1. It’s always weird when the Fourth of July falls in the middle of the week. It’s nice, in that it’s a mid-week break from your work week, but it’s not so fun in that Thursday and Friday feel like workday orphans. Tragically, almost no one gets a five day weekend, so this weekend’s just like any other: warm and full of summer fun. In downtown Bangor you can let loose Friday night, with karaoke at Paddy Murphy’s, First Friday Jazz at Nocturnem, DJ Reid at Ipanema and, of course, country stars Rascal Flatts on the Bangor Waterfront. For your Saturday, the Blast Addicts zoom into Paddy’s, the 220s rock the house at Ipanema, and Kevin Bate and Everett Dumas do their thang at Noct. The whole weekend concludes with a night of classic rock chestnuts straight from the year 1978, with REO Speedwagon, Styx and Ted Nugent (pictured, obviously) on the Waterfront on Sunday. Now taking bets on whether or not The Nuge starts getting all obnoxiously political, and whether or not Styx plays “Come Sail Away.” Odds are good, folks. Odds are good.
2. It’s First Friday Art Walk in Portland, so while you’re out and about, do check out the multitude of galleries and spaces packed with art. At Empire, you can hear singer-songwriter John Eddie on Friday, and a double bill of Maine rock with As Fast As and Eldemurr Krimm on Saturday. At Space Gallery, the indie duo Trust takes the stage on Friday, and on Saturday at Geno’s you can hear the Fake Boys, Paige Turner, Twin Berlin and Shabti. Finally, 6Gig, Twisted Roots and Murcielago are set for the Asylum on Friday.
3. It’s a very good weekend to be on the coast. Starting in Rockland, Rock City Cafe’s got Sarah Ehrlish on Friday and Papadello on Saturday. There’s also the dulcet tones of alt-country players the Sweetback Sisters on Friday at the Strand Theatre, also in Rockland, and Gordon Bok on Saturday night at the Rockport Opera House. In Belfast, it’s once again the First Friday Art Walk, and there’s also the wild and wooly Belfast contradance at the American Legion Hall, featuring contra band Notorious. Cross the river, and Ellsworth is full to brimming with Oversoul at Chummies on both Friday and Saturday night. The Full Moon Players will play on the waterfront starting at 6 p.m. on Friday in Ellsworth as well, and even though it’s not the weekend, on Monday the English Beat – lords of second wave ska – will perform at the Grand Auditorium. In Winter Harbor, the Mike Levine Jazz Trio takes over Hammond Hall on Friday night. Trisha Mason rocks the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor on Friday. And, as always, the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor is all over the excellent Maine music, with a double bill of the Milkman’s Union (pictured) and Wes Hartley on Friday, Harvey Eyeballs on Saturday, and bluegrass mavens Tricky Britches on Saturday.
4. Two very unique, very one-time-only events this weekend. At the Stonington Opera House, the fine folks at Opera House Arts present 10 Real Star Acts, 100 Years of Vaudeville, July 5-8. 10 Real Star Acts is directed by Jeffrey Frace and has been conceived and created by its cast, incorporating real vaudeville humor and performance with local talent including Esther Adams, Jeff Brink, Larry Estey, Cherie Mason, Morgan Witham, and Carol Collins’ amazing trick dog, Chance. Shows are at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and 5 p.m. Saturday, and admission is $25. Then, in Belfast, it’s the annual Arts in the Park weekend, a two-day extravaganza of music, food and a huge amount of Maine art, from fabric artists and jewelers to painters and sculptors, all amassed on the beautiful Belfast waterfront. It goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and it’s a wonderful way to spend a sunny summer weekend.
5. SPIDER MAN! Yep, it’s Spider Man weekend, continuing Marvel Studios’ dominance over all things summer blockbuster. Does Andrew Garfield do the red and blue suited man justice? We’ll see! On the indie side of things, two sweetheart movies – Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” and Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love” are set for Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville and the Nickelodeon in Portland. “Moonrise” is also set for the Strand Theatre in Rockland. I saw it last weekend and it’s just delightful. Trust me.