Just because students leave for vacation doesn’t mean Maine’s colleges and universities shut down. All summer long, they still provide cool cultural programming for the rest of us. Here are four don’t-miss events happening this month. — Will Grunewald
Planet Earth Day!
No need to sign up for Netflix and plant yourself on the couch. If you have the itch to do some serious binge-watching, USM has arranged for an edifying one-day alternative, with 10 hours of fun, family-friendly, enlightening entertainment shown on its planetarium’s dome screen. You’ll travel from outer space to the ocean floor, from the dawn of time to the present day — all from the comfort of a reclining seat.
Sure, you know the story of Muhammad Ali. But have you ever seen it told through dance? As part of the Bates Dance Festival, the INSPIRIT performance troupe — led by Middlebury College dance professor Christal Brown — uses movement, narration (The Greatest provided plenty of quotable quotes), and period-specific projections to evoke issues of race, social activism, and freedom. And what better venue than Lewiston, site of the famous Ali–Liston phantom punch?
July 8. 7:30 p.m. $20. Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College St., Lewiston. 207-786-6381.
Tea with Harriet
The third Thursday of every month, Bowdoin’s Harriet Beecher Stowe House — where the famous writer penned Uncle Tom’s Cabin — hosts an afternoon tea and discussion about the so-called “little woman who made the great war.” This month’s topic: the history and local color that inspired The Pearl of Orr’s Island, Stowe’s novel set just down the way in Harpswell, written 10 years after she’d moved away.
July 20. 1 p.m. Free (reservations required). Harriet Beecher Stowe House, 63 Federal St., Brunswick. 207-725-3155.
I Wear What I Want
Summer is T-shirt season, and no one understands the subtleties of short-sleeved style better than New York photographer Susan Barnett, who traveled the country taking photographs of the shirts on strangers’ backs. Her aim is to investigate the zeitgeist through the silkscreened words and images — full of political, personal, religious, and cultural meaning — that we wear around every day.
Through September 2. Free. University of Maine Museum of Art, 40 Harlow St., Bangor. 207-581-3300. http://umma.maine.edu