1. I’m starting this column one day early so I can let you know about all the fun Halloween events happening statewide on actual Halloween. There’s of course loads of haunted hayrides and houses, and trick or treating happens in lots of neighborhoods. For grownups, you can enjoy things like Scary-oke at the Fiddlehead Restaurant in Bangor, their annual fundraiser for United Way that’s just $10 for delicious snacks and karaoke; there’s also a costume party at the Sea Dog Brewing Company, and another costume party at Tantrum, and yet another costume party at Ipanema with rockabilly rockers the Crown Vics, and two shows at the Penobscot Theatre: “The Witches” at 4 p.m. and “The Woman in Black” at 7 p.m. Up at the Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft, there’s a proper showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” set for 10 p.m., costumes encouraged; and on the Midcoast, you can see the Everyman Repertory Theatre’s production of “Dracula” set for 7:30 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House. Finally, in Portland, there’s the costume-centric “Tron of the Dead” event set for 8 p.m. at Port City Music Hall featuring DJ Jon and The Other Bones, while at Empire there’s an epic night of music featuring Dean Ford playing the music of Prince and Madonna, dubbed “Purple Brainz,” set for 9:30 p.m (pictured above). Oh, and the annual Space Gallery Halloween party is set for 8 p.m., featuring local musicians dressed up as other bands; this year it’s Black Flag, Guided By Voices and Ministry. Oh, and there’s a masquerade ball featuring gypsy band The Burners and belly dancers, set for 8 p.m. at One Longfellow Square. Whew!
2. Moving onto the actual weekend, wouldn’t you know it, there’s even more Halloween events planned! In Bangor, Paddy Murphy’s hosts their H-Ween festivities the day after the big day on Friday, with a costume party and a show from local rockers Chamberlain and Temperature of the Sun. Also on Friday, the Bill Barnes Trio is at Nocturnem Drafthaus, Mark Miller is set for the Big Easy, the Blazing Apostles rock at Ipanema, and Lights in Phoenix are the house band at the Phoenix Pub. Saturday, there’s Magnetic North at Nocturnem, there’s Carl Mazzarelli at the Big Easy, there’s the 220s at Ipanema, Paddy Murphy’s hosts the Blast Addicts; out in Winterport, there’s Mes Amis jazz at 4Points BBQ & Blues, and up in Old Town, there’s the Eric Green Party set for Kingman’s. Wrap it up with Jake Irish at 4Points on Sunday.
3. Friday night in Portland there’s a double bill at Empire that starts with the first-ever Dispatch Magazine Poetry Slam, set for 6 p.m.; that’s followed by Primo Cubano at 9 p.m. Zappa Plays Zappa takes over the State Theatre, and Bronze Radio Return with guest Spencer Albee is at Port City Music Hall, and there’s a big goth ball and dance party at Asylum. Saturday, there’s a really neat event at Space Gallery featuring a screening of vintage films about Maine and accompanying score written by local musician Jeff Beam; show starts at 7:30 p.m. Empire hosts some serious rock with Arcane Lore, El Malo and the Monsters, the Yonder Mountain String Band is at the State Theatre, and at Asylum, Boston band Air Traffic Controller (pictured above) plays with rockers When Particles Collide and Rural Ghosts. Wrap it up Sunday with Bullet For My Valentine, Black Veil Brides and others at the State Theatre.
4. It’s also First Friday Art Walk night in Portland, which brings with it an array of unique things to see and experience. This month, check out some lovely exhibits including a retrospective of 40 years of work at The Salt Institute; two exhibits at the Space Gallery including an installation by NYC artist Brent Birnbaum and a series of works by Portland artists about rising water levels due to climate change; a large group show of works about Maine by Maine artists at the Constellation Art Gallery on Congress Street; and, of course, the wonderful Portland Museum of Art biennial, still on display at the PMA. And street performers, art and craft sales, and lots of tiny cups of wine. Naturally.
5. Friday also kicks off Portland Beer Week – ten days, actually, of beer, beer, beer. Friday has got events like Pumpkin-Palooza, with ten pumpkin beers on tap at the Thirsty Pig; a Maine Beer Company tap takeover at Novare Res; an Oxbow and Allagash takeover at Nosh; and a Geary’s takeover at the Great Lost Bear. This all leads up to Saturday’s even, the 20th annual Maine Brewer’s Festival, set for 1-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. at the Portland Expo. Sessions are $41 each, and whoa, there’s 15 all-Maine breweries represented, from favorites like Allagash and Shipyard to upstarts like Funky Bow and sleeper hits like Rising Tide. Beer geeks, unite! There are even more events beyond just this weekend; visit the Portland Beer Week website for a full schedule.