New! Viewing hours in January. Saturdays, Jan. 14 and 28 from 2 to 5 p.m. and by appointment.
Everyone has heard the expression, “It was right under my nose the whole time.”
For Anastasia Glassman, a Midcoast creative who describes her artwork as “the collision of many interests,” the very tools and items she worked with every day in her catering company, Swan’s Way, were in fact, the raw materials right under her nose destined to be the art pieces in her ongoing December show at Pascal Hall.
Several years ago, Glassman pulled out one of her battered baking pans and discovered there was a beauty in the patina of the scorched underside. So, she used them as the background for a series of plant photographs.
With a pile of well-used baking pans sitting in her studio, Glassman eyed them in a new way. She saw them as blank canvases for a series of collages she wanted to make, using a collection of old tools and scraps of metal she had amassed over the years. Attached with heavy-duty magnets on the underside of each sheet, the result is both raw and energetic. And it’s not just the magnets that will be drawing a crowd for this show.
Here is the Story Behind The Baking Sheets and three of her pieces currently on display.
After I sold Swan’s Way (my restaurant) in Camden, I bought land in Lincolnville and built my house. On the property was an old granite quarry. The bonus was there were lots of remnants from its days as a working quarry. Lots of cable and gears. The metal for the piece on the wall is from the old forge.
It was the patina of the full-size sheet pans that compelled me, but once I went to a real grungy, used restaurant equipment store and found several of these ‘contiguous’ bread pans in the back of the place. I found the pans very graphic. I have used them both ways: by attaching the shapes on the outside bottom of the pans, the shapes seem to be floating; attaching them on the inside frames the shapes and confines them.
I was experimenting with ways to not have a traditional wooden frame. On some pieces the wooden frame gives the piece a sense of completion and stature. But here, the T-squares keep the rustic, rough quality that is more appropriate to the work. You don’t want to confine it. Keep it volatile.
Glassman's artwork kicked off with an opening on Dec. 18. It will be open by appointment. Call Pascal Hall 236-4272.
For more information about the individual pieces, email Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org
By the time this goes to print, Midcoast’s first skater-owned and skater-run, all-female flat track roller derby league, the Rock Coast Rollers, will have had their “coming out” debut in their first public competition with a Portland team — and you can bet instead of lace gloves and dance cards, it was a lot of hot pink tights and throwing hip checks. (Update: they lost but had a great time anyway!)
The league first began January 2011 when nearly 50 women gathered at Lincoln Street Center for Arts and Education to discuss the possibility of organizing a Midcoast flat track league. Ranging from 18-year-old girls to 40-something moms and artists, a crackling "hell, yeah!" energy filled the room. Most of the ladies had never been on skates or hadn’t been on skates for 20 years. But that wasn’t about to get in their way.
Nearly eight months later, with formal bylaws and committees in place and with a grueling practice schedule of 2-3 times a week and 2-3 hours a night, the Rock Coast Rollers now have about 20 trained members who are ready to bout, or compete professionally with other teams.
In order to play roller derby, one has to pass a written test on rules, a skills test and an endurance test doing 25 laps in five minutes.
“We’ve passed all of the tests,” says the president of Rock Coast Rollers’ nonprofit corporation’s board of directors Jen Munson, a.k.a. Sookie Stacked. “And we pride ourselves on playing clean.”
She goes on to elaborate why this national underground sport is so appealing to women: “It’s a unique sport. It’s skating; it’s full contact, like hockey. It’s all female and there’s a certain whimsy to it. We take ourselves seriously in that it takes great athleticism to play and sportswomanship is incredibly important to us, but there is also the humor of the uniforms and the derby names. Our uniforms are a mix of traditional athletic clothing and a little bit of crazy.”
The community they represent is one they also strongly support and the Rock Coast Rollers have volunteered in a number of charitable events with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Youthlinks, Knox County Humane Society, as well as Lincoln Street Center for Arts and Education, their primary practice spot.
On Oct. 29, at Happy Wheels in Portland, they will have played against Maine Roller Derby’s Calamity Janes, a B-team, which is similar to a junior varsity team.
