KILLER PARTY | Film festivals make strange vacations. On the one hand, you got to admit they're low-key national treasures, marrying the best of university and bohemian life into one weekend. I mean, who doesn't love a sanctioned space for challenging ideas in a strange city with a bunch of good bars, intelligent people, and interesting food? On the other, what kind of festival collects a bunch of super-cerebral adults for the sole purpose of sitting motionless in dark rooms six to ten hours a day? Would you rather yell meaningless exhortations with glistening, wealthy co-eds while watching DJ Khaled and Mac DeMarco at Coachella or party head-on with issues like ocean acidification and embedded racism in the military? (Serious life question, actually!) This year's Emerge Film Festival, a Lewiston fixture now in its fourth year, banks on the latter, bringing a studious lineup of Maine-made films, documentaries and narratives, short and feature-length, serious and fanciful. Here's three: Jeffrey Day's A Joyful Day to Behold is a moving portrait of artist and avid motorcyclist John Joslin's last time going out for a ride before the fall hits (a piece exponentially more touching after Joslin's passing last month). Alex Coppola's What're You Scared Of, Kid interviews real Maine children about what lurks in their attics and closets. And Kit Ryan's Property of the State examines an Irish woman struggling with how to love and support her brother after he's been found to be a murderer. There are 49 more, covering a nearly interminable range of topics. Maybe it's your mind that needs a tan.
| $50 (all access), $25 (theater pass), $10 per film | April 27-29 | downtown Lewiston | http://www.emergefilmfestival.org
HEAR IT | If you read Sultana Khan's story in these pages two weeks ago ("Are Portland Bars Safe For Everyone?" in the April 13 issue), you'd know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Well, know it again. One major player to surface in that piece is the Portland nonprofit organization Speak About It, which teaches consent-based sexual education and bystander intervention for public harassment through a holistic, generative blend of performance and storytelling. It is, as they say, the good work. The organization launches their 4th Annual Community Performance at the Portland Public Library tonight, an all-ages event, but with some measure of discretion advised.
| FREE | 5:30 pm | Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Way, Portland | https://www.portlandlibrary.com/
WE'RE SPINNING | Name a ballet, any ballet. It's Swan Lake! If I'm not right, I'll be right soon, because after Portland Ballet's performance of the Tchaikovsky classic plus the Maine State Ballet's production of the Tchaikovsky classic earlier this month (plus the actual body of water in Waldo County), Mainers won't be able to think of another reason to put on tights. (A shame, there are plenty.) Led by Executive Director Michael Greer, Portland Ballet actually treats us to Act II of Swan, plus an assortment of other pieces they've been working on, in a one-weekend only set of performances starting tonight (and continuing Saturday at 2 pm). | $30 ($20 seniors; $15 students; $10 youth) | 7:30 pm | Westbrook Performing Arts Center, 471 Stroudwater Ave., Westbrook | http://www.westbrookpac.org
LION IN WINTER | Whenever you're in a creative bind, the clearest path out is to pour yourself a hot cup of rooibus tea and consult the annals of Greek mythology, the Western world's inspirational fountain since time began. That's what Portland's Chimera Theatre Collective did during the forming stage of their young drama collective, which they ultimately chose to fashion around the vaguely satanic imagery of a hybrid goat-lion with the snake's tail. (If an actor's goal is to breathe fire, it's a fine goal indeed.) Chimera open a one-weekend-only showing of their first full-length production, a play titled The Secretaries. That's a 1999 script from a playwrighting troupe called Five Lesbian Brothers (known by the government as the New York writers Maureen Angeles, Babs Davy, Dominique Dibbell, Peg Healey, and Lisa Kron). The play's a satire taking place in an Oregon lumber mill, where a woman's excitement over scoring a dream job winnows once something horrible occurs. Performances for Chimera's debut full-length piece run Thursday through Sunday, where a portion of proceeds benefit Family Crisis Services in Portland. | $20 ($10 for theater people) | 8 pm | Portland Stage Studio Theater, 25A Forest Ave., Portland | http://www.chimeratheatrecollective.org/
POP-INS | Tucked over at Mayo Street Arts tonight is the latest edition of International Open Mic night, a fine idea steered by local songsmith Jenny Van West, who's a roots-country player in the Emmylou Harris mold. As it goes, we can't say who's on the dance card tonight, but movers, shakers, floutists, singers, and theater artists have shown up in the past. Entry includes a sliding scale for low-income community members. | $10 | 7 pm | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland | http://mayostreetarts.org/
DANCE SAVES | I've lost count of how many consecutive years SPACE Gallery has landed The Dance Cartel, the radical New York-based movement troupe that blurs the space between participatory- and performance-dance, workshop and deep club vibes. It's no coincidence this falls on the last week of April, traditionally the stretch people beat out the dust on all the weird pastel and frilly shit in their closets and walk down the street feeling straight-up human again. There's room for you to watch or dance along in this evening stewarded by Portland DJ Che Ros.
