Best of Maine: Culture

Hip-Hop Ambassador

He’s awesome. The Wells-bred rapper, born Ryan Peters, said so himself in his 2010 hit, “I’m Awesome,” a tongue-in-cheek anthem in which he also declares himself “cornier than ethanol // cheesier than provolone.” But Spose is no novelty act. Sure, he’s got a song in which every word starts with “R,” and he’s surely the only rapper to name-check the Sea Dogs and Paul LePage. But smart wordplay and crowing about home turf are among hip-hop’s foundational traditions. In fact, Spose’s quick wit is as much a throwback to hip-hop’s Bronx-based infancy as his York County upbringing is to the genre’s expanding frontiers.

Viral Viewing
O’Chang Comics’ Temp Tales

They’re funny, way quotable, cutely drawn, and would probably be rated R. They’re the Temp Tales online video shorts, written and voiced by Andy O’Brien and animated by Hanji Chang, a husband-and-wife duo out of Rockland. O’Brien’s employment history includes both a stint as a state representative and outings with various temp agencies. Chang’s a recent Maine College of Art grad who illustrates oddball stories loosely based on Andy’s scruffy, heavily accented co-workers and their fondness for mud trucks, snowmobiles, and marijuana. Lately, the “O’Changs” are branching out — their PSA about green crab infestations is as clever and funny as Temp Tales (but rated G).

Contribution to Public Art
Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium

Visitors are invited to watch next month when seven jury-selected sculptors from around the world take chisels to huge granite blocks in an outdoor studio in Prospect Harbor. The ambitious, biennial Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium has already brought public art made from Maine-quarried granite to nearly 30 Down East towns. The artists (who hail this year from as far off as Bulgaria and South Korea) gift their sculpture to partner communities following six weeks of work, creating an impressive sculpture trail that stretches from Deer Isle to Lubec. Prospect Harbor. 207-263-6057.

Eclectic Festival

Is it a citywide art crawl? A film fest? A beer tasting? An outdoor concert with headliners like critically adored synth-rocker St. Vincent? KahBang is all these things and more, and the fest deserves accolades for sheer ambition, if not for the thousands of people it brings into downtown Bangor each August. Among this year’s more offbeat happenings are the silent disco — in which partygoers don headphones to hear a live DJ — and an audience-participation screening of the Maine-set camp comedy Wet Hot American Summer. August 7–10. Waterfront Park and venues around Bangor. 207-942-9207.

Survival Story
Saco Drive-In

The venue may feel like a throwback, but behind the scenes, it’s straight-up 21st century. This thanks to Honda’s Project Drive-In campaign, which last year gifted the nation’s second oldest drive-in a digital projector after thousands of fans voted in an online contest to help save it. Like many drive-ins, Saco’s couldn’t absorb the $100,000-plus cost of the mandatory switch to digital (the place still sells a large popcorn for $5). If you haven’t seen the viral video of stunned manager Ry Russell accepting the prize (at, you’re missing the feel-good hit of the year. 969 Portland Rd., Saco. 207-284-1016.