THURSDAY 14

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UNDERSTAND THIS | Join the 19 artists from the inaugural class of the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies, the longtime Portland documentary media program that folded into the Maine College of Art last year. Thursday's the final night of the Salt students' exhibition, a curious collection titled Proximity. It’s described as “a commitment to documenting the experiences of others, dedication to the craft of narrative, and camaraderie in the classroom.” Interpret their elevated takes on storytelling in Maine, and finding purpose through art. Get close to it. | 7:30 pm | MECA, 522 Congress St., Portland | Free | https://www.meca.edu/

 

BOOZY SHOPPING | If you still need to do some holiday shopping and nothing in our gift guide matches your tastes, swing by Think Tank where the co-working space will house a Holiday Makers Market. Notable, numerable pieces of interesting art will be offered, born from the imaginations of local makers Timothy Goldkin, Maine Culture, Akakpo & Co., ANCHORPAK, ATK Woodworks, Gregory John Hofmann, Jess Turcotte, Cat Bates Jewelry and Accessories, Abbeth Russell, Mikayla Dennison, Erica Hoxie, J. Potterie., and Adrian King. Support local art, and experience live music and beer while you’re at it! | 5 to 10 pm | Think Tank Coworking, 533 Congress St., Portland | http://www.thinktankcoworking.com/

 

MERRIMENT GUARANTEED | Which holiday parties are worth your time? Here’s one to keep on your radar: a stand-up comedy show helmed by Karen Morgan kicking off at the Portland House of Music. Called Cocktails and Comedy, you pretty much know how this will go down. Organizers encourage you to bring friends and co-workers, but promise the event won’t be like a boring office party rife with arguments and petty drama. Instead, let’s aim to drink, laugh and try to forget all the outrageous things 2017 has wrought.

| 8 pm | Portland House of Music and Events, 25 Temple St., Portland | http://www.portlandhouseofmusic.com/

 

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Cam’ron | Thursday 14, 9 pm | Aura Maine, 121 Center St., Portland | $25

  

FEELING BLESSED | Tonight the Harlem rapper Cam’ron barrels through town unleashing intense tones and sly word games to an audience of fans barely singing along. Simple people don’t understand the dude’s swift, metaphorical take on social issues and only those with a command over street slang will catch the hidden messages sprinkled throughout classic hits like “Hey Ma” and “Oh Boy.” Cam’ron will be dropping previews of tracks on his upcoming album Killa Pink, which is due in March and serves as the follow up to 2009’s Crime Pays. Should be wild. | 9 pm | Aura Maine, 121 Center St., Portland | $25 | http://auramaine.com/

 

FRIDAY 15

 

TRANSCENDING BORDERS | The world renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei released a groundbreaking documentary about the global refugee crisis earlier this year, and it should be required viewing. When so much of media views refugees as a threat, a nuisance, or as pawns in a political strategy, this film is necessary, showing refugees for who they really are: smart, resilient humans fleeing real-life nightmares. The challenges many refugees face just to secure basic necessities are something many of us wouldn’t be to overcome. The film, Human Flow, provides concrete information on this complex issue, but it also forces viewers to imagine what their lives would be like without a home or nation that welcomes them. | 2 & 4:30 pm | Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Sq., Portland | $8 | https://www.portlandmuseum.org/

 

GRAVITY DEFY-ERS | The high-flying acrobats of Circus Maine plan on venerating the old gods with a Winter Solstice performance. For centuries, humans have gathered on the longest night of the year for drunken revelry, dancing, and usually a great deal of love-making. We’ll be honoring at least two parts of that ancient tradition with a celebration on Thompson’s Point with some modern twists (a crazy light show and full service bar seems like an upgrade from gourds of watery wine by the bonfire). This “new-circus show” will take guests on a visually electrifying journey through the history of the art form. | 5:30 pm | Circus Maine, 4 Thompsons’ Pt., Portland | http://circusmaine.org/

 

