1. It’s beginning to look a lot like… well, you know the rest. We won’t go there just yet. On this final weekend before the holiday season kicks into high gear, the Bangor area offers lots of options. Friday night, take your pick of either Pecha Kucha night at 6 p.m. at the Union Street Brick Church, Big Time Wrestling at the Cross Insurance Center at 7 p.m., the monthly contradance at 8 p.m. at the UU Church on Park Street, and a screening of the classic “Chinatown” at 9 p.m. at the KahBang Gallery on Central Street. Also on Friday, there’s the battle of the bands event starting at 8 p.m. at Tantrum featuring up and comers like the Royal Bones (pictured above), Loch Ness Monster Adventure Club, Year After Year, Stone Free and Between Dead Stations, with guest Bangtown Timebomb. There’s also Riff Johnson and Dominic James at Paddy Murphy’s, blues band the Juke Rockets at the Big Easy, the charming duo of Cory and Carlie Deshane at Nocturnem Drafthaus, and the Dapper Gents at the Downunder Lounge at Seasons; out in Winterport, there’s Everett Dumas at 4Points BBQ & Blues. On Saturday, enjoy songwriter Samantha Lynn at the Big Easy, rockers Tomorrow Morning at Ipanema, acoustic trio Koostix at Paddy’s, jazz ensemble Interplay at Nocturnem, or soul woman Stesha Cano at the Fiddlehead Restaurant. At 4Points in Winterport there’s bluesman Eric Green, and at Woodman’s in Orono there’s DJ IBC, spinning funk, reggae and hip hop. And what’s that I hear about a little show at the Cross Insurance Center? The sold-out-in-a-day Bob Seger and J. Geils Band concert? Oh yeah. That ol’ thing.
2. This weekend in Portland is backloaded with great stuff on Saturday, though Friday’s no slacker either. Check out local rockers Forget Forget, the Loose Canyons and Jargon Party at Bayside Bowl, folk duo Aztec Two Step at One Longfellow Square, or a screening of “Top Gun” followed by a dance party at Empire, all on Friday evening. On Saturday, the Space Gallery plays host to two wonderful shows; earlier in the afternoon at 2 p.m. there’s some Middle Eastern music by way of Portland from Okbari and Aleric Nez, and later that night, guitar gods Nels Cline and Julian Lage take the stage. Also on Saturday are New England favorites Lake Street Dive and Amy Helm are at State Theatre, Tigerman Woah (pictured above) and the Silks are set for Empire, Celtic ensemble the Press Gang are at One Longfellow Square, and at Port City Music Hall, there’s Red Hot & Ladylike, a night of exotic dancing for men and women to benefit domestic violence services. Wrap it all up on Sunday with Quintron and Miss Pussycat at Space Gallery — and don’t forget, the Portland Museum of Art screens some wonderful Shakespeare movies all weekend, with Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing” at 6:30 Friday, Trevor Nunn’s “Twelfth Night” at 2 p.m. Saturday and Olivier’s “Richard III” at 2 p.m. Sunday.
3. In Ellsworth this weekend the Grand Theatre hosts a mini film fest dedicated to the dearly departed Robin Williams; watch “Good Will Hunting” at 7 p.m. Friday, “Dead Poets Society” at 7 p.m. Saturday or “Mrs. Doubtfire” at 2 p.m. Sunday. Across the bay in the Rockland area, on Friday night the Exact Change Jazz Quartet are at Rock City Coffee, while on Saturday, the Strand Theatre plays hosts to the annual Hollerfest, featuring some wonderful New England Americana bands including Darlingside, the Ballroom Thieves and Maine’s own the Ghost of Paul Revere (pictured at left). Also on Saturday are the Juke Rockets at the Speakeasy, Forget Forget at Rock City Coffee, and in Thomaston, there’s Storm Warning at the Water Dog Tavern.
4. Care for something a touch more grandiose? Two classical concerts are set for this weekend in both the Bangor area and in Portland. On both Saturday and Sunday the Portland Symphony Orchestra offers up its pops concert, with a tribute to the music of Billy Joel and Elton John — performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Merrill Auditorium. On Sunday at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono the Bangor Symphony Orchestra offers up it’s Classical Kings concert — Mozart and Beethoven are on the bill, and the concert is set for 3 p.m.
5. Let’s face it: the holiday season is upon us. Don’t try to resist. The ads are on TV. The decorations and Christmas music are in the stores. You can already buy trees. Why not get a jump on the season at one of the countless craft fairs this weekend, around the state? Some great places to shop super local include Midcoast fairs and shows like the one at the Pioneer Grange in Union (3-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday), the ArtsFull Gift Show at Point Lookout in Northport (5-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday), the Designing Women art and craft show at the Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday), and the Extravanganza showcase and gallery show at the Aarhus Gallery in downtown Belfast (11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday). All offer jewelry, homegoods, candy and food, tools, fabric goods and much, much more.