A landmark Portland marquee is being returned to its former glory

The State Theatre, a landmark of Portland’s arts district, is getting its marquee restored to its 1930s vintage.

“The marquees of this period were intended to telegraph the excitement and drama associated with early movie palaces,” city Historic Preservation Manager Deb Andrews said in a statement this afternoon. “One theatre historian called them ‘electric tiaras’.”

Work on the project, which will see hundreds of twinkling light bulbs installed in the historic marquee, is due to begin tomorrow, according to a City Hall announcement.

The city is kicking in with a $6,000 facade improvement grant, but most of the cost — about $77,000 — is being incurred by property management firm Redstone and theatre operators Alex Crothers and The Bowery Presents.

The State is one of the more fascinating venues in Portland, first opening as an ornate first-run movie theater in 1929 and prospering until the 1960s, when it fell onto hard times and became a pornography theater all the way up through the 1980s.

After 20-plus years of stops and starts thereafter, The State has since 2010 reclaimed its place as a center for entertainment in the city, attracting some of the country’s most recognizable acts. Among those who have performed there in recent years have been The Smashing Pumpkins and George Thorogood, and upcoming shows will feature David Crosby, Queens of the Stone Age and Josh Ritter, among many others.

And now, because it includes the word “pornography” along with the names of a bunch of famous musical acts, this post will skyrocket to the top of thousands of Google searches.

What we’re talking about

One of the key organizers behind the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a Maine native from Lewiston, the Sun Journal reported. His father and grandmother still live in the state. His grandmother told the newspaper he was a smart kid who became traumatized serving in Iraq for the Marines, was arrested for a post-deployment crime and began reading white supremacist writings while in jail.

Invasive plants have been found on a lake upstream of Sebago Lake, where 15 percent of Maine’s population gets its drinking water. There was an estimated half an acre of invasive milfoil discovered on Long Lake, WGME television, CBS 13, reported. The Lakes Environmental Association is concerned because milfoil grows and spreads very quickly. It can become dense enough to not only hurt aquatic life, but also prevent swimming and boating in areas.

Bayside has seen a 70-percent increase in police calls over the past decade while police activity in Portland’s other neighborhoods has remained relatively flat, the Portland Press Herald’s Matt Byrne reports. Residents of the area are vexed by the uptick in disorderly activity and are calling on police, lawyers and judges to help find solutions.

A group has formed in opposition to a rent control measure that’s proposed to be on the November ballot. The group Say No To Rent Control, whose spokesman is Southern Maine Landlord Association President Brit Vitalius, is arguing that the move would drive down property values and reduce incentives for property owners to invest in building improvements, among other things. The group behind the measure, Fair Rent Portland, is seeking to limit rent increases in larger buildings based on the annual rise in the Consumer Price Index.

Tweet of the day

From @HistoryInMoment:

The Big Idea

Think you’re eating healthy by picking veggie burgers and gluten-free bread? Maybe not. The Washington Post has this breakdown of several cleverly marketed food products that aren’t as healthy as they seem. Some of those veggie burgers are packed with corn starch, thickeners and “cheap protein substitutes,” the Post reports, while most gluten-free products contain higher amounts of fat and salt. Gluten-free products are legitimately necessary for people who have been medically diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, the report says, but “gluten-free” is not synonymous with “healthy” for everyone else. Other foods to go under the microscope include trail mix bars and baked potato chips.

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