It’s been a magical summer, and we have no doubt all your remaining available moments over the next six weeks have been claimed—or at the very least bid for. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the most alluring, unmissable concerts, arts shows, dance parties, and dramatic spectacles that await us on this summer calendar. For this week’s goings-on, see “8 Days a Week”. For the rest of the summer, here are a selection of items remaining before the chill comes that you should squeeze in, no matter how quickly your calendar is filling up.
July 31-Aug 7
If it’s August already and you still haven’t gotten more than 10 minutes out of the city, you’re doing it wrong. There are certain destinations in Maine that Portlanders are more or less required to visit once per summer—Bar Harbor, Damariscotta, Belfast, even Old Orchard Beach. But it’s getting harder to skip over Denmark, especially while the Denmark Arts Center (think of it as that region’s SPACE Gallery) keeps growing the DAM JAM festival. This year’s event (on Aug 2) they’re offering a set by Montreal’s THEE SILVER MT. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA, the despairing, post-rock/chamber-doom outfit which emerged from members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor about a dozen or so years ago. A set from them on the fringes of Maine urban life seems like pull enough, yet those who make the trek will also be treated to West African drumming group AKWAABA ENSEMBLE, Portland pop troupe SUNSET HEARTS, outsider-folk experimentalists BUTCHER BOY, post-punk weirdos Deerhoof, and more. 4 pm at Denmark’s Bicentennial Park—low-mobility Portlanders can board the bus outside SPACE Gallery at 3 pm for a round-trip cost of $25. (Get there yourself and pay $14 at the gate.) Visit thedamjam.com for more info.
If the last few years of access to Netflix and a limitless archive of recorded music have saturated your tastes for entertainment media, you might consider turning toward the simpler times this weekend, letting the MAINE COMEDY FESTIVAL in pastoral Bethel take you back to the days where people entertained one another simply by lying, grossly contorting their faces, and making fun of the stupider things in the world. Now in its fourth year, the three-day event (July 31 through Aug 3) boasts 14 comics from near and far—Johnny Ater, Kate Ghiloni, Jeff Young, Bill Santiago, and many more. And they know well enough to bolster the program with additional perks like a golf tournament, spa offerings, and lavish dinners. Tickets for individual shows run around $20-25, while weekend passes—four shows worth of comedy—are a mere $40. Anything goes in Oxford county; odds are you’ll meet a weirdo just like yourself. Visit mainecomedyfest.com.
A SILVER MT. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA at Dam Jam in Denmark on Aug 2
He’s been at it a couple decades now, but Maine musician TOM KOVACEVIC (often known simply as Tom K.) may be in his finest hour. The multi-instrumentalist has been a fixture in bands Cerberus Shoal, Tarpigh, Olas, and Fire on Fire, each of whom did their part to push the scope of Maine music beyond the limits of easy comprehension. This summer, Kovacevic released a solo album of his own, the luminous and adventurous Universe Thin as Skin, a collection of outer-folk compositions Kovacevic wrote and performed on the oud, nay flute, and djembe and led by his earnest, ever-seeking voice. The man plays a record release show Aug 2 at Biddeford’s Oak and the Ax with contemporary songsmith MICAH BLUE SMALDONE, a former Portlander who has lately been honing his trenchant, long-form blues songs in northern Maine. A must for those who still believe folk music can be a conduit for human connection. 8 pm; $8.