1. In Bangor on Friday, the Norumbega Collective hosts writers Noy Holland and Nat Baldwin for a reading 7 p.m. at 58 Main; improv troupe The Focus Group is at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, rockers the Scolded Dogs at at Paddy Murphy’s , it’s vinyl night at Nocturnem, and guitarist Rob Benton is at the Sea Dog. It’s also night one of two nights of dueling pianos at the Downunder Club at Seasons, and up in Orono, singer Stesha Cano is at Black Bear Brewing. On Saturday, it’s another vinyl night at Mason’s Brewing Company in Brewer, there’s the folk trio Happy Folk at Nocturnem, reggae band Revibe is at Paddy Murphy’s, and the Skyliners Big Band is at Next Generation Theatre in Brewer. Up in Old Town, local rockers Wait, the Cards and Bad Island are at the Boomhouse, and in Hampden, Hampden House Concerts organization hosts Swedish singer-songwriter Sofia Talvik at 7:30; call 433-0745 for reservations. And don’t forget, it’s UMaine Pride Week, and the annual drag show, this year featuring Cherry Lemonade and Step Mother, is set for 8 p.m. Saturday at Hauck Auditorium on the UMaine campus.
2. Friday night, Maine rock icons Rustic Overtones play night one of two nights at Portland House of Music. Also that night, rapper Wacka Flocka Flame and DJ Whoo Kid are at the State Theatre, there’s some improv comedy with Self IMPROVment and Queen City Improv at Mayo Street Arts, and there’s some local experimental music with IDM Theft able, Timeghost, Craow and Missdick Fibrocis and Foul Territory at Geno’s Rock Club. On Saturday, Thriftworks, God.Damn.Chan and Payam Imani are set for Port City Music Hall, there’s a record release party for Xander Nelson with guests Covered in Bees and Love to Burn at Empire, Haitian music ensemble Lakou Mizik is at the Space Gallery, and Celtic band Ten Strings and Goat Skin is at One Longfellow Square. On Sunday, The Minimalists tour — you know, those guys from the Netflix documentary? — are at Port City Music Hall.
3. Rockland is a great place to be Friday night. Why’s that? Because it’s spring, almost everything is now open, and it’s the Midcoast. It’s great. On Friday night, take your pick from Haitian music ensemble Lakou Mizik at the Strand Theatre, guitarist Tom Albury at Rock City Coffee, or singer-guitarist Adam Babcock at Rock Harbor Brewing. On Saturday, up in Belfast, the Mondaynight Jazz Orchestra plays at 2 p.m. at the Belfast Boathouse; later that night, The Shizzle is at the Myrtle Street Tavern in Rockland, and Hurry Down Sunshine is at Rock City Coffee.
4. It’s Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race weekend! There’s no surer sign of spring than that. What are your favorite rituals for this yearly tradition? Do you like to gather on one of the bridges in downtown to watch the paddlers come in? Do you have a friend with a house on the stream that has a watch party? Or do you perch on the streambank and cheer folks on? Or, maybe you’re actually in the race — which is shaping up to be a corker this year, with high water levels and pleasant weather predicted. Have fun!
5. Speaking of pleasant weather — what are your favorite outdoor spring activities? I’m a fan of the long drive around the country with the windows down, or the long walk around the neighborhood in your shirtsleeves, because 60 degrees in April is a heat wave (60 degrees in September is a cold snap). What do you plan to do this weekend to celebrate?