EPIC HORNS | The 19-plus members of the Fogcutters reunite tonight for a big ol’ brass bash they’re calling the Super Fantastic Christmas Extravaganza. Come hear why this modern big band won Best Jazz Act at our Portland Phoenix Music Awards party last week and truly seem to come alive during the holiday season. Their live show is the rare one that folks will line up to experience year after year. Joining these beautiful noisemakers are Zach Jones and another surprise guest who’s traveling back to Portland from a far away land. | 8 pm | State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland | $16 | http://statetheatreportland.com/

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STRIPPED DOWN AMERICANA | Promising punchy riffs and that sort of sorrowful sound, the Boston bluegrass group The Stash Band will compel feet to stomp dutifully tonight at Empire. Opening for them is Muddy Ruckus, arguably Portland’s most poetic roots-revival duo. | 9 pm | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland | $10 | http://www.portlandempire.com/

 

GET FUNKED | A Shut Down Brown concert is a safe bet for an irresistibly groovy good time. You know exactly what these seven well-rehearsed soul musicians are going to serve up. They’re jammin’ hard tonight and you should get swept up in their tornado of warm vibes when it tears up familiar territory. | 9 pm | Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland | $12 | http://www.portlandempire.com/

 

SATURDAY 16

 

MUZE MURISANGA (WELCOME) | Like a dazzling celestial event, chances to experience traditional Rwandan dance music are too few in Portland. So we advise you take advantage of the cultural showcase igniting at Mayo Street Arts tonight. The members of Kirenga will administer your first fiery dose of the drum and chant driven style of music known as Intore. These artists make synchronized motion look so damn cool. | 6 pm | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland | http://mayostreetarts.org/

 

SONIC SCULPTURES | In Bayside, gear up for the second edition of the Apohodian Theater’s Gravity Sessions, an interdisciplinary showcase featuring jazz trio Les Sorciers Perdus, musician/intermedia artist Duane Ingalls, poet Zanne Langlois, and visual artist Rush Brown. As the night winds down, Man Ray's 1926 surrealist silent film Emak-Bakia will screen behind the stage functioning as a kind of moving collage to compliment the sound. You’ll likely leave with some foreign thoughts to sift through after this intriguing event. | 8 pm | The Apohodian Theater, 107 Hanover St., Portland | https://theapohadion.wordpress.com/ |

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BOW TO THE KING | Real talk. There’s only about a handful of white rappers in the U.S. that are actually worth a nod here. But rest assured, Maine’s home to one of them. Still hot from the energy of releasing a banger of a collaborative album in less than a day, Spose teams up with Mac Lethal, Token, and the Rustic Overtones tonight for PDank Xmas, the fourth edition of his twisted, yet surprisingly groovy version of a holiday party. Fans take note, this is likely Spose’s last show in a long time, because the rapper’s expressed interest in taking it easy in 2018 and focusing on being a good father and partner. Awww. | 9 pm | Aura, 121 Center St., Portland | $20 | www.auramaine.com

 

SUNDAY 17

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HALLELUJAH | Lest some disgruntled reader accuses us of waging war on Christmas, let's shine light on the Rock My Soul concert happening tonight at One Longfellow Square, a concert complete with tried-and-true tunes. This roots-based “raise the roof” style choir performs classic doo-wops and gospelized Christmas carols, for those aching for a return to tradition. This might be the best Christmas show in the classical vein Portland offers this year and it sure beats going to church. | 3 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | $25 | http://www.onelongfellowsquare.com/

 

QUARTERS NEEDED | Join other local dorks at Arcadia tonight for a very big deal: a new pinball machine. The latest addition to the bar’s pinball arsenal now includes a Guardians of the Galaxy machine, Arcadia’s very first Marvel-related game. Wait for the Star Lord's eyes to light up before releasing the pinball and successfully avoid Groot’s branches, and you just might be on your way to setting a new high score. | 4 pm | Arcadia National Bar, 24 Preble St., Portland | http://arcadiaportland.com/

 

