Phoenix Staff

Phoenix Staff

8 Days a Week: Cannabis Fighters, Rap Legends, No Mansplainers


HEAR THIS | Everyone grew up so punk. Bucking the authority of fathers, teachers, priests and blowhards was one of the first things many of us learned to do. It's a defensible move, one I'd do again. But might it have had unintended consequences? One of today's malaises is a pronounced inability to listen to one another. I don't even mean "third way" or "bridge the political divide"-type listening. Just old fashioned hearing folks out. Doesn't seem like people have the time. (This is an affliction that affects men, particularly those who believe their time is "valuable.") If you know someone who fits this description, you might forcibly bring them to tonight's edition of the series A Seat at the Table, which focuses on "Listening and Learning." Founded by writer and activist Chanel Jones (formerly Chanel Lewis) and supported by the Treehouse Institute, it's an opportunity, in particular, to listen to the experiences and wisdom of women and people of color. | 6 pm | Coffee By Design, 1 Diamond St., Portland | FREE |

AMERICAN BRUISE | The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, a documentary by Brett Story about the isolated ecosystem that American prisons and their inmates inhabit, is the sort of film that everyday Americans need to see. Shot from the inside out, the film attempts to collapse the tidy framework around our understanding of American incarceration and get viewers a closer view of the connections that bind those on the outside with those who've found themselves in jail, and where each intersect with those making profit. The next in a necessary series of films at SPACE Gallery sponsored by the ACLU of Maine. | 7 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | $7 |


PUTTING IN | Read our feature this week for a discussion with Jo Silver and Todd Weeks, two Mainers who just returned from Puerto Rico (where Jo's from) to assist family and community with relief efforts, where over half the island is still without electricity and numerous communities are still in disrepair. Their insights and stories of resilience are illuminating, and if you want to hear their call to action, the first thing you can do is attend tonight's benefit for the Maria Fund, a Puerto Rican-led effort to get resources and build sustainable agriculture on the frontlines of the island's most vulnerable communities. It also happens to be a kickass show, with sets from nationally acclaimed rapper milo, folk artists Lina Tullgren and Lisa/Liza, rap/reggae artist AFRiCAN DUNDADA, and jazz keyboardist maestro Kafari. | "Maine Stands With Puerto Rico" | 8 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St. Portland | $10 |

PUBLIC PARTY | Down in Kittery, join the terrain-shifting Portland artist Jimmy Viera, a painter, for the opening reception of his new exhibit, DISPLAY CASE. Forged from gestures, memories of pleasures past, and "perceived infinity," Viera's compositions recall uncanny spaces of domestic mundanity. In his words: "Taking a wobbly line I made today and placing it in a painting with a cylindrical shape I made three months ago, I am able to collage my gestures into a piece with more history than if I had been just painting intuitively." What do you do? | 6 pm | Buoy Gallery, 2 Government St. Kittery | FREE

SELF-ASSESSMENT | Heralded as a deeply gratifying comic who can leverage vulnerable personal stories into inane bouts of absurdity and near-schizophrenic personae, the stand-up artist Maria Bamford, fresh off numerous Netflix specials (including the semiautobiographical Lady Dynamite), swings Northeast for a set at Portsmouth's Music Hall. | 8 pm | The Music Hall, 131 Congress St. Portsmouth, NH | $34 |

BLEEPS, BLOOPS | As our Portland Music Awards go live this week, we fondly recall Galen Richmond's Computer at Sea project, which was a staple for Best Electronic Act several years running. Richmond is a veritable genius and one of Portland's many cultural mayors, but doesn't trot his machines out quite as much anymore. Which is why tonight's appearance at Bayside Bowl, alongside the sweat-thrumming indie rock band Rigor Samsa and FonFon Ru, a rock troupe forged from the ashes of Leverett, do one for the ages. At the low price of nil, commitment is demanded. | 8 pm | Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland | FREE |

ENDURANCE | Surely the world still thinks about A Perfect Circle. The group hasn't toured in six years nor released an album in, oh, 14 of them. But Billy Howerdel and his vocalist of choice, the inimitable Maynard James Keenan, hit the city's biggest indoor venue tonight, playing their moody and emotional hard-rock/indie metal. With a celebrity round-up of James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), Jeff Friedl (Puscifer), and Matt McJunkins (Eagles of Death Metal), their set is opened by L.A.'s The Beta Machine. | 8 pm | Cross Insurance Arena, 1 Civic Center Sq., Portland | $46-67 |


GET EXTRA | Hip-hop legend Pharoahe Monch, formerly one half of the duo Organized Konfusion of the vaunted Rawkus Records masthead, swings through Portland tonight for a first-ever performance in the state. He shows up with DJ Boogie Blind as part of Portland rapper Ben Shorr's Hip-Hops series, which has platformed a solid number of underground and independent rap legends of the past couple decades. Hear Shorr rep his place on our Portland Music Awards ballot with new album Pyrokinesis as well as on this bill, alongside rappers TABLEEK, Flowpez, and the supergroups HUMAN Speakers (eyenine, Seth Gagnon, and DJ Myth) and Beards (Shane Reis, Thommy Kane, and Rustic's Dave Gutter.) | 8 pm | Oxbow Blending and Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland | $24 |

ALL OVER THE WORLD | The indie-prog rock group Five of the Eyes appear on our Portland Music Awards ballot four times (Best Local Act; Best Album; Best Hard Rock Act and Best Live Act), and could have easily snagged a fifth nod for frontman Darrell Foster's soaring pipes. Warmed from a two-week stint of the states, they play a homecoming show tonight at Empire, with Brooklyn's illustrious Brazilian/American rock band Added Color and QUAD, with Portland musicians Devon Colella and Chris Wilkes. | 8 pm | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland | $5-8 |


SEE FOR MILES | The elder statesmen of rock have been falling like redwoods these days, but 76-year-old David Crosby, of course formerly of the psych-folk band The Byrds, still seems to soar. Playing hits from that band and his many years with Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Los Angeles-born songwriter's "Sky Trails" tour is a cozy and simpler times-ish to spend a Sunday evening. Dad vibes high. | 8 pm | State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland | $31-61 |


PALETTE TRAINING | There’s an exhaustive amount of beer, wine, and other libations available in Portland — surely, it would take a lifetime to try them all. But despite the choices, cherry wine isn’t readily available outside of RSVP on outer Forest. Tonight, however, closer to the peninsula, is a special tasting of cherry wines from the Frederiksdal Kirsebaervin estate, a place allegedly on the forefront of a “wine revolution” in Denmark. We think you should see what all the hype’s about. | 5 pm to 7 pm | Bier Cellar, 299 Forest Ave., Portland |

PIANO VIBES | Adept at classic covers and known for their accessible take on avant-jazz, the Bad Plus tour through Portland today with their original pianist Ethan Iverson (who’s due to be replaced with Orrin Evans next year). This trio does what most musicians claim to do: break the illusion of familiarity you’d expect from genre shows — and, judging from their live concert footage on Youtube, they do this in a humble, stimulating manner. They’re fusion of electronic, pop, and rock into fairly structured jazz compositions into really interesting! Peep their set if you’re after a night that’s both jolting and relaxing. | 7 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | $32 | |


PA’LANTE MAINE | Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean almost three months ago leaving huge parts of Puerto Rico looking like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Four out of five residents there are still without electricity and running water. We hope our feature this week has inspired you to support relief efforts addressing Puerto Rico’s worst humanitarian disaster on record. But here’s perhaps the simplest way to tacitly support the cause redirect some money to the folks that need to rebuild their lives: just go buy your day’s coffee at CBD. Owner Mary Allen Lindemann plans to donate 10 percent of sales to The One America Appeal, an organization dedicated to hurricane recovery work. | ALL FIVE COFFEE BY DESIGN LOCATIONS | Portland, Maine | |

TAKE A SHOT | A conversation between the renowned Maine photographer Peter Ralston and the award-winning photojournalist Gregory Rec of the Portland Press Herald would prove fascinating for anyone interested in the art form. Ralston’s work documenting the Maine coast over the decades is often imitated but never duplicated with the same amount of character and careful composition. Photographers both budding and experienced could learn alot from this edition of the Maine Voices Live conversation series. | 7 pm | Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square, Portland | $15 | |

MOUNTAINTOP REVELRY | The Yonder Mountain String Band returns to Portland today as part of their fall tour, and we’re ready to stamp our feet to their blend of bluegrass, rock, and folk. They’re performing their latest Love Ain't Love, which can be the subtly uplifting soundtrack many of us seek during this gray, moody time of year. Durable, timeless, and evoking the type of free-wheeling spirit that typically only deep reflection in the wilderness can bring, this showcase of instrumental prowess may be the best thing to experience tonight. Opening for this Colorado rooted ensemble is the Last Revel, a band of similar rockabilly persuasions. | 8 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | $30 |


