Posts Tagged Portland

Float Harder – Portland Maine Relaxation

Looking to relax, relieve some stress, and get away for a bit to clear your mind? I recently had the opportunity to duck away from the office and experience all of the hype at Float Harder at 500 Washington Avenue, right here in Portland, Maine. Let’s say you have a busy schedule and not a lot of time.. Making a reservation was so simple…right from the office computer I was able to review the availability schedule and book a 90 minute “float” visit.

Once there, the friendly staff was very inviting and did a wonderful job registering and welcoming me to their very clean and calming environment. After a brief tutorial (there is a video on their website to show you what to expect and answer questions you may have), a staff member gave me a guided tour of the facility to make sure I was most comfortable and understood the process for my relaxation getaway.

The private float rooms are beautiful with the floating pod (pictured left), a small bench, and a shower. All you need is to show up and be prepared to relax and ease your mind. The staff has you pick a light color for your pod and a sound/music to listen to if you wish. After a quick shower, you enter the individual pod, and can turn off the sound and/or light if you wish to slip away into full relaxation and allow the epsom salt bath solution to float you in true bliss. Closing the pod cover completely and focusing on breathing enabled me to meditate, clear my mind in complete darkness.

If you’re in need a break, would like to lower your stress levels, and could use a local getaway to clear your mind for 90 minutes, then Float Harder is an incredible and inexpensive option. I’m sure once you have made a visit, you’ll be a returning customer. Enjoy!

For more information or to book a visit, please check out their website http://www.floatharder.com/

 

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Binga’s Stadium and Shipyard Present: Pumpkin Bash 2014!

Bingas/Shipyard Pumpkin Bash 2014

Bingas/Shipyard Pumpkin Bash 2014

Halloween is getting closer!  Actually too close for some of us who are already missing summer.  Binga’s Stadium and Shipyard are teaming up this year to put on the BIGGEST halloween party in all of Portland!

Well, what makes this party so huge you ask?  Two local favorites Kilcollins and Hello Newman will be performing on the same night, all shipyard brews will be $4 and there will be a $1,000 costume contest winner prize!

Pre-sale tickets on sale now for only $5 online at

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/878458

The night of tickets will be just $10 at the door!

More information as event gets closer, don’t miss out on Portland’s biggest Halloween party!

 

http://www.bingasstadium.com

 

 

 

 

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State of the State 2 concert giveaway next week!

Friday July 11 7pm!

Friday July 11 7pm!

 

The annual mega show at the State Theatre is giving fans opportunities to come meet the acts somewhere next week in the Old Port and get free tickets to the show!

Thursday July 10, the bands will hiding somewhere and followers will have to find clues to locate them, and claim their free tickets!  The clues will be posted here starting at 5pm on July 10!

State of the State 2 is put on by lifestyle company Katalyst and it features the state’s biggest bands like:  The Mallett Brothers Band, Spose, The Wrecking, Model Airplane, The Other Bones, and The Kenya Hall Band.  The show will also feature comedian Nick Lavallee and each band will backed for two songs of their set by the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra.

Get ready for the biggest show of the year Friday July 11 at the State Theatre in Portland.  

Tickets available now at http://www.statetheatreportland.com

VIP tickets available for a pre show BBQ hosted by Binga’s stadium INSIDE the venue between 3-5 pm to eat with the bands and listen to sound check!

More information on the show

 

 

 

 

 

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Portland’s Maine State Pier getting into the act with outdoor concerts.

Courtesy of Portlanddailyphoto.com

Courtesy of Portlanddailyphoto.com

With the growing outdoor concert scene that happens every summer in Bangor many were wondering when bigger outdoor shows were going to make their way into downtown Portland.  

As of now there are three shows proposed for this summer on the Maine State Pier in the Old Port put on by Bangor Waterfront Concerts.  Waterfront Concerts operates the 15,000-seat Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor.  Some big name acts scheduled there this summer are Tim McGraw and Dave Matthews Band.

On August 10 there is a Reggae fest, featuring an array of acts and headlines by Freddie McGregor.  Scheduled and the national act 3 Doors Down will play an acoustic set on August 3.  The third act has yet to be announced but it has been said that it will most likely be a national act and household name for the June date.    

The momentum comes from how successful the shows have been in Bangor, and a few summers back when Mumford and Sons brought 15,000 to the Eastern Promenade.  The Maine State Pier has a capacity of about 3,000.

This is good news for concert goers who love being outdoors in the summer!  Enjoy Portland!

