#1: Ocean Gateway
Thank Sweet Baby Jesus we didn't spend this money on something useful like a functional public transportation system or public wireless internet. I searched for quite a while online for a photo that actually captures the design of this "gateway" in all of it's hideous glory, but alas, all I could come up with was this photo of what, on the onset, looks like a Concord Trailways station on the water...minus the customers. I would like to know which Nanington Coat Factory suit wearing, comb-over asswipe green lighted what is now the biggest piece of trash on the Maine coast, but I do know this: This was MILLIONS of OUR dollars spent on a NON EXISTENT line of income. That, and it looks like shit. Among the many "design features" of this abomination, my favorites include large rocks painted silver (because nothing screams "Maine Coast" like a set from the Outer Limits) and an actual stairway that leads to... NOWHERE! At least oil spills can be cleaned up. We're going to be stuck with this useless eyesore for God knows how long.
BTW: Nice clock tower A-Holes.
Thinking on the other side of the fence for a minute, I suppose there was a need to create a new port for a non existent Kathy Lee Gifford and the throngs of Carnival Cruiseline followers that aren't sitting in the Bay waiting to walk aimlessly up and down Commercial St. to spend their Summer fun money on lobster claw key chains while slipping in frat boy vomit and getting lured into DeMillo's for some reheated Sysco product.
Other great ideas by the focus group that brought us this ghost of an idea surrounded by a fortress of unused parking garages and soon to be abandoned hotels include:
-Constructing the world's largest bag in hopes that money will fall in to it.
-A granite fountain in the middle of 295 so you can throw quarters in as you whiz by at 65 and make wishes in addition to simply paying a toll.
-A high speed train that drops you off just outside of Tory Hill in hopes that someone will build an anything there.
-An off ramp that dumps you into a Holiday Inn in the middle of a field just outside of Saco (actually got that one through)
-Digging a hole where Westbrook and Gorham now stand creating "The NEW Grand Canyon." Take that Arizona. (Runner-up names included "The Grandest Canyon", "The Biggest Hole In The World", "Resting Place for Young Mainer's Dreams" and (my favorite) "The Grande Canyon," so subtle.)
#2 The University of Southern Maine: Gorham Campus
Here's the pitch:
Let's create a branch of the University of Maine System and try to lure all of the creative, "arty-type kids" with our "art" and "music programs", but get this... let's put it 11 miles outside of the actual city where they could actually get a job, take in culture and otherwise have fun and express themselves. AND (get this there's more) we'll give them a FREE ride to and from the city in an antiquated AMHI bus that runs on a schedule that's completely irrelevant to their class schedules and STOPS running at 10:30 pm. Drank until last call? GOOD LUCK!
WAIT! There's more... Don, tell them what they've won...
Once stranded on our fraternity infested, cinder block concentration campus, we'll provide you with an AMAZING selection of Mal-Fry soaked "onion" rings and/or doughy, undercooked pizza delivered to you by one of the lucky 14 students fortunate enough to actually get into the work study program. Your days will be filled with life changing seminars from a combination of over qualified, underpaid professors (that want to kill themselves every time your class mate says something like "So what Plato is saying is that you should, like, try to be nice to, um, each other and stuff and you should try to look for answers to, um, like, your problems...from...um...within yourself?") or sweaty former jocks that got their teaching degree by accident and are now wearing pleated pants, eating burgers everyday for lunch and are responsible for getting young people interested in the English language (I already didn't really read "Ordinary People" in high school, thank you very much.)
STILL ALIVE? Don't worry, we'll DAZZLE you with entertainment including showing you 3 Fast, 3 Furious on a shitty screen in a lecture hall and we'll get your favorite sucky local band to play in the snack bar every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Now THAT's a party! RIGHT!?!
And when you want to learn more you can go to either:
A: The USM Law Library
Which was designed without the WEIGHT OF THE GODDAMNED BOOKS IN MIND AND DOESN'T HAVE ALL THE RESOURCES YOU NEED IN IT (true), not to mention it's FUCKING ROUND, therefore rendering it a COMPLETELY INEFFICIENT space in which to store SQUARE THINGS (see: BOOKS.)
