A comprehensive run down of each establishment’s mood, offerings, hours and prices
Now that it’s officially fall and dark at an unholy hour, we’ve updated
The Midcoast’s Guide To Happy Hours.
Bookmark the link above when you want to figure out where to go on any given day of the week.
ROCKLAND — Richard Allen is a wanderer. Having grown up in Thomaston and served in the army, he spent his youth traveling through Europe, and working as a painter and sculptor all over the country, including a stint in San Francisco, before heading back to his home state.
His six-foot-tall driftwood horses and moose sculptures embody so much of his free-range aesthetic. Their “muscles” are made from bleached bits of knobby driftwood he collects on beaches. Currently, a “herd” of them stand on the lawn of Michael Good Gallery in Rockport.
Allen doesn’t have a studio, representation or a website and prefers to use his Rockland backyard as a scrap pile for his latest creations.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years,” he said, unveiling another piece under a tarp in his yard. “I’ve done hundreds of these horses all over the country. I love the serenity of working on it as the piece grows.”
One day while playing accordian on the street in Camden, he happened to see one of his driftwood moose riding in the back of someone’s pick up truck. A woman standing next to him saw it as well and remarked, “‘Wow, I’d love to know who the artist of that thing is, I’d love to buy one.” And Allen turned to her and said, “Hello, Madam. You’re talking to him.’”
The horses and moose take several months to create. He spends several days a week combing beaches and inland areas for driftwood, which is getting harder to come by he admits.
“Everybody is taking it off the beaches,” he said. “But, it’s not easy, you’ve got to be determined.”
Once assembled, he covers every inch of the pieces with sealant so that they can withstand the elements year after year.
Allen used to work in oil paintings, but found the competition to be too much.
“Every artist has a certain style and I wouldn’t say these sculptures are for everybody but I don’t really have the competition for these,” he laughs.
Allen does other animal sculpture work as well including wood-carved pigs and he was commissioned to make the giant iconic lobster that sits in front of Claws, the Rockland lobster shack on Route 1.
While Allen heads down to Florida for the winter to work on some more pieces his herd of moose and horses will remain all winter on the lawn at Michael Good Gallery.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Gerritsen, a professional photographer and director of a new Midcoast-based movie, Island Zero, is excited to be working in Maine on his first movie. That his mother, best-selling thriller novelist Tess Gerritsen, is involved is no coincidence — she wrote the screenplay.
“Two summers ago, I was weeding the garden with my mom and out of the blue she said, ‘We should make a horror movie together,’” said Josh Gerritsen.
You know, the typical things a mom and son chat about.
“And I didn’t know that at the time but she’d grown up watching horror films,” continued Gerritsen. “It just never came up in conversation. I’ve loved horror movies since I was a kid. Zombies are the most fun, but aliens are the most scary. I think of the movie Alien as a reference film for Island Zero because it was so beautifully done with such unlikely heroes. Just these blue collar workers who happen to be just doing their jobs set in the future.”
Island Zero is set 40 miles off the coast, on the isolated (and fictionally named) Tucker Island. “For some unknown reason, the power cuts out, the ferry stops running and people start to die in these gruesome and mysterious ways,” said Gerritsen. “The townspeople have to get together to figure out who or what is killing everybody. The people who go for help never come back. No one on the island can reach anyone on a radio and they are trapped.”
It’s an ensemble film with five main characters. Laila Robins, from the Showtime show “Homeland” is the most well known of the cast.
And although Tess Gerritsen wrote the script, this is not her first screenplay. In 1993, she co-wrote the story and screenplay for Adrift, which aired on CBS as Movie of the Week.
Josh Gerritsen also has a background in documentary filmmaking, but this is his first foray into feature films. “I’m drawn to the slow building tension, not the monsters that just leap out at you, but something that builds to terrifying,” he said.
He moved back to Maine three years ago after living in New York City. Having grown up in Maine, he, like so many people, felt the draw to move back. “After high school, I said what most kids say, ‘I’m getting out of here; it’s boring. But, after spending time in New York, I realized there is kind a magic here. For the Midcoast area, there’s so much culture flowing in. You can be in Maine and all of the culture is surrounding you.’”
