STRAND spotlight

The Strand Theatre’s new membership program begins on April 17th and will provide an opportunity for community members to support the theater while enjoying some perks.

The ninety-year old Strand, a landmark of the downtown area, recently became a non-profit organization when the Simmons family donated it to the Friends of the Strand Theatre (FOST). As a non-profit, tax-exempt entity, the Strand can now accept tax-deductible gifts and pursue grants from a variety of sources to underwrite its programming.

“We are confident that our new membership program will offer something for everyone in the community,” said Jo Dondis, Chair of the FOST Board. “There will be various membership levels and although no one has to be a Strand member to attend the theater we’re hoping that the community will view the Strand as its own theater and support it as an important and necessary cultural resource.”

Community membership support will make it possible for FOST to maintain the historic theater’s facilities along with its state-of-the art projection and sound systems. Funds from membership will also underwrite the Strand’s unique independent film program and its diverse, year-round venue of live music, performing arts and special events.

Membership dues will be tax deductible to the extent of the lawand ticket prices will not change. “All over the country, successful and well-established independent theaters offset their operating costs by offering membership programs,” said Strand Theatre Executive Director Sarah Ruddy. “Folks truly get to become a part of the theaters they love, while also allowing us to keep bringing audiences the programs they love without raising our prices. We offer a lot of different membership levels; for as little as $50 you can get some great perks like free tickets and know that you are contributing to helping the Strand continue to bring great movie, concerts, and events to the whole community.”

Among independent theaters around the country offering membership programs dues represent about 9% of total income.

The Strand recently received the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Award for Innovation in Business, recognizing it as an organization that has demonstrated a proactive and innovative approach toward finding solutions to business challenges and has embraced change as an opportunity for growth.

To find out more about becoming a member, please contact our membership coordinator at [email protected]or call 207-594-0070 (extension 5).

To learn more about how you can support The Strand or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact Strand Executive Director Sarah Ruddy at [email protected]or call (207) 701-5053.

What’s Happening at the Strand?

The Simmons Family has given the Strand Theatre to Friends of the Strand Theatre, a Maine non-profit corporation. Friends was formed in August 2013 with the express purpose of eventually owning and operating the Strand once the IRS granted the theater tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.  Ten years ago, Ellen and Matt Simmons purchased and extensively renovated the Strand, transforming the 1923 building into a state-of-the-art theater and cultural center.   Since that renovation the Simmons family has provided generous financial support to the Strand’s operations.  Two years ago the family asked a small committee to explore future options for the theater in order to put it on a more sustainable path.  That committee evolved into a board tasked with oversight of theater management and strategic direction. The board and the Simmons family eventually agreed that the best option for both the Strand to continue as a viable business and for the community at large to reap the economic and cultural benefits this historic institution offers was for the theater to become a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. And now, because of the foresight and generosity of the Simmons family this has happened.


Why did the Strand become a non-profit?

As a non-profit, tax-exempt entity, the Strand can accept tax-deductible gifts and pursue grants from a variety of sources to underwrite the high quality programming its audiences have come to expect.  The Simmons family and the Friends of the Strand Theatre Board believe that non-profit status will secure the future of the Strand as an independent theater for the community.  Nationally, successful independent theaters tend overwhelmingly to be owned and operated as non-profit businesses.


Will we still have the same kind of programming?

Yes.  The Strand will continue to offer the same high caliber cultural and educational programming it always has.  Going forward, we hope to attract an even wider audience with the best of film, theater, music, educational and community events available.


What will change and when?

Many of the changes will be behind the scenes and have already taken place.  There is a new board in place which has been overseeing theater operations and exploring a non-profit path for the theater since December of 2012.   Executive director Sarah Ruddy has been focusing on continuing to grow the Strand’s innovative programming line-up for almost a year. It’s important to us to keep offering what our audiences love and to keep doing what we do well. At the “front of house,” very little will change. For example, the recent addition of a digital cinema projection system means that we will be able to continue screening all the best new films. But because we are keeping our 35 mm projectors we can also show traditional films prints the tried and true way. And not to worry, Liz will continue to preside over the theater as she always has.


How important will community support be?

Essential.  The Strand is counting on the community to support operations by continuing to attend the theater and buy tickets.  Other support activities will include an annual fundraising drive, volunteer opportunities and most exciting, a membership program to be launched in April.  Stay tuned for details. We look forward to having you all in the family and can’t wait to share this new program with you.


How can I help now?

