Page Auditorium, Duke Campus—Maybe you're in the know, a follower of modern jazz vocalists. Then you're undoubtedly familiar with Dianne Reeves' two-decade career and her eclectic oeuvre, which ranges from global folk to pop standards and straight jazz. Or perhaps you saw her lend a silky finesse to pop standards in the 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck and remembered the name. Or maybe you're clueless. Regardless of your familiarity with Dianne Reeves, when she opens her mouth, it doesn't matter.
Reeves gives vibrant readings of well-known pop songs, such as Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" (which she did on 1999's Bridges) or "Send in the Clowns" (as on her 2001 tribute to Sarah Vaughan, The Calling). Thing is, she also lends vitality to lesser-known compositions, molding lyrics like softened clay with a voice that can be full and bold or drip shallow whispers, sometimes within a syllable. And as potent as her records can be, Reeves is as well-known for her dynamic live presentation and lengthy, improvised and scat-laden introduction of her backing players. Tonight those players are Brazilian guitar legend Romero Lubambo and tasteful electric stylist Russell Malone. The performance begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are tiered from $5 for Duke students to $22, $34 and $42. Visit www.dukeperformances.duke.edu.
Also, vocalists Lois Deloatch and Lenora Helm will discuss jazz vocals Thursday, Oct. 8, at noon at Duke's Center for Black Culture. The talk is free. —Bryan Reed
Garner Historic Auditorium—Larry Shue's 1981 hit play concerns an architect who invites the guy who saved his life in Vietnam to his birthday, only to discover he's a hopeless social reject who drives everyone crazy and just won't leave. Shue, who died at age 39 in a plane crash, wrote both this and The Foreigner, two plays that are staples of local theater productions. Mark Hamill starred in a long-running Off-Broadway production of The Nerd directed by noted mincing character actor Charles Nelson Reilly. The Towne Players of Garner present this play Oct. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 17. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors. For more information, call 779-6144 or visit www.towneplayers.org. —Zack Smith
Goodnight's Comedy Club—Stand-up comedian Craig Shoemaker, aka "The Lovemaster," has one of those blindingly eclectic résumés that includes co-hosting a talk show with Magic Johnson (and getting kicked off on the third night), appearing in Scream 2, opening a comedy-themed retail outlet called The Laughter Store, making a documentary about pot called Baked, writing for the 1980s sitcom Just the Ten of Us and, at one point, singing backup for Kenny Loggins. While he has plenty of well-respected onstage characters, honestly, he could get a routine out of recounting his CV. He appears at Goodnight's tonight through Sunday, Oct. 11. The performance is rated a mild R by the club. Visit www.goodnightscomedy.com or call 919-828-5233. —Zack Smith
Quail Ridge Books & Music—Terrence Holt taught literature and writing at Rutgers and Swarthmore before attending medical school, and many of the stories in his debut collection, In the Valley of the Kings, have previously appeared in estimable outlets such as The Kenyon Review, Bookforum and The O. Henry Prize anthology. Now Holt teaches and practices medicine at UNC. In Valley, Holt's professional interests—the mystical power of words, the language of medicine and the mind/body relationship—fuel semiotically burdened, exactingly wrought soliloquies that recall the existential terrors of Poe and Beckett. In "O Λoγoς," a deadly virus manifests as a word bruised on the skin. In "My Father's Heart," Holt's authentic medical terminology (his doctors do not yell "Stat!") only renders the sentient organ on the mantel more mysterious. Holt reads from this exciting debut at 7:30 p.m. See www.quailridgebooks.com. —Brian Howe