1. Two new nightspots are fully open for business this weekend in downtown Bangor – 11 Central, the new eatery on Central Street, next door to Giacomo’s, offers casual fare and creative cocktails, while the Red One Lounge at the corner of Main and Hammond offers laid back beverages and downtempo music late into the night. At your other favorite downtown locations, there’s a lot to do on Friday; you can check out the Blast Addicts at Ipanema, roots singer-songwriter Travis Cyr & the Strings of Calamity (pictured) at Paddy Murphy’s, First Friday Jazz at Nocturnem, and a triple bill featuring Jenn Grinels, Meredith Kaye Clark and Bizzy Gruntry at the Big Easy. On Saturday, there’s Chris Ross at Paddy’s, bluesman Mark Miller at Nocturnem, and River Bottom Funk at Ipanema.
2. It’s First Friday Art Walk night in Portland, so put on your walking shoes and get ready to drink tiny glasses of wine and eat cheese in many locations! There’s an array of exhibits opening, from the “Portland/Portland” exhibit by Sean O’Brien that opens simultaneously in Maine and Portland, Oregon to two new shows at Rose Contemporary, including “Expanding Fields: Jessica Gandolf, Penelope Jones and Bridgit Spaeth” and “Jim Chute: Talking and Drawing.” On the strictly musical side, at Empire there’s the Bob Charest Band on Friday and Bronze Radio Return on Saturday; the Big Easy hosts El Grande and Roots, Rhythm & Dub on Friday and Mama’s Boomshack on Saturday; there’s metal and stoner rock with Whitcomb, Murcielago, Gozu and Freedom on Friday at the Asylum, and on Geno’s on Friday there’s a hip hop night with Trails, Dray Sr, Manic Mondays and Jay Caron. And don’t forget One Longfellow Square, where Dominic Lavoie (pictured) unveils his new album, “Sha Sha Sha,” with guests Herbcraft and Gabrielle Raymond; on Saturday there, it’s singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick. Finally, there’s Umphrey’s McGee at the State Theatre on Saturday.
3. Rockland’s got some nifty things going on this weekend, including Haitian ensemble Belo, who will play a show at the Strand Theatre on Saturday. Friday night at Rock City Coffee, there’s a 4 p.m. demonstration of pour-over coffee – which is amazing, btw – followed by Outlook Jazz at 5. On Saturday at Rock City, it’s Midcoast chanteuse Alice Limoges (pictured). Up the coast, there’s the First Friday Contradance in Belfast, a wild and wooly time for all participants. There’s also the “Not Famous (Yet)” performance, featuring staged readings and poetry with local Midcoast actors, set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Belfast. In Ellsworth, Chummies Bar hosts Chris Ross and Fiddle Doug on Friday, and the Worthy Bones on Saturday. Bar Harbor’s got Trisha Mason at the Side Street Cafe on Friday, and the Big Moose Contradance at College of the Atlantic on Saturday
4. So much new theater opening this weekend in eastern Maine! Ten Bucks Theatre opens its latest production, the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Rabbit Hole,” with shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Eddington-Clifton Civic Center. At Winterport Open Stage, “The Man From Planet 52″ is the new show, a wacky sci-fi romp with shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Wagner Middle School. New Surry Theatre in Blue Hill has got yet another Pulitzer Prize-winner, “Proof,” set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Blue Hill Town Hall. On a lighter note, the Focus Group returns for some improv comedy based around an election and politics theme, set for 8 p.m. Saturday at Verve in Orono. Oh, and it’s the final weekend for “Becky’s New Car” at Penobscot Theatre. So much! So much!
5. Yet another beer geek event for all the brew-loving peeps out there. The Maine Brewer’s Festival is set for Friday and Saturday at the Portland Expo, and there are 15 Maine brewers on tap (see what I did there) to share their concoctions. There’s music from the Mallett Brothers Band, Dirigo and Zach Jones, and there are three different sessions you can attend: 6:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday or 6 p.m. Saturday. It’s $69 for Friday night, but you get food with your 12 four-ounce pours; both Saturday sessions are $36. For information, visit learnyourbeer.com.