For more information on how to support us, please visit: Donations can also be sent to the theater at 345 Main Street, Rockland, Maine 04841. Or stop by and pick up a donation envelope in the lobby or from one of our staff.  Any contribution will be greatly appreciated and will ensure the continued operation of the Strand.  All donors making gifts of $100 and above between February 7th and April 2nd, 2014, will be recognized as Founding Members and granted membership benefits at the level corresponding to the donation.


Who can I talk to if I want more information about the Strand?

Contact: Sarah Ruddy, Executive Director at [email protected] or at (207) 701-5053.

Since its founding in 2002, Le Vent du Nord have become compelling Francophone ambassadors, winning critical acclaim and audience adoration across Europe and North America. The band delivers catchy songs and tunes, some taken from the Québec traditional folk repertoire while others are original compositions. Considered a driving force in progressive folk, Le Vent du Nord captures the energy and mirth of a Saturday night kitchen party, infusing old Québec with a breath of fresh, cosmopolitan air. The quartet has performed well over 1,000 concerts, racking up several prestigious awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque Charles Cros, two Junos (Canada’s Grammys), a Canadian Folk Music Award, and 'Artist of the Year'  at the North American Folk Alliance Annual Gala.

Le Vent du Nord presents a new show with the songs of Tromper le temps (Fooling Time), its 7th album (released in Spring 2012). With this album Le Vent du Nord explore the past and the present socially, politically and personally. They manage to do all this by anchoring their musical traditions in the present, coming up with fluid arrangements, great instrumental and vocal skills and the best in contemporary production. Le Vent du Nord are: Simon Beaudry on vocals, bouzouki, guitar; Nicolas Boulerice on vocals, hurdy gurdy, piano, piano-accordion; Réjean Brunet on basses, diatonic accordion, jaw harp, piano, vocals; Olivier Demers on fiddle, electric guitar, clogging, mandolin, vocals. The album was recorded at Studio de la Côte Jaune by Marc Busic, mixed at Studio Marc Busic by Le Vent du Nord and Marc Busic, and mastered by Marc-Olivier Bouchard at Le Lab Mastering.


This album is another achievement from a high-quality traditional quartet [...] a cohesive playing style, a powerful groove, an almost rock attitude, the clarity of the voices, the accuracy ofthe instruments, the strength of the proposals, the realization of form. Surely among the elite of North American traditional Francophone bands. – La Presse

After the symphonic album, the quartet returns with an intimate conclusion to a decade of consistency and cohesion, dialogues between hurdy-gurdy and violin, a perfect blend of refined swing and ethereal daydreams. Over the last three years, the guys at Vent have become more incisive and, for this seventh album, have taken it one step further, in a grittier and wilder, but also more sophisticated, direction. [...] They dance between verses, take on Cajun airs, set free marvelous strings in a lament and end in a lullaby. In its contrasts, this album beautifully embodies the classic traditional music of the 2010s. – Le Devoir

In addition to their traditional repertoire, the group exhibits great finesse and flexibility, appearing regularly on Canadian, American, French, and UK television and radio, and participating in a wide variety of special musical projects. They’ve collaborated and performed with Harry Manx, Väsen, The Chieftains, Breton musical pioneer Yann-Fañch Kemener, Québecois roots legend and master storyteller Michel Faubert, hip Scottish folk band Breabach, and the trans-Mediterranean ensemble Constantinople.
Le Vent du Nord have also created a symphonic concert, presented by the respected Portland Symphony Orchestra and Québec Symphony Orchestra, that “puts all traditional folk naysayers to shame” (Voir Montreal). This concert will be presented again with The Victoria Symphonic Orchestra in March 2014.

Absolutely superb. In my view, when it comes to Quebecois music, this lot are top of the pile. The Living Tradition

Le Vent du Nord are one of the hippest exponents of Quebecois music. - The Scotsman


The Strand welcomes singer/songwriter Martin Sexton to Rockland on his “Fall Like Rain” tour, following the release of an EP of the same name, Friday, November 1 at 7:30pm.

Fall Like Rain finds Sexton again asking relevant questions and challenging the status quo. Entertaining us all the while, he continues to call for unity in “One Voice Together” and adds: “In a world of warfare, peace is bad for business . . .” A timely cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” reminds us it’s time to “stop, hey, what’s that sound, everybody look what’s going down.”

A native of Syracuse, N.Y., and the tenth of 12 children, Martin Sexton grew up in the ’80s. Uninterested in the music of the day, he fueled his dreams with the timeless sounds of classic rock ’n’ roll. As he discovered the dusty old vinyl left in the basement by one his big brothers, his musical fire was lit. Sexton eventually migrated to Boston, where he began to build a following singing on the streets of Harvard Square, gradually working his way through the scene. His 1992 collection of self-produced demo recordings, In the Journey, was recorded on an old 8-track in a friend’s attic. He managed to sell 20,000 copies out of his guitar case.

