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We'll help you plan your best summer yet with our annual roundup of can't miss events! Plus we've got a Face the Music interview with vocal powerhouse Josh Groban who is performing in Portland on 6/24. And as always, we'll help you have a terrific weekend with our hand-picked selection of events. Have fun out there!
Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at MaineToday.com and a music writer for MaineToday.com and the Portland Press Herald.
She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at Mainetoday.com. You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk about...music of course.
String quartet, spring and film fests, comedy, chocolate and Shakespeare: 12 things to do in Maine this weekend
Written by: Aimsel Ponti
Wu Man with Shanghai String Quartet
7:30 p.m. Thursday. Hannaford Hall at the Abromson Community Education Center, USM, 96 Bedford St., Portland, $49. porttix.com She's a virtuoso on the pipa, a four-stringed Chinese instrument and a founding member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project. Don't miss Wu Man joined by the Shanghai Quartet, a world-renowned chamber music ensemble in their performance, "A Night in Ancient and New China." Courtesy photo
Reel Paddling Film Fest
7 p.m. Thursday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland, $12 in advance, $15 day of show, $5 students. onelongfellowsquare.com The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is teaming up with Northwest River Supply and Maine Island Trail Association to present the 2016 Reel Padding Film Festival that
screens the best of the best in paddling films. The festival includes adventure, travel and documentary films with incredible outdoor scenery from around the world showcasing
canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle-boarding and kayak fishing. Shutterstock image
All day Saturday and Sunday. Sunday River, 15 South Ridge Road, Newry. sundayriver.com Want to experience music, food and merriment all with a tropical guide? Head to Sunday River for the annual Spring Festival with music from the Maine Marimba Ensemble, PanNeubean Steel and The Boat Drunks. Events include the mechanical surfboard, key lime pie eating contest, slip and flip competition, margarita mix-off, eat
the heat chili cook-off and the fire-fighter's race. Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer
8 p.m. Friday. Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland, $45, $51.porttix.com They've been putting the "mock" in democracy for 35 years and always keep their shows fresh and current. Capitol Steps specialize in political parody and their musical
numbers include "Sixteen Times (and the Clintons are Broke)," "If There Were No Rich Men," "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Scalia?" and "Jeb Is Ready, He's My Brother" among
other zingers. Expect modern day politics to be skewered in the funniest way possible. Courtesy photo
Chocolate Lovers’ Fling
1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks, 200 Sable Oaks Drive, South Portland, $50. chocolateloversfling.org Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine invites you - and your sweet tooth - to the 30th annual Chocolate Lovers Fling. Table service features multiple
courses of chocolate tasting from 16 chocolatiers from York and Cumberland counties. You'll be called upon to help judge in the People's Choice Award competition and will
receive expert guidance in chocolate appreciation. There will also be a sensational silent auction that includes jewelry, art, getaways and chocolate. Shutterstock
7:30 p.m. Friday. Franco Center, 46 Cedar St., Lewiston, $12. francocenter.org Catch a Maine-based comedy troupe that loves the art of improvisation. Mainely Improv's "On the Spot Comedy" has been at it for more than 20 years so they know a thing or two about making people laugh. Their specialty is making up comic situations based on audience suggestions which means no two shows are alike and its anyone guess as to what will happen. But laughter is in the cards for sure. Courtesy photo
‘Drunks and Fools’
7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Ballroom at Mechanics Hall, 519 Congress St., Portland, $10. acorn-productions.org Naked Shakespeare presents monologues and scenes from a cast of miscreants and ne-er-do-wells as they recreate the old Wine Bar on Wharf street. The mission of Naked
Shakespeare is to allow actors and audiences to experience the power of Shakespeare's language and imagery through listening and speaking of the text in non-traditional venues
and without sets, lights or costumes which allows audience members imagination to take center stage. Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer
Mudboots & Blacktie Gala
5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Hyde School Dining Hall, 161 High St., Bath, $50. chocolatechurcharts.org Enjoy a catered dinner and desserts from Mae's Cafe and dancing to the music by The Hollowbody Electric Band during the Chocolate Church Arts Center biannual fund-raiser gala. Semi-formal attire is encouraged, including creative footwear to suit mud season. The event also features a cash-bar and silent auction. Courtesy photo
Spot a Woodcock
6 p.m. Saturday. Purinton Homestead and Preserve, 50 West Road, Bowdoin, free.
5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Hyde School Dining Hall, 161 High St., Bath, $50. androscogginlandtrust.org/event/observe-woodcock Want your Saturday to go to the birds? The Androscoggin Land Trust invites you to a walk where you'll hopefully spot and listen to the American woodcock. The male
woodcock is known for their unique mating ritual during twilight hours so you'll keep your eyes and ears peeled for them as well as barred owls. Bird enthusiast Dana
Littlewill lead the walk. Courtesy photo
Third Annual Black Cat Coffee Peep Show
2 p.m. Saturday. Black Cat Coffee, 463 Stevens Ave., Portland.
5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Hyde School Dining Hall, 161 High St., Bath, $50. facebook.com/maineblackcat For those of you who view marshmallow Peeps as an art medium rather than something to actually eat, we've got just the thing for you. Head to Black Cat Coffee for
their third annual Peep Show where you'll view entries by community members who have used marshmallow Peeps to construct dioramas. They're competing for gift certificates –
and bragging rights. Last year there were more than two dozen entries. Courtesy photo
Hot Country Nights
7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Crooker Theater, Brunswick High School, 116 Maquoit Road, Brunswick, $10, $5 students. 576-4284
You have two chances for a fun night out to see a musical revue and comedy show in the style of "Hee Haw." Expect plenty of laughter, foot-stomping and all-around
merriment in the form of classic and modern country music interspersed with jokes and stories. Courtesy photo
'Twelve O'Clock High'
2 p.m. Sunday. Dunaway Center, 23 School St., Ogunquit, free.
ogunquitperformingarts.org The Ogunquit Performing Arts' Classical Film series continues with a screening of the 1949 classic "Twelve O'Clock High." It's an American war film starring Gregory Peck, Dean Jagger, Gary Merrill, High Marlowe and Millard Mitchell. The film depicts air crews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France and it features actual war footage of attacking fighter planes. The film, parking and even the popcorn are entirely free. Courtesy photo