The real gangs of Portland, Maine

Contrary to some wildly erroneous and irresponsible reports in the press recently, Portland has a serious and growing gang problem. The Crips and Bloods are harmless compared with the menacing groups roaming the streets of Maine’s largest metropolis, perpetrating crimes in broad daylight with no respect for the law or common decency. Here’s a rundown of […]

Continually surprised by Hannaford

Apparently Hannaford’s old ad slogan is true: They never stop surprising you. My surprising story began last fall. For the past five years, the free monthly magazine I publish, The Bollard, had been available at Hannaford supermarkets in southern Maine, in racks by the doors among numerous other free monthly and weekly papers. Supermarkets are […]

The year the music died

Two thousand fourteen is turning into a brutal year for Portland’s dining, arts and nightlife scenes. Several of the city’s most creative and beloved establishments have closed or are preparing to shut down or move away, while others have cut back on live entertainment or consolidated, ceding control to a monopolistic corporation based out of […]

Big cuts, less dough at Portland’s Downtown District

When Jan Beitzer resigned last summer after eight years as executive director of the nonprofit Portland’s Downtown District, insiders whispered about a “coup” at the nonprofit organization, which was established in the early 1990s to promote downtown businesses and cultural events. Both Beitzer, who was never shy about expressing her opinions, and the organization’s board […]

Opening minds with open mics

There’s a fascinating paradox at the heart of Maine’s music scene: The most commonly offered type of musical entertainment is also the least popular among fans of live music. I’m talking about the open-mic night. How common are open mics? The website, a database of bars and restaurants nationwide that host such evenings, lists […]

The story behind ‘A Plot in Falmouth’

When Rob Cimitile contacted me seeking press for a fundraising campaign he’s undertaken to complete a recording and music video by his indie-folk band, Builder of the House, I was skeptical. I could fill this space every week with plugs for talented Maine musicians trying to crowd-fund their projects. But I soon realized Cimitile’s endeavor […]