Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

Brian Bechard / MPBN

Chris Kimball, the spectacled, bow-tied founder and former host of the popular PBS program “America’s Test Kitchen,” has moved on to start a new multimedia project called “Milk Street Kitchen.”

Kimball, who kicks off a national tour in Portland Thursday, spoke with Maine Public Radio’s Jennifer Rooks about his new focus: bringing bolder flavors from around the world to what he calls “new home cooking.”

To listen to the full Maine Calling, click here.

Barbara Cariddi / MPBN

A 6- to 7-foot image of Gov. Paul LePage dressed in Ku Klux Klan regalia has been spray painted on a wall along a Portland walking trail that has long been used as a place to legally post graffiti.

The wall is owned by the Portland Water District. Spokesperson Michelle Clement says, about a decade and a half ago at the request of the city, the district agreed to allow the wall to be used as a sanctioned canvas for graffiti.

She says the agency has not monitored what goes on the wall.

Consuelo Kanaga / Brooklyn Museum/Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve ever had children or ever were one, chances are you’ve cracked the cover of “Goodnight Moon,” the colorful picture book illustrated by Clement Hurd and written by Margaret Wise Brown.

Brown, who died 64 years ago at the age of 42, had connections to Maine throughout her life, including a summer home on Vinalhaven that she called “The Only House.”

This week on Vinalhaven, the community is celebrating a series of events celebrating her life and work. They include a Thursday evening talk by author Amy Gary, who is writing a biography of Brown due out next year.

Courtesy National Endowment for the Arts

An elder among Passamaquoddy artisans has died. Clara Neptune Keezer was nationally recognized as a native basketmaker and teacher.

PORTLAND, Maine - On Friday a new state law takes effect designating Nov. 1 as Veterans in the Arts and Humanities Appreciation Day in Maine. 

There is a national movement to recognize the holiday as an annual event; Maine is believed to be the first state to do so.  The measure was introduced on behalf of Jay Emerson, of the Penobscot County town of Hudson. 

Susan Sharon / MPBN

"'Tis the gift to be simple. 'Tis the gift to be free.” Those are the beginning lyrics to the Shaker song “Simple Gifts.”


In the thick of Vacationland’s summer season, many of us plan to spend some serious time sitting outside our local sandwich shops, enjoying the sun while eating an Italian sandwich.

Mark Vogelzang / MPBN

The population of Lisbon is expected to swell from 9,000 to nearly 50,000 this weekend for the Moxie festival. But this year, visitors will find the iconic old store — which birthed Maine’s peculiar state soda — closed.

The 100-year-old Kennebec Fruit Store, owned for decades by the Anicetti family, has been put up for sale after the current patriarch, Frank Anicetti, recently decided to retire.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine storyteller John McDonald is out with a new book that is described as "half-truths, stretched truths, and wry observations about life in Maine."  It's called Moose Memoirs and Lobster Tales. McDonald talked about the book with Irwin Gratz in our Portland studios last week.


Portland Science Center

Everyone knows the story of the RMS Titanic, the allegedly unsinkable ship that hit an iceberg on the way from England to New York and sunk to the bottom of the ocean in April 1912.

Ayumi Horie

Walk down a city street, and any step you take could land you on a spot where something important happened in the past. Not necessarily the stuff of history books, but smaller events in the personal lives of those who walked there before you. In one Portland neighborhood, those moments have been quietly captured and embedded in the sidewalk.

State Library and Archives of Florida / Wikimedia Commons

“The Worst Mess in the History of Sports.” “The Phantom Punch.” In May 1965 Muhammad Ail fought Sonny Liston for boxing’s heavyweight championship title in a match that was moved from Boston to Lewiston.

Irwin Gratz / MPBN

Kendall Morse has written a new book of Maine humor called “Father Fell Down the Well.” He has been storytelling in Maine since the early 1970s.

It’s been more challenging over the last 15 years, since cancer robbed him of his vocal cords.

Still, Irwin Gratz sat down recently with Morse in our Portland studio. Here’s a transcript of their talk:

PORTLAND, Maine - The same week the U.S. returned an early copy of a letter Christopher Columbus wrote to Italian authorities, the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine says it holds a copy of the letter.

The explorer wrote the letter five centuries ago to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Osher Map Library Director Ian Fowler says the edition at USM was printed in Basil, Switzerland in 1494, a year after Columbus wrote the letter to his patrons. Fowler says the edition the library holds is one of only 80 copies left.

QUEBEC CITY — A Maine boy’s guitar skills earned him a spot onstage with Pearl Jam.

Ten-year-old Noah Keeley of Bar Harbor, Maine, was invited onstage to play last week in Quebec City. He sat on a stool and played along with the Pearl Jam song, "Sad." Afterward, the band played a cover of Cheap Trick’s "Surrender" and dedicated it to Noah’s parents.

Lead singer Eddie Vedder had received an email from the boy’s parents requesting the song and included clips of Noah playing Pearl Jam hits.