“It’s our first bout and the Calamity Janes have had years of experience on us," said Munson. "There’s a great deal of nervousness but also excitement. It’s sure to be an intense competition. Maine Roller Derby has acted as our sister league and we want to make them proud.”
Munson says their future plans include starting a junior roller derby league. “I’m a high school teacher and I know there are a lot of girls in the area interested in roller derby. It’s a sport that is to attractive girls who aren’t necessarily attracted to more traditional sports.”
To find out how their first bout went and to learn more details of when they will open the league to new girls, a.k.a "Fresh Meat" with try-outs on Nov. 5 and 6, visit rockcoastrollers.weebly.com.
Here are three Roller Girls you should get to know a little better:
I had already reached the pinnacle of the sport in all of my other athletic pursuits: Power Napping, Dog Wrangling, and Extreme Eating and decided it was time for a new challenge.
When I'm not down and derby...
Nap, Wrangle, Eat
Be Bill Murray’s x-wife
Eat at the French
Laundry Vacation in Algeria Find out what happened to that girl in the Chock Full O’ Nuts.
When I was young I lived on a reservation in Oklahoma where the only two things to do were to hang out with the Medicine Man at the highway " Indian" museum or roller derby in the garage. I did both and learned a great deal. Thank you, Grandfather, and thank you, roller derby goddess!
When I'm not down and derby...
I am at home working in my studio, helping out at my daughter's school, and raising two children. Oh and I am married to a merchant Marine. Too bad suckers!
Own a great dane
Be on a national champ roller derby team!
Because roller derby is trendy, hip, and cool, and so am I.
When I'm not down and derby...
I skate on the ice, too, with a stick and puck. My other passion is food. I like cooking food, love growing food, but eating is really my favorite food-related activity. Luckily, I get to grow food for a living.
Go bowling on all seven continents
Get a bruise in the shape of the Virgin Mary and/or the Dalai Lama
Grow more of my own food
Raise chickens and/or ducks
Be a game show contestant
Make the world a better place
She was striking, self-assured and strong when she was alive. Dead, she still wasn’t about to put up with any shenanigans either.
Her maiden name was Myrtle Sage, born sometime around 1900. “According to Myrtle’s neighbors, she had a reputation of being a showstopper when she walked in the room,” says Greg Latimer, Research Director for Mysterious Destinations, a destination travel company that allows participants to investigate local hauntings in Maine and abroad. She was likely still in her late teens when she met a successful real estate and insurance mogul in New York City named George Gascoigne and married him in 1919. She had three children and when the outbreak of polio threatened the neighborhoods of New York, the couple fled to Maine and set up house in Newcastle. Gascoigne put the house in Myrtle’s name, which was unusual at that time. When he died, that purchasing power allowed her to buy two more antique stores, one of which is now the Newcastle Publick House, the other a Thomaston gallery. She married again, some say happily this time, to her second husband, George Schroder.
Latimer has learned many fascinating tidbits about Myrtle’s life and afterlife. According to him, manifestations of Myrtle’s ire have made themselves known in dramatic ways. Four years ago, the previous owners of the Tipsy Butler B&B were discussing redecorating the rooms when a hair brush flew from the dresser across the room at one of the owner's head. Ducking, she managed to escape injury and held Myrtle responsible for the incident. Clearly, Myrtle didn’t like the woman’s choice of colors. Says Latimer, “Myrtle is also very specific about how the style of the inn is kept up and what kind of style is being maintained, so the owners have taken care to listen to whatever Myrtle seems to be reacting to and go out of their way to make it an environment that pleases her.”
The current owners of the Tipsy B&B have told Latimer of other incidents, most of which tend to revolve around Myrtle’s issues with alcohol. As the story goes, Myrtle was not only a “partier” in her day as a young woman raised in the early 1920s, but she was also on the receiving end of alcoholic domestic abuse. As the current owners maintain, there will be times when bottles of wine, spirits or individual drinks will mysteriously upend themselves and crash to the floor without anyone around.
The staff at Newcastle Publick House also maintains that Myrtle regularly haunts their tavern, particularly their basement.
