1. Friday kicks off with two art openings in downtown Bangor – the grand opening of the Blue Heron gallery (pictured) at the boutique of the same name, with works from a wide variety of Bangor artists, and at the Pigeon Gallery, upstairs at the corner of Central and Main Streets, there’s the Unsanctioned Art Show and auction, to benefit the Bangor Skate Park. Later, you can enjoy Stesha Cano at Paddy Murphy’s, Mark Miller at the Big Easy, and First Friday Jazz at Nocturnem Drafthaus. For a more raucous time, check out EDM DJs the Slammin’ Salmon and DJ Les at the Bear Brew, also on Friday, and for a quieter time, River City Cinema shows the haunting documentary “Chasing Ice” at 7 p.m. at the Brewer Performing Arts Center. On Saturday night, there’s Magnetic North at Paddy’s, Joe Francis at the Big Easy and, at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University, the hilarious traveling show “Deer Camp” is set for 8 p.m. Finally, foodies from the area would do well to check out the CSA Fair from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Hammond Street Congregational Church – you can have your pick of farmers from which to buy a summer farm share. After all, warmer weather is just around the corner!
2. Now here’s a neat event: the Fogcutters Big Band, the Portland-based supergroup of horn players and jazz and funk musicians are set to back up two titans of 90s rock: John Popper of Blues Traveler and Chris Barron of the Spin Doctors, with a very special show set for 9 p.m. Friday at Port City Music Hall; Popper will play again with Anna and the Diggs and Dirigo 9 p.m. Saturday, also at Port City. There’s also Whale Oil and Christian McNeill and the Sea Monsters at Empire. On Saturday, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper plays a CD release show for her gorgeous new album “Ripely Pine,” set for 8 p.m. at the Space Gallery with guest Xenia Rubinos; Milo Greene is at Empire, the Blues Prophets and the Renovators are at the Big Easy, and Sea Level, Chaos Sauce and Worried Well are at Geno’s. Wind down your weekend with the Rebirth Brass Band, Sunday at Empire.
3. Coastally speaking, in Belfast you’ve got a choice between the epic First Friday Contra Dance at the American Legion Hall, or the rocking trio The Rugged at Three Tides on Saturday. Across the bay, there are two nights of the band Oversoul at Chummies in Ellsworth, on Saturday there’s Banned from Eden at Sips, and rockabilly rockers the Crown Vics are set to play at the Common Good Cafe in Southwest Harbor – 1950s style costume are most encouraged. And don’t forget the First Saturday Contra Dance at College of the Atlantic, starting at 7 p.m. at the Gates Community Center.
4. With the snow that western Maine got this past week, it’ll be a great weekend to ski – especially since temperatures will be in the 30s. There are some excellent deals at several ski resorts – on Sunday, Saddleback in Rangeley hosts Ski Maine Day, where for $29 – if you’re from Maine – you can ski all day. It’s also only $25 to ski on Saturday or Sunday at the newly opened Big Squaw Mountain in Greenville, and rentals are only $20 as well. In the Sugarloaf area, you can ski and then take in some great music this weekend, including the Stereo Types on Friday and the Maldives with Maine’s own Jacob Augustine on Saturday, both at the Widow Maker. At The Rack in Newry, you can hear the Grumps on Saturday.
5. The First Friday Art Walk is this weekend in Portland, and it’s a doozy. There are some wonderful exhibits to see, including “Gone Along Are the Animals” by Anne Buckwalter at the Space Gallery, an exhibit of work inspired by H.P. Lovecraft at Sanctuary Tattoo, an exhibit inspired by “Star Trek” at Coast City Comics, the Maine College of Art’s annual student exhibition, and of course, the State Theatre opens up for exhibits from more than 40 artists from all over the place. As always, the art walk is from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday; for information, visit the Creative Portland website.