1. Have your extremities unfrozen yet? Nope. Mine neither. Typing this column with a pencil in my mouth. Took me 20 minutes to write that. It’s going to be a long day. If you are one of those hardy souls that doesn’t care about the cold, or your cabin fever is now considered a psychiatric disorder, try this stuff on for size. Friday night in Brewer is the second edition of the The Union, an event that pairs bands and visual artists; this time it’s Worried Well (pictured above), Forget Forget and Rotating Taps for music, and artists Krystin Noyes, Carlie Deshane, Brian Monahan and Courtney Hutchinson, along with poets Sarah Farnham and Allan Lloyd Trott, and the whole thing is set for 7 p.m. at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, and admission is $5. Also in town on Friday, there’s John Nowak and Friends jazz at Nocturnem (also a fundraiser for the cancer treatment for Bangor jazz vocalist Ann Delaney), rockabilly rockers the Crown Vics at Paddy Murphy’s, the first of twos nights of Shyboy at Penobscot Pourhouse, and guitarist Mark Miller at the Big Easy. On Saturday, enjoy One Shot Nothing at the Big Easy, Gypsy Caravan at Nocturnem, and out in Winterport, there’s vocal-guitar-accordion duo Him & Her at 4Points BBQ & Blues.
2. Perhaps all the mid-week celebrating for New Year’s Eve has sapped people’s energy. Maybe we just need a break. Either way, there’s a few key things to check out this weekend in Portland, starting Friday, with the First Friday Art Walk: Frigid Cold Edition, as well as Boston retro-cool chanteuse Miss Tess and the Talkbacks at One Longfellow Square, a First Friday Latin dance party with Primo Cubano at Empire, and out in Biddeford, a poetry reading at the Oak and the Ax. On both Friday and Saturday there’s the Kings of the Hill drag shows at St. Lawrence Arts, with shows set for 8 p.m. Friday and 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday. On Saturday, enjoy either the Jerry Garcia tribute band Cats Under the Stairs at One Longfellow; American roots music with Over a Cardboard Sea (pictured above) and the Tumbling Bones at Mayo Street Arts; jam band Chaos Sauce at Empire; a night of dirty indie punk with Western Massachusetts band Potty Mouth with Mean Creek, Ovlov and local rockers Bath Salts at the Space Gallery; and out at the Oak and the Ax, there’s Tall Horse, Gabrielle Raymond and Welterweight.
3. I’ll give you one great way to warm up this horrifically cold weekend: the Flying Shows Contradance in Belfast. It’s a reliably fast, sweaty, exceptionally fun community event that happens the first Friday of every month, and this time, it’s set for 6:30 for the community dance at 8 p.m. for the full dance, featuring Playgroup and caller Chrissy Fowler; admission for the community dance is $2, the full dance $10; for information visit deffa.org. Across the bay, the Bangkok Restaurant in Ellsworth hosts another night of jazz on Friday, featuring Shades of Blue, and on Saturday the Trisha Mason Band is at Mainely Meat on Maine in Ellsworth.
4. Movies! It’s the best time of year for movies, in my humble opinion — less about big, dumb blockbusters, more about Oscar-grubbing quality. And there is quality, for sure, especially in films like “American Hustle,” which is as funny as it is exciting; or Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a wild ride through sex, drugs and Wall Street abuses; or the Walt Disney semi-biopic “Saving Mr. Banks,” or the riotously funny “Anchorman 2.” The four aforementioned films are all at mainstream movies theaters in Bangor, Orono, Waterville, Rockland and South Portland. Indie flicks like the black and white Alexander Payne comedy “Nebraska” are at Railroad Square Cinema or the Nickelodeon in Portland, as well as “Philomena,” a Judi Dench tour de force.
5. One good thing about the snow that we’ve gotten over the past few weeks is that skiiers and snowboarders are in hog heaven. I mean, seriously — eight inches of pure white powder? Couldn’t be more perfect. At Saddleback in Rangeley on Sunday it’s $29 Maine Day, which means of course that Maine residents can ski for next to nothing. At the Widowmaker at Sugarloaf there’s two nights on Friday and Saturday of the funk band Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket, and on Friday and Saturday at The Rack, also at Sugarloaf, there’s the Pete Kilpatrick Band. It’s also college week at both Sunday River and Sugarloaf — next week, I know, but why not make next week a weekend too? Sunday River offers $39 lift tickets for college students, and a one-night-only $89 ski-and-stay package, and Sugarloaf offers $42 lift tickets and a one-night $69 ski-and-stay package, all from Jan. 6-10.