1. Summertime, and the living is… easy? Muggy? Musical? Obstreperous? However you like your peak summer days, we’ve got it. In Bangor this weekend you can start your Friday off with several fun shows, including an evening of funk and r&b at Tantrum with The Hornitz (pictured), Trendy Robots and Between Dead Stations, some wonderful local roots music with the Three Guys at the Big Easy, the swingin’ sounds of Three Button Deluxe at Nocturnem Drafthaus, or DJ Murph at Paddy Murphy’s. Don’t forget your free movie screenings that night as well — there’s “Dazed and Confused” at the KahBang Central Gallery, and there’s River City Cinema sci-fi screening “The Andromeda Strain” in Pickering Square at sundown. There’s also a big show at the new all-ages venue in Old Town called the Swim House, located at 668 College Avenue, just a few houses down from the corner of Stillwater and College Ave; it features some great Maine hardcore and indie rock bands including the Royal Bones, the Exclusive, the Banner Year, Beach the Whale and the Eff Chord. Oh, and of course, Friday night there’s some lady named Sarah McLachlan playing at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion. I hear she likes puppies (Sorry, Sarah, I love you!). On Saturday, there’s a bout between Central Maine Roller Derby and the Boston Derby Dames, with gates open at 6 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center. Afterwards, enjoy some fun music including rockers One Shot Nothing at Paddy’s, jazz group Mes Amis at Nocturnem, Bobby Scovil and the Intruders at the Big Easy, and Bangor’s favorite party band Magnetic North at Ipanema. On Sunday, the Sean Chambers Band plays at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport.
2. I can’t believe we’re already nearly halfway through summer. Makes me want to cry. I won’t, though. I’ll keep it together for you guys. Friday night in Portland, there’s two cool shows: jam favorites Richard James and the Name Changers at Port City Music, and 80s legends the Tubes at the Asylum. On Saturday, there’s a plethora of fun music to be heard, including Boston funk outfit Miss Fairchild at Empire, a night of punk and garage at Bayside Bowl featuring Le Wildcat, the Beachcombovers and Tiger Bomb. local indie rock and punk with Nuclear Bootz, the Furries and the Bedbugs at Geno’s, some excellent 90s rock with the Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven acoustic tour at Asylum, and Americana music with Miner and the Delta Generators at One Longfellow Square. Out in Biddeford, there’s some experimental rock with Taboo, Despoiler and IDM Theft Able. Sunday, the Space Gallery hosts the 14-piece instrumental ensemble Tredici Bacci with guest harpist Sophie Dickinson in a free 4 p.m. show in Congress Square Park, while the Oak and the Ax hosts the songwriter and composer Nat Baldwin with guests Greef and a number of spoken word artists. There’s also a free screening of Hitchcock’s “The Birds” at 8 p.m., later that night in Congress Square Park.
3. Festival weekends keep on coming on the Midcoast — this time around it’s the Maine Celtic Celebration, set for Belfast’s Steamboat Waterfront Park from Friday through Sunday. Celtic and maritime music acts including Open The Door For Three, Coig, Ryan McGiver and Cillian Vallely, Michael Black, the Galley Rats and many more join the bill, as well as annual events like the Highland Games, the Celtic dog breed show, and of course, the annual cheese roll. For more information, visit the website. May the luck of the Irish be with you. Aside from that, Friday night take your pick of either the duo Johnson and Clancy at the Speakeasy in Rockland or songwriter B. Singer at Rock City Coffee, while on Saturday the Speakeasy hosts Celtic rockers St. Huckleberry, Rock City hosts jazz group the Bill Barnes Trio, and the Water Dog Tavern hosts guitarist Max Ater. While you’re doing that, why not take five and stop into Three Tides in Belfast and try Marshall Wharf’s Sea Belt, a Scotch ale brewed with Maine sugar kelp? It’s good to be in Maine.
4. It’s Shakespeare in the Park season! Two plays from the Bard go up this weekend. Ten Bucks Theatre Company’s production of “Julius Caesar” has performances set for 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Brewer’s Indian Trail Park. This inventive production that asks the question “Et tu, Brute?” features creative costumes and choreographed movement from the Haus of Paradigm, and is directed by Ben Layman. Admission is $10. Meanwhile, in Portland, the Fenix Theatre Company presents “As You Like It” at 6:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday in Deering Oaks Park. It’s free. Bring lawn chairs, a picnic and bug spray to all outdoor shows. Of course, you could always also check out “Romeo & Juliet & Zombies” at the Stonington Opera House at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Wherefore are thou, braaaaaiiiins?
5. You know what? I got nothing. Go out to camp. Go to the beach. Lay in a hammock. Sit in an air-conditioned movie theater and see some big dumb blockbuster. Eat ice cream. Grill something. Go hiking. Go fly a kite. It’s summer in Maine, for pete’s sake!