Nick Schroeder

Nick Schroeder

8 Days A Week: draft


ARM YOURSELF WITH KNOWLEDGE | 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. 6 pm | $15 adv, $20 door | Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland |


SOFT LIGHTS | 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-influened "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 |




DUDE, THE WORLD | Winged Migration, right? A true holy moment in cinema. If this 2003 joint about the world's flighty subjects lit a fire inside you long ago, then you're going to love the new one by filmmaking team Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud. They call it Seasons, and it's about the green forests and megafauna that populated Europe since the Ice Age. Might not be as immediately fetching or herb-ready as their earlier work, but it's still quite an experience. Screening January 3 through 8 at Frontier, and at 2, 6, and 8 p.m. today | $8 | Frontier, 14 Maine St., Brunswick |


LOVE IN THE DARK | It's the first week of January. We all need a dance-heavy regimen of evening activities, and this one tonight is a hot ticket. DJ Jamie O'Sullivan has been hosting his party, Love, every first Friday of the month at Flask for years now, featuring wonderful house and techno DJs from Portland, the Northeast, and beyond. Tonight he plays alongside longtime city DJ Jack MF, a/k/a Jack Master Flash, spinning deep house and techno in a positive, supportive space. 2017 should not be a year of alienation and atomization, and we should all make efforts to be around each other, being vulnerable, physical, and kind. 9 p.m. | Free | Flask Lounge, 117 Spring St., Portland |


WATER WARS | Since September, the indigenous peoples of the Dakota Sioux tribe have been in protest of the planned construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, an effort that has rallied many thousands of supporters from around the country, and has sparked conflict and aggression from North Dakota police. Surely your personal politics will have already colored your perspective. But the developments have placed the opposing values in stark relief — water protection and civil rights on one side, and the proceedings of corporate capital and big oil on the other. As Pete Seeger sang, which side are you on? While President Obama ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny a permit to Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline owner, earlier this month — a victory for the protestors, for sure. But with president-elect Trump literally holding stock in the companies building the pipeline, many expect the fight isn’t over. Tonight’s rock show, headlined by the energetic prog group Five of the Eyes, benefits the protestors, tribes and water protectors in their next chapter. With scads of free OTTO pizza. A rescheduled show from December.

| $10 | 8:30 pm | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland | |


WALKING STICKS | It's the first Friday of the year, which means an art walk is literally unavoidable. Highlights include some thought-provoking work about the veracity of the image in our post-truth times in the form of a photography show by Raymond E. Hulse at Inked Wing Massage and Bodywork (Suite 626 in the State Theatre building, 142 High St.); a dizzying live performance by experimental sound collagist/national treasure i dm theft able at Mayo Street Arts (10 Mayo St.); and a dance party by the Maine Marimba Ensemble, who play music inspired by Zimbabwean Shona culture. That's at 7 p.m. | $7 | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | 




LESSONS OF SKIN | The sex-positive performance group M.E.S.H. (Maine Educationalists for Sexual Harmony), who did valuable work in Portland for the last two-plus years, are technically no longer. But several among that scene have morphed into the new collective Consensual Daydreams, who endeavor to bring us steady and sexxxed-up Rocky Horror shows (just like M.E.S.H. did) as well as intermittent dialogues about sexuality, slut-shaming, accountability, and consent. Their annual Rocky Horror performance, with two showings tonight, is becoming the stuff of local legend. In case you're wondering, they'll be super good about making this a safer space. Shows at 8 and 11 p.m. | $10 in advance, $12 at the door | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland |


PROCESSIONS | With the surfeit of popstar deaths in 2016, one of the most popular musical genres in America was grief-core. Paired with the practicality of cover and tribute nights, it also became a safe book for producers, backed with tons of measurable social media data (literally how did people die before Facebook?). Tonight, the Portland musician Mat Zaro, formerly of Bass Box, heads up a tribute to the mighty David Bowie, playing both Station to Station (1976) and Blackstar, the duke's last platter. 8 p.m. | $10 in advance, $12 at the door | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland |



THE REIS, THE FALL | The indie-rapper Shane Reis headlines a raw and raucous affair tonight at PHOME. The dude's been at it several years now, and his funk and soul nods are drawn out tonight with appearances by local diva Renee Coolbrith, the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, DJ Rew, and Essence (formerly Lady Essence). It's a party. | $10 in advance, $12 at the door | Portland House of Music and Events, 25 Temple St., Portland |




FIGURATION | This evening, throw your drawing hand a bit of a curveball at Bright Star World Dance, a Portland dance studio that teaches classes in belly dance, zumba, ballet 4 to 5 p.m. They host a figure-drawing session with one of their dancers as a model, wearing various costumes and appropriate dress. 5 p.m. | $10 | Bright Star World Dance, 108 High St. Portland |




FOR WORSE OR WORST | In 2017, local comedy scenes are as much about building and sustaining friendships as they are some hoary notion of making it. Not that any of the Worst Day of the Week crew couldn't break through at any moment, but the trick is you've got to act like you don't want it, otherwise those elites in the Illuminati won't feel comfortable sharing the wealth. These folks act like they don't want it, like they just want to gather together in a dark room on a trash night and support each other in saying brazen shit to strangers. It's a good front! 8 p.m. | one-drink-minimum | Blue, 650A Congress St. |


