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Fall arts preview

Our picks for the most anticipated arts events of the season
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  September 12, 2014

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Sun Kil Moon

September 12-18

Modeled after the annual Boston event of the same name, the city-sponsored Portland Greenfest officially kicks off at 10 am Saturday, September 13, at which point a slew of musicians and eco-themed events will rule Monument Square until 4 pm or so. The morning lineup includes sets from the family-friendly, bluesy folk singer Monique Barrett, acoustic popper Jacob McCurdy, and Danny Rand, and Boston’s Johnny Fireseed and the Junkyard Dogs, whose instruments are made entirely from trash. Later, 17-year old “Rapper Ashley” is expected to, well…rap, about climate change and other issues appropriate to the day. The Brunswick native recently performed alongside Portland favorite Lady Essence at one of Asylum’s summer rap nights, the proceeds from which benefit local Boys and Girls Clubs, making Ashley one whom rap fans and activists alike should care about. Two trash-themed fashion shows and an eco-poetry slam accompany a series of special exhibits—including “Casco Bay Stories,” a multimedia project of the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership beautifully compiled by Salt Institute graduate Galen Koch. The multimedia presentation sheds light on the real people who actually live and work in the bay, like the young family who moor their sailboat/summer home in various coves throughout the year, or the fellow whose 40-year diving career renders up an ethnography of the changing waters.

It’s been a long, sad career for Mark Kozelek. Luckily, the sad part is something he’s never really been ashamed of, and over twenty years of songwriting in Red House Painters, under his gov’t name, and now Sun Kil Moon, he’s leveraged it into a weird sort of bliss. “I don’t know what happened or what anyone did,”—he explains in the Zeppelin-tribute-turned-memoir song “I Watched The Film The Song Remains the Same,” from his fantastic new record Benji—“but from my earliest memories I was always a very melancholy kid.” Kozelek is 47 now—he’s fine; he’s a happy, successful guy—but he knows that feeling isn’t going anywhere, and his acceptance of that fact makes his music far more poignant, silly, and rewarding than any of his acolytes. Behind all that subjectivity, he’s an excellent guitarist, too. See him at Port City Music Hall on September 18.

And just south, The Diptych Project II closes its run at Biddeford gallery Engine on September 20, a collaboration between 38 artists specializing in encaustic painting—or, painting with hot wax. Artists were given six months and a theme: the latter predicated upon a compositional element such as line, texture, color, and the former the timeframe within which to curate a kind of materialist “conversation” with one another. The result is a series of works born out of this “call and response” model.

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No No: A Dockumentary about former MLB pitcher Dock Ellis

September 19-25

Excitingly ambiguous—citydrift/Portland wades into our collective consciousness September 19. Described as three days of “performances, installations, happenings, actions, readings, investigations, ephemera, panel discussions, discourse” by executive curator Jenna Crowder (read a full interview with her “Blurring art and life,” by Nick Schroeder in the August 29 issue) Many of us are familiar with the idea that art and life are separate, and yet citydrift seems to go beyond merely calling attention to that divide—artists and community members are invited to think about the physical acts of living and of art-making which characterize city life. Talking about what makes an “art community,” or any other kind of community, reinvigorates the notion of the spectator, and is bound to open up new discussions about art and where it fits. If you can’t make it to any of the “drift sites” between September 19 and the September 21, the highlights go on display at the Space Gallery Annex at the artwalk on Oct 3.

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