on the Portland music scene the last few years, her energy and performance depth are not to be missed, and it's about time she gets captured on record. 6 pm | $15 adv, $20 door | Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland |

CUT UP YOUR MAGAZINES | I probably write about him too much, but there's a strong chance Portland's id m theft able is the city's "best" artist — if that were anywhere near a conceivable category. Normally an experimental, Fluxus-influenced "musician" of sound collage and noise events, the dude's visual work has thusly gone underrated. A smattering of his collages have been tacked up on the walls of Mayo Street Arts, and I could think of a thousand worse things you could look at tonight. The show stays up through March 10, but it opens with a reception from 6-8 tonight. | Free | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland |



MORNING BELL | If this morning you wake an hour earlier in the dead, cold night, forgive yourself. Should you spend twice as long plunged in dread and idly scrolling through your social feeds before stepping out of bed, you're not alone. We're trying not to be hyperbolic here, but screw it: Today is the first day of what will almost assuredly be the most seismic political shift in your lives. Join a throng of people in the resistance movement in a symbolic-yet-powerful reading of the Constitution (is that an instrument of the left again?) at the Maine State House. 11 am | Free | Maine State House, 210 State St., Augusta


FLESHED OUT | It was likely coincidental that tonight's edition of Naked People Reading, a positivist, community-building event if there ever was one, occurs on the same day as the day a misogynist sex offender is sworn into office. But the synchronicity reminds us that protest isn't the only way forward — we all need radical models of a good society, too. A collection of Portland artists host a public, safe-space literary event where people read assorted radical texts in various states of undress. Obviously, no photos or video allowed. Proof that simple, fun, bare-bones ideas can be part of the resistance. 7:30 p.m. | $5 | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland |




RISK SOMETHING | Officials from the Trump administration have said they expect the first week in office will be active. They mean, of course, taking steps to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act, which will leave millions without insurance and literally kill people. But regardless of the efficacy of those actions, their actual first order of business will be colored by the tens of millions of folks attending the Women's March on Washingon (and its satellite marches, occurring in 53 countries and all 50 states, with at least six official ones here in Maine). If you're in Portland, the "Women's Walk" begins at the top of Congress Street on Munjoy Hill at 10:30 am. Expect attendance in the hundreds. Eastern Promenade Obelisk, 11 Congress St., Portland |


SOUND BATH | Sooner or later, you'll need to get out of the political mindset and bathe in an art form that restores you. Is that rock music? Hard tellin'. It is 2017, after all — not the finest era for the form. But take it from us, that's not the fault of Portland's rock scene! Hell no it ain't, m'dudes! Exhibit that realness tonight, as four of them clamber onto the Empire stage to uncork some scorchers. The group Forget, Forget have been around about a half-decade now, and I personally have come around to their synth-infused chamber-rock sound. Tall Horse have received high marks for their drowsy, melodic indie-country, which envelops listeners with their own frayed nostalgia. Cape Cannons, the new group by local staple Dustin Saucier, is characteristically fleshed out and rich emotional rock music. And The Empty, another new outfit, is riotgirl dance-pop. All ages and free at Bayside Bowl. 8 p.m. | Free | Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland |


FIND YOUR PEEPS | If you can't get the political world out of your mind, you're set too. "The Other Inaugural Ball" is the sort of spirited counter-protest you'll feel right at home in, where performances by the venerable Theater Ensemble of Color (fresh off their fantastic debut performance of THE OTHERS last weekend) perform, along with the invigorating electronic-pop group Hi Tiger and the phenomenal Portland dance troupe Sudo Girls, comprised of young women dancers originally from Sudan. With an address by featured speaker Fatuma Hussein (of United Somali Women of Maine), while DJ 32french keeps everyone in a dancing mood. Proceeds for this POC-led event go toward the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP). Recommended. 7 pm | $10 | Mechanics Hall, 519 Congress St., Portland |




