1. I dug my winter coat out last week. “Hello, old bean,” I said, shaking out seven months of living in the closet. “Do not fail me this year, Black Puffy Coat. I do not like you, but we shall work together for the next five months, albeit begrudgingly.” Whether or not you have to bundle up this weekend, Friday night in Bangor there’s lots to choose from. Singer-songwriter Noah Guthrie is at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University, there’s a Waterfront Concerts country show at the Cross Insurance Center featuring Brett Eldridge and Thomas Rhett. In downtown, jazz man Bill Barnes is at Nocturnem Drafthaus, rockers Tomorrow Morning are at Paddy Murphy’s, and it’s night one of two nights of Michael Winslow, the guy from the Police Academy movies who does sound effects (I am not making this up). In Orono, indie rockers Japansies are at Woodman’s, comedian Steven Wright is at the Collins Center for the Arts, and in Old Town, the Allison Ames Band rocks the Boomhouse. On Saturday, there’s a roller derby bout as Team Maine Derby takes on both the Shipyard Sirens and the Casco Bay Gentleman’s Derby, starting at 3 p.m. at Skehan Recreation Center in Hampden. That night, enjoy either the Maia Snow art opening at Central Gallery, rockers the Blast Addicts at Paddy’s, the Aurora Jazz Project at Nocturnem, and funk band Juicebox (pictured above) at Ipanema Bar & Grill.
2. It’s First Friday Art Walk night in Portland, so you know what that means — crazy traffic and tiny cups of wine! After that, take your pick of either Wild Child and Royal Canoe at Port City Music Hall, songwriter Melissa Ferrick at One Longfellow Square, Akela Moon and Talon of Thieves at Empire, some pop-punk-emo-whatever they call it these days with Sparks the Rescue, Friday Night Lights and Jargon Party at Portland HOME, and at Space Gallery, there’s the return of Dance Cartel (pictured above, an incredible dance experience presenting their newest show, “OnTheFloor.” On Saturday night, the unstoppable AMY SCHUMER does two sets at the Cross Insurance Arena. There’s also Zach Deputy and the Hastags at Port City, local blues and folk with Samuel James and James Keyes at Portland HOME, songwriters Amy Black at One Longfellow, rockers Pepper, Ballyhoo and Katastro at Asylum, and a seriously excellent night of punk and metal with Tiger Bomb, Boston legends the Upper Crust and Hessian at Bayside Bowl. Sunday, enjoy either the Plain White T’s, Matt McAndrew and Beta Play at Port City, or Civil Twilight and Knox Hamilton at One Longfellow.
3. It’s a rather sleepy weekend on the Midcoast, but that’s OK — it’s nice to take your time and enjoy yourself! Though the monthly First Friday Belfast Contradance at the American Legion Hall is never a sleepy affair — enjoy a rip-roaring time with contra dance Riptide. Also on Friday night, there’s the By the Bay Jazz Trio at Rock City Coffee in Rockland. Rock City also hosts bluegrass wildman band Muddy Ruckus on Saturday night.
4. The Bangor area is an exceptionally excellent place to see theater this weekend. I’m not even kidding. Check this out. Ten Bucks Theatre Company opens its production of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” Friday through Sunday at Comins Hall, the Eddington-Clifton Civic Center. Some Theater Company opens it’s Orono weekend of “Evil Dead: The Musical,” a bloody spectacle (pictured at left) to be performed twice on both Friday and Saturday at the Keith Anderson Community Center. At the University of Maine, the School of Performing Arts opens its first weekend of its production of Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” with performances set for Friday through Sunday at Hauck Auditorium. In Brewer, Friday and Saturday night brings the second annual Maine Improv Festival, with improv sets from troupes from all over New England Friday and Saturday nights at the Next Generation Theatre. It’s the final weekend of Penobscot Theatre Company’s production of “Dr. Cerberus,” Friday through Sunday at the Bangor Opera House. And on Sunday, the Collins Center for the Arts hosts the Broadway touring production of “The Producers.” Theater will save us all.
5. Finally, this weekend in Portland there’s the 22nd annual Maine Brewers Festival, a beer fest that’s been around for way longer than the contemporary craft beer craze in Maine. It’s set for Saturday at 239 Park Avenue in Portland, with 20 different breweries, two sessions at 1 and 6 p.m., and music from Spose, Amy and the Engine and Royal Hammer. For more information, visit mainebrewersfestival.com.