Category Archives: community

Yankee Cobbler Shoe Repair (a fine art for the community)

   In a throwaway world where another whatever lies waiting in the wings to be bought again and again, the wondrous art of shoe cobbler extends it gracious almost lost art to the open community at large. This is one of the only cobblers who service such a challenge. Shoes are a great commodity if you adore certain ones. It basically brings a tear to the eye when their time has come to retire them if the are one of our favorite pair. And yet, to the rescue comes one of the oldest professions to relieve us of this impending sadness. Proprietor Jonathan D. Lambert heads such a workmanship to us and our foot apparel. In one of the oldest buildings in downtown bangor Maine he has offered his services for the past thirteen years with amazing results. Admittedly, Jonathan tells us that this breed of shoe repair is a most dying part of the business world and yet he has held on for a good portion of time. Part of the difficulty is finding those willing to learn such an apprenticeship. However, they have been an asset to the Bangor community and beyond. This was a start up business, born and raised here in Maine, Jonathan and his worthy machines fill the bill even though sometimes repairing them can be a challenge. Though there may not be a high calling for cobblers nowadays, this place holds steady, fast, and true, keeping this fine art open to the community.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

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Dragonfly Farm & Winery (a retreat for the spirit)

     Many times we search for solace from the very things that surround us. Through all of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, there is a place you can escape to. If you delve a little further and enter into a wonderful little town called Stetson in Maine you may have just found what you were looking for, the Dragonfly Farm and Winery.

There you will find  your enchanting hostess, Temi, who will take you on a journey through the flavorful libations produced on the very premises. The more you taste these elite wines and their ever unique flavors, the more frequent flyer miles your mouth will acquire. There is an extensive combination of tasty delights creatively titled to suit their distinctive flavors such as Raspberry Riot, Berry Con2sion, and Common Sense. The Candle Waster, aptly named as a reference to burning the midnight oil is a refreshing cranberry wine originated to wile the night away in bountiful conversation. Blackberry Bewitched overloads our senses for those who wish to indulge in a reddish wine feel. Blueberry Bliss is just that…poses as a wine and then infiltrates you with its dessert like tendencies. Owners Todd and Treena Nadeau have gone to great lengths to make certain you leave with a smile and a bottle in each hand (maybe even more). Feel the ambiance for yourself and walk the fields where eleven hundred vines stand at attention as sentinels of gusto waiting to serve you. An atmosphere where you will be liberated to the world of wine as never before. Allow your spirit to meet the hideaway you’ll want to retreat to.

Dragonfly Farm & Winery

1069 Mullen Road Stetson Maine 04488

(207) 296-2226

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Ozere Live at Next Generation Theater (finding anyplace at home)

 On this enchanted evening the stage was illuminated by much more than a few dim lights, but by a band of merry storytellers who through a whimsical mastery filled the atmosphere with a Celtic flair not regularly found within the confines of the genre. A pleasant mix of Celtic overtones combined with delicate sounds blending middle eastern interpretations alongside some wonderfully melodic resonances shows what a daring band can accomplish with musicians who have a multi-varied background flexing their musical muscles. Some of the autobiographical tales speak gently of experiences not soon forgotten and some are skillfully improvised melodies rooted firmly in the imaginations of the mind. Songwriting can be a tricky thing, but Ozere has accomplished it to a Celtic science. Band leader Jessica Deutach conveyed to me that her classical background has given her the freedom to experiment with instrumentation leaning towards a folkish sound, yet incorporating other flavors together for a most unique experience. Her honesty exposes her spirit within her songs and the instrumentals are fresh and lively including an array of instruments taking the spotlight. Their latest CD, “Finding Anyplace” explores these characteristics and has indeed found itself anyplace it may be. 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Presents “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” (food, truth, and the complexities of love…Italian style)

   Once in a great while, a true love will be born out of soulmates who find each other. Happy is the person who walks the earth and finds true love. And as the bible teaches us, we shall cleave to that love, even forsaking all others…as it should be. A frightening prospect for those who harbor some doubts or insecurities. Yet, a manifestation of the truest adoration for those who toss themselves in with all of their heart, mind, soul, and spirit. This tall tale of love, unfettered emotion, and cuisine all together determines a destiny and a journey of unrequited love, sacrifice, and false adoration…perhaps even a little insanity. The long list of losers, leches, and leavers is unleashed within the confines of the heart of a woman. Her sincerity and vulnerability are the forces behind her openness and expression. During her conversation with us as she prepares a three course dinner with wine like any self respecting Italian, she is perpetually interrupted at inopportune times by her well meaning mother whose eye for her happiness and future is forever on the horizon. There were actually moments when I truly believed she was speaking only to me in a one on one conversation.  Her past rested within a kitchen drawer full of souvenirs from past errors in judgement reminding her that the clock was ticking. That and advice from friends whose opinions, thoughts, and comparisons were of no avail to her problem. Her kitchen skills were only matched by the size of her heart. Could there ever really be a true love in her life?

