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Music Seen: Femi Kuti, the Loblolly Boy

And Luke Kalloch
On record, Femi Kuti can't help but come off as a slightly vanilla version of his mad genius father Fela (popularizer of Afrobeat music, also known for having 12 wives at once, among other things).
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 15, 2009

miff list

(10) days of celluloid

From the gridiron to gritty realism at the Maine International Film Festival
Among the many treats at last year's Maine International Film Festival were a future Oscar winner (James Marsh's documentary Man on Wire ) and one of the biggest art-house hits of 2008 (Scandinavian teen-vampire flick Let the Right One In ).
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 08, 2009

currie list

Deep impact

Ron Currie Jr. has a blast with the apocalypse once more
In the most memorable piece in Waterville author Ron Currie Jr.'s 2007 debut short story collection, God is Dead (Viking), God is reincarnated as a Dinka woman in a refugee camp in Sudan, who enlists a jive-talking Colin Powell in an effort to find a young boy.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 01, 2009

Music Seen: Karaoke with DJ Annie; Bentley's Saloon, Arundel

No irony here
There is no irony at Bentley's Saloon. This is kind of hard to process, because the crowd at the bar is totally incoherent: there are, primarily, biker dudes and chicks, along with cowboy types, hard-drinking college kids, senior citizens, and the odd hippie with dreadlocks.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 17, 2009

burma list

Pixel revolt

Burma VJ's heroic dissident journalists
Anders Østergaard's Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country is paced and edited with the keen, polished urgency of a thriller — there are frantic, confused phone conversations, along with gloomy music and a healthy amount of ominous foreshadowing — but most of its footage is shaky, off-center, and drastically pixelated, even when viewed on a television.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 18, 2009

film list

Greetings and salutations

Aging and patriotism in The Way We Get By
The film, a decidedly unlikely crowd-pleaser, has had a charmed year so far. It won a Special Jury Award upon its world premiere at Austin, Texas's SXSW Film Festival, and an Audience Award at the prestigious Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in North Carolina, becoming something of a "little documentary that could" on the festival circuit.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 10, 2009

19-hour drives

A chat with director Aron Gaudet
An interview with Aron Gaudet
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 10, 2009

money list

Last call

Bands come, go, and get bashed
One of the big topics of social conversation in Portland last week was the anonymous Portland Point blog's ruthless, somewhat self-negating takedown of the Honey Clouds' May 23 CD-release show.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 03, 2009

48 list

Creative manifesto

Capturing Portland's collaborative spirit, with $90 and a borrowed car
"Is it fair to say we're a Marxist city in spirit if not law?"
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 27, 2009

Music Seen: Ocean and Pontiak

Ocean and Pontiak at SPACE Gallery, May 5
The day after Ocean's predictably under-attended (30-40 people) Cinco de Mayo performance at SPACE, a friend who also attended asked what I thought. "So loud," I said. "So slow," he responded. It wasn't hard to catch the reverence in both reactions.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 13, 2009

unfarmed list

Food unfarmed

Pollan and Schlosser, on message, in Food, Inc.
Following in the Peabody Award-winning footsteps of Aaron Wolf's congenial, informative documentary King Corn, Robert Kenner's omnibus agri-doc Food, Inc . offers a bleaker portrait of America's food economy at this year's Food+Farm event series, centered at SPACE Gallery from May 7 to 10.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 13, 2009


A new hope

The Thermals' tentatively ambivalent Now We Can See
Amid a barrage of assessments of our new president's first 100 days in office, it's a ripe time for the Thermals to come back to Portland and offer their two cents'.  
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 29, 2009


Dancing with himself

Arthur Russell's posthumous renaissance
Arthur Russell's music does little to illuminate the mysteries and vagaries of his life. It simply tosses them aside, in pursuit of moods and rhythms few have successfully replicated, two decades later.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 22, 2009

The way they tell stories

Local film
Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly's documentary The Way We Get By has its official Maine premiere in Orono this weekend with an unusual amount of fanfare.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 08, 2009

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Brain strain

Jonah Lehrer on neurological warfare and picking a cereal
Those of us aching for a 300-page treatise about the crippling implications of the "build your own scramble" at Local 188 won't, at first glance, find a great deal of solace in Jonah Lehrer's second book, How We Decide.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 08, 2009


Escaping the life

Counseling New York's exploited Very Young Girls
Like the drug dealers in The Wire or accounts of illegal trafficking of any form, the current and former teenage prostitutes in David Schisgall's documentary Very Young Girls don't often refer to their trade as a job.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 25, 2009

Music seen: Christopher Teret + Huak

Christopher Teret at SPACE Gallery and Huak at Empire Dine and Dance, March 20
Chris Teret's singing is just as unassuming as his songwriting.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 25, 2009


Love and consequences

Three restless souls try to settle down
Two of indie music's most popular and tortured songwriters, Will Oldham and Neko Case, try to reconcile encroaching middle age with a past of bad habits on their new albums.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 18, 2009


Everything is illuminated

Samantha Hunt weaves historical fiction from Nikola Tesla's biography
A solemn pigeon, a rolling thunderstorm, flecks of dust: nearly everything speaks in The Invention of Everything Else , Samantha Hunt's second novel.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 11, 2009

Truth, not falsity

Keep your eyes peeled for these docos
Here are some of the documentaries you can expect to see in Maine this year.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 12, 2009


Greater than fiction

Mainers find ideas and connections at a Missouri film festival
The True/False Film Festival, which just wrapped up its sixth year in Columbia, Missouri, presents an encouraging object lesson in how to establish a destination film festival in an unlikely location.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 04, 2009

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