Thursday, Sept. 16
Wole Soyinka Dr. Harold J. Cobb, Sr. Theater Sonya Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, UNC Campus
Nobel Prize wining novelist Wole Soyinka is the African Diaspora Lecturer for 2004. A prolific writer and human rights advocate, he is also a celebrated playwright, poet, critic and essayist. His politically inspired works have had a powerful impact in his birth country of Nigeria and throughout Africa and the world. In one now-famous quote, he decrys Nigeria's moves away from the traditional to the Western world, as "the blare of motor-horns compete with high-decibel outpouring of rock and funk and punk and other thunk-thunk from lands of instant-culture heroes." This event starts at 4 p.m. and is free. 962-9001 or www.ibiblio.org/shscbch. --JV
Friday, Sept. 17
The End of Endless Summer
Nicole's Studio & Art Gallery, Raleigh Providing closure for this year's summer is an exhibition at Nicole's Studio & Art Gallery, The End of Endless Summer, running through Oct. 17. "Adrift," acrylic on canvas by Nicole White Kennedy, captures the mood perfectly: two young girls lounge lazily on a raft in water, enjoying the last rays of summer sun. The exhibit opens with a reception featuring Kennedy, Bob Rankin, Eric McRay and many others. Friday, Sept. 17, 6-9 p.m. 715 N. Person St., Raleigh. 838-8580 or www.nicolestudio.com .--BS
Friday, Sept. 17
The New Deal
Wellness Partners in the Arts, Durham
In Durham, visual and performance arts meet at Wellness Partners in the Arts, where several treats are in store. The New Deal, to be hosted every third Friday as part of the Durham Culture Crawl, is a "showcase of original dance and visual arts, along with a diverse selection of music, theater, short films, spoken word and more." Performing this month is Belly Revelations, as well as readings by playwright Miriam Angress, fiction writing by Quinn Dalton, and dance by Nandi. 7:30 p.m., $5 suggested donation. For more information, contact Heather Russell at email@example.com or 412-4946. --BS
Sunday, Sept. 19
Music 'n Motion
Wellness Partners in the Arts, Durham
Combining dance with jazz and featuring some of the area's best jazz musicians, Music 'n Motion will swing into action every third Sunday from 4-6 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children 13 and under. Poly Style, a celebration of dances from the South Sea islands, will be presented by four North Carolina dance troupes on Saturday, Sept. 25, 7:00-9:00 pm. Admission is $5 and the event is open to the public. Contact Joi Abraham at 403-0570 or firstname.lastname@example.org . 319 W. Main St. 929-1624, 680-2562 or www.wpadurham.com . --BS
Sept. 23-Oct. 10
Balanchine: Extended (Re)play? BTI Center, Raleigh
Carolina Ballet begins their 2004-2005 season with a nod to the past--in more than one sense of the term. Balanchine: Masterworks--The Celebration Continues will extend their observance of the Balanchine Centennial, the world-wide commemoration of George Balanchine's 100th birthday.
But just now it appears the Ballet will do so mainly by recycling works we've already seen from them. Unless they replace a planned Tarantella with the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (a move still being mulled at press time), four of the five Balanchine works in the two-program set will be repeats from previous seasons. Square Dance (presented by the company in 1998), Concerto Barocco (2001) and Who Cares? (2002) will be revived with either Tarantella (2000) or the Tchaikovsky to accompany a Balanchine work previously unperformed by the troupe, the Donizetti Variations. Two new works by artistic director Robert Weiss will include Reflection, a Balanchine hommage, and Symposium, a work based on Plato to music by Leonard Bernstein. --BW
Saturday, Sept. 25 Drive-By Truckers
Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
According to the Lunar Republic Society, the moon will be three nights shy of full on Sept. 25. That said, paranormal activity is to be expected.
On that late September Saturday, the oddity will come in the form of two of this decade's most inventive, compelling rock bands--the Drive-By Truckers and Wilco--pulling into downtown Raleigh for simultaneous sets one-tenth of a mile apart.
