Cover Story (527)

BANGOR – One of the region’s most steadfast and beloved cultural institutions is gearing up to get back onstage.

Penobscot Theatre Company is on the verge of getting back to live, in-person theatre. The company announced their upcoming season with a virtual town hall event last month, but now that we’re approaching that first opening night, it seemed appropriate to do a full-on season preview.

While PTC did a wonderful job of finding ways to pivot into the digital realm last season, crafting a thoughtful and high-quality season in “Digitus Theatrum” that found ways to maneuver around the multitude of obstacles raised by the circumstances of the pandemic, there’s no question that they – and theatre lovers in Bangor and beyond – are eager to take their seats at the Bangor Opera House and be transported by the special magic of live performance.

This new season marks the company’s 48th, if you can believe it. For nearly half a century, Penobscot Theatre Company has been a cultural cornerstone for the region, the northeasternmost professional theatre company in the United States. It is a foundational piece of our area’s creative fabric, one of the many incredible organizations that bring the arts to life in this place that we call home.

There’s a lot of great stuff coming. From a beloved holiday classic to a Maine playwright’s premiere, from a pair of one-woman shows to a romantic two-hander to a big, bold musical, PTC has put together a collection of offerings that will feature something for just about every theatregoer out there.

And there have been changes in the organization as well, the biggest being the ascension of Tricia A. Hobbs, longtime PTC staff member, to the position of Acting Artistic Director of the company following the departure of previous Artistic Director Bari Newport earlier this year. Hobbs has worn numerous hats during her time at PTC – she has worked as a scenic designer and director, as well as serving as production manager and technical director. Her hands-on experience with so many facets of the theatrical experience make her a worthy choice to steer the ship during this turbulent time.

Now, this is a much later kickoff to the season than we usually see from PTC, with the first show opening in mid-November rather than early September. Rather than rush the process, the team opted to take careful steps as they moved forward, taking into account still-shifting situations. That said, these folks are definitely ready to get back to it.

So what should people expect? I spoke to Hobbs and PTC Executive Director Jen Shepard about what the upcoming season will hold – both in terms of what audiences will see and how they will experience it.

Monday, 11 October 2021 13:31

Word is back – and back online!

Written by Allen Adams

BLUE HILL – A highlight of the state’s literary calendar is back – and back online – for another year.

As pandemic concerns continue into the fall, organizers for Blue Hill’s beloved Word literary festival have decided that the annual event will return to the online format introduced last year. The festival's free events and paid workshops will be available via Zoom; the dates for the event are October 21-24.

Preregistration is required for all events. Details and registration links are at

While it’s a shame that lexophiles and literary lovers will once more have to wait to engage with one another in person, the show must go on. The truth is that there just aren’t that many events in our region that are fully devoted to the written word. And so, while it might not be ideal that Word has moved once more into the virtual realm, the event still presents a wealth of opportunities for people near and far to engage with some of the incredible talents that are participating this year.

Featured speakers will include novelist Susan Choi and journalist Bob Keyes. The event will also feature four notable poets, as well as some of the region's most popular food writers. In addition, Word also will offer local school visits by children's author/illustrator Russ Cox and children’s/young-adult author Anica Mrose Rissi.

BANGOR – Bangor’s own literary law enforcement officer is at it again.

Lieutenant Tim Cotton of the Bangor Police Department has released a new book, his second. “Got Warrants?” is a follow-up to last year’s “The Detective in the Dooryard,” both published by Down East Books.

Cotton’s introduction to most readers came during his lengthy and wildly popular time at the helm of the Bangor PD’s Facebook page; his combination of wit and wisdom led to the page gathering hundreds of thousands of followers – basically, the population of Bangor tenfold.

So it’s no surprise that someone out there in the publishing world would take notice and see if TC’s unconventional style would work in book form. And judging from the success of “TDITD,” it seems that it does.

It certainly worked well enough to get Cotton back behind the word processor (or typewriter – it wouldn’t shock me to learn that these pages came off the roller of a vintage Underwood) for another go round.

“Got Warrants?” is a collection of items drawn from the BPD Facebook page’s feature of the same name, where Cotton injected a welcome dose of cleverness and clarity into the boilerplate stylings of the standard reportage of the police beat. It’s a mixture that probably shouldn’t work, but it does. You can read our review of the book here.

It works because Cotton brings a consistent collegiality to the proceedings. He has a self-deprecating sense of humor that manages to carry a little bit of snark without ever becoming mean-spirited – no easy feat. He is someone who is passionate about his work and his community – a passion that carries through everything that he writes. There’s nothing disingenuous here; everything comes from a place of honesty. That’s true of the social media offerings and it’s true of the books.

BANGOR – The 28th annual edition of Paws on Parade, Bangor Humane Society’s largest annual fundraiser, promises to be extra groovy this year in both theme and venue. The fun dog walk, which traditionally draws hundreds of supporters and their beloved pets, will be held at a new location, Husson University, 1 College Circle in Bangor, on Saturday, October 2, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Paws on Parade’s primary sponsors are Cross Insurance, Darling’s VW and Veazie Veterinary Clinic.

