Gabe Gregoire

Gabe Gregoire

If You're Gonna Have One Anyway...

If a couple of friends of yours got together and started dating, loved it, eventually shacked up and kept going until everybody just expected to see one where the other one was, and they were still together after five years, wouldn’t it be cause for a little celebration or a party? They’d be solid. A regular institution. Now take that concept and extrapolate to think of an in-town yearly event as that young couple, going through the first few dips and summits, and finally reaching that half-decade mark.

It’s the fifth annual summertime dog bash, Martinis for Mutts, at the Regency Hotel and Spa in the heart of the Old Port (20 Milk St) on Wednesday, August 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This cocktail-and-hors-d’oeuvre fundraiser benefits the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, at the price of $35 per admission, which includes entry for your furry friend. Go to https://arlgp.org/martinis-for-mutts/ to access the ticket link.

If you’ve never been in the Regency’s outdoor dining area, it is a veritable treasure trove of intimate seatings and mini-places to gather, appealing vegetation, and best of all, the hosts will be serving a custom libation called the Mutt-tini for the 125 dog-loving guests at the event. Live funk, swing and blues music will be provided by local band Justin Lindsay and bunk. There will be gourmet doggie treats, traditional cocktails, and exciting raffle prizes. Last year, prizes included dinner on the deck at Portland Lobster Company and a “Naughty Dog” nautical-themed gift bag from Fish & Bone. And, to commemorate the occasion with your favorite pet, professional photo ops will be available. It’s always a sell-out event, so grab your mutt, find a spot, and rub elbows with other Portlanders who care.

  • Published in Pets

A Birding Beginning?

One of our readers, Leska F., moved to the West End in 2014, into a Victorian that had seen better days and had a family of brown finches living in the eaves, a few feet away from where she sat with her coffee each morning. She had never had an interest in birds, but began to notice the finches’ behaviors, from flying into the eaves-nest with bits of fluff and twigs for building, to the female’s lowered wings and warbling to signify mating time to her husband. Flash forward three summers, and Leska is taking and showing some of the best northeastern bird photography we’ve seen, in her aunt’s gallery in New Mexico, and she has traveled as far as Belize on birding photography trips.

Not everyone will begin a lifelong hobby or side career after noticing their first few bird behaviors, but for those that want to see if it sparks something, and have an ice cold craft brew or two in the process, hop on board Birds on Tap: Shorebirds and Beer 2017, departing from Freeport Wild Bird Supply (541 Rte 1) at 9 a.m. on Sunday, August 13. The trip costs $65, with tickets available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/birds-on-tapsm-roadtrip-shorebirds-and-beer-2017-tickets-29315387112.

The tour goes through Scarborough Marsh, where passengers will have a chance to spot wild shorebirds like Semipalmated, White-Rumped and Baird’s Sandpipers; American Oystercatchers; Willets; Common, Roseate, and Least Terns; herons, egrets and more. Bring your binoculars to peek in on the surprisingly complex lives of these feathered creatures, whether you’re a first-timer or have had birding in your blood for decades. Then unwind and relax as the bus swings by first Craig Dilger and Bill Boguski’s Foulmouthed Brewing in South Portland, then Lone Pine Brewing, run by Tom Madden and John Paul (the latter an employee of this paper) in Portland, where samples of both breweries’ best are included in the price of your Birds on Tap ticket.

Hey, if a relative of yours has some gallery space, bring your long-range zoom!

Birds on Tap: Shorebirds and Beer 2017 | Sun, August 13, 9 am | Freeport Wild Bird Supply, 541 Rte 1, Freeport | $65

 

  • Published in Sports

The Acro-Cats March into Town

Remember the Guinness Book of World Records? One guy ate a bicycle, piece by piece, made small enough to swallow with a hacksaw and some elbow grease, to get in the Book. Another lady had fingernails so long that they spiraled in on themselves so that she couldn’t do something as simple as pick up a fork to eat. And who could forget the 500-pound twins on those tiny dirt bikes?

 

We don’t know if a spot in the Book holds the same cachet since the internet changed everything, but the possibility of being the confirmed and documented best of something, anything, has been setting kids’ imaginations on fire since 1955. It was like going viral.

 

Well, one lady, Samantha Martin, self-appointed Chief Executive Human of her clicker-trained troupe of Acro-Cats, has already attained the distinction of having one of her performers, Alley, listed in the Guinness Book for Longest Cat Jump. And she didn’t stop there. With her positive reinforcement techniques and special connection with her chosen felines, she assembled her Acro-Cats on Steven Colbert’s stage, even appearing in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl 2017. Can you imagine your own cat running around on national television?


