Restaurants, bars and arts springing to life

Springtime is the season of resurrection, a cycle that applies not only to nature, but also to the arts and culinary scenes in Portland, which are poised to undergo an unprecedented rejuvenation before the summer solstice this June. A remarkable number of businesses that seemed dead and gone are springing back to life, while new […]

Bonfire of the Hypocrisies

The Portland City Council’s controversial decision to close Sangillo’s Tavern, the beloved neighborhood bar at the foot of Munjoy Hill, raises an important question: What exactly does a liquor establishment have to do in this town to get shut down? The cover story I wrote for this month’s issue of The Bollard, “The Wild End […]

What’s beyond the headlines

The world lost another soul-music legend when Don Covay passed away last month at age 78. Although Covay had only modest success as a recording artist, his influence as a songwriter and singer was substantial. That influence is strikingly apparent in the vocal inflections of an early admirer from England named Mick Jagger. Soul blogger […]

Draft beer shortage!

Fellow Mainers, prepare to be outraged. There is massive fraud happening all over our state, literally right under our noses. Hard numbers are hard to come by in this case, but it seems reasonable to estimate that we’re being duped and swindled out of many millions of dollars every year. And, perhaps even more troubling, […]

Last last call at Sangillo’s

After over six decades of service to the community, Sangillo’s Tavern will open for the last time on Sunday, Feb. 15. The family-owned neighborhood gathering place at the foot of Munjoy Hill succumbed to several forces, most notably a mayor and city councilors whose values are very different than those of the working-class Portlanders who’ve […]

Shoveling out this column


While shoveling out after the latest blizzard, I was reminded of the importance of keeping up with this task lest the next squall make the job twice as hard. In this spirit, I figured I’d use this space this week to follow up on some recent columns and tie up some loose ends that would […]

The sorry state of Portland’s art scene


Imagine for a moment that you’re an artist living in Portland, Maine. Imagine further that you have an imagination, or at least enough creativity and originality to make work that isn’t stereotypical schlock: landscapes with old barns, seascapes with lighthouses, portraits of noble, sober lobstermen, etc. Now try to find an art gallery in Portland […]

The enduring triumph of Stuart Gersen

We buried one of the pillars of Portland’s arts and cultural community in Evergreen Cemetery this week. Stuart Gersen wasn’t a painter or a photographer or a sculptor. He couldn’t sing, though I learned at his memorial service on Tuesday that this lanky Long Island hipster in Buddy Holly glasses could dance surprisingly well back […]

Hapless city government? There’s an app for that!


I read news this week of the city’s new “Fix It! Portland.” initiative with some skepticism. The program allows people to notify city officials of problems like potholes, unplowed streets and flickering street lights using a smartphone app or a page on the city’s website. Call me old-fashioned, but if you’ve already got your phone […]