22 July 2005

Portland, ME

[Largely, note to self. You've been warned if, after reading this, you wonder, "Why did G-Fav think I'd care about this?"]

Every now and then (like, once a week) I need to clear my head to restore my creative energy to what I thought it once was. So, I took today off to wander around Portland, Maine with a tiny notebook, books on Go and math, and a one-pager map.

Gilbert's Chowder House (92 Commercial)
Maine makes me crave fried shellfish, and I satisfied that craving at Gilbert's. Maybe, though, this was my last visit there. I agree with this article's description of their unusually thick and peppery clam chowder. Not that it's "bad," but next time I want to eat something healthy so I don't feel like I'm dragging around for the rest of the day. I admit it's no Woodman's of Essex:

This is Woodman's of Essex, linked from their website.

Breaking New Grounds (11 Exchange)
This is one of my favorite coffee shops. The wait staff are friendly and seem to genuinely enjoy being there; I like the music; and there are free tables (remarkably without 10s of people using their laptop computers). That photograph is from a website that reviews coffee shops: Cafe Geek.

Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art (522 Congress)
I parked inconveniently far from downtown so that I'd be near the "arts district" for the ICA. The public museum is three rooms; two were curtained off for dark-room video exhibits. I enjoyed a piece called Soliloquy by Shirin Neshat, "a two-channel meditation on identity in Islamic and Christian cultures," which was filmed in Iran and Albany (!).

SPACE (SPACE558.org)
Space is a gallery for contemporary art pieces and - get this - houses one of the ART * O * MAT vending machines! Woo-hee! For $5, visitors can purchase a token that when put into the vending machine yields actual plastic-wrapped art. I would've bought some, but I showed up at the gallery at what felt like an odd hour.

The ART * O * MAT!

Book Traders (561 Congress)
I stopped into this used book store and snagged a copy of One Art, a 600-page collection of letters from the poet Elizabeth Bishop for $8.50.

Finally, I walked all the way downhill to grab a snack at what purports to be Portland's best sushi, Yosaku Japanese (1 Danforth). I showed up at 3pm, which was two hours too early.

Notes for next time: Go when it's 70 degrees, not 90. Park closer to downtown or in between.


RH said...

Holy crap; you're so on my wavelength right now. I've been taking off with my laptop, books, etc. about once a week for the last few weeks, for inspiration and deliberation. It also gives me time to give full attention to those little voices in my head...

ChiyoDad said...

Nice blog. Perhaps I should look into using some of those Amazon.com references as well to earn a few royalties.

Thanks for the game this evening! I've added you to my friends list so we can try a rematch (or just practice if I can figure out how to launch a teaching board).

G-Fav said...

RH: You go, girl! As (Barbara Uleand?) said in How to Write, usually the creative germination process looks (externally) like nothing at all; mowing the lawn, going for a walk... but it's when it all happens.

Chiyo: Thanks! Amazon has an "Associates Program" that is easy to join, and if you give them the ISBN, they make pastable HTML for you.

Rob Barac said...

The CHOWDER!! Mate I was so afraid to even try it! My wife and I drove past like 4 or 5 times.

There is something about the word "chowder" though that makes me think of "Chunder", which in Australia at least, means to vomit.

Thanks for the ref back to CafeGeek with the pic. Very very civil of you.

Be cool
rob barac