This year’s event will be the first in-person edition of Paws on Parade since 2019. Because of the pandemic, a virtual version was held last year. To represent the community coming together once again under a common cause, Bangor Humane Society has selected “Woofstock” as a theme, a reference to the iconic Woodstock music festival.

BANGOR – Are you ready to get your geek on?

The Bangor Comic & Toy Convention is returning to the Queen City. Running October 1-3 in its new location at the Bangor Mall, the convention is bringing a number of iconic pop culture guests to town, as well as a multitude of artists, vendors and enthusiasts. No matter what your fandom, odds are you’ll find something here that fits the bill.

Tickets for the event are available at the convention’s website – – where you can purchase single day tickets or weekend passes. There are also VIP tickets available, as well as family passes.

This is the fifth year for the convention, which allows pop culture lovers from the Bangor region and beyond the opportunity to come together in celebration of the things that they love. And thanks to the hard work of the festival organizers, it’s a chance for people to get up close and personal with some of the figures involved with the creation of those things.

Maybe you’re a comic book lover. Maybe you’re into sci-fi or fantasy. Maybe you’re into pop culture collectibles or cosplay. Perhaps your tastes trend more toward cult films or anime. Or maybe professional wrestling. And maybe – like so many of us – there’s an overlap, a wide swath of cultural ephemera that you’re into.

That’s the joy of a convention like this – there’s room for everyone. So what are we looking at here?

The headliners of this year’s con have to be Jason Mewes, Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson, stars of the cult classic comedy “Clerks” as well as a handful of other entries in filmmaker Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse. Actress Sherilynn Fenn – of “Twin Peaks” fame – will be here as well, as will iconic horror actor Bill Moseley and actress Judith Hoag (April O’Neill from the original “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film). Professional wrestling legends Mick Foley and Mickie James will be in the building, along with some beloved anime voice actors and comic book creatives.

Oh, and if you’re like me, you’re going to be stoked to hear that actor Noah Hathaway – Atreyu from “The Neverending Story” – is expected to attend. And not just the convention; Hathaway is helping to kick off the festivities with a special early event on Sept. 29 – he’s co-hosting a kickoff during which the film will be screened. The event takes place at the Seasons Downunder Club; tickets are $25.

All that, plus a wonderful collection of vendors and a number of additional events scattered throughout the weekend. Like I said – there’s something for everyone here.

BANGOR – There’s another great slate of shows gracing the stage of the Gracie Theatre this season.

The Gracie Theatre – located on the campus of Husson University – will be presenting a wide range of entertainment over the course of this season. Music and comedy and more will be offered up to arts lovers and cultural consumers of the region.

The Gracie has been a welcome part of the region’s creative scene for years now, one that has thrived over the past decade, bringing a wonderful and diverse crop of performers to their Bangor stage every season. This year’s slate is no exception, though of course the landscape remains changed due to the circumstances of the ongoing pandemic.

It’s a wide array of offerings, with something for every audience. Putting together a season right now comes with plenty of obstacles, but the team at the Gracie – and at Husson – looks to be ready to do whatever it takes to overcome them. 

“It’s a thrill to be re-opening our doors for our tenth season,” said Jeri Misler, managing director of the Gracie Theatre. “Together with season sponsor Bangor Savings Bank, The Gracie is ready to kick off our season. In February 2022, ‘L.A. Law’ stars Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker will be joining us to help celebrate Valentine’s Day with a performance of ‘Love Letters.’ And for those who love the music of Freddie Mercury, ‘Queen Flash,’ a fabulous six-piece Queen tribute band, will rock the house. It’s going to be an incredible season!”

Other acts booked for the coming year include another edition of “Late Nite Catechism,” folk music sensation “Le Vent du Nord,” a classical violin and guitar duo, comedian Karen Morgan, acclaimed off-Broadway hit “Cross that River: The Musical,” and the genre-defying “Take 3” in concert.

The creators of two award-winning films shot in Maine have taken their craft to a new level with the outrageous Hollywood comedy “Queenpins,” inspired by a true story. The film is scheduled for a limited theatrical opening on September 10 and will arrive digitally on the Paramount+ streaming platform on September 30 and later on Showtime.

Written and directed by the husband-and-wife team of Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly, “Queenpins” is the story of a frustrated housewife (Connie, played by Kristen Bell of “The Good Place” and “Frozen”) and her best friend (Jo-Jo, played by Kirby Howell-Baptiste of “Killing Eve” and “Barry”) who together hatch a $40 million counterfeit coupon scheme.

The “Queenpins” cast includes Vince Vaughn (“Swingers,” “Wedding Crashers”), Paul Walter Hauser (“Richard Jewell,” “I, Tonya”) Joel McHale (“Community”), Stephen Root (“Office Space,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) and singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha in her first film role.