ENORMOUS SPIRIT | The classically trained violinist and songwriter Gaelynn Lea is a dynamo. You may remember her as the winner of NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Series last year, beating out 6,100 entries with her set of fiddle music steeped in Irish melodies. Equally meditative and ebullient, Lea's live performance belies her distinctive method — reliant on loops and effects and self-taught as a condition of a congenital disability called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. For the past ten years, Lea has been collaborating with Alan Sparhawk of the indie-rock band Low (to give you an idea of where we are genre-wise), and plays here tonight with Jerusha Robinson of the slow-core group South China. The concert will be followed by a Q&A session moderated by Disability Rights Maine director Kim Moody. Recommended. | $10 adv, $12 day of | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland |


BARBED TONGUES | Join local comedians as they do their part to mock and ridicule the new leader of the country (though we hear straight-up contempt is effective too). A local effort of the national WHAT A JOKE Comedy Festival takes place in over 30 cities across the country, all proceeds benefiting the vital American Civil Liberties Union. This one takes place at the new Bunker Brewing facility, and features local comedians Connor McGrath, Jordan Handren-Seavey (formerly of Portland, now of Boston), Aharon Willows-Hebert, and more. 6:30 pm | $10 suggested donation | Bunker Brewing Co., 17 Westfield St., Portland |


WOKE UP LIKE DIS | When was the last time you publicly celebrated your hair? Or others' hair? Thought so! Tonight at One Longfellow Square, the unique hair-themed event "Beauty in Colors" is a showcase of the works of stylist Dathan Hunter, and sheds some light on the many unique cuts and colors adorning this city's heads. With a performance by the Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus, DJ'd by Bubba's party selector DJ Jon, and hosted by the inimitable Nicole Antonette — who by our calculations, appears or performs in at least three events on this weekend calendar alone. 6 pm | $10 adv, $12 day of | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland |


SELF-CARE IS IMPORTANT | We suggest taking this evening to read a book.



DOWNLOAD SIGNAL | Have these times prompted you to re-evaluate your relationship to art? How about to your fellow citizens, any movement there? What about to social media ... any hot takes you got brewin' about that topic? (Social media is trending, we hear.) 'Cuz if so, maybe that coaxed an insight or two into the practice of physical exercise, spontaneous movement, that sort of thing. No? 'Cuz the two sure seem correlated. You can't consume, gripe about, or contribute to fake news, for example, while you're playing theater games in a space with other actors. And isn't that interesting? For the last several months, an inventive and big-hearted group of Portland theater artists have hosted "The Playground," a drop-in situation room of physical activity and theater sports. We don't know what they'll be up to tonight, but showing up is another way to exercise your resolutions, be they of the New Year's or anti-Trump variety. 7 pm | by donation | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland |


SHE MADE HIM HAPPY | They say the way the Maryland-raised folk artist Maggie Rogers broke through was by cracking Pharrell Williams's chill facade as he was filmed listening to her song "Alaska" at a masterclass at NYU. "I've never heard anything that sounds like that," he said. "That's a drug for me." Crazy! With three albums under her belt (the last in 2014), she's coasting on the unique and rollicking folk-pop forms of her new tracks "Alaska" and "Dog Years." A new album is likely around the corner; in the meantime, see if you feel what Pharrell feels tonight at the Port City Music Hall, when Ms. Rogers rolls through. 8 pm | $10 adv, $12 day of | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland |




PICK YR BATTLES | Previously known mostly to Portland street artists and prolific morning walkers, the city-sanctioned graffiti wall near the East End Wastewater Treatment Plant became a thing of larger civic notoriety when a mural appeared depicting Governor Paul LePage in a KKK robe last summer. Citing that political speech (which, sure, is bold — but then again, so is cutting off refugees' General Assistance), some vocal civilians allege these artists have gone too far, and have put the continued use of the municipal wall up before City Council. (Our take on the issue? It's clearly a promo spot by Banksy.) A public hearing on the issue goes down tonight in the Portland Water District building. Seriously, though, now's not the time to be cracking down on free speech. 7 p.m. | Free | Portland Water District, Nixon Room, 225 Douglass St., Portland 




LONG ROAD AHEAD | Next week's highlights include a "heroes and villains" masquerade at P.H.O.M.E. A night of resilience storytelling the USM Glickman Library (brought by the terrific Women and Gender Studies program), and The Love Witch, Anna Biller's modern-day gothic fantasy, at SPACE Gallery. 

