1. TO ERR IS HUMAN

 

If you don't already know, Pecha Kucha is a night of audiovisual storytelling in an interesting format — each presenter uses 20 images for 20 seconds each to share something interesting, creative or unique. Here in Portland, where it happens around twice a year, you’ll often find artists, filmmakers or business-builders talking about their latest projects. However, hidden among the self-aggrandizing stuff (which the PK folks actively discourage — this isn’t an evening of infomercials), there are gems that really get to the heart of something core to our natures or relevant to our daily lives. Thursday night at Portland House of Music, MISTAKES, FAILURES AND OTHER BRILLIANCE is the prime directive, where presenters will take a look at how setbacks have allowed for unexpected moments of progress or enlightenment. | Sep 13 | Thu 6:30 pm | Portland House of Music and Events, 25 Temple Street, Portland | $7 | 21+ | www.pechakuchaportland.org    

 

2. TURN THAT PARTY

 

Portland’s little drag scene has been gut-punched again and again by the relentless rearrangement of the city’s queer club spaces. Our queens first lost performance space at Studio 55, then Styxx, and most recently Rhum, which had hosted a weekly Drag Queen Bingo event. But you can’t keep a bunch of determined queens down, not with all these new Ariana Grande songs to lip sync and all these tourists still roaming our streets in Home Shopping Network cruisewear to throw shade at. So Portland Drag Queen Kat Walker has taken her DRAG IT UP show over to Empire, where she and fellow queens Lady Ginger, Cherry Lemonade, Mizz Diveena and more will lip sync, dance, do some stand-up comedy and be generally bawdy, as they do. Remember that drag queens often take tips, so turn your twenties into dollar bills at some point before you head over there. | Sep 14 | Fri 9:30 pm | Empire, 575 Congress Street, Portland | $7 | 21+ | venue.portlandempire.com     

 

3. DON’T BE A JERK, JOHNNY

 

Quill Books and Beverage in Westbrook hosts some fairly progressive queer events. The bookstore/bar/coffee joint does what they can to hold a safer space for anyone experiencing being othered, and they line up events that live comfortably alongside their commitment to being a welcoming, community-oriented place. Friday, they host local comedians Michael Beling, Kate Ghiloni, Rachel Gendron, Susanna Rajala and a handful more for a night of STAND UP COMEDY with a queer and feminist focus. The event is 18+ due to the acknowledgement that curse words and sex exist, but otherwise everyone who is able to respect the space’s rules (don’t assume pronouns, no racist/bigoted language, generally not being an out-of-touch asshole. You get it!) is welcome. | Sep 14 | Fri 7 pm | Quill Books & Beverage, One Westbrook Common, Westbrook | $5 | 18+ | quillbooksandbeverage.com

 

4. IT MUST BE JELLY ‘CUZ JAM DON’T SHAKE 

 

It’s becoming a late summer tradition down in Biddo to hit up the RIVER JAM FESTIVAL, two days of free performance, art, food and culture in Biddeford’s Main Street Historic District. This year’s fest runs from Friday to Saturday with music from Spencer Albee and Zach “HARD SWOON” Jones, up-and-coming roots/soul act Bri Lane, indie-folk band Snughouse, Nick Perry’s Brass Tax and more. Performing artists include Capoeira from Joao Carlos Bordallo, a codfish funeral procession, and a variety show from Dark Follies. There’s installation art and a race for the overachievers in your life too, just check out the schedule, do we have to tell you everything? Jeez. Yes, there’s a beer garden, and of course there will be vendors trying to drive their victuals into you, so relax, grab a buddy and milk a tiny bit more of that summer fest vibe out of your September. | Sep 14-15 | Fri-Sat 8 am daily | Biddeford Main Street Historic District, Biddeford | Free | All Ages | riverjamfest.com 

 

 

5. DIVA SMASH

 

Hailing from Brooklyn, PHANTOM VANITY is the four-piece soul project of Erin Boyd, who runs with the upper echelon of working soul musicians in NYC. She’s worked with Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick, and she’s in high demand for live performances and session work in the city. In her own compositions, Boyd has an interesting take on funk and soul traditions, working a feminine, earth-goddess style of urban hippie-chic into her songs that just makes you feel, like, all girly and pretty and stuff — shut up about it already. Opening is JANAESOUND, the rock and power-pop project of now-Mainer Janay Woodruff, who relocated to Portland from St. Louis a couple of years ago, bringing her original power ballads and edgy interpretations of covers. Two nontraditional ‘divas’ that challenge the notion of what that word means in 2018. | Sep 15 | Sat 8 pm | Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder Street, Portland | Free | All Ages | baysidebowl.com 

 

 

6. BOYS TO MEN

 

