Arts news

Posted July 05, 2011, at 5:37 p.m.

Summer music series

BANGOR — Bangor Public Library’s Summer Music Series will feature free concerts at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in July and August for music lovers of all ages and tastes.

• July 13, Sam and Yuri, acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies. After entertaining crowds at Pickering Square’s Cool Sounds as well as at Hollywood Slots, Sam Chase and Yuri Trusty released their album “Drip and Bleed” and began to expand their live performance with their indie folk sound and skilled harmonies.

• July 20, Mainely Country Band, popular country songs. Jeff Simon, Lee Mallory, Sonny Bickford, and Patrick Cote make up the award-winning four-piece band. Specializing in country and country rock, the Mainely Country Band is based in Milford and has honed their skills entertaining Mainers for more than 30 years.

• July 27, Jose Ayerve, alternative music.  His one-man show has appeared across Maine. Ayerve has produced an album in Spanish, “Cinco Pesos,” and works with indie pop bands Spouse and Nuclear Waste Management Club. He co-wrote the single “Pega Luna Manny” about Boston Red Sox player Manny Ramirez, which was included in film credits for “Fever Pitch.”

The concert series is sponsored by Gross Minsky and Mogul Law Office. Concerts are held in Peirce Park next to the library, or inside the library in case of rain. For a complete list of concerts, call 947-8336 or visit http://www.bpl.lib.me.us.

Historic tours

BANGOR — The Bangor Museum and History Center is sponsoring historic tours this summer:

• Mount Hope Cemetery, 10 a.m. Saturday, July 16. Meet at the superintendent’s office off the entrance at 1048 State St. The cost is $7, free to members and children under 12.

• Ghost Lamp Tour, 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 19. Meet at waterfront parking lot near harbor master’s office. $7, free to members and children under 12.

• Thomas A. Hill House, historic house and Civil War museum, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, through Sept. 30, 159 Union St. $3, free to members and children under 12.

• Devil’s Half-Acre, for adult audiences, exploring “the wicked side of Bangor,” 7 p.m. Friday, July 29. Meet at waterfront parking lot near harbor master’s office. $7, free to members.

For more information, visit http://www.bangormuseum.org.

Improv comedy

ORONO — Improvisational comedy team The Focus Group will take its show on the road with their first Orono performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at Verve, 2 Mill St.

The troupe has been doing regular shows on its home stage at Next Generation Theatre in Brewer for more than two years and participated in last year’s West Market Festival and the New Year’s Eve celebration in Bangor.

The Focus Group does long-form, character-based improv, made popular first at Second City in Chicago and at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade. For this first Orono show, the group will present a comedy “steel cage match,” with two five-person teams competing and the audience awarding the night’s comedy championship belt.

Regular cast members are Allen Adams, Tim Bissell, Kae Cooney, Sam Kuykendall, Abby Kimball, Rich Kimball, Jason Preble and Anthony Severance. They will be joined at Verve by founding members Adam Kuykendall and Mike Abernethy.

Admission is $5; shows are for mature audiences. For information, contact Verve at 866-4004.

Young Stars of Maine

BANGOR — Pianist Jessica Chen of Bangor will participate in the 2011 Young Stars of Maine Prizewinners Concert at 7 p.m. Friday, July 8, at the Rockport Opera House. Chen was awarded the A.H. Chatfield Jr. Piano Prize of $1,000.

Works by Bach, Faure, Sibelius and more will be featured on the free program presented by Bay Chamber Concerts and Community Music School. A reception for the musicians will be held afterward.

Circus Band concert

BUCKSPORT — The free Down East Center Ring Circus Band concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 8, at Bucksport Performing Arts Center, Bucksport Middle School, Miles Lane.

The conductor will be Gene Nichols, associate professor of music at the University of Maine at Machias. Nichols performs regularly with the Arcady series and is a former director of music and band director for the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus and Wild West Show.

The evening also serves as a benefit concert to raise money for scholarships for music students in Hancock, Penobscot and Washington counties. While the concert is free, the hat is passed — no obligation — with proceeds going to the scholarship fund. Conceived and produced by retired educator-musician E. Donald Blodgett of Orland and Milwaukee, the program has awarded $21,500 in scholarships since the first concert 15 years ago.

Art at the library

BANGOR — David Rogers will display his art during July in the Stairwell Gallery at Bangor Public Library. This self-taught artist draws inspiration from science fiction television series, fantasy novels and his own experiences as a world traveler.

He has worked as a carpenter, electrician, jewelry repairer, member of the Youth Conservation Corps, camp counselor and soldier. During his 20 years in the U.S. Army, he traveled the world from the Parthenon to Victoria Falls.

The only degree he received for his art, he said, was the third degree his wife gave him to “sell something or find a regular job.”

Rogers showcases a variety of styles from realism to folk art. Charcoal sketches, pastels and oil paintings present striking images of the people and places in his life and imagination. Library hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays.

One-act plays on WERU

ORLAND — On Thursday, July 14, “Writers Forum,” hosted by Joan Clemons of Belfast, will  introduce a different program format. Rather than writer Gerald George reading his own work, actors will present a dramatic performance of two of George’s one-act plays. The program will air 10-11 a.m. on community radio station WERU and may be heard streaming live at http://weru.org.

