1. I’m turning the big 3-0 this week, folks, so this weekend I intend to enjoy myself in the Bangor area as thoroughly as possible. Which won’t be too difficult. Friday night, you’ve got your choice of either Bizzy Gruntry at Nocturnem, the Blood Orange Martinis at Paddy Murphy’s, or Magnetic North at Ipanema. Saturday, it’s The Other Bones (pictured at left) and John Burlock at Nocturnem, Rotating Taps at Ipanema, epic 80s cover band Rock Revelation at Hollywood Casino, Trisha Mason and her band at the Big Easy Lounge, or Magnetic North at Paddy’s, who have a busy weekend but on Saturday only have to move their gear 200 feet to the left. And don’t forget the assorted outdoor events in the area, too, like Ten Bucks Theatre’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at Indian Trail Park in Brewer, and River City Cinema’s free screening of “Cabaret” at 8:30 p.m. Friday in Pickering Square in Bangor. Oh, and The Focus Group brings the funny at 8 p.m. Friday at Next Generation Theater in Brewer.
2. Were I to transfer my birthday celebrations to Portland, I might be inclined to enjoy one of these fine events. For starters, Friday night at Space Gallery there’s the not-to-be-missed Church of Love and Ruin event, a wild dance party combining hip hop, marching bands and political activism, featuring the likes of Grand Buffet, B. Dolan, Vockah Red & the Cru, Wheelchair Sports Camp, and my beloved What Cheer? Brigade (pictured at left), who have rocked the house in Maine a number of times. Empire Dine & Dance hosts country-punk songwriter Johnny Corndawg, along with Wes Hartley and Crowns, on Friday, followed by punk band Pinsky’s farewell show with Steiner Street, Holly Heist and Travis Alexander. At the Big Easy, enjoy funk lords Sly-Chi on Friday, and a double bill of rockitude with Mother Leopard and Lit on the Flash on Saturday. The State Theatre hosts the lovely songbird Ingrid Michaelson with opening Greg Laswell on Saturday, and there’s a one two punch on Saturday and Sunday at Port City Music Hall, with Blind Pilot, John Heart Jackie and River City Extension on Saturday, and Dopapod, Boombasnap and Lost Between Sound on Sunday.
3. Let’s start in the east and most west on the coast, shall we? In Bar Harbor this weekend, the Lompoc Cafe hosts enchanting Balkan duo Cinder Conk on Friday and Electric Organ Discharge on Saturday, while Cluster Funk plays at Sips in Southwest Harbor on Saturday. In Ellsworth, there’s a free show on the riverfront at 6 p.m. Friday featuring Phil Kell and Bobbi Lane, and you can hear River Bottom Funk Saturday night at Chummies. In Stonington, the town will come alive with the sounds of Afro-Brazilian band Batacuda, as they parade down Main Street in the late afternoon on Saturday. Down Rockland way, Rock City hosts Celtic band The Press Gang on Friday, and bluegrass guys the Ale House String Band on Saturday.
4. Two longstanding, beloved community theatre groups put their really big shows up this weekend. In Belfast, the Belfast Maskers start up the first of three weekends of the charming Scottish musical “Brigadoon,” with performances set for 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Steamboat Park, right on the water. Tickets are $18 for adults, $10 for teens and $5 for children 12 and under. Meanwhile, Blue Hill’s own New Surry Theatre unveils its production of “Oliver!,” and it’s already sold out for Friday, but tickets are still available for the 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday shows at the Blue Hill Town Hall.
5. This weekend in Skowhegan, it’s all about the bread. Yes, bread, with the annual Kneading Conference and Artisan Bread Fair, set for Thursday-Saturday. The conference is geared towards those interested in traditional methods of growing grain and using locally processed flour to make bread. The Artisan Bread Fair is where you, the public, can taste some unbelievably good Maine bread – from loaves and rolls, to pizza and croissants. Close your eyes and you can smell the goodness. Whether you’re a full time baker, a novice, a grandmother who’s baked the same family recipe for generations, or just a fan of bread, this is a great local foods event. The Bread Fair is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds, it’s free, and there’s more than 70 vendors, as well as music from Old Grey Goose and Ellen Gawler.