NOW WHAT? | Because Gov. LePage vetoed the Maine Marijuana Legalization Act last week, the recreational market returns to legal limbo and legislators are sent back to the drawing board after eight months of solid work. What does this mean for the hundreds of cannabis enthusiasts and entrepreneurs who hoped to launch into this potentially lucrative market? David Boyer of the Maine Marijuana Policy project will provide some answers at the Maine Cannabis Industry Mixer — although much of the future at this point remains uncertain. Welcome back to purgatory growers and smokers. | 6 pm | Cloudport, 63 Federal St., Portland | Free |

MAGNIFIQUE | You’re going to want to set aside time this evening to experience some of Leyla McCalla’s cello mastery during a live performance of her debut album, Vari-Colored Songs, a beautiful record that serves as a tribute to the late Langston Hughes, one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance and pioneers of a jazz poetry. The New York Times had this to say about the album: “Her magnificently transparent music holds tidings of family, memory, solitude and the inexorability of time: weighty thoughts handled with the lightest touch imaginable.” McCalla, a Haitian-American, draws from 300 years of creole history for this ambitious, haunting tour of Haitian folk that resonates even with those that don’t know much about French or this deeply rich genre. Don’t miss it. | 7 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | $15 |

LEARN ABOUT THIS | For those blessed with a job that pays the bills it might be hard to grapple with the fact that 16 percent of Maine households experience food insecurity, defined here as a lack of sufficient access to food resources. Chances are, you just don’t see evidence of it in your daily life, but don’t be mistaken: hundreds of adults and children go to bed hungry every day in this state. A study conducted by Preble Street last year found that Maine ranks third in the nation for rates of hunger. It’s a sad fact that everyone should be concerned about. Mark Winne, the Executive Director of the Hartford Food System, holds a talk today laying out the myths and realities about poverty and food insecurity in Maine in hopes of empowering audience members to seek out creative solutions in their communities. | 6 to 8 pm | USM Library, 314 Forest Ave., Portland | Free | |


ANTIDOTES | Given that the world doesn’t descend into apocalypse or collective madness within the next week — which honestly seems more and more likely these days — we’ll continue to blink some notable events on your radar. A classical showcase of time-tested tunes from the Portland Jazz Orchestra caught our eye. As did an Empire tribute show catered to the musical tastes we had back in high school. This Thursday also brings a no cover Middle Eastern dance performance at Blue, and an oddly popular recurring workshop at the Urban Farm Fermentory that teaches people how to harvest, process, and consume acorns. Weird, but we’re into it. These happenings might prove effective at ignoring the onslaught of troubling realities present in our daily news cycle, even if only temporarily.

Meet the Halloween Monster Squad

In honor of one of the world's best films, 1987's Monster Squad, we present to you the Phoenix's list of the area's hottest Halloween parties — in disguise as classic monsters, ghouls, and undead zombies.  




In a large, cavernous dwelling on the edge of town, a mish-mash of once-useful songs are stitched together by a team of creatives wickedly skilled in their command over instrumentation. They reanimate a lumpy pile of limbs, flesh, and cavities into a semblance of a living thing. Saturday night's "Spirit of Halloween" party at the Portland Expo (239 Park Ave.) may look a little fuddy-duddy, but you can't fight the classics. Cover artists Hello Newman and ageless Portland rock band Motor Booty Affair will surely paint the evening's dance floor with versions of songs that refuse to die, while cocktails and other "ghoulish drinks" linger in the distance. It's also on the pricier side — $20. Electricity ain't cheap! 


Loch Ness Monster


Okay! We knowww the Fore River's an estuary, but there's still an enormous, multi-humped creature down there, and it's drawing national attention. Many, many mainlanders have gone down to the water to check this beast out in the past, and many of them come back fundamentally changed — if at all. Saturday night's "Otherworld" party, a masquerade ball put on by Circus Maine in the Brick South space at Thompson's Point, is a long, groggy event with tons of booze and an enormous volume of space. With six hours of music, from hip-hop artists like Eyenine and Dylan Raw to club DJs like Mr. Dereloid, Mike Clouds, and Twist of Fate, this monster immerses itself in the deepest part of the night, with a sanctioned ending time of 2 am. The bodies of those who have drowned in these waters, now vivified as contemporary circus artists, will be in motion throughout, while visuals will be provided by esteemed artist VJ Foo (though many of the images he flashes could turn out to be hoaxes). Tickets run you $20-25.


Sexy Pikachu 

PBCpNMO7m5 2 

Sexy Pikachu is, we're told, one of the hottest costume choices this year. And frontrunning Portland cover band The Awesome, and their full-throated embrace of all of the weird and inexplicably colorful styles of the '80s and '90s, are probably the closest embodiment of Sexy Pikachu you'll be able to find. Taking material we all obsessed over as children, The Awesome reconstruct it in a weirdly compelling and hot setting, where scads of other so-called adults gyrate together in the augmented reality known as the dance floor at the Portland House of Music. Catch it Saturday night at 8 pm, $10. 




Yes, the succubus is traditionally a woman. According to lore, she’d come for otherwise chaste men in their sleep and lure them toward orgasm, which of course, would banish them from the kingdom of heaven forever. (Alas, the curse of a dirty mind.) In the centuries since, humans have come to challenge not only the presence of succcubi, but the assumptions behind the very notion of gender, and the various ways it’s imprisoned creatures of humanity throughout the ages. Few others have done that work as convincingly as Prince, the recently deceased Minneapolis songwriter who was as sexy as anyone who’d come for you in your dreams. Prince had a knack for stoking the flames of femininity and masculinity as though they were kittens of the same litter. Portland artist Dean Ford, now in his fifth year impersonating him for this Purple Brainz cover show Saturday night at Port City Music Hall (504 Congress St., 9 pm, $18), has several of the same qualities. (Note: The opposite of Succubus is Incubus. We’re thankful no one’s doing a cover show of them this year.)



gremlins gizmo hand puppetWe wanna be clear that there’s no making light of the devastation that has hit Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria, or the horrifying neglect that President Trump has treated the U.S. colony with over the 35 days since, which has kept 76 percent of the island without power and nearly one-third without running water. But given the conceit of this feature and our interest in highlighting this event, we see perhaps some structural similarities in the Sunday night relief effort disguised as a Halloween costume party. It’s at 6 pm at 195 Longfellow Street in Portland by jazz singer VIVA and her band the Reinforcements, to the gremlin, a harmless-seeming creature that conceals something terrible. VIVA, a Portland artist and tremendous singer whose father lives on the island, will donate 100 percent of this evening’s profits to the nonprofit organization Water Mission, helping build sustainable clean water resources in Puerto Rico.




It was French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan who identified that a feeling of lack or absence was the first spooky thing a child encountered. Ergo, the ghost, the primitive symbol of the presence of absence of life, is naturally the child's first Halloween costume. At the Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine (142 High St.), it's "Slimapalooza Weekend" Saturday and Sunday. There, slime — which Bill Murray and co. reminded us is the currency of the undead — becomes the weekend's basic economy. It's everywhere for the "Ooey Gooey Goo Exploration" (eew) from 1:30-2 both days, and the "Boo or Goo" game from 2 to 4. Kids must learn the basic lessons before they try on the more complex monsters later in life, such as...


The Candyman

feature Candyman

According to legend, and the 1992 film starring very convincing actor Tony Todd, say Candyman's name five times in the mirror and he'll appear, literally covered in bees. That terror endures, and so has the Portland "deathpunk" band for the decade-and-a-half of their blistering assault on the Portland music scene. Fronted as always by the indefatigable Boo, one of the most knowledgeable punkers Portland has ever raised, Covered in Bees ask their fans to look them in the eye once more, as they take the stage for their annual Halloween Spooktacular, with Pigboat and Johnny Cremains. Friday, 8 pm at Empire, for $7.


Headless Horseman


Mount up the way this esteemed dark rider would want you to, as the Halloween Party and Ride (produced by bike fix-its Allspeed Cyclery & Snow at 127 Marginal Way) courses you and several other demapped cyclists on a tour of the sleepy hallows of the Port City. Beer will be provided, but you must first get your Ichabod to the store to procure groceries, and Crane your neck over the hot stove to prepare food to share, for while this adventure is free, it's a potluck. Show up at their Bayside location Saturday night at 6 pm and prepare to bike the darkened streets for a solid two hours of night-riding.




