It's been a time of bright lights, fast music and slow food this past week.
At the annual Art Honors gala, Maine College of Art recognized light sculptor Pandora LaCasse for her spirited displays that adorn Portland buildings, trees and parks for the holidays. Portland Yacht Services, the party headquarters, never looked better, with looming fabric sculptures illuminated by Pandora's signature lights. More than 400 supporters gussied up in creative black tie to celebrate leadership in the arts. As Pandora took to the stage, the crowd cheered. It made me realize how much she has shaped our sense of place here in Portland with her spherical lighted objects providing much needed ambiance for downtown during our long winter.
A few days later, the Portland Phoenix honored the stars of the local music scene with the Best Music Poll awards. Portland has a strong music scene with more than 300 bands listed in the local band guide and a variety of ever changing venues. Now that the Pavilion is closed, the festivities were moved to the Asylum for the awarding of the BiMPys. This annual ceremony dispenses honors to musicians in a variety of categories, from Best Bluegrass Band to Best Punk Band, all based on online votes. Many of the nominees were in attendance and sporting their finest threads. I was lucky enough to give out the award for best Heavy Metal Band (Winner: Dead Season. And yes, they did bang their heads.) Moses Atwood, Samuel James and Emilia Dahlin all performed as part of the ceremonies and each took home a BiMPy.
A few days after that it was time for the third annual Slow Food Portland Fiddlefest, where local restaurants gathered under one roof to serve up dishes featuring fiddleheads, which are currently in prime season. Exactly what you might expect of a city recently nominated as one of three finalists for Delicious Destination of the Year by the Food Network. OK, so Portland did not win, it went to the other Portland. Fine by me, I don't want to have to start begging for reservations at my trusty haunts.
There was no shortage of creativity with the impressive range of restaurants in attendance. Duckfat, the sister restaurant to Hugos, rose to the top in my opinion for their tempura batter fried fiddleheads that tasted exactly like doughnuts. Cinque Terra's gnocchis were melt in your mouth pasta pillows and while the Front Room's fiddlehead/bacon ice cream was interesting, Maple's organic blueberry did kick its butt in the tasty department. Recurring murmur heard between organic goat cheese nibbles,"This is one of my favorite events of the year."
Slow Food Portland www.slowfoodportland.org/ Jessica Tomlinson is the director of public relations at Maine College of Art. She lives in the West End of Portland with her husband, artist Henry Wolyniec and their 4-year-old son, Otto. She thinks Portland is the bee's knees.