 

 

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North of Nashville live at Empire- April 19, 2014

Courtesy of Muddy RuckusNorth of Nashville returns to Portland for their last show on their spring tour on Aril 19th with special guests Muddy Ruckus and Forts/Gainsville!  

 

Saturday, April 19th, 9:00pm
The Empire
575 Congress Street, Portland, Me 04101
PH: (207) 747-5063
Tickets $10 available online: https://holdmyticket.com/checkout/event/166687
doors open at 8pm.

www.muddyruckus.com
www.northofnashville.org
www.portlandempire.com

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Portland Kitchen Tour- May 9-10, 2014

Courtesy of Mainekitchentours.com

Courtesy of Mainekitchentours.com

 

This is a unique opportunity to tour some of the best kitchens that you have ever seen or even dreamed of seeing right in the heart of Portland.  Attendees of the 2nd annual Portland Kitchen Tour gain access to some of the most amazing and intriguing kitchens in all of Portland.  Each kitchen will feature a chef, cookbook author, cooking demo, and a tasting from some of Maine’s most celebrated culinary figures.  Attendees can spend one morning or full two days traveling from location to location.  A perfect event for the upcoming Mother’s day weekend!

 

The tour is open from 10AM to 4PM each day. This self-guided tour takes 2.5-3 hours to view all the homes, chat with chefs and designers and anything else you may want!

 

Tickets and details at www.thedivineseries.com. Day-of box office and first tour stop:  Mercy Hospital’s Fore River Campus, 175 Fore River Pkwy, Portland, Maine.

 

 

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MAMM SLAM 2014 preliminary round this weekend!

MAMM Slam 2014The Maine Academy of Modern Music and the Portland Music Foundation are back this year with their yearly ‘MAMM Slam’- a battle of the bands for Maine high schools.  The winner of this year’s competition receives a nice prize of $1,000 compliments of The Rusty Rocket Foundation.  The winner will also get opportunities at some recording time, radio, and T.V. appearances.  This is a fantastic opportunity for young musicians to show their stuff and also for attendees to see the future of the great music scene here in Maine!  Check out MAMM Slam this Saturday!

The prelim round is this weekend March 29 at Bayside Bowl and the finals are May 10 at Asylum.

 

This event will be hosted by Holly Nunan of Newz by the Nunz and will feature a round of guest judges:

Ken Bell- Local Music Promoter

Kyle Poissonnier- Founder/Creative at Be The Katalyst

Kate Beever- Music Therapist and Maine Music and Health

Trevor Geiger-Director of Marketing/events at Dispacth Magazine

Cam Jones- Musician at Worried Well

Toby McAllister- Musician at Sparks the Rescue

 

Event Info-

Where: Bayside Bowl

When: 1:30pm

Price- $10 students/ $12 adults

 

Band Schedule:

1:30 Doors Open
1:50-2:10 Rupture The Fish
2:10-2:30 Fading Dawn
2:30-2:50 Metal Sideburns
2:50-3:10 Pretty Nice Weather
3:10-3:30 Guilty Bystander
3:30-3:50 InvAsian
3:50-4:10 Simple Burden
4:10-4:30 Sasha McClure
4:30-4:50 If You Insist
4:50-5:10 Cover One Eye
5:10-5:30 Alex Roy & Toby McAllister of Sparks The Rescue
5:30 FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

 

For more information regarding the event contact: maineacademyofmodernmusicpr@gmail.com // 207-781-2598.

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The road to “The Road of Life.”

Courtesy of George Corsillo/Deisgn Monsters

 

I have said it many times and will always say it.  I appreciate and admire anyone who has an intense passion for what they do.  As much as lyricist Mark Chimsky and composer Jay Jacques were enthused, I was a bit scared because I’m not someone who has ever seen a musical live or many plays for that matter.  Jay is a local musician and Mark has edited a number of best sellers, including Johnny Cash’s memoir Cash, and now is an editorial consultant.  I was intimidated that I may be a bit out of my league in conducting this interview.  However, within five minutes ,we were all talking and laughing and I was being educated on “The Road of Life.”  The musical is set against the WWII era scene in the city of Leningrad.  The Nazis blockaded the Russian city for 900 days, essentially starving the population.  The story is centered around the real historical character of Olga Berggolts, thought the events depicted in the musical were all created by Mark and Jay.