At the annual party at SPACE Gallery (538 Congress St.), swashbucklers of all flavors get tossed about by this monster's many capable limbs, which are darker, bleaker and sadder than ever before. This Saturday night bash has Portland indie-rock luminaries covering The Cure (Sunset Hearts), Cocteau Twins (members of Contrapposto, Superorder, and FonFon Ru), Siouxsie and the Banshees (The Psychic Dicks, featuring members of the English Muffins), and the Replacements (The Blood Caps, featuring members of Endless Jags, Fur, FonFon Ru, and Phoenix editor Nick Schroeder). Once folks get tossed around these murky waters, they inevitably find their way to the monster's mouth. There, as it has been since ancient times (like, 2009), photographer Samuel Cousins photographs them in costume and various states of disarray, inebriation or undress. $10 gets you a vessel on these waters, though don't expect to return home with it.


Phantom of the Opera

feature phantom

Before stopping in 2011 at the age of 68, the immortal George Lee Andrews played the role of Monsieur André in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera for 23 years, a sum total of 9,382 performances. That's a miniscule number compared to the amount of times The Rocky Horror Picture Show mounts on stages and screens across the country this time of year. This year, the terrific local company Cast Aside Productions take a break from stage productions for a drink at the inspiration source, with a free screening of the original film at the Portland Ballet Studio Theater Friday night at 8 pm. It's free, much like George Lee Andrews has been the last six years. 




This one's a gimmie. The versatile jazz outfit LQH, featuring vocalist and drummer Chas Lester, bassist/keyboardist Tyler Quist (of Jaw Gems), and guitarist Evan Haines mount Thriller, a note-for-note resurrection of the late King of Pop's most vital album at Empire. Attendees get "extra points" (and maybe some drink considerations???) for arriving in costume. And seeing that it's Sunday and you've endured 48 hours of Halloween parties, you might unwittingly be in zombie-mode anyway. Things get going at 8 pm, tickets are $10.




Bones are a precious commodity. Just ask the folks of the Maine Roller Derby, who smash theirs into one another hundreds of times over the course of an evening bout. Saturday night's "Bare Bones Ball" at the likely chilly and eerily lit Porthole Restaurant and Pub gives out awards for the bag of bones wearing the best costume — including "Dead Ringer" (for best likeness), "Frankentastic" (for most original), "Hellarious" (for funniest) and Scatey Cat (for the scariest). Tickets are $10 and funds help keep this excellent sport, for which the Maine athletes are among the best, in service. And if you haven’t caught a bout in a while, you can pick up a schedule for the next season. Feel free to dress up as any of the monsters we covered here. And maybe bring your friend Seymour?





  • Published in Features

Spose makes entire album in one day

Hot off the heels of well-received full-length album Good Luck With Your Life released last spring, Wells rapper Spose set out to accomplish a milestone as impressive as it is absurd. With the help of dozens of esteemed Maine musicians, Spose wrote and recorded a full-length album in one day.

Titled Humans and recorded by Jonathan Wyman at The Halo Studio, the album features contributes from several artists in the Maine rap scene, including Cam Groves, Sarah Violette, DJ Rew, and Jay Caron, as well as musicians like Kyle Gervais (KGFREEZE), Dave Gutter (The Rustic Overtones) Dominic Lavoie (Dominic and the Lucid), producer God.Damn.Chan and more. 

In photos posted on the artist's website, Spose decorated the studio with posters declaring "rules" for the session, including "Good Vibes Only," "The Only Bad Idea is No Idea," "Don't Overthink It," and "No Stragglers: If You're Not Playin', You're Not Stayin'." As chronicled on his social media channels and in a story by the Press Herald, Spose broke artists and musicians up into smaller working groups and delegate prompts and song ideas for them while he wrote and recorded verses elsewhere.  

Spose streamed some of the process on his Facebook and Instagram page earlier this week, and the 10-song, 42-minute album was released on iTunes and Spotify. 

  • Published in News

Portland readies 1st Annual Iranian Film Festival

Portland readies 1st Annual Iranian Film Festival

Students from the University of Southern Maine’s Honors program “Cinema in Iran” course, along with instructor Reza Jalali, will present the 2017 Iranian Film Festival — a first of its kind in Maine — in Portland beginning on October 20.


Ten feature films made by Iranian directors, including women, will be screened at the University of Southern Maine’s Wishcamper Center on Friday evenings between October 20 and November 17 (November 10 screenings will take place at Maine College of Art). Each evening will feature screenings of two different films — one at 5:30pm and one at 5:45pm. The screenings are free and open to the public. Post-screening discussions and Q&A sessions will be facilitated by USM students and Professor Jalali.


“Contemporary Iranian films have won the hearts of many film buffs in the U.S. for their powerful social and political examination of the post-Islamic Revolution Iranian society,” Professor Jalali said. “Iranian cinema, in the absence of a free press in Iran, has come to provide social critique of a society torn between modernity and tradition, and secular and religious thoughts and values. The festival will present the community with a rare opportunity to learn about a nation, with the help of its cinema, which has been dehumanized in the U.S. since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.”


As part of USM’s year-long Gloria S. Duclos Convocation on the theme of “Race and Participatory Democracy,” the film festival is intended to encourage respectful and inclusive community conversations on the critical and timely issue of the intersectionality of race and democracy.


“Cinema can help us to see the humanity in those we presume to be our enemies,” Jalali said.


Sponsored by USM Convocation, the festival’s co-sponsors include the USM Honors Program, the USM Women and Gender Studies program, the Honors Student Organization at USM and Maine College of Art.


October 20, USM Portland campus
Against the tumultuous backdrop of Iran's 1953 CIA-backed coup d'état, the destinies of four women converge in a beautiful orchard garden, where they find independence, solace and companionship.


Various women struggle to function in the oppressively sexist society of contemporary Iran.


October 27, USM Portland campus
The mysterious disappearance of a kindergarten teacher during a picnic in the north of Iran is followed by a series of misadventures for her fellow travelers.


A visual social examination in the form of ten conversations between a driving woman and her various pick-ups and hitchhikers.


November 3, USM Portland campus
An official is sent from his home in Tehran to hear the final appeal of a woman sentenced to death, a political prisoner. The official's wife of nearly 20 years, Fereshteh Samimi, writes him a letter to read when he reaches the hotel - the story of her student days during the revolution of 1978. As she tells her husband about the hidden half of her life, Fereshteh asks that he listen to the woman facing execution, a woman and therefore one of Iran's hidden half.


Not being able to work because of the religious country's prejudice against music, a talented Santour player has to deal with poverty, addiction and the absence of his ex-wife.


November 10, Maine College of Art
Iranian musicians Negar and Ashkan look for band members to play at a London concert - and the visas that allow them to leave Tehran to do so.


A semi-autobiographical account of Makmahlbaf's experience as a teenager when, as a 17-year-old, he stabbed a policeman at a protest rally. Two decades later, he tracks down the policeman he injured in an attempt to make amends.


November 17, USM Portland campus
When an ostrich-rancher focuses on replacing his daughter's hearing aid, which breaks right before crucial exams, everything changes for a struggling rural family in Iran. Karim motorbikes into a world alien to him - incredibly hectic Tehran, where sudden opportunities for independence, thrill and challenge him. But his honor and honesty, plus traditional authority over his inventive clan, are tested, as he stumbles among vast cultural and economic gaps between his village nestled in the desert, and a throbbing international metropolis.

5:45pm“Marooned in Iraq” directed by Bahman Ghobadi, Wishcamper 211

During the war between Iran and Iraq, a group of Iranian Kurd musicians set off on an almost impossible mission. They will try to find Hanareh, a singer with a magic voice who crossed the border and may now be in danger in the Iraqi Kurdistan. As in his previous films, this Kurdish director is again focusing on the oppression of his people.



  • Published in News

Hidden in this picture — Proposed casino ordinance is a bad deal for horses

With regards to the proposed ordinance, An Act to Allow Slot Machines or a Casino in York County, Question 1, which will appear on the November ballot, there is no provision in the ordinance to fund retirement homes for harness racing horses at the end of their careers [The proposed ordinance stipulates that an allotted 10 percent of a mandatory 39 percent of net slot machine income must be distributed to a fund that to supplement harness racing purses — ed.).

Horses can live up to 30 years, but most harness-racing horses stop making money for their owners at about ten years of age, if not sooner, due to injuries, arthritis, lameness, and chronic pain incurred during years of harness racing.

Despite the stereotype of pampered retired horses frolicking in green pastures on family farms, horses used in harness racing and thoroughbred racing horses often wind up on the auction block where they are sold to pull carriages in Amish villages or to be served as a delicacy in restaurants abroad. Classified as livestock by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, these horses are loaded onto trucks where they begin a terrifying journey of 30 hours or more without food or water to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico. Oftentimes, during the journey, the horses are injured due to the cramped quarters inside the trucks.