Gerald “Jerry” George is the leader of the Downeast Salt Coast Sages poetry group. He has published four books, many articles and poems. He is on the editorial board of Off the Coast poetry magazine. In 2010, he was selected poet laureate of the Maine Senior College Network. George formally studied Japanese Noh theater, which inspired him to write plays combining elements of Noh with stories of Maine.

The first play, “Bailey’s Mistake,” was accepted by Acorn Productions of Portland in a competition for the 2008 Maine Short Play Festival and was given four performances there. The second play, “The White Heron,” borrows from two stories, “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett and  “Feather Mantle,” a 16th century Japanese Noh play of unknown authorship.

Michael R. Brown, who directed the plays for this broadcast, has published four books of poetry. He has been an editor, folk singer, actor, journalist, playwright, director and academic. Brown recently became affiliated with the Eastport Arts Center, Stage East and the St. Croix Theatre Company.

Other actors reading will be Valerie Lawson, poet and executive director of the Eastport Arts Center, who has performed poetry for many years and appeared in theatrical productions with Stage East Theater Company; actor Greg Williams; and artist Dan Butler, who has been active in Eastport’s community theater and is directing their production of “Butterflies Are Free,” which will open on July  29. Michael R. Brown also will read a part.

WERU program and operations manager Joel Mann provided technical engineering expertise for this performance of “Writers Forum.”

“Writers Forum,” focusing on writers who live in Maine or write about Maine, airs 10-11 a.m. the second Thursday of every month. Past programs are archived at http://weru.org. Writers who want to appear on future “Writers Forum” programs should contact the station at writersforum@weru.org.

Summer at Leonard’s Mills

BRADLEY — What could have been happening at a lumbering settlement in the Maine woods on a July weekend with friends and family visiting and still some work tasks to be done?

Re-enactors and other volunteers will share experiences of life in such a place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 9-10, at Leonard’s Mills in Bradley.

Re-enactors will “visit” for the weekend in the period tents and in the log cabin.

Blacksmiths will forge some necessary items in the smithy, while sawyers will saw a bit of lumber in the water-powered sawmill. A tanner will work on a bearskin.

On Saturday, the smokehouse will be fired up to smoke sausages. Many other demonstrators and re-enactors are preparing to share experiences.

Horse-drawn wagon rides will be available as will bateau rides. Oxen will twitch logs out of the woods to be delivered to the sawmill.

Visitors are invited to take a hike along the Nature Trail or check out the fishway. The newest milling area will be open, though maybe not operational, with a shingle mill and rotary sawmill.

At lunchtime, visitors, volunteers and re-enactors are invited to sample bean-hole beans and reflector oven biscuits.

Admission is $8, $4 age 12 and under. Members of Maine Forest and Logging Museum are admitted free. For more information call 974-6278 or e-mail info@leonardsmills.com.

More Cool Sounds

BANGOR — Cool Sounds will continue 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7, when the Downtown Bangor Partnership presents Evergreen, performing bluegrass, folk, blues, old-time, country and swing music.

The show will be held in conjunction with the Outdoor Market, 5-8 p.m., which features more than 40 vendors selling Maine-made fine arts, select crafts, specialty food items and produce in West Market Square and along Broad Street.

Other Cool Sounds concerts scheduled are:

• July 14, Kayla Wass Band, country.

• July 21, Teen Jam.

• July 28, RetroRockerz, good-time music of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

• Aug. 4, FLASH! In the Pans, steel drum, calypso, pop, swing, blues and classical.

• Aug. 11, The BArSTuARDS, rock-folk with Celtic influence.

Concerts will be held rain or shine. In case of rain, the concert moves under Pickering Square garage, and the market would be at the discretion of the vendors. For more information, visit http://www.downtownbangor.com.

Wabanaki art

SOUTH PORTLAND — For the first time, Wabanaki art will be on display at the Maine Mall in South Portland. The display marks collaboration between the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance and the Maine Crafts Association. The Wabanaki artwork includes intricately and elaborately woven baskets priced from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The baskets will not be on sale at the mall, but will be available for purchase at events throughout the year.

The exhibit is part of an initiative between the Four Directions Development Corp. and MIBA to centralize promotion of the Wabanaki brand to help build awareness and value for individual Wabanaki artists from the four Native American tribes in Maine — the Penobscot Indian Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Houlton Band of Maliseets and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs.

Most tribal members and territories are concentrated in Aroostook, Penobscot and Washington counties. The FDDC provides economic and community development services for the tribes while MIBA serves to preserve and extend the art of basket making within the Native American community in Maine.

The process of weaving these ornate baskets starts in the Maine woods with an ash tree. It is harvested selectively, then hand-stripped and pounded so that thin strips of ash can be extracted for weaving. The ash is often hand-dyed to add to the decorative properties of the baskets. The unique, multidimensional weaving patterns have been passed down from generation to generation for more than 1,000 years by the Wabanaki people, yet each artist offers a distinctive style.

The free display of art in the Maine Mall will be open to the public until Sept. 6. There, visitors can learn more about the Wabanaki, their art and the foundations supporting this initiative. The Wabanaki artwork also will be available for viewing and purchase at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor as well as at these events and locations:

• July 9, Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market, Bar Harbor.

• Aug. 27, Maine Native American Summer Market and Demonstration, New Gloucester.

• Sept. 23-25, Common Ground Country Fair, Unity.

• Dec. 10, Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale and Demonstration, Orono.

For more information, visit http://www.maineindianbaskets.org.

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