‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ raises the bar
There’s always a level of risk when a beloved work of popular culture is reworked. Striking the proper balance between loyalty to the source material and creating something fresh is difficult. With the possible exception of Christopher Nolan’s work with Batman, no filmmaker has managed to walk that tightrope as deftly as J.J. Abrams has with the world of “Star Trek.”
The 2009 reboot of the series was handled brilliantly, keeping true to the spirit of the original Trek mythos while still allowing this new crew to follow its own unique path. So there were high hopes for “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the second installment of this new Trek voyage.
Taut thriller a story of survival
In a summer season dominated by big-budget sequels and CGI-laden action extravaganzas, it can be a nice change of pace to find films that are a bit more of a challenge. These films can be both simpler and far more complex than the popcorn fare being churned out by the major studios.
One such film is “Black Rock,” directed by Maine native Katie Aselton (TV’s “The League”) and written by her husband Mark Duplass (“Zero Dark Thirty”) from a story by Aselton.
PTC presents adaptation of Jules Verne classic
BANGOR – In William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Puck tells his master Oberon that he will “put a girdle round the Earth in forty minutes.” Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg means to take a little longer – 80 days to be precise.
Penobscot Theatre Company is presenting their production of “Around the World in 80 Days,” adapted by Mark Brown from Jules Verne’s classic novel. The show will be running through June 2 at the Bangor Opera House.
Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded why we choose to live where we do. For Nina Blackwood, one of MTV’s original five “VJs,” a lifelong love of Maine and six years of residence on the coast has turned her into a virtual one-woman Maine tourist bureau. “When I was a little girl, we used to come to the southern part of Maine for vacations and I just fell in love with it here,” Blackwood told me in a phone interview last week. “It was one of those things that got embedded in my soul.”
It’s difficult to believe, but MTV is nearly 32 years old. On Aug. 1, 1981 the world’s first 24-hour music video channel signed on with the image of a Saturn V rocket leaving the launch pad with the surprisingly understated spoken words, “Ladies and Gentlemen, rock and roll.” The first video to be screened was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by British new-wavers The Buggles. Since then, a small library has been written about how MTV helped shape the cultural landscape of the ’80s and ’90s – back when they actually aired music videos, live concerts and documentaries instead of an unremitting onslaught of brain-squashing reality shows which is what passes for the channel today.
An interview with Boneville creator Jeff Smith
PORTLAND - Getting kids to open a book is harder these days in the age of technology in which we find ourselves in, and so parents should get excited whenever their children become interested in reading no matter what is may be. This even goes for comic books, which for the longest time weren’t seen as proper reading by educators.
Jump ahead to the present and comic books are now a norm in our culture, as proven by the success of Marvel and DC in the jump from pages to the big screen. One of the other success stories comes from comic and graphic novel writer Jeff Smith, who is well known for his acclaimed children’s series “Bone.” This past Sunday, Smith was a special guest at this year’s Maine Comic Arts Festival, and before then was able to give insight into his career as a writer and making it in such a competitive industry.
Literary adaptation more sizzle than steak
Turning a literary classic into a cinematic one is no easy task. Many talented filmmakers have tried and failed to bring a great novel to life on the screen.
Baz Luhrmann is taking a swing with his latest, an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic “The Great Gatsby.” The novel, first published in 1925, is deemed by many to be on the short list of contenders for the best American novel ever written.
CD release party set for Friday, May 17th at Nocturnem
After more than a year spent thinking about the recording of their first full length album, popular acoustic jam-band Mellow Endeavor decided to keep things simple and true. The finished disc, “All Paths Lead Home” is an honest representation of how the band sounds in a live setting. Jason Howe (vocals and cajone) says that it was important for the band to capture the vibe of a live performance for their first album. “The cleanliness and multi-track sound wasn’t something that we were going for on this,” Howe told me in a recent phone interview. “We tried to get as close to our live sound as possible. Even the vocals were recorded live with the music,” he says.
DOVER-FOXCROFT - A rare opportunity to hear Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in d-minor, Op. 49, live in a local concert presents itself when Highlands Classical Trio, a local chamber music group, launches its spring tour in May. Also offered will be solos and duos by Handel, Gliere and Ravel.
The rigorous 30-minute Piano Trio by Mendelssohn has been a major focus for pianist Margery Aumann and violinist Susan Ramsey — both of Dover-Foxcroft — and cellist Ruth Fogg of Dexter since October, as the trio prepares for performances this spring. The trio forms the centerpiece of a benefit concert to be held on Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church at 834 West Main Street. A reception follows. Admission is by donation to benefit the church’s important fuel-assistance fund for needy families. Highlands Classical will also make its debut in Bangor with this program at All Souls Church on Sun., June 23, at 4 p.m. Performances will also be given the Hibbard Nursing Home on April 26 at 2 p.m., at Sunbury Village in Bangor May 4 at 4 p.m. and at Dirigo Pines in Orono May 21 at 7 p.m.
ELLSWORTH - Take a walk through one of the first 19th-century artists to approach modern and postmodern life subjects in the HD cinema event “Manet: Portraying Life” screening at The Grand on Thursday, May 23 for a one-time only performance at 6 p.m.
The eagerly-awaited exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, “Manet: Portraying Life” is being captured for cinema screens worldwide and is the first ever major exhibition in the UK devoted to the portraiture of Edouard Manet, spanning his entire career. It brings together great works from across Europe, Asia and the USA. In addition, cinemagoers will see exclusive behind-the-scenes moments of the Royal Academy's exhibition preparation - moments usually hidden from view - and experience a detailed, superbly crafted biography of Manet and 19th-century Paris. Host Tim Marlow (along with expert guests) examines the work of one of the all-time great artists.
LEWISTON - Concert artist Igor Lovchinsky presents the final program of the 2012-2013 Piano Series season at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston on Friday, May 24. The recital begins at 7:30 p.m. and will include works by Bach-Busoni, Chopin, Scriabin and Liszt.
Lovchinsky is one of the most popular pianists to have given recitals at the Franco Center, where he has also appeared as soloist with the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra. His electric interpretation of the Grieg A-minor piano concerto was the highlight of the Midcoast’s Gala Concert in October 2011.
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