1. This year was the first year in a very long time that I broke down and bought myself a super warm, rugged, waterfront, almost-knee-length winter coat. I had to drop some serious cash on it, but man oh man, is it worth it. Prepare yourself for the elements this weekend — and it looks as though we’ll be getting all of them — and see what there is to do. Friday night in Bangor you can start off with a reception at 6:30 for the fantastic All Smalls art show at The Rock & Art Shop (pictured) or the premiere of Penobscot Theatre’s “The Wizard of Oz,” followed by either the Blast Addicts at Tantrum or jazz man Bill Barnes at Nocturnem Drafthaus. Up in Orono, Mike Billings and Dominic James are at at the Roost and the Trendy Robots are at Woodman’s, while in Winterport, banjo man Hal Meyers is at 4Points BBQ & Blues. On Saturday, Paddy Murphy’s hosts the Trisha Mason Band, Stesha Cano is at Nocturne, funksters Juicebox are at Ipanema, and up in Old Town, the 220s rock the Boomhouse.
2. This is an overwhelmingly busy weekend in Portland, so let’s just get right to it. Friday night brings the First Friday Art Walk of course, as well as Big Band Syndrome with the Fogcutters at the State Theatre featuring an array of local musicians; there’s also comedian W. Kamau Bell at Port City Music Hall, Art Alexakis of Everclear at Asylum, a triple bill of local indie rock featuring Brenda, Purse and Fur at Empire, and the Jazz Workshop at One Longfellow Square. On Saturday, you’re going to have to make some tough decisions. First off, there’s indie rockers The Head and the Heart at the State Theatre, and there’s jammy guys Ryan Montbleau and Jesse Dee at Port City. At the Space Gallery, there’s a benefit show for rehearsal and creative space Grime Studios, featuring the music of Five of the Eyes, If & It, Nuclear Boots, the Wicked Woods and Lung. Shimon Moores of the band Sick Puppies is at Asylum and songwriter Tom Rush is at One Longfellow. At Empire, the epically fantastic local metal gods Murcielago (pictured above) play a CD release party for their new album with guests Eldemur Krimm and Dominic and the Lucid. Kyle Morgan and Robinson & Rohe play their Christmas Lightbox concert at Mayo Street Arts, and rockers The English Muffins and Covered in Bees are at Bayside Bowl. Wrap it up Sunday with the Trey Anastasio Band. There’s no way anybody could do all of that, but I commend you for trying.
3. In Rockland this weekend — be sure to check out that fabulous lobster trap Christmas tree on display downtown all month! — on Friday enjoy the dulcet tones of r&b rockers Sea Train at the Speakeasy, or the enchanting Maine folksinger Lauren Crosby (pictured at left) at Rock City Coffee. It’s also First Friday Art Walk night, so there’ll be lots of creative cheer out and about between the hours of 5 and 9 p.m. On Saturday, upbeat Bangor folk rockers the Otter Folk are at Rock City Coffee and bluesman Blind Albert is at the Speakeasy. Also, don’t forget that in Camden all weekend the Atlantic Ballet Company presents “The Nutcracker,” with performances at 7:30 p.m Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Camden Opera House.
4. So what’s shakin’ for holiday festivities this weekend? Well, first off, Bangor has sadly canceled hosts its annual Festival of Lights parade and tree lighting, which was set for 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, due to the inclement weather — it’s supposed to be a nasty mix of freezing rain and snow and very cold out, which is not ideal parade weather, now is it? Tree lighting has been rescheduled to Dec. 10; no word yet on the parade. It’s also the 32nd annual Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude, with tons of events set for all day Friday, incuding crafts fairs, a chowder supper, a tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Dock Square in Kennebunkport followed by a bonfire, and much more; visit the Prelude website for more info. In Ellsworth, there’s a number of holiday events, including the Christmas parade at 11 a.m. Saturday through downtown; the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers retelling of the “Grinch” story at the Grand Theatre at 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday; and a holiday concert with the Eastern Maine Pops Orchestra and the Bar Harbor Band, set for 6 p.m. Saturday, also at the Grand. Check the BDN to see if anything else gets canceled this weekend.
5. I mentioned up above that Penobscot Theatre’s holiday season production of “The Wizard of Oz” opens this weekend, with shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday; Portland Stage also offers weekend two of “A Christmas Carol,” with shows at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and noon and 5 p.m Sunday. For something non-holiday-centric, the Midcoast Actor’s Studio offers up a Maine Playwright’s Showcase, with seven new short plays by four Maine playwrights, with performances set for 7 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6 and 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Playhouse on Church Street.