Lifestyle – Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel Features news from the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine and Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine. Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:31:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Amy Poehler, ‘Parks and Rec’ team blast NRA on Twitter for using show to promote ‘pro-slaughter agenda’ Thu, 22 Feb 2018 23:09:46 +0000 The NRA tried to use Leslie Knope to promote its “pro-slaughter agenda” and the cast and showrunner of the hit NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation” were not having it.

Creator and writer Mike Schur immediately responded to the National Rifle Association’s use of a Knope GIF saying “Thank You,” which was directed to the organization’s spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, who fielded questions at the Florida town hall from the school shooting survivors, victim’s families and residents.

Schur, using his Twitter handle @KenTremendous, wrote, “Hi, please take this down. I would prefer you not use a GIF from a show I worked on to promote your pro-slaughter agenda.”

He also included that Poehler, who does not have her own account, texted him asking for him to respond.

“She texted me a message: ‘Can you tweet the NRA for me and tell them I said f — k off.’”

Actor Nick Offerman, who portrayed Ron Swanson on the series, also had some choice words for the NRA — again labeling them “pro-slaughter.”

“Our good-hearted show and especially our Leslie Knope represent the opposite of your pro-slaughter agenda — take it down and also please eat s — t,” followed by an American flag emoji.

The tweet was posted just before 11 p.m. on Wednesday and hadn’t been taken down by Thursday morning.

“Parks and Rec” aired for 7 seasons on NBC, from 2009-15. The cast, led by Poehler, included Offerman, Rashida Jones, Paul Schneider, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt.

Schur, creator of “The Good Place,” has been outspoken on his Twitter account advocating for stricter gun laws.

On Wednesday, he retweeted a message that was against the idea of arming teachers.

He also retweeted a post from Toronto Star Washington correspondent Daniel Dale that read: “News: Trump now appears to be endorsing the Fox News-promoted idea of sending veterans into schools with guns. He says ex-Marine, ex-Air Force people could ‘be spread evenly throughout the school,’ and that could ‘solve your problem.’”

Schur added his own message, writing, “This is maybe 1 percent less dumb than arming teachers, which still makes it the second dumbest f — king idea in the history of America.”

Nikolas Cruz, 19, shot and killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018.

On Wednesday night, survivors of the high school shooting and their parents grilled Sen. Marco Rubio for accepting money from the NRA and his stance on gun control.

One impassioned teen flat out asked Rubio to tell the crowd and viewers that he would no longer accept donations from the organization. He did not directly answer the question.

“The answer to the question is, people buy into my agenda, and I do support the Second Amendment,” he responded.

“And I also support the right of you and the right of everyone here to be able to go to school and be safe,” Rubio continued. “I do support any law that would keep guns out of the hands of a deranged killer.”

]]> 0, 22 Feb 2018 18:13:48 +0000
100-Mile Wilderness ski journal: Heading for home across the frozen expanse of Long Pond Thu, 22 Feb 2018 21:31:45 +0000 0, 22 Feb 2018 16:31:45 +0000 J.P. Devine Movie Review: ‘BPM (Beats Per Minute)’ Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:08:57 +0000 Paris in the ’90s. No Hemingway here, no champagne infused gaiety or Gigi dancing in the streets. Bono is not singing from the Eiffel Tower.

This is Paris smack in the middle of the 1990s, when AIDS had a vast human face and its tentacles raced through the bodies of gay men, young and old.

In “120 BPM (Beats Per Minute),” director Robin Campillo and screenwriter Philippe Mangeot bring to the screen what initially appears to be an angry documentary about the disease that was swirling around the world like a black typhoon.

But there is more here. This is about the resistance group, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) growing in America and blossoming in France and other parts of Europe.

Its goal was to force the cautious “Big Harm” to hasten the study and release of Protease inhibitors, a blend of retroviral drugs that today are widely used to treat HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.

Among the ailing in Europe, especially in France where government officials who had little sympathy for the problems of the gay community and seemed to be slumbering through history, a social and moral fever among the young began to rise.

This brought to life the frustrations and anger of the gay community, who were watching friends, lovers and even family members become dying zombies. We see them all here in gay cabarets, on buses, walking down streets, holding one another, men kissing men while other people look away.

Campillo and Mangeo start from frame one to give a human face to the epidemic, by introducing us to the young activists who begin to take their battle from the streets to the board rooms, laboratories and halls of the drug companies.

We meet their leaders, Thibault (Antoine Reinartz) and his team organizer Sophie (Adele Haenel) who coral the anger of their members and force them to focus their energies.

We meet them all in university lecture halls turned into organized “war rooms,” where “battle” plans are discussed, dismissed and rebuilt. It reminds us of the courageous French resistance to World War II German occupation, but with less hope.

To the dismay of the cooler heads in the group, the activists explode into a rogue army of commandos, who split up and illegally invade conferences and labs, offices of the executives, even the cafeterias — bombarding workers with exploding balloons of fake blood, spraying walls and elevators with paint.

They took to disrupting school classrooms, spraying lockers and distributing pornographic leaflets, which only further enraged powerful people in government. Still, given scant hope, the volunteers persisted.

There are at the heart of all of this, moments of tenderness among the dying and those who will soon join them. Campillo takes his camera into the gay dance halls full of the lost, who try to fill their free moments with wild dancing in colorfully lit cellar clubs, then take time to swallow a handful of colored pills.

Even in the very graphic sex scenes, one of the lovers pauses to swallow pills. Campillo is unsparingly clear that death is everywhere here, even in the laughter of lovers. Even in the wild music, death has vivid, discernible features.

There is Sean (a wiry, kinetic Nahuel Perez Biscayart) the youngest and most undisciplined, who leads the packs into battle. He is Puck with blood to throw.

There is Nathan (Arnaud Valois) who at first hangs back, but is drawn in by his romantic attraction to Sean, knowing how fragile they are, how short the passage of time. They seem to hold on to hope. The end is brutal and hard to watch.

All the actors are new to me, but all are professional, all vivid and heartbreakingly real.

No, there is no Hemingway here, no Gigi dancing in the streets. Campillo makes it clear: Death dances here.

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Lucky Clark on Music: The Portland Piano Trio Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:08:57 +0000 If classical music is your cup of tea, then you should head over to Jewett Auditorium for a performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 2. The Portland Piano Trio will be the featured performers and their program will consist of four pieces that span centuries of classical music with works by Beethoven, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Amy Beach and UMA’s own Richard Nelson.

In a recent telephone interview, the professor of music talked about the concert’s musical selections, the group performing them and the intent of the program titled “Classical Constellations.”

Q: How long have you been at the college?

Nelson: I have been teaching at UMA now for a little more than 20 years.

Q: What is your primary instrument?

Nelson: My primary instrument is guitar and I actually play primarily electric guitar in jazz situations, both contemporary and traditional jazz settings, but I did play classical guitar for quite a while, as well, before.

Q: I noticed that one of the pieces to be performed was one that you composed, “Ascent,” I believe. Could you talk a little about that please?

Nelson: I’m quite excited because this will be the premiere performance of the piece and I’m very happy to have this strong group of performers to bring it forward. It’s a piece that has been sort of percolating slowly over several years for me while I’ve been finishing other projects as well. I’ve just been sort of nurturing it along and finally brought it to full completion last year.

Q: Did you compose it for the trio or did you adapt it for that configuration of instruments?

Nelson: I originally thought of this piece as possibly including a French horn with violin and piano, but as I worked on it more I saw that really the music that was developing wasn’t suitable for French horn. It was too virtuosic, so I looked at it and decided that it would work better as a cello, violin and piano piece. That was very liberating because it took me away from the struggle of what I wanted to do with the music and what I knew was reasonable to pass along to players to do.

Q: Looking at the program for the performance and seeing Beethoven, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Amy Beach, and yourself represented by works composed from the early 1800s through to 2017, this concert certainly spans the centuries of this genre.

Nelson: Yeah, I think that one of the really distinctive things about this concert, particularly for the Augusta region, is that it is an opportunity, with this common element of the piano-trio format, to see the way classical music has manifested over time. From the solid work of Beethoven grounding things, Amy Beach is a terrific American composer who I don’t think we hear enough about. Her music sort of merges late romanticism and impressionism in a very beautiful way. Coleridge-Taylor’s work represents the late 19th-century/early 20th-century style and, in this case, manifesting his fascination engagement with the African-American spiritual tradition. And then my piece really landing us in the 21st century. As you said, quite a span with a fascinating chain of continuity to get us from Beethoven to the present. Each piece will engage the audience distinctly even as they combine to kind of create this sense of continuity over the centuries — a journey through a musical time and space.

Q: When one considers the program, the fact that it’ll be presented in the warm, acoustic splendor of Jewett Auditorium makes this concert a must-see for anyone who loves classical chamber music.

Nelson: Right, yeah.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to get across to the folks reading this article about “Classical Constellations”?

Nelson: I think that the range of work over time that is being played is what stands out the most to me about this concert. It’s a trek across time with these composers: we have a European master, a pioneering American woman, a black Englishman at a time when it was rare to have non-white composers prominent in the classical music world, and a living American composer who lives and teaches right among us. To absorb all that in the context of a highly acclaimed, really virtuosic and expressive performing group is a great opportunity. The Portland Piano Trio, the performers, are half of what we have going on here. We have people writing music and we have people playing it, and they have really become one of the stand-out chamber music ensembles in the state. I really appreciate their energy and their engagement with classical music at a high level. They have a strong interest in contemporary music, which I think is very valuable.

Q: I concur with that, too, because you can get so caught up in the past that you sometimes don’t get a chance to see where it’s going.

Nelson: Right, yeah. They are a great energetic, youthful group and they really bring that perspective to what they do.

Lucky Clark has spent 49 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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Wayne Hoffman to perform Feb. 23 in Unity Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:08:18 +0000 A live performance of mentalist Wayne Hoffman is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, at Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, 42 Depot St. in Unity.

The multi-award winning performer currently tours the world with his stage show “Mind Candy” and his motivational speech, “The Power and Potential of The Human Mind.” He also is the author of the best-selling book “Mind Candy.”

Hoffman’s passion for the mysterious was sparked at a young age and lead him to study the art of magic. Later, through extensive self studies in sociology, psychology and human behavior, he was able to develop the foundation of his skills today. He now travels the world performing and speaking for exclusive events, theaters, cruise ships, television, casinos, universities and top corporations.

The show is The audience experiences seemingly supernatural phenomena in a fun and upbeat way. Hoffman continues to be acknowledged as one of the top speakers in his field and wows audiences with his combination of magic and psychology.

Tickets cost $12.

For more information, call 509-7132 or visit

]]> 0 HoffmanThu, 22 Feb 2018 09:23:14 +0000
Bangor on Tap set for March 3 Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:07:59 +0000 The 4th annual Bangor on Tap is scheduled for 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at the Cross Insurance Center, at 515 Main St. in Bangor.

Music will be provided by the Mallett Brothers Band.

Featured breweries include: Fogtown Brewing Company, 2 Feet Brewing, Andrews Brewing Company, Angry Orchard Cider Company, Atlantic Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Baxter Brewing Co., Berkshire Brewing Company, Boothbay Craft Brewery, Boston Beer Company, Brewery Ommegang, Brooklyn Brewery, Cisco Brewers Inc., Clown Shoes, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Downeast Cider House, Flying Dog Brewery, Founders Brewing Co., Funky Bow Brewery & Beer Company, Geary’s Brewing Company, Gneiss Brewing Company, Gritty Mcduff’s Brewing Company, Guinness, Hard Seltzer Beverage Company (Truly Spiked & Sparkling), Harpoon Brewery, Heavy Seas Beer, Hidden Cove Brewing Company, Ithaca Beer Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Lone Pine Brewing Company, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Mainiac Hard Cider By Ricker Hill, Marsh Island Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Peak Organic Brewing Company, Radeberger Gruppe, Rock Harbor Pub & Brewery, Rogue Ales & Spirits, Sea Dog Brewing Company, Seattle Cider Company, Sebago Brewing Company, Shipyard Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Smuttynose Brewing Co., Southern Tier Brewing Company, Stone Brewing, Sunday River Brewing Company, Traveler Beer Co., Two Roads Brewing Company and Von Trapp Brewing.

Tickets cost $35-$55.

For more information, visit

]]> 0 Mallett BrothersThu, 22 Feb 2018 09:07:59 +0000
Capital City Impov to perform Feb. 24 Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:06:51 +0000 Capital City Improv will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center on Water Street in Gardiner. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

Using audience suggestions and interviews, the improv group will create unique, on-the-spot comedy shows.

Dennis Price, the founder of Capital City Improv, studied and performed improvisation in Chicago with The Second City and IO Theater (formerly Improv Olympic). While performing with IO house team Honeyslide, Price watched and worked with some of the best improvisers in Chicago.

Since coming to Maine in 1998, he has worked as an actor, performer, improviser, teacher and director. He worked with the Theater at Monmouth for 12 years, and he was also seen at the Penobscot Theater in Bangor and The Public Theater in Lewiston. During the summer, he performs with Improv Acadia in Bar Harbor.

Tickets cost $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $5 for youth. Tickets are available from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at Johnson Hall’s Box Office, or call 582-7144 or visit

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Tal National to perform March 3 Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:06:51 +0000 Tal National, a high energy rock ‘n roll band from West Africa, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Strand Theatre, 345 Main St. in Rockland.

The band is from Niamey, the capital city of Niger. Their music is hypnotic, a highly unique contribution to West African guitar music. With its lightening fast rhythms and rotating cast of vocalists can be heard the history of Niger as a cultural crossroads along ancient trade routes.

Collected within the former French colony can be found Songhai, Fulani, Hausa and Tuareg populations, all of whom are represented in Tal National’s members.

Tickets cost $15 in advance, or $18 at the door.

For tickets, call 594-0070 or stop by the box office between noon and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

]]> 0 NationalThu, 22 Feb 2018 11:44:10 +0000
Want to play like an Olympian? You can – kind of – right here in Maine Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:52:41 +0000 0, 22 Feb 2018 08:52:41 +0000 BUSHNELL ON BOOKS: ‘Maine in World War I’ and ‘Knife Creek’ Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 America’s participation in World War I ran from 1917 to 1918, and although “the war may have been ‘over there,’ its effects were found throughout the state of Maine.”

Since this is the 100th anniversary of the end of the war, “Maine In World War I” is a fitting tribute to the 35,000 Maine men and women who served during the Great War — at home, at sea and in Europe.

Jason Libby and Earle Shettleworth, Jr., are both eminent historians and members of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. They have produced an engaging photographic history of Maine’s contribution to the war, with 191 black and white photos and fascinating narrative.

They describe Maine’s patriotic fervor and civilian support, its war industries, coastal defenses (forts and artillery), ground and air combat in France, and biographical sketches of notable Maine men and women patriots.

Thousands of Maine men enlisted in the regular army, navy, and marines. Others joined the national guard, naval militia and even the Maine Home Guard. Many women joined the services as nurses, while others devoted their efforts to the Red Cross.

The authors point out how Mainers (including the Boy Scouts) raised several million dollars for government bonds and war savings stamps, as well as collections of material for the troops. Industrial output included shipbuilding of destroyers, patrol craft and submarines, along with munitions, blankets, boots, tents and marine engines. Maine agriculture produced meat, corn, wheat and potatoes. Photos and stories also tell of combat in France, and the heroism and sacrifice with hundreds of men killed, wounded, sick and injured. Patriot tales include Lieutenant Sumner Sewall, a Maine aviator and combat ace (and future governor), singer Rudy Vallee and Red Cross nurse Jane Jeffery, who earned the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism in France.

. . . . . . . .

Feral hogs are becoming a problem in Maine — destroying crops, damaging woodlands and wetlands, and carrying disease — which is why Maine game warden Mike Bowditch is hunting these invasive, destructive pests. And then Mike finds the dead body of a tiny newborn baby.

