1. Hey! It now doesn’t get completely dark til 4:30! Progress! We are now past the halfway point for winter — if, like me, you think winter starts after Thanksgiving and ends with St. Patrick’s Day — so get out and enjoy yourself. In the Bangor area this weekend, there’s several fun things set for Friday, starting with things like the Public Humanities Day Pecha Kucha, set for 6:30 p.m. at Coespace on Columbia St.; there’s also the 150 Years of Popular Song music event from the UMaine School of Performing Arts, set for 7:30 p.m. at the Collins Center for the Arts. Later that night, there’s the monthly country throwdown at Tantrum, there’s songwriter Samantha Lynn at the Big Easy, there’s Mike Billings and Sam Chase at Paddy Murphy’s, and there’s jazz duo Indigo at Nocturnem. Up in Orono, there’s Stone Free (pictured above) at Woodman’s, and in Winterport, there’s bluesman Eric Green at 4Points BBQ & Blues. On Saturday night, enjoy an early set from rockers the Blast Addicts at 7 p.m., followed by standup comics Pat Oates and Stosh Mikita. Improv troupe the Focus Group is at 8 p.m. Tantrum, the Brad Hutchinson Project is at Paddy’s, Circus is at Ipanema, Stesha Cano is at Nocturnem, and roots band River Driver at the Big Easy. In Winterport, enjoy blues rockers Between Dead Stations at 4Points.
2. Four years of beer! Celebrate Baxter Brewing’s fourth anniversary with a show at Port City Music Hall, featuring funk band Model Airplane, songwriter Anna Lombard and DJ Mosart 212. At Empire, there’s Phish cover band Pardon Me, Doug, at One Longfellow Square there’s famed songwriter Jonathan Edwards, and at Bayside Bowl there’s nerd-rockers Crunk Witch with Ceschi Ramos. On Saturday, Port City Music Hall has got Max Creek and People Skills, while the State Theatre hosts London Grammar and Until the Ribbon Breaks; Empire hosts local favorites KGFREEZE (pictured above), Cool Tara and Old Etc; there’s two shows at One Longfellow Square, starting with Hey Rosetta at 6:30 and then the Cats Under the Stairs at 10 p.m.; at Bayside Bowl there’s Fuzzfest 2015, featuring the best in Portland area fuzzy rock including the English Muffins, Meantone and the Gamma Goochies; and country star Alan Jackson is at the Cross Insurance Arena.
3. Coastal Maine has an array of fun musical offerings this weekend, beginning Friday night with the first in the Community Supported Music series at the Camden Opera House, with songwriters Kristi Williamson and Amy Green along with Vicky Andres and Max McFarland, set for 7:30 p.m. Also on Friday, there’s the By the Bay Jazz Trio at Rock City Coffee and Sea Train at the Speakeasy, while on Saturday there’s songwriter Tom Albury at Rock City, Mes Amis jazz at the Speakeasy, and rockers Whoopy Kat at the Myrtle Street Tavern. Also on the Midcoast, on Saturday night Rockland youth group the Trekkers hosts their annual Trekkapalooza concert fundraiser, set for 7 p.m. at the Strand Theatre in Rockland and featuring the likes of Fading Dawn, the Galactic Seagulls, J-Dawg and the Hounds, Just Teachers, Hologram and Something In The Water. Across the bay, the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth hosts the annual To Warm a Winter’s Night fundraiser, starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday and raising money for area heating fuel relief; bands include the Trisha Mason Band, the Crown Vics (pictured above) and Bobbi Lane.
4. Get your slice of the pie this weekend with two pie-related events in eastern Maine. The first celebrates National Pie Day, with the Hammond Street Senior Center in Bangor offering up a major pie sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, with pies by the slice or whole pies for sale. Then, on Sunday, Rockland hosts the annual Pies on Parade event, set for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at many locations throughout Rockland; tickets are $30 and can be reserved by calling 207-596-6611. If none of that gets you excited, there are two ice bars you can check out this weekend; the Samoset Resort’s Glacier Ice Bar and Lounge is open Jan. 23 and 24, and the Portland Harbor Hotel’s ice bar will be open Jan 22 to 24; tickets are $25 and are available at brownpapertickets.com.
5. What’s opening for movies this weekend? Well, try out the odd indie romp “Mortdecai,” the animated feature “Strange Magic” or the psychological thrilled “The Boy Next Door,” all opening this weekend in major theaters. Also opening this weekend at the Nickelodeon in Portland is Jennifer Aniston’s almost-Oscar bid “Cake,” and Ewan McGregor’s crime drama “Son of a Gun,” and at the Strand in Rockland, the grossly overlooked Swedish comedy-drama “Force Majeure” will screen.