Get a taste of it as the Acro-Cats perform live at the St. Lawrence Arts Center (76 Congress St), stopping by on their famous Acro-Cat Bus for a slew of skateboarding, hoop-jumping, even a finale by the all-cat band, Tuna and the Rock Cats. Check out http://stlawrencearts.org/the-amazing-acro-cats.html for showtimes through August 20. Tickets are $22 or $37 for VICP (Very Important Cat Person) with Meet & Greet. The kids will flip their lids at these ridiculously talented felines. Great family memory. And of course, proceeds go to benefit the rescue of cats and kittens.


The Amazing Acro-Cats | Through August 20 | St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland | $22-37 | www.stlawrencearts.org 

  • Published in Kids

Adoption — The Most Rewarding Sacrifice

Well, you can't say that all corporate network executives are heartless savages, because we imagine that what’s going on across the nation on Saturday, August 19 had to cross some CEO's desk and meet with a signature.

It’s the 2017 “Clear the Shelters” nationwide pet adoption event, sponsored and/or subsidized by NBC. Animal shelters in the U.S. and Mexico (we presume, since Telemundo is also at the top of the umbrella) are working to match canines and felines with homo sapiens. The idea is for Americans who have been considering making a lucky shelter pet a member of their family, to finally go and take the leap, with the resulting empty space in hundreds of shelters easing the burden on hardworking volunteers and new strays who make it as far as a concrete enclosure to await their turn for love.

In Greater Portland, of course the participating shelter is the ARLGP. This Saturday in Westbrook, volunteers and staff will be working extra hard to match furry friends with families.

If you’re in southern or southwestern Maine, there’s an added bonus. Make the drive to VIP PetCare at 901 Route 16 in Ossipee, NH, or 12 Two Rod Road in Rochester, NH. Do your adopting there, and earn over $200 worth of preventive care services for your new pet.

We don’t need to tell you how much a lost animal needs companionship and permanent shelter, and if you’re a dog person, we don’t need to tell you how much we all need it too. Like Indiana Jones in that old episode with Sean Connery, stick your foot out and lean forward. See what you fall into.

"Clear the Shelters," nationwide pet adoption | August 19 9 am | Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, 217 Landing Road, Westbrook | www.arlgp.org  

  • Published in Pets

Get On Board: Tall Ships Training Teaches Teamwork

A sailboat is like a human body in motion. Think of a runner's lungs, musculature, skeleton, and other organs functioning together in tandem, in one body, to move forward. Like a part of the body performing a specific function for the whole, sailors on a boat can be thought of as organs in a locomoting system. Take away a single sailor, the vessel does not function at top capacity. On the other hand, with all team members working hard and striving, you’re speeding through the deep blue on the way to a better understanding of yourself, the rest of the crew, and your place in the world.

 

Maine students have a chance to learn this important lesson of group cohesion as it pertains to seafaring, and earn high-school credits in the meantime, on training voyages aboard the 124-year-old Lettie G. Howard. The event's part of Portland’s Tall Ship festivities this month, and these training trips are quite an adventure. Students return from their voyages changed, and empowered. Sixteen-year-old Naomi, for example, said, “You leave all the petty attitude ashore. You’re united and going through the same thing, whether it’s good or bad. It’s a really great way to forge friendships.” The price tag on enrollment is high (go to http://tallshipsportland.org/lettie-g-howard for registration info), but may be the most valuable experience in your youngster's life so far. 

 

But that’s not the only thing about Tall Ships Weekend. Even armchair sailors or Portlanders with a pirate costume they’d like to flaunt, who want to walk aboard a tall ship while it’s moored here from August 4 to August 7 will have a chance. Free tours of the 295-foot (a football field is 300 feet) Coast Guard training vessel the Eagle, and the Rhode Island-based at-sea education tall ship the Oliver Hazard Perry will take place on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m. and well into the evening at Portland Ocean Terminal (40 Commercial St).

 

Talk to the crew and the students as you’re admiring the sheer size and restful power of the ship you board. We’re not saying you’ll be transformed from landlubber to old salt by the time you walk back down the gangplank, but you might get a few ideas about that twenty-one-footer you were looking at on Craigslist.