“Knife Creek” is multiple award-winning Maine mystery writer Paul Doiron’s eighth novel featuring Mike Bowditch, a veteran game warden with a well-deserved reputation for insubordination, back-talk, stubbornness and tenacity. And this series just gets better and better.

This is a dark, gloomy mystery with Mike facing extreme, graphic depravity and cold-blooded murder — crimes that upset even the most hardened law enforcement officers. Readers beware: Several vivid scenes are not for the squeamish, but are well-written and add grim reality to the story.

The baby’s body has been deliberately placed in the woods where the hogs would find it, but Mike shows up before the hogs completely ruin the crime scene. He is shaken by his discovery, but is more disturbed when DNA reveals the baby’s mother was declared dead four years earlier.

The state police and county sheriff tell Mike to stay out of their investigations, but he can’t help himself despite their warnings. He snoops on his own, unknowingly coming face to face with a killer, a person desperate to protect identity and brutal criminal activity.

When he uncovers other clues, nobody believes his theories, so he makes a rash decision that puts several lives in danger, including his own. Only three people have seen the killer and Mike is one of them. Add sleazy backwoods slumlords, a vulnerable shopkeeper, a shyster lawyer, a charming teenage meat butcher, a dangerous bully, an obsessed retired detective, a very careful predator and a sharp state trooper, and Mike has a mystery he may not live to solve.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

]]> 0, 22 Feb 2018 14:10:41 +0000
Don’t fight the flight at Two Gramps Brewing, Gardiner’s newest brewpub Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:11:15 +0000 0, 21 Feb 2018 09:54:36 +0000 Colby museum receives gift of German Expressionist art Tue, 20 Feb 2018 22:10:31 +0000 Although she is closely associated with one of the great modern artists in American and Maine art history, Norma Boom Marin has always collected art based on her own personal tastes and likes. Marin, the widow of John Marin Jr. and daughter-in-law of the painter John Marin, began collecting German Expressionist prints after her husband died in 1988. Now, she’s giving 28 of those prints to the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville.

“This gift is such an expression of her commitment not just to the Colby College Museum of Art, but her commitment to the landscape of art in Maine,” said Sharon Corwin, director of the museum, which planned to make an announcement about the gift Wednesday.

Many of the 28 prints are brilliant or rare impressions, Corwin said, and include works on paper from German artists of the early 20th century, including Otto Dix and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. There are five prints by Max Beckmann, a color lithograph by Emil Nolde and a drypoint print by Conrad Felixmüller. Colby will show the prints as its major summer show, beginning July 14.

Corwin declined to put a dollar value on the gift. Its greatest value to the museum, she said, is that “it expands in such important ways our commitment to modernism, and now offers us a global, transnational expression of that important moment in the early-20th century when artists were grappling with the war and other societal challenges and beginning to express their art in the new formal language of modernism.”

The collection enables the museum to present a fuller narrative of global modernism, expanding research opportunities across the curriculum, said Diana Tuite, curator of modern and contemporary art at Colby, who called the gift “serendipitous and sudden.” Last fall, Tuite borrowed prints from Marin by Beckmann and Dix to complement another exhibition. That led to conversations that resulted in the gift.

In a phone interview from her home on Cape Split in South Addison, Marin said she assembled the collection over time, making decisions about what to buy based on how the art made her feel. An early purchase was a print by Lyonel Feininger, which caught her eye at a large print fair in New York.

“It was quite abstract, and it was quite different, on yellowish kind of paper. It was a strong print, so I thought, ‘Gee, this is really good. I like it.’ And I just kept buying these prints, because I liked them very much. If I loved it, I bought it,” she said.

Norma Marin has been a benefactor of the museum for many years and serves as a life member of its Board of Governors. She and her late husband gave the museum many works by John Marin, and she has supplemented those early gifts with gifts of her own, including more than 150 photographs. The gift of German prints is the latest example of her unique tastes, Corwin said. “The thing about Norma, she has one of the most refined eyes out there. She sees art in such a unique way and has such visual acuity, she can put collections together that are rare in their uniqueness.”

The Marin family has deep Maine roots. John Marin first visited Maine in 1914, spending the late summer and early fall on a small island off Phippsburg in Casco Bay. He made near-annual trips to the midcoast and Down East until his death in 1953.

Selections from the museum’s Marin collection will be on view this summer as part of “Modern Wonder: The John Marin Collection,” an exhibition devoted to Marin’s career and the history of the Marin collection at Colby.

“Self and Society: The Norma Boom Marin Collection of German Expressionist Prints” will open July 14.


]]> 0"Tingel-Tangel III," Emil Nolde, 1907-1915. Color lithograph over transfer lithograph on wove paper, 16 ⅞ x 24 in. (42.9 x 61 cm). Colby College Museum of Art. The Norma Boom Marin Collection of German Expressionist Prints, 2017.461.Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:04:42 +0000
David Rockefeller’s amazing art collection is going up for auction. Here’s a peek Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:14:26 +0000 LONDON — An art collection amassed by billionaire David Rockefeller could raise more than $500 million for charity when it is auctioned this spring.

Auctioneer Christie’s is selling hundreds of artworks including major paintings by Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, from the collection of the oil-family scion and his wife Peggy .

Rockefeller, grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, died in March at the age of 101. His family is selling the art collection to benefit cultural, educational, medical and environmental charities.

It includes Monet’s water-lily painting “Nympheas en fleur,” estimated to sell for $50 million to $70 million, and Picasso’s “Fillette a la corbeille fleurie (Young Girl with a Flower Basket),” which has an estimate of $90 million to $120 million.

“You end up running out of superlatives,” Jonathan Rendell, deputy chairman of Christie’s Americas, said at a preview Tuesday. “Some of the things are jaw-dropping.”

Rendell cites Picasso’s “extraordinary” portrait of a young girl, which was painted in 1905 when the artist was in his early 20s, and first bought by writer Gertrude Stein.

Also up for sale is a small painting of an apple, given by Picasso as a gift to Stein, a friend and patron.

“That little apple is a lovely object because it takes you right into the history of art,” Rendell said. “Picasso’s gift to Gertrude Stein, who made his career – it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Matisse’s reclining nude, “Odalisque couchee aux magnolias” is expected to sell for $50 million, breaking the sale record for the artist.

Billionaire philanthropist David Rockefeller was the grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller. 1981 photo via AP

“I expect to see quite a lot of records broken,” Rendell said. He added: “That was my most English understatement.”

Rockefeller’s estate is selling more than 2,000 objects, including modern art masterpieces, Chinese export porcelain, American paintings and European furniture, according to Christie’s. The results could be the largest tally in auction history, according to current and former auction specialists.

Along with major European Impressionist and modern paintings and works by American artists such as Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe, the auction will feature a selection of furniture, jewelry, Chinese bronzes and porcelain – including a dessert service that accompanied Napoleon into exile on the island of Elba.

Highlights of the collection are on display in London from Wednesday to March 8. There will also be previews in Paris, Beijing, Los Angeles and Shanghai before a series of sales in New York from May 7 to 11.

An avid collector, Rockefeller promised about 30 significant artworks to MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, said Fraser Seitel, a spokesman for the estate. Those works will be excluded from the Christie’s auctions.

Rockefeller’s will specified that an Andrew Wyeth painting, “River Cove,” be given to the Portland Museum of Art, Forbes reported at the time of his death.

Christie’s competed for the collection with rival Sotheby’s, which offered the Rockefellers a guarantee of more than $650 million in 2013, according to a person familiar with the matter. A Sotheby’s spokesperson declined to comment.

Christie’s top sale for an estate collection was that of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge, which tallied $484 million in February 2009, according to the firm. Competitor Sotheby’s top estate sale was the collection of its former chairman A. Alfred Taubman that tallied $469 million in 2015 and 2016, according to the company.

]]> 0, 21 Feb 2018 18:05:18 +0000
Max Desfor, overseas news photographer who won Pulitzer Prize, dies at 104 Mon, 19 Feb 2018 22:45:51 +0000 WASHINGTON — Former Associated Press photographer Max Desfor, whose photo of hundreds of Korean War refugees crawling across a damaged bridge in 1950 helped win him a Pulitzer Prize, died Monday. He was 104.

Desfor died at his apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he’d been living in his retirement, said his son, Barry.

Desfor volunteered to cover the Korean War for the news service when the North invaded the South in June 1950. He parachuted into North Korea with U.S troops and retreated with them after forces from the North, joined by the Chinese, pushed south.

He was in a Jeep near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang when he spotted a bridge that had been hit by bombing along the Taedong River. Thousands of refugees were lined up on the north bank waiting their turn to cross the river.

“We came across this incredible sight,” he recalled in 1997 for an AP oral history. “All of these people who are literally crawling through these broken-down girders of the bridge. They were in and out of it, on top, underneath, and just barely escaping the freezing water.”

Desfor climbed a 50-foot-high section of the bridge to photograph the refugees as they fled for their lives.

“My hands got so cold I could barely trip the shutter on my camera,” he remembered. “I couldn’t even finish a full pack of film. It was just that cold.”

The Pulitzer jury in 1951 determined that Desfor’s photos from Korea the previous year had “all the qualities which make for distinguished news photography – imagination, disregard for personal safety, perception of human interest and the ability to make the camera tell the whole story.” The Pulitzer board honored his overall coverage of the war, based on a portfolio of more than 50 photos, and cited the Taedong River bridge shot in particular.

A native of New York, Desfor was born in the Bronx on Nov. 8, 1913, and attended Brooklyn College. He joined the AP in 1933 as a messenger. After teaching himself the basics of photography and moonlighting as a baby photographer, he began shooting occasional assignments for the AP. He became a staff photographer in the Baltimore bureau in 1938 and moved to the Washington bureau a year later.

During World War II, Desfor photographed the crew of the Enola Gay after the B-29 landed in Saipan from its mission to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August 1945. He was with the first wave of Marines at Tokyo Bay shortly after Japan’s surrender that month and photographed the official surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945.

Desfor worked for the AP in the Philippines and in India, where he photographed Mahatma Gandhi and later covered the assassinated leader’s funeral in 1948. He also worked in the AP’s Rome bureau and was set to return to the U.S. when war broke out in Korea.

After the war Desfor served as supervising editor of Wide World Photos, the AP’s photo service, and returned to Asia in 1968 as photo chief for the region. He retired from the AP in 1978, then joined U.S. News & World Report as photo director.

Desfor and his wife, Clara, raised a son, Barry, of Wauconda, Illinois. She died in 2004.

In January 2012, when he was 98, Desfor and his longtime companion, Shirley Belasco, surprised guests at a party celebrating her 90th birthday by marrying in front of their guests. They had been friends since the 1980s when the Desfors and Ms. Belasco lived in the same Silver Springs apartment building and became a couple a few years after his wife’s death.

A photo Desfor took during his long career that had particular meaning to him also came from the Korean War. Walking near a field he spotted two hands, blue from cold, sticking up in the snow and photographed them. The hands, which had been bound, belonged to one of several civilians taken prisoner and executed, their bodies left to be covered by snowfall.

“I labeled that picture, later on, ‘Futility,’ because it’s always been – I’ve always felt that it’s the civilians caught in the crossfire, the civilians, the innocent civilians, how futile it is for war,” he said for the oral history. “That epitomized it to me.”

]]> 0 refugees crawl perilously over the shattered girders of a bombed bridge in Pyongyang, North Korea, in a photo taken by Max Desfor.Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:30:48 +0000
Experimental French jazz violinist Didier Lockwood dies at 62 Mon, 19 Feb 2018 22:31:45 +0000 PARIS — French jazz violinist Didier Lockwood, whose eclectic career spanned more than four decades and the world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls, has died. He was 62.

Lockwood’s agent, Christophe Deghelt, said in a statement on Twitter that Lockwood died suddenly Sunday, a day after he performed in Paris.

President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute Monday to the musician he called a “friend and partner of the greatest” and said possessed “influence, open-mindedness and immense musical talent” that will be missed.

As a composer and an improviser while performing, Lockwood enjoyed crossing musical genres, from jazz-rock to classical. He was known for experimenting with different sounds on the electric violin.

He’s survived by his wife, French soprano Patricia Petibon, and three daughters.

]]> 0, 19 Feb 2018 17:55:01 +0000
Forestry Yearly Reports reveal deep roots Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:55 +0000 While I was researching my red maple tree, Portland City Arborist Jeff Tarling sent me a series of Forestry Yearly Reports from 1900 to 1934. They make for surprisingly fascinating and entertaining reading. Enjoy these excerpts.



We also remove many limbs which interfere with the draft of chimneys. Some of these complaints are real and some are fancied, but we try to please all. The labor, expense and maintenance of the trees of Portland has been enhanced by the annexation of the City of Deering to Portland. When they came under our control they were found in bad shape, owing to the indiscriminate way they had been trimmed by a certain electric light company, who showed no regard for the beauty of the tree, instead only thought being to get the wires through…


The guarding of the trees is an item of large expense, and no little annoyance on account of the heedlessness of the drivers of horses. This is not confined to the boys who take orders for stores and markets, but many professional and business men persist in driving past a hitching-post to hitch to a tree a few feet away, and the guards and trees are mutilated and often destroyed by the gnawing of the horses. That the attractiveness and comfort of the City streets are largely enhanced by the shade trees, no one will deny, and it would seem that the public, generally, should take pride enough in them to see that they were not injured through their carelessness. There is ample law for the protection of the trees, and a vigorous application of it in a few cases, would doubtless have a most salutary effect, and prevent this needless injury and consequent expense.


Brown Tail Moth: A vigorous effort was made in the early spring to stay the devastating work of this insect pest. A systematic examination was made of the city, taking sections, street by street, and examining the back yards of the abutters. Many trees were found to be infested and the abutters notified and urged to have the nests destroyed. In most cases a hasty cooperation was met with and efforts made to destroy the nests: in other cases, a feeling of indifference was shown and rather than allow the moths to hatch and destroy the trees that were not taken care of by their owners, the Commissioners had the nests removed by their own men…


Portland has been justly called the Forest City, but when you hear this report you will wonder how many years longer it can pose as the Forest City, for unless something is done to replace the old trees that have to be removed each year, some of our streets, especially in the western part of our city, will be about treeless, and I think the child born 50 years hence will wonder why Portland was ever called the Forest City.

]]> 0, ME - OCTOBER 19: City arborist Jeff Tarling talks to the author about the health of a century-old red maple tree on her property. (Staff photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:48:40 +0000
Recipe: Cheesy potato casserole Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:28 +0000 I recently attended a funeral in upstate New York. One of the comfort foods served after the service was a cheesy potato casserole, aka funeral potatoes. I’ve adapted it here with Maine potatoes and smoked cheese. The cornflake topping is traditional.

Serves 6

5 tablespoons butter

3 cups cornflakes, lightly crushed

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

11/2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

11/4 cups shredded smoked cheddar or gouda cheese (about 5 ounces)

2 pounds Maine potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch cubes

1/2 cup sour cream, crème fraîche, or mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9X13-inch baking dish.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Mix 2 tablespoons of the melted butter with the corn flakes in a bowl and set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute to make a roux. Combine the vegetable broth and milk in a measuring cup and slowly whisk the mixture into the roux. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat and stir in the smoked cheese until smooth. Fold in the potatoes. Stir in the sour cream (crème fraîche or mascarpone) and chives.

Transfer the saucy potatoes to the prepared baking dish and top with the reserved buttered cornflakes. Place the baking dish on top of a baking sheet to catch any sauce that may bubble over. Bake for 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly around the edges. Let the potatoes rest for 10 minutes before serving.

]]> 0, 15 Feb 2018 19:55:19 +0000
Give peace lilies a chance Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 The peace lily is not a lily, and it is not going to produce world peace – so I don’t know where it got its name. The ease with which it grows and brightens a room might bring a peaceful feeling to the people who grow them.

The peace lily is a tropical plant with the botanical name Spathiphyllum, and is related to philodendron and dieffenbachia. Because it is from the jungle, it thrives in low light and it will suffer if the temperature dips below 55 degrees. A few feet back from an eastern-facing or western-facing window works best.