“The manifestations there have been a bit more extreme,” says Latimer. “At one point, they believe she took an entire, heavy stainless steel shelf and knocked it over, crashing hundreds of dollars of expensive liquor to the floor. This freestanding, commercial restaurant shelf was solid, about five shelves high. I personally went over and tried to move it and it was too heavy,” he recounts.
According to Latimer: “There are also a number or employees who refuse to go down into the basement because they feel a presence. Recently, an employee who came on board there hadn’t even known of Myrtle when she went downstairs. She came back up out of the basement visibly shaken and said she was never going back down there again. She didn’t want to talk about why.”
Mysterious Destinations is an offshoot of Midcoast’s Red Cloak Haunted History Tours started five years ago by educator Sally Lobkowicz, who directs both businesses and hosts special haunted tours of Camden, Damariscotta, Wiscasset, Boothbay Harbor and Bath. Both tours focus on areas where the history and sightings of the paranormal are rich.
Coming up on Saturday, Oct. 29 and Monday, Oct 31, participants of the “Visiting Myrtle Tour” will dine at Newcastle Publick House and conduct a paranormal exploration with investigative equipment of the basement area, then retire to the Tipsy Butler B&B where the owners will give a first-hand account of their experiences with Myrtle’s life, death and continued presence. After that, participants will be allowed an additional paranormal exploration of the entire house. Each participant will sleep in a room with an electromagnetic field (EMF) detector.
The paranormal detection equipment they'll use includes electromagnetic field detectors (EMF devices), video and still cameras, electric voice phenomenon (EVP) recorders, and temperature gauges. Since of evidence of paranormal activities has been caught in these establishments on several Red Cloak Haunted History Tours, everyone is hoping to find more on these particularly charged nights.
“We go through a very careful process with photographic evidence,” says Latimer, a former Los Angeles area police evidence reporter/photographer. “Because of my former line of work, I look over the photos very carefully. There’s some I’ve been looking at for several months are of possible paranormal activity, yet, as I am still determining their veracity. We don’t claim to be paranormal experts or investigators, but we investigate and learn from manifestations that occur around here."
As for the woman whose forceful presence might make itself known?
“This is speculation obviously, but based on what I’ve learned about Myrtle, I feel that it was very important to her that things be just so, at her house and at her antique stores,” says Latimer. “And some part of Myrtle might be staying behind to make sure that her wishes are followed.”
For more photos and evidence on Myrtle, the Tipsy Butler B&B and Newcastle Publick House visit mysteriousdestinations.com or redcloakhauntedhistorytours.com.
Christine and George Scott are the co-owners of the Costume Shop, next to Floral Creations & Gifts, which they also own, in Belfast. This is the place to shop locally to get anything you need for a Halloween costume from wigs to accessories to full body costumes. They say their bestsellers for men are pirate costumes and bestsellers for women are sexy police officer costumes. (Seriously ladies? Does everything have to be tramped up for Halloween?) For little kids, the undead "Little Rascals" mask sells the best; for boys the Ninja costume is the winner; and for girls, the witch costume is the most popular.
When the season for their flower shop mostly winds down in September, they keep business going year round with the Costume Shop. Cancer patients often come in to buy something from their extensive wig collection; Mystery Dinner participants come in for specific attire; theater folks stop in for props and little girls who want fairy wings and costumes for birthdays can find whatever they need here.
Here are three costumes the Costume Shop carries and the story behind them...
Freak-N-Monster Creature Reacher
The upside: So detailed, it's likely to win contests.
The downside: The mask is a little top heavy; wear a bike helmet underneath.
Hell Hound Wolf
The upside: It'll scare the crap out of anyone in your path.
The downside: Not exactly a chick-magnet costume.
Orangutan (modeled by Christine)
The upside: Allows you to get away with stupid behavior at parties.
The downside: Expect people to pretend to pick bugs off you all night.
Camden resident Lisa Tapken has a weird fascination with light bulbs. They intrigue her. She collects them. She is technically a bulb collector—and yes, there is such a thing. She does not put any of them over her head and say “I have an idea,” however. This is the story behind her obsession with light bulbs.