B: The Albert Brenner Glickman Family Library
Three cheers for the designer of this library. HIP HIP!! FUCK OOOOOFFF! Was the model for this building done in LEGOS? Is the actual building MADE out of LEGOS? I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with the designer, Katie Newscomb, Aged 2 1/2, of Buxton, ME, where I really got to the depth of her inspirado.
PRC: Katie, thanks for taking the time!
KN: mah gi wanna feel eo tach!
PRC: Absolutely. So, when you were approached to take this project on what were your initial thoughts? Were you excited to take a break from the teat to take on an endeavor to create an attractive learning environment for some of Maine's brightest up and comers?
PRC: Priceless. Were you able to strike a deal with the people at LEGO to get a bulk rate on the building materials at a reduced rate, or were you forced to clean out the shelves of every Ames in the state and pay market value? Did you have to pay more for the translucent LEGOS?
KN: mwah...ahhh pount.
PRC: Please, elaborate.
PRC: Did you just shit yourself?
#3: The Portland Public Market
I just don't know what went wrong here. We placed an instantly outdated poorly designed building with a pay parking garage attached, right in the middle of a maze of intersections of one way streets and tried to lure Portland's upper crust (of which there are 32) in to buy overpriced Maine Made goods. And ALL within pissing distance of the homeless shelter. I mean, really...where did we go wrong?
My solution? Have the dickless brokers that sold us this piece of shit give all the money they made to the Preble Street Resource center and sit them down right in front of this abandoned house of glass, give them a saws-all, a bib and a table setting and make them EAT every last scrap. Upon completion, we'll all celebrate by sacrificing their daughters at a live performance by OCEAN in Monument Square.
#4: The Unnecessary Stop Sign on the corner of Pine St. and Winter St.
When I confronted Councilman Dave Marshall about this abomination he coyly asked,
"Where do you live?" to which I replied,
"Off Peninsula." To which HE glibly reported.
"Well, my constituents love it." To which I responded,
I've lived in this fucking town, for 15 years. Three of them were on Pine street. I now work in the West End and spend the lion's share of my money there and I can tell you the NO ONE, upon NO FUCKING ONE likes this stop sign.
I'm not sure what constituents he's referring to. Perhaps he was able to ferret out 5 or 6 half dead veterans who "are tired of all these damned kids with their razor bikes blasting through my neighborhood while I try to limp up to Cumby's, probably for the last time, to buy a single serving sized container of skim milk that'll probably go bad because no one comes to see me anymore." Otherwise, the rest of us who are actually trying to function in this neighborhood are made WHITE FUCKING HOT with anger every SINGLE TIME we have to bring our shitty used cars to a COMPLETELY unnecessary stop halfway up Pine St.
Seriously, is councilman Marshall being courted by lobbyists from brake pad companies? No offense Dave, you're a nice guy and all, and I wouldn't want your job in those chambers, but I fucking hate this sign...A LOT.
-The stop sign on Portland Street by the old Natasha's
-The stop sighn on Congress St near Material Objects that spills out into two one way streets that lead AWAY from Congress.
-5 corners near USM LAW (see #2).
#5: The Portland International JETPORT
I've had the pleasure of seeing all of these United States save for North Dakota, Hawaii and Alaska. I've learned many things about our great nation. One of them is that we're the only city with a fucking JETPORT. Where are the Jestons? While we're at it, let's rename Maine Med "The Sick People Get Better Place" and 95 could be called "The Horseless Carriage Path You Can Go Fast On." Come on folks, let's at least give ourselves a fighting chance to not be the pooerst state in the union.
#6 No Chains Except Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks and Subway in the Uptown.
Time to make me go nuts! Well, even though I can't go to Urban Outfitters or an Apple Store or an American Apparel (or any number of other chains that would actually attract young people to Portland) I can at least rest assured that I'll be able to go into any of these evil fucking empires and pay top dollar for their shitty food and drink.