From 1996 to 2002 Sexton released Black Sheep, The American, Wonder Bar and Live Wide Open. The activity and worldwide touring behind these records laid the foundation for the career he enjoys today with an uncommonly loyal fan base; he sells out venues from New York’s Nokia Theatre to L.A.’s House of Blues, and tours regularly across Canada and Europe.

Happily and fiercely independent, Martin Sexton launched his own label, KTR, in 2002. Since then he has infiltrated many musical worlds, performing at concerts ranging from pop (collaborating with John Mayer) to the Jam scene to classic rock (collaborating with Peter Frampton); from the Newport Folk Fest to Bonnaroo to New Orleans Jazz Fest to a performance at Carnegie Hall.

Regardless of his reputation as a musician’s musician, Sexton can’t keep Hollywood away. His songs can be heard in many feature films and television including NBC’s Scrubs, Parenthood and Showtime’s hit series Brotherhood.             

Stage, film and television aside, when Sexton isn’t touring he often mixes entertainment with his sense of social responsibility, performing at benefits for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang camp, the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Japan earthquake/tsunami relief (The John Lennon Tribute), and Hurricane Irene relief efforts in Vermont, to name some.

The New York Times noted that this Sexton “jumps beyond standard fare on the strength of his voice, a blue-eyed soul man’s supple instrument,” adding, “his unpretentious heartiness helps him focus on every soul singer’s goal: to amplify the sound of the ordinary heart.”  

Billboard calls Sexton “The real thing, people, a star with potential to permanently affect the musical landscape and keep us entertained for years to come.”

Strand Theatre Lobby and Balcony Bars will be open for the show!

First opened in 1923, the Strand Theatre celebrates its 90th birthday with a series of classic films from each of the past nine decades, beginning August 17 and running through September 22. Each film will have a brief introduction from the Strand’s long-time Theatre Manager, Liz McLeod, who also programmed the series.

The series kicks off a 1923 silent comic classic Safety Last! Saturday, August 17 at 3pm.The comic genius of silent star Harold Lloyd is eternal. Chaplin was the sweet innocent, Keaton the stoic outsider, but Lloyd—the modern guy striving for success—is us. And with its torrent of perfectly executed gags and astonishing stunts, Safety Last! is the perfect introduction to his world. Lloyd plays a small-town bumpkin trying to make it in the big city, who finds employment as a lowly department store clerk. He comes up with a wild publicity stunt to draw attention to the store, resulting in an incredible feat of derring-do that gives him a head start on the climb to success. In honor of the film’s 90th anniversary, the film being shown at the Strand is a freshly-struck 35mm print, featuring Carl Davis's sparkling score.

Gold Diggers of 1933 screens Sunday, August 18 at 1pm. In this follow-up to 42nd Street, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, and Aline MacMahon star as out-of-work Broadway chorine - “gold diggers” who target Warren William, DickPowell, and Guy Kibbee for both money and romance. Busby Berkeley choreographed the spectacular musical numbers that include the ironic “We’re in the Money” and the anthem to the depression and returning World War veterans, “Remember My Forgotten Man.” This is a sharp, funny, and cynical film, and one of the all-time best Pre-Code musicals.

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman rekindle their past and stir up wartime intrigue in Casablanca, the most popular screen romance of all time, Saturday, August 24 at 3pm. Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson (singing "As Time Goes By") co-star. Winner of three 1943 Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Screenplay and Director (Michael Curtiz, director of Mildred Pierce).

In the landmark film From Here to Eternity, showing Sunday, August 25 at 1pm, passion and tragedy collide on a military base as a fateful day in December 1941 draws near. Private Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is a soldier and former boxer being manipulated by his superior and peers. His friend Maggio (Frank Sinatra) tries to help him but has his own troubles. Sergeant Warden (Burt Lancaster) and Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr) tread on dangerous ground as lovers in an illicit affair. Winner of eight 1953 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting awards for Sinatra in a career-defining role and for Donna Reed as a not-so-wholesome club hostess.

On Saturday, August 31 at 3pm, Alfred Hitchcock's chilling 1963 masterpiece The Birds stars Tippi Hedren as the chic, blonde San Francisco socialite, Melanie Daniels, who travels to the coastal town of Bodega Bay in pursuit of a potential boyfriend (Rod Taylor), a man she's only just met. Events slowly take a turn for the bizarre in the town when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness, and survival becomes the priority.

