1. I’m back! If you hadn’t noticed, I took last week off for the ol’ 5 Things, since it was Turkey Day and all. Hope you didn’t miss me too much. This weekend in the Bangtown, on Friday night there’s a couple of fun earlier evening events, including the reception for the All Smalls art show at the Rock & Art Shop, a performance Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University (shows are on Saturday and Sunday, too), and The Focus Group’s (pictured above) holiday show at 8 p.m. at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer. Later that night, there’s also Bill Barnes jazz at Nocturnem Drafthaus, rockers Tomorrow Morning at Blaze, Ira and Josh’s Band up at Woodman’s in Orono, and Maine legends Rustic Overtones at the Boomhouse in Old Town. On Saturday, that night the Central Gallery hosts (contained), a huge new show of local artists. At Paddy Murphy’s there’s the Blast Addicts, and at Nocturnem, there’s Sonja Harrington and her Mystical Harem of Sound.
2. Friday night is First Friday Art Walk night in Portland, meaning it’s the absolute perfect time to enjoy those lovely downtown Portland holiday lights. Later that night, Mobile Steam Unit and Dominic Lavoie are at Empire, Delta Rae is at One Longfellow Square, and there’s the annual Kimmy’s Oddball at Portland House of Music and Events, featuring real grab bag of bands including A Band Beyond Description, Eldemurr Krimm, Doug Moran, the Droimnins and Rijah Newell; benefits Music & Magic Maine. On Saturday, take your pick of either the Throwback Hip Hop dance night at Empire, a triple bill of folk music with Anais Mitchell, Bridget Kearney and Benjamin Lavar Davis at One Longfellow, Canned Bread at Bayside Bowl, or Zeme Libra, Strange Machines and A Mighty Lion at Portland HOME. It’s also the first weekend of that smooth operator Zach Jones’ (pictured) month-long residency at Sonny’s.
3. On the Midcoast, Friday night in Belfast there’s the Handmade art opening at Waterfall Arts, a chance to buy local art for the holidays. In Rockland, the Strand Theatre hosts the Maine Short Film Festival premiere, a traveling program of Maine-made or connected short movies. At Rock City Coffee in Rockland, the charming songwriter Lauren Crosby (pictured) performs, and the By the Bay Jazz Trio is at Highlands Coffee House in Thomaston. On Saturday, the Midcoast Actor’s Studio presents “True Stories 2,” live performances from local storytellers and actors, at 7 p.m. at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. At Rock Coffee, there’s the Ale House String Band, and the Pat Pepin Project blues band is at Trackside Station, also in Rockland.
4. This is the big weekend statewide for holiday season kickoff festivities, including Bangor’s Festival of Lights parade and tree lighting, set for 4 p.m. throughout downtown. It’s also the premiere weekend of Penobscot Theatre’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with performances set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. In Camden, the Atlantic Ballet Company presents “The Nutcracker” at the Camden Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. In Ellsworth, the Frogtown Mountan Puppeteers present “The Grinch” with two shows each Friday evening and Saturday afternoon at the Grand Theatre. In both Winterport and Bar Harbor, there’s TWO separate productions of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” set for 6:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at the Criterion in Bar Harbor, and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Wagner Middle School in Winterport, Finally, this weekend brings Santa Con in Portland, in which lots of people get dressed up like Santa and get drunk all over town in a pub crawl, which starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at Pat’s Pizza and goes from there.
5. There’s a million other holiday events happening all over the state this weekend; too many to list in full here. This is where the fine folks with the BDN community news section come in, however: there’s lots and lots of listings on our Events page right here: http://bangordailynews.com/events/?event-type=0®ion=0&date=12%2F05%2F2015 Look at all this good stuff, for kids and grownups alike! Cue holiday music and mistletoe and figgy pudding and what not.