1. Doom and gloom, all week long. What is this, April? Sheesh. And at least this weekend promises a modicum of sun and temperatures over 60. Friday night in Bangor is the Downtown Bangor Art Walk (more on that later); there’s also night two of a four-night run of the Janis Joplin one-woman musical revue “A Piece Of Her Heart” (pictured) at the Penobscot Theatre, with opening band Rock Revelation. Later that night, enjoy jazz man Bill Barnes at Nocturnem Drafthaus, the triumphant return of rockers Magnetic North at Paddy Murphy’s, Eric Green and Lawton Mann at Black Bear Brewery up in Orono, and jam band Gorilla Finger Dub at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport. Saturday night, there’s an art opening for Rusted Raven Furniture at the Central Gallery, jazz group Mes Amis is at Nocturnem, chanteuse Stesha Cano is at Paddy’s, Magnetic North rocks again at Ipanema, and at Seasons Downunder Lounge, there’s a benefit for the Maine Air Guard’s Maineiac Family Charities, featuring Samantha Lynn, Riff Johnson, Koostix, the Resistance and DJ Paul Wolfe. On Sunday, blues man Joe Louis Walker is at 4Points in Winterport, and in Bangor, the highly anticipated Zac Brown Band concert is in the evening, with an opening show for ticket holders from local boys Chris Ross, North of Nashville and the Jimmy Leroux Band, starting at 1 p.m.
2. Portland is a happening town on Friday night! It’s the First Friday Art Walk (more on that later), and there’s also fun stuff including Bread and Puppet Theater’s new play “The Situation,” at 7 p.m. at Mayo Street Arts. Port City Music Hall hosts Portland face-melters Murcielago (pictured) with Ruin and Kind. there’s a record release party for Old Soul, with And The Kids and Baroses, at Empire, there’s CloZee and Viral Sounds at Bayside Bowl — which celebrates its 5th anniversary in Portland this weekend — and there’s the LOVE dance night at Flask Lounge with DJs Jamie O’Sullivan and G-Force. On Saturday, local legends Rustic Overtones take the stage at Port City with guests BELT, Shannon Heaton and the Morning After perform at One Longfellow Square, Not30 and Spidermilk are at Geno’s, and at the Space Gallery, there’s a night of music in tribute to late songwriter Jason Molina, featuring local musicians include If & It, South China, An Evening With, Tiger Saw and many more. On Sunday, wrap your weekend up with a free screening of “Casablanca” at 8:15 p.m. in Congress Square Park.
3. Down on the ol’ Mt. Desert Island, it’s First Friday Art Walk night in Bar Harbor (more on that later). On Friday night there’s also Tomorrow Morning at the Thirsty Whale, and Tim Lewis and the Drive Band at the Dockside in Southwest Harbor, while on Saturday night there’s Forget Forget at the Lompoc Cafe, Mark Bluesboy Kanter at the Black Friar Inn, and the Blast Addicts at Chummies in Ellsworth. All weekend long there’s the Maine Playwrights Festival at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth, with performances of new plays from local playwright Sandy Phippen at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Across the bay, on Friday night in Knox County take your pick of electronic music Clint Hartzell and Quantum at the Highlands Coffee House in Thomaston, Rustic Overtones frontman Dave Gutter at the Speakeasy in Rockland, and songwriter B. Douglas at Rock City Coffee, also in Rockland. On Saturday night, Wayne Delano is at Speakeasy, songwriter Tom Albury is at Rock City, and the super fun 80s cover band Destroy Them My Robots (pictured above) is at Trackside Station, also in Rockland.
4. Last weekend, I saw “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and it was as mind-alteringly fantastic as people say it is. It is worth the extra four bucks to see it in 3D. I haven’t had that much fun at a movie in years — maybe the first “Avengers” movie (not the second one) was the last super fun, whiz-bang, gripping thrill ride I have been on in a movie theater, and that came out three years ago. And “Mad Max” is way, way better (and I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe). So, if you have not yet seen it, do yourself a favor and go this weekend. Unless you are one of those people that is excited to see “Aloha” or “Entourage.” Which, I mean, hey, if that’s what works for you (yikes). However, I understand that movies like this are not everyone’s up of tea like they are mine. Why not try out Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy,” opening this weekend and which looks like a hoot? Or the trio of indie flicks at the Strand in Rockland, including Iranian vampire flick “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night,” music documentary “Seymour: An Introduction” and artsy drama “Clouds of Sils Maria.” Or the enjoyable British films “Woman in Gold” and Thomas Hardy adaptation “Far From the Madding Crowd” at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville. Take your pick! Just don’t tell me if you see “Aloha” or “Entourage.” Please.
5. About those art walks — there are THREE of them in Maine Friday night this weekend, in Bangor, Bar Harbor in Portland. There are tons of highlights for each one. In Bangor (5-9 p.m.) the featured artist this time is painter John LeBlanc, who also designed a mural that art walkers can help paint in the Pocket Park next to Central Street Farmhouse; there’s also pop-up exhibit at COESPACE presented by the Bangor Area Food Council titled “The Lexicon of Sustainability.” In Bar Harbor, highlights include tours of the newly renovated Criterion Theater, artist Nathan Ward at the Argosy Gallery and lobsterman John Crowley will feature and workshop his float rope mats at the Village Emporium. And in Portland, highlights include abstract painter Judy Schneider at the Red Thread Gallery, “Art in Exodus: Selected Works from Ali Shakir Alasadi, Eslaerides Ruiz, and Nawar Al Obaidi” at Maine College of Art, honoring World Refugee Day, and a massive group show called “Eat More Art 3” at Pinecone + Chickadee.