TAKING STEPS | If you're the type to make resolutions, it's usually around the 9th that your relationship with them has hardened into a mutual respect. You know each other now. The gym visits no longer seem excruciating. Your face looks slightly less like a strawberry waffle and the sobriety actually feels possible. Someone somewhere considers forgiving you. By the 9th, you should know if you're a person who wants to be a person who wants to learn to swing dance, and if so, you should at least ironically text your crush if they want to join you in Biddeford tonight (where few if any of your Portland frenemies will see you), when Engine hosts a workshop on how to do the lindy-hop, a jazz step originating to 1930s Harlem. Tonight launches an eight-week class hosted by Lindy Maine (it's their specialty!). $80 for the whole course. 6 p.m. | Engine, 128 Main St., Biddeford | or




HOMEMADE MUFFINS | This one very interesting documentary, One Big Home, explores gentrification as it plays out in a unique area: Martha's Vineyard. A rarefied community, sure, but one not immune to the same unchecked market forces that play out and muck things up everywhere, so feel free to tune in even if you're not huge on Yankee nostalgia. The basic premise in this doc by carpenter-turned-filmmaker Thomas Bena is that wealthy people love Martha's Vineyard — love it! — so they move there and build enormous trophy houses that have, over time, threatened the island's character. Bena, a resident on the front lines of the action, compiled this living history on film over the course of 10 years. On a smaller scale, this is happening with our own Peaks Island, except with slick-looking condos. One Big Home screens from January 10 through 15, and at 2, 6, and 8 p.m. today. | $8 | Frontier, 14 Maine St., Brunswick |


TIME TO THRASH | A real steal of a good-time, Empire trots out some slick new framework for a rock show: Three for 3, where a trio of Portland bands play for a $3 cover, with $3 shots and $3 Geary's IPAs (which do the trick). Tonight's offering is the sensorily overwhelming hardcore punk group Cadaverette, the astoundingly good math-rock quartet An Anderson, and power-pop band Wedding Camp. 8 p.m. | $3 | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland |




YOUR EDGE | Listen! Sometimes people get older and forget the songs they used to love. They forget the names of the songs and the lyrics. They realize they haven't attended campfire and been invited to sing drunkenly with others in a dog's age. And they haven't made a mix tape for a colleague, let alone a lover, in years. All this can happen to you if you're not careful. One way to nudge yourself back is by taking the karaoke plunge with a cluster of weird ones. Longtime selector DJ Johnny Red has what you need at Empire tonight. 9 p.m. | Free | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland | 




NEW DAY RISING | Next week! The newly launched Civil Rights Film Series continues its every Thursday run of films throughout January. This one, also at the Portland Library's Rines Auditorium, is the 1989 film The Road to Brown, a documentary about the late Charles Hamilton Houston, a black U.S. veteran who became a civil rights attorney after WWII and fought Jim Crow segregation laws until his death. 6:30 p.m. | Free | Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Sq., Portland |

8 Days a Week: Rituals, Other Realms, and Meditations


YEAH BUB | The Maine comedian Bob Marley is a big fan of indefatigability. The dude presently holds the Guinness World Record for longest consecutive hours performing stand-up comedy (40 hours; the first 18 of them without repeating a joke), and takes the stage again for his 17th annual holiday series of shows at the Merrill Auditorium, tonight through Saturday at 7 p.m. This man does not quit. And he's synonymous with Maine humor as it lives today. | $52.50 | Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St. |


FOR THE MIGNONETTES | The concept of ladies night needs a little unpacking. Whenever an arbitrary evening is passionately dedicated to a such a broad, heterogeneous coalition of people, merely for being alive, it's worth checking to see where the motives lie. Perhaps it's a thinly veiled admission that you've created a product or programming that appeals solely to one gender type and thus face social pressure, possibly from that very gender type, to fix or balance that, for reasons of social equilibrium or integration. Maybe it's a nonpolitical way of addressing that American women make 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. Perhaps it's an attempt at a safe space, an environment where women are prioritized above men. Or, I suppose, it's something to do. We'll never know for sure the motives of seafood tiki bar Rhum, but regardless, they throw a ladies night every Thursday, where such folks can get $3 shots of Tito's vodka, $3 cans of Truly spiked seltzer, half-off cocktails and $1 oysters. 4 to 7 p.m. | Rhum Food + Grog, 4 Free St., Portland |


TRUE HORRORS | One massive part of musicians' jobs is to create a world that looks and feels different from the one we presently live in, with different truths, logics and systems. (The music itself is but a beaded curtain between this realm and ours.) The Portland group Video Nasties accept this role, having the last five or so years created some of the most fucked-yet-enjoyable music to come out of the North East, and performing it capably. Tonight they celebrate the release of their first LP, a self-titled affair, which presses all the songs found on their four out-of-print, cassette-only releases. They play with the songwriter Caethua (aka Clare Hubbard from Belfast, Maine), the oudsman Tom K, and Colby Nathan — in some mesmerizing combination TBA. 8:30 p.m. | $8 | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland |




