8 Days a Week: The Undead, The Timeless, and the Stone Aged

THURSDAY 19 HUMBLE BOWS | Some say the world has already been built, that its great artists have already sung their songs, its coliseums hosted their finest battles, and that we're just here to interpret and rearrange the existing cultural vocabulary into affinity groups. That's horseshit, of course. But the tradition of singing tributes to the world's favorite artists is unflappable, in Portland as it is anywhere, and tonight, several noteworthy Portland musicians and singers abandon their…

The Theater Project's exposes the beams in Lisa D'Amour's 'Detroit'

Even though neither couple’s suburban “starter home” is new, both houses feel somehow unfinished. You can see the seams in the sheetrock. Some newer construction is of bare lumber, not cut square. Even fully built parts of these houses feel low-fi, ersatz, or made of failing materials. The sliding door sticks. The lawn is a postage-stamp of turf. In the backyards of these two adjacent houses, two couples face vertiginous insecurity in the trajectory of middle-class American…

All that and then some — The work of Barkley Hendricks at the Bowdoin Museum of Art

Whenever I go to see a show by a black artist in a primarily white institution I find myself questioning whether I will be distracted by a white gaze and curatorial context. Will I resist an idea of blackness because I perceive that it has been selected for me by a non-black gatekeeper imbued with the white power to decide which blacks are elevated to the canons of art history? I don’t know the skin…

Consider 'Sex With Strangers' — Good Theater mounts a fine one

The Good Theater’s season opener is called Sex With Strangers, but don’t get the wrong kind of excited: the real intercourse behind the title is the one that happens when writers share their intimately crafted extensions of self with an anonymous, indifferent world of readers. Or, as director Steve Underwood more pithily puts it, Sex With Strangers, by Laura Eason (a writer on the Emmy-winning House of Cards) is “a play about that little old industry that…

8 Days: Small Town Horrors, Uncovered Gems, and Art Dissections

THURSDAY 12 BEST IN THE BIZ | A big reason why Portland — unlike some rapidly growing American cities — retains its unique and hyper-local charm, is because of the success of its small businesses. Without out them, Congress St. would likely resemble Main Street USA: a soulless strip packed with chain restaurants, big box stores, and corporate kitsch. Today Portland honors its vibrant independent business community at the annual Indie Biz Awards. Although we…

Confrontational Comedy: Talking political correctness, sobriety, and reinventing yourself with Ben Roy

Ben Roy never wanted to be a comedian. Instead, his first times on stage were spent fronting various punk rock bands like the Mendicants and Thousand Year Suffering, which he did as a way to shield himself from the dark forces of addiction present in his life at the time. For Roy, music was what kept him from "losing his mind" while growing up in Augusta in the '90s.  “In Maine, I was getting into…

Print's Not Dead! — The tactile ecstasies of the New England Art Book Fair

This weekend, the second annual New England Art Book Fair embalms SPACE Gallery with a parade of imaginative print works, subterranean obsessions, sociopolitical samizdat, and next-level art works. Launched by Portland artists Samantha Haedrich, Adam Stockman, Jimmy Viera, Andrew Scripter, and Pilar Nadal, fans of tactile art will have two days to poke around, from Friday night's art walk and all day Saturday, exploring art books that "explore the convergence of publishing, art, identity, and storytelling."…

8 Days a Week: American troubadours, Intelligent Senators, and Peace efforts

THURSDAY 5   BASIC ECSTASIES | One of the myriad highlights of last weekend's Waking Windows festival was watching artist Chani Bockwinkel deliver a passionate, scripture-driven lecture as Justin Bieber. Styled as a "Ted Talk" — please don't sue us or her, Ted — the dance-artist explained to a rapt Apohadion audience the hidden religious and sapphic undertones to Bieber's renaissance. It was mighty. Presently an artist-in-residence at SPACE Gallery, Bockwinkel pivots from the Bieber…

Is it all just a game? — USM's 'Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom' peers into a possible future

As players in dark hoodies skulk through the digitally rendered suburbs, a voice intones instructions: Drink the chocolate milk. Break the lawn gnome with a hammer. Recall that “the goal during daytime is to blend in.” But as you might suspect, this game the teens are playing is not what it seems. “Ha, that sounds like something out of a horror movie,” sasses one of the teen gamers, and how right she it. In Neighborhood 3:…

Street Theater — Snowlion's 'Anything Helps God Bless' reckons with homelessness in Portland

Two street signs onstage read “Preble” and “Marginal.” A triptych of back panels presentsimages of the city intersection, and on the stage floor are the sort of concrete medians that became, not long ago, contentious territory in Portland. The stage is set to explore what Snowlion Repertory Company calls the “median strip controversy” of 2012-15, when the city attempted to ban activity — namely, panhandling, or “signing” — in the medians. After a workshop production last December, the full production of Anything Helps…
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