1. Friday night in Bangor there’s an extra special night at Nocturnem Drafthaus in Bangor – it’ll be the first of their beer “competitions,” pitting Belgian breweries Chouffe and Ommegang against each other, with the soundtrack of the enchanting Stesha Cano; Saturday night, there’s Mark Miller. Meanwhile, Paddy Murphy’s hosts reggae band Knotty Pine on Friday and rockers Ranura on Saturday, while across the square at the Big Easy at the Charles Inn Larry and Leslie Latour are paired with David Meek. Up at Peakes Auditorium at Bangor High, Paul Sullivan joins the Midcoast Community Choir for a night of beautiful music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
2. Now this is what a fun weekend looks like! Portland’s got it going on, starting with Single Going Steady, ForMorning, Shashasha, and Forget, Forget at the Big Easy on Friday, followed by the rather odd triple bill of Murcielago, Educated Advocates and The Other Bones (pictured) on Saturday. At Empire, check out Normal Instruments and Alex Russo on Friday, then Endless Jags, The RattleSnakes, Contrapposto and DJ Erik Smith on Saturday. Yet another jam packed weekend is set for Geno’s, with Joint Collision, Low 90, and Danger, I Reckon on Friday and then Sunrunner, Atlatl and Apocryphonic on Saturday. In fact, Friday is almost cruelly packed, as there’s also Suitcase Junket, Rusty Belle, Jesse Pilgrim at Oak and the Ax in Biddeford, and the “Debtors Ball,” benefiting general medical debt relief, featuring Awaas, The Last Sip and DJ Heidi Powell at Space Gallery. Finally, Friday also brings Deltah, Crunk Witch and Hi Tiger at Slainte, followed by The Woulds, Archon and Big Charlie’s Rubber Band. Saturday also brings Too Late the Hero and Absence of the Sun at Port City Music Hall. I need a nap.
3. For the fifth year in a row, the Trekkers – a youth group in Knox County – hosts Trekkapalooza, a fundraiser that showcases local bands. This year’s event, set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Strand Theatre in Rockland, features rockabilly band the Murder Weapon (pictured), pop rock band the Just Teachers, Afro-pop group Djump Djump, folk rockers the Educators, power trio Pig Knuckle, and eclectic pop band Indoblue. Tickets are $15 at the door. Also in Rockland that night is the Nikki Hunt Band at the Myrtle Street Tavern, while acorss the bay at Chummies in Ellsworth check out Livewire on Friday and the Worthy Bones on Saturday. Finally, check out rockabilly band the Crown Vics at Mainely Meat Barbecue in Ellsworth on Saturday night.
4. College Week concludes at Sugarloaf, so students, get your slope time in ASAP! Afterwards, check out the Gravel Project at the Widowmaker Lounge on both Friday and Saturday, and at the Rack in Newry enjoy North of Nashville on Friday and the Jeff Merrow Band on Saturday. Over at Sunday River it’s also College Week, and again, it concludes on Friday, so after all that fun is over you can enjoy Rustic Overtones at the Foggy Goggle on Saturday; there’s also funk masters Sky-Chi at the Phoenix, off mountain in Bethel.
5. Oscar noms were announced this week, and as usual, I have seen a grand total of one of the films nominated for Best Picture (“Django Unchained,” which was awesome). So, the coming weeks behooves me and perhaps you to see more of the big movies this year. Where can you go? Well, “Life of Pi” is still playing at Movie Magic in Bangor. “Django” is still at most multiplexes, along with “Les Miserables” and “Lincoln,” and opening this week nationwide is “Zero Dark Thirty.” ”Silver Linings Playbook” opens this week at both Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville and the Nickelodeon in Portland, and at beloved small moviehouses statewide you can see “Les Miserables” and “Lincoln” at the Colonial in Belfast, “Lincoln” at the Alamo in Bucksport, and “The Sessions” – for which Helen Hunt was nominated for Best Supporting – is at Reel Pizza in Bar Harbor, where on Tuesday “A Royal Affair,” nominated for Best Foreign Film, will also open. “Amour” isn’t playing anywhere in the state, and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is on Amazon streaming and in video stores. OR, you could go to the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth, where the first of the Maine Mini Film Fest Screenings is set for Saturday, featuring two films about real Maine things: “Downeast,” about the story of Stinson Seafood’s closing (pictured above) as the last remaining sardine cannery in the United States, set for 2 p.m., and “Hardwater,” about Maine’s ice-fishing industry, set for 7 p.m. It’s $10 for both screenings, and it’s well worth attending.