Mariah Klapatch, a Camden native and longtime friend of the Gerritsens, is producing the film, which has a self-financed budget of up to $300,000.
“Mariah’s a third generation Mainer,” said Gerritsen. “We knew it was going to be a financial risk, but we wanted to make something that reflected Maine. The tax incentive is less than in Massachusetts, and even though we could have shot there, that’s less important than shooting in the state that we love.”
The film, not surprisingly, has already gotten built-in community support. The majority of the cast and crew are also from Maine. “If we were an LA cast and crew that just flew in and asked the locals can we shoot at your diner? Can we shoot at your inn? It would be challenging,” Gerritsen said.
At the time of our interview, Gerritsen and the crew had only been shooting for a week in the Midcoast. Their locations included a doctor’s office, Camden Harbor, Rockport Harbor and the Swan House, a Camden inn, as well as at a house near Megunticook Market. We met the night before the crew was supposed to spend three consecutive 12-hour days shooting on Islesboro.
“Most of the Islesboro shoot will be at Durkee’s General store, a combined diner and general store,” said Gerritsen. “When you see these scenes, this is when the citizens of the island start to become really concerned, you’ll see this shift in behavior.”
The shoot is only supposed to last 18 days, until the end of March, and finished sometime in September. For Gerritsen, it’s been nothing but a good experience so far. “It honestly couldn’t have gone better,” he said. “Our crew is amazing and our cast is just nailing their performances.”
Customers and staff recall unforgettable times at Cappy’s Chowder House
CAMDEN — Imagine sitting at Cappy’s downstairs bar on a regular evening, nothing special, just a night you happened to pop in for a pint, when John Travolta walks in. First, you’re thinking, this can’t be real. There’s a look of concern on his face as he approaches you. “Hey, does anybody here happen to know where a veterinarian is?”
You’re now thinking, “OK, he just came from his house on Islesboro and one of his animals is sick.”
You try to give him some helpful suggestions of vets in the area, as does everyone sitting around at the bar.
Travolta’s straight face now breaks into a grin.
“Good, because these puppies are sick,” he says, flexing his biceps and giving each arm a kiss.
True story. Ann Flagg Campbell, a bartender who worked at Cappy’s Chowder House in 2014-2015 recalls: “It was hilarious, the funniest thing ever. Everybody loved it because it made him so real, down-to-earth and personable. He was the friendliest guy. He’d talk to anybody.”
Travolta was one of a few celebrities who stopped by Cappy’s Chowder House in its 37-year run. Former bartender Duncan Lockie (who made a mean margarita) had another funny story.
“Some years ago, John Travolta came in with Cal Ripken and friend on a quiet, chilly December afternoon with their own bottle of fancy red wine. They sat down at Table 2 and asked very politely whether it was OK to ‘bring their own’ and could they have some of our ‘great Happy Hour popcorn.’ Of course they could! They didn't order anything else and their bill, quite naturally, came to zero. They stayed for about an hour and after they left, there on the table was a $30 cash tip.”
Flagg Campbell said: “I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 25 years and that was, by far, the tightest knit group of people I’ve ever worked with. It was really a family there. In our off time, we’d go to one another’s birthday parties. If someone got sick, we’d all get together and bring them food or visit them at the hospital. ”
It was clear how much Cappy’s staff enjoyed their customers.
We covered Cappy’s when “Big John” Collins, one of Cappy’s veteran bartenders returned after 13-year-hiatus.
We also highlighted bartender Flagg Campbell’s killer Bloody Mary.
Server Kimberly Lockie said: “I worked at Cappy's for six years. I must say there's nothing better than bringing a kid a Giggle Meal for the first time. Sometimes the big kids enjoyed a fun straw in their margarita or a mermaid in their martini. It was a very rewarding job at times.”
Graphic designer Maggi Blue recalls her fleeting days as a server.
“When I worked there in college, I remember being often hyped up on espresso that Big John would make me (I was underage, so this was my vice while working). While working stupid busy weekend days/nights, I would get the question (a la tourist speak) ‘Where is Bangor’ to which I would respond ‘Bang-er, I didn't even know her.’ One never quite knew if the table of tourists would find that funny. It was always a gamble.”
