Cover Story (522)

ORONO – Early March. Traditionally a time when basketball and hockey take center stage on the sports calendar along with the occasional glimpse at spring training baseball but this year, football is in the air.

The global pandemic had minimal impact on so-called “big time” college football last fall because of, well … money. However, programs at the FCS level, without the pressure of network contracts, were actually able to put the health and well-being of student athletes first and now will attempt to play a reduced spring schedule.

The Colonial Athletic Association’s teams, with the exception of opt-out Towson, will play six conference games and have the option of picking up one or two non-conference opponents. The University of Maine Black Bears, who only found out they can play home games last week, will play a six-game conference-only schedule, all of them against teams from the “northern” half of the CAA.

Believe it or not, it looks like we’re actually going to get an awards show! That’s right folks – the Golden Globes are coming!

Now, it won’t be the same kind of ceremony to which we’re accustomed. There likely won’t be much in the way of red carpets or auditoriums full of famous people preparing to accept their little statues. We won’t see many tuxedos or bespoke gowns. There will be tech glitches galore as an attempt is made to remotely run a globally-viewed show.

But hey – at least Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are back to co-host. Not in the same room. Not even on the same coast. But they’re back, co-hosting as well as two people separated by 3,000 miles can.

The show will air at 8 p.m. on Feb. 28 on NBC, with preshow content streaming live via the Golden Globes’ official Twitter account and at starting at 6:30 p.m.

Like many, I’ve taken my share of shots at the Globes (or more specifically, against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the voting body for the awards) over the years. And there’s no disputing that plenty of weird choices were made yet again this year.

I don’t care! It’s an awards show! I’m here for it!

(Note: As per usual, my focus for this preview will be the movie side of the equation – specifically, the major awards. For the rest of my movie picks and my television predictions, you can check them out – in much less detail – at the end of this feature, but honestly, my TV picks are even more guesswork than my movie selections. You’ve been warned.)

It should also be noted that as always, these predictions are aimed at who WILL win as opposed to who SHOULD win in my opinion. I’m looking to maximize my correct answers, though the truth is that when it comes to the Hollywood Foreign Press, you never really know what the hell is going on.

Let’s go to the Globes.

Peter Guralnick is, arguably, America’s most substantial music writer. When I saw that the title of his first book in five years was called “Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing,” the first thought that came to mind was that the title could not be more apt. Probably more than any other author of music-related books I’ve encountered, Guralnick has the ability to transport you from your present domain to the environs of his subjects where you can almost touch, see, smell, taste, and hear what they do. The reader gets lost in the best of ways when reading a Guralnick book or profile.

My bookcase at home is trembling from the weight of Guralnick’s work, including his first compendium of artist profiles, “Feel Like Going Home: Portraits in Blues, Country and Rock and Roll,” released 50 years ago, his staggering and definitive two-volume biography of Elvis Presley (“Last Train to Memphis” and “Careless Love”), his methodical account of the life of a soul legend (“Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke”), the myth-busting “Searching for Robert Johnson” and his masterfully crafted bio on one of the true OGs, “Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Each book left a deep imprint on this reader, while also serving as literary companions to the musical dives they inspired while reading.

In “Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing,” an anthology of profiles, old, new, and revised, Guralnick tells stories that no other writer could have told by going deep into the lives of his subjects to give us not a comprehensive summation of events but to ultimately reveal the truths that drew him, and quite possibly us, to their light.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 12:35

Love at the movies: A century of cinematic romance

Written by Allen Adams

It’s probably safe to say that this Valentine’s Day will be unlike any other that we’ve experienced. Under the still-looming shadow of the pandemic, we might not be able to celebrate this holiday of the heart in the ways that we have in the past.

In recognition of that fact, I’ve decided to try something a little different for this year’s traditional Valentine’s Day cover. Since many people may not be able to get out and do what they ordinarily would, I thought I might lean into one way that couples could celebrate together.

Movie night.