BAND BACK TOGETHER | In what should be a fairly heartfelt, touching affair, the late pop-punk group Sophomore Beat, whose members have gone on to play in Worried Well among other melody-forward units, reunite for Erica Lohmeyer, the wife of SB frontman Daniel James Lohmeyer, in a medical benefit. They're aided by local acolytes Lannen and Cape Cannons. 8 p.m. | $8 advance, $10 day of | Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland |


YOUR UNIVERSE | Even if we knew the inner language of the Phish universe, it'd be an untoward act of pandering for us to reprint any of it here. If you're in, you know who you are (and you know who your fellow phans and haters of Wilson are). Congregate amongst ye'selves tonight at Port City Music Hall for a Phish Webcast. Proceeds benefit the Mockingbird Foundation, a philanthropic foundation backed by the band that endeavors to promote music education. 7 p.m. | $5 | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland |


SEND A POSTCARD TO YOURSELF | Tonight, the Maine archivist and musician Sumner McKane presents Northeast by Eastern, a majestic film comprised of photographs collected by Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company, a Waldo County postcard company launched in 1909. McKane has built a knack for making these gorgeous and serene Maine folklore films while scoring them himself with lovely, neo-Americana music, and this latest is an even deeper dive, exploring the impact of technologies and modernization on Down East Maine. McKane, in attendance, plays alongside musician Josh Robbins. 7:30 p.m. | $14 adv, $16 at the door | St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland |


THERE'S GONNA BE A FIGHT | Some people grow up to be politicians, some grow up to be theater kids, and some grow up to be wrestling fans, but they're essentially all strands of the same DNA. Some kind of pro wrestling cabal invades Geno's Rock Club tonight, featuring names like "Flash" Nick McKenna and Aiden Aggro. We originally thought this was pure showmanship (because Geno's is cold and its floor is unforgiving), but apparently there's going to be actual wrestling matches. If you think of it as a fringe theater show, it might make more sense, possibly less. Produced by the North Atlantic Wrestling Camp, based out of Skip's Pool and Lounge in Buxton. 9 p.m. | $8 | Geno's Rock Club, 625 Congress St., Portland 


FUNK THIS LIFE | If you're the type to blitz it on the 30th (and the 1st?) and spend New Year's Eve proper reading Ferrante on your couch, you've got a clear path tonight at the State Theatre, where Boston funk act Lettuce play with their Portland homeslices Jaw Gems, whose praises have been sung again and again. Also with TAUK, a "dirty funk" quartet from New York. 8 p.m. | $25 | State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland |




LIBRARY SWEAT | You'll find plenty of offbeat ideas for spending your New Year's in our feature, but here's another one for you: In the Portland Public Library today, you're invited to 'treat your bod' to a contra dance. 11 a.m. | Free | Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Sq., Portland |


DON'T TRIP | Are we in agreement that dubstep's moment is behind us? Probably not. Nonetheless, that's kind of the domain of the live instrumentalists Moon Hooch, former conservatory students and busker Wenzi McGowan and Mike Wilbur (saxophone) and drummer James Muschler, who some argue are forging a new path for the break-heavy rhythm. They credit yoga and meditation as practical inspirations for their new album, Red Sky, and their work is definitely a lot more satisfying to watch than some 17-year-old kid press some buttons on stage. 8 p.m. | $20-25 | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland |   


FLANNEL UP | Besides the Rustics (and maybe Motor Booty Affair), it's hard to point to a Maine band more institutionalized than the Mallett Brothers Band. Read Tim Gillis's do-up on the group and their new members (including ex-North of Nashville fiddler Andrew Martelle and former thrash-metal drummer and Maine legend Adam Cogswell) on page 19. The boys plan for a new album of reinterpreted 19th-century Maine folk songs titled The Falling of the Pine: Songs from the Maine Woods, this winter, and play batches of those songs alongside their signature staples as the world turns on its axis. 8 p.m. | $20-25 | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland |   




DO LITERALLY NOTHING | As you emerge from the wreckage that was 2016, surely there's a resolution or two you've considered from the vast index of "wellness" initiatives the Western world has to offer. Yoga, we'd reckon, is among them. And why not? — yoga has numerous benefits, including offering one arena where it's verboten to play with your phone. I personally get down with Maine Hatha Yoga (having read in a book by Jerzy Grotowski long ago that hatha is ideal for theater people, which, I don't know, stuck), but you shouldn't care about me. January 1 is classically a day to care about yourself above all, but you'd do well to resist that too. Who should you care about, then? The whole of humanity, because it's in trouble. At Maine Hatha Yoga, the "Silent Meditation for Peace and Unity" could be a stepping stone along your path to spiritual and social engagement. No joke, you forget how powerful it is to sit silently in a room with a bunch of people. 4 to 5 p.m. | Maine Hatha Yoga, 49 Dartmouth St. Portland |




FOR FANS OF STARFISH | The 2015 film Evolution, by French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic, is a lyrical and entrancing meditation that also manages to be a sci-fi thriller. Hadzihalilovic is the wife of famed director Gaspar Noe, who also works in this inventive and confrontational genre of filmmaking. A superb January 2-sorta thing to do. 8:30 p.m. | $8 | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St. |