The flowers of the peace lily are tiny and insignificant, but they come in a striking package – starting with glossy, spade-shaped leaves.

Many people think the large, white leaflike part of the plant is the flower, but it is the spathe, which is a bract. In the middle of the spathe is an upright cylinder, which is also not the flower but the spadix, or spike. The spadix is covered by tiny flowers (finally! the flowers!), which produce pollen that drops on the leaves.

Fussy growers cut off the spadix and enjoy the plant with just the spathe. Grower’s choice.

There are many cultivars, which range from 1 to 4 feet tall.

Peace lilies like a lightweight planting medium that is rich in organic matter. They like moist soil and humidity, too, so misting helps. If they get too dry they will wilt, but watering brings them back.

]]> 0, 15 Feb 2018 20:36:21 +0000
This Portland homeowner wrestled with whether to remove a beloved old tree Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Once there was a tree …

A red maple tree. It was a sizable tree, though not immense. It stood next to a small, shingled brown bungalow on a one-block, dead-end street in Portland, Maine. The tree sheltered the little house, and the woman who lived there, too. In spring, she remarked on its beautiful crimson buds. In summer, she enjoyed its leafy green shade, which kept her house cool and comfortable. Every fall, the woman spent many hours raking, but she never minded, even when she got blisters on her fingers, because the red maple had the most beautiful red leaves imaginable. In winter, its handsome, battered trunk – bark peeling and specked in lichen – greeted her like an old friend as she stepped off the front porch each morning to go to work. “Good morning,” she’d nod at the tree, and it seemed to her the wise old tree wished her good morning, too.

That woman is me. And this fall, I faced a decision that tore me apart. Did the red maple tree need to come down?


My house was built in 1915. A tax photograph taken of the house and yard just nine years later shows the red maple, a spindly thing. Portland city arborist Jeff Tarling’s best guess is that the family who lived here then – possibly Frank H. Sawyer, clerk at a grain company, according the 1916 City Directory, or perhaps Jens Christian Bruns and his wife Alberta, who owned the place by 1924 – yearned for some pleasant shade in what was then a new development of modest matching bungalows. ” ‘I’m sitting on the porch in bright sun,’ ” he pictured them thinking. ” ‘I’m going to get a tree here.’ ” Tarling turned to me, smiling. “They thought of you when they put this tree in.”

It was a “little teeny tree,” he said.

But it must have liked its new home, because over the years it grew big and strong. By the time the red maple and I got acquainted just a few years ago, its trunk was the girth of an imposing column, and the tree itself towered over me and the single-story house it was planted to shade. A sizable branch bent toward the house, seeming to snuggle. (That’s not how the house inspector saw it. He warned me about a squirrel highway.) Several more fair-sized branches reached up to make a three-dimensional V shape of sorts that supported the crown. The maple’s position near the house – too near, Tarling said – made it feel private and secure.

Squirrels chased and chattered up the tree and back down again. Birds perched on its accommodating branches. The cat in residence, Trixie by name, made occasional and frenetic runs up the trunk, while the neighbor’s little boy was partial to the peeling bark. Though the roots defied me at every turn when I tried to carve out garden beds, it felt like a friendly game we played.

The red maple contained its own world, too. “There’s a microscopic ecosystem within a blade of grass,” Jan Santerre, project canopy director for the state’s Urban Forestry Program, said when I asked her how the tree shaped my backyard environment. “Certainly there is an ecosystem within a tree and all the fungi and the bugs and the animals that depend on it.”

The center of the tree, it’s true, had a gap, a gash really, where it looked as though a scaffold branch should be – had been. And the maple dropped small – and sometimes not-quite-so-small – branches on the lawn more often than perhaps was strictly usual. But it leafed out beautifully each spring, and I doubt I’d have given its health a second thought until I heard different from a parade of experts.

First came Press Herald Maine Gardener columnist Tom Atwell, who strolled around the yard a few years ago to help me envision a garden. He took one hard, practiced look at the red maple, described it as dying, and told me I’d need to take it down.

I did not.

Some months went by. Lisa Fernandes of Portland’s Resilience Hub, came over for a permaculture consult. She circled the maple, appraising it with a critical eye and told me to remove it. I must have looked stricken because she added gently, “It can be heartbreaking to take a tree down.”

I waited.

Sixteen months passed.

Winter approached. My third winter in my home. During wind and ice storms I found myself avoiding the corner of the house where I feared the tree could hit if it fell.

Reluctantly, I asked around for the names of arborists, preferably one who will err on the side of inaction, I specified. Arborists, I was learning, run the gamut. “It’s like going to a doctor,” Tarling told me. “Some think you’re fine. Others think you need your knee replaced.”

One early fall day I made an appointment, and a week or so later, Kevin Bachelor of For-Tay Landscaping in South Portland came round to take the tree’s measure. He, too, thought its days were numbered.

How long do I have? I asked.

“Three storms. Maybe two,” Bachelor said.


Tarling didn’t make the decision any easier when he stopped by in October and told me the tree had good “root flair,” that it had survived the summer’s drought surprisingly well and that its condition wasn’t “catastrophic.” But he wasn’t exactly sanguine, either, guessing my red maple had been damaged in a storm – he ticked off the ice storm of 1997, the Patriot’s Day storm, and hurricanes Bob and Gloria as possibilities.

Press Herald Source editor Peggy Grodinsky puts a hand on a red maple tree in her yard before it was cut down on Jan. 12. Staff photo by Derek Davis

The top blew out, Tarling said, and decay gradually set in. My nearest neighbors, longtime residents, didn’t remember the event. Tarling, who has been city arborist for going on 28 years and knows Portland’s trees with the intimacy of an old friend, thought he did.

The red maple could last a few more years, he said. Trees often surprise him. On the other hand, “I wouldn’t go out in a thunderstorm and stand under the tree, or in a big, heavy snow.” When you’re deciding the fate of a tree, there are two factors to consider, he advised: first, its health, and second, what he called “the target.” As he put it, “If the tree fails, what’s underneath the tree?”

In the case of my red maple, the answer was, in part, the power lines.

“My thought is that” – Tarling pointed at a high branch – “could fail, and it’s going to take out this primary wire, and knock out the neighbor’s power line. And it’s going to be that coooold day in February.” He stretched out the word and laughed. “And because you’re on a dead-end street, you’re not going to be a high priority for repair. It probably won’t knock your power out, but it could take out the rest of the street and then they’d say, ‘Our power was great until Peggy’s tree damaged it.’”

I’m a newcomer to the neighborhood. I have lived in my house not yet three years, while the red maple has called the place home for a century. Neighbors aside, what gave me the right to kill it? When my sisters and I were small, we gave my mother, an accomplished gardener, an apple tree one Mother’s Day. It thrived for some five years until one day she decided it didn’t suit the lines of her garden. And just like that it was gone.

Like my mother, Press Herald garden columnist Atwell had no romantic notions about my tree. “The tree is a living thing, but there is no problem with taking it down,” he said when I called him, indecisive and distressed. Just plant another maple in its place, he suggested.

“I love this tree. How can I take it down?” I pressed. “I don’t even feel comfortable weeding.”

An incredulous silence blared from the other end of the phone.

“You got to pull the weeds!” Atwell finally said. “Plants have a lifespan. Sometimes it’s over.”


I live in the Forest City and in the Pine Tree State. I live a mere 20-minute drive from the late Herbie, a massive 217-year-old American Elm that stood in Yarmouth, so beloved it got its own name, its own caretaker (town tree warden Frank Knight) and its own Wikipedia entry. Tarling told me that in 1854, Captain George H. Preble counted every tree in Portland. ” … no person builds a house on a respectable street but his first object is to plant trees about it,” Preble wrote at the time. Tarling added that when the city was given Deering Oaks Park in 1879, the Deering family put a condition on the gift: “Spare the woodsman’s axe.”

A number of maples grow on my own street, all roughly the size of my red maple. Maybe each of the families that lived in each of the then-new bungalows a century ago also longed for shade. The trees grew up together, not unlike the children on the block who grew up together over the years. Were they fretting about their ailing old friend? Would they mourn its demise?

Don’t ask me why at this juncture I thought it was a good idea to read German forester Peter Wohlleben’s fascinating “The Hidden Life of Trees.” “When you know that trees experience pain and have memories,” he wrote in the introduction, “and that tree parents live together with their children, then you can no longer just chop them down and disrupt their lives with large machines.”

It confirmed my worst fears. Can trees feel? I anxiously asked Santerre, of Maine’s Urban Forestry Program, after reading that. “My biology background and my scientific background would say no,” she answered, then paused. “But I’m also not a tree.”

On Oct. 29, a wind and rain storm ripped through Maine, toppling hundreds of trees. Among them was a tall, thin, erect white pine that stood directly across the street, a favorite hangout for passing crows and hawks. It took its last breath – yes, trees breathe – early in the morning. By the time I woke up, it lay on the ground, its crown stretching toward the street, its trunk precisely aligned alongside the length of my neighbor’s house, missing it – missing her – by a barely a foot.

I had prayed the red maple would fall, on its own terms, in its own time – missing the house, the street and the power lines.

In fact, my red maple survived without so much as a scratch – making it even more wildly unfair that that storm and the damage it wrought sealed its death warrant.

City arborist Jeff Tarling talks to Grodinsky about the health of a century-old red maple tree on her property. Staff photo by Ben McCanna


For weeks, the song that Lancelot sings to Guinevere in the musical “Camelot” ran on a loop inside my head, “If ever I would leave you, it wouldn’t be in summer. Seeing you in summer, I never would go.” The ardent knight sings his way through the rest of the seasons, and likes those options no better. “Oh, no! Not in springtime! Summer, winter or fall! Never could I leave you at all.”

If you ask me, there is no good time to cut down a tree. Certainly not one that looks, at least to the inexpert eye, like it has years of life left. But if you ask the experts, late fall or winter is the right time. The birds have flown, so you won’t be an avian homewrecker. Unless you’re sheltering a hibernating bear – the red maple wasn’t – you are probably OK on that count, too. You’ve had one last season to delight in the tree’s flaming red leaves, and once they fall, their lack makes the arborist’s job easier, while the hard, frozen ground protects the yard from any heavy machinery that’s required to do the job.

“I’m not sure there is ever an easy time to let things go,” a sympathetic Tarling said.

With a heavy heart, I scheduled the day of execution.

On Jan. 11, a cold, beautiful, star-lit evening, I came home from work, stepped into snow up to my knees, wrapped my arms around the tree’s trunk – they didn’t meet, or come close to meeting – and sobbed.

Jan. 12 dawned gray and gloomy, “a good day for grief,” my friend Charmaine Daniels said.

At 8:10 a.m., my smartphone pinged me with my day’s schedule: Tree comes down ????

By 9 a.m., Bachelor was setting up, and Richmond woodworker Jeff Raymond, who hoped to turn the wood into a few of his beautiful, handcrafted bowls, had arrived.

“If you have the opportunity to get any of the wood, do something with it,” Santerre, who owns a necklace and artwork made from Herbie, had suggested. “It sort of memorializes it and eases the sting.”

By 10:19 a.m., Bachelor had put his equipment in place, and he clambered up the tree in spiked boots. I retreated to the back of my house, unable to watch. The sounds of the chainsaw followed me like a scream.

By 2:11 p.m., there was no red maple. It took 100 years to grow and four hours to demolish.


A week earlier, I’d spoken with Tim Vail, an Orrs Island arborist with a reputation for saving trees. “It’s never easy,” he said. “And it’s not going to get much easier when it’s gone. You’re going to have a stump there until you plant a tree.”

He was right. I still feel a little stab of shock every time I come home. My bungalow looks forlorn, and Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” rattles around in my head: “I wish that I could give you something … but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump.”

On the Seven Stages of Grief scale, I remain somewhere between 2 (pain and guilt) and 4 (depression, reflection, loneliness). Possibly the worst moment of the day my red maple came down was when Bachelor told me he was surprised to find that no bugs had infested it. Had I made a mistake? – a question I asked him at least seven times the morning he was setting up. If he was exasperated, he kept it to himself. And if I made a mistake, it was irrevocable.

Stage 7 (acceptance and hope) still eludes me. “One thing that will give you some hope is that you can plant another tree,” Vail suggested. “If you plant another tree, you will know you have done something to compensate for the urbanization of the planet. You are going to plant another tree for someone who will be there in 100 years.”

It may be a quince tree, to shower the yard every spring with beautiful pink blossoms and my kitchen every fall with tempting quince tarts. Or, like the dog owner who buys the same breed time and again when his pet dies, it may be a red maple.


]]> 0, ME - JANUARY 12: Press Herald food editor Peggy Grodinksy puts a hand on a red maple tree in her yard before it was cut down on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (Photo by Derek Davis/Staff photographer)Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:56:07 +0000
Homegrown: Shuck oysters sustainably with edgy knives Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Using the right tool for the job is always good advice. Recently, when I took an oyster-shucking class in Portland, Chris Sherman, president of Island Creek Oysters, made just that point about shucking knives. His favorite is one he designed himself.

The blade is milled by a 150-year-old knife manufacturer in Athol, Massachusetts, and its bright orange handle is composite plastic made from recycled ocean plastic.

“We teamed up with folks that collect derelict fishing nets from around the ocean, and then grind them up and put them into plastic,” Sherman said.

The knife is based on a French knife, Sherman said, “beefed…up a little bit” to be able to handle strong-shelled East Coast oysters. “You need to tailor your knife to you, and you need to tailor your knife to the oyster that you’re shucking.”

Eastern oysters are much smaller than Louisiana ones, for instance, but attach strongly to their shells, so it takes a sharper knife to pry them open. The knife shouldn’t be too sharp, lest the shucker wound herself, Sherman said, “but you want something that will get into the oyster and do the job of cutting that adductor muscle away.”

The adductor muscle is the muscle that attaches the oyster to the shell. Cutting it can be tricky, and if it’s not done just right the knife can mutilate the oyster meat. It will taste fine, but won’t look very pretty.

The other thing Sherman looks for in an oyster knife is a durable handle. Wood is durable and looks fancier than orange plastic, but if sustainability is important to you, go with the orange and feel good about the fact that you are removing plastic trash from the ocean that can kill marine life.

The orange shucking knives are sold for $20 at The Shop, Island Creek’s oyster bar at 123 Washington Ave. in Portland.


]]> 0, 15 Feb 2018 18:12:04 +0000
Spring into action: A brief guide to starting your own seeds Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 The bookmark I have been using since Halloween came from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and includes a list of dates telling gardeners when to start their seeds indoors. I knew it would come in handy.

The first seed to plant, it says, is delphinium, also called larkspur. They are tall, striking plants with large spiky blossoms in blue, purple, pink and white that are a staple in the English cottage garden. Some are perennials, but the showier ones are annuals, so if you want to start them you will have to move quickly.

The first decision on starting vegetables and annual flowers from seed is whether you want to do it all. We have in our cellar 8-foot-long fluorescent lights that can be lowered (using chains hanging from the rafters) to just-planted seed pots and raised as the seedlings grow. We used to plant onions, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons and flowers of every description. We saved a lot of money in those times – money we needed to help send our children to college.

Later on, we started regularly traveling in March, and getting people to come over and water the vegetable seedlings was not practical. We seldom use the artificial-light setup now.

The advantages of planting seedlings yourself are three: You save money. You choose the exact varieties you want to grow because seed suppliers sell many more varieties than any farmer or garden center grows. And you get to be involved in the growing process from start to finish.

If those things don’t appeal to you, skip the work and enjoy Tucson or Tampa or wherever it is you vacation during mud season, and buy your seedlings when you get back to Maine in April or May.

If you’ve decided you do indeed want to grow seedlings, get supplies now.

Start with the seeds. Avoid the standards like Ace pepper and Beefeater and Early Girl tomatoes. Everybody will be planting those. Go through the Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog and pick some of their newer All-America Selections winners, or the Fedco catalogue to pick varieties that performed well in their tests. Experiment a little, and try some of those small seed packets from Pinetree.

