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The transition from stage to screen can be hard.

No matter how good a stage play might be, no matter how brilliant the writing and writer, the shift from a live performance setting into the realm of cinema is rife with pitfalls. There are any number of things that can go awry, leaving audiences with a detached viewing experience that simply cannot compare with the one that took place in the room where it happened.

But when it works, man oh man – it WORKS.

Netflix’s new film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” – directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson from August Wilson’s play of the same name – works. It is an electrifying piece of cinema, powerful and provocative. The performances – led by Viola Davis as the titular Ma and an absolutely mesmerizing turn from the late Chadwick Boseman – are exquisite. The period aesthetic is vividly on point and the music slaps.

It’s a story of appropriation and what it means to push back against that appropriation. It’s about using whatever talents you have to force your way into the conversation, to demand a place at the table of your own, regardless of whether the world believes you deserve that spot. It is about systemic racism and cultural exploitation and the myriad ways in which one might choose to deal with those harsh realities.

Published in Movies

Beloved music festival marks its 24th year on July 15 & 16

Published in Music
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 12:36

The Rolling Stones – ‘Blue & Lonesome’

For the 25th studio record of their career, The Rolling Stones have finally made good on their decades-long promise to record a real blues album. 

Published in Music
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 15:11

Still Killing the Blues

Editor's Note: We corrected the date to March 26, and apologize for the error.

ROCKLAND Legendary singer-songwriter Chris Smither is returning to Maine to perform at the Strand in Rockland on March 26 at 7:30 p.m., as a part of his ongoing tour. Smither is known for his bluesy folk with roots in Louisiana, where he grew up, but he's no stranger to the North East, living in Boston for a time. He's played at the Strand is has been a guest at Blue Hill's the Left Bank when it was the hotspot of the music scene in Maine.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 11:03

Chris Smither returns to The Grand

ELLSWORTH - The Grand presents the return of the great cosmic blues sound of Chris Smither on Friday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Having distilled his own signature sound of blues and folk for over 40 years, Chris Smither is truly an American original. A profound songwriter, Smither continues to draw deeply from the blues, American folk music, modern poets and philosophers with this 14th record of his lengthy career. From his early days as the New Orleans transplant in the Boston folk scene, through his wilderness years to his reemergence in the 1990s as one of America's most distinctive acoustic performers, Chris Smither continues to hone his distinctive sound. He has always traveled his own road, eschewing sophisticated studio tricks and staying true to his musical vision. He has developed and maintained loyal friendships over the years with kindred-spirited musicians like Bonnie Raitt and the late Stephen Bruton and inspires the next-generation of musicians. 

 

Published in Music

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