1. For those kicking around the Queen City this weekend, there’s a mighty one-two punch at Paddy Murphy’s, as funk/soul five piece Juicebox takes the stage on Friday, and Bangor’s own blues kings, the Eric Green Party, are set for Saturday. Nocturnem Drafthaus hosts a special all acoustic performance from the 220s on Saturday night, and the new upstairs balcony bar at Zen, called Mezzenine, hosts DJs Paul Wolfe on Friday and Hylton on Saturday. And at Ipanema on Saturday night, Mellow Endeavor holds court. A little further out of town, Saturday night there’s a bluegrass showcase at the Keith Anderson Community Center in Orono featuring Original Condition and Freshly Cut Grass, and at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth, a fundraiser for the Washington/Hancock Community Agency’s heating fund will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, featuring the MacLir Ceilidh Band, songwriter Bobbi Lane, Stesha Cano and Ben Layman singing duets, and fiddle band Live Bait.
2. Portland has a number of fantastic shows this weekend, including the sometimes raucous, always lovely folk-punk of O’Death (pictured at left) with indie folk band Brown Bird, at the Space Gallery on Friday night. Also on Friday night, at Empire Dine & Dance, there’s Leukema-pa-looza, a fundraiser for Bar Harbor musician Jacob Cuff, held by his brother, Christian, and the bands Anna and A Model Airplane. Again at Empire, Saturday night’s got a masquerade ball featuring one of my personal favorite Maine bands, Theodore Treehouse, as well as Marion Grace. Flask Lounge hosts the 2012 Maine Roller Derby kickoff party at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and at Slainte on Saturday, Bangor’s own Temperature of the Sun and When Particles Collide play with the Availables, starting at 9 p.m. Oh, and on Monday, you can hear a solo gig from Sonic Youth guitar god Thurston Moore, again at the Space Gallery.
3. It’s a great weekend to enjoy classical music in Maine. On Sunday, both Bangor and Portland have wonderful concerts planned, with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra performing a program featuring Holst’s “Planets” at 3 p.m. at the Collins Center for the Arts, while in the south, the Portland Symphony Orchestra performs Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony at 2:30 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium. Visit bangorsymphony.org and porttix.com for tickets information.
4. MUSH! Feeling like braving the elements? There’s a couple of winter sports events planned in northern Maine that will certainly put some hair on your chest. Up at Moosehead, the annual Ice Fishing Togue Derby, with host Ricky Craven, is set for the entire weekend, Friday through Sunday; there’s a $25 fee to enter, or $40 for a family; for info, call the Moosehead Lake Chamber of Commerce at 695-2702. And in Brownville, you can watch some seriously athletic dogs give it the what-for, with the third annual Brownville-KI and Beyond Dog Sled Race, set for 11 a.m. Saturday, starting at Railroad Avenue in Brownville Junction; there’s also other snow-related activities for humans.
5. Finally, “The Artist” actually gets a screening in Central Maine, starting Friday night at Railroad Square Cinema; Railroad’s also got “The Iron Lady” and “The Descendants.” Opening this weekend is also, finally, “The Descendants” at Bangor Mall Cinemas, as well as “The Grey,” which is a movie about Liam Neeson fighting wolves with his bare hands. Sign me up. Pedro Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live In” start at Reel Pizza in Bar Harbor on Friday.