Live Performances

Special Events


Annual Fundraiser

March 30, 2023 • 7:00 PM

O’Maine Studios

Thank you to all who attended our annual fundraiser POP last night! The performances were incredible, the food delicious, and the company most excellent. Who knew lobster rolls, donuts and drag were a match made in heaven?

Because of you, more in our community can experience the power of live performance. Because of you, Portland is the vibrant, curious and creative community we all love.


Flavor. Rhythm. Beats. Culture. Community. The main ingredients that made last year’s event so memorable are back. Join us for POP, Ovations’ Annual Fundraiser, a celebration of art, food and community inspired by the power of live performance. With signature dishes from some of Portland’s most exciting eateries including Black Betty’s Bistro, Niyat Catering, Maiz Colombian Street Food, Luke’s Lobster, Green Elephant and sugar-rush inducing sweets from Eighty 8 Donuts. You can also expect dynamic pop-up performances by Maine artists including Flamenco dancer Lindsay Bourassa and guitarist Behzad Habibzai, poet Moon Machar, and Curbside Queen creative director, powerhouse personality, Cherry Lemonade, all DJed by music producer and entrepreneur Genius Black. And still, there’s more to announced! Come experience the spirit of Ovations, and our creative community, all in the course of one exciting, tasty and unforgettable night.

What's on the menu?

Black Betty’s Bistro serving love, laughter, nourishment and soul

Maiz Colombian street food

Niyat Catering traditional Ethiopian food and flavors

Eighty 8 Donuts fresh, gourmet bite-sized donuts

Green Elephant Asian inspired vegetarian bistro

Luke’s Lobster traceable, sustainable seafood

Coffee By Design roasted locally since 1994

Mumbai to Maine for our VIPs, Cherie Scott will be sharing authentic Indian flavors

Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association fresh monkfish sustainably harvested by Maine’s small-boat fishermen

Special thanks to chef Stephanie Brown and the staff at North43 Bistro

Black Betty’s Bistro

Who's performing?

Moon N Machar – For the past ten years Nyamuon Nguany Machar has worked to advocate for disproportionate and minority youth in the mental health field. In 2019, she was honored to be the recipient of the rising Advocate award from the Bazelon Center in Washington DC and the Diaspora Award from the Luol Deng foundation for her advocacy work around the South Sudanese diaspora. Today, she works as a Multicultural Victims Advocate for the Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine.

As a spoken word poet, she works to motivate others to find strength in their voices through creative means, often using her own struggle represented in her artistry in order to help break down the stigmas that stunt voices. Spoken word poetry and theater performance gave her a voice in the darkest days of her childhood when metaphors and complex descriptions became easier ways to tell her story and the stories of her family and people.

Lindsey Bourassa – Flamenco dancer, choreographer and teacher. Lindsey Bourassa has dedicated herself to the art of flamenco since 2004, studying in Spain, France, Canada, and the United States with flamencos such as Miguel Vargas, Esperanza and Curro Fernandez, Carmen Ledesma, La Choni, Adela Campallo, Ursula Lopez, and Concha Jareño, among many others. She has performed and taught in both the US and Spain with nationally and internationally recognized flamenco artists such as Miguel Vargas, Bárbara Martínez and Cristian Puig. In her choreographic work, Lindsey creates flamenco performances that illustrate multifaceted storytelling, often woven together with original, creative prose. Lindsey received her Master of Flamencology Degree from ESMUC (Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain) in 2019; her Certificate of Professionalization in Flamenco Arts at El Centro de Arte y Flamenco de Sevilla (Spain) in 2012; and her Bachelor of Cultural Dance Studies and Creative Writing Degree from Goddard College (USA) in 2009, with a specialization in flamenco. 

