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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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Wednesday, 06 April 2011 05:38

Celebrating Beer Day

One of the greatest things about this job is that I'm always learning new things. For instance, until just a few short weeks ago, I had never heard of National Beer Day or its companion holiday, New Beer's Eve.

National Beer Day takes place on April 7 every year. Why April 7? So glad you asked.

The Prohibition era in the United States began in 1920 when the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was effected, outlawing the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol on a national level. The National Prohibition Act, passed in 1919 and popularly known as the Volstead Act, established the legal definition of intoxicating liquor and the assorted punishments for producing or selling it.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011 05:38

Northern Writes shines on

New play festival celebrates five years

When theatre is good, it can be among the most evocative of art forms. A well-crafted play can touch the viewer and make the audience respond in a very honest and visceral way. A great play makes you feel.

Regardless of whether we're talking about classic creators like Shakespeare or Chekhov, more contemporary masters like Williams or Beckett, or current authors like Mamet or Stoppard, one significant characteristic of a true theatrical masterpiece is common to each and every one of the greats.

Every play was a new play, once upon a time.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 05:38

Summer Movies 2011

sequels, superheroes and silliness

The summer blockbuster season is always packed with dozens of movies to choose from. However, this particular summer seems rife with a few very specific types of films.

The multiplexes will be full of sequels this season, revisiting and recreating some of our favorite characters. Of course, there will be plenty of silliness as well - laughter is a joy for all seasons. Meanwhile, superhero movies abound.

Sure, there are a lot of movies that don't fall into any of these particular categories. We'll look at a few of them, too.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011 05:38

The Great Maine Disc Golf Tour

Exploring some of Central Maine's disc golf courses

In summertime in Maine, there are all sorts of things to do outside. We go the beach, we swim, we play golf - there's a lot of fun to be had. But there are other things to do, things that offer a lot of potential for outdoor enjoyment, that a lot of people may not be aware of.

Things like disc golf.

And all you have to do is take a brief trip to get access to a surprising number of courses. Between Waterville and Brunswick alone, there are more than a dozen different courses to sample. Some of the locations have two or even three different courses on the same site. It offers the opportunity to play a whole lot of disc golf on a whole lot of different places in a fairly short time.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011 05:38

Laughing is a beautiful look

A conversation with Bill Cosby

Quick - name your top five stand-up comedians of all time.

Got a list? I'm willing to bet that at least one of the names on that list is Bill Cosby (though I freely admit that if you've seen the cover of this edition, you've probably got Cosby on the mind). For decades, Bill Cosby has been bringing his own unique take on comedy to millions of people through his live performances and numerous television and movie ventures. He's one of the most famous men in America, not to mention one of the most admired.

Recently, Mr. Cosby - who has a performance coming up on June 24 at the Augusta Civic Center - was kind enough to agree to spend a few minutes chatting with me. Little did I realize just how different this interview was going to be.

It started right at the beginning. When I asked if he was excited about the upcoming show, he laughed and said, "I've got other things to do, man. Shucks." I could hear the grin in his voice as he said it. And then, without prompting, he launched into what had to be the most hilarious outlining of a travel itinerary in the history of ever.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011 05:38

PTC tops off the tank with 'Last Gas'

Maine-based comedy opens theater's 2011-12 season

BANGOR - Anyone who has lived in Maine knows what a unique place it can be. Playwright John Cariani, author of the hugely popular "Almost, Maine" and a native of Presque Isle, understands that as well as anybody. Cariani's latest, "Last Gas," is currently in production at the Penobscot Theatre.

"Last Gas" is the tale of Nat Paradis (Dave Droxler), proprietor of Paradis' Last Convenient Store up there in Aroostook County. Nat is a man who has fallen into his fate rather than chosen it, managing the store and living above it, along with his father Dwight (Arthur Morison). He also sometimes shares that space with his son Troy (Cameron Wright).

Nat's best friend is Guy (Ben Layman), a near-constant presence in the store. Nat's also forced to deal with the unwanted attentions of his son's resentfully passive-aggressive mother Cherry-Tracy (Jasmine Tracy).

Wednesday, 24 August 2011 05:38

On the hunt with 'Trollhunter'

Every once in a while, I see a movie that just blows me away. These are the movies where I walk in with high expectations and have those expectations met...then exceeded. Movies that are great in ways both predicted and unexpected.

Which brings me to "Trollhunter."

"Trollhunter," which is out on DVD this week and had a well-attended screening during the KahBang Film Festival, is the story of three college students traveling through Norway in order to make a documentary about a bear poacher. Things take a decided turn, however, when they discover that Hans, the man they seek, is not a bear poacher but rather a troll hunter - and a government-licensed one at that.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011 05:38

Maid of Honor

Period piece tells tale of racism, relationships

Movies with messages tend to be few and far between in the summertime, in these months of romantic comedies and CGI explosions. So when you see one - even one as deliberately saccharine as "The Help" - it warrants mentioning.

"The Help," adapted from Kathryn Stockett's novel by Tate Taylor (who also directed the film), is the story of one woman's attempt to tell the story of 1960s Jackson, Mississippi's black/white dichotomy from the point of view of "the help" - the multitude of African-Americans who cooked the meals, cleaned the houses and raised the children of Jackson's white families.

Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan (Emma Stone, "Crazy Stupid Love") is an aspiring writer who has returned to her Jackson home fresh out of college and looking to make her way. As she finds herself questioning the racist attitudes of those around her - especially childhood friend Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard, "Hereafter") - she decides that she wants to write a book telling the stories of Jackson's maids.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 05:38

A farewell to Matt Stairs

19-year veteran announces retirement from MLB

When you think of guys with long careers in the major leagues, you tend to think of superstars - if a player is still in the bigs after age 40, clearly he must potentially be a Hall-of-Fame-type player, right?

Not so fast.

There are a lot of guys out there who put up lengthy, productive careers, yet will likely never get even a sniff of Cooperstown. These are guys who have parlayed their skills into a long and lucrative life in baseball, guys who would fit nicely into the Hall of Very Good (if such a place existed).

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 05:38

Changing things up

"The Change-Up" has dirty mouth, warm heart

It's been a few years since the heyday of the body-switching comedy. Films such as "Vice Versa" and "18 Again" flopped in the 1980s, while Lindsay Lohan's half-hearted "Freaky Friday" remake and Zac Efron's execrable "17 Again" are of a bit more recent vintage. However, Hollywood had yet to project its current crass, gross-out sensibility onto one of these types of films.

So now we have "The Change-Up."

This film revolves around two best friends. The first is Dave (Jason Bateman; "Horrible Bosses"), a workaholic family man who is driven to make partner at his law firm and make the best life possible for his wife (Leslie Mann; "Funny People") and kids. The other is Mitch (Ryan Reynolds; "Green Lantern"), an underemployed actor who spends most of his time getting stoned and picking up wildly unbalanced women.

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