According to an article that appeared in the Bangor Daily News on July 13, 2017, the future of harness racing in Bangor is uncertain due to declining revenues. Harness racing and horse racing are dying industries, which are kept alive by taxpayer subsidies from the proceeds of slot machines and casinos. Vote no on Question 1 until provisions are made for the retirement of harness racing horses in Maine.

Val Philbrick

Scarborough, ME

Haunt Me Again — Your guide to Damnationland 2017

Time to preen that gnarly werewolf fur. You’re going to the theater!

This weekend marks the eighth annual Damnationland festival, which kicks off with a screening at the State Theatre on the truly fiendish date of Friday, the 13th of October.

Trailer Shots Lazlo3 small

One of the homegrown horror film festival’s most notable quirks is that each year features a new batch of directors. This doubles Damnationland’s function. It’s not just an entertaining festival of horror film made by your friends and neighbors; it’s an incubator for budding actors and filmmakers in Maine cinematic landscape. This year’s program contains films by Mainers Charlotte Warren, Mackenzie Bartlett, Alex Steed, Ellis Ducharme and Alexander Richard Balzano, and Tadin Jeongshin Brown. (Bartlett won a trailer contest in 2016, and others, while not directing, have produced or otherwise contributed to films in the festival.)

In a two-hour program screening Friday night (and continuing with a tour throughout theaters in Maine), horror watchers can expect five short films of unusually high quality (at least by the standards of the genre and the often puritanically lowfi aesthetic of its adherents). Beyond that, there are six bizarre-ass interstitial segments (by Derek R. Brigham, Filipp Kotsishevskiy, Stacey Koloski, Shannon Meserve, Mel Salmi, and Clark Shepard) exploring the genre’s psychological complexities and weirdnesses in short, enigmatic bursts.

Another virtue of this year’s Damnationland, notes festival co-producer Allen Baldwin, is that its field of directors is the most gender-balanced in the festival’s history. “It’s the biggest group of filmmakers we’ve had ever,” says Baldwin. “Five women, six men.”

Along with filmmaker Eddy Bolz, Baldwin originated the festival in 2010. They incorporated an original soundtrack a few years ago, with songs by Maine’s artists both campy and esoteric selected by noisemaker and festival co-producer Remy Brecht. This year, they add another component — the International Film Festival, making Damnationland 2017 a two-day event with screenings throughout Saturday, October 14.

Festival co-producer Allie Munier estimates she watched nearly three-dozen horror films submitted from around the globe before selecting the 15 shorts and full-lengths that comprise Saturday’s international component at Mechanics Hall, where screenings begining at 10 am culminate in the world premiere screening of Escape the Dark, a feature starring Portland actor Erik Moody. “With so many tired horror tropes, it’s nice to know that there are still new takes on the genre,” says Munier in her first year co-producing.

Also, we really dig this year’s tarot motif.  




Image 2

Director: Ellis Ducharme (King City Productions) and Alexander Richard Balzano (Resurgam Productions)

Starring: Karen Bombaro, Fiona Cagney, Dave Foster, Brittany Burke, Isabella Coulombe, Anna Gravél, Scott Marcoux, Stephanie Atkinson, Ryan Marshall, Thomas Ian Campbell  

Film description: A shy teenage girl battles more than just high school bullies and passing her classes. It’s her own demons she will need to overcome, and the medication isn’t working anymore.




Frame Grab Baptism

Director: Mackenzie Bartlett

Starring: Sarah Kennedy, Samuel Carlson, Joe Quinn, Lisa Boucher Hartman, Pete Haase, Tony Reilly, Andrew Marston, Harlan Baker, David Vincent, Hal Cohen, Nathan Carlson, Thomas Blackburn, Peter Haller, Justin Chamberlain

Film description: The story of Evelyn Doyle, a beacon of sin in a town which values moral piety above all else. Evelyn Doyle is not the first to be baptized. There are women in the town who carry with them the burden of their shame, and they do not speak.


The Journal of Mortimer Laszlo Frein

The Journal of Mortimer Laszlo Frein Damnationland Final3

Director: Tadin Jeongshin Brown

Starring: Marcel Mascaro, Regina Temple, Vanessa Romanoff, Ian Carlsen, Colleen Clark, Joseph Bearor, Jaime Blumenthal, Elizabeth Freeman, Tootie van Reenan, Lydia McCannell, Evangeline Foss, Derek R. Brigham, Ty Gowen, Natalie Josephine Jones, Karen Bombaro, Bartholemew Powers, Erin Ackley, Leanne Galligan, Sara Lync, Kenneth Lynx, Kate Lizotte, Nathan Horn, Jenny Anastasoff, Peter Campbell, Justin Beth, Crickett Cote, Mazie Bartels-Biswell, Allison Sample, Kate Lizotte, Anna Gravél 

Film description: In a neo-period world near the turn of the 20th century, an amnesiatic traveling shoe salesman finds himself guest in a strange Inn, with dark secrets behind every door. With a journal to guide his way, and a peculiar attachment to footwear, Mortimer Laszlo Frein will navigate the steps of his past, present, and future.



Jolie Laide


Director: Charlotte Warren

Starring: Jocelyn Leighton, Gene Dante, Alana Saleeby, Kyle Dennis, Ethan Kasprzak

Film description: Seduced by the promise of the impossible a young woman follows a strange guide through a derelict world of misfits. Heaven isn’t for everybody.



Graveyard Fun 


Director: Alex Steed (Knack Factory)

Illustration: Ryan Lamunyon

Original score: Sea Level

Starring: John Hodgman, Eugene Mirman, Jean Grae

Film description: A vivid and beautiful animated ghost story about a father and daughter who visit a graveyard on a rainy day.



Something Came Up

Something Came Up 092817

Director: Filipp Kotsishevsky

Starring: Renee Coolbrith, Erik Moody


Please Pray For Us


Director: Mel Salmi

Music By: Devon Cole


The Priestess

Priestess ShannonMeserve Interstitial2

Director: Shannon Meserve

Starring: Samantha Laster




damn death

Director: Derek R. Brigham

Starring: Ranin Brown, Everett Bunker, Tadin Jeongshin Brown, Derek R. Brigham


Isle of Capri

damn hanged

Director: Stacey Koloski

Starring: Johnny Speckman, Anna Halloran, Ty Gowen



Satan Wears a Sweatshirt


Director: Clark Shepard

Starring: Mike McGrath, Clark Shepard



“Damnationland: The Way Life Should Bleed,” film screening | Friday, October 13, 8pm | State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland | $15 |

"Damnationland International Festival" | Saturday, October 14, 10 am-10 pm | Mechanics Hall, 519 Congress St., Portland | $5 per film; $20 whole day (six screenings)


  • Published in Features

The 2017 Portland Cheap Eats Guide

Welcome to Portland, Maine. Food is good here. (We get it.)

Real talk, though. The praise heaped on the high end of city cuisine is totally well deserved. But sometimes, y’know, that’s not what we’re about. Here, we carved out space for some amazing meals Portlanders can get on a tight budget. If you’re someone with a busy lifestyle who juggles a love of food with an appreciation for “old Portland” aesthetics (and maybe class politics), we feel you. Here are some of our favorite meals you can get fast and on the cheap.

 Portland Maine Food

Two fish sandwiches at Susan's Fish & Chips (Mondays and Tuesdays) | $2.50 

We recognize Morrill's Corner is the seventh circle of hell, navigation-wise, but Susan's is the reigning queen of Portland cheap eats. They only run this special Mondays and Tuesdays, but the fish burger deal here is, by some measures, the best in town. We suspected they'd use tilapia for these (a/k/a the only crappy fish), but no, not even. Instead, they slap a couple of basic buns around some hefty slabs of lightly breaded cod (and occasionally pollock, they tell us), paint a thin coat of tartar sauce and a delicate sprig of iceberg lettuce, and dinner is served, my dudes. Eat these while hanging out in their spacious, high-personality keep and you might be tempted to order a couple more.

Susan's Fish & Chips, 1135 Forest Ave., Portland | 11 am-8 pm | 207-899-3529

 Portland Maine Food - Mexican Burrito at Wilds

Mexican Grilled Cheese at Wild Burritos | $3.50

Don’t be deterred by the slightly uninspired name, the Mexican grilled cheese is basically one-half of a loaded quesadilla and a full on guilty pleasure. After choosing your cheese, hot sauce, and protein (beef, chicken, steak, or pepperoni) you won’t have to wait long for this greasy monstrosity to arrive in front of you. It’s messy, but delicious, filling, and quite possibly the best dollar-per-calorie deal in town.

