Free for (f)all

By NICHOLAS SCHROEDER  |  September 12, 2013

It’s National Banned Books Week — yeah, that’s a thing — and SPACE Gallery has teamed up with the venerable folks at the ACLU of Maine, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Portland Public Library to present “We Read Banned Books,” a defiant celebration of novels that have been suppressed by governments worldwide. The list includes obvious ones like The Satanic Verses, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and A Clockwork Orange, but also titles you might not have expect, like King Lear, James and the Giant Peach, and basically everything Judy Blume put to paper. Getting your book banned shouldn’t necessarily be mistaken as a stamp of quality, but the point remains: Stuff like this still matters. Observe it September 23 at 6 pm at 538 Congress St. 207.828.5600.

Taking the theme of verboten and running with it, SPACE again flips the bird to idea suppression with an appearance by culture jammer and media renegade Mark Hosler, who was a founding member of the groundbreaking “plunderphonic” noise band Negativland in the early ’80s. Negativland’s albums were some of the first to take an activist, anti-corporate stance through re-appropriated media — most notably with their assaults on Pepsi, U2, and schlock icon Casey Kasem in the ’80s and ’90s — and Hosler speaks about present-day activism and the evolution of piracy — a subjective term to be sure. “Adventures in Illegal Art” goes down September 26 at 7:30.

Week of September 30
You may credit him with filmmaker, author, and creator of Found Magazine, but Davy Rothbart’s primary epithet is likely to be simply: personality. His self-conscious, super-honest approach seems to hold a mirror to the particular anxieties of the present generation, while his willingness to tackle the demons of doubt is something of an inspiration. He reads from and discusses his book My Heart is an Idiot, a collection of musings and personal essays that NPR named one of the best books of 2012, September 30 at 7 pm at Longfellow Books.

So . . . Syria, huh? Yeah, you might want to think about that. Whether or not you agree with the reasoning that demands a US response, the use of force by the world’s still only eminent superpower is unquestionably a delicate prospect. At SPACE, the writer and Democracy Now correspondent Nermeen Shaikh discusses why an active faction of dissent is imperative for a nation facing such decisions, and that even with the purported aim of a just liberation, the impulse of a state to forcefully intervene is ipso facto suspect. Her talk, titled “Violence as Salvation: Questions in the Face of Benevolent Power,” is October 3 at 7 pm.

Week of October 7
Down in the Arm Factory complex in East Bayside, the hip hop and street art collective Evolve2Advance host their monthly “Roots and Culture Sessions,” a cobbling-together of graffiti culture, dance, music, and growers’ know-how. Totally free, these parties represent a true fringe in Portland culture. Bring an open mind, a strong backbone, and a few dance moves to 200 Anderson St., 6 pm on October 11.

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