Maine novelist Carolyn Chute will be part of Waking Windows Portland: Metamorphosis on Saturday. Photo by Greta Rybus

On Saturday in downtown Portland, you can hear a college professor talking about women’s freedoms under socialism and a band that includes a mother and her two sons, ages 4 and 11.

Both will be part of an event called Waking Windows Portland: Metamorphosis, designed to be a grab-bag of literary and musical discovery. The two dozen or so musical acts, authors and speakers don’t include many well-known names, except for Maine novelist Carolyn Chute.

Instead, the event organizers want to introduce audiences to new ideas and voices, while building a sense of community.

Up-and-coming Portland singer Angelikah Fahray will perform at Waking Windows Portland on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Waking Windows Portland

“We’re showcasing a diverse mix of authors and performers, people who are perhaps less visible than some, and that’s really what this event is about,” said Peter McLaughlin, the event’s artistic director, who is also the music programmer at Space Gallery in Portland.

This is the fifth year that there’s been a Waking Windows event in Portland. The first four were presented in collaboration with a group in Vermont, where Waking Windows started. This year the event is more focused on performers with a Maine connection, McLaughlin said.

The one-day event kicks off at 11 a.m. with the Portland Record Fair at Maine Ballroom Dance on Congress Street, where local record dealers will be peddling their wares. The Page Burner Reading Series begins at 2 p.m. at Tandem Coffee and Bakery on Congress Street, then at 3 p.m. moves to Etain clothing store on Congress Street and at 4 p.m. to One Longfellow Square.


At each stop in the pub-crawl-type series, five authors or activists will read or speak for about 10 minutes. Chute, best known for her novel “The Beans of Egypt, Maine,” will be the last speaker at One Longfellow Square. The reading series is free, as are all festival events, except for a Saturday night concert at Space.

Another author, former Bowdoin College professor Kristen Ghodsee, will read from her book “Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism and Other Arguments for Economic Independence.” The book is about how government policies around things like day care and health care have helped increase freedom for people, especially women.

Poet and rapper Oompa will perform at Waking Windows Portland: Metamorphosis on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Waking Windows Portland

Ghodsee, who now teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, said she’s excited to be part of Waking Windows and applauds its concept.

“I think people are suffering from isolation, loneliness and a polarizing political atmosphere, so it’s vital to try to build community and share ideas around things like arts, music and literature,” she said.

There will be family arts activities at Congress Square Park beginning at 3 p.m., and musical performances will begin at 4 p.m. One of the six acts, Skulken, is Portland shop owner Laura Ker and her two sons, 11-year-old Conor and 4-year-old Freddy. Conor plays guitar, ukulele, bass and some drums and sings, while Freddy plays shakers, trombone and trumpet. Ker, who owns the thrift shop Find on Free Street, studied classical violin and plays guitar and sings in Skulken. She and her sons write their songs together.

“We’ve never played with other bands before, so it’s nice to get out and become part of the community this way,” Ker said.

The concert at Space, which starts at 7 p.m., will feature five musical acts: Death Vessel, rapper Oompa, Micah Blue Smaldone, Just Plain Jones and Mosart212. The styles range from rap and spoken word to electronic music and R&B. Audio clips and videos of Saturday’s performers are on the Waking Windows Portland website.

“We want this to be about discovery,” McLaughlin said.

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