Wild Burritos, 581 Congress St., Portland | 11 am–6 pm | 207-761-1600

Portland Maine Food - Empire Kitchen

Sticky Rice Pocket at Empire Kitchen | $6

For a light lunch that’s a bit more sophisticated than the other options in this guide, head to Empire, hang out at the bar, and order their heftiest appetizer: the sticky rice pocket. It arrives in an adorable little basket, wrapped in a lotus leaf (the leaf is perfect for maintaining moisture and maximum stickiness). Unwrap the leaf (but don’t eat it!) and marvel at the spherical gift inside. Cooking sticky rice the right way that preserves its unique texture is actually not that easy to do, but the cooks at Empire seem to have perfected the ancient technique. The rice manages to hit that delicate balance of being perfectly soft, but sticky enough to cling to your chopsticks. Inside the rice ball awaits morsels of sweet and spicy Chinese sausage, adding fat and a whole lot of flavor.

Empire Kitchen, 575 Congress St., Portland | 11:30 am to 9:00 pm | 

 Portland Maine Food - Elrayo Burrito

Spicy Chorizo Egg Burrito at El Rayo (after 11 am) | $2

The breakfast burritos at El Rayo are the bomb. They are packed with eggs, pico de gallo, spicy sausage, avocado, and shoestring potatoes, but at $7 bucks each, they tend to be a once-in-a-while kind of morning indulgence. But here’s a suggestion. Eat a very light breakfast at home, and head to El Rayo right after 11 am for when these wholesome protein packs get discounted to just $2 bucks each! Drizzle some of El Rayo’s special hot sauce on these bad babies and you might just make them your go-to brunch. But be warned, others are thinking the same thing, because the burritos fly off the warmer once they’re marked down, so if you want one, your timing is crucial.

El Rayo, 26 Free St., Portland | 7 am–9 pm | 

 Portland Maine Food - baobao dumplings

Half-Priced Dumplings at Bao Bao Dumpling House

This one takes some light planning (or happenstance), but it’s worth it. Bao Bao’s “dumpling happy hour” means $5 and under orders of some of the best dough parcels the city has to offer—the thread-cut hake is a must-try.  

Bao Bao Dumpling House, 133 Spring St., Portland | Happy Hour Wed-Fri 2-4 pm |


Pupusas de Queso y Loroco at Tu Casa | $2

Tu Casa keeps it real with one of the longest-standing cheap eats options in Portland — the pupusa. At around $2 and served with a vinegary slaw of cabbage and carrots, these thick corn tortillas stuffed with meat, red beans or cheese and herbs are a full meal in themselves.  

Tu Casa, 70 Washington Ave., Portland | 11 am–9 pm | 

Portland Maine Food - elcorazon foodtruck

Taquitos at El Corazon Food Truck | $4

The taquitos at El Corazon come in at just under $4 and are a perfect midday snack. They won our hearts, and have fueled many editing sessions here at the Phoenix (we're lucky to be so close to their food truck). Three rolled corn tortillas filled with either potato and cheese, chicken or shredded beef are showered in an onslaught of sour cream, guacamole, and cheese. Do it.

El Corazon Food Truck | Spring Street, Portland | 11:30 am to 2 pm | 207.200.4801  

Tuesday Night Dollar Tacos at Amigo's | $1

If you’re literally down to your last dollar after a long weekend, you can still get a taco at Amigo’s. They keep it simple too, just lettuce, tomato, cheese, and your choice of protein. Dollar tacos reign supreme every Tuesday night, which may or may not be a good idea depending on what leads you there.

Amigo's, 9 Dana St., Portland | 3 pm–1 am | 207-772-0772

7 Hours of Happiness Sausage at Tomaso's Canteen | $5 

Sangillo’s 2.0 Tomaso’s is not, but they do honor the time-old tradition of cheap eats and discount booze every Monday through Friday from 11 to 6. The standout deal is a $5 sausage sandwich (hot or sweet), which is worth stopping in for even if you’re on the wagon. The bread can barely contain all the delicious fillings. 

Tomaso's Canteen, 18 Hampshire St., Portland | 11 am to 1 am |

Hand Slab at Slab | $6 ($3 during happy hour)

This inspired collaboration between restaurateur Jason Loring and Sicilian pizzamaker Stephen Lanzalotta is hardly overlooked. There’s a lot of highfalutin' foods on this menu that don't exactly belong on this list. But their staple menu item — the hand slab — definitely deserves to be. Its one pound of house tomato sauce, oozing cheese, and fluffy dough is unlike any other pizza experience in town. Enjoy one of these for dinner and you won't mind skipping breakfast. Hit them up during happy hour — Monday through Friday from 3-5 pm — and they're an unbelievable $3.

Slab, 25 Preble St., Portland | Mon-Thu 11 am-11 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-midnight; Sun 11 am-7pm | 207-245-3088

Sandwiches at the Clock Tower Cafe | Under $5

The Clock Tower Cafe in the basement of City Hall is perhaps the best-kept secret in Portland. Milton Hammith runs a tight ship, serving up sandwiches, salads, and hot dishes under $5 for breakfast and lunch.

The Clock Tower Cafe, 389 Congress St., Portland 

Sauteed Mixed Vegetable Bowl at Local Sprouts Cooperative | $3.50 

There's no law that says all Cheap Eats must be bad for you. Local Sprouts offers a ton of food across the spectrum of diets and palates, but sometimes their sneaky side dish of warm cooked vegetables is exactly what you need. If you've been ravaged by the elements, have no access to a stove and are desperate for some vitamins, pop in here. 

Local Sprouts Cooperative, 653 Congress St., Portland | Mon 8 am-3 pm; Tues-Thu 8 am to 9 pm; Fri-Sat 8 am-10 pm; Sun 9 am-3 pm | 207-899-3529

Maple-Glazed Prosciutto Sandwich at OhNo Cafe | $5 

For around five bucks, you can pick up one of the best breakfast sandwiches Maine has to offer. The “Number One” at OhNo Cafe in the West End glistens with maple-glazed prosciutto, Vermont cheddar and a generous hit of Tabasco for satisfaction to the max.

OhNo Cafe, 87 Brackett St., Portland | Tue-Fri 6:30 am-8:30 pm; Sat 8 am-8 pm; Sun 8 am-3 pm | 


Breakfast Roll-Up - Punky’s - $4 

Punky’s is all about the roll-up, and the breakfast variety is filled with enough eggs, cheese, peppers, and bacon to feed a small family. It’ll set you back less than a five spot, though you may be tempted to take an impromptu nap afterward.

Punky's, 186 Brighton Ave., Portland | 6 am to 5 pm | 207-773-8885

9-piece Bucket of Chicken | Crown Fried Chicken | $11 

This Forest Avenue staple just sprouted up on St. John Street, making their delish chicken action accessible to peninsula-dwellers as well as cheap. Their vast menu has a bunch of good deals (that $5.50 beef gyro is a good one), but we suggest going to the source. Skip the mashed potatoes and cole slaw and get straight to the heart of the matter.

Crown Fried Chicken, 292 St. John St. and 408 Forest Ave, Portland | 207-747-4519


Small Meatball Sub - Pizza Villa - $5.75

Arguably the best meatball sub in Portland can be found at Pizza Villa, and at $5.75 for a surprisingly filling “small,” the price point can’t be beat. Take it to go, or hang around and take in the atmosphere at one of the city’s last holdouts of yesteryear.

Pizza Villa, 940 Congress St., Portland | 11 am–1 am | 207-774-1777


Slice of Breakfast Pizza at Sisters’ Gourmet Deli - $5

It’s rather difficult to find breakfast pizza in Portland that hasn’t been drying out underneath a heat lamp for a couple hours. At least the women at the Sister’s Gourmet Deli understand the importance of freshness. A fiver doesn’t get you the biggest slice in town, but you do get some primo ingredients that change every day like spinach, sausage, avocado, feta, peppers, bacon, ham, and green onions. But the core component of the meal, the egg, and cheese baked onto their signature sea-salt dough hits the spot every time. Those looking to start the day with more intense flavors might want to try their regular breakfast sandwich, which is served with roasted tomatoes and banana peppers for an inventive egg dish that works!

Sister’s Gourmet Deli, 15 Monument Sq., Portland | 7 am-8 pm |

monument grill

Pork Belly Breakfast Sandwiches at Monument Grill | $5.50

Breakfast sandwiches come in some pretty standard varieties: bacon, ham, or sausage on either a croissant, bagel, or English muffin. But let’s be honest, they can get boring sometimes. For the price of an average one, you can buy one with bolder flavors at a place we consider a hidden-in-plain-sight gem: the Monument Grill. Their breakfast options cycle between three different special options everyday, and all are far from ordinary, with foods like crab cake, gruyere, spring greens, and goat cheese accompanying the egg. We recently got hooked on an English muffin sandwich featuring egg, crispy pork belly, and a spicy Cajun mayo. Opportunities to switch out breakfast meats for pork belly are rare, so take them while you can! The spot's casual (you can just eat on the square) and the service is speedy. If you want cheap eats without sacrificing your cultivated taste, check 'em out.

