The Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Murder for Two” (a young readers guide to murder and fun)

rscn3049_1221 Can murder be fun? It can be if you went to the Penobscot Theatre Company’s gala presentation of “Murder for Two”. Last night’s performance was so stellar I believe several stars in the Orion  nebula were crying out of jealousy. In an old isolated mansion in New England  our story begins. For us anyway. A surprise party turns awry with calamity, lies, and of course…murder.

A shot rings out! There’s been a murder (there’s that word again. Pay attention it’ll come up again). As dialogue and song spills it guts (oh, sorry) throughout the evening, Marcus (a sometimes unsuspecting and yet always suspecting detective wannabee) played by the brilliant and most talented Jason Cohen, doles out scenario after scenario in high hopes of cracking the case wide open to impress his boss and make detective. Although there is a sense that he is inwardly doing it for himself as well and unwillingly looking for love again after a disheartening relationship leaves him saddened.

fscn3041_1219 On the other side of the piano (which both Jason and Danielle played beautifully) we have the ever present queen of the multiple split personality and voice characterizations, Danielle Erin Rhodes who without question made us question just how many people really were on the stage. Like a bird whose highly developed cerebral cortex allows them to make split second decisions in flight, Danielle’s second to second facial expressions and voice changes were a most superior triumph.

Jason gives us a variety of feelings to deal with. He’s a tough guy (with his cop attitude), a dismal failure when he believes he won’t solve the case, and yet, his heart floats about him ever so freely when encountered by a young lady. His masterful emotions are portrayed wonderfully and with a most convincing manner.

fscn3047_1227 As our story progresses, so does the incredulous comedic never ending banter interpolating the piano that danced and spoke as much as every character did with both simplicity and complexity in a marriage of extreme entertainment. Before I go I need to say the “Protocol Song” was hilarious and sprung up in a spray of sincerity in so many places. So, between dead husbands and stolen ice cream (you’ll see) this marvelous and endearing song and banter show is a fabulous must see. The wonderful story and music by Joe Kinosian and story and lyrics by Kellen Blair only go to show that a young readers guide to murder can be fun.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro


Applebees (the place to be for a night out)

fscn3021_1214  Getting dressed up  and going out to a special place is always fun and sometimes exciting. There are those times when something comes up or just a casual special occasion may flow your way and you just want to slip out quietly and relax. With those thoughts in mind, Applebees fills the gap. They offer most everything the almighty menu can offer. Their appetizers are a meal in themselves. The classic one shells out a sample of everything right down to the artichoke dip with chips. The kids may not reach for the dip but the chips will vanish (more artichoke dip for you parents). Try the tender steaks cooked just the way you like them and there are always specials about. Sides are not a problem. Kids and adults alike will have an abundance to choose from without a problem. They are all so good and the atmosphere is nice. So if you are a tad tired, maybe even coming home from a long drive, or just want to have one of those free nights, stop in at Applebees in Bangor and have a night out.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro


The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company (an expedition with the atlanticat)

fscn2562_1062 What some people call a boat ride or a day trip at sea may very well be called so, if that is what your intentions consist of out in the open waters. However if you take on the mighty ocean, braving the unsteady waters with the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company, well then, you’ve abandoned your little ride for an expedition. The Atlanticat searches the ocean with you as a participant and not merely a spectator. You will see the majesty of those majestic mammals of the sea in all their splendor.fscn2723_1125 The comfortable ship takes you thirty five miles out beyond the outer regions of the oceanic world where not too many have dared to tread. The expert speakers will fill you in on historical information pertaining to whales and other creatures your eyes may fall upon. rscn2765_1098They will tell you of the ships power, and other structural sights along the way such as the research facility next to a historic lighthouse in the middle of nowhere. All in all, the thrill of the journey amongst the great wide open will be a time you will not easily forget. Take a deep breath and take in the watery world you will venture upon with the Atlanticat, the brainchild of Zack Klyver, adventurer, naturalist, and sometimes angler.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Don Giovanni from the Met at The Grand Auditorium In Ellsworth Maine

images   What do we expect from an opera? Well..everyone dies, no one lives happily ever after, and the fat lady sings at the end. Those misconstrued fallacies have no part in this wonderful story. Well…not all of it anyway. This one offers a bit of that old middle of the road attitude. Some funny, some tragic, some myth thrown in for good measure, but no matter how relentless the tale gets, the point of view is forever told in so many different variations depending on which character you listen to. One may take the lighthearted way and give themselves a break from the usual irony, but not here. We have that in full capacity. We’ve got duels (fatal ones at that, what’s a duel without a little fatality?) Close encounters with death, bouts with flickering humor, shreds of sentimentality, and the usual melancholy ending with the bad guy tossed into hell. And keep your eye on that outrageously funny sidekick Leporello for the constant comic relief he offers throughout. Yet, all in all a beautiful masterpiece overflowing with operatic goodness.