| $10 | 8:30 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | www.space538.org
EVERYTHING IS A METAPHOR | If you can recall the sound of '90s band Boss Hog, then you're a certain type of animal walking this earth, and it's possible I know you (hey). The punk-blues project of New York's Cristina Martinez and ex-Pussy Galore frontman Jon Spencer, her husband of nearly 30 years, stopped making records in 2000. There was a reunion show in 2008, but that would appear to be that. Especially after the brief, howling, and overall better-than-expected reunion by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion from 2012 to 2015, the most commercially successful of family projects by far, few anticipated a return of Boss Hog, which first began playing its psychotic, carnal rock 'n' roll back in 1989. But last year's Brood X, released after the couple turned 50 and (perhaps uncoincidentally) their son left the nest, suggests they haven't lost a step (and, more importantly, definitely still bone). No less compelling is the opening set by Escape-Ism, another in a long list of James Brown references by D.C. punk icon, writer, performer, and culture critic Ian Svenonius, formerly of Chain and the Gang and the Nation of Ulysses.
| $15 adv, $18 day of | 8:30 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | http://www.portcitymusichall.com/
HOW TO GROW | People have been talking about Bayside's transformation for so many years now that it was starting to feel a little kneejerk. Was it actually changing? But with openings by Terlingua, Drifters Wife, Coffee By Design, Baharat, Urban Farm Fermentory, Izakaya Minato, Flying Fox Juice Bar, A&C Grocery, and more over the last 24 months, that Park Slope vibe is truly starting to kick in. Not everything need be a bar or a restaurant, however, so we consider it a good thing that the Fox Field Edible Food Forest, a public landscaping project and neighborhood permaculture site in a small section of nearby Kennedy Park, is near completion after two years of planning. The Food Forest focuses on low-maintenance edible gardening for community benefit, a worthy idea. Projects like these are designed to be accountable to community buy-ins and neighborhood stakeholders, which is something that most high-priced restaurants cannot boast (although sitting down to a nice meal can be wonderful too). The groups behind it (the Resilience Hub and the East Bayside Neighborhood Organization, along with the City of Portland itself) celebrate with a benefit show and party at UFF.
| $5 | 6 pm | Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St., Portland | https://resiliencehub.org/
OVERACHIEVER | The unbelievable jazz guitarist Bill Frisell may be one of the most accomplished living American musicians you've never heard of. Once a pioneer in the New York experimental scene of the '80s, where he played with saxophone player and New York underground messiah John Zorn and his ecstatic thrash-jazz project Naked City, Frisell's original compositions have always been more chill, exploring the calm, disciplined intersections where jazz bleeds into country, blues, folk and Americana. A native of the Seattle region since the late '80s, he's here with his trio (including Tony Scherr and Kenny Wolfeson) playing two shows in support of his 36th(!) solo album, When You Wish Upon A Star.
| $38 adv, $45 day of | 6 & 9 pm (two shows) | Blue, 650A Congress St., Portland | http://portcityblue.com/
TRUE RELEASE | I'll tell you this, the business of hyping local beer breweries' "release parties" is a tough one. Consider the fatigue, for starters. Beers are "released" all the time. Used to be that "release parties" were reserved for the occasions artists, writers, or musicians, who'd reveal the product of months of creative labor, laying work before a shrewd, grouchy public. These days, when people invite you to a release party, they mean they're ready to pour you a drink with a different quotient of yeast than the last drink they made. If that's art to you, congratulations, you're a happier person than most. We're making an exception with this release by Geary's, because their annual collaboration awarding one MECA artist a scholarship and a summer's worth of exposure on the labels of their Summer Ale (which tastes pretty much as good as anything else to most palates), is a good thing. Unless they've switched it up with the ownership change last winter (also news), Geary's apparently uses some type of mainstream British yeast that true craft beer-lovers tend to psshh at. We appreciate anyone who pays attention to details, there are better things in the world to forge opinions about. This year's winner is Hallie Mitchell, a painter and graphic designer with a broad range of influences (from Gustav Klimt to Bill Patterson's Calvin and Hobbes), a demonstrable set of ethics, and a clean, crisp visual aesthetic. Celebrate the release of these art forms at Geary's Brewery, where you can see more of Mitchell's art, snack on foods from BP's Shuck Shack, and listen to the Dapper Gents.
| FREE | noon-7 pm | Geary's Brewing Company, 38 Evergreen Dr., Portland | http://www.gearybrewing.com/
STREET MUSIC | Without fostering a culture of panic, I'd like to think it's been May Day every day since Trump was elected. But today's the one with the Rise Up Immigration Rally, a resistance effort by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement in solidarity with immigrant populations throughout the U.S. Rally location is yet to be announced, but consult the organizers at the Maine People's Alliance for more info.