Monument Grill, 24 Monument Way, Portland | 7 am to 3 pm | 207-699-5577


bluerooster taoyuandog 

Specialty Dogs | Blue Rooster Food Co. | $6 

Blue Rooster serves up delicious locally made natural casing beef and pork hot dogs from Maine Family Farms, and each one is an adventure for under $6. Try the Pineapple Express, which brings bacon, mango, cilantro, and pineapple into the fold. None of them are ordinary dogs. 

Blue Rooster Food Co., 5 Dana St., Portland | 11 am to 8 pm | 207-747-4157


Ham Italian | Joe's Super Variety | $5 

Though it's now housed in the slicked-up condo called "the Hiawatha," Joe's Super Variety hasn't lost their mission, which is to supply West End denizens with food and sundries on the cheap. A good chunk of their menu could make this list, but the $5 ham italian, often pre-made and just chillin' there waiting for you, is clean and grease-free, but still a formidably gut-filling meal-bomb. 

Joe's Super Variety, 665 Congress St., Portland | Mon-Sun 6 am to 11 pm | 207-773-3656


8 Days A Week: Distant Clams, Tough Stories, and a Sprinkling of Wes Anderson



ART BRINGETH TOGETHER | If you haven't driven by the cheerfully Lego-tastic sculpture adjacent the Portland Museum of Art along High Street, God bless you. It's the work of Ogunquit-based Jonathan Borofsky (who'd surely be annoyed I called his work Lego-tastic, but how do you describe art to the amorphous and indifferent masses?) The piece is a lovely meditation on the interconnectedness of society, and the Boston-raised Borofsky himself is a master of contemporary installation, his towering works permanently on public display in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Munich, and Los Angeles. Tonight, hear a talk about Borofsky's work and the piece he designed for Portland, said to connect the city to San Francisco, Vancouver, and Beijing, with independent curator Patterson Sims and the artist himself. | FREE | 6:30 pm | Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Sq. Portland |

TELLING | Reliably entertaining is tonight's Sound Bites program, which collects hot personalities, amateur storytellers, and Moth StorySlam champions. Put on by the venerable Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and Lewiston's telling series The Corner, tonight's program consists of tales on the prompt of "Out of the Frying Pan, and Into the Fire," and features Portland writer Kari Wagner-Peck, Moth GrandSlam champion Erin Barker, Sound Bites returnee and Auburn resident Alia Abdulahi, Moth winner and counselor Kevin Gallagher, and Biddeford's Ryan Fecteau, the youngest openly gay representative in the state. | $9 | 7:30 pm | Frontier, 14 Maine St., Brunswick |

REPORTING IN | In December of 2016, the artistic director of upstart Portland theater troupe 60 Grit set out to collect stories of men and women in long-term recovery. Informed by personal experience and a faith in the healing power of storytelling and theater, the company set out to find actors to use the stories as source material to devise original theater on this difficult theme. Described as "part whimsy, part physical theater," the play, titled Unsinkable, runs for one weekend only at the Portland Ballet Studio on Forest Avenue. Tickets are $15, but tonight's preview is $10. | $10-15 | Thu-Sun 7:30 pm | Portland Ballet Studio, 517 Forest Ave., Portland |


BODY OF WORK | The SPACE Gallery artist-in-residence, Keijaun Thomas, a femme-identifying artist who creates live performances and multimedia oscillations that, she says, function as social tools. In her own words, Thomas "makes work primarily about and for a black and brown audience," deploying symbols, histories and referents "that construct notions of Black identity within black personhood." Having shown work New York, L.A., Paris, Taipei, Saskatechewan, Miami, and many other places around the globe, Thomas performs her original work-in-progress work — a visceral piece involving nudity, spoken word, and music titled "My Last American Dollar" — tonight at 6. | FREE | 6 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland |

COUNT YOUR VALVES | That's right, it's the Yarmouth Clam Festival. Now in its 52nd year (a shocking thing if you think about it), the annual summer fete doesn't seem to have suffered from the obvious elephant-in-the-room regarding the state's clam harvest. Launching tonight at 10 pm, you know what you're getting with this one. | FREE | 10 pm through the weekend | Yarmouth Clam Festival, 162 Main St. Yarmouth |

PASSED OUT IN THE STORM | I'd be lying if I didn't say I spent my first few years as a teenager eagerly anticipating Portland appearances by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I'd also be lying if I didn't see many of Portland's now-upstanding citizens also waiting in line, wearing similarly ugly clothing. I'd even be lying if I said there wasn't a tattered cassette out there of a very youthful band I played in covering a song by Bosstones' singer Dicky Barrett's first band, the unfathomably crucial and utterly listenable '80s hardcore group Impact Unit. The jury may still be out if the Bosstones' brand of post-punk, frat-ready, ska-core aged well, but the times certainly did. For a band obsessed with drinking and devil-worship whose singer made do with a truly unlistenable voice, they were a remarkably positive band. (Dicky Barrett once snuck a 13-year-old me in to a sold out show — I've got nothing bad to say about him.) On what might very well be their last tour, see if those memories don't hold up. | FREE | 8 pm | Aura, 121 Center St., Portland |


YOUTH SAY | The ever-ambitious youth crew Kesho Wazo and their voracious art appetites have generated their own festival this weekend, kicking off tonight with a "multi-faith blessing" in Fox Field in Bayside's Kennedy Park, that may or may not dissolve into a dance party. They encourage all attendees to wear white and bring flags of countries represented by Mainers from around the globe. The three-day weekend festival continues with a kickball game Saturday and a community clean-up Sunday. | $10-20 donation | 6 pm | Fox Field at Kennedy Park, Fox & Anderson Sts., Portland |



PRINT YOUR LIFE OUT | The wonderful Portland-based art collective Pickwick Independent Press hosts a festival of their original works and others' today in Congress Square Park. If your living room (or bathroom or foyer) needs some sprucing, head over. | FREE | 10 am to 2 pm | Congress Square Park, Portland |

COSMIC VIBES ARE A PLUS | What's that? Another homegrown festival? Giddy up. The first annual Cosmic Bridge Festival smushes bands like Nuclear Bootz, the Bumbling Woohas, Lacuna, Burr, Safe/Word, and many others together for a hopefully fun day in the sun. A lot of these groups are a year or two old, and many of them make up the vanguard of Portland's indie-, post-, or whatever-rock scene. Live a little, friends! | FREE | 8:30 pm | Thomas Knight Park, 18 Ocean St., South Portland


OUT GO THE LIGHTS | Of course, tonight's major order of business is the return of snazzy-ass rock band Spoon, debatably one of the most popular groups in the world the last five years (to folks equipped with a particular wiring of radar). They play with the resurgent New Pornographers, the power-pop project of Neko Case and A.C. Newman, whose new album, Whiteout Conditions, is too good to consider arriving to the State Theatre late. In fact, you're gonna need to pregame for this around 4 pm, as the psych-rock musician Jeff Beam opens this one, a cosmic reward for throwing a Spoon afterparty two years ago that caught the attention of frontman Britt Daniel and made national news. | $32-37 | 8 pm | State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland |



MANY PATHS | Oddly, the singer Chuck Mosely, a one-time member of Bad Brains and Faith No More, appears at Mathew's tonight, playing songs on an acoustic tour. If the shoe fits, wear it. | 7 pm | Mathew's Pub, 133 Free St., Portland

MAKESHIFT PICNIC | If the sun be roaring and your belly be dancing, head to Slab this afternoon as the Grateful Dead devotees of A Band Beyond Description, who've been summoning Jerry vibes since 2000, play an outdoor set. Doesn't hurt that the pizza's unfuckwithable, either. | 3 pm | Slab, 25 Preble St., Portland |


GATHER ROUND | Indie pop songwriter Chris Robley’s storytelling series, Verses Vs. Verses returns this week, with a showcase of the creative musings of three interesting locals. Fitting the new theme of “Fun House,” singer/songwriter Emilia Dahlin, songstress Hannah Daman, and poet Rachel Contreni Flynn will share what words and ideas they’ve linked together. | FREE | 5:30 pm | Blue, 650 Congress St., Portland |

FOR THE BEES | Some of the toughest words that Spelling Bee competitors have had to spell out over the years include unattractive words like xanthosis, logorrhea, pococurante, and chiaroscurist. Yes, those are real words but don’t ask us what they mean, because we already forgot. Hopefully the words at Arcadia's Intoxicated Spelling Bee are bit more palatable because if not, the 15 people signed up for the challenge won’t be able to spit them out — especially all boozed up. But hey, isn’t that the fun of it? | FREE | 8 pm | Arcadia National Bar, 24 Preble St., Portland |