 

For more information visit: http://tallshipsportland.org/

 

  • Published in Sports

There's No Place Like Home

Judy Garland. If you didn’t fall in love with her as a kid, you have a friend that did. It’s been awhile since we were at our grandparents’ house at Thanksgiving time, but back then, that’s when you caught it on TV: The Wizard of Oz. Brothers, sisters, even parents would have a curious conversation about how MGM organized so many small people actors, and how did the visual crew do such a good job making Glinda appear to float in that bubble, in ancient times like 1939? So many amazing things.

 

Our favorite part is when the band of adventurers comes to a Dante-esque sign in the haunted forest: Abandon hope, all ye who enter here, or words to that effect, and Dorothy goes nope, we’re not stopping, I need my Kansas. And our favorite incarnation of the Frank L. Baum story is currently the Main Stage Production of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, at the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine (142 Free St.) on Friday, August 4 at 4 p.m. It also plays on Saturday, August 5 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the same Fri-Sat schedule each weekend until August 19. Tickets prices are $9 for Children’s Museum members, $10 for visitors, and $16 for ‘stay and play.’

 

The production is the work of Steve and Kathy Hotchner, who based it on Baum’s book. It’s a rollicking rendition, featuring audience participation (they’re the munchkins) and all the favorites: the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, two witches (one friendly and one wicked), and of course, everybody’s darling, the bright-eyed Ms. Gale. The cast is from the Hotchners’ company of young actors, and they do justice to the wonder and excitement of the classic kids’ favorite. Go and root against the Wicked Witch. Does your soul good.

 

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz | Through August 19 | At the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine, 142 Free St., Portland | Fri 4 pm; Sat 11 am & 1 pm | $10 | 800-838-3006 | http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3021852

 

 

  • Published in Kids

Movers and Shakers (of Paws)

Imagine a Two Men and a Truck pickup, filled to the brim with high-quality pet food, toys and supplies, all donated by you and other animal-friendly folk, pulling out of the parking lot from Maine Indoor Karting (23 Washington Ave, Scarborough) and getting on the road to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland to unload and distribute all the goodies to the shelter pets. But you’re still parked at Maine Indoor Karting. Well, it might have been some time since you and your family did any indoor driving. And look! Your pet food and supply donation resulted in a $10-off coupon for MIK’s Arrive and Drive carting rate. Hmm!

It’s the kickoff of Movers for Mutts. It takes place August 6 through August 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

ARLGP staff will be on site on Tuesday, August 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with giveaways and a four-legged friend. They ask that donations be from their wish list (available and downloadable at https://arlgp.org/make-a-gift/pets-have-wishes-too/ ) to minimize wasted resources. In a pinch, you may donate odds and ends like postage stamps and gift cards to places like grocery stores and big box stores, which can always be put to good use. And then you get to enjoy some IRL fun with your fam, feeling happy that a dog, cat or small animal is going to be better off.

Movers for Mutts: https://arlgp.org/movers-mutts-supply-drive/

Alternatively, especially if there are no pets in your house and you can’t remember when you last even petted a dog, head over to Dog Story Time at Freeport Community Library (10 Library Dr). On Monday, August 7 at 3 p.m., the therapy dog Leo will be there for youngsters (or adults that need fur time) to snuggle with, pet, or read to. On Wednesday, August 8, it will be Mr. Cooper, Penny and Freeport who will provide the love and listening ears.

Leo’s event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1631438900219241

Mr. Cooper, Penny and Freeport’s event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1631438900219241

Freeport Community Library’s phone: 207-865-3307

 

  • Published in Pets

Have You Ever Heard a Who?

“I would not eat them in a box. I would not eat them with a fox.” This and many other rhymes are instantly recognized by adults and children worldwide as the words of Theodor Geisel, the incomparable Dr. Seuss. His playful lines and phantasmagoric art style brought many of us into the world of reading for the first time. “Let me read this time, Dad!” Today, many writers or painters would tell you that their careers stem in part from Dr. Suess’ works setting their imaginations on fire. And some, Portlanders included, are passing down their favorites to another generation.

 

Fans of Seuss can see the author’s characters come to life in the musical “Seussical,” in its final weekend at the Freeport Performing Arts Center (30 Holbrook St). The remaining shows are Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, July 30 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8.00 for students under 18 and $10.00 for adults. Buy them at http://www.fcponline.org/ or at Maine Wicked Goods Mercantile (304 US Rte 1 S).