Our own editor Lynda Clancy remembers it as the only job she’s ever held in which she got fired. “I was 17 the summer of 1977, living with my boyfriend at the campground and needed a job,” she said. “I got the breakfast shift. It was the old Cappy’s with the breakfast bar. One morning, all the fishermen and workmen were coming in and in my little apron, I filled the giant coffee maker with water and poured it through. Nothing was happening, so I poured through another. It went all over, everywhere. The floors, counters, everywhere. I was fired the next day.”
Just like Cheers, the fictional neighborhood bar in Boston, Cappy’s was the type of corner bar that drew its Norms and Cliffs. One such beloved customer who passed away in 2012 was Terry Voisine, a regular, who could always be found with a “low brow beer and a highbrow book” in front of him. “He came in all the time and was always reading at the bar,” said Campbell Flagg. “Whenever we did our own personal fundraising efforts to help one of our staff or customers, Terry was always the first one to give or offer help.”
Customer Rai Burnham had a memory that forever changed her view of her mother.
“When my mother and her partner visited me two years ago, I took them to Cappy's on their first night in town. My mother, who never eats dessert, decided to splurge and have the giant brownie sundae. None of us were prepared for the epic enormousness of what she had ordered. My mom is 5'1'. she had to stand up to eat it.”
We’re going to miss the free popcorn and hot wings, the Crow’s Nest and Deck Munchies, Girls’ Nights and after work gatherings, but mostly we’re going to miss the people who worked there and saw us as their “regulars.” Goodbye Cappy’s. We’re sorry to see you go.
If you’re one of those people who checks the same five websites every morning with your cup of coffee, it might be time to get your brain in gear for whatever you plan to accomplish in 2016. The top resolutions for people in 2015 were: Losing weight, getting organized, spending less, enjoying life and learning something exciting.
Here are five websites to help you learn something new (and they’re free so you’re spending less.) See how I worked that in?
Love to travel? Learn a new language
You’ve got your tickets and your passport, but now you need to say “Please bring me my umbrella cocktail” in another language. This website allows you to practice a language you’re rusty in, or attempt to learn a new one. I did a beginner lesson in French and then tried one in Irish Gaelic and I liked the way it felt like a game, not like a language lesson. A vocal translator accompanied each sentence, allowing me to practice pronunciation. You can create a profile to save your progress and even set your daily goal of mini lessons ranging from “Basic” to “Insane.”
Feeling too hip? Lose some weight
I have to say, I love this website. It keeps you honest. It’s a free online calorie counter and diet plan. It’s not rocket science, it’s just science. You lose weight by tracking your caloric intake. Because, as you know, those umbrella cocktails have a way of sneaking up on the scale. When you create a profile, which you can make private or share publicly if you want some support from fellow pals, you begin to slowly train your brain on what healthy foods (and fast foods) you can choose each day. When you hit your daily goals, it feels like an accomplishment and motivates you to keep it up.
Spark your creative side
Ugh.... January to April. The pervasive feeling if you’re not an outdoor person in the winter is that there’s nothing to do. But, you don’t just have to binge on Netflix this winter, because this is very cool site that taps into your creative interests. Writing, Photography, Culinary, Design, Business, Film, Fashion, Crafts and DIY—there are more categories to get that right hemisphere of your brain cranking with bite size (one hour) videos that show you how to get better at a particular skill.
Additionally, you can get real project feedback, participate in online discussions and read class notes from other students. I love that the app also works on your phone or your tablet.
Tuition-free college education
How is it possible in the age of exorbitant college costs these days to get a Harvard-level education and not pay a dime? With this website, you can get a English grammar and essay class from UC Berkeley, an Intro to Computer Science class from MIT, a Global Hospitality course from Cornell and way more. This free, nonprofit and open source online learning site allows you to take courses in in computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, or marketing. They also offer “verified” certificates (for a fee) for people who want to use their completed courses toward a college degree. Hey, beats paying thousands of dollars at a community college for the same thing.
