My total irritation with the contemporary practice of naming big snowstorms (Orson? Niko? Give me a frickin’ break) notwithstanding, holy moly, this week was a doozy. There’s an eight-foot snowbank in my neighbor’s front yard. I almost lost my dog in a drift Monday night. And then, after planning around the additional foot of snow we were supposed to get Wednesday night, it hardly even happened up here in Bangor. Ah, winter. Embrace the insanity.
1. Now that we can move onto proper digging out and full mobility on currently-terrifying streets and sidewalks, what’s good in the ‘hood in Bangor this weekend? Friday night, August West and friends take the stage at Paddy Murphy’s, Allison Bankston performs at Nocturnem Drafthaus, Meghan Clark is at the Sea Dog, there’s the monthly Bangor Contra Dance at 8 p.m. at the UU Church, and up in Orono, Common Crossing is at Woodman’s, rockers Stone Free are at Black Bear Brewing Company, and in Winterport, Hal Meyers plays the banjo at the Bacon Tree. On Saturday, 58 Main hosts the Canadian trad band the East Pointers, Central Gallery showcases songwriting duo the DuPont Brothers, the band Fire & Ice is at Paddy’s, the River Drivers are at Nocturnem, the Tyler Healy Band is at the Sea Dog, and in Brewer, the Skyliners Big Band swings the night away at the Next Generation Theatre. It’s also the final weekend of “Lumberjacks in Love” at the Penobscot Theatre, so get those tickets now before they sell out!
2. Portland this weekend shines a light on a bunch of great local bands, at venues all over town. Friday night brings three Portland area bands, Leverett, Crystal Canyons and Valuables, at Empire; there’s also the East Pointers at One Longfellow Square, jam bands Shut Down Brown and Skosh at Portland House of Music, and the super sold-out Lake Street Dive show at the State Theatre. On Saturday, Empire hosts a memorial show for the late Portland musician John Vavra, also a fundraiser for Milestone Detox facility, featuring the bands When Particles Collide, Cape Cannons, Worried Well, City Streets Country Roads and Vavra’s bandmates in Volcano Rabbit; there’s also the Bruce Springsteen cover band Bruce in the USA at Port City Music Hall, songwriters Wrabel and Jesse Ruben are at One Longfellow Square, the Outsides, Pete Witham and Bart Joy are at Bayside Bowl, and Sassquatch, Monarch Lisa and Miss Fairchild at Portland House of Music. On Sunday, there’s the much-anticipated show from rapper Milo with guest Elucid at the Space Gallery.
3. Dancing is on the menu for several different events this weekend. First off, Friday brings two contradances in Maine’s two major urban areas: the Portland Intown Contradance is at 7 p.m. at the State Street Church, and the Bangor Contradance is at 8 p.m. at the UU Church; check deffa.org for admission costs and musical lineups. Saturday brings UMaine’s always popular International Dance Showcase at the Collins Center in Orono at 2 and 7 p.m.; I wrote a story about it earlier this week, and there’s a super fun party at the Bear Brew after the 7 p.m. show.
4. The Oscars are next weekend, and there’s a good chance you’re still behind on seeing what’s new and nominated this year. There are still plenty of films in theaters, with “Hidden Figures” and “La La Land” both at Bangor Mall Cinemas, “Hidden Figures” held over at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast, and “Lion” and Best Foreign Film nominee “Toni Erdmann” both at Railroad Square in Waterville. There’s also a bunch now streaming on various platforms, including films like “Arrival,” “Hell or High Water,” “Captain Fantastic,” “13th,” “OJ: Made in America,” “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Florence Foster Jenkins” and many more, all on Amazon and elsewhere.
5. Finally, after this week’s insane snowfall, this might be best weekend in years to ski in Maine. 62 inches in western Maine! Holy crap! Wherever you like to hit the slopes, whether you’re a snowboarder or skiier (or a snowshoer or snowmobiler), this is the time you take advantage of. Go forth and be fast. Enjoy!