THANK A SISTER | The songwriter Clara Junken, whom you may remember from the roots-folk act Marion Grace, plays a solo set at Blue tonight, a small jewel for the dark weeks ahead. 8 p.m. | one-drink-minimum | Blue, 650A Congress St., Portland |




CARE ABOUT NUTRITION | The great January nothing is here, and you might do well to counter it by gathering some special ones close and cooking a hearty, kale-based soup. But if they're in a bad mood tonight, you could instead sneak off to a brewery in Biddeford. Banded Horn has a comedy night every Wednesday, and tonight they've got sketch team Boxed Wine and Boston's Brett Johnson, who says he grew up in New York City and East Africa. 8 p.m. | $5 | Banded Horn, 13-W in the Pepperell Mill, 32 Main St. in Biddeford |


YELLING PRACTICE | The Crowbait Club, the upstart theater group that keeps on ticking, rouses its troupes for a "Deathmatch," where local playwrights script plays on the theme of "dissonance" and workshop their pieces in front of (and starring) a live audience. 8 p.m | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland |




POST-9/11 COMEDIES | Today, the Nickelodeon plays some old-world throwback films from 2002. Frida, the biopic of pathbreaking Chilean artist Frida Kahlo starring Selma Hayek, screens at 1:15 and 6:50. Analyze That, the square peg/round hole buddy comedy starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal, screens at 9:20. Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine gets three rounds (at 4:10, 7, and 9:35), and Nicole Kidman in Far From Heaven goes up at 4 p.m. The Oscar-considered films are soon to follow at Nickelodeon, 25 Temple St. |

8 Days: Hot meals, trap houses, and mammal touching


TO REST OR NOT TO REST | The rock band the Restless Atlantic, from Portland, play a style of emotive post-hardcore that squashes together several iterations of the experience of the young American male. They’ve got a new, six-song EP out titled Afterglow, over which they index several traits of the genre: tortuous guitar licks, mid-tempo rhythms, soaring male vocals in a sugary tenor, you name it. They’re one of the finest groups in town practicing this stuff right now, and are very likely to put together a satisfying, energetic live show. They play with Tim Mercer, whose debut record is said to consist of heartbreaking, vulnerable songs he wrote in memory of his late wife, who passed in 2011. And Very Reverend, a trio whose influences include Queens of the Stone Age, T. Rex, and the Arctic Monkeys. 10 p.m. | $7 advance, $10 day of show | Empire, 575 Congress St. |


KEEP THE HEAT ON | If you or someone you know wants a hot meal today, you’ve got four options. Wayside Food Kitchen serves food to seniors (55+) at the Salvation Army at 297 Cumberland Ave at noon, and dinners for all at 5:30 p.m. at Hope.Gate.Way (185 High St.), Deering Center Community Church (4 Brentwood St.), and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (678 Washington Ave.).


OFF RADAR | In the waning days of 2016 reality, you’re forgiven if you start courting the holiday delirium a little early. If you find yourself south of the city, pop into Alisson’s Restaurant in Kennebunkport for some pre-holiday sogginess. There’ll be blues music courtesy of the group Bread & Circus, some curated beer selections on behalf of the omnipresent Portland brewery Bissell Brothers, and specials on the chef’s homemade Southern barbecue wings from 5 to 9 p.m. | Alisson’s Restaurant, 4 Dock Sq., Kennebunkport |



STAY FUNKY | The magical funk band Shut Down Brown has been playing raunchy R&B music for awhile now — 2007 to be exact. Their sound is exactly the sort of Bill Withers-worshipping groove you’ve heard in thousands of rooms since growing up Yankee, so you’ll know what to do. There’ll be dozens of all-stars popping Long Trails and yanking their necks around at this one, and you could be one of them or stare at one all night. SDB play with the top hat-wearing broseph Jon King, whose bluesy soul music has been around New England for a decade now. Fine way to drop your life and lunge into the holiday steam. 9 p.m. | $15 | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland |


DARK INTO LIGHT | Making funk fans think about it is this rivaling greasy show down the street. Model Airplane, who come alive at night and understand the power of brass, hold the fortress known as P.H.O.M.E. What you’ll get here isn’t some weak-ass holiday jambalaya, but instead a slow-cooked, reverential tribute to the fallen musicians of 2016 — far more nutritious. To recap the losses: David Bowie, Sharon Jones, Allen Toussaint, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Phife Dawg, Donald Buchla, Leon Russell, George Martin, Bernie Worrell, Maurice White, Blowfly, Otis Clay, Glenn Frey, Jon Bunch, Alan Vega, Dan Hicks, Keith Emerson, John Stabb Schroeder, Merle Haggard, and more. Sadly, Lemmy died on December 28, 2015, so we won’t be hearing the Model Airplane version of “Ace of Spades” — this year at least. Music still has the ability to confuse your brain into thinking it’s in another time-space, so this night could be overwhelming to many. 8 p.m. | $12-15 | Portland House of Music and Events, 25 Temple St., Portland |


