December 30, 2012

In memoriam

The bright light cast by Maine's vibrant cultural scene grew a bit dimmer in 2012 with the passing of some of the state's leading artists, musicians, writers, teachers and activists.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 3)

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Will Barnet at the age of 101 in July at the Rock Garden Inn in Phippsburg.

2012 Telegram file

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Wil Barnet’s “The Blue Robe,” 1971, etching and aquatint on Arches cover paper.

Courtesy of Portland Museum of Art

Additional Photos Below

B.K.

SONNY GOOGINS, 72

CARROLL "SONNY" GOOGINS shared his passion for music with students at Brunswick High School for 40 years.

He also shared that passion by playing piano for Maine theater productions and by serving as music director for more than a dozen musicals at Portland Players and Portland Lyric Theater in South Portland.

Googins died in June at age 72 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

In the 1970s, Googins was active in the Brunswick Music Theater, now known as Maine State Music Theater, playing piano in the orchestra. At Brunswick High School, he taught music theory, music history, music fundamentals and choir.

"Music was in his blood," Ron Trell, Googins' longtime domestic partner, told the Press Herald after Googins' death. "Every day of our 43 years together, there was music. Usually, it was him at the piano. It was beautiful, absolutely beautiful."

R.R.

MAC McHALE, 80

ALLAN "MAC" McHALE grew up in Bangor with one ear glued to the radio. In the 1930s and '40s, he loved listening to the country music of local performers such as Hal Lone Pine and Gene Hooper.

McHale went on to play old-time country music himself for some 60 years, both in Maine and around the country. He was still performing in November when he suffered a heart attack, which led to his death at age 80.

McHale started playing banjo at 18, and also played guitar and mandolin. In the 1960s, he played throughout New England with the Larkin Hill Singers.

In the late 1970s, he started a band called Northeast Winds with longtime friends Emery Hutchins and Paula McHugh. That band lasted 18 years, and played traditional Irish music all over the eastern U.S.

McHale formed the Old Time Radio Gang in 1986, playing the country music of his youth.

His final performance was at the Bangor Grange Hall -- the same place where his music career started.

R.R.

RICHARD LAWLOR, 59

IN THE LATE 1990S, drag shows were hardly mainstream culture in Portland. Thanks to Richard Lawlor, they are well on their way to becoming that now.

Lawlor, who lived in Portland for most of his life, died in October at age 59.

He may have been better known for his work with the Maine Festival, New Year's Portland and concert series at Congress Square. But his passion was Portland's drag culture, said his friend, Chris Busby.

"Richard's work many years ago organizing drag shows was key to emergence of the scene. He laid the groundwork for those sorts of troupes to become popular today," said Busby. "Back then, it wasn't nearly as easy to find venues for these sort of performances. He had to win some people over that way.

"Within the drag community, there are strong personalities. The scene could be fractured. He was able to negotiate all of that and get everyone on the same page."

Lawlor was active in the local gay community in other ways as well. He published and edited "The Companion," which covered news and entertainment in Portland's gay community, and began a website about gay nightlife in Portland.

B.K.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

bkeyes@pressherald.com

Twitter: pphbkeyes

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

 

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Additional Photos

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Howard Hopkins

2000 Telegram file

Hilton Kramer
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Hilton Kramer

The New York Times

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Nick Curran

2010 photo by Matthew Robbins

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Russell Libby

2012 Telegram file

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Michael Macklin

2012 Telegram file

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Thomas Cornell

2010 Telegram file

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Thomas Cornell’s “Girl with a Green Shirt,” pastel, 1992.

Courtesy photo

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Mac McHale performs with fiddler Erica Brown in 2000.

2000 Telegram file

Richard Lawlor

Courtesy photo



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