GIVE LOVE | It's 4/20, which is of course the day we celebrate the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which enabled the POTUS to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to white supremacist groups like the KKK. Great work! (The POTUS at that time was the magnanimous Ulysses S. Grant, who was actually born Hiram Ulysses Grant but was so embarrassed by his initials -- 'HUG' -- that he initiated a change. Not slinging shit at Ulysses here, but imagine being so embarrassed by a hug!) It's also the opening salvos of summer, which means that the themes and actions that arise in these times will be revisited throughout the next six months, like a coda of a great novel. A fine trove of possible plots will present themselves at Bunker Brewing Company today, where from the mid-afternoon (shortly after the hour of 4 pm, let's say), a group of capable and studied reggae DJs will begin to set the mood, and carry it until the very late hours. Hit the "Exxxxxtra Long Libbytown Getdown" at this brewery to feel these vibes, with sets by DJs Hi Duke, RTS, Red I, and Will Power.
| FREE | 4:20 pm | Bunker Brewing Company, 17 Westfield St., Portland | http://bunkerbrewingco.com/
The Detroit-based Wolf Eyes.
CASUAL NOISE | 'Tis a strange, paradoxical condition to play in the most popular noise act in the world. But alas, the Detroit-based Wolf Eyes have made a case for it in the 20 years since they first splattered onto a demo cassette. A casual glance at Discogs (the indispensable website) tells us that the project has been good for 289 distinct releases in that time (a figure that includes compilation appearances, but still nutty). This humble writer can't claim to have heard more than 1 percent of those, tops, but can attest that the still-decent number he has heard registers a different note of glorious unlistenability and admirable dedication to creating a world that doesn't otherwise exist unless brought violently into being. It's good work. Their new long-player, Undertow, is far from the harshest thing they've ever done. Indeed, it's almost meditative at times. But showgoers should still expect the harsh thrall of the void to encompass them tonight, as original founder Nate Young and the rest return to SPACE tonight after a 10-year gap. With the complex post-rock group Wei Zhongle (Mainers) and Lingua Ignota, from Providence.
| $10 adv, $12 day of | 8:30 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | http://www.space538.org/
WORDS THAT MOVE | April, of course, is National Poetry Month. But that hasn't stopped people everywhere from reading novels, essays, memoirs, lists, tweets, religious texts, horoscopes, signage, sexts, cocktail menus, you name it! It's in the spirit of this brave cultural defiance that we welcome tonight's release-party for Nat Baldwin, the fiction writer and musician whose new and first collection of short stories, The Red Barn (Calamari Press), has received praise for being visceral and meaty, blistered by the conveyance of abstract horror. The Red Barn receives a singular, possibly spectacular, treatment at SPACE Gallery tonight, accompanied by a retinue of artists and musicians (the likes of Kafari, Lisa/Liza, Rare Storms, and more). Proceeds benefiting 350 Maine and the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP).
| FREE | 7 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | http://www.space538.org/
GOING DARK | The way I see it, there are two types of music in this world. There's the kind that brings people together, and there's the kind that people listen to when there's no one else around. It's the latter that makes for some odd showcases, because those showcases inevitably bring those folks together, the already-delicate balance falls apart, and the world wobbles on its axis. Tonight's affair at Geno's is the week's ripest example of this, bringing Portland's Cuse Me, a group that takes noise, free jazz, drone, and thrash elements, to play with the gorgeous and restrained minimalist synthwave of Cedar Cowart's Black Mica, which sounds like early Jean-Michel Jarre filtered through a moody, post-punk gate. Joining them way off are the Icelanders ROHT, whose music restores the d-beat to isolationist noise. (It's like it never left!) All of these make Peru's Hopeless Losers sound relatively by-the-book, but it's good to have something to wash the tough bits down. As if handling more were possible, a screening of David Cronenberg's 1983 cult hit Videodrome opens the night at 7. Fun night, particularly if you hate most types of fun.
| $7 | 7 pm | Geno's Rock Club, 625 Congress St., Portland | https://www.facebook.com/events/1702487960042398/
A film still from "Things to Come."