For better or for worse, hot '90s pop hits will likely stay branded in the memory of most millennials and Gen Xers. Will we ever forget the words to such timeless odes to youth like “Wonderwall,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and even “...Baby One More Time”? Probably not. Stride confidently down memory lane when singer/songwriter Caroline Cotter resurrects nostalgic songs from the '90s with a little help from Monique Barrett, Connor Garvey, Sorcha Cribben-Merrill, Jed Bresette, Ashley Storrow, Dave Richardson, Michael Howard, William Joseph Jiordan, and Joel Thetford.
| FREE | 5:30 pm | Blue, 650A Congress St., Portland |

STRANGER THINGS | Maybe your week needs a solid dose of weirdness. The Urban Farm’s got you covered with a cheap show featuring a solid lineup of big-thinkers adept at sounds waves in the fringe-genres. Guiding you through this night of kombucha-n-dance fueled introspection is the experimental psychedelic pop artist Count Vaseline, the three piece electronic brotherhood of Lyokha, and the oddly beguiling vocals of the Asthmatic, aka Sigrid Harmon. Come feel all the feels. | $10 | 7:30 pm | Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St., Portland


WITH YOUR BEST SHOT | Here’s a rare chance to see one of the '80s boldest and most distinctive rock 'n' roll lovebirds perform their greatest hits live and in the flesh. Transport yourself back to the golden age of MTV when the powerhouse duo of Pat Benatar and her guitar wizard husband Neil Giraldo take the stage at the Maine State Pier during their “We Ride For Love” tour. | $25-80 | 6-9 pm | Maine State Pier, Portland |

IRANIAN ACTION | For some reason, many Westerners are surprised to learn that Iran has snowy capped mountains, let alone skiers and snowboarders. It’s almost like the country is reduced to a desert wasteland stereotype in the minds of some ignorant Americans, despite featuring beautiful and varied environments. In reality, Iran is a superb spot for action sports; plenty of people skate, ski, and surf there. Broaden your horizons just a tiny bit with the Maine Surfers Union, as they watch and discuss an adrenaline-pumping series of mini-docs titled, We Ride In Iran. | FREE | 6:30 pm | Oxbow Blending and Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland |

UNITED ALLIES | Resisting oppression often comes with legal consequences. Explore the pros, costs, and risks associated with confrontation and protest, during this Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant book release and talk. The Portland CONFRONT Community Network and the Tilted Scales Collective will lay down the framework to “combat state repression and come out stronger as a result.” This learning experience couldn’t have come at a better time. | FREE | 7 pm | Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St., Portland |

COLORS GALORE | The next film in Bayside Bowl’s Summer Rooftop Series is a delightful one. Folks there are screening Wes Anderson’s latest movie (and instant classic) The Grand Budapest Hotel. Even if you don’t find the antics between legendary European hotel concierge Monsieur Gustave and his lobby boy Moustafa unpredictably amusing, you’ll be floored by the film’s colorful and meticulously thought out cinematography. Seriously, almost every frame of this film could double as a painting. | FREE | 8 pm | Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland |


DOGGIE DAYS | This summer feels like it’s flying by; that’s not just us right? Take advantage of the warm air and plant yourself on Slab’s patio for an evening jam sesh with the Latin inspired band Primo Cubano. Next Thursday offers plenty of other cultural escapes from the daily grind including a Fleet Foxes concert on Thompson’s Point, and the continuation of the well received POV Summer movies series at the PMA. Hmmm, what else does Portland got going on? The Global Shapers Hub are hosting a conversation and SPACE Gallery, that we all should be having more often, to be honest: how do we empower young people to stay living and working in Maine? Apart from that, we’ll tell you where to get the best beer and oyster deals, and what’s up with the resurgence of Pecha Kucha shows lately. Catch the details between these pages in about 8 days.

Letter to the editor

Dear Portland Phoenix,

Zack Barowitz's article ("Conflict By Design: How a Power Struggle Between Mayor and City Manager Was the Plan All Along," in the June 29 issue) about the Charter's role in the ongoing struggles between the mayor and the city manager is interesting and informative. But it tells only half the story of the current mayor.

If Ethan Strimling had done what he said repeatedly during his campaign he was going to do as mayor, I'll bet we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Strimling said he was going to be "the chief listener" in order to bring the city together. He was going to avoid the divisions in the City Council his predecessor Michael Brennan brought about by having his own agenda and by not consulting the City Council before announcing his own initiatives.

Note that the Charter was already in effect and Manager Jon Jennings and his strong leadership style were already ensconced in City Hall. Note, too, that Strimling announced no major personal initiatives during his campaign.

That sounded like the perfect approach for the elected mayor to take under this Charter. Namely: 1) Seek to understand what Councilors want. (They are each little chieftains with their own constituencies and interests). 2) Seek to understand what the City Manager wants, especially since his name is Jon Jennings. 3) Then only initiate things that grow out of the identified overlap of Council/Manager interests. 4) Elsewhere seek consensus where discord looms.

But anyone who knew Ethan knew that his campaign pitch was just that, a salesman's pitch to get the job, after which — who knew? — except that Ethan would strive to use the job to establish himself as the center of City Hall, weak-mayor Charter or no weak-mayor Charter.

So in the few months since, he has established only that he is the most divisive force in City Hall, far beyond the minor fractiousness of his predecessor. He opposes votes by his fellow Councilors weeks after the votes have been made, instead of doing any consultative work before or during the process. He goes to the mat against the Manager even after legal opinions on the Charter side with the Manager.

Why is this a Charter problem? If our Mayor had done what he said during the campaign he was going to do, I bet we wouldn't be having this problem or this discussion.

Peter Monro, 32 May St., Portland 

Zack Barowitz responds:

No one would dispute that Mayor Strimling has on several occasions made his life in City Hall more difficult. Both he and Michael Brennan took the position for more than it actually is. However, it does not diminish the fact that the charter created a mayor without creating another branch of government. As a result, the position is at best a misnamed and misfitted City Council Speaker. Mr. Monro makes a fair point that Mayor Strimling may not have lived up to his campaign promises (or lack thereof), but his campaign was no less disingenuous than the campaign to pass the charter which misled the public in the first place. The lessons from all this? Political structures matter. Don't believe everything you hear from a campaign.

8 Days a Week: Illusionist Bros, Tarantula Bros, and Slightly Stoopid Bros


LIFT YR PALMS | In these days of dread and distrust, we cherish the occasion to spin your partner round and round. Tonight at the State Street Church, an old fashioned contra-dance can serve as a vital reminder that your neighbors are real, and their hands are just as sweaty as yours.

7 pm | FREE | United Church of Christ, 143 State St., Portland |


8Days filmscreening

Screenshot from "Reflection Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights". 

HISTORICAL RECOVERY | Much has been covered about the Black Power Movement from a male perspective, covering the work of activists like Malcolm X to Fred Hampton, but a new feature-length documentary by the Brooklyn-based Nevline Nnaji, a film director, dancer, and activist, offers a necessary new look. Nnaji's film Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights pierces the civil rights movement at its point of feminist mobilization, covering the oft-overshadowed work of black and other women of color during the '60s and '70s.

5:45 pm | FREE | Merrill Memorial Library, 215 Main St., Yarmouth |


TFW UR TAX BASE IS HIGH BUT UR CITY IS BORING | Wokeness on the subject of gentrification is now a requisite trait of Portland citizenship. Tonight, join journalist and author Peter Moskowitz as he discusses his book How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood, covering how seemingly rote municipal decisions to sell off public assets, reduce housing regulation, and allow development spearheaded by private corporations has historically robbed cities of their culture, displaced marginalized communities, and increased inequality. It's a complicated issue. While certain types of development are of course good for cities, Moskowitz aims to articulate the difference in this free public discussion.

6 pm | FREE | Congress Square Park, corner of Congress and High Streets, Portland |


ANTAGONISM | Distinguished from their peers as a "punk rock" doom band (the genre's typical preoccupations far too deep down the rabbit hole to register politically), the Louisiana-based Thou have pioneered a manic, crusty, and decidedly shit-heavy aesthetic since their formation in 2005. More recently known for their multiple album collaborations with Providence-based heavy duo The Body, Thou's stop in Portland should be no less bleakly received. A chasmically dark show in the season of light, with Michigan-based grindcore act Cloud Rat, local harsh noise unit Nycterent, and others.

