1. He took over Portland last weekend, and this weekend, he’s in the Big Bang. Wells rapper Spose is currently Maine’s most popular artist – his brand new album, “The Audacity,” hit #12 on the iTunes hip hop charts during its first week out – and he’s playing a show starting at 10 p.m. at Mezzenine at Zen in downtown Bangor, with openers 2-Phat, Quan Da Young Boss and Cal Carter. Tickets are $10, and the show is 18+. Elsewhere in town, Saturday night is the second annual Halfway to Halloween event in downtown Bangor. Think Halloween is too far away? It won’t be this weekend, so drag out your face paint and last year’s costume, and join the fun. The BArSTuARDs will rock the house at Paddy Murphy’s, Trisha Mason will serenade you at The Big Easy Lounge, Skyscraper will take over Ipanema, and the Rotating Taps are set for Nocturnem Drafthaus.
2. Down Portland way, Port City Music Hall hosts Maine favorites The Brew with Barefoot Truth on Friday night, while at Empire Dine & Dance on Friday there’s a night of local hip hop featuring Brzowski and Moshe, Bleubird, Ceschi and Eyenine. There are two wonderful shows at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford this weekend, including Spirit Family Reunion and Robert Sarazin Blake on Friday, and Micah Blue Smaldone, Coke Weed and the Black Swans on Sunday; boths shows at 8 p.m. with an $8 cover. At Geno’s on Friday, catch the Rattlesnakes, Dead Trend and Bring the Knife, and at Space Gallery this weekend there’s Emilia Dahlin and Sara Cox on Saturday, and electro-pop fun with Future Islands and Ed Schrader’s Music Beat on Sunday.
3. Man, you can’t catch a break this weekend, can you? Nonstop fun. You’re going to need a nap! Heading towards the Midcoast, in my humble opinion, the biggest music event of the spring is the Belfast Free Range Music Festival, which is set for all day on Saturday in and around downtown Belfast. You can read the story I wrote earlier this week for the full low down. Elsewhere in the Midcoast, Saturday night the 220s take on the Myrtle Street Tavern in Rockland, James McMurtry plays a (sadly sold out) show at the Strand Theatre in Rockland on Saturday, and the Belfast Maskers continue their production of “Steel Magnolias” at Union Hall in Searsport.
4. In Brewer Friday night, Maine’s only long-form improv comedy troupe, The Focus Group, celebrate their third anniversary at 8 p.m. at the Next Generation Theatre. In Orono on both Friday and Saturday, the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre on the University of Maine campus hosts the world premiere of the play “The Cage,” a powerful and adults-only performance. There’s also Winterport Open Stage’s production of “The Smell of the Kill,” Friday-Sunday at Wagner Middle School in Winterport. For kids, there’s “The Blueberry Balladeer” at Penobscot Theatre Friday through Sunday, and at Ellsworth High School, there’s a one-time only performance of the acclaimed puppet adaptation of “The Velveteen Rabbit,” set for noon on Saturday. The Bangor Ballet performs their version of “Cinderella” at 4 p.m. Saturday at Peakes Auditorium at Bangor High School. And finally, in Orono there’s this month’s Story Slam, set for 7 p.m. Sunday at Verve Burritos.
5. Phew. I’m tired just looking at all the aforementioned items! If you’re more interested in taking it easy this weekend, might I suggest a film? There’s some great stuff this weekend – River City Cinema hosts a rare, special screening of “Norwegian Wood,” based on Haruki Murakami’s book, set for 7:30 p.m. at the Union Street Brick Church. “Safe House” and “Friends With Kids” are set for Reel Pizza Cinerama in Bar Harbor this weekend, and at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville, look out for the animated feature “The Secret World of Arietty,” the charming French film “The Kid With The Bike,” “Salmon Fishing In The Yemen” and football doc “Undefeated.” In big cinemas, the adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” opens, as does romantic comedy “The Five Year Engagement” and a silly claymation film from the creators of “Chicken Run,” “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this blog contained an incorrect attribution and stated that “The Cage” was written by formerly incarcerated felon Gavin Pickering. “The Cage” was written by formerly incarcerated felon Rick Cluchey. Pickering is directing the Friday and Saturday premiere of “The Cage” at the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre on the University of Maine campus.