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 […]

Anchors away!

It could be a year before the new development proposed for the former home of Century Tire is built in Portland, but in many ways the project is already a failure. News broke this week that a broker with CBRE The Boulos Co. — whose parent company, CBRE, claims to be the largest commercial real […]

The senators who stole Christmas

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” So begins “Christmas Bells,” a poem written 151 Christmases ago by Maine’s most celebrated bard, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Then living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Portland-born poet was not in […]

Portland’s minimum wage hike will be a touchdown

Rather than send an ordinance to raise the minimum wage in Portland to the full City Council for a vote, the Finance Committee punted last week and requested that an economic-impact study be conducted before they reconsider the matter next year. The timeframe is tight — Mayor Mike Brennan reportedly said the City Council could […]

The Wal-Mart of Maine art

So, let me get this straight. Kevin Thomas and Susan Grisanti, the owners of three glossy lifestyle magazines for tourists and Maine’s upper crust, have teamed up with a Wall Street investor named Jack Leonardi to open art galleries in Kennebunk and Portland’s Old Port, and to run a website that purports to offer one-stop […]

Publishers shot by their own gun

I must admit that I read the news of the Portland Phoenix’s federal lawsuit against the publishers of DigPortland with an emotion most accurately described as glee. Both alternative weeklies are, technically, competitors of my publication, The Bollard, so there’s some satisfaction seeing them duke it out in what could be a very expensive legal […]