Free for (f)all

By NICHOLAS SCHROEDER  |  September 12, 2013

If you haven’t yet caught the MECA Alumni Biennial at the ICA, do. The six female grads at this juried exhibition bring out some incredible and adventurous works of visual art, bringing memorable examples of forms and formlessness. In other words, expect little in the way of representation. Witness the resplendent, post-Impressionistic paintings of Shirah Neumann, the relational, totemic abstractions of Hannah Barnes, and more through October 13 at the ICA at MECA, 522 Congress St.

Week of October 14
When former senator Olympia Snowe shocked the country by stepping down last year, the former governor Angus King, an Independent, was almost a shoo-in to replace her. Why? Because American politics is fucked, and while some of King’s policies are admittedly sound — supporting gay marriage, opposing the death penalty, reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act — the state seemed happy to rally behind a candidate who was apparently freed from the appurtenances of belonging to either party. King speaks as part of a semester-long series titled “Politics Then and Now,” which approaches politics as a “game” played by a constantly shifting set of rules. So expect a lot of insider rhetoric tossed around here. Regardless, it’s a topic he’s uniquely qualified to address thanks to his roles as a turn-of-the-century governor and present-day senator. 4 pm at the Abromson Center, 88 Bedford St. in Portland.

Nerds — and I say that lovingly — we got you. There’s no better forum to explore the issue of “Algebraic Topology and the Math of Holes” than the dizzying, weirdly romantic environs of the Southworth Planetarium, a staple of USM since forever ago. Sure, their standard fare is kidstuff — dinosaurs, Greek myth exploration, etc. — but every now and again they host a lecture or a music concert in this bulbous 3D theater, and I can’t help but imagine it rules. I mean, would you rather tackle this subject in a stuffy classroom with Rite-Aid lighting? Get real. October 17 at 7 pm, 70 Falmouth St.

Week of October 21
You might want to cough up a few bones for this one, but the strange garage-folk group the Fullertons might be worth it. They play music written, inspired by, and an inspiration to the late “Neon” Leon Fullerton, some sort of early 20th-century songwriting pioneer that you and I have never heard of. What makes this interesting is that these old Maine folkies have so immersed themselves in the musical ethos of this man — and as far as I know none of them is related — that their studied devotion alone could be more interesting than what most of today’s groups muster up. Even better? Fullerton is a quasi-mystical figure. He may have had a deep reverence for early blues, Americana, and R&B; or he may never have existed. 8 pm October 26; by donation at Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St. in Portland. 207.615.3609.

Dan Sonenberg may be the drummer for the artsy rock band Lovers of Fiction, but whoops!, he’s also a resident composer and associate professor of music at USM. This is a rarefied position to be sure, and you could do a lot worse than to trust his taste. Sonenberg leads a performance of the USM Composers’ Ensemble as they host a “Concert of Indian and World Music,” which brings the percussionist Srinivas Krishnan and the singer Arjun Chandy to Corthell Concert Hall at the Gorham campus. October 26, 8 pm; 207.780.5555.

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