Then figure out your planting order.

Onions, including leeks and shallots, take the longest among the vegetables, and the seeds should be planted in late February. Celery, celeriac and kale seeds are planted in mid-March. Peppers, eggplant, broccoli and cabbage seeds go in early April, tomatoes in mid-April and cucumbers, melons and squash in early May.

Most home gardeners should plant in 1- to 2-inch pots, getting one seedling per pot. Commercial growers often plant seeds in 2-inch-deep flats measuring about 10 by 20 inches, and then transfer the seeds to seedling pots after they sprout. If you are growing 50 or fewer plants, don’t bother. Get small pots with drainage holes, made of plastic, peat or even paper and avoid the extra transplanting step.

Water the containers thoroughly, then fill them with a soil-less planting medium. We use Pro Mix, but there are many brands on the market.

Press the damp soil to firm it a bit and then plant seeds in the pots, covering them about the same depth as the seed is wide. Use finger pinches of dry mix for covering seeds and press again to firm the soil. Put four to six seeds in each pot because not all of them will germinate. Label each pot as you plant it and then cover them with clear plastic and put them in a warm spot, preferably 65 to 70 degrees. Large plastic trays for which you can buy clear plastic domed lids are available commercially, and if you start seeds every year you may want to purchase some of these. You can get a heat mat, too, but if you heat your home with wood, a spot near the woodstove will work well, as will on top of the refrigerator or near your basement furnace.

Now you wait – and how long depends on the seed. Squash can sprout in as little as four days. Peppers will take at least nine days and possibly as long as 14 days.

Once the seeds sprout, remove the plastic and put the pots under artificial light for 14 to 16 hours a day. If you do your planting in April or later and have a good south-facing window, a sun porch or a small greenhouse, you can use natural light from your windows. Once the seedlings have two sets of true leaves, start watering with a weak solution of liquid fertilizer. To prevent diseases that develop from soggy soil, wait between waterings until the soil is almost dry.

After a few weeks, if you have several seedlings growing in a small pot, remove all but the strongest one to give it room to grow. Using scissors to cut down the smallest sprouts may be simplest because pulling them out may pull all its fellow seedlings with them, including the one you want to grow.

Once the outdoor temperature rises above 45 degrees, you can put the plants outside for a couple of hours each afternoon, in a shady location, to harden off. Gradually increase the time outdoors and the hours of sunlight until you plant them in the garden.

When all danger of frost has gone – usually about Memorial Day in southern Maine – transplant the seedlings into your garden.

You can celebrate by wearing shorts or going to the beach.


NEED MORE before starting your seeds?

Visit Falmouth nursery Allen, Sterling & Lothrop’s website for guidance on how many weeks ahead of garden planting to start your vegetable and annual flower seeds.

OR GET PLENTY of general information on starting seeds in Maine at the UMaine Cooperative Extension website.

TOM ATWELL is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:

]]> 0 Cornwall plants seeds in the greenhouse at Cultivation Works Farm – a Creative Work Systems program for adults with disabilities. Haley, who has an intellectual disability, works once a week at the location.Thu, 15 Feb 2018 19:33:27 +0000
Green Plate Special: If cheese is smoked, you’ll need less of it, lightening your footprint on the Earth Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 In the fall of 2011, I attempted to home-school my kids about the American Revolution from the kitchen table in borrowed digs in Lyon, France. My U.S. history lessons stood on terra firma, I justified, because we’d walked the Freedom Trail before boarding the Air France flight out of Logan Airport. Plus we routinely discussed French alliances as we strolled along Cours Lafayette, making our way to the famed Les Halles de Lyon covered market. There, we’d buy all sorts of cheese made just as it was back when the Marquis de Lafayette cornered Cornwallis, leading up to the Battle of Yorktown.

Yes, I can circle back to cheese from almost anywhere. It’s both a talent and curse, really. Much to my gut’s distress, I sampled a majority of 400 cheeses on offer at the 2007 British Cheese Festival. Since recovering from that bellyache, I’m a more selective lover, gravitating toward stronger cheeses, ones that sate my appetite after a single bite. I adore long-aged cheddars that crackle with crystalline granules; stinky, washed-rind teleggios that ooze onto the cutting board; creamy blues sporting more mold than curd; and anything smoked.

Even we cheese lovers must admit that it’s a product that takes a ton of milk, time and energy to produce. Buying local cheese is often the greenest option, and we lucky Mainers certainly don’t want for local cheesemakers. There are 87 licensed at last count.

In addition to keeping it local, eating strong cheese both sustains my habit and helps keep the overall environmental toll of my cultured dairy products in check. Cooking with stronger cheeses requires between 30 and 50 percent less than milder cheese in the same recipe for it to make its presence known.

It’s easy to find excellent aged cheeses (Hahn’s End’s Eleanor Buttercup, for example), runny, rinded ones (Fuzzy Udder’s Cyclone), and big blues (like Lakin’s Gorges’ Cascadilla Bleu). But I’d not tasted a truly smoked, truly Maine cheese until Brunswick Inn executive chef Ali Waks Adams introduced me to Crooked Face Creamery. As I walked into the inn’s kitchen one day, before she even said “Hello,” she thrust a spoonful of the Up North Applewood Cold Smoked Ricotta in my direction and said “Try this!”, a common occurrence in our food-centric friendship. This small sample was enough to get me hooked on its unique, subtly smoky and lingering flavor. Waks Adams has used this cheese to make ravioli and vegetarian lasagna for her Tuesday night plat du jour dinners.

Grind Stone Neck of Maine, a family-owned and -operated smokehouse in Winter Harbor burns a blend of maple, cherry and beech wood pellets to produce smoked seafood and cheese. But second-generation owner Mason Johnson says he buys the base blue and cheddar cheeses from Wisconsin cheesemakers because he can’t source enough volume of Maine cheese to meet his demand. Pineland Farms sells a smoked cheddar made from local milk at its facility in Bangor (I use it in my mac and cheese), but its label says the added flavor comes from a liquid smoke additive).

Amy Rowbottom of Crooked Face Creamery started making cheese part-time about eight years ago. In her Norridgewock kitchen, she perfected an aged gouda recipe from local Jersey milk and started making fresh ricotta to generate cash flow while she waited for the gouda to ripen, a process that takes a couple of months. She knew the competition for fresh cow and goat milk cheeses in Maine was pretty steep, so Rowbottom was looking for something to set her apart. She worked in sales and website design at Maine Wood Heat Company by day and used one of the company’s idle wood-fired ovens to experiment with cold-smoking cheese, both ricotta and gouda, with local, organic apple wood. The trial rounds of ricotta and wheels of gouda sold well at farmers markets. A grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture allowed her to subsequently fashion a purpose-built cheese smoker that now gives subtly distinctive flavor to three quarters of the cheeses she produces annually. Rowbottom is happy to admit she needs to boost production to meet rising demand. Cheese and smoke, she says, are two worlds colliding in the best possible way.

CHRISTINE BURNS RUDALEVIGE is a food writer, recipe developer and tester and cooking teacher in Brunswick, and the author of “Green Plate Special,” a cookbook from Islandport based on these columns. She can be contacted at

]]> 0 are 87 licensed cheesemakers in Maine at last count.Sat, 17 Feb 2018 18:56:25 +0000
Two naturalists, one in midcoast Maine, closely observe as the climate changes Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 “We have only just begun to feel the repercussions of climate change: we are today in a position likely to be envied by future generations.” – Cornelia F. Mutel, “A Sugar Creek Chronicle”

The first edition of “A Natural History of Camden and Rockport” came out in 1984, written and illustrated by local resident E.C. (“Beedy”) Parker. Recently, she decided to issue an informal update and began gathering anecdotal information from naturalists and friends on how the nature of midcoast Maine had changed in the intervening three decades. What she found is unsettling.

Her observations fall in the realm of “natural history,” a somewhat antiquated field largely replaced by the science of ecology and its sub-disciplines. Naturalists tend to make more general notes of plant and animal life as they are shaped by geology, climate and human uses. In some ways, Parker’s book is reminiscent of early 20th-century nature journals, being one naturalist’s informal portrait of place.

Parker is the first to acknowledge that the historic habit of faithfully observing and recording natural events is no longer a popular pastime. When asked what she learned from quizzing others about changes they had noticed, this was her response: “Few people are paying attention and even fewer make records. The kinds of observations we want are not out there.” People are spending less time outdoors and when they do, she mused, it’s rarely attentive, solitary time; “We live in our houses and cars, and maybe our gardens.”

More people are “glued to devices” these days, acknowledges Parker’s longtime friend Esperanza Stancioff, but she sees a strong resurgence of citizen scientists involved in organized efforts like the program she helps coordinate, the University of Maine’s Signs of the Seasons Program. People attentive to changes in nature, Stancioff finds, often like recording observations that they know will be useful to scientists and policy-makers.

Data from backyard observations can be limited (even, in Parker’s words, “sketchy”), but taken collectively they reveal declines and disturbances in the natural world that should sound alarms.

Many of the observations reported by Parker reflect broader and widely publicized changes: declines in bees, butterflies, bats, frogs, toads and songbirds; an explosion of deer ticks (virtually unheard of three decades ago); the spread of invasive plants like multiflora rose and bedstraw; and a parade of new insects that threaten hemlock, ash, hackmatack and beech trees along with viburnum shrubs and harvests from many berry and stone-fruit plants.

The most dramatic change Parker found occurred in the rocky intertidal zone, a setting she sketched in 1984 with multiple rockweed species, blue mussels, periwinkles, barnacles, coralline algae, hermit crabs, pink encrusting algae, Irish moss, green sea urchins and northern sea stars. (The accompanying photo from 1979, taken in Penobscot Bay, depicts that abundant marine life.) While the rockweed remains, much of the other intertidal life has disappeared.

Parker’s update also highlights the region’s increasingly erratic weather, with extreme temperature swings and heavy rains. Local reports of intense downpours (even in the midst of drought) reflect findings that “extreme precipitation” events in the Northeast have increased by 71 percent between 1958 and 2012. Scientists attribute this to higher rates of evaporation and the atmosphere’s capacity to hold more water vapor as it warms.

Unpredictable swings – from deluges to droughts and from record-highs to marked lows – are part of the “weather whiplash” that is the new norm, Cornelia Mutel writes in her book “A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland.” A trained naturalist living in Iowa, Mutel recorded a detailed nature log during 2012, a year of relentless and unpredictable extremes. “The weather seems to be all over the place,” she noted during that May. “Yesterday I wore mittens to work; today, a summer T-shirt.”

When Mutel was born in 1950, record-breaking highs and lows in the United States occurred in a 1-to-1 ratio. “But since the 1980s,” she writes, “the number of unusually hot days and nights has steadily increased… while the number of exceptionally cold days and nights has decreased and is now the lowest on record.” By the middle of this century, the ratio is expected to be 20 to 1 and in the first three months of 2012, as she was writing the book, it was already 17 to 1.

There are unnerving echoes between these two natural history accounts – one tracking changes in the country’s heartland and the other on its easternmost outpost. Reading the observations of Mutel and Parker, I envision a spinning top – as its steady centripetal movement slows into loopy lurches. We can still act to limit future climate change, but clearly natural systems are already off-kilter.

“A beneficent climate is, like health, something elementary, something we tend to ignore until disturbing symptoms arise …, ” Mutel reflects, before asking: “What if that regularity dissolves? Would we know how to pattern our lives?”

MARINA SCHAUFFLER provides research, writing, and editing services to nonprofit and social enterprise organizations through Natural Choices (

]]> 0, 15 Feb 2018 20:05:33 +0000
Editor’s letter: Aspiring farmers, apply now for scholarships! Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Aspiring farmers, apply here now!

We created the annual Source Awards four years ago, part and parcel of the then-new Source in the Maine Sunday Telegram, a weekly section dedicated to sustainability in Maine in all its many forms, encompassing conservation, farming, energy efficiency, climate change, gardening, healthy fisheries, green transportation and (much) more. Integral to our Source Awards program was – and is – the Russell Libby Agricultural Scholar Awards. Three such scholarships, for $1,500 each, are awarded each year.

The awards are named for the late, beloved Russell Libby, who led the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) for 17 years before his untimely death. His ideas were integral to the development of MOFGA’s organic training programs, and training is at the heart of these eponymous awards. Though the Source Awards deadline for this year has passed, you still have time to put in an application for the Libby awards; that deadline is March 1.

One scholarship goes to a participant in MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program, which provides training and mentorship for those who are deeply committed to pursuing careers in Maine in organic farming. Another goes to a Maine high school senior who plans to study sustainable or organic farming. Preference is given to a student who intends to continue his or her education in Maine. The third scholarship is awarded to a Kennebec Valley Community College student who is learning sustainable agriculture.

The scholarship money can be used in a variety of ways, among them to buy books or other supplies related to farming, to attend a farm-related conference or sign up for a class, to visit a faraway farm that is pioneering the techniques the awardee hopes to implement at her own farm one day.

The judges will also consider an applicant’s community involvement. Anna Libby, Russell Libby’s eldest daughter and the administrator of the awards, said her father had a deep commitment “to being engaged in your community’s well-being, so the hope was to have the winners of the scholarship also be folks who hold that belief.”

Reading the nominations is “always a real treat,” she added. “There are so many people doing inspiring things, and it’s always cool to read about their aspirations. I love to hear their stories about how they became involved in agriculture, what the spark was that set them on that path, and the things they are doing now that they are passionate about.”

Winners will be announced at the Fourth Annual Source Awards ceremony at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester on April 4.


Source Editor

]]> 0, 15 Feb 2018 20:15:41 +0000
Galen Koch is setting a course for Maine’s coastal communities Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Galen Koch is on a deadline. She and her oral history project, The First Coast, are due at the Fishermen’s Forum from March 1 to 3 at the Samoset in Rockland. Her mission there will be to lure attendees aboard a 1976 Airstream-cum-media lab to tell stories of their lives in the fishing industry. But on the day we called the Stonington native to talk about The First Coast, Koch had just discovered some fresh leaks in the Airstream. “I’m feeling mildly demoralized at the moment, but I’ll be OK soon.” We talked about getting road ready and how and why she got so interested in preserving the stories of life on Maine’s coast.

MEMORIES LIGHT THE CORNERS: The First Coast project was created, as Koch puts it, is to try to “preserve a collective coastal memory and living maritime history.” Not for tourists, but for Mainers. She’ll roam the coast in the off-season – “you can’t ask Mainers to drop everything in the summer to talk to you” – running the Airstream as both a lab to gather the stories and an exhibition space to share them. Koch, a graduate of Skidmore College in New York and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, works primarily in radio but sometimes in video as well. In 2016 she created a series of stories about Portland’s working waterfront called Wharfside, funded by the Waterfront Alliance and Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, and she liked that experience.

DEEP DIVES: She wanted more of that kind of immersive journalistic experience, but without the boundaries of traditional formats. “I am so tired of having to find the nut graph, that’s what they call it in radio.” (That’s the paragraph that sums up what a story is about. Newspapers use the same term. Editors demand them.) People’s stories are legitimate, even without a “thesis,” Koch feels and not always obvious. “I wanted to have this feeling where I could go to a town like Lubec and really spend time there – I’ll be there three weeks – and not be the reporter that goes in for like one day.” With all these thoughts in mind, she eyed the old Airstream in her mother and stepfather’s backyard and started writing grant proposals.

THE WHEELS ON THE BUS: The Airstream dates to 1976, but it had spent its most recent years sitting in that backyard in Deer Isle. Her stepfather acquired it from a farmer who lived further Down East and had used it to house farmhands. “His story is it was like $500 and a handle of vodka, but I don’t know if that is true or verifiable in any way because he is a teller of tall tales.” She bargained with him for it, thinking she’d maybe hit the road for a year. At this point, he shouldn’t count on getting it back; “now it is hopefully going to be my job for the next couple of years.” The First Coast is (so far) funded by a $5,000 grant from SPACE Gallery through the Kindling Fund, another grant from the Maine Arts Commission and about $20,000 that Koch crowdfunded and will use to pay photographers.