Gaudet, an Old Town native, and Pullapilly, are perhaps best known for 2009’s “The Way We Get By,” the powerfully moving documentary film about a group of tireless senior citizens who find fulfillment in their golden years when gathering at all hours to greet incoming and outgoing troops at Bangor International Airport. The film took its creators and cast to screenings around the country, including Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. and to Hollywood, where AARP named it the best documentary of the year. It has since screened numerous times on PBS.

Four years later, the filmmakers returned with “Beneath the Harvest Sky,” an indie drama largely shot in Van Buren, about friends whose lives are upended when one becomes embroiled in the illegal prescription drug trade along the Canadian border. The film starred Emory Cohen (“Brooklyn”) Callan McAuliffe (“The Great Gatsby”) and Sarah Sutherland (“Veep”) and won the Directors to Watch prize at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

BANGOR – A local afternoon staple is about to turn 10.

Radio show Downtown with Rich Kimball is set to mark its first decade in early September. For 10 years, host Rich Kimball has been bringing his own unique spin on drive-time to the area’s airwaves.

Ostensibly a sports-forward show, Downtown has always been much more than that, thanks to Kimball’s wide-ranging interests and his willingness to embrace those interests on the air. Yes, there’s plenty of sports coverage – local, regional and national – but there’s also plenty of conversation on other topics. Movies, music, literature, the performing arts, local business and events – everything gets some play from 4-6 p.m. on AM 620.

(Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll note that I am a frequent guest on Downtown, appearing twice weekly on the program since the very beginning.)

The show has changed broadcast frequencies and locations numerous times during its 10-year run. It began on FM before moving to AM. It briefly broadcast from the Blueberry Broadcasting Studios before its extended run at the now-defunct studio space at Seasons Restaurant and Sports Bar, followed by its current location at the WZON studios.

But even as the show changed – from its focus to its physical location to its position on the dial – it just kept going. And the audience came along for the ride.

ORONO – As the University of Maine football team prepares to open the 2021 season, they hope for a return to normalcy in more ways than one. Like everyone, they’re hopeful that vaccinations and other COVID protocols will not only keep them safe but also reduce the distractions and upheavals that have been a regular feature of the past seventeen months. In a football sense, they aim to return to the physical style that served them so well in their deep playoff run of 2018, when they came within a game of playing for the national championship.

Head Coach Nick Charlton begins his third season at the helm of the Black Bears and looks to build on those things that went well in the aborted spring season. After the Colonial Athletic Association opted out of a fall season in 2020, most teams attempted to play a reduced spring schedule. Maine had solid wins at Albany and against Stony Brook bookended by one-sided losses to Delaware and Villanova, then lost out on a chance to bounce back when their games with Rhode Island and New Hampshire were cancelled due to Covid outbreaks on those teams.

When things were good in those Albany and Stony Brook contests, they were very good, as UMaine generated a diverse offensive attack and made big plays on defense. When they were bad, the Bears were unable to maintain drives offensively or make key stops on defense. Establishing consistency is crucial to any effort to return to playoff contention in 2021.

Fall TV season is upon us!

Granted, the whole concept of the “new fall lineup” has increasingly become less of a thing with the proliferation of streaming services willing to drop entire seasons in one go and networks becoming more and more flexible with regards to when a series can and should debut, but whether it is by design or simply through inertia, we still see a whole lot of premieres hit the airwaves in the autumn.

And yes, I know that we’re still in mid-August, but the truth is that the “fall” schedule keeps getting pushed in this direction. Besides, this will give you a chance to prepare for the deluge of new material that’s coming your way.

It’s already started - the past couple of weeks have seen top-notch offerings like Disney+’s “What If…?” and FX’s “Reservation Dogs” and STARZ’s “Heels” hit screens. Heck, you can even see our review of Hulu’s “Nine Perfect Strangers” – which dropped Aug. 18 – right here.

As per usual, this preview addresses only those shows entering their debut seasons. This isn’t about all the exceptional television that is returning for a second or third or fifth or tenth season – this is about stuff we haven’t seen before. It’s a chance to look ahead at what’s coming and think about what content – if any – we might be willing to invest our limited leisure time into.

It’s a mixed bag for sure. We’ve got broadcast and we’ve got streaming and on and on we go. We’ve got comedy and drama. We’ve got prestige fare and we’ve got mass appeal. We’ve got highbrow, lowbrow, middlebrow – all the brows you could ever desire.

Will all of these shows be good? Absolutely not. Should you watch them all? Also – no. And this is far from everything. But if there’s even one or two gems among the flotsam, that’s a big win. And honestly, it looks like there might be a couple of winners here.

Or maybe it’s all just poorly-conceived adequately-executed entertainment detritus. Who can say? And bear in mind – this is just a selection of what’s coming, a baker’s dozen of premieres heading your way over the next couple of months. There’s plenty more out there and even more to come, so get ready for the deluge.

Let’s have a look at a few of 2021’s fall TV premieres.

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>
Page 1 of 38


The Maine Edge. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Terms & Conditions.

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine