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A good festival becomes a great one in the Midcoast this weekend

Reel talk
Last year, the big stories out of the Camden International Film Festival were its newfound industry cachet and a very noticeable uptick in Portlanders making the trip up to Midcoast Maine's annual documentary showcase.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 28, 2011


Four-hour showstoppers and Malcolm McDowell come to Waterville

Into the Woods
Boasting a high-profile selection of archival prints and to-be-buzzed-about small films, the 14th Maine International Film Festival begins on Friday and runs through July 24 at locations in Waterville, primarily HQ Railroad Square Cinema. Herein, a guide to the festivities.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 13, 2011

Mod Night at Empire Dine and Dance, June 3

Music seen
Speaking from experience collaborating with him on the decks, the litmus test that best gauges the success of any Ian Paige DJ night is how well Booker T and the MGs' "Green Onions" goes over.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 08, 2011


Review: My Heart Is An Idiot

Davy Rothbart's misadventures in David Meiklejohn's first feature film
Is My Heart is an Idiot an act of utter solipsism or utter self-effacement?
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 10, 2011

Atomik at Bayside Bowl, March 15

Music seen
Having a DJ (or, in this case, two) play your bowling night is a luxury, but damned if it doesn't seem like an obligatory one on occasion.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 23, 2011

Robyn at the State Theatre, January 29

Music seen
With each of her three 2010 Body Talk EPs armed with a single-of-the-year contender (in the just-slightly-ironic, pop-chart-averse blog-critic sense), it's been hard to ignore Swedish pop star Robyn's status as in indie icon these past 12 months.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  February 16, 2011


Review: And Everything Is Going Fine (2010)

Spalding Gray's story
"Maybe I should just tell you some of the facts as I remember them," the late, acclaimed monologist and actor Spalding Gray says early on in Steven Soderbergh's documentary collage, And Everything is Going Fine .
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  February 02, 2011

Blood Wedding on January 15, at SPACE Gallery

Music seen
Not a death-metal Billy Idol cover band but a lyrical tragedy written by Federico Garcia Lorca in 1932, last weekend's production of Blood Wedding at SPACE Gallery was at turns graceful and punishingly fraught.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  January 19, 2011


Josh Fox's refreshing, vital eco-doc Gasland

Water on fire
Recently shortlisted for next year's Best Documentary Feature Oscar, and screening at SPACE Gallery on December 16, Josh Fox's Gasland feels, in a way, like the first hipster environmental documentary.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  February 24, 2011


But is it a good movie?

Diving balls deep into The Cremaster Cycle
Now that we know something of the visions, allusions, and conceits behind Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle , it's important to acknowledge that you will, in all likelihood, scarcely be able to juggle all of its metaphors as the nearly seven-hour epic unfurls.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  November 11, 2010

Review: Halloween Party at SPACE Gallery, October 30

Music seen
It's humiliating to admit this, but if you were at SPACE last Saturday you probably agree: a fucking cover band just restored my faith in rock and roll.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  November 04, 2010


Review: Damnationland: The Way Life Should Bleed

Seven short and locally-grown horror films
I lost track of the body count of "Damnationland," a program of seven short and locally-grown horror films screening across the state from Thursday-Saturday, about halfway through its second installment.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  October 27, 2010


Further adventures in literary obsession and authenticity with Brock Clarke

Idolatry in Watertown
Reviewing Brock Clarke's last novel, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England (Algonquin), three years ago — before the author moved to Portland, started teaching at Bowdoin College, and released his new book, Exley , which he'll read at Longfellow Books next week — I admired its mischievous streak.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  October 12, 2010

Screaming Females at SPACE Gallery, September 27

Music seen
Screaming Females have played Portland regularly as their blog-fueled star has risen; the buzz behind them is of a time-honored punk tradition (their albums are fine, but they are essential live viewing), but their punk itself is not.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  October 07, 2010


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
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[ 10/03 ]   HONK! Festival  @ Seven Hills Park
[ 10/03 ]   The Horrors + The Stepkids  @ Brighton Music Hall
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