Behzad Habibzai – Originally a Portland-native drummer/percussionist, Behzad Habibzai has been playing flamenco guitar for over 25 years, 17 of those in Washington, DC with renown flamenco artists. Featured performances: Ibero-American Guitar Festival, Mid-Atlantic Guitar Festival, American Dance Institute, Atlas Theater’s Intersections Festival, Gala Theatre’s Fuego Flamenco Festival, Sidney Harman Hall’s Velocity DC Dance Festival, Create Alliance, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, DC Feria, Strathmore Mansion, Constellation Theatre, Inn Series, WSC Avant Bard, Peabody Conservatory, George Mason University, and the United State Army Field Band. Co-produced Sonsonete with his wife, vocalist Meghan Habibzai at St. Lawrence Arts and An Die Musik.

Cherry Lemonade – In a city full of Lime Rickeys, Cherry Lemonade has grabbed Portland’s attention for being bold, beautiful, and brilliantly boisterous as a premier nightlife personality. A multiple award-winning performer, she has traveled the country storming stages big and small for audiences of all kinds to rave reviews. 

Follow her on social media @ch3rryl3monad3

Photo by Lauren Kennedy Photography

Genius Black – also known as Jerry Edwards is a musical artist, photographer, podcaster, and social innovator based in South Portland, Maine. Naturally a storyteller and motivator, he focuses on collaboration and Audio/ Video production as a craft. He has more than 20 years of experience producing and engineering audio. 

Genius curates the music-born and visual synergy-focused collective – GEM CITY, driving the intersection of art, culture, and quality of place unique to Maine. “GEM CITY 2”, a musical and meditative album slated for March release, is one of the most potent artistic endeavors from GEM CITY thus far!

Genius is also the producer and host of the “Maine’s Black Future” podcast, a recognition and retelling of Maine’s unique Black history and celebration of Maine’s burgeoning BIPOC changemakers.

Genius graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in Africana Studies, and an English minor. Activism and racial justice have always fueled him and continue as top priorities in his entrepreneurial and volunteering efforts.

Genius is a Media and Communications Organizer for TheThirdPlace and a proud Board Member of Portland Media Center. Notably, he recently completed an Artist in Residency Program at SPACE, Portland. Over 15 artists visited Genius at SPACE, conducting musical studio sessions, photography sessions, and visual art creations. They were supported by ENGINE, SPACE, Portland Media Center, Independent Audio, STAGE Cannabis, and Prism Analog.

Photo by Zach Ledoux

Suzie Assam is a Maine-based vocalist and songwriter, currently living and working in the Portland area. Though she’s lent her voice to a number of R&B and Hip Hip projects, she finds herself most at home in the folk genre. Her self-described “weepy guitar songs” tell stories of love, loss, and light in the darkest of times — all in the hopes of helping folks feel a little less alone. 

Ben Noyes is a professional cellist and compositional collaborator spanning a spectrum of genres. He enjoys adding flavor to all manner of musical dishes, especially live performances. He has performed locally and internationally and has been part of multiple releases over the years. He currently lives in Portland, ME.

Photo by Zach Ledoux

Who's hosting the party?

Rachael & Justin Alfond
Mike Boyson & Nancy Grant  
Jim Brady
Maile Buker
Marlene Dye – Atlantic Business Services 
Judy Glickman Lauder Foundation
Jocelyn & Peter Handy
Carolyn Hughes & Darrell Pardy
Jamie Issacson & Kristen Lape
Peter Genova
Mary Allen Lindemann
Jack Lufkin
Peter Milliken & Linzee Weld

Jim Morgan
Sayad Moudachirou
Mary Noyes
Daniel Nuzzi & Dana McEnroe
Aimée M. Petrin
Tania & Joseph Powers
Sig & Anne Schutz
Jim & Lynn Shaffer
Daniel Spratt & Patricia Naddaff
Bill & Ann Stauffer
Michael & Dawn Stillings
April Ylvisaker Tardiff
Felicia Knight & Towle Tompkins

Thank you to our sponsors

Marquee Sponsor

Presenting Sponsor

Producing Sponsors

Contributing Sponsor