MONDAY 18

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WORDSMITH | Portland City Council meetings have been about 80 percent more interesting ever since leaders there launched the Arts in the Chamber series, a mini-showcase of local art and music held right before they begin the tedious work of city government. For this edition, the South Sudanese writer, rapper and winner of our Best Reggae/Dancehall act in the Best Music Poll, AFRiCAN Dundada, will wake people up with a spirited reading of his original poem, “A Better Place.” | 5 pm | Portland City Hall, 389 Congress St., Portland | Free | https://www.portlandmaine.gov/

 

TUESDAY 19

EVOLVING IDEAS | Support the bright, growing creative minds from the Telling Room during a special reading of poetry from members the organization's Young Writers and Leaders program. Judging from their laudable ideas and sharp literacy skills, it’s easy to assume these kids are going places. Snap your fingers and show some love. | 4 pm | The Telling Room, 225 Commercial St., Portland | https://www.tellingroom.org/

 

POETRY FOR LIFE | The poet Yunus Quddus, a deep thinker who’s been fiddling with words and their endless associations since a the age of six, will share some original works as the head performer at Port Veritas this week. | 7:30 pm | Bully Feeney’s, 375 Fore St., Portland | https://www.portveritas.com/

 

FROM THE TOP | Boxed Wine, Portland’s long-form improv troupe — whose members include Connor McGrath, Kate Michaud, Andres Nielsen, Sam Deeran, Katie Ferreira, Laci Lee, Fox O’Connor, and Nic Robes — will earn some laughs while they test run their own version of ASSCAT, the improv comedy show from '90s sketch group the Upright Citizens Brigade. Scenes will be fast, loose, hilarious. | 8 pm | The Apohodian Theater, 107 Hanover St., Portland | https://theapohadion.wordpress.com

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Bellatrix Tuesday 19, 8 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | $8

WORKING MAGIC | Bellatrix, a trio of female musicians who deploy “bluesy, soulful melodies, folksy finesse, tight harmonies, and smart lyrics” take the OLS stage for the first time tonight. Give them a warm welcome before they make you feel pangs of strong emotions — possibly heartbreak? — deep in your gut. Their beguiling mastery over instruments like the ajon, flute, electric guitar, and mouth trumpet, woven between their attractive harmonies, will win your heart. These songstresses are joined by Coinstar, Haley Dimillo, and the Ghouls| 8 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | $8 | https://onelongfellowsquare.com/

 

WEDNESDAY 20

MAKE NATURE USEFUL | Continuing their oddly popular series of crafting workshops, the folks at Rewild Maine plan on teaching Portlanders how to make string from scratch this week. Grab a kombucha at the bar and then a seat at the table to observe the transformation of raw materials like cattails, common milkweed, dogbane, stinging nettles, white cedar, and basswood bark into naturally strong cordage. Do what you want with your homemade string afterwards; we’d suggest making a bracelet or necklace. | 4:30 pm | Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St., Portland | $19 | https://www.fermentory.com/

 

BELOVED CLASSICS | Riding the powerful force that is inescapable nostalgia, the Heather Pierson Jazz Trio’s generating the appropriate amount of buzz for her Charlie Brown Christmas Show. Don’t sleep on buying tickets. | 8 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | $25 | https://onelongfellowsquare.com/

 

THURSDAY 21

 

BAH HUMBUG | Hey. We hear you if you’re already sick of the holiday stuff. Thankfully there’s a lot happening in Portland the week before Christmas that would make the staunchest Scrooge or exhausted shut-in crawl out of their cozy home. Check these pages next week for details on more Portland experiences, like a showing of Loving Vincent, a highly imaginative mystery film about Vincent Van Gogh that was so well received, the Portland Museum brought it back for an encore weekend screening, an AC/DC Tribute Show, a vital show of solidarity at the Preble Street Homeless Shelter, a double-dose of Divinsky at Blue, a feverish Middle Eastern dance night, and a concert led by the soaring horns of the Portland Jazz Orchestra.

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