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE | On the surface, this season bids us welcome to warm and thickening air, to 4/20 thrillz, to budding tulips and the too-early temptations of nightswims. But beneath all that is the inarguable truism that April is a time of upheaval and sweeping fundamental change. This may manifest in several ways. Perhaps it's time to throw that old weird Ottoman away? Time to draft a cover letter to the human resources department at Staples? To think critically about whether you nailed last year's holiday presents for your family or if, humbly, there's room for improvement there? We often need help with initiating and processing change, and while shame can be a popular currency, it's not going to help much here. Friends, lovers, and family can help with changes like these, but also select cultural events and products like film, which has long been a preferred medium for empathy and reflection. Tonight's, at the Portland Museum of Art, is an example of that. The German film Things to Come, by Mia Hansen-Løve, tells the story of middle-aged Nathalie as she juggles life and career after receiving an out-of-nowhere bombshell that her husband of 25 years has decided to leave her. A bit of a downer, surely, but as Rumi once put it in this remarkably chill quote, "the wound is the place where the light enters you." Screening tonight at 6:30 and Saturday and Sunday at 2. | $8 | 6:30 pm | Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Sq., Portland | https://www.portlandmuseum.org/
TOMORROW'S IDEAS | It's a huge night for Kesho Wazo, the multi-dimensional youth-led arts group launched by a cluster of students and King Fellows last summer. Given the full capacities of SPACE Gallery tonight to conduct and present their ambitious, exuberant suite of productions and art forms (many of which are still finding form), the young collective plan to share film, fashion line, and a participatory ideational process. Strong suggestion you pop in.
| $10 | 8:30 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | www.space538.org
DIRTY TALK | In a Trump era, it's with considerable chagrin that we attempt to observe Earth Day. Historically a day nearly 200 countries worldwide set aside to advance climate literacy and build solidarity around sustainability issues, climate justice, and reducing pollution, Earth Day 2017 kind of feels like it's arriving with a fair amount of dissonance. What can we do now? What's an Earth Day look like with an executive branch so openly hostile to climate issues? It's hard to say, and you're forgiven to feel some cynicism about the intentions of the businesspeople who've infiltrated the government. On the other hand, there's still reason for hope. America is a jacuzzi of waves, jets and currents conducted at the local level, and there's always room for you in that tub. This evening, an interesting and art-integrated Earth Day action happens out at Thomas Knight Park in South Portland, where the artist and MECA student Ellanor Milkowski Dahlgren mounts a thesis project titled Seeds of Resilience, where there'll be fire, music-making, a geo-cache scavenger hunt, and a cadre of speakers on sustainability in Portland. Free, but with plenty of items for sale.
| FREE | 5-8 pm | Thomas Knight Park, South Portland
FALLING FORWARD | "Rapping is the only way out," speaks AFRiCAN DUNDADA in his new track, "Hold Me Down." And I'm inclined to believe him (don't know many ways out, honestly.) Originally from South Sudan, the Portland artist speaks. In his early twenties and performing benefit concerts for the ACLU of Maine, South Sudan Care, Mayo Street Arts youth programs and Action Against Hunger, we're interested in what else he's got to say. He headlines a hip-hop show also featuring Portland artists Mr. Lumemo, Dequhn Lobutua, and the Acholi Traditional Dancers, rescheduled from April 1, when it was wiped out by the last snowstorm of the year. | $15 | 7 p.m. | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland | www.mayostreetarts.org
SLOW CHANGE | The first step to good thinking about today's Slut Walk is not to stress about the name. Say you're a dude. You might think to yourself, Yo, I've been told all my life it's wrong to call women (or anyone) sluts, and yet whaaaaat's this? That's what they're calling themselves? What chicanery! Double-standard much?! How treasonous to basic logic! And so on, unhelpfully. (A lot of dudes, broheims, etc. love to trip up equity-seeking efforts with insignificant little logical and rhetorical arguments.) In reality, words contain definitions that are constantly in flux. They're beholden to irony, social movements, political ideas, skillful rhetoric, etc. The term "slut" is here deployed in a massive, necessary, and frankly well designed rally against the very real ideology of rape culture, the awareness and opposition to which Portland activists have joined many other cities across the continent in solidarity. Some backstory: After a sexual assault case in Toronto in 2011, a police officer said that "women should avoid dressing like sluts" if they want to prevent sexual violence. (The details of the case don't matter.) Toronto responded with a Slut Walk, the original, to demonstrate how shitty and oppressive this sort of thinking is (not to mention how kneejerk and widespread in the minds of American men), especially when it's espoused by a member of law enforcement. Activists in Portland have picked up on the effort, and strides have also reportedly been made to involve black/queer/trans people at the organizational level, making this event intersectional as well as vital.
| noon | Monument Sq., Portland | https://www.facebook.com/events/433327873679485/
GET CYC'D | One of the many highlights of the Vernal Equinox is the simple pleasure of deleting the Uber app from your phone. As warm wind fills our city once again, we recall the empowering and graceful act of riding a bicycle, along with the commensurate feelings of leg fitness and the realization that the city is really pretty traversible when it's not studded with ice. (For our friends and neighbors who aren't physically able to use bicycles, we support them and our METRO system to get them where they need to go.) Well, friends! Today brings a crucial step in making these reality your own, as the Bicycle Coalition of Maine hosts its annual Great Maine Bike Swap in the USM Sullivan Gym. If you'll permit me a brief moment of self-reflection, I'll share an anecdote. I purchased a Univega road bike from a nice older man at this event in 2009 for $70, and rode it everywhere throughout the warm months every year since until it was stolen from the hallway of my apartment building this past winter. (Let me know if you have any leads.) Possibly the best purchase I've ever made in Portland. The Bike Swap has road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, recumbents, kids' bikes, and maybe even a tandem or two. Basically, if you can find a machine that hits the sweet spot between functionality, durability, and general unattractiveness (to dissuade bike theft, which is truly the assouls' work), then you'll have struck gold here.
| $5 | 10 am-1 pm | USM Sullivan Recreational and Fitness Complex, 66 Falmouth St., Portland | http://maineswap.com/
WHAT WAS THE MALE? | One question that's persisted over time (epochs, really) is how to be a man. No one's got it down to a science (and yes, this includes Justin Trudeau, liberals!). But a lot of folks sure are getting an idea of how not to be, and to that we can tip our hats to the morass of negative models in the world, in this era and prior. But the good news is, people are being encouraged to ask openly more than ever. Masculinity Studies programs and academic journals are cropping up at universities all over the world, and an increasing number of outreach programs geared toward youth are doing the same. Maine Boys to Men, an organization that tries to help young men steer their vessels through these murky waters (no small feat these days), co-produces a screening of The Mask You Live In, a documentary about male stereotypes and their intersections with race, class, and circumstance. A terrific "double-ticket" with Sunday's Slut Walk. Co-produced by USM's Women and Gender Studies program, which does incredible work on all sides of this coin. With a post-screening TBA with area folks with solid perspectives on the topic.
| FREE | 6 pm | University of Southern Maine, 96 Falmouth St., Portland | http://www.maineboystomen.org/
BORN POP | Takes some digging around these days to follow young pop starlets before they break. For example, there haven't been a lot of occasions the work of Joanna "JoJo" Levesque would have seeped into the frame of my cultural consumption without careful effort. But maybe that's what we're doing here. Tonight brings a show from the 26-year-old pop vocalist from Foxborough, Massachusetts, who was discovered after performing on a show called America's Most Talented Kids in 2003 (which I missed — my first mistake). Her music has been used to sell products by HeartSoul Clothing and Clearasil, and raise money for charities benefiting victims of the 2004 Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. And there's also evidence that she's been screwed over by various contracts and obligations to record labels and promotional agents, which has to be a frustrating life indeed. Pop in on this icon of the modern age for a glimpse of how our world really works.
| $22 adv, $25 day of | 8 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | http://www.statetheatreportland.com/
BEST NIGHT | Tonight, of course, is the Annual Best of Portland Award Ceremony for this very paper, the Portland Phoenix, an event that's been anticipated by thousands and a springtime staple since 2000. This year, a crisp 100 categories were vetted and voted across four heaping quadrants: Arts, City Life, Shopping, and Food & Drink. Voting for these things has always been an imperfect science, but as someone who's been involved for seven years, I can attest that this is the only year ballot-stuffing wasn't possible (or encouraged, as in the past its been a systemic quirk too expensive to fix). Will that mean upsets? Come hang at the Portland House of Music during happy hour tonight, where the winners of each category will be revealed, and live music and good food and grub will abound. With live music from Sorcha Cribben-Merrill and the Maine Marimba Ensemble, plus DJs.
| FREE | 8 pm | Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland | https://www.portlandhouseofmusic.com/
LIGHTS IN THE DARK | "Arto Lindsay is a genre all his own" is how Chad Clark, singer of the D.C. art-pop band Beauty Pill, described his 64-year-old tour-mate to me on the phone this week. The former New York no-wave art punk (meaning Lindsay) has pushed his way through the muck to find an incredible career as an uncompromising musician. Is that even possible for young people today? We'll see. Lindsay's played with Laurie Anderson, Animal Collective, and Caetano Veloso, and collaborated with artists the likes of Matthew Barney, Rikrit Tiravanija, and Vito Acconci. Plus, he's thrown carnivals in Brazil? (Take notes on this life, I'm trying to say.) He tours up and down the East Coast with his band this spring. But! The only stop along his tour he plays solo is here in Portland, where, Clark assures, his set is both completely singular and incredibly beautiful. Along with the invigorating and brilliant Beauty Pill, steered by NPR contributor and fascinating human Clark (read my interview with him on page TK), this show is not to be missed.
| $18 adv, $22 day of | 8 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | https://onelongfellowsquare.com/
LEMON SQUEEZERS | Next Thursday, some of us can look forward to the first of a full season of concerts at Aura and their roster of Live Nation artists. On the 27th, the Zeppelin cover act Get the Led Out show us that the secret sauce in classic rock's most compelling quartet isn't so secret after all. (To be fair, their sauce uses six people to make.)
| $15 | 8 pm | Aura, 121 State St., Portland | http://auramaine.com