OPEN DOORS: She doesn’t have so much a mission statement as an open door, heart and conversational style. “I don’t want anyone to think I am coming in with a value system that contradicts their value system.” She wants to invite Mainers of all generations into the Airstream for free-ranging conversations about what keeps them up at night, what keeps them going on a daily basis or really, anything at all. “If that ends up being talking about rising sea levels or invasive species or the decline in the lobster industry, that’s great.” What matters is that it is an organic conversation. If participants have home movies they want to digitize, Koch will do that, too. She’s got no immediate plans for a podcast, but she’ll be doing an audio log about her adventures. “It’s going to be a learning experience.”

TIME AND MONEY: Koch had planned to be on the road long ago, but has been held up by the extensiveness of the needed renovations and the lack of money to throw at them. She didn’t understand quite how rotted the floors were or how widespread the mold. “The walls were covered in mold. Like, black. It was so gross. And the leaks I am contending with, they are like 20-year old leaks.” She’s done a lot of the work on the aluminum shell of the Airstream herself, but relied on friends to do things like build a bed and her kitchen area. Another friend hooked her up with solar panels. “I would not have described myself as handy in any construction way. I can do it, but I am slow and I am not good at measuring.” Cilla, as she calls the Airstream, after her grandmother, has been parked in one friend’s South Portland driveway while Koch works on those leaks and soundproofing curtains – she’s making those herself to save money – for the recording booth.

FIRST STOP, ROCKLAND: Koch hoped to land a donated truck to pull the Airstream herself, or raise money to buy one (her main source of income comes from teaching an oral history class at Harpswell Coastal Academy). But that “has not fallen into place.” Instead, she’ll get a tow to Rockland from Brunswick writer and teacher Jaed Coffin, whom Koch met through Salt. After that? She’s still working on the next step. (If you’ve got a spare truck lying around and the inclination to donate it to the project, you can find her at

WHAT’S IN A NAME: Speaking of, what’s the name about? First Coast came from writer John Cheever via a historian named John R. Gillis, a retired Rutgers professor and author of “The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History.” Koch attended a lecture given by Gillis, a summer resident of Great Gott Island, where he used “second coast” as Cheever had, to describe a coast “built up around the nostalgia for the working waterfront.” We’re talking nautical-themed goods, bars decorated with buoys and as Cheever put it, “other relics of an arduous and orderly way of life of which they knew nothing.” The kind of thing that celebrates the past with perhaps not much recognition of the present. Koch’s first coast will be the original coast then, stripped of frills and knickknacks and full of people who live there year round.

CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN: Given how tight money will be, how is she going to pay for the basics along the way? Like eating? “I have a little propane stove and a little cooler.” No fridge. “Honestly I will probably eat rice and Brussels sprouts and kimchi. I am pretty frugal. As long as I can make some coffee and boil an egg.” The Airstream has a composting toilet, but no shower. “I am going to be showering at like, the Y and people’s houses. And I will have some dry shampoo.” She’ll also have her dog Zed and a stack of old magazines, the kind with nut graphs. “I have all the old Island Journals to work my way through.”

]]> 0 PORTLAND, ME - FEBRUARY 12: Galen Koch poses for a portrait inside of her Airstream trailer that she will soon take on the road to gather stories in various year-round Maine coastal communities for her project The First Coast. (Staff photo by Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer)Sat, 17 Feb 2018 20:19:30 +0000
Get Busy: Hit the Eastern Trail on President’s Day Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Tomorrow is President’s Day and the beginning of school break for many schools in Maine. It’s also that time of year when cars and appliances are on sale. But who needs more stuff? Here’s a way to get you and the kids outside on the holiday to enjoy the Eastern Trail, one of the great volunteer-led efforts to connect Mainers to nature. The Eastern Trail Alliance is organizing an afternoon walk along the Biddeford-Arundel-Kennebunk section of the bike trail. (Perfect timing too, the Maine Outdoor Coalition’s Great Maine Outdoor Weekend/Week is winding down.)

The trail, in case you’ve never hit it, stretches 65 miles from the Piscataqua River in Kittery to South Portland, passing through 11 communities. Originally conceived of in 1997, the trail is managed by volunteers (some portions are still being constructed) from the 11 communities it runs through.

The 90-minute walk will be guided by members of the Eastern Trail Alliance. And it’s free.

WHAT: President’s Day Nature Walk on the Eastern Trail, Biddeford

WHEN: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Meet in the parking lot at Southern Maine Health Care, 1 Medical Center Drive, Biddeford, (near the shop area)

HOW: No registration needed, no fee, just don’t bring your dog.

MORE INFORMATION: email or visit


]]> 0, too, can enjoy the all-season Eastern Trail, shown here in November 2012, by joining in on a President's Day Nature Walk.Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:27:56 +0000
OFF RADAR: ‘One Man’s Maine: Essays on a Love Affair’ Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Finally one afternoon I get around to this bright blue book that’s been in my reviewing stack for months. I don’t even know where it came from, the newsroom I guess. The author’s name, Jim Krosschell, is not familiar to me. The title — “One Man’s Maine: Essays on a Love Affair” — is pretty clearly a play on E.B. White’s canonic essay collection “One Man’s Meat,” so that could signal either literary acuity or literary cliché — another bunch of word-postcards about Maine by someone who never spent the winter here.

So anyway, I start skimming the first essay, “Berries.” Wait a minute. By paragraph two, it’s obvious these sentences were not written by a dilettante. So I slow down from skimming for imagery and thesis elements, and start reading words. Sure enough, these sentences are polished. Still, a book can skillfully convey imagery, plot, characters and clever ideas, but still not mean much. But by page three, I’m not just reading, I’m listening to sounds and rhythms, where the energies are.

“Berries” starts out with a touching introduction to the author’s love for his daughters and goes on in discrete sections to ruminate over berry picking and family life in Maine midcoast summer. The second essay, “Blueberry Hill,” wanders around the landscape where these summers take place. But they’re not prose poem postcards. A tug of war, explicit and implicit, is under way between fast, techno-living Boston, which is the author’s home base, and Owls Head, where he slows down. “The blueberry is not spectacularly beautiful except close-up, but it stands for what we lack, the ability to be close and humble, on our knees, and its cultivation is like mimicking mystics as they imagine death, their essences spreading eternally through dirt and root.” He slows down, I slow down. Something more than verbal polish is at work here.

Then three startling things happen. One is my discovery that Jim Krosschell, despite being from away, understands that April isn’t spring: “Rain pelts down; the sun comes out minutes later. On the garage the weathervane swirls, helpless to offer guidance. Minute by minute summer approaches and withdraws. … Somewhere in Maine, inevitably, snow will fall before the month is up.” This is down-Maine backyard naturalism.

The second thing that happens is that I start seeing the ghost of Thoreau, even though his name is not mentioned (yet). Just as I think, “This is backyard naturalism from the original source,” I encounter the sentence: “What good is knowledge unless it leads to a tremulous joy?” And I’m telling you, this is a rearrangement of Thoreau’s quintessential sentence: “Let us not underrate the value of a fact; it will one day flower in a truth.” In Krosschell’s world, joy is a form of truth. He is not saying so. It’s transpiring out of the words.

The third thing happens when I think, “Boy, this sounds a lot like Sarah Orne Jewett.” Updated to 21st century idiom and skepticism (see above), no doubt, but words somehow channeling the feel and energy of Maine that the writer from South Berwick seared into our consciousness. So then I turn a couple of pages and find a chapter titled “Pointed Firs” and feel kind of elated. Is this as deliberate a play on words as the book’s title? Anyway, even if he wasn’t consciously thinking of her, she’s there. But of course: In the third paragraph he starts talking about reading “The Country of the Pointed Firs,” Jewett’s masterpiece.

Later, I flip ahead to “With Thoreau in Maine” to find out if he’s going to make what I felt to be implicit, explicit. It turns out to be a delightful rehearsal of his experience reading “The Maine Woods,” with ruminations on time wasted on the computer; the curious, fascinating and alienating experience of DeLorme maps; and throughout, the tug of war between the need for civilization and the need for the wilderness — a central preoccupation of Thoreau.

But what I really want to convey to you about this book is that, while all the things Jim Krosschell says here can be merely said, however skillfully, the writing in it channels powers and energies beyond the saying. It’s practically impossible to explain what I mean by this. But I found a sentence right in the book that comes close.

In talking about the curious way in which burning wood releases carbon, he says: “I don’t understand how atoms can be all this — pure energy in themselves, nothing really but imagination and belief, a god if you will.”

Beautiful, I think. And then, somehow inspired by the energy in the combustion, I replace “atoms” with “words,” re-read the sentence, and am suddenly inhabiting the elsewhere of the words.

All backyard naturalists, and everybody in the vicinity of Thoreau, will want to read this book.

Jim Krosschell lives part of the time in Newton, Massachusetts, and part of the time in Owls Head. He’s president of the board of directors of the Coastal Mountains Land Trust in Camden. He is also the author of “Owls Head Revisited,” published by North Country Press in Unity (

Off Radar takes note of poetry and books with Maine connections the first Thursday of each month. Contact Dana Wilde at

]]> 0, 15 Feb 2018 11:03:09 +0000
J.P. Devine Movie Review: ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:25:55 +0000 “My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends —

It gives a lovely light!”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

We first saw Gloria Grahame in the iconic Christmas film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” playing Violet, a young girl who had loved George” (James Stewart) since he was a boy.

She stole each scene she was in. It was a small part, but she owned it.

Gloria always glowed and simmered. On screen she was like smoke from a cigarette left in a crystal ashtray, fog coming in from the harbor. Look at her films; look at the way her eyes always narrowed, as if she were looking for something in her co-stars eyes.

In every role she stood out. That’s what a star is, the actor that draws the light from brighter sources. That was Gloria Grahame, and I miss her.

Annette Bening, playing Gloria in Paul McGuigan’s “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” a film about the last days of Gloria’s life as she was dying in England, has none of those qualities, none of the fog nor smoky sensuality.

Annette gives us something much different. She gives us a splendid, crackling interpretation of a dying star, bowing out of life with courage. She does that.

This was who Gloria was, Bening seems to be saying, a creature of her time, and this is how she made it work, and when fate dealt her a hard back of the hand and showed her the door, this was how she made her exit, in a fabulous camel coat and sunglasses, and still she gave such a “lovely light.”

Annette, using her own unique gifts, shows us, in this tribute, and that’s what it is, that a star’s exits are often more powerful and memorable than their entrances.

Had it not been for a love affair at the end of her life with a much younger man in Liverpool, England, and the book about that affair written by her lover, Peter Turner, in his 1986 book, Gloria Grahame-film star, might have remained lost and forgotten in the three color past of old movie magazines.

At the opening we watch Gloria making up prior to going on stage in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” in a small theater in the cold, damp North of England. Suddenly she collapses in pain and can’t go on.

Director Paul McGuigan, working with a script by Matt Greenhalgh, cleverly cuts back and forth in time, from when Gloria, over 50 years old, meets and begins a haunted and troubled relationship with Peter Turner, (Jamie Bell) a Liverpool neighborhood boy in his 20s.

For Peter, Gloria is warmth and mystery and has stories, unlike Liverpool corner girls.

For Gloria, Peter is a flashback of her early years, when things were full of magic and madness, full of neon nights and blazing sun mornings.

She does not tell him that she has cancer. He sees the scar on her breast, but lets it go by. This is all about a May November love. Peter’s past is almost a blank page, Gloria’s is dark and sexual, all Hollywoodian and unreadable.

They live in the present, and that’s enough. It will get darker for them and full of pain. The end scenes are tough to watch, but Annette scoops them up and gives an Oscar performance. Don’t miss it.

Jamie Bell is best know for his wonderful debut role in Billy Elliot (2000), for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

His work here is soft, engaging and heartfelt. He reminds us very much of the young Albert Finney in Karel Reisz’s 1960 British film “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.”

Paul McGuigan’s direction is pretty much standard stuff, but for one scene near the end, when Bening, full of death, sits in a pool of fading afternoon light in her room, listening to the family below talk about what to do with her.

Her face, her eyes, her expression in this heart ripping moment is unbearable. Lesser actors have gotten golden statues for doing nothing. Somebody send Annette a God damn statue.

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and film actor.

]]> 0, 14 Feb 2018 12:42:58 +0000
Lucky Clark On Music: ARAS Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:25:29 +0000 ARAS is made up of two talented singer-songwriter-instrumentalists, Adrien Reju and Andy Stack. The former’s most recent CD is “Strange Love & The Secret Language”; while the latter’s group, a trio called Buffalo Stack, most recently released a 2014 self-titled CD.

In a recent telephone interview from their home in Newburgh, New York, Reju talked about the duo’s upcoming gig on Feb. 19 at Slates in Hallowell and what’s happening in her life. I began by asking if the two of them will do separate sets or will do everything together.

Reju: Well, we’ll play everything with each other, but some of them might be him singing lead, some of them might be me singing lead, and some of them might be duets. It’s going to be a mixture of that kind of thing. His material, my material and stuff that we’ve done together.

Q: Is there going to be an album with the two of you together?

Reju: He’s making a new Buffalo Stack record right now and we’re talking about doing a duo record, as well; but right now we’re just focusing on his Buffalo Stack’s record, which I’m on and a couple of my songs will be on there, as well.

Q: That’s cool. Will this show be acoustic or will it be electrified?

Reju: He may play electric guitar. I normally just play acoustic guitar and mandolin, and sometimes mandola, which is a newer instrument for me. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. It will be pretty much acoustic, though, yeah.

Q: Has Andy ever played Slates before?

Reju: Yeah, he played with me the last time. I played there last year. I think it was January, or maybe it was two years ago. I can’t remember exactly.

Q: Are you a regular performer there?

Reju: This will be my third time.

Q: As far as your solo recordings go, when did “Strange Love” come out?

Reju: It came out in August of 2016, a few years ago.

Q: And are you working on something new?

Reju: Yeah, I’m in sort of a writing phase right now, new material; but we’ve been focusing a lot on duo stuff lately, so that’s our current focus.

Q: Are you a prolific writer, or is it something you have to work at doing?

Reju: Ah, I have moments of being prolific and moments of just want to marinate, so to speak. I actually have a lot of songs that haven’t been recorded, but I also enjoy interpreting other people’s songs. It’s a fun way to get outside of my own head and to be in someone else’s head and do something a little different.

Q: Well, that’s what happens on the very first track on “Strange Love” — a cover of David Bowie’s “Soul Love.” I’m sitting there going, “Gosh, I know this song, but I don’t know this song!” You definitely made it your own.

Reju: Well, thanks!

Q: Now back to your upcoming show. What can people expect that night from the two of you?

Reju: Um, just a convergence of both Andy’s and my material. We’re two artists who have found a kindred spirit in terms of music and songwriting and stuff. So we’re just going to play some stuff that we really enjoy playing together, and we don’t have anything recorded right now, so it might be a mix of old stuff of mine and old stuff of his, but also some very new stuff that hasn’t been recorded yet.

Q: That gives the people who have seen you two before a chance to hear something new.

Reju: Yes.

Q: Is there anything you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Reju: The thing that I feel is important, especially now in this political/social climate that we’re in right now, is the need for community and expression. And also appreciation and enjoyment of that expression, and the more feedback that we get, the easier it is to give back. We just went on a tour and played to audiences who didn’t show appreciation until the very end, which is great that they enjoyed it, but I really even more enjoy it when people show how much they enjoy it throughout a performance. I know it’s up to us to break the ice, but once we break that ice, it’s nice to have a mutual feedback loop of joy.

Q: Well, the more you give to them, the more they give back to you. I’ve always called that a “closed tape-loop,” because it feeds upon itself.

Reju: Right, yeah.

Q: How do you find the audiences at Slates?

Reju: You know, the audiences have been really great. The feedback has been pretty good. I just want to encourage it to continue that way.