The decision over which set to make is a real toss-up, given that Chicago's Wilco stand as alt.country progenitors-turned-boundary-pushing experimenters, while the Truckers--the second coming of Ronnie Van Zant's Lynyrd Skynyrd--are perhaps the consistently most inspired batch of Dixie-fried thinkers now rocking beneath that alt.country banner.
Wilco reached a career-high rank of eighth on The Billboard 200 with its krautrock-meets-Everybody Knows This is Nowhere smoke-ring, A Ghost is Born. This tour finds the steady core of Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche and Mikael Jorgensen with former Geraldine Fibbers guitarist Nels Cline and Stirrat's The Autumn Defense bandmate, Pat Sansone, debuting in the line-up.
The Truckers are introducing a new member this tour as well in bassist and bombshell Shona Morgan, who joined the band for the recording of their recently released sixth album in seven years, The Dirty South.
Buy both tickets and make the Wilmington Street jog between The Lincoln Theatre and Raleigh Memorial Auditorium several times that night, or make a choice and stick to your guns. Either way, be prepared to end the lunar cycle with a good time. --GC
(Note: As of this printing, Wilco tickets were sold out.)
Through Wednesday, Sept. 29
The Washington Park Paintings
At Firefly, catch Charles Walker's The Washington Park Paintings before it closes. What Firefly owner Ashley Worley calls "a show of gorgeous, color-field oil paintings" and "geometric pattern peppered with delicate textures" is a study of Universal experience. "I do not buy into the struggles between abstraction and figuration for supremacy in the visual arts," says Walker. "I see a painting as an object infused with meaning by human intervention ... in my case, through a simple application and repetition of line, color and texture, I try to find the mainline into the human soul shaded by my personal perception." 605 Glenwood Ave., 821-4356 or www.fireflync.com/gallery.htm. (Also visit www.theweeklywalker.com or www.chaswalker.com for Walker's weekly zine and samples of his work.) --BS
Through Friday, Oct. 1
Works on Paper and Recent Works
Bickett Gallery, Raleigh
Fall color is rampant in Raleigh, as is serenity and simplicity. At Bickett Gallery, Jill Bullitt's Works on Paper and Elisa Jensen's Recent Works are not to be missed.
Seattle-based Bullitt says her work "alternates between figurative and abstract images touching upon environmental, biological and ultimately metaphysical consequences of the postmodern indifference to place, history and the imaginative life." Brooklyn, NY-based painter Jensen's work favors landscapes such as open fields, rolling hills and ocean horizons. Closing reception Oct. 1, 6-8 p.m. 209 Bickett Blvd., 836-5358. www.bickettgallery.com . --BS
Oct. 2 and Oct. 9-10
Carolina Theatre, Durham
African American Dance Ensemble celebrates its 21st anniversary with a gala at Durham's Carolina Theater Oct. 9-10. The weekend includes an elegant banquet Friday, Oct. 9 before an evening performance by the company, AADE alumni and guest Collage Dance Company. The concert includes a staging of the dance version of the opera Luyala, and Suite Shirley, a new work by artistic director Chuck Davis and associate Stafford C. Berry Jr., to music by gospel vocalist Shirley Caesar.
Before that, we're always curious about Choreo Collective's late-night melange of film, live music and dance. This year's edition of Choreo Shorts stays up late at Chapel Hill's Carolina Theater on Oct. 2. --BW
Through Thursday, Oct. 7
The Art of the Female Form
Animation and Fine Art Galleries, Chapel Hill
In Chapel Hill, Animation and Fine Art Galleries presents The Art of the Female Form, running through Oct. 7. The exhibit presents an "overview of the female form depicted in both 2-D and 3-D," including work in various styles and media from the late-19th to early-21st century. Also showing is Memorabilia Show: The Villains Show, their 9th Annual Animation Villains show "featuring some of the most villainous villains in animation history." Animation and Fine Art Galleries, University Mall, Chapel Hill. 968-8008, www.animationandfineart.com. --BS
Tuesday, Oct. 12
The Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice
Cat's Cradle, Carrboro
Of all the music I've heard, I can think of very few characters more enlightening than Cyrus and Jeff, two teenagers from Denton, Texas, with guitars, pencils, notepads and rock star dreams matched only by two vivid, ridicule-meriting imaginations. That's right, Jeff and Cyrus were dreamers with pentagrams, stage lights and power chords dancing in their heads, two boys with the conviction that they--as either Satan's Finger, The Killers or The Hospital Bombers-- "believed in their hearts they were headed for...fortune and fame."
