1. In the words of the Pet Shop Boys: “What have I done to deserve this?” It’s officially spring, right? Right? RIGHT? Whatever. I’m from Maine. I’ve seen worse. On that somewhat cynical note, why don’t we have some fun this weekend? Friday night in Bangor, there’s a rock show at Tantrum featuring Fifth Freedom (pictured at left) and Render Me, while at Paddy Murphy’s there’s the Junkyard Cats, there’s the John Nowak Group at Nocturnem Drafthaus, there’s night one of a two night stand for hilarious 90s cover band Hello Newman at the Penobscot Pour house, and up in Orono, there’s Rotating Taps at Woodman’s. On Saturday, enjoy the Dappered Gents at Paddy’s, maritime rockers the Galley Rats at Nocturnem, guitarist Dave Bullard at the Whistling Pig, or Magnetic North at Ipanema. Oh, and don’t forget that the Penobscot Theatre offers up the searing comedy-drama “God of Carnage” all weekend, too.
2. There are a whole bunch of great shows in Portland Friday night, starting with the record release for KGFREEZE’s “Volunteer,” with special guests Afraid and Sara Hallie Richardson, at Port City Music Hall; also on Friday is When Particles Collide in their last Portland appearance until this fall, Aloud and Worried Well at Empire, the Grand Slambovians at One Longfellow Square, a songwriter’s night featuring Clara Junkin, Vince Nez, Nick Poulin and Anna Pillsbury at Slainte, Friction Friday with DJs including Elusid, Corbin, Undrig Strykenyne and MC Josiah Scribes at Flask Lounge, and out at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford, there’s Blood Warrior, Baroses and If and It. On Saturday, there’s a triple bill of rock at Empire featuring Murcielago, Whale Oil and Lord Fowl, and Portland Greendrinks hosts a special night of music featuring ShaShaSha, Forget Forget and Theodore Treehouse at One Longfellow Square. On Sunday, former Live frontman Ed Kowalczyk is at Port City Music Hall, and my favorite late night character, Craig Ferguson, is at the State Theatre.
3. Well, at least someone’s happy with the weather this week. The skiing is primo this time of year thanks to yet another eight inches of powder. At Sugarloaf, the Widowmaker plays host to two nights of Richard James & the Name Changers, while at The Rack, just outside of the Loaf, there’s a fun beer and ski event featuring Oxbow Brewing and Maine ski makers Lucid and Volition. At Sunday River, the ski resort hosts a weekend version of its Woodward Camp for young skiiers and snowboarders and for the people who like to film them. It also hosts the Dead Sessions on Saturday night at the Foggy Goggle. Saddleback hosts a cardboard sled race during the day on Saturday, and on Sunday, there’s a slopestyle snowboarding event.
4. Let’s go to the movies this weekend, shall we? Personally, I’m pretty excited about “Muppets Most Wanted,” which opens this weekend, because few things fill me with more happiness than pig and frog — but then again, “Divergent” opens this weekend too. Also this weekend in your big multiplexes are big flicks like “Need for Speed,” “300: Rise of an Empire” and the charming “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.” In your arthouse cinemas, you can see films like the painting-slash-scam artist movie “Tim’s Vermeer,” the Hiyao Miyazaki animated film “The Wind Rises” (pictured above) and Best Picture winner “12 Years A Slave,” all at Railroad Square Cinemas in Waterville and the Nickelodeon in Portland. Reel Pizza in Bar Harbor hosts “The Monuments Men” and “Divergent,” and at Railroad Square Cinema, the Strand Theatre in Rockland, Frontier Theatre in Brunswick and the Portland Museum of Art, there are multiple events for the Maine Jewish Film Festival, with lots of interesting independent films on screens statewide; visit www.mjff.org for more info.
5. The verdict is still out on whether or not the saps-a-flowin’ what with our unseasonably chilly early March — but then again, it’s been consistently above freezing this week, so Maine Maple Sunday may just be a big success this weekend. Plus, it sounds like spring, which is something that we are all sorely in need of. Many sugarhouses across the state will open their doors to the public to check out the trees, each some sweet maple sugar candy and do other fun, farm-centric activities. For a full list of all locations and events, visit the Maine Maple Sunday website or call your local sugarhouse.