High and Inside: An Improbable Red Sox Baseball Chat

With less than a month before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, Phoenix culture editor Nick Schroeder discussed Red Sox baseball past and present with Brendan Evans, proprietor of Strange Maine.

Nick Schroeder: Let's start by checking some credentials. I understand you're a serious baseball fan. Is this true? How many 6-4-3 double plays did you watch Sea Dog Kevin Millar hit into in your youth?

Brendan Evans: Three or four. I went to a lot of Dogs games back in the mid-nineties. But I wasn't a youth, I was a 15-year-old in a black trenchcoat trying desperately to resist the temptation to beg Charles Johnson for an autograph.

NS: Questionable move! Charles Johnson is one of the five best baseball players to ever set foot in this city. His autograph is worth at least a happy hour taco deal at Tomaso's.

BE: CJ was certainly the biggest fish on that block since Uriah Heep played the Expo in '81. Hey, have you ever been able to find proof that Snoop Dogg wore a Sea Dogs jersey or hat? I'd swear I remember hearing that on the news back in 1994. 

NS: Never did, no. It's January now, are you prepared for six months of the Red Sox being World Series shoe-ins?

BE: That's not an easy subject. I always come down on the wrong side of history. Joe Kelly was basically the only guy in that playoff series against the Cleveland Slurs who looked like he thought they could win a game. Not a good sign. I'm predicting 95 regular season wins, two Panda/Sale altercations, and a first-round playoff elimination.

NS: Joe Kelly looks like that one goofball jock kid in high school who didn't threaten to put his thumb in your eye socket. But I like him. If it's one thing the sabremetrics movement got wrong, it's misreading the value of good clubhouse guys.

BE: What's it really like in the clubhouse, do you think? Supposedly they play baseball video games, which seem really hard and couldn't possibly help your actual game. What if the X-Box Clayton Kershaw has some tell when he's going to throw a slurve that the real Kershaw doesn't have? I mean, imagine playing an accurate simulation of your job! It could only confuse you.

NS: Are you a Panda believer?

BE: Yes, I watched him hit three home runs in a World Series game. That's why I should never work in an MLB front office. "Did you see that?!!? Give him a blank cheque!"

NS: If there is one player you could trade for from the last 25 years that could hurdle the space-time continuum and bring this Red Sox team over the top, who would it be?

BE: Bill Lee. 

NS: Good thinking. They need another lefty starter.

BE: Though they did have a deal in the works to bring Kirby Puckett to Fenway back in '91. That's the deal I would've really enjoyed as a 12-year-old. Okay, I'm ready to give you my hot take on the '17 Sox. I think they'll win the East. Price will be their best starter. Sale will be adequate. Porcello will regress to the mean. Steven Wright will lose his job. E-Rod will look great until he has season-ending surgery in July. Kimbrel will be a Cy Young contender. Unfortunately, the offense won't be able to carry the team due to sub-2016 level performances from Hanley, JBJ, and Xander. The bright spot will be Sandy Leon, who will continue to bat at a .450 clip due to a disturbance in the force which results in his BABIP being roughly twice what Ted Williams' was in 1941. You can't shift against something mathematics can't explain.

NS: Watching Sandy Leon watch pitchers strike him out with the low-inside curveball was like watching an 8-year-old watch a Gaspar Noé film. Just gruesome. I have him losing his job by April 20


BE: There is a "luckiest hitter of all time," and there's potential for one who's twice as lucky. I'd say smart money is on Leon growing luckier with each passing day.