Lucky Clark has spent 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

]]> 0, 14 Feb 2018 12:44:25 +0000
‘Yankee Doodle Diva’ to be staged Feb. 23-25 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:24:45 +0000 RANGELEY — “Yankee Doodle DIVA,” Bob Hope’s USO show, will be performed Feb. 23-25 at the RFA Lakeside Theater, 2493 Main St.

This cabaret-style evening of music and dance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The show stars local comedians Tim Straub and Carolyn Smith with a cast of singers and dancers.

Tickets cost $20-$25. Any servicemen or women who attend in uniform will receive a $10 discount at the door.

For tickets, visit or call 864-5000.

]]> 0, 14 Feb 2018 12:25:07 +0000
Moe. to perform Feb. 16 & 18 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:24:31 +0000 Moe. will perform at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16 and 17, at State Theatre, 609 Congress St. in Portland.

Celebrating the news of a cancer-free diagnosis by band member Rob Derhak, moe. has added two weekends’ worth of shows in Portland.

The band canceled the majority of their 2017 Summer Tour after the band’s bassist/vocalist, Derhak, was diagnosed with Nasopharyngeal Cancer earlier this year.

Founded in 1990, moe. carved a niche for themselves with a distinct blend of Americana, melodic turns, clever songwriting, and jam band ethics. Members Vinnie Amico (drums), Rob Derhak (bass/vocals), Chuck Garvey (guitar/vocals), Jim Loughlin (percussion/vibes) and Al Schnier (guitar/vocals) have built a dedicated following through their extensive touring and musical output.

Tickets cost $39.50 in advance, $45 day of show or $65 for a two-day pass.

For tickets, visit the box office between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday at 504 Congress St., call 800-745-3000, or visit The State Theatre box office will open one hour before doors night of show.

]]> 0, 14 Feb 2018 12:24:52 +0000
“The Lady of the Camellias” to be screened Feb. 18 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:24:30 +0000 An HD rebroadcast of The Bolshoi Ballet’s “The Lady of the Camellias” will be screened at 12:55 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at Waterville Opera House, 1 Common St. in Waterville.

This performance is an encore HD broadcast from Moscow. The running time is three hours and five minutes including two intermissions.

At a theatre performance of ‘Manon Lescaut,’ the young and naive Armand is utterly captivated after meeting the ravishing and most desirable courtesan Marguerite Gautier. Their encounter gives birth to a passionate yet doomed love …

Alexandre Dumas fils’s novel comes to life on the Bolshoi stage, with prima Svetlana Zakharova as the ailing Marguerite seeking love and redemption from her life as a courtesan. The Bolshoi brings choreographer John Neumeier’s work of rare beauty and tragic depth to new emotional heights, accompanied by Chopin’s romantic piano score.

Tickets cost $15 for adults, $13 for students and seniors.

For more information, call 873-7000 or visit

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Tickets now available for the Source Maine Sustainability Awards 2018 Tue, 13 Feb 2018 21:36:56 +0000 The fourth annual Source Awards will recognize the many people, businesses, non-profits, and institutions who are having a positive impact on the environment in Maine: from solar panel installers to next-level home gardeners, from venerable organizations with established records to relative newcomers with groundbreaking ideas.

The ceremony will be held at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. Tickets include dinner from Black Tie and a cocktail hour hosted by New England Distilling and Foulmouthed Brewing.

Buy your tickets today.

Source winners will be announced March 18 in the Maine Sunday Telegram and Central Maine Sunday. They will be honored at the Source Maine Sustainability Awards banquet on Wednesday, April 4 at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, along with the MOFGA Russell Libby Agricultural Scholar (Applications are open until March 1).

Learn about our past winners: 2017 | 2016 | 2015

Proudly sponsored by









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My Honey’s Pie: Key Lime Sun, 11 Feb 2018 09:00:30 +0000 On my honeymoon cruise from Miami to Mexico, I found out I get seasick on big boats. The anti-nausea medication made me sleep the whole way. So we took an extra week and visited the Florida Keys as a sort of do-over. My husband tried every key lime pie on every menu he met. He loved them all. I’ve combined a few recipes over the years to settle on this one. I use pastry chef and cookbook author Stella Park’s graham cracker crust because she doesn’t add extra sugar, the custard recipe from a 1946 Florida Keys cooking pamphlet because it uses the whole eggs and not just the yolks for a lighter texture, and my own recipe for candied lime peel for garnish.

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie


2 cups (9 ounces), finely ground plain graham cracker crumbs

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) melted unsalted butter


3 large eggs, separated

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, preferably from Key limes

Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Candied lime zest for garnish

To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter. Scatter the mixture into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate and press into an even layer over the bottom and up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees F until firm, about 18 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

To make the custard, whisk the egg yolks with the whole egg in a large bowl. Beat in the condensed milk, lime zest and juice.
In a second large bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Fold one-third of them into the custard mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Pour the custard into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until barely set. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely, then refrigerate overnight. Serve with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with candied lime zest.

]]> 0, 08 Feb 2018 18:54:57 +0000
Homegrown: This year, Cupid is handing out Maine-made chocolates Sun, 11 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Valentine’s Day is Wednesday, and while Maine does not grow cocoa beans, you can still give your sweetie local chocolate treats. The men behind Christopher Hastings Confections have taken local candy to the next level with their glossy, colorful, hand-painted chocolates filled with Maine ingredients.

The Waterville chocolatier’s tarted-up Needham (a classic Maine candy if there ever was one), part of their Taste of Maine assortment, has none of the mouth-puckering sweetness of the Needhams your grandma made. Christopher Hastings uses less confectioners’ sugar and more Maine russet potatoes, as well as unsweetened organic coconut flakes, and vanilla bean paste rather than extract. The result is a glossy, beautiful Needham that brings out the flavor of the Maine potato and is still sweet but not too sweet.

For the company’s Maine Beer Nut–Maple confection, organic walnuts are candied in Maine-brewed Bigelow beer, then incorporated into a fondant made with local maple syrup. The Maine sea salt caramel is made with Eggemoggin Reach sea salt from Deer Isle, “a large-flake sea salt that takes to the caramel well,” says Nate Towne, who owns the company with his husband, Mark Simpson. Ours came in a light blue bonbon, and the caramel dripped onto our fingers as we ate it. You can also get these made with whiskey from Maine Craft Distilling in Portland.

“We feel very strongly about supporting our local food economy,” Towne said.

Local honey goes into the Maine Honey Ginger Nougat, and it replaces the corn syrup in the company’s marshmallows; a Valentine’s Day version contains a touch of rosewater from the Sabbathday Lake Shakers. Christopher Hastings’ Moxie marshmallows are made with local gentian root, the same plant that gives the Maine-made soda its flavor.

Other chocolates use good-quality locally stocked teas, and other locally manufactured spirits.

Towne grew up in Waterville as a self-described “candy fanatic,” who collected bottles by the roadside to feed his gummy fish habit. Towne runs the business, while Simpson makes the chocolates when he’s not working as a photonic engineer in Boston. The couple sold their first chocolates in 2014 at a crafts fair in Belfast and have steadily grown the business, mostly through pop-up retail shops around the holidays and through their website. In May, they will double their work space and open their first retail shop, which will be in Waterville.

You may have figured out by now that there is no Christopher Hastings. To name their company, Towne and Simpson combined their middle names. “It looked and sounded really elegant, and we fell in love with it,” Towne said.

The Taste of Maine assortment ranges in cost from $4 for two pieces to $32 for 16 pieces, and can be ordered through

Come spring, look for a local rhubarb meringue truffle.


]]> 0, 08 Feb 2018 18:24:04 +0000
Are you a Maine gardener who is looking for a challenge? Sun, 11 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Rosemary is a versatile kitchen herb that adds a pungent flavor and piney scent to food.

Unfortunately for us, it is a Zone 7 plant, native to the Mediterranean – which means that Mainers have two options: Either treat it as an annual and replant it in your herb garden each spring or dig it up before the first frost and try to keep it alive indoors all winter.

You can grow rosemary from seed, but it takes up to 16 weeks to get it ready to be planted outside after all danger of frost is gone. In other words, it is going to take some work.

Prepare light, well-drained potting mix in seedling pots or a seedling tray – using a lot more seed than you think you will need because rosemary has an unusually low rate of germination. Cover the seed, water it, and then cover the container with clear plastic wrap.

In Maine, you probably will need a heating mat because the seed wants temperatures of about 80 degrees. Once the seeds – or at least some of them – sprout, remove the plastic wrap and provide a light source for eight to 10 hours a day – which means artificial light in Maine.

Once the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, they will be ready to plant outside. They can go directly in the garden, but if you plan to bring them inside in the fall it will be easier to grow them in containers.

If you get enough viable seedlings, and you’re a creative sort, you could try your hand making topiaries with some of them.

]]> 0, 08 Feb 2018 17:01:20 +0000
Caterpillars – the good, the bad and the ugly Sun, 11 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 There are good caterpillars and bad caterpillars. The good caterpillars are essential parts of the natural web that keeps wild creatures alive in our increasingly urban country. The bad caterpillars are damaging some of the native trees that, among other things, provide food for the good caterpillars.

The life of caterpillars was an oft-repeated topic at the Grow Maine Green Expo – conducted by the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association and Maine Arborist Association – last month at the Augusta Civic Center.

Let’s start with the good caterpillars.

Doug Tallamy, if he didn’t launch the movement of growing native plants necessary to support wildlife, spread the practice widely in his 2007 book “Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens.” He discussed the good caterpillars in a packed lecture at the Expo.

Caterpillars are desirable for a lot of reasons: Many are beautiful in their own state; many turn into gorgeous butterflies and moths; and all of them are a highly nutritious source of food, not only for birds but for other wildlife, including amphibians and mammals. Although adult birds eat fruits and seeds, the only food many species of baby birds can eat is caterpillars. Caterpillars are soft, with almost no exoskeleton, and are high in protein and carotenoids.

So caterpillars and insects that are the later stages of caterpillars are important. And what do those species eat? Plants.

Not just any plants. They eat the native plants that co-evolved with the insects.

There is a reason for that. The plants don’t want to be eaten. As they evolved over the centuries, plants developed chemicals that make the leaves taste bad or otherwise repel predators.

The insects adapted, too.

“Host-plant specialists figured out how to get by chemical defenses of one or two plants and detoxify the compounds,” Tallamy explained. “And it takes a long period of time for those adaptations to take place.”

An example of adaptation is the well-known case of the monarch butterfly and milkweed, which young monarch caterpillars need to survive. The sticky white sap that gives milkweed its name oozes out when an insect eats, and the ooze forms a goo that sticks the insect’s mouth parts together, so it starves to death.

The monarch butterfly has developed a way to bite the stem of milkweed leaves, stopping the flow of the sap.

“The monarch is now able to eat a plant that is not available to other insects,” Tallamy said. The down-side is that without enough milkweeds around, monarchs could die out, which is why all gardeners are now urged to plant milkweed.

“Lack of milkweeds is a marketing issue,” Tallamy said. “We call them weeds. What if we called them Monarch’s Delight?”

Tallamy has spent a lot of time counting caterpillars. A white oak on his property in Delaware had 410 caterpillars at head height, which represented 19 species. A black cherry, also native, had 249 caterpillars, amounting to 14 species.

Nearby, Tallamy said, were some non-natives: 32 callery pears, hosting a total of one caterpillar; burning bush, four caterpillars, all the same species; gingko biloba had only a few caterpillars, and he thinks they were there by mistake because nothing eats gingko.

Overall nationally, oaks support native caterpillars more than any other plant, but in Maine the favorite plant for caterpillars is willow, followed by the oak. Trees overall are better than herbaceous perennials.

All of his information on caterpillars should have a big impact on gardeners.

Tallamy believes that every landowner has a responsibility to include native plants in her garden that support wildlife. It is the only way the birds and other wildlife we want – we need, as we are all interconnected and interdependent – in our ecosystem can survive. There isn’t enough public land to do the job. It is up to us.

Now on to the bad insects.

Colleen Teerling, an entomologist with the Maine Forest Service, discussed the browntail and gypsy moths, which are both major problems in coastal Maine.

But because her audience was mostly arborists, she had some details that were new to me.

Teerling’s talk followed Tallamy’s, so the audience was already enthusiastic about preserving native caterpillars.

In response to questions, she said that the chemicals that kill the invasive insects also kill the native ones. But because both the browntail and winter moth caterpillars come out early, spraying as soon as the leaves emerge might (and she stressed might) kill the pests without killing the natives.

Using systemic pesticides, which are injected into the tree, “will make the tree a desert,” killing all the insects that depend on it – the good and the bad.

One small ray of light: Teerling said that the release of flies as biocontrols to attack the invasive pests will work – but it will take time. Until then, such methods as tree banding for winter moths can provide a little help.


The Horticulturalist of the Year awards are announced every year at the Grow Maine Green Expo. This year, Chris Bales, a product representative at Casella Organics, a company that makes composts and does other recycling and environmental work, was named winner of the Al Black award as Horticulturist of the Year. Traditionally the award goes to someone who works with plants, but Bales has been active in Maine Landscape and Nursery Association projects for many years.

Lee Skillin, the latest in a long line of family workers at the family’s greenhouses in Falmouth, Brunswick and Cumberland, was named Young Horticulturist of the Year.

TOM ATWELL is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:

]]> 0, 08 Feb 2018 17:52:57 +0000
Andrew Bossie is the first executive director of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters Sun, 11 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 In January, Andrew Bossie officially took on the role of running Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, a membership nonprofit founded just over a year ago to help Maine’s new national monument succeed. It’s got a 15-member board of directors, Bossie as executive director and so far, about 400 friends as members. We called Bossie up to talk and learned about his childhood in Caribou, how many peaks he’s climbed and what kind of help Katahdin Woods & Waters needs from its friends.

SNOWMOBILES AND SKIDDERS: Bossie spent his early childhood in Florida, with parents who ditched Northern Maine after getting married. He was 10 when he moved to Caribou with his father and then-stepmother, where they opened a restaurant and his father went to work for Cary Medical Center in food service. Snowmobiles, skidders and deep woods were everywhere. “That was really my understanding of the woods growing up – riding around in a truck with my dad looking for grouse and deer.” He came down to coastal Maine in 2002 to go to college at the University of Southern Maine and “quickly fell in love with this part of the state.”

ALL ACTION: He also plunged into activism, working with nonprofits and on ballot initiatives while he was still enrolled as a student and then, not long after he graduated, became the executive director of the Maine AIDS Alliance. “I think I was 22. It was 2007 and I was like, ‘I got this.’ And then the great recession hits and I am like, ‘I still have got this.’ ” And so he did, for four years, commuting to Augusta to work on fundraising for HIV/AIDS patients and service providers, as well as representing the cause in the State House.

PARKS AND RECREATION: While working in Augusta, Bossie was developing a serious obsession with hiking. “The entire time I started this professional career I would go into the woods. It started off with backpacking.” This was exploring on a different level than grouse hunting with his dad had been. “I would hike in the Whites and anywhere in Maine.” He has climbed 33 of the 48 peaks that are 4,000 feet or more in the White Mountains, although in classic mountain-climbing mindset, he thinks of this in terms of how many he has left (15). In Maine, he said he’s done “a lot” of mountains. Among his favorites is Traveler Mountain in Baxter State Park, which he refers to as Travelers plural. “It’s four peaks and you are up and down” the whole time and remote. “Every time I do the Travelers, I don’t think I have seen more than two parties.”

HOW BIG THE WORLD: Bossie’s next gig in Augusta was with Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, where he served as executive director until last summer. What he had in mind for the next job was something that would take him outdoors. “I wanted to get out into the wilderness, for that sense of serenity and peace and exploration, and that sense of how big the world is. Our human problems sometimes feel a lot different when you are in nature.” The outdoors has brought him solace in tough times; Bossie lost his brother Ryan to a heroin overdose in 2015, after years of struggling to help his younger brother conquer his addiction. The day we spoke was the anniversary of Ryan’s death. “It is fresh on all of my family members’ minds.”

