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For the week of May 10-16

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In not all kid's stuff

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New York Times best-selling author SARAH DESSEN takes on an ambitious task with yet another work of young-adult literature: explaining the point of view of a 13-year-old girl. Just Listen tells the story of Annabel, the girl who seems to have it all, except the one thing she really needs--for someone to just listen. Serious and funny, Just Listen is sure to be added to this author's list of well-received works of teen lit. Dessen has returned from a nationwide tour to her home state and will read at THE BARN AT FEARRINGTON VILLAGE on Saturday, May 13 at 11 a.m. --Caroline Monday

In roses ... and porn

When WOOTINI, the Carrboro gallery specializing in plush art and vinyl toys, advertises an opening lasting from 7 p.m. to question mark, you know it's going to be a good thing. To make it even better, the CONSUME! show will feature works by local artists DAVID K. ROSE and CASEY PORN. Rose's art-faux-wrestling performances have become living local legend, and Porn's imaginative animal art can be found slung over the shoulder of local folks, the product of her work with Holly Aiken Design. The night of art, music and refreshments happens Friday, May 12; the show runs through June 5. For information, visit wootini.com. --Caroline Monday

In LOL! WTF? Art Brut is good!

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The South London band ART BRUT has very little, if anything, to do with Art Brut, the 20th-century artistic concept denoting outsider artists and their innovations in spite (or because) of their removal from tradition. Art Brut is, if anything, the opposite, a rock 'n' roll band so well schooled in the rigorous, ridiculously reverent past of its chosen genre and those who pledge allegiance to the electric guitar and the well-pounded snare drums that they can worship at the same altar while simultaneously taking a drunken whiz on it, bottle in hand. On their better-than-fun debut, Bang Bang Rock and Roll, the band takes all of rock's symbols, icons and myths--crack, pitiful love songs, obscurity enthusiasts, debauched lifestyles, insipid intercourse--and turns them into hilarious, contagious songs about how and how not to be a rocker. Sure, "Emily Kane" can be seen as a rib-jab to emo dudes still in love with the one that got away, but--what with its chanted refrain, pulsing cymbal-and-snare snap and brilliant lines like "I want kids on buses screaming your name"--it's genius on a Fall-meets-rock-encyclopedia-meets-Monty Python level. You'll sing along too hard to laugh, or you'll laugh along too hard to sing. These guys are fantastic live. Robocap Kraus and Think About Life open the band's Monday, May 15 show at the CAT'S CRADLE. It all starts at 9 p.m. for $10. --Grayson Currin

In music for the whole family

"Mama, there'll be those that'll call me four-eyes/ 'cos I got more eyes than them/ But they don't understand that there wouldn't be a Superman/without Clark Kent, to an extent," sings three-time Parents' Choice Gold Award winner JUSTIN ROBERTS on "Get Me Some Glasses," a characteristically winsome number from the Chicagoan's brand new Meltdown! Thanks to nimble writing like that, Roberts appeals to both kids and grown-ups. (His ending the title track with "I'll stop the world and meltdown with you" is a little something extra for the latter group.) And the music behind the words also connects across generations. Instead of the softest of soft rock or the watered-down reggae that (barely) drives most kids records, Roberts and genius multi-instrumentalist/producer Liam Davis layer the songs with real harmonies and horn parts, making them goldmines of shared memories and genuine pop hooks. When Roberts vists the ARTSCENTER on Saturday, May 13, the music starts at 11 a.m., and the kiddie mosh pit will be forming around 11:01. Tickets are $6. --Rick Cornell

In banding together again

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Last year, the BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF WAKE COUNTY catered to over 3,583 students between ages 6 and 19. Annual registration fees are $7.50 per student for the program, a comprehensive after-school tutorial and activities center that has produced nationally award-winning artists (look to the right for one work from 14-year-old Michelle) and writers in high numbers. Altogether, the Boys & Girls Clubs form one of the most important, worthwhile networks for children who need help. BAND TOGETHER N.C., a recipient of an Independent Citizens Award in 2005, is an organization with expertise in giving help where it's needed: Last year alone, they raised nearly $225,000 for tsunami relief and Hurricane Katrina relief through two massive concerts, using local bands, national stars and a myriad of financially enabling sponsors to surpass lofty financial goals. They turn their attentions from natural disasters to beneficent community work here, offering DONNA THE BUFFALO and INDECISION in front of CAPITAL FITNESS off of Glenwood Avenue in downtown Raleigh. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and the group is always in need of sponsors and volunteers. Be good to a group always being good to others. The festivities start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 13. For more, see www.bandtogethernc.org. --Grayson Currin

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