NS: Do you think Dombrowski will give us another lesson on how to destroy the value of a trade chip? Maybe this time he should convert Blake Swihart from Top Catching Prospect to Top Rosin Bag Fluffing Prospect [60-day DL].


BE: Swihart has a slightly brighter future than Rusney Castillo. I just can't let that guy fade from my memory. He still could be the next big thing!


NS: There's a universe out there where half the population wears Google Glass, people actually listen to that new My Bloody Valentine album, and still drink beverages like Orbitz. Rusney is a perennial 40/40 man there, and our moms watch him on enormous flat screens they bought when they cashed in their Beanie Babies.


BE: I'd say that the thing I'm most looking forward to about the 2017 season is Mookie Betts bowling bobblehead giveaway at Hadlock Field.

NS: Mookie Betts is the best thing to happen to Red Sox baseball since Ellis Burks. He's like Jacoby Ellsbury but with genuine baseball skills.

BE: Ortiz was a special player, special personality. A cartoon god. Mookie is the people's champ. Jacoby won tacos for everyone, but every Goodwill has at least ten Ellsbury jersey shirts that'll never sell. No one misses him.


  • Published in Sports

The Cultural Appropriation Debate (Because You're Already In It)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (this may include being an avid World of Warcraft player), you’re acquainted with the concept of cultural appropriation.

In the past 18 months, writers from Slate, Salon, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and countless more have tackled the subject. It’s been accused of pop stars like Katy Perry (for dressing like a geisha at the American Music Awards), M.I.A. (for shooting a music video that featured dancers in Côte d’Ivoire), and the Australian musician Iggy Azalea (for rapping in a bizarre African accent). And sensationalized reports of incidents from colleges, community centers, and elsewhere around the country have wedded it to the political dialogue of the moment. 

Recall, this was happening before the election of Donald Trump, and before the empowerment of white nationalist factions emerging from the depths of Breitbart, 4chan, Reddit, and elsewhere. We don’t know what a Trump administration will look like, but if there’s any indication from the behavior of these newly emboldened marshals of the right wing, set on exposing "identity politics" and "P.C. culture" as frivolous left-wing myths born of generational coddling, “cultural Marxism,” and hypersensitivity, the conversation isn't going away. We could be in for four-to-eight years of provocation, cultural erasure, and delegitimization.

The point is, it's happening — both the act and the difficult conversations about it. And scary as it all may be to participate in, people should become equipped with the tools to navigate it, whether through online research, and IRL conversation, workshops, or otherwise. When you encounter someone who earnestly wants to listen and learn, you should practice empathy for that person’s position. 

Most people understand the basics. Don’t dress in a sexy Pocahontas costume for Halloween. Don't be Rachel Dolezal. Don't combine your love of baseball with an acceptance of the Cleveland Indians' team name and logo, particularly when its owner, Larry Dolan, donates to politicians like Paul Ryan, who supports the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline through Native American reservations. 

Look closely at the Portland arts scene, and you’ll notice the conversation stirring as well. This piece is a response to these discussions both nationally and locally.

Portland is a small, tightly woven city. Everyone I’ve spoken with on this issue, personally and professionally, recognizes the issue's sensitivity. But they’re also scared, and unless they're the type that gets a thrill from provocation, they don't want to be called out as someone on the wrong side of the issue. Discussions about what is and is not cultural appropriation are necessarily difficult. And, when performed on social media, where people can often feel defensive and dehumanized and publicly shamed, they can be toxic.

For that reason, I'll anchor this piece with national analysis and context rather than local, because not a ton of people feel safe discussing it, and everyone is learning. And at a certain level, virtually everyone in the U.S. — including Portland — is guilty of it, from DJs to New American restaurant chefs to bartenders to art curators to newspaper editors. 

But despite all this, the reason why it's happening so often, is because cultural appropriation is one of the most fertile possible starting points for having discussions about power, profit, oppression, and the importance of representation. And those are conversations that absolutely need to happen right now.  