BASICALLY BUDDHISM | Tired of everything? Want to weird out a new friend? Believe yourself a mutant of luck? Then let not the seasonal garlands tie you to the bedpost. It’s time instead for the bingo parlor, my dudes! A crisp tenner gets you the regular paper package (aka the normal game) at the South Portland Bingo Hall, where you’ll be in the company of dozens of citizens whose lives you’ll not know a thing about. If that isn’t Christmas, pray tell what is? Winning here is less impossible than you might think, but you could also use this as a non-denominational way of telling how much karmic coal you deserve. Bingo begins at 6:30 p.m. | $10 (or you can not play and hang out by the concession area eating crème horns, in which case, $1.49) | 200 John Roberts Road, South Portland |


SHINY NIGHT | Up in the twin cities, Sapphire Night Club hosts a sprawler whereupon all ye might get turnt up gladly. With no cover at the door, the DJs Panda Beatz, Rascal, Lupo, and Sognar each devote an hour to spinning the yuletide top, aka the mighty turntable. They call it the Tap House Trap House: Christmas Spectacular — so casual with the drug reference! Hard to know what particular din they fancy here, but we promise the night will be booty-forward as a whole, if anything at all is forward. They also tempt us with a surprise, but on second thought, that’s a classic rouse this time of year, so may be best to forget it. Regardless, oh come all ye. 9 p.m. | Free | Sapphire Nightclub and Event Center, 150 Center St., Auburn |


BUTTON UP | For all those who love and know Portland: listen, you don’t. Not unless you remember the Underground, the gay dance club that pre-dated Styxx in the same building. (I also don’t, so I feel you on this.) But I mention it here because the space itself has been LGBT-friendly since long before Brooklyners came here to splurge on small plates, and the last week of Styxx (it closes 12/31) before it gets revamped into something a little more mainstream has the city’s queer population remembering the old days. Be them or join them at a drag show tonight featuring the performer Brita Filter, a truly spectacular NYC performer originally from Phoenix, who makes her Styxx farewell. 9 p.m. | $5 | Styxx Nightclub, 3 Spring St., Portland |


CRACKED CHESTNUTS | Other housecleaning: The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine (142 Free St.) hosts a Hannukah Celebration at noon. Hustle and Flow (155 Brackett St.) ensconce us in a guided meditation (for the solstice, you see) at 6 p.m. Allagash is pouring all sorts of beers they make at Rhum (4 Free St.) And The Victorian Nutcracker at the Merrill is sold out for tonight; forever. 




FIZZY FEELINGS | You must be freaking out by now. So many reasons to! Possibly related is your sense of guilt. “Do I belong on this earth if I cannot keep a friendship?” We’ve all thought this, and the truth is that today mainlines protein directly into this particular anxiety. It’s important to remember that it’s a trick question, but if it makes you feel better, gift-giving is still a decent way to maintain friendships (nearly as effective as Instagram likes in some circles). And word of the bird says that gifts are available today at Urban Farm Fermentory, as they host a last-minute Maker’s Market in their tasting room from noon to four p.m., with local art, jewelry, hand-done things, clothes, and other items. Noon | Free | Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St., Portland |


STAY SOFT | 10 a.m. on a Saturday in December is one of the fuzziest hours possible. And you can double down fuzz-wise with a trip to Paca Naturals, which has invited all to hang at its Christmas Eve Open House With Alpacas this morning. If you’re getting your kid an iPad/iPhone tomorrow, bring them here first to say farewell to the natural world. 10 a.m. | Paca Naturals, 194 Gray Rd., Cumberland Center   




SNEAK ATTACK | In post-truth America, news and information has been replaced by endless expressive intermedial streams of ego. The selfies, sunsets, cool doggos, top 10 lists, even the #notmypresidents, all amount to a kind of empty virtue signaling for a desperately lonely, thinly connected society. Today, however, presents an opportunity. It’s Christmas Day. And while that’s completely meaningless in a cutthroat, despiritualized, capital-driven planet simultaneously winking at both World War III and total ecological collapse on either ends of the bar, even the most isolated and scabrous among us were once pounded with yuletide lessons of kindness and goodwill. That means that compared to all other days in the year, they’re more inclined today to entertain your idea of a good and just society. What is that? Up to you and yours. Maybe that’s jumping on your friend’s back and co-improvising your way through some original carols in the middle of Monument Square (we need new carols, pls). Maybe it’s inviting the winter-rental folks in the Airbnb-shell apartment down the hall of your quaint Munjoy Hill home to walk the 90 minutes to Thanh Thanh 2 (795 Forest Ave.) for some pho. Maybe it’s getting hopped up on green tea with a small cabal of friends and knocking on various houses asking residents if you could do their dishes.


HAN PRIMO | The people are freaking out about Rogue One, the new stand-alone Star Wars film (think of it as Episode 3.5). I can’t say anything about it one way or another, but can admit the FOMO is building. It plays everywhere, of course. But the Nickelodeon is right there (1 Temple St.).