Personal assistant at your service
Trello is perfect for people are constantly smacking their foreheads and saying ‘D’oh!” because they can’t keep it all straight in their minds. Since I typically organize with Post-it Notes, I really like this easy- to-navigate website (and apps for your phone and tablet). It’s set up as drag-and-drop virtual Post-It Notes, whatever your daily to-do lists are, from bill paying, studying, work and personal development goals to a shareable board for ideas and tasks with your coworkers. Want to see inspiration on how to customize it for your life or profession? Check it out here.
Happy New Year everyone!
Got Nog? The wood-fired pizza restaurant Meanwhile In Belfast sure does. They’ve created a rum and sherry-infused homemade eggnog recipe for the holidays that will knock an elf of the shelf.
Clementina Senatore, co-owner and chef, created a modified version of the cocktail, which she adapted from French chef Frederic Le Bordays’ famous recipe, calling it the Eggnog Winter Sherry Flip.
“It’s an interpretation of his recipe. He does his with cognac, but I do mine with rum,” she said. “And we make the eggnog from scratch.”
The sherry used in this drink is Luxardo, which Senatore said can be found in any liquor store. “This is our most popular brunch drink,” said Senatore. “Some people will just sip this over the course of a half hour.”
The Eggnog Winter Sherry Flip is a fairly easy cocktail to layer together and when done, Senatore tops it with a dash of fresh ground coffee. Because the eggnog is made from scratch, the taste is slightly sweet and creamy, not thick, like store bought eggnog. The first sip is coolly fresh with the warm hints of rum and sherry below. And the bite of coffee grounds rounds it off. Why not start off your Christmas morning with this drink?
To make this at home, watch our accompanying video. The recipe also follows below.
The Eggnog Winter Sherry Flip
To see all of our past “What’s In That Cocktail” series (with video!), check out our “Iconic Cocktails” resource page: The best craft cocktails in the Midcoast
One day in 2009, while waiting for his partner to get ready so they could go to a holiday party, Joshua Bodwell, Maine Writer’s and Publisher’s Alliance executive director, was just idly thumbing through his bookcase, when he had the idea to come up with a “Baker’s Dozen” list of books that resonated with him in that past year.
“I read the year-end list that the major publishers put out, but I think they can be kind of anxiety-producing,” he said. “I didn’t want to put together something that parroted a New York Times Top 10 bestseller list, which can make you feel like ‘Oh My God, I haven’t read this, I haven’t read that...’ and those lists are made largely by people who read for a living. With my list, I wanted it to be more organic, a little more thoughtful looking back on what I read and why I cared about it.”
Recalling a Stephen King quote he’d read in Entertainment Weekly, Bodwell said: “He had this great line about how there’s buzz and then there’s hype. Buzz is sort of like seeing your friend in the grocery store and you have to gush about a book or a movie. Hype is who’s got the most pop-up ads and billboards promoting the book. He was making a case for buzz.”
Friends and family responded so well to Bodwell’s annual book list that he’s been doing it ever since. He just released his latest “Baker’s Dozen” recommendations and more than a few Maine writers have made the list. The interesting thing is that not every book he chooses has just been released. “For example, I just read John McPhee’s Oranges, which came out in 1967,” he said. “To me, this list is truer to what people’s reading lives are like.”
We asked him to provide five that fit the following categories. His descriptions come from his blog.
The State We’re In: Maine Stories by Ann Beattie
From the mordant humor of “The Little Hutchinsons” to the sly warmth of “Yancey” in The State We’re In: Maine Stories, Beattie remains a master storyteller I so admire as she continues to stretch out and evolve.
Our Souls at Night by Ken Haruf
(Knopf, 2015) I read Our Souls at Night with the sad knowledge it was the last novel Kent Haruf completed before his passing in late 2014. From the first page, Haruf’s already spare style is stripped to its very essence.
Most representative of Maine
Closer All the Time by Jim Nichols
Closer All the Time traces the lives of damaged vets, good-hearted drunks, clam poachers, broken boxers, damaged young boys, prop plane pilots, husbands and wives, single women, and others. They are all, each in their own way, people like the rest of us who struggle profoundly to understand their place in the world.
Love the Stranger by Jay Deshpande
Deshpande was a new discovery for me this year. The poetry in this debut collection reveals a rare combination of great intelligence and linguistic skill filtered through a big, generous heart.
