1. My apologies for the lack of an update last week. I was kidnapped by the dastardly creature known as Too Many Things Going On and simply could not make my deadline. Fear not, however: I’m back! Friday night in Bangor brings a few fun entertainment options, like the monthly Bangor contradance at the UU Church, Allison Bankston and Hippie Soup at Nocturnem Drafthaus, and rockers the Lost Woods at Paddy Murphy’s. It’s also opening weekend for Penobscot Theatre Company’s big summer musical, “The Full Monty,” with shows Wednesdays-Sunday for the next MONTH! Full disclosure, my husband is in the show. On Saturday, musically speaking, take your pick from either Maine bluegrass with Joe K Walsh and Sweet Loam with Sassafras Stomp at 58 Main, the Junkyard Cats at Paddy’s, Adam Babcock at Nocturnem, or Dean Ford and the Keepsakes at the Downunder Club at Seasons. Also, at the Union Street Church, there’s the ninth annual punk fest, an all-day festival of punk bands from all over Maine and New England, with 17 bands playing in total between 2 and 10 p.m., a Pac-Man video game contest, and a number of in-house fundraisers for local causes, including two for Kathy Findlay, owner and den mother of longtime local all-ages venue The Kave in Bucksport, who is currently battling leukemia. This is a totally grassroots event that supports local bands and helps local people, and if you can’t tell, I’m pretty biased towards it being something you should support. On Sunday, the Waking Life, Constanza and Conflagration play at the Central Gallery.
2. On Friday night in Portland, there are a number of fun shows, like The Shins and Tennis at Thompson’s Point, guitarist Duke Robillard at One Longfellow Square, Tiger Bomb at 6 p.m. in Congress Square Park, Talking Heads tribute band Start Making Sense is at Port City Music Hall, and Diva Cup, Friend Roulette, Spirits Having Fun and Bright Boy at Oxbow Blending. It’s also the kickoff to Pride Weekend in Portland, with Friday night bringing a drag show featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Thorgy Thor and local queens like Step Mother and Cherry Lemonade at Portland House of Music, Xander Nelson, Ben Kilcollins and the Vargas Twins at Empire. There’s also another drag show at the Space Gallery, with performance artist Pepper Pepper. On Saturday, the Pride parade and festival are set for the morning and afternoon, and that evening, there’s the epic Pride Weekend dance party at Port City Music Hall. Also that night, there’s metal from Weedeater, Black Wizard, Serial Hawk and Sylvia at Space Gallery, and there’s Celtic duo Byrne and Kelly at One Longfellow Square.
3. How can it be that’s already time for Wine on the Waterfront and Tap Into Summer in the Bangor Waterfront? It is that time, however, so on Friday, wine lovers can get their fill with the Wine on the Waterfront event, set for 5:30 to 8 p.m., and then on Saturday, the Tap Into Summer beer fest, from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the gate. Also this weekend, the town of Orono hosts the annual Stillwater Artsapalooza, featuring countless local performers and artists in 15 venues across town — poetry readings at Nest coffee house, live theatre at Black Bear Brewery, music all over the place. For a full schedule, visit the Stillwater Community Arts website.
4. Further afield, there are a number of unique summer events set for this weekend. The Woodlawn Museum in Ellsworth hosts its annual croquet invitational, which technically started Thursday but runs through Sunday; to sign up to play, visit the Woodlawn website. In Rockland, the annual summer solstice party is set for Saturday — a few days before the actual solstice, but we ain’t judging — with food vendors, games and activities, and dancing, music on Main Street, which will be closed to vehicular traffic from 4-7 p.m. There’s an adults-only party at Journey’s End Marina from 6-10:30 p.m. as well. Finally, this weekend brings the Blistered Fingers Bluegrass Festival in Litchfield, with fabulous bluegrass bands like the Gibson Brothers, the Boxcars and many others, all weekend. For tickets and other info, visit blisteredfingers.com.
5. Finally, Sunday is shaping up to be a picture-perfect Maine day, with clear skies and temperatures 75 to 85, north to south. Sounds like a great day to get outdoors, huh? Personally, I suggest taking that day to drive north and experience — probably for the first time for most of you — our new Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Or, there are lots of nice hikes closer to home, wherever you might be, like Great Pond Mountain in Orland, Morse Mountain in Phippsburg, or anywhere else, really. The world’s your oyster.