Light bulb Assembly [photo: 1]
It all started with this big one in the middle. I found it at an antique place in New Hampshire. I loved its shape and the filaments inside. It was so delicate. And they all just started happening after that. After I found the first one, every time I’d go somewhere I’d just started noticing light bulbs in a way I hadn’t noticed them before.
Bird In Bouquet [photo: 2]
I started looking at these Aerolux Tube Light Bulbs online. There were some that were hundreds of dollars and they had all different logos inside them. But there were a few of these featuring what’s called “bird in bouquet,” which are essentially birds surrounded by flowers. I was so surprised when I first plugged it in. I didn’t even know it would light up.
Rose [photo: 3]
I just became addicted to these Aerolux bulbs and this one I bought through an artist’s site. I just loved the metal within the bulb. And when it lit up, all these colors popped out. I started researching them and found out how they were made. I think this one might be from the 1950s. They’re starting to make reproductions now, but I can’t imagine they’d be as beautiful as these old ones.
Lightbulb Man [photo: 4]
As you can see, I have an addiction to lamps. I used to live in a converted sail loft and I designed a whole wall of shelves 30-feet long with outlets behind it for small lamps. I’d just flip a switch and the entire shelf would come on. Anyway, the whole thing with Lightbulb Man is that I saw him in some junk store and it made me laugh. I brought it home and rewired it. I added the screw cap (the threaded base of the bulb that secures it to a lamp) and I gave him his light bulb head. Eventually, I’m going to make little lamps like night lights that plug into his tummy.
inkscene: Permanent Expressions
Josh Ard opened his first tattoo shop Permanent Expressions in March, 2010. It is at 80a Main Street, a funky little basement shop between the Army-Navy store and the yarn shop on Main Street in Belfast. There is a comfortable, welcoming vibe as you enter and walk down the stairs. Art work (and not the pretty sailboats in the harbor kind) hangs on every available inch of space on the walls. Beyond the music playing in the background, the only other sound is of Josh shaking the tubes of ink as he preps his afternoon’s work on a long-time client, Amy Stairs.
Amy Stairs, Liberty
"For a long time I wanted a sleeve. [A sleeve is a tattoo which covers the same arm surface a shirt sleeve might.] I have lots of 'young tattoos'—you know, you get a tattoo for the sake of it. But this one [as she points to her arm] had meaning and thought put into it. This here is a series of dart frogs in the rain forest. They are just amazing little creatures that are adorable and cute. I wanted something like this for the longest time and luckily when I came into Josh’s shop this piece was already here [on the studio’s wall]. It was perfect. It was different, something I’ve never seen before. It wasn’t your typical in-your-face, raw, scary tattoo for a sleeve. We talked about throwing in a couple of ladybugs. Today we’re working filling in some of the outlines on some of the tender skin of my arm. "
Josh Ard, Belfast
"I’ve known Amy my whole life. When you get to do a sleeve like this—she’s passionate about it, I’m passionate about it —it works out great. This piece is all original. It’s not boring. There are only so many Chinese Zodiacs you can do before you go numb. Amy bought the art work from Isaac Wright, an artist, who lives around here. His work is more commonly known in Bangor and has been in Tattoo Magazine a bunch. He works at our shop and he’s a flash artist. For example, if you go into any tattoo studio and see art work on the walls—that art is sold to different companies and distributed to other tattoo artists, who buy it. But first, someone has got to draw it—those people are called flash artists. This piece would have been sent to Flash Magazine, but Isaac sold it as a one-off to Amy, so now no one else can ever use this design—it’s completely original and hers. And Amy will leave with the artwork as well. She can frame it if she wants."
To see more photos of work that Permanent Expressions does, look up their Facebook group page or contact email@example.com, 207-338-4688
There is something really creepy, yet mesmerizing about dollhouses and the miniatures that inhabit them. More fascinating, however, are the people who spend their time creating such teeny dioramas. It’s not like a familial, benign hobby like knitting or darning. People who create Tiny Worlds tend to have “inside-out” perspectives. When one sets out to create a three-dimensional scene out of found materials, as you’ll soon see with Carol Ann Pretzel’s “My Twig Fairy Houses” or the warped recycled shadow boxes from kitchi-kitchy, he or she creates a story of details. Each item in the Tiny World has been positioned to invite the viewer to sip on the “Drink Me” bottle in Alice In Wonderland and shrink into their mad little world.
