1. Ah yes. That odd few weeks in between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Fall is over, but winter hasn’t really started. The brutal slog of this horrendous election season is almost over. We’re all going to need some distractions this weekend, right? On Friday night in the Bangor area, there’s night one of two nights of the Improv ME Festival, featuring a number of local and regional improv comedy troupes (include local folks The Focus Group, above) performing at 8 p.m. Friday and 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer. Also on Friday night, River City Cinema screens hot topic doc “Weiner” at 7 and 9 p.m. at Coespace; Maine rockers Wait and Weakened Friends are at the Central Gallery, Bill Barnes is at Nocturnem Drafthaus, Tomorrow Morning is at Paddy Murphy’s, Meghan Clark is at the Sea Dog, and up in the Orono area, Stone Free is at Woodman’s, and Revibe is at the Boomhouse in Old Town. On Saturday, songwriter and visual arts duo Pocket Vinyl returns to the The Rock & Art Shop at 7 p.m., while the Central Gallery hosts its First Saturday Art Opening. Singer Joan Osbourne is at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University, Eastern Maine Community College hosts a Lip Sync Battle fundraiser at its Hogan Road campus, and in downtown, Pitch Black Ribbons are at Nocturnem and the Tune Squad is at Paddy’s. Up in Old Town, Stonewall Chrome is at the Boomhouse.
2. Portland this weekend is full of unique things to do. On Friday night, the Maine Outdoor Film Festival will be screened at Port City Music Hall, while elsewhere, it’s Throwback Night with DJ KTF at Empire, there’s a triple bill featuring Tigerman Woah, the Toughcats and Midwestern Medicine at Portland House of Music, and songwriter Garland Jeffreys is at One Longfellow Square. On Saturday, Big Gigantic, Illenium and Jaw Gems are at State Theatre, there’s comedy with Rick Shapiro and local guests at Empire, and the Forz, Tiger Bomb and the Downtowners are at Bayside Bowl. On Sunday, there’s a local comedy roast of Donald Trump at Empire, and songwriters Patrick Sweany and Will and Luke Mallett are at One Longfellow Square.
3. What’s good on the coast this weekend? Well, on Friday night in Belfast there’s the monthly wild n’ crazy Flying Shoes Contradance; beginners at 6:30, full dance at 8 p.m. at the American Legion Hall; there’s also jam band Fule’s Gold at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, there’s songwriters Tim Hill and Autumn Rhodes at Rock City Coffee in Rockland, and legendary singer-songwriter and Maine native Patty Griffin performs at the Strand Theatre, also in Rockland. On Saturday, the Ale House String Band is at Rock City, and rockabilly band The Murder Weapon is at the Myrtle Street Tavern, both in Rockland.
4. It’s a banner weekend for local theater in the Bangor region. There’s so much great new stuff to check out! First off, two stalwarts of the theater open two new shows this weekend. Ten Bucks Theatre Company premieres the comedy “Tigers Be Still,” with shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Comins Hall in Eddington. Some Theatre Company opens its production of the dramatic musical “Next to Normal,” with shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Keith Anderson Community Center in Orono. In Orono, local playwright William S. Yellow Robe premieres “Wood Bones,” with performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Black Box Theatre in 1944 Hall on the UMaine campus. And don’t forget: it’s the final weekend for both Penobscot Theatre Company’s “Murder for Two” and Winterport Open Stage’s “Unnecessary Farce.”
5. It’s hard to believe that we might actually be starting to think about shopping for the holidays. But, here we are! If you’re looking for some good early shop-opps, first off, if you’re down in the Portland area and you know some music lovers, there’s the annual WMPG Record Sale, set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in USM’s Portland Sullivan Gym. Up in the Bangor area, there’s the annual Gem and Mineral Show in Brewer, 10 to 5 on Saturday and 10 to 4 on Sunday at the Brewer Auditorium. And at the Cross Insurance Center, there’s the annual Maine Craftsmen’s Guild Craft Fair, set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Happy shopping!