1. Well Happy New Year! I hope it’s been a relatively uneventful first week of 2017, minus the ice pellets falling from the sky and all that. What’s good for your first weekend of the new year? On Friday night in Bangor, take your pick from either jazz man Bill Barnes at Nocturnem Drafthaus, some local hardcore with The Waking Life, Born Under A Bad Sign, Flooding Panama and Smooth Moves at the Central Gallery, The Tune Squad at Paddy Murphy’s, and acoustic band Summit at the Sea Dog. On Saturday, multi-instrumentalist Ezra Rugg is at Nocturnem, and rockers Koostix are at Paddy’s.
2. It’s First Friday once again in Portland, and after you’ve bundled up to do the art walk around town that evening, check out either the Standing Rock fundraiser concert featuring Five of the Eyes, Mirth and Black River Union at Empire, a dance party with Maine Marimba Ensemble and dance troupe Collective Motion at One Longfellow Square, or the rescheduled live punk rock pro wrestling show at Geno’s Rock Club. On Saturday, Port City Music Hall hosts a birthday celebration for our beloved, dearly departed David Bowie, with local musicians playing “Station to Station” and “Blackstar” in their entirety. There’s also a CD release party for singer-songwriter Shane Reis at Portland House of Music, a tribute show for Regina Spektor at Empire, there’s a live shadowcast of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at 8 and 11 at One Longfellow, and there’s some local metal with Sylvia, AICMD, Kintaan and Born Under A Bad Sign at the Space Gallery.
3. Our coastal regions also have a fun array of events happening this weekend. On Friday night, there’s the monthly Belfast Contradance at the American Legion Hall, while in Rockland, folk ensemble Happy Folk is at Rock City Coffee, and in Ellsworth, comedian Bob Marley begins a two-night stand at the Grand Theatre, and rock band JHook is at Chummies. On Saturday, 90s cover band Living Room Circus is at Thresher’s Brewing in Searsmont, and roots band The Fox and the Hound are at Chummies.
4. The weather’s been an icy, slushy, yucky mess for the past week or so. Indoor activities sound good to me! For starters, why not check out the beautiful Emera Maine Astronomy Center, which offers fascinating star shows in its beautiful planetarium — this weekend is “From Earth to the Universe,” for teens and older, at 7 p.m. Friday, and “Magic Treehouse: Space Mission,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, for youth. Admission is always $6 for adults, $5 for students, vets and seniors, and $4 for kids 12 and under. There’s also some great movies screening at cinemas statewide, from big blockbusters like “Moana” and “Rogue One” to Oscar bait like “La La Land” and “Manchester By The Sea.” Check your local listings!
5. Still recovering from the holiday season? I don’t blame you. Looking for some good Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime recommendations? I’ve got a few. For history buffs or those who miss “Downton Abbey,” I cannot recommend “The Crown” on Netflix enough. For those who like a little romance with their comedy (and an incredible soundtrack), “Mozart in the Jungle” on Amazon is a delightful romp. For potty-mouthed comedies, the most recent season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is now up on Netflix, and “Fleabag” on Amazon is also a hoot. Louis CK’s funny and ultimately very moving dramedy “Horace and Pete” is up on Hulu, too. And I’ve actually been enjoying the silly and badly written but highly entertaining “Shut Eye” on Hulu.