 

The musical, featuring Jesse Reich as Horton and an energetic Tara Golson as The Cat in the Hat, examines a child’s desire to find his or her place in the world. In the story, Horton happens to pass by a clover in the grass, and he hears a noise coming from a speck of dust on the flower. The sound is coming, of course, from a tiny Who. Horton is presently caught up in the Whos’ dramas of love, loneliness and loyalty. Kids will be, as well.

 

Freeport Players: (207) 865-2220

 

Correction:

 

The Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. and Museum wrote us on Facebook to correct our erroneous understanding of their future on the Eastern Prom (“Last Chance Railroad,” July 20). With our apologies, we present their post here:

 

“This story is a bit misleading on a few points. We certainly appreciate the Ice Cream Train promotions and the local support - we love our neighborhood - however we'd like to clarify a few things. We will be remaining in full operation here in Portland through the end of October and we will also be holding our Polar Express event at Christmastime in the same manner we have for the past ten years. Furthermore, we hold a lease for the right-of-way where our tracks are until at least 2024 (perhaps longer) and will continue to provide a train ride here on the Eastern Prom through that time. We do plan to move to Gray in 2018 but will continue to be a presence (albeit in a smaller capacity) on Portland's waterfront. We are still determining the logistics of that operation right now.”

  • Published in Kids

What Joanie Really Loves

The list isn’t long of Maine athletes who have achieved world-class status. Our darling, since she set the women’s world record in 1983 in the Boston Marathon, has been Joan Benoit Samuelson. Back in those days, as Joan Benoit, she graced Maine magazine covers and newspaper headlines on a regular basis, as we watched and hoped for her.

 

Meanwhile, back home in Maine today, what ‘Joanie’ is doing is also worthy of recognition and does bring many top-rated runners to our state. It’s her Beach to Beacon 10K, to start in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday, August 5 at 8 a.m. Register at http://www.beach2beacon.org/ to support the charity Let’s Go! This  program reaches thousands of kids with a program of increased activity and healthy eating. The key is the 5-2-1-0 healthy habits message: five or more fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of physical activity, and zero sugary drinks.

 

We’re sure that Benoit-Samuelson wasn’t sipping a Mountain Dew when she said, “[I promised myself that I would] give back to the sport that had given me so much and that I would also give back to the Maine community which has always inspired me and kept me buoyant.” The Olympic Hall-of-Famer, like us, loves the hardworking spirit of Maine and will always be at home here. This is the woman who told her family when they surrounded her as she stepped off the 1984 Olympic podium wearing gold that she didn’t want them to let the victory change who they knew her to be as a person.

 

Go see what you can do on that bit of road, runners. Wouldn’t you trust a woman who has kept so busy and active since her initial successes that just four years ago she finished the Boston Marathon with a time that was less than thirty minutes behind her 1983 record? We would.

  • Published in Sports

Something To Ease Your Worry

People make mistakes. New mothers are afraid that they’ll ‘ruin’ their babies with their lack of experience in parenting. Divorced men may neglect the upkeep of their houses until they’ve got the one and only peeling, sagging home on their street. Students will procrastinate just a little too long and get a D in chemistry, besmirching an otherwise respectable academic record. And all of us have our own ideas about what and how to train our pets.

 

Readers who fear that their family dogs may be in danger of settling into bad habits, especially in areas where kids are, and want a little insurance against doggie disaster, are welcome to attend a talk called Safe Dogs/Safe Kids, followed by an outdoor screening of The Secret Life of Pets at the Veterinary and Rehabilitation Center of Cape Elizabeth (207 Ocean House Rd) on Monday, July 31 at 7 p.m.

 

Nancy Freedman-Smith of Gooddogz Training will speak on strategies to help your dog “be the ideal family member.” The emphasis will be on interactions between canines and children. Admission is free, and well-behaved pets are allowed at the movie screening, but not the presentation before it. Refreshments will be served, including, it’s rumored, wine for the adults. The movie is a fun romp featuring the voice of Louis C.K. — sort of like a “What Women Want” for dog people.

 

Dog lovers and Cape Elizabethans may also want to have a meal at the Bird Dog Roadhouse (517 Ocean House Rd) on Monday, August 7 between 3 and 9 p.m. During that time, to benefit the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, the restaurant will donate $2 for every ten-inch pizza and $4 for every fourteen-inch pizza sold. Members of the ARLGP staff will be on site with useful information, and maybe even a four-legged friend wondering, “What smells so good!?”

  • Published in Pets
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