My Twig Fairy Houses
Carol Ann Pretzel
“Once upon a time a fairy entered my life. She identified herself as Mystical Magical French Fairy Queen and eventually revealed her name as Lucinda or Lulu. I made this primitive shed roof hut and all the furniture from twigs—from small branches I found on the ground—cuttings from my lilac and forsythia branches and various natural items and other things I found and recycled. I saw many other beautiful, elaborate fairy houses online, but knowing that fairies are also attracted to nature, I knew a home made hut from nature’s materials would certainly please Lulu.”
Lacy Simons and Jared Paradee
These two shadow boxes are simple slide viewer worlds that developed over the course of about three years. They started with varying backgrounds according to new additions to our slide collection. Sometimes selections are made from a 1950s souvenir collection from Hong Kong, sometimes they originate from tiny paintings we’ve made ourselves on old Ecktagraphic write-on slides, or sometimes it comes from just pure blankness. Eventually the viewers were disassembled and small vintage toys were added, i.e. soldiers, cowboys, and Indians. Every part came from junk shops, antique barns, recycling centers, etc. They aren’t on display in our house as art with a capital A-R-T, per say, and the collaboration on them has been completely unspoken and without any particular direction or intention. They’re more a nod to the larger dioramas we want to create, and as a portal into weird and changeable little worlds.
Whitney Carpentier, 22, a Camden resident all of her life is a writer, a baker, and a candlestick maker. (Okay, sorry about that, it just seemed to flow). You can usually find her working at French and Brawn when she's not dreaming up escapades to get out of town or organizing zombie walks. Her hair changes color like most of us change socks and one thing this girl loves is a good tattoo. Her latest, an old-fashioned burlesque queen, was inked by a friend, who goes by the pseudonym, Gordon Alexzander. Alexzander, a young surrealist artist also from Camden, has shown exhibitions at CMCA and is known for exploring fantastic creatures and cyberpunk landscapes in his work. Carpentier already has a sepia-toned three-masted ship on her shoulder and explains why she chose this tattoo. "I've always had a fascination with pin-up girls. I love the ridiculous sexuality of pin-up girls mixed with the innocent surprise." Her inspiration for this particular artwork came from a well-known tattoo legend, Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, who integrated his lifelong love of sailing with intricate naval tattoo designs. As such, the schooner on her shoulder is also inspired by Sailor Jerry and this new tattoo is a companion piece. "Without Collins," Carpentier says, "tattooing wouldn't be where it is today. He died in the 1970s, but was was an innovator of his time." She felt Alexzander would be the best artist to emulate Sailor Jerry's style. "[Alexzander is] a truly gifted artist, and someone I trust more than most, so I felt it only right for him to do this work. He's working on his tattoo skills, and what better way to do that than to get back to basics and work on something traditional. I felt comfortable with him doing my tattoo because he knows me so well and is easy to bounce ideas off. Together we worked on a color scheme, line width and placement." As Alexzander has recently taken off to do some traveling, he was unable to finish the piece, so Carpentier says she is "between tattoo artists" and is looking for someone with as much traditional and artistic insight as Alexzander to finish it up.
Who is Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins?
(reprinted from his website www.sailorjerry.com)
Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins enlisted in the Great Lakes Naval Academy in his late teens and spent the better part of the next ten years sailing all over the globe on schooner ships. As tattooing and the sailing man go hand in hand, it was no great coincidence that this time at sea fostered a deep love of naval culture and the art and tradition of tattooing for young Jerry. Traveling deep within the China Seas, Collins would occasionally tattoo while in various ports of call, studying not only the work of some of the tattoo masters he encountered there but Asian philosophy and storytelling as well. Heck, he even learned a bit of Chinese! These encounters definitely influenced Jerry, as he brought their style and traditions back to Honolulu where he worked in the arcades of Chinatown pre-WW2.