WEEKDAY WARRIORS | It’s a drag that Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. It robs workers everywhere of the extended off days. We hope your employer recognizes that no one does any work in the dark week between Christmas and New Year’s, and that they should pay you regular rates to explore the city’s daytime mistakes, like dollar drafts at Rosie’s, or snowstorm brunches at Ruski’s.


TRIBUTES ARE FOREVER | By now, the young generation has been so beaten into submission by baby boomers’ need to be respected and appreciated that the creative reflex lends itself more to mimicry than originality. So there are tribute nights and cover nights all over the place; it can’t be helped. The undisputed best thing about this week is the reliability of Kenya Hall’s Stevie Wonder Tribute Night, which is done with true love and genuine creativity, and is appreciated appropriately widely. 8 p.m. | $15 | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland |




THANK A SISTER | If you read, you may approach the comedy set by David Heti by way of his sister, Sheila Heti, who wrote a quite-good book several years ago called How Should a Person Be? that became a minor literary sensation. I include that not to slight David, but I can’t not see the dude in that light. Siblings have that effect, no matter where they are on the color spectrum, the info is valuable. The comedian Heti, also from Toronto, has degrees in Law and Philosophy and has still chosen the dark life that is stand-up comedy. And what does that tell you? Sheila’s question is truly still on the table. With Colby Bradshaw and Sam Pelletier. Smart booking. 7:30 p.m. | $5 | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland |




ETHICS QUESTION | Entrenched Portlanders caught wind of the cultural appropriative kerfuffle regarding last week’s proposed “Tribute to the Ladies of Hip Hop” cover show (called out for having no women of color on the bill, admittedly not a great look, and is reportedly being rebooted for a later date). Will be interesting to see how this night is spun, as two DJs play songs by Janet Jackson and Beyoncé in the playfully competitive schema of modern cover nights. (Competition is crucial, you understand.) VERSUS: Janet Jackson vs. Beyoncé tips off at 9 p.m. | $6-8 | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St. |



STAY BAD | Next week, the ghost of Sublime still refuses to go into the grave, as Badfish! A Tribute to Sublime swing back through the State Theatre. And the fantastic local goblins the Video Nasties unshackle their new LP at SPACE Gallery, halberds flying through the air, cacophony tasteless and odorous.

The Kaleidoscopic Life of Elliott Schwartz: A Maine music fixture passes away at 81

“If all the cards have been dealt,” wrote Elliott Schwartz in one of his many essays on post-modernism in music, “the job of the creative artist is to keep shuffling the deck.”

Last week, Maine and the music world lost a pivotal figure in Schwartz, a pianist and composer of classical, experimental, and orchestral works and a fixture in Maine music pedagogy for half a century.

Born in 1936 in New York, Elliott Schwartz was a distinguished professor of music at Bowdoin College in Brunswick since 1964, a stint that included 12 years as department chair. Some of his students and collaborators in that position included Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky), USM professor Dan Sonenberg, and Portland Symphony Orchestra composer Robert Moody.

His influence as a professor extended well beyond music.

“He was passionate about teaching and about helping students unlock gifts they didn’t know they had,” writes DeRay McKesson to the Phoenix. McKesson is a racial justice educator and Black Lives Matter activist, and a Bowdoin graduate who worked with Schwartz as a student leader. “He is a Bowdoin treasure and will be deeply missed.”

Schwartz was the co-editor of Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, a massive tome containing essays from composers as diverse and influential as Stravinsky, Copland, John Cage, Steve Reich, Stockhausen, Harry Partch, Gyorgy Ligeti and others. He was also the co-author of Music Since 1945, and the author of Electronic Music: A Listener’s Guide (1973). Throughout his life, he’s charted the differences and similarities of analog, digital, and electronic music, and how each would call for different modes of performance and revolutions in styles of listening.

One of the hallmarks of Schwartz’s legacy is his ability to work in art-academic spheres, while also observing enough of his own idiosyncrasies to keep things playful, vibrant and original.

He landed in academia, but his own education came from the school of chance operations and performance art happenings driven by John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Allan Kaprow, and others in the New York canon. These aleatoric compositions would figure prominently in his 1970s output, and cemented Schwartz’s name alongside these greats. His piece “California Games” (1978) was designed for 4-6 improvisers to play along with a handful of audience members equipped with tape machines. “Telly,” a 1975 “game piece,” called for five brass or woodwind instruments, four percussion players, three TV sets, two radios, and a tape.

In 1966, he composed a piece designed to be played by 12 instrumentalists within a building at least 15 stories high. It was written to celebrate the opening of Bowdoin’s Coles Tower, then the tallest building in Maine. He liked to spell the brass instrument “sachsofone.” Earlier in 2016, he collaborated with the psych-folk experimental outfit Big Blood on an LP for Feeding Tube Records titled Ant Farm, a nod to Big Blood member (and visual artist) Colleen Kinsella’s work with Elliott’s wife Dorothy “Dee Dee” Schwartz in the art quartet The Ant Girls. His sense of humor, play, and vivid experimentalism never left him.

For decades, Elliott and Dee Dee, a former director of the Maine Arts Commission who passed away in 2014 at the age of 75, were tremendous benefactors and supporters of the Maine arts scene. The approach to their craft that they’ve modeled in our state for decades will help keep Maine artists shuffling the deck for generations to come.