But not just ANY movie night. What I’ve done here is gone through the annals of cinematic history and chosen one film from each year from 1920 up through today. One movie that is a story of love and romance. Maybe a comedy, maybe a drama, maybe something in between – the only requirement is that love play a big part. It’s an ambitious list, to be sure. And while many of these titles will doubtless be familiar, I’m guessing that there will be a few that are new to all but the most ardent cinephiles.

(Note: For most of these, a simple description – a couple of sentences – will suffice. As we go along, however, I’m going to occasionally break out and go in-depth on some of my personal favorites.)

In the end, though, it’s all about finding the film that speaks most to you, about finding the movie to which you feel the strongest connection. Maybe you’re looking for something new. Maybe you’re looking for something familiar. Or maybe you don’t know what you’re looking for at all just yet. Regardless, I’ve got something for you here.

Let’s go to the movies.

Five months ago, 32 NFL teams set out on what would be one of the strangest seasons in the history of the sport. Playing games in the face of an ongoing pandemic, the league weathered some unique challenges. Should they have played? Depends on who you ask. But play they did.

Now, after all that, just two teams remain.

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face off on February 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. It’s a historic matchup for a number of reasons – you’ve got the returning champion Chiefs looking to go back-to-back, while the Buccaneers become the first team to ever play a Super Bowl on their home field. Oh, and there’s this Brady guy who is about to quarterback in his record 10th title game.

There’s a lot happening here, is what I’m saying.

Let’s take a stroll through the teams and break down some of the positional matchups to get a sense of which squad stands superior. Of course, the most talented team doesn’t always win. The most prepared team doesn’t always win. The team we think will win doesn’t always win.

You get the picture. Anyone who tells you they KNOW what will happen is a charlatan who is almost certainly trying to sell you something. No one knows how this will all play out, but here’s my best guess – the best guess of a guy who, in the interest of full disclosure, got absolutely housed by his dog in picking winners this season (though my postseason run was solid).

Let’s break it down.

Monday, 25 January 2021 15:43

New to view: What’s coming to TV in early 2021

Written by Allen Adams

Seen anything good lately?

If you’re among the millions of people out there who have turned to their old friend television to help pass the time during these past months (and yet-to-be-determined future months) of staying home due to the pandemic, you’ve likely churned through A LOT of content. You might have even watched everything new that has piqued your interest.

But wait – there’s more!

Broadcast, cable and streaming outlets haven’t let the current circumstances keep them from keeping the new programming a-flowing. Thus, we offer up our annual New to View – January Edition. Have a look at the list and see some of what’s coming over the next couple of months, listed in chronological order by premiere date.

(Note: As usual, we have steered clear of returning shows. It’s all about the new stuff here. Will all of these shows make it to a second season? No. Heck, some of them may not make it to the end of their first season. Still, it’s nice to see all these fresh starts.)

How scary has the shutdown been for musicians? Many professional players and music teachers have spent most of their lives working toward the goal of supporting themselves and their families by playing music. Some are classically trained and have spent years or decades mastering their craft after obtaining prestigious and pricey degrees while others are self-taught. Many rely on filling their schedules with gigs wherever they can find them in restaurants, bars or at weddings. For those who can do it, it’s a dream come true, but when it all stops, the black void of uncertainty that is our current reality can be soul-crushing.

Soon after last spring’s shutdown, the New England Musician’s Relief Fund (NEMRF) was established to assist musicians in easing the financial strain. Nine months later, the fund has distributed more than $300,000 to musicians in New England and New York’s Upper Hudson Valley to help make ends meet.

Monday, 11 January 2021 16:49

Paying a visit to ‘Mr. Ben’s Playhouse’

Written by Allen Adams

BANGOR – There’s a brand-new Saturday morning crew coming to screens near and far courtesy of Penobscot Theatre Company.

