the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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the 12th annual blackfly ball is this weekend!

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credit: Gabby Schutlz and the beehive collective 

The 12th annual all-ages dress-up Blackfly Ball is taking place this weekend, August 19th, in Machias, Maine. The Ball has been taking place every year since 2005 to celebrate the restoration and reopening of the Machias Valley Grange Hall and as a testimony to the 100+ years that the building has served as a community center to the people of Washington County. The event itself embodies the history of the building, bringing together people from all walks of life to find a common ground through community and celebration.

This years line up features soothing brass, wacky ukuleles, flocks of fiddles and more from far and wide. This event is 100% free and is entirely funded by poster sales, the posters are designed each year by the newest illustrator to join the Beehive Collective and are exceptionally beautiful!

To see all of the previous posters click HERE and to find out more information about the ball and to keep up to date or to organise ride sharing to and from the ball click HERE


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fictional playbooks for totalitarian dystopia

Signs of resistance - from bustle.com

Signs of resistance – from bustle.com

The rally of people and movements contra the new President has been incredibly heartening. From the Women’s March, to the 100daysofresistance, we are seeing a powerful civic backlash that America has not witnessed for decades. For years people have conjured up Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm references when talking about the state and leaders that seem have little imagination when it comes to their tactics.

In keeping with that theme of stranger than fiction, one very interesting part of the recent protests is the art and posters that we’re seeing are drawing heavily from literature that foretells eerily similar worlds. At The Woman’s March on Washington there were hundreds of signs that nodded to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaiden’s Tale, the amazing feminist take on dystopia. Continue reading


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before bernie sanders: a 19th century populist’s run for the presidency

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We are nearing a serious crisis. If the present strained relations between wealth owners and wealth producers continue much longer they will ripen into frightful disaster. This universal discontent must be quickly interpreted and its causes removed. It is the country’s imperative Call to Action, and cannot be longer disregarded with impunity.

 

So begins the preface to A Call to Action—the 1892 political manifesto by James Baird Weaver, the People’s Party’s candidate for president that same year.

The “crisis” Weaver was referring to got its start 19 years earlier, when post-war inflation and wild financial speculation (particularly on the part of those trying to cash in on the seemingly ceiling-less railroad industry) resulted in the Panic of 1873, which triggered industrial capitalism’s first global depression. Employment and wages plummeted as American companies defaulted on $1 billion of debt. The collapse, which would be felt for decades, left many, including Weaver, vehemently opposed to monopolies and critical of banking industry policies.

To read more, click HERE!


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state of the maine grange

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STATE OF THE GRANGE
by Mary Pols
Originally Posted on the Portland Press Herlad

This week, the Maine State Grange holds its annual conference in Skowhegan.

What, you didn’t know?

Once upon a time, you absolutely would have known, because Grange was an integral part of Maine rural life, a gathering place for farmers and community members to share news, information and concerns. If you worried about being able to afford insurance or being ripped off by the railroad monopolies taking your agricultural products out of Maine, or just wanted to slough off your cares by going to a dance, you turned to the Grange. It did cooperative buys on insurance and seeds, lobbied Washington on your behalf and could always be relied on to feature a big empty room with a fine dance floor.

The ritual heavy, Christian-oriented and unusually progressive Grange (female members got the vote long before the rest of American women did) was the original Facetime for farmers. Or rather, “Grange.” Like Farm Bureau, Grange hardly needed an article. But consider this: The 2015 Maine State Grange conference is not being held at Skowhegan Grange, because declining membership caused that to close several years ago, although the building was saved and is being rehabbed.

There are two trends in Maine Granges. One is positive: Young or younger farmers are taking an interest in revitalizing the institution, fixing up old buildings; adding bathrooms where there were none; hosting farmers markets and contra dances; sharing Grange space with entertainment, as at the Wayside Grange and Theatre in Dexter; and returning to the cooperative model for better buying power for local farmers, hobby or hard-core, as at the Halcyon Grange in North Blue Hill.

But the second trend, the negative one, are Granges shutting for lack of membership, and that decline still outweighs the positive.

Read the whole article at the Portland Press Herald!


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maine grange halls

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Photographer, Rose Marasco, has developed a large collection of photographs of the aging Grange halls of Maine. The halls in her photographs are at once regal relics of the past and a little spooky, leaving us both nostalgic and slightly unsettled by their slight disrepair. See a sampling of the collection on her website.

A limited number of signed exhibition catalogues are available and includes essays by Frank Gohlke, photographer and Elspeth Brown, historian. To purchase a copy for $20. + $5. shipping. Please contact Rosa at info@rosemarasco.com if you would like one.