Note: Starting this week, my weekly 5 Things To Do This Weekend post will undergo a tiny little rebrand. It’ll now be known as The Weekender. It’ll contain the same mix of cool stuff to do, from Bangor to Portland, as you’ve been used to all these years. That’s all. Carry on!
1. This weekend in Bangor, on Friday night The Focus Group, a local improv troupe, performs at 8 p.m. at the Bangor Arts Exchange; there’s also They Called Me Legion, Holy Filth, Superstition and Mannequin Republic at Coespace, vinyl night at Nocturnem Drafthaus, rockers Analog Salad at Paddy Murphy’s, the Ryan Carter Band at the Sea Dog, and a CD release party for Riff Johnson at the Downunder Club. In Orono, Phosphenes is at Woodman’s, and the OGs are at Black Bear Brewing. On Saturday, Central Maine Roller Derby takes on Quebecois team Les Buches at 6 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center, while later that night, there’s Paranoid Social Club and Skyfoot at the Bangor Arts Exchange, there’s Dave Mello at Nocturnem, and in Orono, there’s the monthly contra dance at 7 p.m. at the Keith Anderson Community Center, and comedian Bob Marley performs at 8 p.m. at the Collins Center for the Arts. And don’t forget — Penobscot Theatre Company’s production of Stephen King’s “Misery” opens this weekend, with performances at 7 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
2. Lots to see and do this weekend in Portland. There are two very cool film festivals set for Friday night: “Damnationland,” a yearly anthology of Maine horror films, screens at 7:45 p.m. at the State Theatre, while the touring Found Footage Festival screens at 6:45 and 9:30 p.m. at the Space Gallery. Also on Friday night, there’s Blue October and The Score at Aura, Jay Bragg and the Tricky Britches at Portland House of Music, Royal Hammer at Empire, Crunk Witch, Human Speakers and Stay on Mars at Bayside Bowl, and Sam Amidon and Max Garcia Conover at One Longfellow Square. There’s also night one of two nights of Into the Aether, a two-day festival of regional metal bands — first at Geno’s, and then on Saturday at Space Gallery. Saturday, dayside, Maine Roller Derby hosts its annual Wicked vs. Good doubleheader, starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Portland Expo. On Saturday night, there’s even more to choose from, including The Weeks and Dan Luke and the Raid at Port City Music Hall; Gary Allan and Mitchell Tenpenny at Aura; Hayley Thompson King and Joel Thetford at Bayside Bowl; Primo Cubano at Portland House of Music; Mayday, The Late Ones, Inner Family Legacy and Northern Lights Nation at Empire; Patty Larkin at One Longfellow; and the Gamma Goochies, Kermit’s Finger and the Aquanauts at Geno’s. On Sunday, Theory of a Deadman is at Aura, Dynamo is at Portland House of Music, and Chris Barron and Will Bradford are at One Longfellow.
3. On the Midcoast, on Friday night there are two pretty nifty shows at two lovely venues: songwriter Seth Glier at the Strand Theatre in Rockland, and the Sultans of String at the Camden Opera House. On Saturday, there’s the 10 Years of Beer festival at Three Tides and Marshall Wharf Brewing in Belfast, with musical guests the Fremont Street String Band. There’s also Vicky Andres and Life Itself, Sugarbush and Random Ideas at the Crosby Center, also in Belfast; it’s comedy night with Ian Stuart and friends at Thresher’s Brewing in Searsmont, and in Rockland, there’s Will Brown and David Foley at Rock City Coffee, and Living Room Circus at the Myrtle Street Tavern.
4. Heading back to Bangor, this weekend, the Bangor Book Festival is set for Friday night and all day Saturday. It kicks off Friday with screening of “I Know A Man… Ashley Bryan” at 7:30 p.m. at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University. On Saturday, it takes over the Bangor Public Library, with talks and workshops with folks including our own Aislinn Sarnacki (10 a.m.), Gillian French, Matt Tavares, Bill Roorbach and many more. Best of all? The whole thing is free. For a full schedule of all events, visit bangorbookfest.org.
5. And finally, we arrive at cheese. Cheese! Who doesn’t love cheese, aside from the lactose intolerant and vegan? Celebrate the most magical of dairy products this Sunday with the Maine Cheese Festival, set 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Savage Oakes Winery in Union. 25 Maine creameries, 11 other vendors and food producers, food trucks, live music, and workshops and demonstrations. Admission is $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Mmmm. Cheese.