In 1973, Richard Fleischer’s prophetic film about the impact of diminished natural resources on Earth, Soylent Green, screening Sunday, September 1 at 1pm, was considered science fiction. Set in New York City of 2022, the town is bursting at the seams with a 40-million-plus population. With Earth’s food in short supply, most of the population's food source comes from synthetics manufactured in local factories, like Soylent Industries, a company that makes a food consisting of plankton from the oceans. When William Simonson, (Joseph Cotten) an upper-echelon executive in the Soylent Company is found murdered, police detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) is sent in to investigate the case. Helping him out is Thorn's old friend Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson), in his final film role.

Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, William Hurt, and Jeff Golblum are part of the powerhouse ensemble starring in 1983’s The Big Chill, showing Saturday, September 14 at 3pm. Lawrence Kasdan's variation on John Sayles's "The Return of the Secaucus Seven" finds a cluster of old college radicals - who have since gone on to sundry professions and various degrees of materialism - reuniting over the death of a friend. During the weekend that follows, they compare their 60s ideas with the harsh reality of their lives in the 80s, and discover that in a cold world, you need your friends to keep you warm.

Tom Hanks won his first Academy Award for his portrayal of an AIDS patient fighting for his legal rights and for his life in Philadelphia, screening Sunday, September 15 at 1pm. He plays Andrew Beckett, a talented lawyer at a stodgy Philadelphia law firm, and a homosexual who has contracted AIDS. When the lesions associated with AIDS become visible on Andrew’s face, the firm's senior partner, Charles Wheeler (Jason Robards) fires him. Andrew wants to take his wrongful termination suit to trial but, no lawyer in Philadelphia will risk handling his case. In desperation, he hires Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), a homophobic small-time lawyer willing to take the case for media exposure. At the time of its release in 1993, Jonathan Demme's groundbreaking film was the first big-budget Hollywood film to tackle the medical, political, and social issues of AIDS.

The Strand’s 90th birthday film series wraps Sunday, September 22 at 1pm with Sophia Coppola’s award-winning film Lost in Translation, released in 2003. Unable to sleep, Bob (Murray) and Charlotte (Johansson), two Americans in Tokyo, cross paths one night in the luxury hotel bar. This chance meeting soon becomes a surprising friendship. Charlotte and Bob venture through Tokyo, having often hilarious encounters with its citizens, and ultimately discover a new belief in life's possibilities.

All tickets are the $7.50 matinee price, available at the box office 30 minutes prior to each screening. For information about film ratings and about all Strand Theatre films, concerts, and events visit or call (207) 594-0070.

By resident film historian and your host, Liz McLeod.

Why, in this day and age, would anyone want to go to a movie?

You can see anything you want online, right? On your computer, on your laptop, on your smartphone, no doubt before you know it you’ll be able to see anything you want thru a microchip screen tattooed directly onto your eyeball and wired directly into your cerebral cortex. So why bother to spend time and money sitting in a big, dark room surrounded by random strangers when you can get all the entertainment you could ever want sitting in a little dark room all by yourself alone?

The question answers itself, really. As much as the prophets of the digital millenium preach the joys of “connectivity,”  there’s still something irreplaceable about the shared experience. It’s hard wired into us as human beings. Those of us old enough to remember three channels and a pair of rabbit ears remember gathering around the television set with friends and family. Those a bit older remember the radio as the shared focal point of mass experience. And so on, back thru the decades, back thru the centuries, people have gathered together to share their entertainment, all the way back to prehistoric man gathered around the campfire to share stories of The Hunt. Mass entertainment has never been a solo experience – and it still isn’t. Even the most hardened member of the You Tube/Hulu/Netflix/Whatever The Next Hot New Thing Is generation has a desperate need to share their experience – hence the endless comments posted beneath every bootlegged movie clip, every grainy video of teenagers shooting a potato out the end of a PVC pipe. Shared entertainment is in our blood, and it always will be.

And the movies are the ideal form for that entertainment to take. For over a century now, people have been gathering in dark rooms to look up at larger-than-life images, larger-than-life scenes, larger-than-life stories. The visual vocabulary of film, the endless progression of closeups, medium shots, pan shots, and distance shots, is keyed to the Big Screen, not those little flickering LCD rectangles you cup in the palm of your hand. Even the biggest of big-screen TV sets can’t fully translate the message the director is trying to send. You need a screen measured in feet, not inches, to fully accomplish that. You need to be enveloped by those images to fully disappear into the story they tell.  

And you need to share that experience, that sense of being sucked into the story, with others at the same time. You need, on a subconscious level, to know there are others who are experiencing, at the same moment, the same emotions, the same sensations, the same adventures as you.

You need to go to the movies. Why not go tonight?

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