MY OLD BACKYARD: While he was working for the citizens group, he had met Lucas St. Clair, who was leading the charge to turn 87,000 acres his family owned in the northern woods near Baxter into a national park or monument. “We would get together and talk about the trips we would go on, and I was very interested in what he was doing in my old backyard.” Bossie’s first canoe trip was with his future husband, on the East Branch of the Penobscot, a centerpiece of the new monument. That was around 2012, and since then, Bossie has fully embraced paddling, in large part because realized how much easier it is to cook well on a canoe trip than when carrying every ingredient on one’s back. In the early summer, Bossie put in an application to be a consultant for the new monument and in the fall he was offered the interim executive director job with the monument’s friends group. “It is an amazing opportunity. I wake up in the morning and pinch myself.” His appointment became official last month.

HARD AT WORK: What is his role? He’s building a philanthropic base to get the monument off the ground. “This is the infancy. So everything is needed.” The mission of the nonprofit includes supporting the Monument and defending “it against threats.” Then there is the map making: the friends group has banded together to create a map for the loop road and supporting materials. The group has also taken over ownership of a property originally donated to the National Park Foundation by a couple, Steve and Vicki Richardson, who own the local hardware store. The house will be used for the National Park Service’s administrative headquarters, but Bossie will also be able to stay there when he’s commuting from Portland. “I have a home, so to speak.”

FISH AND FORAGE: When he’s not working on the monument, he’ll be fishing and foraging. Despite that youth accompanying his dad hunting, he’s far more interested in casting from a canoe. “I am a fisherman although self admittedly, I am not that good at it.” He also loves to forage. Two cups of wild raspberries or blueberries, and he’ll be firing up the Dutch oven for a campside cake. “Food tastes better after a day of hard work.”

RIGHT FIT: Aside from his love of the outdoors, Bossie feels a strong connection with the area around Katahdin Woods & Waters because it reminds him so much of home in Caribou. And not just the woods. He was 11 when Loring Air Force Base closed in 1994 and well remembers the loss of jobs, and population, in nearby Limestone and its impact on Caribou. As the economy of towns near to Katahdin Woods & Waters attempt to bounce back from paper mill closures, Bossie relates to locals’ struggles. “These communities are a lot like Caribou. Even some of the potlucks have the same dishes.”

WATERGATE SALAD FOR ALL: Like what? Well, the other day in Patten, Bossie had some Watergate salad. What’s in that? Something scandalous? “Cool Whip, pistachio pudding mix, marshmallows, nuts and pineapple.” But salads aside, “The more common thing I see is that these are people that want their community to do well,” from opportunity for their youths to concern about their own futures as they age. The monument can be part of the solution, Bossie says. “The hallmark of all my work is the idea of people finding their own power and collectively using their power as a community. This is just an incredible opportunity to do this.” And there is a side benefit: “My dad is super psyched that I’m only an hour away.”

]]> 0, 13 Feb 2018 09:21:31 +0000
After four decades in the business, the cheesemakers at York Hill Farm retire Sun, 11 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 John Duncan waited until the last couple of outdoor farmers markets in October to put up a sign letting customers know he and his wife, Penny, were closing down York Hill Farm’s cheesemaking business.

It was just a modest sign; the Duncans are not ones to make a fuss or demand fanfare. Unless you saw the sign, you’d have no idea that this might be your last chance ever to purchase fresh cheese in the little white cups with the cute sketches of a pair of goats on top. Moreover, because the season for fresh chevre, their specialty since 1984, was winding down with the arrival of fall and breeding season, the absence of York Hill Farm cheeses on the marketplace wouldn’t have been noticed as winter was taking hold in Maine.

Sam Hayward, the chef/owner of Portland’s Fore Street, didn’t hear about their retirement until January, for instance. At Fore Street, the Duncans’ cheeses have been a critical part of two signature dishes for 20 years, including a tomato-goat cheese spin on tarte tatin. While happy for the Duncans, Hayward is verklempt for himself.

“I have no idea what I am going to do without York Hill cheese,” Hayward said.

That’s his practical side speaking, the part of him that put in orders for wheels of their hard cheese and 5-pound buckets of their soft, and relished whipping the Duncans’ soft cheese with fresh herbs and adding it to the top of that warm tomato tart like a mousse.

But more significant is his recognition of something more ephemeral, echoed by others in the Maine food community. Local cheesemaking, once a novelty, then a growing concern and now a booming business, has matured to the point where those who were once on the experimental frontier are ready for retirement.

“I call them the OGs,” said Eric Rector. Rector is a cheesemaker and past president of the Maine Cheese Guild. His affectionate term for the Duncans and others stands not for Original Gangsters, or even Old Guard, although they are that in local cheese circles, but “the old goat cheese people.”

The Duncans were leaders, and in an era where eating goat cheese was often considered penitential. Now they are leaders in exiting a marketplace while trying not to abandon their legacy. York Hill Farm’s recipes and equipment are for sale on Farmlink, along with mentorship from the couple on caring for livestock and making cheese.

Preserving their hard-fought place in the Maine food economy is important, said Stephanie Welcomer, a professor of management at the University of Maine whose work focuses on the intersection of sustainable businesses, communities and environment. She co-authored an in-depth study of the challenges and opportunities facing Maine’s artisan cheesemakers. One of the recommendations of that report, which was published in Maine Policy Review last year, was that an emphasis on succession planning is needed since a number of other Maine cheesemakers will be reaching retirement age in coming years.

“If they retire and their brand and know-how just kind of evaporates, it’s a loss not just to their customers and their community but to the state,” Welcomer said.

That potential for losing expertise is a problem that extends beyond cheesemaking to other parts of the Maine food economy, Welcomer said, but the Duncans’ legacy is a prime example of what Maine should be supporting. Groups like Land for Good are working to help with transfers of land, but what about value-added expertise?

Rector said there are “zero resources” available to help veterans such as the Duncans retire and pass on their knowledge and equipment to a successor. “We haven’t even thought about how we help our OGs retire,” he said.

A photo of John and Penny Duncan in the late 1980s, selling cheese at the Common Ground Country Fair. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup


John and Penny Duncan met in their senior year of high school in Connecticut, while both were on spring break in Florida. They were married a year later. “And then we put ourselves through school,” John Duncan said. Penny went to nursing school, he studied respiratory therapy.

Even headed into the medical profession, both of them wanted land, at least enough for Penny to garden on. But land wasn’t cheap in southern Connecticut. They read “We Took to the Woods” by Louise Dickinson Rich and started looking for a place in Maine, where John had been born and lived until first grade. In 1978, they both landed jobs at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft and started shopping for an old farmhouse. It took until 1981 to find York Hill Farm in New Sharon.

Soon after, they got their first goats and started experimenting with making cheese, inspired by an article in Mother Earth News about a cheesemaking couple in Virginia. Penny’s passion led the way as they tried out recipes. As a child, she had immigrated from England to the United States with a father who had never lost interest in European cheeses. He doled them out in small, treasured, stinky doses to her and her siblings.

In 1984 the Duncans got licensed for milk production. They had 15 goats by 1986 and were sharing a booth at the Common Ground Country Fair. By 1987, they’d added 10 more goats to the herd and won the first of several first-place ribbons from the American Cheese Society. John quit his day job.

“We were at the first wave,” he said.

Goat cheese had taken off in California, but just barely. Laura Chenel, the first commercial goat cheese producer in the United States, started in 1979. Alice Waters was serving Chenel’s cheese at Chez Panisse in Berkeley by 1980. But West Coast trends were no guarantee of success at home in New Sharon. Barbara Brooks founded Seal Cove in Lamoine in 1976 and Pixie Day was milking goats in Tenants Harbor, but the Duncans had little company in their venture.

“They were incredibly brave,” Rector said. “In the 1980s, even in Boston, if you said ‘goat cheese,’ 90 percent of people thought, ‘Yuck.’ So imagine what it was like in a farmers market in Maine.”

The Duncans, he said, had to educate their customers. They had some strong allies, like Hayward. “They were the first of artisanal farmstead cheesemakers that I knew in Maine,” Hayward said. He’d stop by the farmers market on the mall in Brunswick to sample and then buy cheeses to serve at 22 Lincoln in Brunswick, the restaurant that established him on the national scene.

But he was an outlier. Duncan said they regularly sold to places like Treats in Wiscasset and Portland Wine and Cheese, but initially “it was all about getting the cheese out of state.”

Then New York Times food writer Marian Burros dropped by in the summer of 1987. She’d heard about that first-place ribbon from the American Cheese Society and she included them in a story about Yankee farmers thinking “small.” That helped boost their sales in markets that were ready for goat cheese.

By the early 1990s, the Duncans had a milking machine, a herd of about 50 goats and were making between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds of cheese a year, including a hard cheese called Capriano, aged between five months and a year.

“They were my first Maine cheesemakers that I sold,” said Kris Horton, whose K. Horton Specialty Foods recently closed shop in the Public Market in Portland after 18 years. She stocked 200 cheeses and said she considered York Hill “absolutely competitive if not superior” to many European varieties she kept in stock. “They are definitely cream of the crop.”

The Duncans also had a longstanding relationship selling to Whole Foods in the Boston area until about eight years ago, when the recession took a hit on the amount people were willing to spend on luxury cheeses. The Duncans pulled back and focused more on local markets.

“We sized down because we were looking to eventually size out,” John Duncan said. “And we wanted to enjoy the last few years.”

Although their son and daughter-in-law worked with them at York Hill for many years, when it came to succession, they were not interested.

“They both realized that this wasn’t their calling,” Duncan said. “It was our calling.”

York Hill Farm, the Duncans’ home and place of business for over three decades. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup


On Oct. 28, the Duncans sold the last of their goats. But unlike some other retiring farmers, they weren’t interested in selling their land or their pre-1820 farmhouse. They could have put their equipment on Craig’s List or eBay, but they wanted to preserve the business they had built over so many years. They listed it on FarmLink, Maine Farmland Trust’s program to match potential farmers with farms, with a price tag of $100,000, including the equipment, the recipes and the mentorship.

“We’ve had some inquiries, but nobody who could afford it and build a new facility and get everything up and running,” Duncan said.

“I think it is a bargain,” Welcomer said. Maybe not for a novice coming into the business. “I think the average young cheesemaker sees that as Mount Everest in terms of cost. But that is a huge, rare and hard-to-substitute set of resources that they are passing on.”

Jill Dutton of The Cheese Iron has sold York Hill’s cheeses throughout the 12 years the Scarborough store has been open. She too is pulling for someone to train with the Duncans, and see their recipes put to good use by someone else.

But cheesemaking involves an alchemy of recipe, livestock and the diet those animals consume, and Dutton wonders if anyone can really replicate what York Hill did. “You can sell the recipe but the milk is really why it has that flavor,” she said. What if the grass up there in New Sharon was what gave York Hill cheese its distinct flavor, she wondered?

From Rector’s perspective, the mentorship the Duncans would offer is key. Goat cheese may seem simple, but it is not, he said. “It is so sort of simple that it is really complex. It is all about time and temperature.” Every step is critical, he said. “I would argue that it is pretty hard to consistently make good goat cheese.”

Welcomer agrees. The full title of her co-authored study was “Maine’s Artisan Cheesemakers: The Opportunities and Challenges of Being an Artist, Scientist, Agriculturalist, Alchemist, and Entrepreneur.” All those factors are needed to make great cheese, and selling a business like York Hill Farm is more than just an economic exchange. “They really want to pass on their competencies and brands to someone that shares their values,” Welcome said.

Having tasted and enjoyed York Hill cheeses like that Capriano, the hard cheese that Hayward likes to adorn summer arugula salads with at Fore Street, Welcomer knows how special it is.

“That would be hard to reproduce,” Welcomer said.


This will be the first spring since the early ’80s when the Duncans have not gone into midwife mode for their goats. John Duncan jokes that together he and Penny probably delivered as many kids as the local OB-GYN, an average of 140 goats every spring, many producing multiple kids in a birth. “We have had as many as five at a time,” he said.

For more than 30 years he rose at dawn to give his goats fresh hay and spent two hours getting them milked and the rest of the day marketing, packing and shipping the cheeses his wife made with that milk. Is there a goat or two in the Duncans’ future? Possibly, John Duncan said, but not until they’ve had some time to travel, ski at Sugarloaf and enjoy their camp in Rangeley. They’ve already been to Wisconsin to visit their daughter and to Niagara Falls as tourists. Penny Duncan is in no rush to be milking again.

“I don’t have trouble letting go of the goats,” she said. The recipes and methods are what she worries about. “The make-procedures for those cheeses, I would really like to send along. But we’ve got it on FarmLink, and I think it will just be a matter of time and finding the right person.”

How will they make do, without their own cheese?

“We have probably 30 cups of our cheese in the freezer,” John Duncan said. “And some Capriano and some of our ripened roll, so we haven’t had to worry about it yet.”

For those without a secret stash of York Hill Farm cheese, it’s a little painful.

“It just feels like a passing to me, that they aren’t going to be around,” Hayward said. But at the same time, he can see a bright side.

“They have been successful enough, with a great product, that they can retire,” he added. “That is a hopeful sign for Maine’s farmers.”


]]> 0 and John Duncan at York Hill Farm, their home and place of business for over three decades. The couple quietly retired from their goat cheese business in October. Left: The Duncans in the 1980s, selling their cheeses at the Common Ground Country Fair.Mon, 12 Feb 2018 14:15:23 +0000
This Valentine’s Day, upcycle an old shirt into an apron for those you love Sun, 11 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000 I have upcycled food scraps in my kitchen to avoid waste for many years. I regularly turn lobster shells and corn cobs into broth, citrus rinds into both sugary garnishes and household cleaners, root vegetable peels into finishing salts, and canned bean juice into marshmallow-like ghosts.

It’s only recently that I’ve started upcycling inedible objects for use in the kitchen. This Valentine’s Day, instead of cards, chocolates and flowers, I’m presenting almost everyone I love – the exception is my husband as he is getting pie – with a kitchen apron fashioned out of XL dress shirts my son decided were not fashion-forward enough to make the trip to college with him. That statement makes me sound much craftier than I actually am. This project requires few supplies and even less sewing prowess.

You need a washable collared shirt, scissors, a needle and thread. You can pull this transformation off in 20 minutes if you pull out your sewing machine. But I use the hand-sewing skills I picked up at summer camp as a third-grader, making these aprons as I binge-watch period dramas. My production rate is one apron per two episodes of “The Crown.” Keeping my hands busy also cuts down on the imported wine I drink during these sessions, a sustainability bonus, indeed.

Google serves up dozens of blog posts and DIY videos on how to fashion an apron from a dress shirt. I picked and chose the elements from several to render a utilitarian apron. Some tutorials suggest turning a cut-off sleeve into a convenient front pocket, which I incorporated into my own process. While others add more frivolous touches like using trim from the back of the shirt to make a ruffle running across the apron’s bottom edge, which I didn’t.

To make one yourself, lay a shirt, button-side up, on a flat surface. It’s best to have the buttons done up at this juncture. Cut off each sleeve on a diagonal line from where the seams meet in the armpit to where the collar meets the double-layer yoke of the shirt. Carefully cut around the collar to separate it fully from the yoke. Don’t cut through the collar itself.

Now is the time to decide if you want a more masculine straight apron or fancy a more feminine, curvy one that wraps all the way around the backside. For the former, cut the shirt directly along the side seams, staying to the outside of each seam on each side. If you want the latter, leave about five inches of material on the outside of each seam. Then trim each side to be the same height as the bottom of the arm hole.

In either case, you need an 8-inch piece of the material from the back of the shirt to make apron ties. Cut that piece in half the long way so you have two strips, each 4 inches wide and 2 feet long. Fold these trips in half inside out the long way and sew the edges closed. Turn the ties right-side out once they are sewn together.

On the right side of the apron, turn the raw edges of the material to create a hem under and sew it down. Repeat this process on the left side of the apron. Sew one end of each of the ties to one side of the apron.

