TOP 10 OF 2010

December 26, 2010

The year Maine went GAGA

A couple of pop megastars came calling, several Mainers made their way across the national cultural stage, and there was no shortage of news of note on the state's arts and entertainment front.

From staff reports

In the realm of art and culture, 2010 felt like a bonanza year. Some of entertainment's biggest stars came to Maine. Taylor Swift showed up in the spring to make a video, and came back to Kennebunkport later in the year to debut it for adoring fans.

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Lady Gaga

Telegram file

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Taylor Swift

Telegram file

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Lady Gaga visited Portland in September to rally support for repealing the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell," which barred gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe must have been listening -- they voted for repeal.

A handful of Mainers made themselves famous. Marine veteran Ryan Ahern snagged a role alongside Denzel Washington in a hot new movie, and Heather Hemmens landed a part on the new TV series "Hellcats."

In the visual art realm, former Portland resident and Maine College of Art graduate Ahmed Alsoudani moved into the big leagues of the art world when Sotheby's sold one of his paintings for nearly a half-million dollars.

Local rapper Spose landed a major-label deal and placed his song "I'm Awesome" on the Billboard chart.

It was an important year for a few art and performance institutions as well. The Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport survived a financial crisis last winter and reopened in the spring with one of its strongest seasons. In Portland, the State Theatre also reopened, bringing an impressive lineup of national acts to the city.

And speaking of impressive national acts, how good was the inaugural Nateva Festival in Oxford over the Fourth of July weekend? Pretty awesome, thanks to the likes of Furthur, moe., the Flaming Lips, Jakob Dylan and dozens of others.

We had a few hiccups, too. The Portland Public Art Committee finally decided to do something -- anything -- with the hated "Tracing the Fore" landscape installation down at Boothby Square. But the committee's decision to recommend relocating the sculpture didn't sit well with some folks, who complained the cost of moving the piece isn't worth the hassle.

And let's not forget, Portland came in dead last in Men's Health magazine "Hotbeds of Sex" list.

Talk about a downer.

Staffers Ray Routhier, Stephanie Bouchard and Bob Keyes offer their insight into the year in art and culture. 

1. LADY GAGA: Perhaps the biggest pop singer in the world right now, Gaga has long advocated for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," which barred openly gay people from serving in the military.

On Sept. 20, with little advance notice, she spoke at a repeal rally at Portland's Deering Oaks. Thousands of people packed the park during the free event, and some were able to almost touch the singer as she walked from her tour bus to the stage. She didn't sing, but fans were thrilled just to see her. Many were impressed by her willingness to take a stand on this controversial issue. And her efforts may have resounded outside of Maine as the repeal was signed into law by President Obama last week. -- R.R. 

2. TAYLOR SWIFT: Country music star Swift got people's attention when she showed up in Maine in midsummer to film scenes for the video to her song "Mine" in Kennebunk and other coastal locations. She said she chose seaside Maine because "I've always been weirdly obsessed with the New England kind of look."

On Aug. 27, Swift and a crew from CMT showed up at St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport to tape a live show that would introduce her new video on national TV. A crowd of 1,000 or more showed up for the free event, and they even got a free concert as Swift and her band played a few songs. -- R.R. 

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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The Nateva rock festival

Telegram file

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The controversial "Tracing the Fore" in Portland's Old Port

Telegram file

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Soldier-turned-actor Ryan Ahern

Telegram file

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The State Theatre

Telegram file

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The painter Ahmed Alsoudani

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TV actress Heather Hemmens

Telegram file

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Ryan Peters, aka the rapper Spose

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Lady Gaga drew thousands to Portland's Deering Oaks in September when she spoke in support of the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Telegram file

 


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