“Mr. Ben’s Playhouse” is the latest offering as part of PTC’s Digitus Theatrum season, a collection of digital and streaming works assembled as a way to carry forward the theatre’s mission in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

The show, consisting of five 15-minute episodes, is inspired by an assortment of children’s programming and features a motley crew of people and puppets, including a number of favorites from the greater PTC community. The first episode, with the theme of “Imagination,” arrived on Jan. 9, with subsequent episodes – addressing a variety of themes ranging from listening to fitness to empathy – landing each following Saturday.

All five episodes can be purchased for $40 and all will remain available throughout the series run. If you’d like to purchase access to “Mr. Ben’s Playhouse” or get more information, visit the Penobscot Theatre website at or call the box office at 942-3333.

Sunday, 27 December 2020 17:48

The Maine Edge Year in Review: 2020

Written by Allen Adams & Mike Dow

I’ll be honest – after the seemingly unending bizarreness of 2020, I strongly considered giving our annual Year in Review edition a miss. Was this a year that people wanted to look back on? Did I want to look back?

Ultimately, I decided we should go forward. After all, even as we continue to deal with the ongoing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, life has gone on. It has gone on differently, rife with challenges both large and small, but it has gone on.

We here at the Edge encountered our own challenges, including shutting down our print edition for over three months, from mid-March to the end of June. However, we kept producing new content for our website and generally refused to go anywhere. We resumed printing in July, spending a couple of months as a bi-weekly publication before finally resuming our usual weekly run this fall.

We also bore witness to just how hard it was for our longtime partners, the many local businesses who have been loyal advertisers, the arts and cultural organizations who have been in many ways our raison d’etre and – of course – our readers, without whom we wouldn’t be here. This year, more than any other, we want to express our gratitude for the support we’ve received from so many.

And so, here are a few of our favorite stories from the past year.

What? You didn’t think that a college football season utterly upended by the pandemic would be enough to keep me from undertaking this annual bit of nonsense, did you? That’s right – for the umpteenth year in a row, I am embarking on my lunatic quest to pick the winners of each and every college bowl game.

Now, 2020 being 2020, this is going to be a significantly different feature than it has been in the past. First of all, we’re starting later than we have in past years because the bowl selection process took place later in the year. This means that a few bowl games will have already taken place before this story sees print – we’ll be looking at games starting on December 23 and going forward. This means that you won’t see predictions for the Myrtle Beach Bowl, the Boca Raton Bowl and annual favorite the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Secondly, a number of the usual games have already been cancelled due to the pandemic. Those bowls are as follows:

Birmingham Bowl; Frisco Bowl; Guaranteed Rate Bowl; Bahamas Bowl; Celebration Bowl; Fenway Bowl; Hawaii Bowl; Independence Bowl; Las Vegas Bowl; Los Angeles Bowl; Military Bowl; Pinstripe Bowl; Quick Lane Bowl; Redbox Bowl; and Sun Bowl.

In addition, a number of programs have already opted out of bowl season participation. These schools include:

Arizona State; Boise State; Boston College; Florida State; Georgia Tech; Kansas State; Louisville; Maryland; Michigan State; Penn State; Pitt; San Diego State; SMU; Stanford; UCLA; USC; Utah; Virginia; Virginia Tech; Washington; and Washington State.

(Note: There exists a very real possibility that more games will be canceled and more schools will opt out. The preceding information is accurate as of press time.)

On top of all of that, the NCAA has done away with restrictions on bowl participants with regard to win-loss records. Basically, this means that every single FBS program is bowl-eligible this year, though again, many programs have and/or will opt out.

So what does this mean for Going Bowling?

Well, it means that I have fewer games about which to have unfounded opinions. And it means that I know even less about what is going on than usual. How much less, you ask? Well, would you believe that I have yet to watch any college football at all this season?

That’s right, friends. I am going to attempt to predict the outcome of each of these bowl matchups despite not having watched a single snap by any of the teams involved. Some of my predictions will be informed by research, but some will be simple wild guesses based on zero information. It’s up to you to determine which is which. Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t place any bets based on these picks. You wouldn’t think I would be able to make this exercise even more absurd after all these years, but here we are.

Let’s go bowling.

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