Sitting across the table from me was Jay’s wife, Katrina, who he met while going to school in Latvia, and he explained that her grandfather was an actual survivor of this siege.  Immediately, the events of “The Road of Life” that Mark and Jay started to describe become real.  You feel for someone.  Jay explained that the idea happened for the musical quite out of the blue.  He had written a tune about his wife’s grandfather years ago but had filed it away.  In may 2013 Jay thought of that song again and thought that the subject of the siege may be a good one to explore theatrically.  He explained that he observed Mark’s bookshelves full of musical theatre books, and looked at Mark and said, “we should do a musical.”  They began working on it ernest after reading about the poet Olga Bolggolts.  By Janauary, Jay and Mark had enough of an outline and songs to present to a small group of friends.  They asked for honest feedback from the group and were pleased by the enthusiastic responses.  This was in May 2013.  In January in front of a small group of people Jay and Mark performed the musical and asked for honest feedback from the group.  Jay explained that one of the most memorable things that happened during this session was one friend that came from Germany expressed her gratitude to Jay for humanizing the character of the German soldier. ‘Gunther.’  Jay said, it was important for us to portray him as human and not this killing machine.”  Jay said the friend teared up a bit and Mark explained, “we knew this was valuable feedback and encouraged us to pursue our vision.”

I explained to Mark that I wanted to honestly know would someone like me be welcomed at this event and would any of my feedback be taken seriously having no experience or knowledge of this craft?  Mark said, “yes, you’d be a great person to have come!”  Me, Why?  Jay and Mark explained we want to ask people, “does this song making sense to you?”  “Does this one move you?”  “Are you enjoying yourself?”  “What parts did you dislike or like the most?”  Jay went on to explain they are using more of a mainstream feel for the music, and were actively making this more friendly to more a wide range of people.  Immediately, we dove into the idea that people in 2014 want to be feel involved or like they had a hand in creating any product really.  We agreed that the idea of failing or correcting something needs to be more embraced in our society, and that asking for feedback on how to improve something is invaluable.   

This idea  for the musical, which started in May 2013, and was presented to a small group of people in January 2014, is now being presented again on Friday night of this week.  The people who saw it in January will see a different version now because of the feedback they gave Mark and Jay.  As with the first time, the audience that comes this Friday will be encouraged to voice their opinions.  The next step in their journey will will arrive in August, when Mark and Jay material from “The Road of Life” at the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival in Auburn, New York  Both times with audience being encouraged to voice their opinions.    The journey will culminate in August at the Auburn Music Theatre Festival in New York.  The idea that these audiences they are presenting to can be a part of this finished product is an amazing thing, and something rare.  I told them that people will take pride in helping them put their best foot forward.

 

During the interview all I kept thinking was how Jay and Mark truly cared about giving the audience exactly what they wanted. and making the musical more enjoyable.  This pertains to anything I think where a product or performance is given to people.  Jay and I related to each other as being the guys who were given footballs and basketballs as kids and just went through High School and even college playing sports.  Mark explained that he probably went to hundreds of plays/musicals growing up and his first was ‘The Sound of Music,’ which he saw in Cincinnati, Ohio when he was 9.  Instantly he said, “I was hooked, and didn’t mind getting teased about listening to musical cast albums while other guys my age were playing sports.”  Jay said he was always into music very heavy and played in many bands but never really got into the idea of musicals into he met Mark.  This interview was more like a conversation between friends that all agreed on so much.

Although the history of the story that forms the backdrop for “The Road of Life” is of a tragic time, Mark explains, “we wanted to bring some light to this dark time and to show that love is extremely powerful.  Riding on top of all of this is a love story–it’s something that held people together then and will hopefully move audiences now.”

 

Jay told me that he and Mark had created 35 songs for the musical, and probably would keep 25 for the show’s final version.  Mark explained to me how he and Jay plotted the structure of the entire musical at the very beginning of their creative process and Jay described how songs can actually lead the way from scene to scene and how they can dictate everything from new plot twists to the creation of new characters.  Being a complete rookie to this, all my brain is being filled with information about this process that I didn’t expect.  I’m blown away by the sheer amount of work that goes into something like this.

My biggest takeaway through this conversation is, ironically, more about life than anything else: it’s about the passion and sincerity from these two about giving the best possible presentation they can.  On Friday they will run through the musical again in front of a much bigger audience and then open it up once again to feedback.  I know I will be there and am looking forward to being able to say maybe, just maybe I had some impact in how the final product ends up at the end of the summer in New York.  Passion is what separates good from great in any situation.  Mark and Jay will be just fine.

 

Take care everyone!

 

Kyle Poissonnier

 

**Mark Chimsky and Jay Jacques are looking for interested actors for a upcoming reading of the script.  For more information contact Mark directly at markchimsky@yahoo.com

 

Where and When:

Friday, March 28, 7pm at Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church, 524 Allen Avenue

FREE ADMISSION

 

 

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TD Beach to Beacon 2014 registration starts tomorrow!