8 Days: A Winter Solstice party, a Spose concert and the Nutcracker Burlesque show


CREAM ME A RIVER | Rarely in human history has there been less of a need for writers to originate new writing. The morass of man-made content is so vast that screenshots, retweets, or memes could suffice, across several infinities surely. And yet some still endeavor to originate, often at their own peril. One of them, a local man named Douglas W. Milliken, has gotten quite good at it — whatever “good” means nowadays. In the eyes of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, he was good enough to win the 2016 Maine Literary Award. Based on that, you could argue he’s the best writer of English in Maine — that’s meaningless superlative, but why not? In Milliken’s stories, you get characters who seem like regular-ass people until their motivations, which Doug often conceals, collide them. He celebrates a follow-up to last year’s Cream River with a new collection of microfiction, titled One Thousand Owls Beneath Your Chest.

| FREE | 7:00 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. | |


RUBBING NICKELS TOGETHER | The Manchester, New Hampshire, the well-traveled comedian Paul Landwehr, a regular guy, is the headline for Laugh Shack, the weekly comedy night at the faux-speakeasy bar Lincolns underneath Pat’s Pizza in the Old Port. Like everything else, admission is $5.

| $5 | 8:30 pm | Lincoln's Bar, Market St., Portland | |



FRIDAY, Dec. 16

THE NOODLE WITHIN | In Tampopo, the 1985 Japanese film about how to eat and appreciate ramen, we learn several things. One is the importance of being affectionate to the meal. Skim the chopsticks along the broth, caressing the noodles. Apologize to the pork. Regard the sinking seaweed. Ramen originated as a cheap and convenient food for on-the-go Japanese laborers. Now, cities like Portland package it as a luxurious and savory meal, rich in cultural capital and weather-resistant fat. Juzo Itami’s 1985 comedy plays with a variety of high and low-status characters to tell the ramen story. It could also arm you with some slick quips for date night. Screening Friday through Sunday at PMA Films.

| $8 | 6:30 pm | Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Sq., Portland | |


PROCESSIONS | The Bayside art post Zero Station has hosted paintings by the Houston-based painter Ricardo Osmondo Francis since November. The complex, surrealistic images on his canvases approach racial identity, masculinity and class structures (see his painting titled “Young Harlequin Spinning the Wheel of Fortune” pictured here). He’ll talk about his work and those themes, some of which also overlap with the work of Portland art-dance group Hi Tiger, led by Derek Jackson, who perform in the space tonight before a larger dance party steered by house DJ Jamie O’Sullivan. The performance is titled “Mythic/Poetic.” 

| FREE | 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm | Zero Station, 222 Anderson St., Portland |  |



WERK LOCAL | With all the political wreckage and existential panic happening this year, you’d be forgiven if that ephemeral notion folks call the “Christmas spirit” has eluded you. That’s fine: the Nutcracker Burlesque, the annual flagship show by Portland dance collective Vivid Motion, manages to reduce the holiday spirit to its bare, pagan essentials, which is people doing weird things together, mostly naked. Opening tonight and running through the 23rd, see original choreography by Vivid locals Alison Berry, MJ Emerson, Shea Murphy, Brigitte Paulus, Emma Tompkins and Emily Zack. Tickets notoriously sell out extremely fast. 

| $18 | 7:30 pm | St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland | |



LATE DANKNESS | Burlesque can withstand a dose of holiday corniness, but the same can’t often be said of hip-hop. Thankfully, Maine rapper Spose has been peppering his style of hip-hop with Yankee corniness, self-flagellation, and straight-up irony for close to a decade, and his product has been better for it. The dude throws his third annual December concert, titled PDANK XMAS, at Port City Music Hall tonight. Expect many guests. Tickets run $14-16. 504 Congress St., Portland.    

| $14-16 | 8:00 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | |




LACE UP | In cities all over the country, membership at self-defense and mixed martial arts classes have skyrocketed. Looks like Portland feels that heat too. The usual yoga and dance fare of West End wellness center Hustle and Flow expands to include a class on “Street Harassment and Bystander Intervention,” hosted by the Portland group Prevention Action Change, part of the Violence Prevention Network that also includes the vital organizations SARSSM, Maine Boys to Men, Speak About It, and more. This workshop may actually be sold out, but the group plans to host monthly workshops on how to de-escalate potential assault. 10 am, $15 at Hustle and Flow, 155 Brackett St. #3, Portland. Down the road at noon, Peace Action Maine hosts a Nonviolent Direct Action Training at the Maine Irish Heritage Center, covering the strategic actions and legal concerns involved in taking part of the resistance movement. That’s at 34 Gray Street in Portland, and free. 



