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Intimations of life: Camden International Film Festival 2010

CIFF's sixth program is its best and most diverse yet
Just six years into its life, the Camden International Film Festival — a four-day documentary showcase running from September 30-October 3 at venues in Camden, Rockport, and Rockland — has achieved breakout status on the crowded festival circuit.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 29, 2010


Fall Music Preview: Stay positive

The local concert calendar is filled to capacity
The face of the local nightlife landscape undergoes a major change in the form of a renewal this autumn, as the State Theatre’s exhaustively maligned absence ends on October 15, with 10 fall concerts on their docket already. But that’s not the only new venue to look out for.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 15, 2010


Fall Film Preview: Underground big-screen shows

The local film scene revs up for fall
One of the happiest and most unexpected developments in local arts culture over the past year has been the subtle yet persistent proliferation of DIY and/or locally-oriented movie nights in the area.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 15, 2010


Block Party celebrates, consumes the Arts District on Saturday

Square roots
The first time SPACE Gallery closed off a chunk of Congress Street, in 2005, they filled it with sod grass and turned it into an urban lawn. The second, a year later, inflated plastic structures dotted the Arts District. This Saturday — in theme, in spirit, and in execution — they do it again by throwing a good old fashioned Block Party.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 08, 2010


From solid to standout

Brenda’s big summer ends at Wilco’s festival
Maybe the most surprising thing about Portland indie band Brenda’s set at the Wilco-curated Solid Sound Festival on the Mass MoCA campus in North Adams, Massachusetts, on Saturday was that people were actually there to see it. Lots of them.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  August 20, 2010

Solid Sound Festival, Aug 13-15, Mass MoCA

Music Seen
Even if you don't love Wilco (anymore), it's hard to imagine a festival being much more pleasant and casually engaging than their inaugural event in North Adams.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  August 20, 2010


Staying small, going analog

Catching up with the L'Animaux Tryst family as they bring Ducktails to Portland
When we last formally checked in with L'Animaux Tryst, the label's operator, Matt Lajoie, was a 23-year-old librarian at the University of Southern Maine making hand-crafted small runs of CD-Rs of music with a squad of friends.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 21, 2010


Wound to precision

Paul Harding's Tinkers , this year's surprise Pulitzer winner
The phrase "perfect summer beach read" doesn't make much sense to me. A week at the water is the right moment for me to put down a diverting thriller and indulge in a novel that necessitates those rarest of commodities: unencumbered time and attention.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 14, 2010

Wolf Parade on July 11 at Port City Music Hall

Music Seen
In concert, Wolf Parade operate in a mode that is or ought to be the Platonic ideal for a rock show: their live renditions of studio tracks are simultaneously faithful, timed to metronomic precision, and — when the occasion calls for it — beautifully unhinged.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 14, 2010


Cells and tales

The legacy of America's War on Terror
The only thing you can say for certain about Abu Jandal, one of the subjects of Laura Poitras's dense and endlessly fascinating documentary The Oath, is that he is a hypocrite.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 07, 2010


A world of cinema

Young filmmakers shine at this year's Maine International Film Festival
The 13th Maine International Film Festival begins in Waterville next Friday, and along with the usual unusual array of (political, music, and eco-)documentaries, Amerindies, classic and foreign films, and a special night at the drive-in, MIFF has a couple new tricks up its sleeve.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 01, 2010


Review: Casino Jack and the United States of Money (2010)

The globe-trotting misdeeds of Jack Abramoff
Alex Gibney has a gift for turning stories of corruption so thick they're nearly impenetrable into simple tales of unfettered greed and malfeasance.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 24, 2010


Beer, boys and parking-meter woes

New anti-anthems from Foam Castles and the Rattlesnakes
As if you needed proof that Ron Harrity is one busy man (see: new releases from If and It, Honey Clouds, Marie Stella), two more albums finished off in his South Portland studio hit the streets this season in advance of your summer road trips.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 16, 2010

Marie Stella + Dead Man’s Clothes + Art of Shooting at Bayside Bowl

Music Seen
Marie Stella's EP-release show was as much a social happening as it was a concert.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 16, 2010


Review: Best Worst Movie

Exploring Troll 2 's fascinatingly watchable badness
Best Worst Movie offers a strong argument for why certain objects of kitsch are adopted by eccentric fans.  
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 02, 2010

Review: Middle East and Laura Marling at SPACE

Music Seen
At SPACE Gallery, May 11
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 19, 2010


Preaching to the hive

Food+Farm scrutinizes the ups and downs of agricultural sustainability, and the eco-documentary
What’s the most effective way to make people care about the institutional problems with our industrial food economy?
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 19, 2010


We band of brothers

Young actors bring a Spartan production of Henry V to the Apohadion
This is the first independent production by the group of five friends who met at Boston’s Emerson College, where they helmed incarnations of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and Sam Shepard’s True West .
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 19, 2010

Review: Class Machine, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Dead Man’s Clothes

Music Seen
May 10, SPACE Gallery + Port City Music Hall, Portland
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 13, 2010


Love by the numbers

The Blow and Laura Marling make their cases at SPACE Gallery
Khaela Maricich, of the Portland, Oregon-based, low-budget electro-pop group the Blow, and Britain’s dauntingly young and talented folk star Laura Marling don’t, frankly, deserve to be lumped together like this.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 05, 2010


Have whiskey, will swim

Martin Strel’s insane swim down the Amazon in Big River Man
Filling this year’s slot in SPACE Gallery’s annual “Outlandishly Entertaining Documentary” hole is Big River Man , John Maringouin’s take on the greatest adventure yet embarked upon by Martin Strel.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 14, 2010

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