1. I feel a sudden urge to sing the kind of ditty that invokes the spring — and worry not, folks, we’re in the home stretch. This Valentine’s Day weekend, on Friday night in Bangor check out Stripped Acoustic Night at Nocturnem Drafthaus, featuring songwriters Danny Herasymchuck and Jim Sobanik and indie rock project Greasy Grass, while over at Tantrum there’s the Trendy Robots, there’s rockabilly band the Crown Vics are at Paddy Murphy’s, Everett Dumas is at the Big Easy, rockers Sudden Karma are at the Downunder Club, while up in Orono, Eric Green plays dirty solo blues at Black Bear Microbrew, and the Great North Collective plays at Woodman’s. On Saturday — Valentine’s Day! — there’s an array of fun events, including Sam Chase and friends at Paddy’s, folk trio the Otter Folk at the Big Easy, the ribald and wildly entertaining Bangtown Swingers at Nocturnem, an encore dance performance of the Haus of Paradigm’s enchanting bellydance spectacular “MIO” (pictured above) at Tantrum at 8 p.m. At the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, bluegrass ensemble Nevah performs at 7:30 p.m., and up in Old Town, rock machine the Blast Addicts are set for the Boomhouse. On Sunday, comedian Jim Jeffries is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Collins Center for the Arts.
2. On Friday in Portland it’s the perfect night to go out for those single folks who don’t want to be harassed by happy couples. Check out one of these fine events, including Young the Giant and Wildling at the State Theatre, 80s cover band The Awesome at Port City Music Hall, there’s epic local rock with Covered in Bees, El Malo and Monsters at Empire, there’s songwriter James Montgomery at One Longfellow Square, the Raging Brass reggae horns are at Bayside Bowl, at Flask, it’s Foundation Friday featuring deep house and techno DJs Ian Hammond, A Dude Named Ray and Mr. Dereloid, and at the Space Gallery, garage punk band Great Western Plain kicks off its East Coast tour with guests Endless Jags, Video Nasties and SS Cretins. On actual V-Day, there’s some great stuff going on including Stripwrecked Burlesque’s Valentine’s Day show at Geno’s Rock Club, the Dapper Gents with dance troupe Collective Motion at One Longfellow, comedian Jim Jeffries at the State Theatre, funk band Model Airplane at Port City, at Andy’s Old Port Pub, there’s the Breakwater Blues Band and at Brian Boru there’s Gorilla Finger Dub Band.
3. Just an FYI, folks: Friday night is supposed to be truly brutally cold. Like so brutal it’s metal. Be careful out there! If you are brave, on the Midcoast on Friday there’s some fun stuff including Grateful Dead tribute band Shy Green at the Speakeasy in Rockland, there’s By The Bay Jazz Trio at Rock City Coffee, and at the Strand Theatre in Rockland, you can heat up with the Cajun sounds of Beausoleil and Michael Doucet (pictured above). On Saturday, take your sweetie out for V-Day and enjoy either Velocipede at Rock City, a dance with Two Dollar Pistol at Trackside Station in Rockland, bluesman Blind Albert at the Speakeasy and there’s rocker Cranston Dean at Myrtle Street Tavern, also in Rockland.
4. Let’s catch up with some great local theater happenings, shall we? At the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth playwright Brent Hutchins presents his new play, “Closer to Home,” a series of vignettes about Maine life, with performances set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a 2 p.m. matinee Friday. Meanwhile, in Belfast the Midcoast Actor’s Studio presents the eastern Maine premiere of the contemporary play “Venus in Fur,” (pictured above) a two person tour de force about the 19th century book of the same name, which partially inspired the term masochism — like “50 Shades of Grey,” except better and more real and not exploitative. But I digress. Performances are set for 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5 p.m. Sundays at the Playhouse on Church Street in Belfast. Finally, Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble, based out of Bowdoinham, perform an all-new play entitled “The Puzzle Box,” an experimental work, with performances set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Mayo Street Arts.
5. Finally, this weekend is the winter edition of Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, with tons of events — over one hundred in total — all over the state for your outdoors enjoyment. From cross country skiing to snowshoeing to nature walks to skating to hiking, there’s something for anyone willing to bundle up and head outside. There are too many specific events to list here, but a full list of all the fun stuff set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday can found online at greatmaineoutdoorweekend.org. Have fun!