By its most basic definition, cultural appropriation is the act of borrowing a style, practice, tradition, or aesthetic from a culture that isn’t your own. Those on the right want to halt the definition right there. That way, the identity of the group being borrowed or taken from — the victims of appropriation — is unfixed. That means they can rhetorically slide their own ass right into that seat.

“Is it cultural appropriation whenever I eat sushi for lunch?” They’ll ask with a smirk. “How about democracy — should we return that to the Greeks?" They’ll point out, as the right-wing magazine National Review does in a 2016 essay titled “The Liberal Fantasy of Cultural Appropriation," that the sandwich was originated in a Jewish temple, and therefore if social justice activists are serious, they’d naturally renounce sandwiches. Ditto to whoever invented drama; Italy, pizza; ancient Judeo-Christian churches and the entirety of diatonic music.   

This is a trap. These front as rational arguments, but they're essentially tantamount to cries of “reverse racism." They're abstract and utterly unconcerned with historical dynamics as to appear bulletproof, and their ability to fold everyone into the issue's complicity is a cynical attempt to neutralize and silence the actual concern. 

In reality, cultural appropriation is complex. It’s not simply, as the right-wing would wish, a political tool to wedge between marginalized people and those in a dominant group who sympathize with them. Depending on a number of factors, appropriation can appear as valor stealing, neocolonialism, empty profiting off the backs of the oppressed, etc. Sometimes it's just a tacky, victimless gesture. Sometimes the accusations are specious and uninformed and fueled by anger, or by a performance of moral righteousness that casts the accuser in a glimmering light.

Despite all this variability, the reason why it's happening so often is because cultural appropriation is one of the most fertile possible starting points for having discussions about power. And those are conversations that absolutely need to happen right now. 

In a more useful definition than the above, the website Everyday Feminism defines cultural appropriation as “a particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.”

Okay! That's helpful! It’s still not always clear who gets to determine who belongs to an oppressed group. (It wouldn’t explain, for example, what to do with white Western teachers and practitioners of yoga, a spiritual study that has been sponsored by the Indian government with expressed intent of propagating throughout the world.) But it's a start.

This is a conversation that regular Mainers will have to get comfortable with. As a predominantly liberal, increasingly cosmopolitan city that nonetheless lacks ethnic diversity, the cultural appropriation dynamic here is unique. 

The prime determinant for who does and does not get to live here is the “logic” of market liberalism, a system which rewards those who practice or assimilate into Western culture. And though it's not often the direct "fault" of its adherents, that system reinforces the dominance of one culture over another, and, typically, the practices of cultures outside that.

Moreover, we’re about to live in a period governed by administrations both federally and locally that are hostile to immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, disabled people, and most other marginalized people.

LePage can always hide behind the mantra of fiscal responsibility and the reduction of the tax burden for moves like these, but his war on social welfare can never be divorced from its racial implications, and leaving the issue of representation and empowerment to the market is doomed to fail. 

Ultimately, there’s no way to "fix" cultural appropriation. It’s impossible to police the flows of cultural influence, and it’s not at all as though a world in which that were true is any better. Even more alarming, the ideological arguments on both extremes — social justice advocates with separatist tendencies and the white nationalist advocates of cultural purification — can seem to blur into one another. “White nationalists aren’t too bothered by protests of cultural appropriation,” writes Shuja Haider in a recent Viewpoint Magazine essay titled “The Safety Pin and the Swastika.” The argument's sting fits right into their belief that cultural influence is essentially an act of contamination.


While no one should expect to solve the issue of appropriation, there are ways to address the power dynamics behind it, and that’s building and supporting cultures and institutions where people of color are in ownership or leadership positions.

Broadly defined as “the ability of a nation or community of people to forge their own path of development,” self-determination serves as an antidote to the systems that make cultural appropriation toxic and oppressive, and an option besides the dynamic of assimilation that forces people of color into dominant structures in order to survive. It's also a core principle of the manifesto released last year by the Movement For Black Lives.

