History, film, music create portrait of the past

Oct 13, 2016
Source: Penobscot Marine Museum’s Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company collection Summer days in Washington waters are recalled in “The Northeast by Eastern.”

Rockland — “The Northeast by Eastern,” a multi-media presentation accompanied by live music, will be presented by Sumner McKane Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St.

The presentation is anchored with Belfast -based Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company’s comprehensive collection of early 20th-century photographs. For years, Eastern sent traveling photographer-salesmen on the roads all over New England and beyond with cameras, catalogues and order books, seeking buyers and markets for their unique “real photo” postcards.

“The Northeast by Eastern” combines those photographs with archival film footage, interviews, oral histories, a musical soundtrack featuring period music and live music by McKane from his original score. Combined, these stories and images illustrate an era unlike any other in American history. The interviews and oral histories not only detail the history of the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Co., and the postcard craze of the early 1900s, but also divulge stories from a quieter, simpler, yet stirring and enterprising time period. The audience will hear first-hand accounts of smuggling during prohibition, of river drivers brawling for fun, of growing up without worry and without constant adult supervision and of slop buckets spilling on tourists’ pies.

The film and music were created by McKane, and the live music will be performed by him and Josh Robbins. McKane is a filmmaker, composer and musician based in Wiscasset. He records instrumental music, film scores, and music for media, and produces historical documentaries along with companion live presentations to his films. In a few short years, McKane has built a reputation for innovative historical storytelling using multimedia, combining various media to tell a historical story in a live setting. He is a recent Maine Arts Commission Performing Arts and Media Fellow award recipient.

“The Northeast By Eastern” is McKane’s third historical documentary film project, following “The Maine Frontier” (2014) and “In The Blood” (2010). Bass guitarist Robbins is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter and has recorded and performed with McKane in arts venues, theaters, historical societies, schools and other venues throughout New England for over a decade.

Tickets are $10.50, general admission, at the door. For more information, visit rocklandstrand.com or call 594-0070.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Watch the trailer
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