Take one of the removed sleeves, and cut it just above the placket (the part of the sleeve with the tailored slit to accommodate the wearer’s hand going through). Cut it again at the placket’s seam so that it lies flat. Sew this onto the front of the apron, centered just below the fourth button from the top to create a pocket.

See, I told you it was easier than you thought it would be to produce a sustainable Valentine’s Day gift. But if you’re not convinced, there’s always the option of making pie.

CHRISTINE BURNS RUDALEVIGE is a food writer, recipe developer and tester and cooking teacher in Brunswick, and the author of “Green Plate Special,” a cookbook from Islandport based on these columns. She can be contacted at

]]> 0, 08 Feb 2018 18:58:30 +0000
Lobster emoji design stumbles, perhaps for want of 2 more legs Fri, 09 Feb 2018 00:06:53 +0000 The sample lobster emoji unveiled Wednesday by the governing body of cute little social media icons is, shall we say, deformed.

And some people are noticing.

The fact that it’s missing two legs has been pointed out by more than one lobster fan. It also appears to have an extra crusher claw, not to mention a tail that is grossly malformed.

But social media critics should take heart. The image that surfaced this week is intended for illustration only, and is not necessarily the one that will show up on smartphones this summer.

The Unicode Consortium, official arbiter of emojis, says on its website that final designs are up to individual vendors such as Adobe and Apple. Unicode’s website also says that designs change and it even asks for suggested improvements.

Unicode did not respond to questions Thursday about the criticisms of its sample emoji, so it’s not clear if the nonprofit organization knows its lobster is malformed, or if it cares.

The proposed image that appears on a digital petition supporting the creation of lobster emoji has the correct number of legs.

Joel Rubin, a Maine native and California resident, pointed out the missing appendages while also congratulating U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine on his successful efforts to land the lobster emoji.

“Hate to pour cold butter on all the excitement, but @PressHerald posted a pic of the emoji and it appears to be missing a set of legs. … Before this turns into a scandal, I advise you to demand a redraw,” he tweeted.

Heather Pixley of Massachusetts also posted tweets calling out the error.

“Dear @unicode THANK YOU SO MUCH for the #lobsteremoji – Could you add two legs?”

There appears to be plenty of time for social media to get its message through to the artists who will create the final versions. On the other hand, no one said emojis have to be anatomically correct. Just try to make your face look like the new woozy face emoji, for example.

And Unicode is not the first to run into trouble with missing lobster legs. The Red Lobster restaurant chain’s logo has a lobster with just eight legs, too.

In fact, it’s such a common mistake that there is even a blog called Lobsters Have Ten Legs that describes itself as “a place to share our frustrations about anatomically incorrect lobster art, toys, apparel and knick-knacks.” It had not yet posted the new emoji as of Thursday afternoon.

Anatomical irregularities were not the only kerfuffle over the emoji Thursday.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., joined in with a tweet that congratulated – and tweaked – King.

“Big win for @SenAngusKing and all of us who love lobster. Though I think we can all agree that lobster (emojis or rolls) are best served Connecticut style – hot with butter.”

Whether it belongs with butter or mayonnaise, the lobster emoji was a hit on social media Thursday, notwithstanding its missing parts.

King’s tweet announcing the emoji had 4,500 likes.

]]> 0, 12 Feb 2018 15:15:37 +0000
Portland Ballet collaborates with Colby and Boston-based choreographer Thu, 08 Feb 2018 21:10:58 +0000 0, 08 Feb 2018 16:10:58 +0000 Lucky Clark on Music: Shemekia Copeland Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:27:27 +0000 If you are a fan of the blues, do I have a show for you. On Feb. 16, the Waterville Opera House will host Shemekia Copeland, one of the most powerful blues singers around. Now, if her name strikes a familiar note, it’s probably because of her dad — the late Johnny Clyde Copeland — who brought her onstage at Harlem’s Cotton Club to sing when she was only 8 years old. When she was 16, she was opening his shows after he was diagnosed with a degenerative heart condition, and a short two years later she released her debut CD on Alligator Records titled “Turn The Heat Up.”

Since then, she’s released more albums, the latest being “Outskirts of Love,” marking her return to Alligator, while garnering praise from fans, critics and some of music’s biggest stars. On Jan. 12 I was able to reach her at home in Pennsylvania to talk about her upcoming return to Maine. I began by asking Copeland how she was.

Copeland: I am all right.

Q: Good to hear. Well, I first talked with you back in 1998 when you started out. We actually chatted twice that year, and I’m pleased to hear that you’re coming back up here to Maine once again.

Copeland: Aw, I love coming up there — it’s my favorite.

Q: Have you ever played at the Waterville Opera House before?

Copeland: You know, I want to say “yes” but my brain can’t process things like that right now.

Q: Well, considering all the touring you do, it’s not surprising that you can’t recall one specific venue and it does sound like you have your hands full there right now.

Copeland: My little guy, he turned 1 on Christmas Eve. He’s got a lot to say.

Q: I noticed that. And speaking of vocalizing, it’s always a pleasure listening to your albums, because as soon as you start to sing, it is so distinctive and one of a kind.

Copeland: That’s my main goal in life, not to be or sound like anybody else.

Q: Well, you’ve achieved that, for sure. Now, “Outskirts” came out in 2015. Are you working on something new?

Copeland: Yes, I just finished a record and I’m very, very excited about it. I flew home yesterday just in time for the weather to get bad there. I’m super-excited about this new record, which was produced by Will Kimbrough, and I’m ecstatic about it. My life changed drastically over the last couple of years and with the state of this country and my life changing, the record is about all of that. I’m very excited, very excited.

Q: Will this new album have some songs written by you?

Copeland: No, on this record, no. It’s funny, everybody always asks me about that. It’s hilarious to me. I’m not a writer, you know, I’m a singer. But I’m fortunate that I work with great writers, and on this record, especially. Every record we add new people writing songs, which is great.

Q: And no matter who writes it, when you sing it you make it your own.

Copeland: Well, it’s kinda easy because they are written for me, you know what I mean?

Q: Yup, I do, and seeing one of the writers on your last album was Oliver Wood, who also played guitar, supplied backing vocals and produced the CD. Well, The Wood Brothers are so hot nowadays.

Copeland: Absolutely, absolutely. I enjoyed working with Oliver Wood. We made three records together and he actually wrote a song with John (Hahn, songwriter and executive producer of “Outskirts”) on this new record, too. So, he’s not far away from me. I love Oliver.

Q: When is this new album coming out?

Copeland: Probably not until the fall, late summer/early fall.

Q: Will folks up in Waterville get to hear some of the new songs?

Copeland: No, not yet. We’re so not prepared. I mean, I literally just finished it.

Q: I understand, for sure. What will you have for a backing band on this tour?

Copeland: I’ve had the same band for a really long time; I have two guitars, bass and drums.

Q: With all the albums you have out, is it hard to put a set list together?

Copeland: You know, it is. I mean, the more records you make, the tougher it gets, so I stick with quite a lot of the latest and then I just throw the older stuff in there as much as we want, you know?

Q: When one listens to the body of your work, especially “Outskirts,” you touch on the blues, soul, blues-rock, gospel, R&B, and even country with “Drivin’ Out Of Nashville.” I love the line in there that goes, “country is the blues with a twang” — it seems wrong to call you just a blues singer.

Copeland: Yeah — no. And you know what? For me I am a blues singer. In my mind I always have been, but that really shouldn’t limit a person. As an artist I’m not limited in any way, shape or form, because everything else comes from the blues. I think people limit you because they want to put you in a box and make you be one thing or the other. I’ve always felt that that was unfair in music, so we can jump inside of different things and become whatever we need to.

Q: And this also gives you a chance to branch out a bit and put your own stamp on things, and with your voice being so distinctive, the way you handle, say, a country song or a rock song or a soul song, that puts your own mark upon it.

Copeland: Yes.

Q: Is there anything you would like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Copeland: Just that I’m really excited about coming. New England has been really good to me and I’m grateful that they have invited my band and I to come back and perform. We’re super- excited about it.

Lucky Clark has spent 49 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

]]> 0 photo Shemekia CopelanddThu, 08 Feb 2018 09:38:45 +0000
J.P. Devine Movie Review: ‘I, Tonya’ Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:25:58 +0000 Much to my surprise, I discovered, after all these years, that it wasn’t Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) who took a stick to rival Nancy Kerrigan’s (Caitlin Carver) knee in the back hall of the skating rehearsal rink, and thus roared onto the front page and attendant of multi screens of the world media, as the darkest villain since Lizzie Borden was accused of taking a hatchet and chopping up her parents in Massachusetts.

“I, Tonya’s” director Craig Gillespie and writer Steven Rogers have since informed me that it was a duo of stooges put together by Tonya’s husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) and his moronic high school best friend and Tonya’s bodyguard Shawn, played here by scene and movie stealer Paul Walter Hauser, who really deserved a best supporting nomination. You have to see him to believe his work.

Tonya, who was almost as dumb and hungry as Jeff, thought the idea was simply to send some mailed death threats that would unnerve the sweet Kerrigan.

The plan got misinterpreted, and things went awry, resulting in a wounded Kerrigan, who eventually went on win the silver in the Olympics.

But “I,Tonya” is less about the attack and more about Tonya and how she came to be so emotionally crippled as to be seduced into such awful choices.

It all started as it often does, with the bad luck of having an even more emotionally damaged mother, LaVona Golden, played here full out by Oscar nominated Allison Janney.

One might think that mother and daughter from the really, really wrong side of the tracks with names like LaVona and Tonya might start problems with one another from the start, and lo and behold, they sure did.

Tonya, we learn, was blessed, or cursed, depending on how one sees the whole picture, with a natural gift for the silver blades.

LaVona, the foul-mouthed Mama from hell, smells money and a chance to get the nagging kid, whom she occasionally slaps and once accidentally stabbed with a potato peeling knife, out of the house. She bullies the local ice coach (Julianne Nicholson) into taking the child on.

Tonya takes to ice as Donald Trump takes to real estate and goes on to become a champion figure skater — the first female figure skater to perform two, count ’em, two triple axel jumps.

By now she’s a favorite with the audiences, but sneered at by the snooty judges who consider her homemade spangled and glittery costumes déclassé.

Hubby Jeff, who also has a nose for greener wallets, pushes her along and takes on the slapping and punching chores from Mama.

The story moves into the famous assault, the recriminations, worldwide publicity, Tonya’s rise and fall, and winds up in court.

It ends with a series of tiresome codas from Tonya, wearing a god-awful fright wig as she sits smoking at her chrome kitchen table, Jeff now broke and older, and Mama LaVona, slumped on a tattered couch, tethered to an oxygen tube, while her parrot, perched on her shoulder, pecks at her glasses. It’s a scene worthy of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

Margot Robbie, playing Tonya, knocks her ball out of the park in every scene she’s in, and that’s all of them. She rides her ascent and descent with class and smooth professionalism. She deserves her nomination, and if Sally Hawkins stays home, she could be a challenger.

It’s Allison Janney who’s getting most of the press, and deservedly so, even though she’s really simply Janney playing the makeup, and it’s a get-up that will block your sinuses.

The film, and the story don’t amount to all that much, but the music? Oh boy! It kicks up some fun memories.

For your money you get Supertramp’s “Goodbye Stranger,” Bad Company’s “Shooting Star” and Laura Branigan’s “Gloria,” among others. Not bad.

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and film actor.

]]> 0, 08 Feb 2018 09:42:03 +0000
The Metropolitan Opera: L’Elisir d’Amore will be rebroadcasted at Waterville Opera House Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:24:55 +0000 A live HD broadcast of The Metropolitan Opera: L’Elisir d’Amore from the Metropolitan Opera in NYC will be screened at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Waterville Opera House, 1 Common St. in Waterville.

Donizetti’s comic gem L’Elisir d’Amore, staged by Bartlett Sher and conducted by Domingo Hindoyan, stars Pretty Yende as the spirited Adina, with Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino, the simple peasant who falls in love with her. Davide Luciano makes his Met debut as the role of Adina’s arrogant fiancé, Belcore and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo sings the role of the magic potion-peddling Doctor Dulcamara. Domingo Hindoyan makes his company debut conducting.

Running time is two hours and 59 minutes, including intermission.

Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $15 for students.

For tickets or more information, call 873-7000 or

]]> 0, 08 Feb 2018 09:25:21 +0000
‘Love Letters’ to be staged Valentines Day at the Chocolate Church Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:24:31 +0000 The Chocolate Church Arts Center will present “Love Letters,” by A.R. Gurney, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the Chocolate Church Annex, 804 Washington St. in Bath.

Melissa and Andy are characters that remind listeners of their own lives, or of the lives of people they hold dear.

Jim and Phyllis McQuaide bring the characters to life as they chronicle two people who form a bond early in their lives that survives their being directed along different paths and into divergent careers and separate love lives. They grow up exchanging the letters that form the story’s script, and through those letters their very different lives come back together in later years when they can no longer hide or deny their love for one another.

Tickets cost $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

For tickets, visit or call the box office at 442-8455.

]]> 0 Thu, 08 Feb 2018 09:24:56 +0000
Heather Pierson to perform Feb. 9 at Chocolate Church Arts Center Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:24:08 +0000 Heather Pierson will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, at the Chocolate Church Arts Center, 804 Washington St. in Bath.

Pierson is an award-winning pianist, multi-genre singer/songwriter, arranger, bandleader and performer.

From New Orleans-style jazz and blues to rousing Americana and folk narratives, her live performances feature her vocals as well as her piano, tenor banjo, melodica and acoustic guitar skills. She performs both solo and with her acoustic trio, featuring Davy Sturtevant on strings/cornet and Shawn Nadeau on upright bass.

Tickets cost $15 in advance or $17 at the door. Tickets are available by calling the Chocolate Church Arts Center box office at 442-8455 or visit

]]> 0, 08 Feb 2018 09:33:20 +0000
Banff Mountain Film Festival set for Feb. 11, 12 Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:23:30 +0000 The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will return for its 18th year to Portland at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, and Monday, Feb. 12, at the State Theatre, 609 Congress St. in Portland.

There will be different film menus each night. The Banff program, including the intermission, is approximately three hours.

This year’s selection of eight films will showcase more than two hours of cinematography telling powerful stories that reflect a wide range of mountain experiences and portraits from mountain sports, culture and mountain environment to adventure.

Selected from 400 entries, this year’s tour features a collection of the most inspiring and thought-provoking action, environmental and adventure mountain films with stops in 550 locations in 40 countries in all seven continents.

Tickets cost $18 in advance, $15 for students with school ID) and at the door (if still available) or $21 at the door.

For more information, visit

]]> 0 photo A sceen from "Surf the Line."Thu, 08 Feb 2018 09:23:30 +0000
Augusta Symphony Orchestra to perform Feb. 11 Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:22:17 +0000 The Augusta Symphony Orchestra ensembles will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at UMA Jewett Auditorium. A snow date is set for Feb. 25.

The Concerts at Jewett series is sponsored by University of Maine at Augusta College of Arts and Sciences and UMA Senior College. (Snow date: February 25th).

The orchestra, a nonprofit community orchestra composed of amateur and semi-professional musicians, was founded in 1920. The orchestra includes individuals of all ages and walks of life.

In this concert, two ensembles, a string trio and wind quintet, will perform. Many of the musicians involved play in other ensembles, but this will be the first time they will perform together representing the Augusta Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for students and are free for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available at Pat’s Pizza at 292 State St. in Augusta, Dave’s Appliance at 59 Central St. in Winthrop and at the door.

For more information, call 621-3551, email or visit

]]> 0 back row, from left, are Lee Lenfest, Chris Lansley and Chris Falcone. In front, from left, are Necia Chaparin and Louise Foxwell.Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:30:30 +0000
Hallowell cocktail lounge shares knowledge with series of classes Thu, 08 Feb 2018 13:47:35 +0000 0, 12 Feb 2018 15:15:38 +0000