“The oppression of Indigenous people, immigrants, and nonwhite people more generally pervades American society," writes Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor in in her recent book, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. "The challenge for the movement is transforming the goal of ‘freedom’ into digestible demands that train and organize its forces so that they have the ability to fight for more, the movement must also have a real plan for building and developing solidarity among the oppressed.”

And in Maine, the movement for POC self-determination is underway, in the arts, media, social services, political alliances, and elsewhere. 

In media, the writer Shay Stewart-Bouley made BlackgirlinMaine, her blog, a full-time thing in 2015. 

“In Maine and Northern New England, there simply are not enough media spaces and representations for POC,” Stewart-Bouley writes in an email to the Phoenix. “After eight years, BGIM the blog is really well positioned to become that space.”

Of the print media outlets in Maine (including this one), only one is owned by a person of color (The Arabic language newspaper The Hanging Gardens, which began publishing in November, 2016). And there’s historically been a shortage of writers of color published in local print media.

“When I started writing in Maine back in 2003,” she continues. “it was pretty radical to discuss race openly and while it is normalizing, I know for many up and coming writers of color in Maine, the media landscape can still be pretty inhospitable at times.”

Shay Stewart-Bouley was a contributor to the Portland Phoenix from 2006 until 2014, when it was sold to new ownership. Her column, "Diverse-City," will return in these pages later this month.

“It’s important for women of color to establish autonomous organizations first,” writes Mufalo Chitam in an email, who launched the leadership organization Empower Maine Women Network, a leadership organization for Maine immigrant women, in 2015. The group meets once a month at the Cumberland Club, with a mission to bring women in Maine from different cultures, color, ethnicity, and class to network for professional and social purposes. “Empowered women change their communities and society as a whole," Chitam continues. (The Empower Maine Women Network host their second annual Empower the Immigrant Woman Conference, which includes a resource fair and workforce integration panel, at USM's Wishcamper Campus on March 18 at 9 a.m.)

Bianca Postrata teaches a self-defense course for women at the Choi Institute, a course she originally wished to provide for women of color alone. In an email to the Phoenix, Postrana, a woman of color herself, articulates the tension and hurt around the struggle for justice among even its most ideologically compatible actors.

"There is a massive amount of fear present on both sides," she says. "This is a tragedy for those who are seeking help, wanting to reach out but unable to due to the deeply conditioned reliance on the survival tactic of not allowing oneself to trust, and those attempting to authentically, humbly offer it. There is an incredible amount of anger (rightfully felt and expressed) from POC that could prevent a bridge from being constructed. There is a shocking and bitterly disappointing lack of true empathy and responsibility by white people to own up to the damage they have done (and continue to perpetuate) and the constant and lifelong work they need to endeavor to heal this devastating wound."

The nascent drama troupe Theater Ensemble of Color was launched by a cohort led by René Johnson in late 2015, addressing a lack of diversity and opportunity for people of color within the Maine arts scene that had become systematic, owing to the state’s demographic and audience, educational opportunities, and more. [Read Megan Grumbling’s preview on TEoC’s play, The Others, opening at SPACE Gallery this weekend.]

Samaa Abdurraqib and Marena Blanchard (the latter of whom has been a contributor to this newspaper), launched the project For Us, By Us in the harrowing first few days after last November’s election. Aiming to “create capacity for PoC in Maine,” For Us, By Us plans to produce a spectrum of events, and hosted their own women of color self-defense course last January 7 of last weekend.

“It has become clear that PoC in southern Maine need resources and safe spaces to organize ourselves, heal ourselves, and to create.,” they explain on the organization’s Patreon. “Our communities face unique challenges partly because we live as such an extreme minority of the population. While some of us are able to find time and space to gather on occasion, few of us are able to pull together resources with any consistency. This lack of capacity means that we remain isolated in our terror, unable to connect with each other and support one another as needed.”

These are, of course, just a few of the examples in and around Portland.