It didn't happen, though. Instead of groupies and gemstones, Cyrus was placed in Denton's school for crazies, and Jeff spent the remainder of his school days hoping to lash back at the system, hoping to free his rock 'n' roll confidant.
Cyrus and Jeff are the protagonists of "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton," the opening song from The Mountain Goats' 2002 lo-fi masterpiece, All Hail West Texas. Their creator, John Darnielle, is also their biggest fan, following the song-ending dictum "When you punish a person for dreaming his dream / Don't expect him to thank or forgive you" with a barrage of "Hail Satan!" victory yelps.
Tour-mate John Vanderslice glimpses life through the same translucent, broken lens on his misery-enjoys-company Cellar Door, a record full of characters that never get exactly what they want, though they always get more than they bargained for.
For redemption by way of prolific, keen and idiosyncratic songwriting, double bills don't get better than this. --GC
Friday-Sunday, Oct. 15-17
Beyond Election 2004: Reclaiming The Beloved Community
Wellness Partners in the Arts, Durham
Wellness Partners in the Arts offers an eclectic series of arts events featuring original dance, visual arts and a diverse selection of music, improv, theatre, short films and spoken word. The weekend kicks off Friday with Downtown Durham's monthly Culture Crawl, during which local downtown artists open their studio doors, galleries and performance spaces. Beyond Election 2004 includes the New Deal arts showcase, the Off the Deep End Ensemble and Music in Motion. 319 W. Main St., Durham. 680-2562, www.wpadurham.com.--JV
Through Sunday, Oct. 31
Gallery C, in association with The Cosmopolitan, Cary
Gallery C features acrylics on canvas by Keiko Genka, displayed in the main dining room at The Cosmopolitan restaurant. "Coming from an Eastern culture, my ideal world existed in colorfully illustrated books of foreign cities," says Genka. "Although I now realize the beauty of simplicity and subtlety in my own culture, I still try to capture the excitement I experienced in those Western books from my teenage years."
In her artwork, Genka portrays these childhood memories. In "Market Prayers," she focuses on comical fish at an open market, waiting to be purchased by hungry consumers. The Cosmopolitan at MacGregor Village, 103 Edinburgh South Drive, Cary. For more information contact Charlene F. Harless or Adam Cave at Gallery C. 828-3165 or www.galleryc.net. --BS
Here's a guarantee: The least colorful thing about the yearly gathering of the North Carolina Dance Alliance is its name. The Annual Event invades Duke Nov. 5-7, with panels and classes across a number of dance forms. Friday night's Showcase Concert is open to the public; Saturday's "November Dances" concert by the Duke Dance Program features stagings of works by Jose Limon, Donald McKayle and Anna Sokolow, the Duke African Repertory Ensemble and new works by Barbara Dickenson, M'Liss Dorrance and Tyler Walters.
Elsewhere in academe, Robin Harris' NC State Dance Program displays fall colors Nov. 12-13 and Meredith Dance Theater bows Nov. 18-20, before Peace Dance teams up with Peace Theater to present Nutcracker Delight, an urban mid-century twist on a holiday chestnut, Nov. 11-20. --BW
Reynolds Theater, Duke Campus, Durham
Despite the decidedly monochrome name, Actors from the London Stage basically do the impossible every time they perform. Their assignment: pull off a fully-staged Shakespeare work--with just five actors.
With minimal set and music, the emphasis decidedly has been on the craft when this quintet has inhabited the several dozen characters needed for recent productions of Measure for Measure, The Tempest and Macbeth.
This year, A Midsummer Night's Dream gets the treatment (24 characters at the minimum, for those keeping score). If their Nov. 11-12 dates at Duke's Reynolds Theater go like recent years, we'll all be shaking our heads in amazement well before the end. Those interested in accomplishments in acting, directing--and stage adaptations--really mustn't miss it. --BW