1. It’s a great weekend to be alive in Maine. Friday night in the beautiful Queen City, options include a screening of “Almost Famous” at the Central Gallery, the “James and the Giant Peach” youth theater production at Penobscot Theatre all weekend, and later that night, lots of musical options, including the Blast Addicts at Blaze, rockers Bangtown Timebomb (pictured) and Not Yet Lost at Paddy Murphy’s, rockabilly band Three Button Deluxe at Nocturnem Drafthaus, blues band Between Dead Stations at the Sea Dog, and cover band Sudden Karma at the Downunder Lounge at Seasons. Maine legends Rustic Overtones are at the Boomhouse in Old Town, and blues trio the Blood Orange Martinis are at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport. On Saturday, the afternoon offers up lots of fun, including a video game tournament hosted by the Sea Dog and the Bangor Comic & Toy Con at 3 p.m., featuring Super Smash Bros, Mortal Kombat X and Ultra Street Fighter, with entry fees for each tournament at $10; Central Maine Roller Derby takes on the Rock Coast Rollers at the Cross Insurance Center at 6 p.m., and a 7 p.m. poetry reading by Danielle Vogel and Gregory Howard at the Central Gallery. Later that night, check out the Trisha Mason Band Paddy’s, funk man Blake Pattengale at Ipanema, or chanteuse Stesha Cano at Nocturnem. In Orono, there’s standup comedy with Tuck Tucker, Luke Hanbury and Travis Cowing at the Bear Brew; in Brewer, there’s electronic jazz ensemble Quantum at the Next Generation Theatre; and in Winterport, the rollicking good blues time that is the Eric Green Party is at 4Points.
2. I have to say, this is a spectacular weekend for local music in Portland. Let’s waste no time, shall we? Friday night brings the record release party for melody man Spencer Albee (pictured), with guests Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band and Leveret at Port City Music Hall; there’s also prog and experimental music with Superorder, Altered Gee and Teratoma at Empire; songwriters Eric Bettencourt and Will Mallett at One Longfellow Square; indie rock with Forget Forget, Purse, Rare Occasion and Chamberlain at Bayside Bowl; and heavy duty punk rock with the Downtown Boys, Lunch Cult and Bad Leg at Space Gallery. On Saturday night, Bangor heroes When Particles Collide play their record release with guests Mad Anthony, Theodore Treehouse and Volcano Rabbit at the Asylum. There’s also a taping of The Moth Radio Hour Mainstage at State Theatre, there’s the Menzigers, Chumped and Roger Harvey at Port City, there’s experimental rock with Conjjecture, SS Cretins and Sterling Black at Empire, there’s the All A Cappella Festival at One Longfellow, and at Geno’s, there’s weirdo rock n’ roll for your listening pleasure with Nuclear Bootz, Video Nasties and Mome. On Sunday, Arc Iris wraps up her month long residency at One Longfellow with guest Nat Baldwin.
3. Friday night on the coast brings a show from Chris Ross and the North (pictured above) — it’s their record release show for new album “Young Once,” with guests the Meadows Brothers, at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth. Also on Friday night are the Blazing Apostles at the Dockside Inn in Southwest Harbor, while on Saturday, indie rock artists Patrick Davis and Djar Djar are at the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor. It’s also grand re-opening weekend for the renovated Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor, which is showing “Tomorrowland” and kid’s interactive theater experience “We Run The Ship” at 11 a.m. Saturday. Across the bay, in Rockland the Speakeasy hosts Storm Warning and the Rusty Hinges are at Rock City Coffee, while on Saturday Three Button Deluxe are at the Speakeasy, rockers Chamberlain are at Rock City Coffee, and Americana ensemble The Sweetback Sisters perform at the Strand Theatre.
4. The first-ever Portland Rum Riots are set for this Sunday, May 31 through June 2, and are a cheeky nod to the actual historical event in 1855 when Portland mayor Neal Dow hid rum in city hall, against the wishes of some of the temperance supporting citizens. This event will feature specialty cocktails and food pairings across the town, from Cosmopolitans at the Top of the East at 4 p.m. on May 31, to a Bartender’s Brunch at Eventide Oyster Company at noon on June 2, to a Harvey Wallbanger cruise through Casco Bay at 6 p.m. on June 2. Tickets for all events can be purchased online at mainerumriots.com.
5. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will again offer Free Fishing Weekend this weekend, much to the joy of casual anglers statewide. On Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31, any person may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked. All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply. Rainbow trout. Landlocked salmon. Smallmouth bass. Give it a shot! For more information on fishing opportunities in Maine, visit www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/opportunities/index.htm.