_Sidebar 1_

The Brooklyn College academic Fredrik DeBoer describes the rush to decry an act as appropriative as a sort of gestural moral outcry. “The noble purpose of moral critiques,” he writes in a blog post last month, “is to try and inspire better behavior. The destructive purpose of moral critiques is to elevate the person making them in relation to those being critiqued — ‘you are bad and I am good and saying so gives me power over you.’” 

 DeBoer, a white American and critic of liberalism and the right-wing, writes that one of the biggest problems with those expressing hard-line opposition to cultural appropriation is the absence of any better solution for engaging in cultural influence and exchange. 

 “Let’s ask ourselves,” he writes, ”what vision of better, alternative behavior does the writer suggest? If this is indeed cultural appropriation, what would righteous inspiration from other cultures look like? In other words, what would it take to get to a place where you don’t get the righteous satisfaction (and clicks) of finding other people below your moral standards, but where people are no longer guilty of the behavior you say is immoral? Where does righteous inspiration end and shameful appropriation begin?”

Sidebar 2

 The handwringing about being called out on appropriation is a symptom of white grief. If it were along the 5 Stages of Grief model, it’d be somewhere between denial and anger. White people, particularly those on the lower ends of the economic spectrum, are being asked to share capital, both cultural and monetary, with folks their forebears did not have to share with. As the adage goes: “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” Right or wrong, privileged people are feeling a type of loss from no longer having free, unrestricted access to capitalize on anything they want.

Sidebar 3

If, say, young white people in Maine only felt permitted to engage in and appreciate traditionally white practices of their own people, there would be a lot of bored, trapped, paralyzed kids in rural America, who have no positive incentive to engage in any art or cultural practices besides the ones their parents did. As DeBoer writes: “If you intend to be seen as part of a group that you know you would not naturally be perceived as part of being, then it’s wrong.” But that doesn’t preclude observing influence from other cultures.

Sidebar 4

  1. Listen! This discussion is thorny. This piece is obviously not a panacea — it’s one person’s attempt to responsibly frame and address a subject of local and national cultural interest. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth critiquing, but there’s no way each of our politics are going to align completely, and while some of what I’ve written here might read like I think it’s definitive, it’s really an attempt to work through some ideas and analysis. Also, it’s my job. Which brings me to…

  2. I’m a college-educated white man writing for a media organization whose ownership is comprised of 100 percent white people, in a state where media is very nearly 100 percent white and major media outlets are, in fact, 100 percent owned by white people, and whose advertisers are, almost by default, owned nearly 100 percent by white people. It’s not useful to blame anyone in particular for those conditions, but it seems preciously myopic to ignore them, or ignore my complicity in them, for the purposes of this conversation or for efforts of seeking justice, equality, and representation for people of color living and working in the state. Just saying.


An earlier version of this story misstated Iggy Azalea as Welsh. She is in fact Australian

  • Published in Features

Local efforts to oppose Dakota Access pipeline collide with Portland institutions

Local efforts to oppose the Dakota Pipeline have pushed beyond hashtags and social media and hit the streets.

On December 19 and 30, small groups of protestors gathered at the Portland TD Banknorth branch at 1 Portland Sq., protesting the bank's status as a financial backer in the proposed construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota. 

The most recent effort, mobilized by the Portland branch of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), called for Portlanders to close their accounts with TD Banknorth in a collective effort. 

Others have taken to calling out the bank's other ties within the Portland community. A petition launched by Matthew Raymond in mid-December - titled "Divest From TD Bank, Stand With Standing Rock" - called for local LGBTQ rights organizations EqualityMaine and Pride Portland to divest from their financial relationships with the banking giant.   

The petition read as follows:

"TD Bank is heavily invested and supportive of the North Dakota Access Pipeline, which is currently leaking over 8,000 barrels worth of oil and threatening indigenous people's sacred burial grounds. EqualityMaine & Portland Pride have received tens of thousands of dollars from TD Bank over the past year, so the LGBT community in Maine has a duty to stand up against this implicit support of anti-Native American activities." 

