1. We all need a distraction from reality now and again, don’t we? Even if the real world seems totally off the rails, you need to take a break from it every week or so and do something fun or silly or pleasurable, just to re-center yourself. I recommend taking it out on the weekend. On Friday night in beautiful Bangor, jazz man Bill Barnes is at Nocturnem Drafthaus and jam band Hambone is at Paddy Murphy’s, while up in Orono, Sassquatch is at Woodman’s and the Villains are at Black Bear Brewing Company. On Saturday, the Round House Players are at the Sea Dog, there’s some local heavy metal with Holy Filth, Tattooine and Blood Soaked Memories at the Downunder Club at Seasons, and Queen City Improv brings the laughs at 7 p.m. at Nocturnem. It’s also opening weekend for “Lumberjacks in Love,” the charming new musical (pictured above) at the Penobscot Theatre Company, and there’s two art openings this weekend in downtown — a pop-up exhibit of work from the Women’s Marches on Washington and Augusta at COESPACE, and the opening of a new exhibit from Waldo County artist Kenny Cole at the Central Gallery.
2. Portland this weekend brings not only your First Friday Art Walk on (guess what) Friday night, but it also brings the return of prodigal Maine daughter Lady Lamb (pictured above), who will play a show Friday night with Henry Jamison at Space Gallery. Also on Friday are punk rockers Rough Francis, Covered in Bees and the Worst at Empire, Whiskey Myers and the Wans at Port City Music Hall, and Phish cover band Pardon Me Doug is at Portland House of Music. On Saturday night, The Wood Brothers and the T Sisters at the State Theatre, there’s a Bob Marley birthday bash with Gorilla Finger Dub at Empire, there’s a George Michael tribute show at Portland House of Music, and Americana ensemble Mr. Sun is at One Longfellow Square.
3. Moving along to the coast, the Belfast Contra Dance changes venues for one month only, with this month’s event set for Friday night at the Blue Goose in Northport, while in Rockland, songwriter Tom Albury is at Rock City Coffee. On Saturday, the Murder Weapon plays at the Myrtle Street Tavern, the Ale House String Band is at Rock City Coffee. Meanwhile, across the bay in the MDI/Ellsworth area, the weekend brings some great stuff: the Banff Film Festival screening at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth all weekend, Chris Ross and the North at Chummies, also in Ellsworth, on Friday night, and then the Ghost of Paul Revere at the Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor, and Greg Jamie at the Lompoc Cafe, also in Bar Harbor, both on Saturday night.
4. It’s Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, which means places wild and not so wild all over Maine will offer up hikes, snowshoes, skies, nature walks and other outdoorsy fun for all ages. Seriously — everything from snowman building and bonfires to cross country skiing and snowshoeing expeditions, now that we’ve finally gotten a bit of snow! Visit greatmaineoutdoorweekend.com to see what’s happening in your neck of the woods.
5. It’s once again Super Bowl weekend, so you know what that means. If you’re a football fan, you watch the game, root for your team — and here in New England, we know almost certainly who that’s gonna be — and just generally be a good sports fan on a day that’s really special for you. If you’re not a football fan, you eat lots of extremely rich food and laugh at the commercials and say things like “When’s halftime?” or “These wings are spicy!” or “Who’s that guy?” Take a wild guess at which category yours truly falls into. Go ahead. I’ll wait.