Courtesy of beachtobeacon.org

Courtesy of beachtobeacon.org

 

The registration process begins this week for the annual race starting this Thursday with Cape Elizabeth residents and general public on Friday.  On 7AM Thursday morning there will be 600 slots available for Cape residents and then 4,000 slots available on Friday morning for the general public at the same time.  The last opportunity for slots will take place from March 14-March 23 with a lottery of 1900 slots!

This is deemed as the “fastest five minutes in road racing.”  

This year’s race is projected to fill up at the fastest rate ever.  In 2013 the Cape resident slot filled up in only 9 minutes the general public was filled in a ridiculous time of under 5 minutes.  The fee is $45, good luck!  

 

Register online at http://www.beachtobeacon.org

Cape Residents Registration- Thursday March 13,- 7AM

General Public Registration- Friday, March 14- 7AM

Lottery- March 14-March 23.

 

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Chris Beth and The Ohno Cafe- The people make the place even greater.

548789_4178104101407_1260787141_nWhen I sat down with Chris Beth; owner of Ohno Cafe in Portland I actually forgot for the first forty-five minutes that I was there to actually conduct an interview, and not shoot the breeze over a few beers and laugh most of the time.  As time passed we had much more in common than I ever thought we would.  Both from small towns in Maine, both played high school football, and both have an extreme love for life.  I’m a huge believer that successful businesses are maintained by honest, friendly, and genuine people.  Chris is undoubtedly all of those things.  Having only met him a few times prior, Chris always had a smile on his face and was filling up the room with his laughter.  Beyond being extremely jealous of his massive beard the first time I met him I asked him what he did for a living, and he casually said, “my wife and I own a cafe in town.”  I said, “what one.”  He then said “Ohno cafe.”  I immediately wanted to let him know how much everyone raves about his place, and how once you go you’re hooked for life.  But I simply replied, “#6 amazing.”  I think that is how most people talk about the cafe.  Everyone has a story or their favorite sandwich number, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone that ever didn’t thoroughly enjoy a meal or experience at the cafe.  Chris and his wife Lori have run the cafe for almost 5 years now, and have made quite a name for themselves within the loyal Portland community.

Ohno Cafe

Courtesy of OhnoCafe.com

After hearing Chris’s story you can’t help but be a fan of the guy.  He is genuine, and more than likely you can relate to him in some way.  It also doesn’t help that the sandwiches and food his cafe produces are downright delicious and amazing.  Chris says, “Ohno cafe is different things to different people.”  “I have customers that I’m sure have never had a bite of my food but will swear up and down we have the best wine selection in Portland.  “Then we have people who are so focused on getting their coffee and breakfast sandwich they may never notice the beer cooler” he says.  Which makes me think, why doesn’t everyone approach it that way?  He preaches consistency.  That is the key to business.  “Why would anyone return if they ate a great sandwich on their first visit and an “ok” sandwich upon return” he asks.

One thing that also stood out to me about Chris was how much he gave praise to his employees.   When I first sat down before we could even speak he dug into his wallet and laid out a 3 foot long receipt from the company party he took his employees to on Sunday night.  Showing it to me proudly at what was consumed by the crew.  Throughout the interview he took pride in telling me how most of them have been with him since the beginning and took pride in the relationships he has with them all.   Immediately, it became evident again why this is such a successful place.  He stated, “I hate when any of them introduce me as “boss.”  “I’m not here to boss anyone” he says.  He goes on to say that, “people that come in pick up on the good vibes of that, and the regulars that come in every do just that, come EVERY day.”  “I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to have that kind of loyalty, so I won’t try” he says.

The #1 at Ohno

the #1 at Ohno

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after a few beers I decided to dig a little deeper to find out how this ridiculously outgoing, friendly, and humble dude managed to open and run one of the most well known cafes not just in Portland, but in all of Maine.

 

So you grew up in Brunswick and played football?  Where did you attend college and what did you study?  

Chris:  I went to Maine Maritime Academy from 1994-1998 graduating with a B.S. degree in power engineering technology.

 

After college what did you do for work, and what did it teach you about wanting to settle in Portland?  You also have a wife, any children?   

Chris:  I worked as a field service engineer until I was 31, working for a few different companies.  Mostly I was on the road servicing power plant equipment for a couple weeks to a couple months at a time.  Then it came to my attention the previous owner of Ohno cafe was looking to sell.  I quit my job and then worked for him for 8 months then eventually bought the place.  Whenever I was away from Maine, it always drew me back in, and whenever  I traveled around the country I continually compared Portland to wherever I was.  There’s no place like it for me.

