1. BETTER TO REIGN IN HELL

Do you ever wake up in a cold sweat, having had a nightmare about the fall of mankind in which a horrible villain from the depths of hell ascends to a seat of absolute power and corrupts the entire world through misogyny, fear mongering and an insatiable lust for supremacy? You might as well be dreaming about America careening headlong into the midterms under a Trump White House, but you may very well be enjoying the psychological remnants of having read John Milton’s PARADISE LOST, the original and ultimate epic about corruption and consequence. STAGE RAGE, a young experimental theater group, will bring Milton’s narrative poem to life at Mayo Street Arts with a four-night run from Thursday to Sunday. All local and eager to carve a fresh take out of the classic works they perform, Stage Rage’s productions embrace tragedy, satire and a biting relevance to current events.| Nov 8-11 | Thu-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 4 pm | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St, Portland | $15 | mayostreetarts.com

 

  

2. MAKE ME A PLATE

Food is a really great point of inflection for overcoming differences between cultures. Everyone needs to eat at some point, and it can be easy to feel the love put into a meal when it makes you feel comforted and satisfied — feeding someone is an act of caring. Business accelerator nonprofit PROPEL is hosting their second TASTE THE WORLD event at Fork Food Lab on Thursday night, at which attendees can try traditional dishes from new Mainers and enjoy conversation and community. The event’s proceeds to go to Propel’s New Mainer Culinary Entrepreneur Scholarship, which provides funding for newcomer recipients to begin and sustain their food-based businesses. | Nov 8 | Thu 5:30 pm | Fork Food Lab, 72 Parris St, Portland | $15 | All Ages | propelportland.org

 

3. I’M THE PRIZE IN YOUR CRACKERJACK

Rap Night is a Portland institution that managed to make the leap from the Asylum to its current incarnation Aura relatively intact. For 11 years now, they've hosted the annual RUCKUS CUP, the longest-running freestyle MC battle in New England. This year, Ill by Instinct and DJ Myth host the open-forum cypher, at which dozens of MCs sign up on the night of the event to compete for $1000 and, of course, bragging rights — this is hip hop after all, there has to be some beef and competition to give it that classic vibe of self-aggrandizement through lyrical narrative. Rappers can sign up to compete between 8 and 9 pm, and the show will also feature sets from New England hip hop artists, DJs, break dancers and street artists. | Nov 9 | Fri 8 pm | Aura, 121 Center St, Portland | $15 | 18+ | auramaine.com

 

4. DON’T STAND THERE WATCHING, FOLLOW ME

It seems like our culture will forever have an ostensible civil war boiling over those who don’t conform to the crusty old rules the white Christian patriarchy has set up. Some people really, really hate anyone who hasn’t lived their lives exactly as they would choose to live, and while the violence and economic oppression that marginalized groups experience has to end, there is a tiny silver lining: people who are othered will always find a way to create, build community, and fight against the pressures against them in the best way they know how. To wit, THE CIRCUS HAUS offers an LGBTQIA+ donation-based movement class every second Friday in their safer space created specifically to serve the queer community. Attendees will learn varying techniques from partner acroyoga, aerial arts, physical comedy, dance or a number of other circus arts disciplines. The fee of $10 is a suggested donation (and cheap for a 90-minute class) but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. | Nov 9 | Fri 6 pm | The Circus Haus, 40 Main St, Biddeford | $10 | 18+ | thecircushaus.com

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Theater: Festival of the Unknown at First Parish Church

  

5. GO DEEPER

FESTIVAL OF THE UNKNOWN, a show comprised of four short(er) experimental theater pieces, makes its debut Saturday in the basement of the First Parish Church, a space that festival organizers “transformed” to accommodate these four new original works of undefinable theater. (The air of mystery about this thing probably isn’t harmed by having to access the basement from an alleyway on the side of the building.) The performances include works from 60 Grit Theatre Company, Bare Portland, 2 Sheets Theater Company and solo performer Courtney Pomerleau. Walking the line between immersive and traditional theater, the space is cozy and seating is limited, so tickets in advance are recommended. | Nov 10-18 | Fri-Sat 7 pm, Sun 3 pm | First Parish Church, 425 Congress St, Portland | $15 | 60grit.org