image courtesy of www.sailorjerry.com
The Story Behind...The License Plates
(to see the whole story)
Holly Sherburne is the founder of Plate Poets Publishing and the author of The Maine Plate: Maine Vanity License Plates and Their Meanings
She is a self-described “serial entrepreneur” whose active career has included stints in microbiology, toxicology, web design and newspaper publishing. She published The Maine Plate, a book of more than 250 Maine vanity license plates through Maine Authors Publishing. As for her inspiration she says, “Well why not? Who among us didn’t spend time as a kid looking for ‘cool’ license plates on long road trips?” The book took two years to finish and includes the stories behind these hilarious, unique, and sometimes heartfelt personalized plates, plus Maine anecdotes, trivia and more. Sherburne captures the words of what she calls “plate poets,” people who have the gift of poetic thought, imagination and creation, together with the eloquence of expression in seven characters or less.
Sherburne offered the following plates and stories, courtesy of Plate Poets Publishing.
Originally, I got the plate when I sobered up almost twenty years ago. I haven’t had a drink since. Also, I was unhappily married at the time, and friends laughingly changed the meaning of the plate’s name to reflect my upcoming divorce. I get many comments on the plate, and I like to think that people define it to suit their own fancy. HADENUF looks good when I’m covered in a snow bank, in a traffic jam, the definitions are endless, but the original meaning always stays the same. I’m retired now, but my plate used to greet me after a grueling shift at the hospital—HADENUF!! When people offer me a drink, I say, “HADENUF, thanks!”
I have a 1984 Mercedes Benz 300TD (turbo diesel) that I converted over to run on waste vegetable oil (fry-o-later oil) from local restaurants. She gets the same horsepower and miles per gallon that she gets when on diesel, but I get to lower my carbon footprint and cruise for free without supporting foreign oil.
The story behind the name is that in 2001, when I bought this PT Cruiser, the first model on the market, I immediately thought it looked like the cars in an Al Capone movie from Chicago mobs, so the most obvious name should be “GNGSTAH.” It is bright red and I still get quite a bit of attention for that name. People smile and nod when they see it. My family insists I should mention I am 75 years old and very young at heart and appearance!! So, there you have it.
Play the “Guess What It Means” game on Sherburne’s website http://platepoets.com and Facebook www.facebook.com/platepoets. Upload your own license plate and provide your story on her website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Story Behind Kelly Hailey's Tattoo
Robert Dyer is an eclectic Rockland artist who advertises on his website he’ll draw on anything, “paper, canvas, skin...” That led to a request from a friend, Kelly Hailey, to have Dyer give him a tattoo. Both happened to own a particular graphic novel, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware and appreciated the visually stunning artwork in the book, particularly around the innocence of the panels that depicted a kid using a mini microphone to record a bird in a tree.
Hailey explains, “The reason why I was drawn to this piece is because it had very modern, yet very antiquated, old world visual aesthetics. I went to school for sound design. To me, hearing is one of the most beautiful senses and this image that he tattooed on me from this book is all about that.” It took about two or three hours to sketch it out in black and white and add layers and color to the first panel. It is still unfinished and a work in progress.
“For me it was a homegrown, very organic, a beautiful piece,” said Dyer. “It was just a couple of hours with us talking about our lives as I tattooed. We became close—dove into our personal sides.”
Hailey chose to have the tattoo located on his right side from under his arm to just above the waist line. “I feel so many people are getting tattoos,” said Hailey. “I’m at a place where it’s much more of a private thing at this point. I don’t feel the need to show it off. This was just a conscious decision where I put it. I think if you are going to get a tattoo, it should resonate with you personally more than anyone else viewing it.”
For more of Robert Dyer’s artistic work go to www.dyerink.com
Panel 1 is a bird in a tree.
Panel 2 is an image on an old fashioned cassette recorder.
Panel 3 are the kid’s fingers pressing “play” on the recorder
Panel 4 is the kid holding up the mini mic as the bird sings in the tree.
The Killer Convo
This blog is a is a killer roundup of all arts, entertainment, brewery & distillery, food trucks, happy hour happenings in the Midcoast Maine. Feel free to email me anything about Midcoast arts, entertainment & the creative economy.