Best of Maine: Culture
Listen to the perfect playlist. Tour Homer’s studio. Meet your L.L.Bean boyfriend.
Photo: David Griffin Photography
Advocate for Writers
Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance
Being a writer is a solitary pursuit. Yet as the only statewide organization devoted to supporting and promoting Maine writers, the MWPA does an outstanding job of forming a community around a group of artists notoriously difficult to corral. With writing retreats, workshops, literary awards, and fellowships, a membership to the MWPA is an invaluable network for an aspiring Maine writer to join. 207-228-8263. mainewriters.org
Music Radio Show
In Tune by Ten
In Tune by Ten on MPBN probably should have been rendered obsolete by Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes playlists. However, host Sara Willis outperforms any Pandora algorithm in the art of creating the perfect playlist. While online stations offer predictable suggestions, like R.E.M based on your interest in U2, Willis will teach you that, actually, Tom Jones and Vampire Weekend are a match made in heaven. Listen to MPBN at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday at 10 a.m. mpbn.net
Bangor’s Waterfront concerts
Hipsters, metalheads, teenage girls, hip hop fans, aging rockers, and country music fans will all find themselves at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion at some point this summer. It’s a true feat on the part of the concert organizers to have recruited such a varied and attention-grabbing lineup of acts that includes Kei$ha, Sting, Phish, Miranda Lambert, Lil Wayne, Rob Zombie, Guster, and more. One Railroad St., Bangor. 207-358-9327. waterfrontconcerts.com
Your L.L. Bean Boyfriend
A typical post on the Tumblr Your L.L.Bean Boyfriend shows a scruffy model in a beige cable zip cardigan with a focused and sexy stare. The caption reads, “Let’s go antiquing in Wiscasset this weekend,” James said. “There’s a great bed and breakfast I know we can stay in too.” That’s all it is — an image a day of a rugged and masculine L.L. Bean model and the suggestion of a Maine-specific romantic activity. And yet, through the juxtaposition of humor and beefcake Bean models, this Tumblr captures the romance of Maine as well as anything. yourllbeanboyfriend.com
Idea From 2012 That Should Happen Every Year
Concerts on the Eastern Promenade
When folk-rock band Mumford & Sons announced they would be playing in Portland, there was as much excitement over their music as their choice of venue. On August 4, 2012, the mega-popular English band, along with six other acts throughout the day, played to more than 15,000 fans on the Eastern Promenade for the best show of the summer. More important, however, the festival proved that this sloping park overlooking Casco Bay and less than a mile from the Old Port is among the most idyllic spots for a concert in the country.
Hidden Concert Venue
Stone Mountain Arts Center
Tucked away in the foothills of the White Mountains, the Stone Mountain Arts Center has become one of the state’s premier spots to experience live music. While owner and singer-songwriter Carol Noonan manages to consistently lure such big-name acts as Mavis Staples, Martin Sexton, and Béla Fleck, the venue’s charm lies in its architecture. A converted 200-year-old barn with a cathedral ceiling and exposed beams, Stone Mountain manages to be both grand and intimate. 695 Dugway Rd., Brownfield. 207-935-7292. stonemountainartscenter.com
Winslow Homer Studio
See where one of America’s greatest artists got his inspiration. For the first summer ever, Winslow Homer’s studio is open to the public. Stand where he painted many of his masterpieces, including Weatherbeaten and Cannon Rock, and admire the view that served as his muse. Tours are conducted by the Portland Museum of Art and are limited to four per week and only ten visitors at a time. You must reserve your spot in advance to see this historic landmark. $55 or $30 for PMA members. Vans depart from the Portland Museum of Art at 7 Congress Sq., Portland. 207-775-6148. portlandmuseumofart.org
Saturday Night Live’s Best/Worst Joke at Maine’s Expense
Following Maine’s vote to allow same-sex marriage, Saturday Night Live aired a skit featuring two gay lobstermen with accents so far off the mark that Mainers rightfully ridiculed it. A few weeks later SNL presented “Maine Justice,” a small-claims courtroom show set in Bangor where everyone talks like Cajuns. Huh? Was it making fun of Maine? Was it a response to our response to the lackluster accents? No one (not even the characters in the skit) knew what was happening. But as soon as Jason Sudeikis, playing a Colonel Sanders-esque judge, started sentencing defendants to “a lighthouse crawlin’ with gators” and referring to Maine as the home of “jazz, Mardi Gras, and Stephen King,” we stopped trying to make sense of it. It’s weird, confusing, maybe offensive, but funny. And that’s all that matters.
Grab a Book
New works by four Maine authors
Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles
by Ron Currie Jr.
The Waterville resident’s first full-length novel, Everything Matters!, earned him comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut from the New York Times. Currie’s latest novel, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, places him as the main character, blurring the line between fact and fiction.
The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone
by Michael J. Chase
Michael Chase digs deep in search of enlightenment with the help of his four-legged best friend Mollie. The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone explores how dogs can make us better people.
by Paul Doiron
Down East editor-in chief Paul Doiron protested when we said we had recommended the fourth book in his Mike Bowditch Mysteries series; we overruled him. Bowditch heads north to investigate the slaughter of ten moose — and uncovers something even more sinister.
Hoosh: Roast Penguin,
Scurvy Day, and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine
by Jason Anthony
Jason Anthony, a resident of Bristol and veteran of eight seasons in the U.S. Antarctic Program, shares personal and historical stories about Antarctic cuisine and how those living at the South Pole deal with a constant scarcity of food.