WATER WARS | Since September, the indigenous peoples of the Dakota Sioux tribe have been in protest of the planned construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, an effort that has rallied many thousands of supporters from around the country, and has sparked conflict and aggression from North Dakota police. Surely your personal politics will have already colored your perspective. But the developments have placed the opposing values in stark relief — water protection and civil rights on one side, and the proceedings of corporate capital and big oil on the other. As Pete Seeger sang, which side are you on? While President Obama ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny a permit to Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline owner, earlier this month — a victory for the protestors, for sure. But with president-elect Trump literally holding stock in the companies building the pipeline, many expect the fight isn’t over. Tonight’s rock show, headlined by the energetic prog group Five of the Eyes, benefits the protestors, tribes and water protectors in their next chapter. 

| $10 | 8:30 pm | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland | |


LIFT UP | Dydine Umunyana was four when the Rwandan Genocide tore through her community. Today, she’s a peace ambassador and galvanizing political speaker, whose book Embracing Survival: Genocide and War Through the Eyes of a Child, which was released this fall through Umbrella Press. Hear her tell her story, and remember that history is never over. 

| FREE | 7:30 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | |



FATTEN WELL | Been a fine first year for the folks at Fork Food Lab. The Bayside shared kitchen and tasting room throw together a winter market in time for the holiday. If your household has let slip the tradition of stuffing stockings, use this as an opportunity to pack your lover’s booties with some local oatmeal bars or plant-based yogurt. 

| FREE | 10:00 am to 3:00 pm | Fork Food Lab, 72 Parris St., Portland | |


SUNDAY, Dec. 18


LABORS OF LOVE | Last winter, Portland filmmakers Desi Van Til and Sean Mewshaw put the final touches on Tumbledown, a thoughtful Maine-based comedy they’d been working on the past eight years. Thankfully, the film is not only watchable, but really effing charming, a meditation on love and grief and the hard work people buoyed by great performances by Rebecca Hall and Jason Sudeikis. It screens at Frontier from the 13th through today, when it’s up at 3 and 7 pm. Tickets run $6 for the matinee and $8 for the evening show at 14 Maine St. in Brunswick. 207.725.5222.


TENDER ACTS | One of the city’s most vital organizations is Portland Outright, which secures community and builds leadership in LGBTQ Maine youth. Today, they host a program for making holiday cards for prisoners. It’s a novel, tender, simple, and radical idea, and these folks are friendly as hell.

| FREE | 4:00 pm | Portland Outright, 68 Washington Ave., Portland | |



WHAT IS JAZZ? | Colleen Clark, one of young Portland’s best lady-voiced singers, had such a grand time throwing a holiday party last year that she’s done it again, corralling guests the likes of Susanne Gerry, KGFREEZE, Sorcha Cribben-Merrill, Rob Cimitile, Dustin Saucier, Amanda Rae Tubbs and comedian James Spizuoco. If you don’t truly hate the holidays, but think they’re best accessed with some edge, a little alcohol, and a whole lot of friends who are good at getting ridiculous around each other, this party’s for you. 

| FREE | 6:00 pm | Blue, 650 Congress St., Portland | |


MONDAY, Dec. 19


THIS IS REAL | I know you’re tired, but the you that pledged on November 9th (well, November 10th — nobody could even get out of bed that Wednesday) wants you to keep pushing. Tonight, there’s a meeting of the Maine Democratic Socialists, a party that Bernie Sanders was trying to yoke into the mainstream before he lost the primary to Democratic primary to Hillary. But now that the U.S. has actual fascists in power, maybe centrists might change their tune about the country not being “ready” for single-payer health care. This growing group meets at the City Hall at 7 pm, where they’ll be nominating candidates for Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

| FREE | 7:00 pm | City Hall, 389 Congress St., Portland | |


TUESDAY, Dec. 20


WHAT’S THAT SONG? | Tonight, the illustrious jazz singer VIVA revives old world standards at the Exchange St. bar Crooners and Cocktails, which I’ve always thought had a strange mafia vibe to it. Sinatra songs are a thousand times better when they’re sung by someone like this lady. 

| FREE | 9:00 pm | Crooners and Cocktails, 90 Exchange St., Portland | |



PAST VICTORIES | Loving, a historically inspired film by Jeff Nichols, tells the true tale of a mixed-race couple in 1967 named Richard and Mildred Loving. The Lovings fought for nine years to live in their hometown of Central Point, Virginia, battling the state's laws against miscegenation. Dramatized, the film gets reportedly excellent performances from Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton. Loving screens at the Strand Theatre in Rockland from the 16th through the 29th, and 7 pm tonight. 345 Main St., call 207.594.0070.



SOFT BOOCH | The fine folks at Urban Farm Fermentory host a nondenominational holiday party — a Solstice celebration — timed with the release of their elderberry kombucha. Salsa group El Malo make this a solid party, no tinsel. 

| FREE | 8:00 pm | Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St., Portland | |


JOE STRUMMER | The spirit never leaves Don Campbell, the Maine player who’s been slinging his folky, pop-country crossover songs since 1991. He’s big on Christmas songs, having popped out two discs of the stuff, so he’ll be on his game tonight at the Frog and Turtle, 3 Bridge St. in Westbrook, at 7 pm.




SUNG SONGS | Next week, the local emo-punk band Restless Atlantic shore up Empire, Port City Music Hall screens a double-feature of The Nightmare Before Christmas and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Free at 8 pm at 504 Congress St.

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