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Chris Gray

Latest Articles

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A world of cinema

The 13th Maine International Film Festival begins in Waterville next Friday, and along with the usual unusual array of (political, music, and eco-)documentaries, Amerindies, classic and foreign films, and a special night at the drive-in, MIFF has a coupl
Young filmmakers shine at this year's Maine International Film Festival
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 02, 2010
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Review: Casino Jack and the United States of Money (2010)

Alex Gibney has a gift for turning stories of corruption so thick they're nearly impenetrable into simple tales of unfettered greed and malfeasance.
The globe-trotting misdeeds of Jack Abramoff
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 25, 2010
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Beer, boys and parking-meter woes

As if you needed proof that Ron Harrity is one busy man (see: new releases from If and It, Honey Clouds, Marie Stella), two more albums finished off in his South Portland studio hit the streets this season in advance of your summer road trips.
New anti-anthems from Foam Castles and the Rattlesnakes
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 18, 2010
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Review: Best Worst Movie

Best Worst Movie offers a strong argument for why certain objects of kitsch are adopted by eccentric fans.  
Exploring Troll 2 's fascinatingly watchable badness
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 04, 2010
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We band of brothers

This is the first independent production by the group of five friends who met at Boston’s Emerson College, where they helmed incarnations of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and Sam Shepard’s True West .
Young actors bring a Spartan production of Henry V to the Apohadion
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 21, 2010
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Preaching to the hive

What’s the most effective way to make people care about the institutional problems with our industrial food economy?
Food+Farm scrutinizes the ups and downs of agricultural sustainability, and the eco-documentary
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 21, 2010


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Love by the numbers

Khaela Maricich, of the Portland, Oregon-based, low-budget electro-pop group the Blow, and Britain’s dauntingly young and talented folk star Laura Marling don’t, frankly, deserve to be lumped together like this.
The Blow and Laura Marling make their cases at SPACE Gallery
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  May 07, 2010
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Have whiskey, will swim

Filling this year’s slot in SPACE Gallery’s annual “Outlandishly Entertaining Documentary” hole is Big River Man , John Maringouin’s take on the greatest adventure yet embarked upon by Martin Strel.
Martin Strel’s insane swim down the Amazon in Big River Man
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 16, 2010
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Reality bites again

At the tail end of February, for the second consecutive year, I (barely) escaped a late-winter hurricane to enter a Midwestern oasis of grass-fed beef, cheap cigarettes, Johnny Depp impersonators, and some of the finest documentaries you might just see t
Getting a jump on the year in documentaries at True/False
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 02, 2010
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Nervous guy

In his better solo songs and the majority of the material he’s made with the alt-country band Old 97’s, Rhett Miller is a big-mouthed wannabe playboy on the verge of collapse.
Rhett Miller’s anxious and irresistible pop songs
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 26, 2010
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Hidden in plain sight

In a larger new home and with its most impressive roster in years, the Maine Jewish Film Festival can already boast a successful 2010.
The Maine Jewish Film Festival explores identity
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY + DEIRDRE FULTON  |  March 19, 2010


Review: 48 Hour Music Festival

At SPACE Gallery, March 6
Music Seen
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 12, 2010
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Random rules

25 more local musicians meet, greet, and rock at the second 48 Hour Music Festival
25 more local musicians meet, greet, and rock at the second 48 Hour Music Festival
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 05, 2010
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True grit

Operation Bobbi Bear is a non-governmental organization in Durban, South Africa, devoted to finding care and foster homes for children who are abused and abandoned.
A feisty, inspiring group of women combat child abuse in South Africa in Rough Aunties
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 05, 2010
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From deli to concert hall

If you're a young (or youngish) music fan looking to become a little bit more engaged with classical music, there is truly no better time than right now, particularly if you'll find yourself in Portland this weekend.
Crossing, and expanding, boundaries with Brooklyn Rider
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  February 26, 2010
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Review: A Town Called Panic (2010)

It is, indeed, a golden age for animation, where silent montages can wrenchingly portray a lifelong bond (in Pete Docter's Up ), or a band of stop-motion foxes can act out complex and angsty family dynamics (Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox ), or a c
Chaos reigns in a Belgian Town Called Panic
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  February 12, 2010


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An idyll examined

After 36 films and more than 40 years of filmmaking, Frederick Wiseman has probably come as close as any director to capturing this American life in all its breadth and nuance.
Frederick Wiseman's four-hour, 1999 documentary about Belfast, Maine
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  January 29, 2010
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Review: Until the Light Takes Us

Norwegian black metal in Until the Light Takes Us
Metal, terrorism, and gossip
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  January 22, 2010
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Love among the ruins

To Will Ethridge, who runs the small Portland-based label Eternal Otter Records, any song or album is just one crucial piece of a larger puzzle.
Eternal Otter documents make-ups, breakups, and shake-ups
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  January 22, 2010
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Walk hard

In Joshua Ferris's unsparing second novel, Tim Farnsworth doesn't know why he walks, but nothing but exhaustion can stop him.
Joshua Ferris abandons the office and hits The Road
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  January 15, 2010
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Is 2010 the Year of the Girl?

Many have argued that the descriptor "indie music" means nothing more or less than "bands Pitchfork reviews" these days, and the claim was never more true than last year
Music of the Future
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  January 08, 2010


2010 preview

What’s coming to the clubs
Music Seen
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  January 01, 2010

Local luminaries’ picks

I asked a bunch of people who really dig local music to help me make sure I wasn’t leaving any songs out when I was developing my list of the best 10 songs of the 2000s, but then I quickly realized that “best” is about as subjective as things come when y
A sample of other best songs of the 2000s
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  December 25, 2009

Review: Out on the town

Bars and clubs everywhere, 2009
Music Seen
By JEFF INGLIS  |  December 25, 2009
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Two turtle doves

Like a mug of hot cocoa after an afternoon of sledding, sometimes a good Christmas gift isn't quite complete without a second one that enhances the pleasures of the first.
Sometimes the best gifts come in pairs
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  December 11, 2009

Treble Treble release party

Treble Treble release party at SPACE Gallery, November 27
Music Seen
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  December 04, 2009


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Days of plenty

In Collapse , the latest documentary by Chris Smith ( American Movie , The Yes Men ), the director condenses a two-day, March 2009 interview with a little-known investigator named Michael Ruppert into a bleak harbinger of the world's seemingly inevi
A man in a bunker outlines our forthcoming Collapse
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  December 04, 2009
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Winged migration

Since their start in the middle of the decade, Brown Bird have been one of the region's go-to chamber-folk outfits, with a couple of dark and stormy albums earning them a following in various nooks of New England. The release of their latest album, Th
Brown Bird and South China fracture and cohere
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  December 04, 2009
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It takes a village

Treble Treble , a new 15-page photobook and 10-artist compilation album curated by local musician and budding photographer Joshua Loring, is the first concerted effort to market Portland's indie music scene.
... and a compilation album/photobook to raise a self-sustaining indie scene
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  November 27, 2009
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No sleep ’til Brooklyn

There’s a lot to love about Slumberland Records, the DC-born, Oakland-based label that celebrated its 20th anniversary last weekend with sold-out shows in Washington, DC, and Brooklyn.
Maine ties to Slumberland Records’ 20th anniversary weekend
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  November 20, 2009