| 6-8 pm | Portland | https://www.mainepeoplesalliance.org/
SPOOK'EMS | In the 20th century, we were god-fearing people. In the 21st, it's the mighty Tarot that brings us to our knees. Spend the evening with the "paranormal explorers" of local public access TV series Haunt ME, as they'll conduct one-card tarot readings (you can't handle the Celtic Cross) from 7 to 8 pm in a dark, intimate bar. Haunt ME principals Katie Webb and Ashley Bryan have been investigating the paranormal activity of public and historical Maine landmarks since 2011, and tonight, they celebrate the first episode of Season Four of their show, truly a badass feat. God being dead, remember that the world is a tasteless gruel of incoherent Spaghetti-O's unless you make it otherwise.
| FREE | 7 pm (readings), 8 pm (DJs) | The Bearded Lady's Jewel Box, 644 Congress St., Portland | https://www.facebook.com/thebeardedladysjewelbox/
APOCALYPSE AGAIN | Providence's B.Dolan has played Portland enough that the city knows him as one of the eminent, engaging indie-rappers of the 21st century. He's here fronting something he's calling the "Four Horsement of the Apocalypse" tour, which also includes his producer DJ Abilities, along with Midwest hip hop duo Cas One and Figure. Diving deeper, Dolan's also the architect behind the anti-corporate website knowmore.org, which he's been working to reestablish after some hiatus. That note's important because B.Dolan's entire thing is politics and social commentary, he sees it everywhere (he's not wrong, it's everywhere). The whole team play with Savannah's Dope KNife (stylized; no typo), a freestyle maestro, and Portland's top biller BRZOWSKI, who's been at this game in some fashion since 1993.
| $17 adv, $20 day of | 7:30 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | http://www.portcitymusichall.com/
MANY JEWELS | If music is something you care about, I'm willing to guess you have opinions about genre orthodoxy at concerts. Where is it written that a touring act's openers need to be bands who are trying to sound like them? Certain promoters understand that only rubes listen to music this way, and that the rest of us want diverse, unpredictable evenings. But others seem to think we just stepped off the apple cart, listening-wise. Rest assured, friends, that this amateur aesthetic motif won't befoul you tonight, when the Portland House of Music and Events hosts the Multicultural Music Fest, a lineup that consists of Congolese drumming group Mdondo Africa, Cuban dance group Primo Cubano, ageless Maine acoustic songwriter Don Campbell, and the Sudo Sudo Dancers, an incredible dance group of young Portlanders originally from South Sudan.
| $15 | 6-9 pm | Portland House of Music and Events, 25 Temple St., Portland | www.portlandhouseofmusic.com
DOING THE WORK | For white people, the work of transformative justice presents many questions that are hard to reckon with. In this evening's film, Philadelphia filmmaker Andre Robert Lee suggests that one of them, I'm Not Racist, Am I?, might be better served as an open, public conversation rather than a private recrimination. Lee's the filmmaker behind 2014's The Prep School Negro, a film about his experience of transitioning from, as he puts it, the ghetto where he grew up to an elite prep school by way of a full scholarship. The scope of I'm Not Racist is less narrative and more discursive, following a group of high school students in a year-long effort to "get to the heart of racism." Don't expect a panacea or quick solution, but anything that models the process by which white folks can practice accountability on this issue is a good thing.
| FREE | 7 pm | University of Southern Maine, Luther Bonney Hall, 96 Falmouth St., Portland | http://friendsschoolofportland.org/
IN THE FOXHOLE | Meanwhile at SPACE Gallery, the third in this season's series of Think & Drink discussions (titled "Policing, Community, Protection, and Trust in the 21st Century") produced by the Maine Humanities Council, explores the precarious systems of policing, justice and security in Portland and nationwide. Previous forums this spring have covered the notions of criminality and "who gets to be a police officer." This one homes in on the issue of surveillance, and the encroachment of police presence and access into the daily lives of Americans. Facilitated by Samaa Abdurraqib, a USM professor and full-time worker with the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, tonight's event encourages breakout sessions and group discussion, and is propelled by a panel consisting of Robert Bryant, chief of police of the Penobscot Indian Nation; Leroy Rowe, assistant professor of African American Studies and History at USM; and Zach Heiden of the ACLU of Maine. The free event -- titled "Who's Watching Whom?" -- begins at 6:30.
| FREE | 6:30 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | http://www.space538.org
DYNASTY WORK | If you missed the screening of Peace, Love, and Zoo, Portland filmmaker Reggie Groff's "exuberant, radiant" (according to Megan Grumbling in these pages in the March 27 issue) documentary of Portland art guru Zoo Cain, you've got another shot tonight, when the feature screens once more at the Nickelodeon. Catch Groff as he follows the "dude-like" (in the Lebowski sense) Cain talking about his painting, displaying his youthfulness and vitality, and sharing the arc of his recovery from addiction, depression, and cancer.
| $8 | 7:30 pm | NIckelodeon Cinemas, 1 Temple St., Portland | http://patriotcinemas.com/
MAKE PACTS | Next week, there's a dance-theater show at Bowdoin I'm looking forward to telling you about. In the meantime, you should choose a day (in May) you're first going to go swimming, and stick to it at all costs.
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