1. Well blow me down, looks like we finally got some snow! I was gone for a week gallivanting around San Francisco and the Bay Area, so I missed the first walloping last weekend — but it appears Mother Nature wasn’t going to let me get off this easily. Once you’ve dug out from the dumping, you can do lots in Bangor. For starters, Ellsworth rockers Skyscraper will take the stage at Ipanema Bar & Grill on Friday night, followed by Bangor’s own dynamic rock duo When Particles Collide on Saturday night. At Nocturnem Drafthaus – reopened after a ten-day vacation – there’s jazz with Paavo Carey on Friday night and guitarist Mark Miller on Saturday. At the Sea Dog on Friday, Aroostook County songwriter Travis Cyr delights the crowd, and on Saturday night, get down and dirty with River Bottom Funk at Paddy Murphy’s. Sure, you’re gonna need to dust off the ol’ snow boots – but better late than never, right?
2. Portland’s got a hot night on Friday, with the First Friday Art Walk. At Geno’s Rock Club, there’s art from Elizabeth Bernier on the walls, and music from the delightful garage punk sounds of the Heebie Jeebies, Thee Icepicks and Elvirus. At Empire Dine and Dance on Friday, country songwriter John Eddie has a party to celebrate the release of his new CD, “Same Old Brand New Me,” and at Blue, Skordalia and Okbari will perform Middle Eastern music with a group of bellydancers. Finally, there’s quite a weekend at the Big Easy, with Friday night performers including Eric Green, Dan Conner, Marion Grace and the John Clavette Band. Then, on Saturday at the Big East, there’s a huge night of bands covering full albums, including the Jeff Merrow Band playing John Mayall’s “Bluesbreaks,” the Five Finger Discounts playing Led Zeppelin’s first album, the 220s playing Pink Floyd’s “Animals,” and an assembled group playing the Blues Brother’s “Briefcase Full of Blues.” Of course, there is Jane’s Addiction at the State Theatre on Saturday – but that show has been sold out for weeks, so unless you’ve got tickets you’d better find something else to do!
3. For those that enjoy the sillier, more British side of things, might I suggest attending the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Maine’s performance of the lesser-known G&S musical “Trial By Jury”? Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth. In Portland, two shows open this weekend: Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” will be performance at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Lucid Stage in Portland, and Portland Stage puts up its newest show, “Hidden Tennessee,” a night of three short plays by Tennessee Williams, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Portland Stage’s theater on Forest Avenue.
4. It’s a so-so weekend for movies, aside from the looks-somewhat-funny “Wanderlust,” a Paul Rudd-Jennifer Aniston vehicle opening on Friday, as well as the questionable CGI adaptation of the beloved Dr. Seuss children’s book “The Lorax.” If you still haven’t seen “The Artist” — and really, who has? — it’s at Railroad Square in Waterville, the Colonial Theatre in Belfast and Reel Pizza in Bar Harbor, as well as NOWHERE IN BANGOR. Railroad Square also also “The Iron Lady,” the Iranian Oscar-winner “A Separation” and “A Dangerous Method,” while Reel Pizza is also showing “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”
5. Now THIS is a way to enjoy the snow — this weekend marks the 20th annual Can-Am Crown Sled Dog Race, a major, Iditarod-qualifying race that begins and ends in Fort Kent. Kickoffs for the three races — 30 miles, 60 miles and 250 miles — start at 8 a.m. Saturday, with the shorter races ending between noon and 6 p.m. later that day. The 250 race could end as early as Monday or as late as Tuesday evening, so best make the most of the weekend and visit the rest of the scenic St. John Valley. If dogs aren’t your thing, this of course will be an excellent weekend to ski — there’s a downhill race at Sugarloaf on Sunday, and at the Rack in Carrabassett the Boneheads are playing Friday night. On Saturday at the Foggy Goggle at Sunday River, the Guns n’ Roses tribute band Appetite for Destruction will heat you up after a long day on the slopes.