Mason’s Brewing Company (The Maine Place)

FSCN1618_794     Building a new business is never a simple task, especially in this days economy. Without a formula you may as well invest in underwater sand castles. It takes a bold step forward with a dream, followed by a vision to attract, enhance, and sell such a venture to the world at large. This formulatic equation has been realized in the form of Mason’s Brewing Company. The idea combined with a million dollar waterfront viewRSCN1719_793 has created the very essence of what a loudly proclaims Maine. They brew their own beer through a most complex and intricate series of careful steps in which we’ve seen on a tour of its innermost workings.FSCN1605_803 Being primarily a brewery first, the food has been delegated to surround its precious liquid masterpieces. Enjoy a fully loaded battery of beer flavors in a journey from the pale to the dark, alongside some hefty pulled pork, a burger that will bite you back with its tantalizing flavor, and desserts that will tell you it’s alright to gain a pound. Whether you land upon a lunch during the sunlit hours or enjoy the quiet surroundings of the evening, you will not be disappointed. As so many other establishments are eager for success, Jake the manager has taken that ambition to an even higher level with his enthusiasm to continually develop and pursue different foods and brews to allow Mason’s to expand its task to be better all the time and to provide a comfortable experience for its patrons. Enjoy a Rye Pale Ale, a slightly more robust Hefeweizen, a hearty, almost beefy Roggen, or even bordering the dark side with a Black IPA.FSCN1611_799 The choice is yours. The mastery of the time spent at Mason’s will open up a moment you’ll always remember. Your experience will be even more special with Ashley as your server, sporting a vast knowledge of the menu, excellent suggestions, and kindness.FSCN1616_796 Mason’s is a Maine experience you need to taste for yourself. Cheers!

King Llama/Return to Ox

king llama  At long last, a band who has emerged from the modern day ash heap to boldly and fearlessly put together a plethora of sound that engages all of the dimensions into one general theory of relativity. This band has the courage to approach such a project in an instrumental fashion without a net of saving grace. They have interpolated the best portions of rock that are the more than essential to the lost art that has long been forgotten. There are heavy lines of progressive rock ala Yes, King Crimson, and dare I say beyond original conceptual thought. Feelings of jazz, both experimental and even in the style of Pat Metheny with Ryan Tanner and his six string razor at the helm touching both the melodic as well as the bombastic. A most interesting note is that Nico Staub plays some of most intricate and tasteful bass lines ever to come along in recent music. Instead of surpressing the bass he unleashes it to its full potential. Drummer Luis Briones designates his percussive devices in seven ten time along with the styles of Bill Bruford and the like but simulates his own mixture of the aforementioned musical styles. A refreshing burst of musical flavor makes them kings of the wild frontier.

Jethro Tull/ Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die (the tv special edition)

tull too old These assorted compilations that find their way through the stones of years are some of the most wonderful collections ever assembled. How else would we truly delve headlong into the inside world of a band that has been more than a multiple milestone in the realm of music (especially if that band were your favorite). For example, the short career of one John Glasscock and his ever ready bass guitar, the countless recordings and outtakes of certain songs popular or reclusive. I always wanted to hear an instrumental version of Salamander, thinking the rapid acoustic duel between Ian Anderson and Martin Barre (which incidentally Martin Won) is a hidden jewel. The photographs included in the eighty page book are warm and telling of the company Tull has had walk through their door. Strange how certain songs can connect to others and yet have separate albums assembled. Strip cartoon is pretty much a lost soul of a tune but found its way onto this set. An early version of One Brown Mouse, originally found on Heavy Horses gives way to an incomplete sound as well. The video aspects are on the DVD’s with TV specials, surround sound capability, and remasters. This collection is a most interesting assortment of Jethro Tull at a time when they weren’t too old then and certainly the music is not prepared to die.