Nothing makes me feel more at ease with our City planners than seeing toothless, obese women in floral tank tops order Dunkachinos while I can't buy anything of any relevance to the mass youth culture of America without going to South FUCKING Portland. The chains we have downtown suck, and you've forced the people, who by the way are GOING to go these stores one way or another, to drive off peninsula and make their purchases in the Sopes. Time Lag Records, The Queen of Hats, Empire Dine and Dance, Material Objects, Pom's Thai Taste and myself all thank you for the reduced foot traffic. How long until we get a downtown Applebees?
#7: The Station
Nothing, upon nothing makes me want to go see live music less than a cavernous basement club filled with pool tables and white trash. The bar in this "all ages" venue is a half mile from the "stage" and the "sound system" looks and sounds like a gaggle of random gear bought from dance clubs in Old Orchard Beach that closed down. The staff is rude, the re-admittance rules are ridiculous, the beer selection is shitty, there's no good sight lines, it sounds like shit, it's in a strip mall and it is ABSOLUTELY the LAST place I would let my children go unattended. You'd be safer delivering them right to a meth lab in Lewiston. I can't tell you how embarrassed I am that with all the great music in this town, the only places we can invite our younger fans to see us is either at a grange hall or in a grimy shit hole that adults shouldn't even go to (see: The Station). I recently went to see Sondre Lerche play at The Station. Immediately after he played, I approached and told him that I couldn;t believe that
a) he played in Portland, ME (thank you! And)
b) that he played at The Station.
Picture zooming about the whole country in your van, going from city to city and arriving in Portland, ME (at a strip mall) where the only things in walking distance are a Dunkin' Donuts, a Sav-A-Lot and the Cumberland County Jail (I know Buckdancer's Choice and The Drum Shop are in that mall, but I'm trying to illustrate a point here.) More often than not, when on tour, you arrive in time for a sound check (roughly 6:00pm) and then spend the next few hours within a small radius of the place you're playing before the show.
Not being familiar with Portland, Sondre probably had no idea that just up the street were a vibrant array of great restaurants, shops and clubs. Instead, he most likely drove away from Portland thinking "That town is a strip mall and a Greyhound Station." Then he goes back to his agent and says "Portland sucks," because not that many people came out to the show (because no one wants to go to The Station as it's completely off regular concertgoers' radar) and it was in a strip mall. The agent then keeps that in mind and when he's routing tours for My Morning Jacket and MGMT, or whomever he also books, he grazes over Portland in the itinerary because in the back of his mind he's thinking "not worth it." Thus, we get even less touring acts through Portland and are left with cover bands and dinosaur acts (see: Blue Oyster Cult) to get our rocks off to.
What would have happened if Sondre had played SPACE Gallery instead? Perhaps more people would have come? Perhaps Sondre would have had fun and come back? Maybe more bands would tour here as a result. Portland needs to get their liquor licensing together such that The Station isn't the only place where you can have an all ages show with beer service. I can't wait for this place to close. When it does, I'll be the first person standing on it's grave, cackling and rolling around on the ground in sheer GLEE!
#8: GRAB BAG!
The following are a list of things I'd love to see removed from Portland forever.
-The Smoothie Place that's trying to live where Green Mountain Coffee used to reign supreme.
-Everyone who isn't eating lunch in Tommy's Park.
-The Old Port
-Everyone who goes to UNA when Royal Hammer ISN'T playing.
-St. Patrick's Day
-Old Port Fest
-1:00am last call
-No late night ANYTHING
-New Year's Eve
-That dog art place on Congress
-That bullshit "art" outside of Rosie's that is supposed to look like ocean waves but actually serves as a source of injury for children. Good thing they took away those benches and grass!
-The General Store on Middle St.
-Yoga (not really, I just suck at it.)
-The girl who hits on EVERYONE that walks through the door of the Congo 7-11
-The name and decor of Hot Suppa. The food is so much better than you'd think.
-The Phoenix feeling the need to constantly compare new records and artists by pitting them up against other local artists. It's irrelevant and it doesn't help. We're all just trying to make our way here, ok?
-That fucking prick that hangs out with Brendan and tries to make you feel like your band sucks. (no, not Norm, the other guy.)
-The Eastland Park sign that's always broken and reads EATLAND.
-The "Public Transportation System"
-The lack of poster boards
We Have Moved!
5 years ago