Launched by Matthew Raymond, a student at the University of Southern Maine and Vice President of USM's Student Government Association, the petition had collected 281 signatures by January 3. Raymond says he has notified EqualityMaine's Executive Director Matt Moonen, and plans to formally present it should the petition reach 1000 signatures - though right now he says "we're a long way away from that."

"My work as an community organizer and student advocate here in the Greater Portland area tied into this issue well," Raymond says. "We're always striving to 'follow the money.' It just so happens that this money EQME and Pride Portland receive from TD Bank for corporate advertising is dirtied with the spilt oil and blood from North Dakota."

TD Bank has been a sponsor of Portland's Pride Festival and annual parade, celebrated each June, since 2013. In 2014, TD Bank's chief executive Ed Clark told the Huffington Post that being a champion of social issues helps the financial institution's bottom line.

"There are rewards not just in heaven," Clark told the Huffington Post, "but eventually in the shareholder, if you run an institution that people say, 'I love their employment brand, they create a different atmosphere.'"

Jules Purnell, a former employee of EqualityMaine who supports the call for divestment, wrote in a statement to The Phoenix: "As a former employee of EQME, I fully support EQME divesting from any partnership that contributes to the DAPL. The struggles of native people and queer people are bound up in the same oppressions, and our communities should support one another. We white and non-native queer and trans people should not be contributing to the continued degradation and genocide of the people who called this land home long before any of the rest of us did."

Executive Director Matt Moonen of EqualityMaine could not be reached by press time, but this story will be updated. 

At press time, the DefundDAPL website ( estimates that more than $43m has been divested from national banks as a result of protests.

tji TDBankProtest2 PhotoCourtesyof350Maine

On December 2, the U.S. Army Corps denied the easement to build the pipeline to Energy Transfer Partners, the proposed. But many among the defenders at Standing Rock and their allies believe the fight could adopt a different tenor in a Trump administration. Those opposing the construction of the pipeline say it breaks the treaties the U.S. Government made with indigenous peoples and jeopardizes access to clean water.

This is not the first time there's been direct action in Portland against TD Bank's affiliation with U.S. pipelines. In January 2014, two citizens chained themselves to the bank's front doors to protest TD Bank's investment in the Keystone pipeline, which transported tar sands oil to refineries in Port Arthur and Houston, Texas.

Stay in Touch at a Contact Improvisation Jam

This Saturday at Studio 408, in the South Portland space formerly inhabited by Casco Bay Movers, get blood and brain in motion at a bi-weekly contact jam. Studio 408 was opened by a new wave of Portland movement artists, including Kristen Stake, Delaney McDonough, and Cookie Harrist.

To be clear, contact improv isn't a recognized sport. Maybe not yet? Probably not ever. There's nothing competitive about it, unless you're someone who thrives on teasing out competitive energy from anyone in any setting. But like meditation or eating, you'll actually compromise yourself if you try to be "good" or "better" than the rest. And you'll end up a loser in a scenario where everyone else wins by default. Just show up.

You may arrive at this article with pre-formed notions and associations about contact improv. They may have served you well! It's an inclusive, activity for all body types that relies on self-selection, so there's sometimes little buffer, or perceived buffer, to prevent you from coming into contact with someone you don't feel comfortable coming into contact with. Women in particular seem to live their entire lives with this concern — the stress of which seems like a brutal sport in itself. But over the years, the practitioners of this simple, graceful art form have generated language and policies so that everyone feels sufficiently safe and empowered to take care of themselves and one another.

If you have questions, a helpful description of contact improvisation can be found at Quite simply, it's the practice of establishing dialogue between two moving bodies in a given space. It can be a real workout and stress cleanser. Odds are decent it could also change your life.

Drop in on the contact improv jam every first and third Saturday. A skills class begins at 12:30 p.m., while the open jam runs at 1:30 until 3. The jam is $5-10, and the jam plus class is $10-15, all on a sliding scale. Studio 408 Dance is at 408 Broadway in South Portland — visit for more.

  • Published in Sports
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