1. Friday, Friday, oh my God, it’s Friday. Start your weekend off with one of these fine social and/or creative gatherings, with either the Blast Addicts at Paddy Murphy’s, first Friday jazz with Dave Clark at Nocturnem Drafthaus, Mark Miller at the Big Easy, or a night of electronic music at Tantrum, featuring DJs including Positron, Skyline, Pandemic and others. You’ve also got your pick of comedy — either George Hamm (pictured), Travis Cowing, Adam Hatch and Jeremy White doing standup at 8:30 p.m. at the Bear Brew in Orono, or in Bangor the sketch comedy stylings of Her Majesty’s Cabaret (featuring yours truly), with shows at 7:30 and 9:30 at Coespace on Columbia Street. On Saturday, take your pick of either Jukebox at Paddy’s, Dave Mello at Nocturnem, comedy with Steve Robbins at the Big Easy, jam band F.I. at Kingman’s in Old Town, the Skyliners Big Band at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, or Pitch Black Ribbons at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport.
2. Friday brings one of the best live experiences of the year to the State Theatre, when the Fogcutters Big Band offer up their annual Big Band Syndrome concert, featuring all local musicians with their songs arranged for big band; folks like Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Loretta from the Other Bones, Kenya Hall, Jason Spooner, Syn the Shaman, Jaw Gems, Dilly Dilly and Sara Hallie Richardson; the show is set for 8 p.m. Friday. Also on Friday is jam band Twiddle at Port City Music Hall, folk legend Tom Rush at One Longfellow Square, and the Christmas of the Damned holiday party at Geno’s, featuring Johnny Cremains, the Pubcrawlers and the Pecan Sandies. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also First Friday Art Walk night. On Saturday, there’s Mighty Mystic and the Beat Horizon at Port City, there’s Clara Berry, Joseph Aaskov and Blues and Greens at Slainte, and out in Biddeford there’s an evening concert featuring Ralph White, Blood Warrior, Colby Nathan, mwchins and Miss Olivia Kennett.
3. The 220s are set to play at the Black Anchor Pub in Blue Hill on Friday night, a bar that’s been stepping up their game in terms of live music; also on Friday in Hancock County is Him & Her at Mainely Meat on Main in Ellsworth, and on Saturday there’s Rebel Riot at the Thirsty Moose in Machias, and a dance party with the Larks at Sips in Southwest Harbor. On the midcoast, the singer-songwriter Heather Maloney (pictured) is set for Billy’s Tavern in Thomaston on Friday night at 8 p.m., and at in Belfast at Aarhus Gallery on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. there’s a performance from the Tom Luther Quintet, with a chocolate tasting featuring Dean’s Sweets and Bixby Bars.
4. The holiday season is in full gear, and you can celebrate with some events this weekend, starting with three performances of “The Nutcracker” by the Atlantic Ballet Company, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Camden Opera House. Down in Biddeford you can get some unique gifts and crafts at the Oak and the Ax’s annual holiday fair, held simultaneously with the Anti-Freeze Arts & Crafts Fair on Saco Island, as well as Heart of Biddeford’s Shop-Mom-and-Pop Day. There’s also the Maine College of Art holiday sale, all day, all weekend at MECA headquarters in Portland. The Midcoast Actor’s Studio in Belfast offers up its version of “A Christmas Carol,” with performances set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Troy Howard Middle School. And while it’s not strictly a holiday show, the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor opens its holiday production (pictured), “Cinderella: A Retelling of an Old Tale,” with performances set for 7 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Bangor Opera House.
5. Holiday fun doesn’t stop there, however; many towns and cities across the state have their big holiday events this Saturday, starting with Bangor’s Festival of Lights parade at 4:30 p.m., followed by a tree lighting in West Market Square. From 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. there’s the Christmas at Victoria Mansion in Portland, in which the gorgeous mansion is transformed all over with period holiday decorations; the unveiling is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Oh, and don’t forget Saturday night in Portland, with annual SantaCon bar crawl, which actually starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at Pat’s Pizza and heads all over town from there; wear a Santa costume and go from there. There’s the Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport, the Harbor Lights Festival in Boothbay, and Sparkle Weekend in Freeport. OK, now I’m getting a little overwhelmed. Only 20 days until Christmas. How is that even possible?