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Knapp’s Music Center (a downtown milestone)

When a monolithic event occurs, many times a memorial of sorts is erected, a standing ovation to its own accomplishments. It may be a statue, a building wing named after its benefactor, or a simple park bench. However, there are times when the icon speaks for itself. Such is the longstanding reign of Knapp’s Music Center. It has kept music alive in the area since 1952 with the avid learning of musical instruments through lessons, sold sheet music in its many varied forms to aid those who wish to mimic the original masters, and repaired countless instruments to their natural and original clarity. Nearly the oldest standing monumental store open to the public in the greater downtown area of its time. Dan, the owner, operator, and master repairman has given us insight into his humble beginnings. It had originally opened as merely a sales store to grant those promising musicians access to the sound of their choice. Knapp’s had simply expanded into repair once an assistant or apprentice had made his way into this world of music. Then after parting ways, Dan took on the mantle of repair in a self taught and not so easy task of learning every instruments ailment like a musical doctor. And since then he has maintained this outlet to the public at large. There are many choices to be made here. One can take lessons, purchase instruments, or simply have an old friend repaired and come back to life at the hands of its shopkeeper. A true monument to the business world of endurance.

Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Paper Maker” by Monica Wood

 In a small city somewhere between somewhere and nowhere lies a paper mill in distress. However, this finely tuned business has come to a clash with it’s life’s blood…the workers, whose very hands are the heart of the industry in which it runs. It appears that management ,  ownership, and the many hands that keep it in motion disagree on some of the more integral portions that will ultimately decide if money or survival will triumph. The company itself exists as a benefactor for the working class and a sense of pride for the captains of industry. Eventually, the executive sees for himself just how this growing animosity between them truly affects the very existence of these people. They no longer merely remain the hands and feet propelling paper through the machines, they are now living beings suffering as a result of disagreement with no compromise in sight. When they meet entirely by accident, or unless providence moved its mighty hand, offering both parties, even within the bitter battle of a strike, an odd form of compassion grows from both sides remembering the forgotten workers who held the mill together. Delving deeper we see an inner quadrangle of personal difficulties begin to heal as a father and daughter come to see love perhaps for the first time, and the loss of a beloved wife to a loving husband enters into acceptance as his remaining days with her become more important than the strike and the prideful arrogance ensued against the industrial machine, even building her an arc to show his love for her. An endearing story unleashing ones truest feelings in the midst of crisis when we are all called to see what is most important in our lives.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Lumberjacks in Love” (they’re lumberjacks and they’re ok)

fscn1061_1668    Prepare yourself for a collision between Monty Python’s Flying Circus and modern day vaudeville in the midst of a time space continuum with a tumult of emotion peppered with fear of commitment throughout. A wonderful production skillfully prepared with the typical lumberjack testosterone flowing not so freely at times, and yet love conquering the hearts of even the most confirmed woodsmen. Lyrics and music compliment the sincere acting abilities as well as the amazing dance routines popping out at the most opportune times with laughter in abundance tailing the whole play. These “Shanty Boys” who have become “Lumberjacks in Love” being touched by the “Winds of Morning” are nothing more than a “Buncha Naked Lumberjacks” followed by a “Little Black Raincloud” with one of them hoping that “Someday I Will Be Clean” during a “Bachelors Prayer” understands “I only Have a little Time” and that “I Think I’m in Love with the Kid” waiting once again for “The Winds of Morning” knowing full well “It Would Be Enough For Me” even though a “Little Dress” leads to “Stupid, Stupid Love” becoming “Shanty in the Pines” making for “Happy Lumberjacks” who now know for sure that “It Would Be Enough for Me” in reprisal mode. Primo singing, dancing, and spirituous music are a complete recipe for a great play. So chop down trees, eat your lunch, and go to the lavatory.

Written by John D’Alessandrofscn1069_1671

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro