LASTING ACHIEVEMENT | There’s just simply not a ton of chances left in this life to see an authentic ‘60s soul singer from the deep south. But we’ve got one here. Betty Harris, who produced three Billboard R&B hits in the songs “Cry to Me” (1963), “His Kiss” (1964), and “Nearer to You” (1967), has made indelible contributions to the genre, and appears tonight in little old Portland. The label Soul Jazz compiled a collection of Harris’s work last summer, titled Betty Harris: The Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul. We should be honored. | $25 | 8 p.m. | Portland House of Music and Events, 25 Temple St., Portland | http://www.portlandhouseofmusic.com
SICC | Listen, brah, the psychedelic, post-prog, and frankly kinda goofy electronic fusion act Supersillyus hits up Empire tonight, totally tweaked on its new album Charade. If you appreciate the like, sonic journeys of Tool and the mind-trapezoids of artists like Squarepusher, you might as well take a dip. | $20 | 8 p.m. | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland |
TRANSFERENCE | We don’t exactly know how a festival that literally celebrates men’s facial hair made it 10 years. But that’s because the person writing this is of mostly Irish-German descent and can’t grow anything on his upper lip fluffier than a penguin’s pubis. Several men (and non-men) compete for affections and attentions at the 10th Annual Stache Pag tonight, in a program that allows for probably as much public ogling at his natural endowments as a dude could reasonably hope for. No shame in that! Tonight’s program is broken into three parts. One is Facial Hair-aoke. Two is the Stache Pag Kung Fu Challenge. And the third is the Rapid Fire 5-Second Statue. Winners in several categories will be chosen from among the 15 contestants, and it seems there’s still time to join. | $25 to be a contestant; $10 to attend | 7:30 p.m. | Portland House of Music and Events, 25 Temple St., Portland | https://stachepag.wordpress.com
KEEP PUSHING | Last weekend, Maine Senator Susan Collins made a public statement that Donald Trump “owes us” an explanation for his claims that he was wiretapped by the Obama administration, which were roundly debunked by the FBI and the justice department. That made national news — though she did stop short of saying he should apologize, even though everyone in the world knows the dude made it up. She means Trump should provide “the basis for his assertion” — evidence, essentially — if she expects people to believe him. On the one hand, it kind of sounds like she’s enabling him to save face. On the other, it’s arguably more critical of Trump than any other GOP member of Congress has been. Is she responding to pressure from her constituency? Maybe. Regardless, you can take the opportunity to attend a “Senator Collins Drop-In” hosted by the upstart group Mainers for Accountable Leadership today, when they meet at (or outside) Collins’ Portland office. | FREE | 1 p.m. | 1 City Center, Portland
MORNING SWEETNESS | The folk holidays, you’ve got to love them. Could be it’s the so-called ides of spring that gets Mainers jacked on Maine Maple Weekend. Perhaps it’s the fact it’s the cultural antithesis of St. Patrick’s Day, ergo wholesome folksy types hope that shepherding their kids to local farms will atone for any foamy binge-drinking the week prior. Maybe it’s a tip of the cap to pancakes, which powered many of us through the cold, cruel-ass winter. No way to know. But what we’ve observed is that Mainers rally around sap season like they’re on some ancestral plane otherwise invisible to them other months. If you wish to eat syrup among them, as them, here’s what to do: Go to Chase Farms in Wells (1488 N Berwick Road), where you can play with your phone in the back of a horse-drawn wagon, or an orderly can paint maple leaves on your face. Or go to Merrifield Farm in Gorham (195 North Gorham Road), where you can nibble on maple-smoked cheese and a real-life blacksmith will help you recall that Game of Thrones Season 7 is nearly here. Or drive to Hilltop Boilers in Newfield (157 Elm St.) and play the simple yet rewarding game they call “Name the Calf”. Of course, all these locales have maple candies and tasty treats to share and sell, and the post-transactional glow you’ll get here is one of the best in the state.
LITTLE JENIUSES | We live in an era where the President misspells the word “rediculous,” the state department releases official documents identifying “attakers” from around the globe, and even the tightest prescriptivists among us have taken to texting “u awake?” instead of typing the whole pronoun out. So why do we still have Spelling Bees? Because, for one reason anyway, they’re weirdly exciting to watch. See what we mean today at the Maine State Spelling Bee, with contestants in the fifth through eighth grades battling it out for participation at the state level. | FREE | 2-5 p.m. | Hannaford Hall, University of Southern Maine, Portland
AUTH BRUNCH | Returning now to the subject of the maples, the thing to do this a.m. is wake unreasonably early and drive the hour or so to Turner, where you can go to the Nezinscot Farm Store Sunday morning and order the “maple sampler” on their Maple Sunday brunch menu. That includes, in their words: “pancake, French toast, crepe, croissant, sausage, bacon, and granola.” A little light on the eggums for our tastes, but it’ll do. | $15 if you order that brunch mentioned above | 10 a.m.-3 p.m. | Nezinscot Farm Store, 284 Turner Ctr Rd, Turner |
CREATIVE FEEDBACK | The Theater Ensemble of Color produced a smashing debut performance titled “The Others in January”, which focused on the running theme of other-ness in Shakespeare villains. If you caught that, you’ll want to poke in on their March Community Showcase, a collection of original works produced by individuals within the company, open for peer review. This month’s work is from the talented playwright and performer Joshua Hughes. The Theater Ensemble of Color, and its corresponding movement, is one of the highlights of the Portland theater scene right now. And incidentally, a finalist for this paper’s Best Theater Organization category. | $5 suggested donation | noon-2 p.m. | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland | www.mayostreetarts.org
THE PROMISED LAND | Don’t tell us roller-skating to classic metal isn’t something you’ve fantasized about since the time of the ancients. Because, friendly one, that time has arrived. A clutch of local musicians and metal dogs have grown up and befriended those within the circles of power — aka people who do programming at the skating rink — and manifested this bewitching night, where the children within us can become born again, summoning the gods and demons of the wheel while aural hellfire clashes overhead. If that isn't clear, come to Happy Wheels and skate to metal songs, tonight only. Savage. | $8 | 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Happy Wheels, 331 Warren Ave., Portland | www.happywheelsme.com
HEALTH CARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT | Trump’s proposed health care bill is not good. If passed, it will insure 24 million fewer Americans, while transferring costs onto the elderly and sick. It would remove federal standards for coverage and leave that definition up to the states, and employers would have less incentive to offer health care coverage to workers. And Mainers, it was reported by the Press Herald, would be hit even harder, as Republicans would no longer adjust the size of insurance tax credits by region, and Governor LePage has proposed to cut 20,000 additional people from MaineCare. Organizing around this issue, one that endangers so many Americans regardless of their politics, is proving to be key to resisting Trump. And the Southern Maine Workers’ Center, diligently working on this issue and others for years, is the place to start. They host a People’s Forum on Health Care at the First Parish Church this evening, where citizens can share their health care stories with invited representatives from state and city government. | FREE | 6 p.m. | First Parish Church, 425 Congress St., Portland | http://www.maineworkers.org
STORY SHARE | The nationally recognized Young Writers and Leaders program of the youth literacy organization The Telling Room is ready for another showcase. Portland and South Portland high school students from around the globe have been hard at work writing original pieces with local mentors, and the fruits of their labors are collected in a showcase this week. What to expect: “You’ll hear stories of a 10-year-old girl living in Iraq who becomes determined to master Tae Kwon Do; a fight that breaks out at a refugee camp when a young boy tells his friends that he’s leaving Kenya for the U.S.; and the story of a young Syrian boy fostering three snails after accidentally stepping on their mother.” | FREE | 4-6 p.m. | Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Sq., Portland |
FEELING IT | Heard of, Waxahatchee? It’s the performance vehicle of Alabama recording artist Katie Crutchfield, whom I suppose you wouldn’t otherwise know (making this a riddle). But if you don’t, you easily could. Crutchfield’s songs infuse personal integrity, honesty, and intimacy into the same fuzzy highs as late ’90s indie-rock bands like Built to Spill. Her songs, like those on 2015’s Ivy Tripp, are instantly resonant, and she keeps a pretty relentless touring schedule. Adds up to an evening where you’re in capable hands. Additional appearances from L.A.-based harpist Mary Lattimore and songwriter Kevin Morby, the latter of whom plays some songs along with Crutchfield. Recommended. | $16-18 | 8 p.m. | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | www.portcitymusichall.com
SKATING AWAY | It’s a sad thing when bands who have been around for decades split up and don’t talk to each other anymore. That’s true of the amazing pop band New Order, whose principle members Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook have been deadlocked in litigation and character-smearing for a few years now. Things aren’t quite that bad with Ian Anderson and Martin Barre, the main dudes from legendary classic rock band Jethro Tull, but a rift is a rift, and it’s arguably even stranger when it’s between people in their seventies. Tull — that’s right, the band with the flute — evolved from a baroque and peculiar British folk act to an adventurous prog group that wrote rock-operas to an eclectic hard-rock band inspired by the American blues, encompassing dozens of albums over 43 years. But lead guitarist Martin Barre, writing and releasing solo albums since 2011, is more excited than ever (read my interview with him on page 18). He plays at One Longfellow Square Tuesday and Wednesday, the first acoustic and the second electric. | $40 | 8 p.m. | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | www.onelongfellowsquare.com
PATCH THAT | Next week, it’s time for Lez Zeppelin, probably the best-named tribute band in the business, who prove that the pioneering U.K. rock band can be decoupled from its maleness (that’s at Port City Music Hall, $18-20). Or if you’re feeling a little less outrageous, start spring cleaning season early with an event in Bayside, where the Resilience Hub and Maine Tool Library host a repair café, a hangout where volunteer workers (including you) help fix broken tools and jewelry, patch up sweaters and socks, and frayed electric cords. | 6 p.m. | Resilience Hub, 224 Anderson St., Portland | resiliencehub.org
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