Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

The Auburn-born guitarist Lenny Breau was never a household name — at least, not outside of Maine.

The Portland-based Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, which closed last year, will relaunch in 2017.

Maine State Museum

Guns have played a big role Maine’s culture and history. A new exhibit at the Maine State Museum in Augusta — Inventors and Sportsmen: Maine Gunsmiths in the 1800s — looks at part of that history.

The Falmouth Library Ukulele Society performance in 2015.
FLUKES/facebook.com

Though some still scoff at what looks like a toy guitar, there are a growing number of ukulele enthusiasts. Sales of the small four-stringed instruments, popularized in Hawaii, have skyrocketed in recent years and playing groups are popping up across the country including Maine. The ukulele is is helping many of new players become something they never thought they could be — musicians.

PORTLAND, Maine — The former director of Haystack Mountain School of Craft on Deer Isle has been tapped to serve as Maine’s new poet laureate.

The Maine Arts Commission announced Thursday that Stuart Kestenbaum of Deer Isle will fill the five-year appointment. He succeeds Wesley McNair.

Kestenbaum, who has written four books of poetry, stepped down from his position at Haystack last year.

Maine Arts Commission Executive Director Julie Richard said in a statement that his work "captures the quirky, rural characteristics that make Maine unique and beloved."

Courtesy Trudy Irene Scee

PORTLAND, Maine - On Oct. 12, 1937, gangster Al Brady and one other member of his crime gang were gunned down on the streets of Bangor.  They were the last of the depression-era criminal gangs.  Movie theater goers saw newsreel footage of the gang’s end. Brewer writer Trudy Irene Scee has researched the rest of the story for her book, "Public Enemy Number One: The True Story of the Al Brady Gang."  Scee spoke with MPBN’s Irwin Gratz.

 

Patty Wight / MPBN

David Moses Bridges has spent his life reviving a boatbuilding tradition that was on the brink of being lost.

HERMON, Maine — The chef at Maine’s Dysart’s restaurant and truck stop is ready to test his skills on the hit cooking show “Chopped.”

Shaun Yazbek, known as Chef Yaz, will be one of four chefs competing for $10,000 on an episode titled “Truck Stop Stars.”

It’ll appear on the Food Network on March 1.

Yazbek’s specialties include comfort foods like the hot Thanksgiving sandwich, poutine, chicken pot pies and Yankee pot roasts. He said that if he wins, he’ll use the money to help pay his brother’s medical bills.

Brian Bechard / MPBN

In the last 15 years, about 12,000 Somali Bantu refugees have been resettled in the United States, and some ultimately found their way to Lewiston.

Frankie Fouganthin / Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Actor Jim Carter, known better to millions of Downton Abbey fans as Mr. Carson the butler, is in New Hampshire this week to host a benefit for earthquake victims in Nepal.

Carter spoke with Keith Shortall on Tuesday’s Maine Calling about his role on the popular public TV drama series, now in its final season, and about the humanitarian aid organization WandAid that he created with fellow activist Linda Cruse.

Carter will appear Thursday night at the Music Hall in Portsmouth at a benefit for WandAid, which is currently focused on helping earthquake victims in Nepal.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine mastering engineer Bob Ludwig has picked up another Grammy Award — his 11th.

Ludwig won the award for "best engineered album, nonclassical" for "Sound & Color" by Alabama Shakes.

The album was also nominated for album of the year, but that award went to Taylor Swift’s "1989." If the Alabama Shakes had won best album, then Ludwig would’ve become the first person to win the prestigious album of the year four different times.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The temperature may be below freezing, but Maine lobster lovers are already thinking about crowning their summer goddess of the sea.

The Maine Lobster Festival is taking applications for the 69th year of its Sea Goddess Pageant. The goddess will be crowned as part of the festival, which takes place from Aug. 3 to 7 in Rockland.

WABI-TV reports 20 girls selected as "festival princesses" will attend local events over the summer to promote the festival. The Maine Lobster Festival typically attracts about 100,000 people.

Graeme Kennedy / Portland Museum of Art

The Portland Museum of Art reopened late last month after closing for three weeks.

  Maine’s newest charter school will focus on the performing arts.

The state’s charter school commission gave its unanimous approval this week to Snow Pond Academy, a high school that will open in September and be based in Sidney on Messalonskee Lake.

The commission is also considering a proposal for a new program at the state’s first charter school in Fairfield, focusing on pregnant and parenting teens.

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — A father and daughter from Maine are about to make their TV debut on "Wicked Tuna."

Pete Speeches of Scarborough fishes on a boat named for his daughters, the Erin & Sarah. The National Geographic Channel reality fishing show features them and seven other tuna boat crews filmed last summer and fall.

Speeches, his daughter, Erin, and crew will appear in Tuesday’s episode.

Speeches tells the Portland Press Herald that there will be no viewing party. He intends to watch the series at home with family.

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