My wife and I both grew up in Brunswick and went to high school together, and actually were friend.  The first day she got her license I went on a terrifying ride with her to Freeport!  I hadn’t seen her in ten years until I ran into her at the Free Street Taverna (now the Dogfish Cafe).  She said she never wanted to marry someone from high school, but here we are!  She is the reason I am doing this today, she ha supported me all the way.  She was able to quit her job, and now we run the business together…. pretty amazing, now that I stop and think about it.  No children, just a dog, a cat, and a business!

 

Growing up, I always dreamed of owning my own business.  Were you the same?  If so, what kind?  

Chris:  I always had dreams of owning my own business.  I’m an outgoing person and I saw myself owning a bar or restaurant, walking around shaking peoples hands and chatting about how great the place was.  I had no idea what owning a business actually was like.  It’s much harder than I ever would have imagined, but very rewarding at the same time.  I had various ideas about what kind of business I wanted it to be, but this kind of fell into my lap and I took the leap.

 

How did Ohno start?  The cafe has somewhat of a cult following in Portland.  Did you think long and hard about starting or did you just jump right in?

Chris:  Ohno Cafe was started by a very talented chef named Chris Cook.  He put together menu when he started and that has changed very little since the beginning.  I owe him a lot for starting the kernel for what we are today and teaching me how to cook good food quickly and CONSISTENTLY.  That is in all caps because that is the most important thing in becoming an established restaurant.  Consistency= success in business.

 

 What inspires your menu, and do you have any personal favorites from over the years? 

Chris:  Again, I am lucky to have inherited an amazing men.  But the old saying is true: “if it ain’t broke, dont fix it.” In five years we have only added 2 menu items., and none of the other menu items have been removed.  Ohno has very loyal customers and it seems as though every person has a sandwich they can identify with.  So, the weekly specials is what gives us a change to get creative and make something different.  Most of those are born by what we feel like eating that week or items that have been really successful in the past.  The #1 is as close as what we have to a “signature sandwich.”  My personal favorite is pretty simple #4 which consists of salmon which is super fresh and smoked right here in town at Browne Trading.

 

Ohno just passed the 5 year mark.  What are your plans for the next 5 year, or where would you personally like it to be?

Chris:  We have had goals since the beginning, but I find being rigid in meeting goals crushes creativity sometimes.  Things have happened pretty organically and and I’m happy to be where we’re at.  In the summers we are stretched really thin for space and we have to try to get creative to find room for the all the product.  We have toyed with the idea of opening a second location and we have even looked at a few, but it’s got to be the right space.  So who knows, maybe that will happen in the next 5 years…

 

Lastly, why do you love what you do, and why do you love Portland?

Chris:  There is no better feeling than when someone eats at Ohno for the first time and they say, “that was so good, we will definitely be back soon,” and you see them the next day!  Feeding people is a very connecting experience, so many of our fondest memories are associated with food, and being part of that is very satisfying.  As far as Portland goes… I’m not sure there is anything I don’t love about it, at least not enough to mention.  People in Portland are very local to art, music and food.  This has been thriving for years with no signs of slowing down.  Vibrant, I believe is the term people use.  It’ just an easy place to be yourself; a very easy going, laid back town full of mostly good natured folks.  Then there’s also the sea.  I bought a small sailboat a few years ago and I spend every possible minute I have on Casco Bay.  It truly gives me great perspective to be a tiny speck floating on the ocean viewing our fair city which has become what it is by the hard work so many, and I wonder… what’s next.

 

Chris is right.  Portland truly is what it is because of the hardworking, genuine people that make it up.  Chris is one of them.  I think the Ohno cafe is more of a feeling than just a place that has great food.  The people make the place.  Day to day is stressful for any person  There are bills, stresses of a job, relationships… anything really.  Walking into an unassuming cafe in the west end of Brackett street and being greeted by Chris, his wife, or any of the employees at the cafe can brighten your day, and give you something to actually not stress about even if its just for a few minutes.

I leave the interview thinking I’m lucky that I ran into another quality person/business owner who simply wants to make great food and keep smiles on people’s faces.  In 2014, this is encouraging.  Chris Beth, his family and the Ohno cafe do that for us better than anyone else in Portland.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Kyle Poissonnier

 

For more information on Ohno Cafe visit them online at:

http://www.ohnocafe.com

http://www.facebook.comohnocafe

 

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