     

6. HAVE A BALL JUST WAITING IN THE PARLOR

The dark vaudeville crew DARK FOLLIES often performs street theater-style variety shows in Post Office Square on First Friday, and in the winter you can find them in various small theaters throughout Southern Maine. Dance, music, comedy, theater and experimental performance characterize the troupe’s offerings, and now that the days are getting shorter and our seasonal affective disorders are getting more all-encompassing, the group will offer an intimate PARLOR SHOW to ease our sorrows. A spooky cabaret that explores the shadow sides of life, the show is adults only and demands your focused attention — seating is limited to 30 people and once doors close at 8, no one comes in or out. Whether this is intense or intriguing is entirely in the eye of the beholder. | Nov 10 | Sat 7 pm | Flourish-Arts as Sacred Healing, 140 Main St, Biddeford | $15 | 21+ | darkfollies.com

 

7. EAST SIDE, BEAST SIDE

When will we reach critical mass when it comes to breweries in Maine? Consumption as culture is not a new phenomenon by any means — one need only look to the wine snobbery craze that gripped post-depression boomers in the ‘70s and ‘80s to see that we love our booze in this country. Knowledge of what makes a good beer makes us feel like we’re in a club with a certain set of barriers to entry (in this case, probably drinking a lot of beer, but what do I know, I like those boozy fruity seltzer drinks). BUNKER BREWING, however, has always been at the forefront of coolness and ‘the scene,’ occupying the vacuum left when the Bissell Brothers sold out to the tourists and moved up to Thompson’s Point — someone has to carry the west side torch alongside Oxbow’s east side reign of power. They celebrate their 6.7 year anniversary with the release of a 6.7 percent alcohol brew, debuting to the sweet sounds of Hi Duke and Mosart212, and complemented with food offered up by Mr. Tuna. Close out Portland Beer Week with this celebration of one of the best breweries in town. | Nov 10 | Sat 5 pm | Bunker Brewing, 17 Westfield St, Portland | Free | 21+ | bunkerbrewingco.com

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Shooter Jennings [from artist's Instagram]

 

8. AND THEN THE RADIO GOES DEAD

Back in ‘the day,’ as the insolent Twitter youth might say, outlaw country as a genre was about breaking the law, breaking the hearts of good women who could handle their whiskey, and of course being a rambler and, perhaps, a gambler, Kenny Rogers’s own hot cheeseball take on the latter notwithstanding. SHOOTER JENNINGS, the musical son of country legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, has upped the ante on what outlaw country means today. His prophetic 2009 album Black Ribbons predicted an authoritarian dystopia in which our country struggles under a regime of fascism — you don’t see a lot of that kind of content in country music today, and excuse us if it offends you to say that Jennings might be one of the last tolerable mainstream country artists in the sea of conservative, white-centric pablum that characterizes the genre as it stands today. He’s a real hoot as a performer too, though, bringing his dad’s swagger and ego-as-belt-buckle style to the stage. Maryland country artist JOSH MORNINGSTAR and Portlander JOEL THETFORD open, which makes us love Jennings even more for supporting local artists on his tours. | Nov 11 | Sun 8 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St, Portland | $25 | 18+ | portcitymusichall.com

 

9. THERE’S HONOR IN LOSS 

 

I’m the last person who would ever suggest that someone attend a church service, but there are times when it seems like the good and right thing to do. For those of us who have lost someone, the holidays can be particularly hard. Many of us stress ourselves out feigning joy or isolate ourselves to shield our raw, grieving emotional states from the pressures of the family-oriented winter holidays. Even the zeitgeist-y grief of the current administration and the state of world affairs can be tougher at this time of year. Every second Sunday, the PORTLAND NEW CHURCH offers a service geared toward offering support for those who are grieving during the holidays, and their interfaith practices can be appealing for those who feel repelled by a dogmatic spiritual practice. Song, fellowship and the presence of others to whom you don’t feel beholden to “act cheerful” can be a huge help in navigating these dark days. | Nov 11 | Sun 11:30 am | Portland New Church, 302 Stevens Ave, Portland | Free | All Ages | theportlandnewchurch.com

