Mike Dow

Mike Dow

edge staff writer

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You never know where actor and comedian Jamie Kennedy will pop up next. A veteran of more than 70 movies, including the “Scream” series, Kennedy has a knack for scene-stealing (remember the peeing bush guy in “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle?”) and says he’s looking forward to bringing his standup to Portland’s Empire Comedy Club for four shows on Dec. 20 and 21 at 6:30 and 9 p.m. both nights.

“I’ve been to Bar Harbor and Bangor but I’m quite sure this will be my first trip to Portland,” Kennedy said during an interview.

Let it be known that Kennedy pronounced the names of those towns with spot-on accuracy. I was so thrilled to hear that, I asked him to have an intervention with Hollywood on Maine’s behalf. He’s on it.

You have likely picked up on the buzz surrounding “Uncut Gems,” the new crime thriller directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, with Adam Sandler leading an inspired cast as Howard Ratner, a gem dealer chasing the score of a lifetime. Idina Menzel stars as his wife, NBA legend Kevin Garnett as himself and Eric Bogosian as Arno, the man Ratner is trying to outrun.

Bogosian tells The Maine Edge he’s so blown away by the movie, he’s seen it four times with a fifth viewing scheduled for next week.

Maine-based singer and songwriter Joel Thetford has released three albums of original material since 2015, but says his muse took a hiatus for nearly a year when his family became embroiled in a shocking legal case that made headlines around the world.

The case itself is currently in the delicate appellate stage but it’s one that Thetford says he’s positive his family will win.

A television network that is available in 70 million homes in the U.S. and Canada has spent the last two years working on a documentary about this case that Thetford believes will finally reveal the truth about what his family has endured during this prolonged nightmare.

From his breakout role as Alex DeLarge in Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” in 1971 to his portrayal of notorious adversary Tolian Soran (the character who killed Captain Kirk) in “Star Trek Generations,” legendary actor Malcolm McDowell loves to defy expectation.

McDowell’s latest role as media mogul Rupert Murdoch in the Jay Roach-directed “Bombshell” (opening December 13) is one that the actor says he enjoyed very much, and he’s virtually unrecognizable as the acting CEO of Fox News.

“Bombshell” is based on the true story of the ladies who brought down late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes when they exposed him for sexual harassment in 2016. McDowell costars with Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, and John Lithgow as Ailes.

In the following Maine Edge interview, I asked McDowell about “Bombshell” and his portrayal of Murdoch, his delivery of The Beatles’ story as heard in the classic 1982 documentary “The Compleat Beatles,” (a Liverpool native, McDowell saw the band at The Cavern before and after Brian Epstein became their manager) and the approaching 50th anniversary of “A Clockwork Orange.”

While binging the second season of “Magic for Humans,” a Netflix original series starring magician and comedian Justin Willman, I caught myself hitting the rewind button several times to confirm that what I thought I just saw actually happened. I’ll be very surprised if you don’t do the same.

Willman’s brand of smart magic is a multi-dimensional social experiment in that you don’t see the trick coming and you aren’t prepared when he turns the table on you and his participants to top it.

Like its predecessor, season two of “Magic for Humans” consists of six 23-minute episodes, and opens with Willman explaining each episode’s theme. “Real people, real magic, no camera tricks,” he says, then we’re off to various LA-area locales where anyone he encounters is a potential participant.

Season 2’s sixth episode is titled “Time is Relative” and features a must-see moment where Willman, with his wife and new baby, visits his parents and films a scene with his mother, who is in the early stage of Alzheimer’s. It’s one of the most beautifully conceived and executed slices of real life that I’ve seen on television.

The genre-busting musical Maine institution known as Rustic Overtones has just released their most heartfelt and meaningful record. The LP represents the first new music from the band since the sudden passing of band leader and trombonist Dave Noyes last March at age 45.

A beloved figure on the New England music scene, Noyes joined Rustic Overtones in the mid-1990s. He was also a husband and a father to two boys, one of whom was born after his death.

The 14-track “Self Titled” is different to anything we’ve heard from Rustic Overtones to date, thanks to Noyes’s original vision for the record, and the commitment of his band mates to see the project through.

Sunday, 01 December 2019 13:46

Tom Rush to perform at One Longfellow Square

Legendary folk singer and guitarist Tom Rush is scheduled to take the stage at Portland’s One Longfellow Square with multi-instrumentalist Matt Nakoa on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 8:00 pm. The artist says he’s looking forward to connecting with fans in the smallest room that he plays.

“It’s fun to be in a room where you can really see the people you’re playing for,” Rush told The Maine Edge. “It feels like you’re carrying on a conversation.”

Some of the finest of all psychedelic rock originated not in the hippie-trippy 1960s, and not in San Francisco or London, but in the 1980s era of big hair and bright neon, in the town of Swindon, England, when the band XTC, with producer John Leckie, metamorphosed into The Dukes of Stratosphear for two outrageously fun albums.

The entire output by XTC as The Dukes of Stratosphear has just been released as “Psurroundabout Ride” - the latest installment of XTC’s ongoing series of reissues, remixed and produced by Steven Wilson.

The two-disc set includes a CD with a 2019 stereo mix and a Blu-ray disc containing Wilson’s wild new surround-sound mix in 5.1 audio, as well as the bonus equivalent of a boxed set’s worth of alternate listening options.

Maine musician Riff Johnson has called upon the services of more than a dozen likeminded friends to come together in aid of Sarah’s House of Maine, in a special concert scheduled for Wednesday, December 11, at the Gracie Theatre, at Husson University in Bangor.

The concert, dubbed “Your Riff Johnson Christmas Experience” is sponsored by Mark Braveman of Mark’s Music, The Burning Moose vape shop and Braveman Audio.

Some of the best musical moments of my life have been experienced within the ornate surroundings of the historic State Theatre on Congress St. in Portland. The iconic venue celebrates its 90th anniversary this month.

When the State Theatre debuted on November 8, 1929 (literally days after the stock market crash that launched the Great Depression), its bronze doors opened for a screening of “The Trespasser” - the first “talkie” for silent film star Gloria Swanson.

In the intervening decades, the State Theatre stage has served numerous functions, including a first-run movie house, a venue for vaudeville shows and plays, cartoons, radio quiz shows, and until 1990, an adult film theater.

In 2010, after lying dormant for several years, the State Theatre was restored to its former glory with a $1.5 million investment and has become one of Maine’s busiest concert venues. With 1,900 seats, it’s large enough to draw legends and small enough to offer great views from every vantage point.

I remember catching Bob Dylan at the State when he was in the mood to play songs by the Grateful Dead in 1996 and watching Ray Davies of The Kinks deliver an unforgettable “Storytellers” show from the first row in 2001. I somehow managed to be up front again for the Trey Anastasio Band in 2011 and was also present earlier this year when the Phish guitarist purposely chose the State Theatre to launch his stunning Ghosts of the Forest project.

One of my first stories for The Maine Edge was a review of a State Theatre solo show by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.

Tweedy brought Wilco to the State Theatre in 2018 when the band could have filled a much larger venue. Why? Because the State is gorgeous, the acoustics are excellent and it’s operated by people like Lauren Wayne, the venue’s general manager and talent buyer, who are dedicated to providing the greatest of concert experiences for fans and artists alike.

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