1. Love is in air, is it not? Wait… do you smell that? That’s Taco Bell. That’s definitely Taco Bell. Who got Taco Bell, guys? That stuff hangs around like the last guest at a party. Well, if you’d rather get a whiff of the sweet smell of love this Valentine’s Day weekend, I suggest the following. The handsome lads of Rotating Taps (pictured) are playing at Paddy Murphy’s on Friday, while at Nocturnem Drafthaus, there’s the ribald sounds of the Bangtown Swingers, at the Big Easy the Blood Orange Martinis, and at Tantrum, a singles night dance party. On Saturday, there’s the reggae band Knotty Pine at Ipanema, songwriter Samantha Lynn at the Big Easy, maritime rockers the Galley Rats at Nocturnem, Tomorrow Morning at Paddy’s, and at 4Points in Winterport, there’s the Blueboy Revue with Mark Kanter. It’s also the final weekend of the hilarious Maine-based play “One Blue Tarp” at the Penobscot Theatre, and it’s weekend one of the beloved musical “Grease” at Hauck Auditorium on the UMaine campus in Orono.
2. For all you love machines in Portland, on Friday night you can take your pick of either funk band Model Airplane at Port City Music Hall, Lady Zen doing a night of Sade songs at Empire, the fantastic Portland singer-songwriters Samuel James and dilly dilly at One Longfellow Square, Holly Danger’s Saucy Burlesque and Puppet Show at Geno’s Rock Club (pictured), a V-day dance party with Mr. Dereloid and Popgirl 23 at Flask Lounge, and night one of two nights of “The Vagina Monologues” at Mayo Street Arts. On Saturday, enjoy a big night of electronic music at the State Theatre with Zed’s Dead, Paper Diamond, Loudpvck and Gent & Jawns, sensitive rockers Dustin Saucier and the Sad Bastards with Take This Car at Empire or guitarist Johnny A at One Longfellow. On Sundays, there’s the southern rock band Blackberry Smoke with the Mallett Brothers Band at the State Theatre, there’s Dr. John with Portland’s own Kenya Hall at the Asylum, and at Empire, classic album Sunday features one of my personal favorites, David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.”
3. For some V-Day canoodling on the coast, you can have a nice meal and dance with the Blue Sevilles on Friday at Sips in Southwest Harbor, you can hear some alternative folk with Dan Blakeslee and Jonah Tolchin at the Lompoc in Bar Harbor, some lightly country-fied rock with Chris Ross and Dom Colizzi at Chummies in Ellsworth, or across the bay, the Pitch Black Ribbons at Billy’s Tavern in Thomaston. On Saturday, there’s rockers the 220s at Joey’s Place in Southwest Harbor, there’s some beautiful Maine roots music with the Gawler Sisters (pictured) and Bennett Konesni at the Aarhus Gallery on Main Street, there’s Bill Barnes Jazz Trio at Rock City Coffee in Rockland, and there’s Matt and the Barnburners at the Myrtle Street Tavern, also in Rockland.
4. There’s still time to see Oscar-nominated movies in the theater, before the big day two weeks from now when the Academy Awards are actually broadcast. “American Hustle” and “August: Osage County” are both at Bangor Mall Cinemas, “Her,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Philomena” are at both Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville and the Nickelodeon in Portland; the Nick also has “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Nebraska” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Reel Pizza Cinerama in Bar Harbor has “Philomena” and foreign film nominee “The Great Beauty,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” also happens to be at the Strand Theatre in Rockland.
5. From the desk of one Ms. Aislinn Sarnacki comes this suggestions: If there’s one weekend this winter to get outside for an adventure, it’s this weekend of Feb. 14-16, the fifth semi-annual Great Maine Outdoor Weekend. More than 100 outdoor events are scheduled to be held throughout the state. Ice skating parties, owl watches, ice fishing derbies, full moon snowshoes, ski races, winter camping workshops and more will be open to the public, so families can get outside, try something new and “play local.” For a full listing of all events in your area, visit the event map on the website. There’s literally something for everyone.