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Film: The General

 

10. TRAAAAIIIIINNNNNNNNN!!!!

Notorious for being the film that ended up throwing a monkey wrench into Buster Keaton’s formerly burgeoning career, THE GENERAL didn’t make back its budget when it was released in 1926 and cost Keaton some creative freedom in his studio contract. Now considered a masterpiece of physical comedy and silent film, Keaton’s story of an outcast train engineer embroiled in the throes of the Civil War has entertained millions over the years with its legendarily dangerous stunts (that he'd perform himself) and its iconic crash scene. Keaton is seen as the original master of modern physical comedy, and anyone pursuing performance should take notes when watching him scramble, galumph and meander his remarkably expressive face and body through the film. Screening at St. Lawrence Arts on Monday, the film will be accompanied by live piano music from Carolyn Swartz, and is brought to the screen via Portland underground film collective Kinonik. | Nov 12 | Mon 7 pm | St. Lawrence Arts, 76 Congress St, Portland | $8 | All Ages | kinonik.org

 

11. WELCOME TO THUNDERDOME

THE GREAT OPEN MIC CHALLENGE is wrapping its 2018 season with a grande finale show that pits the ten winners of the previous weeks’ challenges against each other for industry-savvy prizes like a day of recording at Acadia Recording Company, a song on WBLM's Greetings from Area Code 207, or $100 to spend at Buckdancer’s Choice. Empire’s comedy nights, along with this often-packed Monday night, has helped characterize the typically-musical club’s bread and butter in recent months. In its second year, the Great Open Mic Challenge manages to bring serious new musicians out of the woodwork to compete for more than just your languid, half-bored claps, which gives the event a vitality that feels special in this cynical musical climate. As is the routine, comedy open mic will begin immediately after the show at 9:30pm. | Nov 12 | Mon 6 pm | Empire, 575 Congress St, Portland | Free | 21+ | venue.portlandempire.com

 

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Y La Bamba (Luz Elena Mendoza)

12. UNA CHICA CHIDA

Fresh from the other Portland (you know, the Portland that only has river ports, those big losers, like, figure it out and get an ocean already), Y LA BAMBA (Luz Elena Mendoza) will descend upon the superior Portland (yeah, you heard me) with her arsenal of melodic, Latin strings-infused indie rock sung in both English and Spanish. Lauded for her unique and powerful voice and narrative folk songs that explore her Mexican-American roots, Mendoza also effortlessly embraces the notoriously quirky vibe of her current city, sporting the purple hair, piercings, tattoos and vintage dresses Portlandia has taught us all to roll our eyes at, but that feel genuine on the striking artist with that theatrical, vintage vibrato. Joining her will be local scene newcomers DEAD GOWNS and beloved local weirdo crooner VINNY MOUSA. | Nov 13 | Tue 8 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St, Portland | $12 | 18+ | space538.org

    

13. WRITE DRUNK, EDIT SOBER

Whether it’s an actual trend or simply wishful thinking, a lot of media outlets have been giving attention to the idea that print media is making somewhat of a comeback. While the internet might have killed the long-form journalism star, books seem to be enjoying a certain tenacity as humanity makes a slow swing back toward a desire for tangible objects and a certain slowness. PRINT: A BOOKSTORE summons all budding writers to their "HOW AN IDEA BECOMES A BOOK" workshop, during which a panel of industry experts talk shop and answer questions about how to get your life’s works published, and beyond that, how to get a job in publishing. Cosponsored by nonprofit young peoples’ literacy project The Telling Room, the workshop will also feature some of the organization’s young alumni. | Nov 14 | Wed 5:30 pm | PRINT: A Bookstore, 273 Congress St, Portland | Free | All Ages | printbookstore.com

Victoria Karol is a contributing writer for the Portland Phoenix, covering local music and the Dance Card listings. She produces Music Video Portland, Maine's video music awards and writes about feminism and culture on her blog hottrashportland.com.

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