Breakout shining star
After the Parade by Lori Ostlund
Ostlund is a writer of great humanity and has a gift for infusing the novel’s sometimes nearly unbearable sorrow with laugh out loud humor.
To see more of Bodwell’s book picks visit his blog Bodwell’s Baker’s Dozen or check out the winners of the 2015 Maine Literary Awards.
PORTLAND—Stumble down to the ground floor of the Portland Public Library and you’re sure to feel how Alice did after sipping the “Drink Me” sizzurp.
A contemporary art exhibition titled “Wake Up Alice!” began November 6 at the library, featuring the surreal, fantastical and cheeky works of 35 Maine artists depicting some element of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The exhibit celebrates the 150th anniversary of the book’s publication as well as the 10th anniversary of the Illustration Program at Maine College of Art (MECA).
“I find that people are either in love with Alice In Wonderland or slightly freaked out by it,” said MECA’s Illustration Program Chair and Assistant Professor Scott Nash. “And it’s funny, I read the book when I was a kid in various forms, but there are certain of our artists that were sort of put off by the book and how unkind the characters were to one another. But that’s the nature of nonsense, moving from one curious situation to another. We, like Alice, travel through Wonderland, much in the way we observe things in dreams—dispassionately.”
Headed up by Nash, the exhibit took two years to prepare and curate. “All of the artists represented in the show have had some connection to our department, either as visiting faculty, current faculty, alumni and even current students,” Nash said, “I wanted to run the full gamut—from seasoned illustrators to new talent. As a result, we’ve gotten some remarkable pieces and some of the student illustrations are our most popular works.”
The diversity of the show shows the range of artistic expression inspired by this story. One of the focal points of the exhibit is a section of wall with what seems like manic Sharpie scribbles. Artist Declan McCarthy put the book on tape and listened to it out loud as he scrawled the entire plot of the book in cartoon form on the wall. “He did this over the course of a few days while we were hanging the show,” said Nash. “He wrote out the whole story in real time. It was incredible to watch him as he worked.”
Another artist who brought out the visceral energy of The Mad Hatter, Alice falling down the rabbit hole and The Cheshire Cat was Lori Stebbins, a recent graduate of MECA. Her dream-within-a-cartoon depiction of these iconic characters washed in dark greens and blues, is another popular attraction to the exhibition.
“I’ll get different reactions on what people are focusing on in the show and this is one that’s getting noticed,” Nash said. “I adore Lori’s ‘Alice’ figure and and the dimensions of the illustration all akimbo.”
Nash himself, has a few pieces in the show. A diminutive Alice stands in a wash of white looking up after realizing where she is and says something people won’t expect. “As I was getting work in for the show, I took the opportunity to do something a little understated, taking advantage of white space and the idea of Alice shrinking,” Nash said. That’s what I would have said, I’m afraid.”
So far, 4,000 people have come through to view the exhibit, which is on par with MECA’s Illustration Department’s previous shows at the Portland Public Library on Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak and The Art of The Pulps. Nash is proud of his Illustration Department. "There is such a wealth of illustrators in Maine. Coming from Boston 20 years ago, I'm just astounded at all of the talent here. It's the primary reason we're able to develop shows like this."
The show will hang until December 31 at the Portland Public Library. For more information visit: Wake Up Alice
Is this your kind of business? Or similar?
I live in Maine and work with men and women every day in these industrial types of businesses. Typically, what's known as blue collar businesses are very specialized. The people who run them don't often have time to learn how to use social media to push their message out. They're working long hours and too busy.
Even if they don't have time to tweet or post on Facebook, their clients definitely are--and that's where the new business is.
Here's your one minute marketing tip. If you're going to invest in ANY social media presence at all, make it a business Facebook page. First, you want to build and engage your audience with posts that are universally interesting. For example, last month I posted this on the Facebook page of a painting company client of mine:
It was a shared post from This Old House asking readers if they remembered some weird old architectural detail from the house they grew up in. Even though this had nothing to do with a painting company, it was universally interesting and got the most clicks and engagement from readers.