8 pm | $12-15 | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland |



SLURPING SEASON | This summer, it's important not to forget the little things. And oysters are certainly little. Join a happy-hour shucking tonight at Rising Tide Brewing Company, where locally sourced bivalves from O'Oysters pair with belchworthy brews.

4-7 pm | Free | Rising Tide, 103 Fox St., Portland |


DUST AND LIGHT | In August 2015, the magician David Blaine performed a stunt where he caught a bullet he fired from a shotgun in a small metal cup in his mouth. In 2003, he fasted for 44 days while held in a plexiglas case in public display, consuming only 4.5 liters of water per day. In 2009, he swam in open waters with dozens of great white sharks wearing a tuxedo. If all this impresses you, you're not alone. The world famous magician and illusionist and his bag of inexplicable tricks tours through Portland tonight, hitting the Merrill Auditorium.

8 pm | $38.50-88.50 | Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland |




BLOCK BY BLOCK | For years now, one of the prime subjects for Portland small talk has been the revitalization of Bayside. "Things are really changing over there!", the people exclaim. They're not wrong. Today, witness that first hand at the Inner Washington Block Party, where you can sample bites and sippies from a pretty broad range of cultural purveyors and foodsmiths in the area, including barbecue joint Terlingua, Japanese maestros Izakaya Minato, brewchamps Oxbow, forthcoming Vietnamese restaurant Cong Tu Bot, Portland classic Silly's, and many more. Beyond the food realm, meet the neighborhood's other highlights, like the baby lifestyle shop Starry Eyes, the masterful photography gallery PhoPa, and bike shop Portland Gear Hub.

12-6 pm | Free | 49-59 Washington Ave., Portland

 8days fiveoftheeyes PhotoBYLaurynSophia

Five Of The Eyes photographed by Lauryn Hottinger.

THE OUTSIDE WORLD | Last month's shocking death of 52-year-old rock singer Chris Cornell was a chilling lesson in grief and empathy. As many noted, the subtext of Cornell's death was that even those who have sustained a career of success and admiration are not immune. And whether you grew up listening to Soundgarden or Temple of the Dog, the fact that Cornell had one of the most incredible and passionate set of vocals in rock music was inarguable. Tonight, a set of Portland artists (from Five of the Eyes, the Very Reverend, John Hughes Radio, pay tribute to his life's work — no easy feat — at tonight's event, aptly titled "No One Sings Like You Anymore," at the Portland House of Music — a benefit for The Opportunity Alliance.

8:30 pm | $5-8 | Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland |


YOU'RE PROJECTING | Bayside Bowl may have powered up this spring, but they haven't forgotten their roots. Celebrating the close-to-forgotten art of the drive-in projectionist, the main stage of Bayside Bowl tonight becomes the hub of a "Drive-In Dance Party," a collision of psych, garage, punk, and rockabilly sounds from New York's The Electric Mess, Portland duo The Tarantula Brothers, and longtime punkers the Flipsides.

8 pm | Free | Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland |


FLEXION | As declarations of independence go, tonight's appearance by the Superhero Lady Armwrestlers of Portland is for my money amplitudes more powerful a statement than setting off fireworks. Donning decidedly "over the top" costumes and personae, these fierce and fulsome lady-folk aim to slay one another by way of the mighty bicep, with a ton of tough talk. A benefit for the Maine Tool Library.

8:30 pm | $10 | Geno's Rock Club, 625 Congress St., Portland |



NOTICE ME NEO | Will the film legend and Fountain of Youth sipper (seriously does the dude even age?) Keanu Reeves ever notice our local songsmith Jeff Beam? Who knows. But in the meantime, Beam’s side project (which is really just for funsies) Keanu Keanu will be offering up some bright pop originals, and a few covers too at the Rising Tide Brewing Company. Crack open a craft beer; they’ll pair well with the tunes!

| 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm | FREE | Rising Tide Brewery, 103 Fox St., Portland |


8Days SlightlyStoopid

SOUNDS OF SUMMER | The first big show on the Maine State Pier kicks off today with California’s reggae rockers Slightly Stoopid taking the stage alongside Iration, J Boog, and the Movement, for a night of sounds that might inspire you take up surfing or skateboarding. These eight multi-instrumentalists were inspired by the work of Sublime, 311, and No Doubt back in the day, and have been embracing that ocean sports punk aesthetic for almost 20 years. With eight albums and hundreds of shows under their belt, these rockers and their sunny blend of reggae-tinged rock are well poised to bring some Southern Californian culture to our shores. But please note, as much as their music may inspire you to light up a joint and vibe along on a nice high, security are enforcing a strict no smoking, clear bags-only policy. You’ve been warned!

| 3:30 pm | $35 | Maine State Pier, Portland |


FLEE THE REAPER | Do you want to abolish the notion of a “lazy Sunday afternoon” at least once in your life? Well, why not start the morning with the Thick Quad Squad running around Portland and capping it off with a coffee? Meet at CBD, introduce yourself to the crew, throw down some miles, and you’ll likely feel invigorated the rest of the day. Or maybe you’ll feel too exhausted to do anything else of substance, but in any case, this gathering sounds like a fulfilling way to spend a morning.  

| 8:30 am | FREE | Coffee By Design, 1 Diamond St., Portland |



GET FUNKED | If you need some sweet funky grooves in your life, the Portland House of Music delivers at least once a week with many a smooth operator. One of those being the Red Eye Flight Crew, a local funk/rock/pop collective continuing their summer residency tonight led by the crooning (and effortlessly talented) vocalist Gina Alibrio. Mondays don’t have to be boring!

| 9:30 pm | $5 | Portland House of Music and Events, 25 Temple St., Portland |




DEPLORABLE DAY | I can’t be the only one who feels a little weird about celebrating 4th of July this year right? It’s meant to be a celebration of our country and its values, but do we, as a collective, even have a firm grip on what they are anymore? With Trump as President damaging our international reputation on almost a daily basis, and some of his supporters cloaking their xenophobia and ethno-nationalism under the guise of patriotism and free speech, it’s admittedly tough to feel American pride in 2017. And believe me, it’s not easy to write those words; I want to love this country, but some of the rhetoric floating in the mainstream these days is making me rethink my commitment to this supposed bastion of justice and democracy. But I suppose even if you don’t think America is #1, it’s possible to put aside those icky feelings for a day, and celebrate a country that still does ensure a great deal of freedom. If that sounds like you, Portland offers many chances to get in the spirit. State Representative Herb Adams kicks off the holiday at 10 am at the Maine Historical Society with a spirited reading of the Declaration of Independence, the document that started it all. Throughout the afternoon the modern country band Country Roads will be doing their thang on deck at the Porthole Restaurant. The South Portland Historical Society is hosting a classic American muscle car show at 11 am along with a finger-lickin good barbecue. And then, what’s more American than baseball? The Portland Sea Dogs are playing the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at 6 pm, so grab a red snapper and kick back! The holiday ends, of course, with the big Star Spangled Fireworks show at 9:20 pm on the Eastern Promenade, which you’ve got to arrive early to in order to snag a prime spot. Expect the usual: big crowds, a loud orchestra, and way too many vendors serving up artery clogging food. If you’re not a fan of humans en masses, then you could always enjoy the controlled explosions on the water; Casco Bay Lines is offering a cheap cruise with great views of the fireworks show.

| ALL DAY | Portland, Maine




ART WITH A MESSAGE | There’s a simple and reliable metric out there to ensure that a story about marginalized communities is worth your time. You just have to ask yourself: is the story told by someone in those communities? Because the best way to hear about the triumphs, strengths, and struggles of women of color in Maine is through their own speech and action. Let them convey their experiences in the ways that only they can. You’ll get that chance to listen when the Theater Ensemble of Color gather in Congress Square Park for an evening of originally devised performances dubbed Lived Experiences. For more information on the themes at play, check out Megan Grumbling’s preview on page 19.

| 6:00 pm | FREE | Congress Square Park, Congress St., Portland |


CALL SAUL | Often times legal battles make oddly compelling dramas. The film Abacus: Small Enough To Go To Jail certainly does, because it tells the true-life tale of a Chinese family facing criminal charges during the 2008 financial crisis. This underdog story will have you glued to the screen and thinking: who knew a documentary about a bank in Chinatown could be so compelling? Find out why.

| 6:30 pm | 8:00 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland |




FIRST PERSON FILMS | Speaking of interesting documentaries, next week marks the launch of a new film series at the Portland Public Library, all of which are shot from the first person point of view. It’s aptly called the Point Of View Film Series. Straightforward, we like it. Will this film technique immerse viewers into the narrative instantly? We’ll bring you all the details about these unique (and free!) screenings next week.

| 6:30 pm | FREE | Rine Auditorium, Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Sq., Portland | |

Subscribe to this RSS feed