In the wake of the first wave of #MeToo, we’ve already seen a few men accused of sexual assault return to the public eye after marinating in private for what seems like not enough time (I’m looking at you, Louis CK, go back to your hole of shame and learn something before you plan your comeback). Regardless of your opinions on #MeToo, it can’t be denied that men are for the first time being asked to do better and take a proactive role in ending gender-based violence. But what does that mean in practical terms? MEN CONNECT provides a space for men to have constructive conversations around the experience of masculinity and the complex feelings that characterize the larger conversation surrounding what it means to be an ally to women in 2018 — including what leadership in such an endeavor would look like. Newcomers and regulars meet monthly at the Portland Public Library to have these important conversations. | Sep 15 | Sat 10 am | Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, Portland | Free | All Ages | portlandlibrary.com

 

7. EVER-PLUCKIN'

If you've been seeing guitarist Gary Wittner's name around town for years, it's because the dude is a dedicated jazz-hound who's been playing his blend of world-inspired Latin, Blues, post-bop, and other jazz-fusionist styles in our fair city since 1986. Wittner releases his seventh full-length album this month, Too Modern For Me, a self-reflective metacritical appreciation of the form he recorded flanked by an all-star set of musicians from in and around the Portland scene (we're talking about dudenheimers like Matt Langley on tenor sax, Keala Kaumeheiwa on bass, and Les Harris, Jr. on the drums). Wittner's been described as a "jazz cabaret" artist on his vocal tracks, citing Mose Allison and Thelonius Monk as primary influences on this album. (It's all quite listenable — none of those Derek Bailey/Ornette Coleman/Sonny Sharrock-vibes here.) Wittner's done enough work in the state to warrant attention beyond the occasion of the album's release — a professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, it's fair to say a good bit of the "scene" was born from his tutelage. Toot on, my dude. The GARY WITTNER QUARTET play with the BRAD TERRY/TONY GABOURY DUO. | Sep 15 | Sat 8 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St, Portland | $12

 

 

8. B DOUBLE E DOUBLE R-U-N, BEER RUN

 

If you were going to run in the TRAILS TO ALES 10K RACE AND WALK Sunday, you would have needed to have registered beforehand — no matter, you can still head down to cheer on the runners and hang out on some of Portland’s most popular waterfront trails. The race course starts on the Eastern Prom, loops around the Back Bay and ends on East End Beach. Our recommendation is to just steer clear of zone between the baked bean factory and the waste treatment plant, for smell reasons… this is a city, after all! If you’re not a runner, there’s still time to get involved through volunteer work at the event or in several other capacities for race organizer Portland Trails, from organizing and fundraising to trail cleanup. | Sep 16 | Sun 9 am | Eastern Prom, Portland | Free | All Ages | www.trails.org

 

9. I’VE BEEN DANCIN’ IN CARS

 

Before Adam Ant came peacocking out of the turn of the decade to gank his signature android-alien-with-a-twist style (and his fans as a result), Gary Numan spent the late ‘70s making rock and roll with no guitars and mostly synthetic drums. He would feed his synthesizers through guitar pedals, a new technique in 1979 for commercially available music, though it is exhaustingly common now. You probably know Numan’s song “Cars” without really knowing who sings it. Think of him as one of contemporary music’s most important bridges between punk and electronic techniques. Join Flask resident DJs FOXY and DOOMSDAY J with special guest SAWTOOTH for a night of new wave, post punk and synthpop dance tunes featuring a ton of Uncle Gary’s best stuff from the vault, and of course hawt new wave lewks. | Sep 17 | Mon 8 pm | Flask Lounge, 117 Spring Street, Portland | Free | 21+ | www.flasklounge.com

 

   

10. POWER ROCK(S)

 

Quartz crystals are the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust. Some types of it have funky properties that can do weird things, like ensure clocks keep precise time and stabilize radio frequencies for broadcast. Cool and practical, and based in science. Some people say that quartz can also heal certain ailments, clear energetic blocks and even help you manifest your desires. Ancient wisdom or modern chicanery? You decide! Stones and Stuff is offering a short course called THE MAGIC OF QUARTZ on Tuesday evening. For $20 you get a deep basic intro to this weirdo rock, and they’ll even teach you how to program your crystals, though don’t expect them to run macros in your next excel spreadsheet — this kind of programming is energetic. | Sep 18 | Tue 6 pm | Stones and Stuff, 556 Congress Street, Portland | $20 | All Ages | www.stonesandstuff.com  

 

11. DIAMOND BAGS

 

It’s already football season, a whole six months during which you are either completely wrapped up in the sport, or you really miss all your friends who are completely wrapped up in it. Don’t let football season take you too soon, there’s still baseball to be had, you guys. Bayside Bowl is showing Wednesday’s RED SOX VS YANKEES game on the roof for free, so you can climb up there and shove tacos in yer face holez while witnessing the greatest and fiercest sports rivalry of all time on their projection screen. Happy Hour at Bayside is from 4 to 6 pm if you want to get there early to make sure you get a seat and drink enough of those frozen sangria things to embolden you to start an argument with the Yanks fan who made the unfortunate decision to sit next to you. | Sep 19 | Wed 5 pm | Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder Street, Portland | Free | 21+ | www.baysidebowl.com   