A recent Nielsen study claims that people need to have exposure to someone's brand on social media at least 10 times before they take action.
And that's where the Facebook page comes in. But just like at a party if you don't know anyone, you don't just go up to someone, shake their hand and say, "Hi, our company is looking for business, here's an offer."
With Facebook, you post and share content to engage your audience. Let them get to know the faces in your company, what you're working on, what makes you laugh or you find inspiring. (But keep it clean.) Experts say that posting 1-2 times a day is ideal; anymore than that and your brand starts to be annoying.
Here's more to get you started.
I'm running a special for the winter months of $100 to get you a Facebook business page set up with 10 engaging posts. With it comes some built in consulting on how to go from there. View more or contact me for details.
THOMASTON — Within a nondescript, low slung building next to Flagship Theater, festive balloons decorate the Midcoast Collaborative sign; otherwise, it’s easy to miss it, tucked away next to an old-fashioned bridal shop. Inside, however, there is some serious creative energy taking place. It’s where eight local men and women use the industrial space as a workshop and office, sharing resources, equipment, and even ideas on each other’s work.
“There’s no boss, everyone is an equal member of the collective. It’s actually a tenant association,” said MidCoLab member Isabella Pierson, a designer and a builder of modern wood furniture.
The building used to be a brake service garage with office space, which everyone can use. The back of the building is informally partitioned into smaller hives — each bay is set up differently depending on the person’s interests.
Whereas Jill Caldwell, a fine art painter and Stefanie Mojonnier, a graphic designer, printmaker and photographer, might have cans of paint, canvases or art supplies in their sections, Isabella Pierson’s space contains woodworking tools and various projects in production.
Other members include Andy White, a sculptor, fabricator, metal worker; Casey Hufnagel, a builder, timber framer, and concrete fabricator; Seth Bournival, a builder and cabinetmaker; Trisha Badger: Managing Director of the World Ocean Observatory, and Zander Shaw, an architect.
Further down the storage area of the building, it looks like shop class in high school all over again.
“Everyone brought their own machines,” said Isabella, pointing to the various woodworking and metalworking machines situated in the area. “That’s my band saw. That drill press over there, Andy and I bought together. The table saw is on loan from a friend. Because nobody could afford to buy all of this stuff and keep it in one place, this is how we’re able to pool together all of our equipment and share it.”
Each member pays insurance and an equal amount to cover the rent, whether they use the MidCoLab every week or just occasionally for individual projects. It also serves as a storage space for stuff that might not fit in the garage or shed.”We have an agreement drawn up that says how we behave in the space and with each other, what happens if equipment needs to be fixed, and everyone gets a vote,” said Isabella. “It is becoming much more popular to have co-working spaces, and also for high-tech stuff where people can’t afford to buy big equipment on their own.”
Rockland seems to be at the heart of the Maker-Designer-Artist collaborative scene with two other incarnations of this concept in existence. A woodworking collaborative exists in the former Bicknell Manufacturing Co. on Lime Street in Rockland, and the other, the Steel House, a center for design, technology, and education opened on Main Street in 2014.
As a collective, MidCoLab has been around about three years, and just this past summer, formally opened their space up to the public with an open house with all members participating. “We’re just now getting traction,” said Isabella. “Ninety-nine percent of the time you get more back than what you put in. For example, one of us will be working and need some kind of tool. Another person will walk by and say, ‘I happen to have that tool and you can use it.’”
Being around creative people for a length of time lends to an exchange of ideas and advice that strengthen one another’s projects.
“We’re all trying to make a living,” said Bella. “The amazing thing is we just happen to have a great group of people who are interested in seeing everyone’s success.”
The sharing of space and equipment naturally leads to collaboration on commissioned projects as well.
“Casey was hired to build a timber frame on an island last summer, so he hired Andy and I to help him cut the frames for that. We did all the work for that here and then hauled all of the materials out to the island.”
The collaborative is currently working on figuring out a way to open the space up to entrepreneurs who just want a short-term lease for specific projects. MidCoLab is also accepting applications from creative individuals seeking shared work space. There are currently desk spaces available in a communal workshop/office environment.
For more information, visit: facebook.com/midcolab
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com
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.