 

 

12. ADULTING

 

WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS are sort of the shreddier, younger, Scottish cousins of the Shins, working that shout-belt vocal style to a frenzied effect, like your little brother right after dumping out his trick or treat haul. They’re touring through Port City Music Hall in support of their fourth album The More I Sleep The Less I Dream, the first for their new label. The band is also touting this album as another sort of first: they feel like they’ve grown up. WWPJ started their careers young, in their teens, and stumbled upon almost instant success. Now, at about 30 years old, these grizzled road warriors are positioning their latest as their most mature record and something completely different from the high energy, good-natured indie-rock they were making. Will The More I Sleep The Less I Dream be this band’s The Division Bell, their veritable Nebraska, or is this more of a Spinal Tap free-form jazz odyssey situation? I’m sure they’ll tell us if they figure it out. | Sep 19 | Wed 8 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress Street, Portland | $15 | 18+ | www.statetheatreportland.com   

 

 

 

13. ZING WENT THE STRINGS OF MY HEART

 

CHARLIE HUNTER has had a crazy career as a bandleader spanning almost two decades and 20 albums. The son of a luthier (his mother, not his father), Hunter took guitar lessons from Grammy-nominated guitarist Joe Satriani before kicking off his career busking in Paris and playing with Michael Franti’s early band The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. He’s not touring with his jazz fusion project Garage-a-Trois at the moment, but he is coming through One Longfellow with an intimate performance of his seven- and eight-string guitar styles, considered to be best in show for guitar nerds. Expect full-sounding instrumentation on jazz-inspired originals with his Charlie Hunter Trio at this set. | Sep 19 | Wed 8 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State Street, Portland | $25 | All Ages | www.onelongfellowsquare.com  

 

 

14. THE BIRD IS IN FACT THE WORD

 

Thursday isn’t the Autumn Equinox (the actual date is September 22), but it’s close enough to celebrate the day on which summer turns to fall and we officially begin to get fewer hours of daylight than we do night. Hey, it happens every year, no need to get maudlin about it, right? Get up to the MAINE AUDUBON at Gilsland Farm to spend time on the wildlife sanctuary trails and get your face into some food trucks and local beer. The purpose is to raise dollars for the Audubon — they’re a nonprofit tasked with conserving Maine’s wildlife habitats through engagement. Lots of activities for the kiddos will be available if your kid isn’t already caught up in the Coachella-on-MDMA-levels of overlapping sports, activities and social engagement scheduling that the back to school season brings. Your best bet might be to drop them at soccer practice, then sneak away for some nature and an IPA in peace. | Sep 20 | Thu 5 pm | Maine Audubon, 20 Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth | $25 Adult, $12 child | All Ages | www.maineaudubon.org   

 

15. GIRLS GONE WILD

 

Pop-ups are no longer confined to the realm of restaurants and bars. Filmmakers are getting into the game and taking advantage of local venues’ AV equipment, setting up little screenings on a theme or with a purpose. So here comes FEM/CINE/ANARCHY 2018, a free pop-up screening of eight short films created by women with a feminist perspective. The eight films showing include Gringa by Claudia Murray, Sell Your Body by Jaanelle Yee and War Paint by Nat Luurtsema. The whole event clocks in at a brisk 89 minutes, the perfect amount of time to sit still and give your attention to something before the beer and pizza kicks in and you feel like you need a nap. This event takes place in SLAB’s courtyard, so if it rains, they’ll reschedule. Keep in mind that these films are unrated, so some of the content may not be suitable for kids under 16. | Sep 20 | Thu 7 pm | SLAB, 25 Preble Street, Portland | Free | 16+ | www.slabportland.com   

 

 

16. WORDS FAIL ME

 

Mad Horse Theatre Company opens their 2018-19 season with THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE, a Blackburn Prize-winning 2009 play by American playwright and TV writer Julia Cho. A fable about a love triangle, The Language Archive is an exploration of the ways in which language fails us, serves us and changes us. Centering around a man named George whose passion is the study of dying languages, the story follows what happens when George can’t use his own words to rescue his marriage from the brink of dissolution. The cast for this production stars Mad Horse company members Mark Rubin, Marie Stewart Harmon and Tootie Van Reenen, with additional special guest performers, and is directed by company member Christopher Price. | Sep 20-Oct 7 | Thu-Sat 7:30 pm; Sun 2 pm | Mad Horse Theatre Company, 24 Mosher Street, South Portland | $23 | All Ages | www.madhorse.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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