Memorial Auditorium, Progress Energy Center—A decade after his eponymous sitcom ended, Jerry Seinfeld is still best known as ... Jerry Seinfeld. The high-voiced comedian has stayed in the public eye, limiting himself to only a few high-profile projects, such as last year's animated feature Bee Movie. Now it looks like Memorial Auditorium (www.progressenergycenter.com) will be packed with Seinfeld fans, some of whom are paying almost $80 for a front-section seat to see him do the exact same humor he's always done.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Seinfeld remains the king of observational humor (advance reviews indicate his act now includes bits on iPhones and OnStar), but while he still packs them in on stage, his work in other media has been mixed. Aside from the mostly-dull Bee Movie, he has put out some forgettable children's books and TV promotions that even dragged down 30 Rock. And then there were his quickly pulled Microsoft ads with Bill Gates that, God help me, I liked. Let's not get into the defamation lawsuit against him involving his wife's cookbook.
Oddly, Seinfeld's funniest when he's making fun of himself as an absurdly wealthy, successful performer who doesn't need to work or take on new projects—perhaps his strongest post-sitcom work was the documentary Comedian, about his sprucing up his standup act. After all he accomplished with his show, does Jerry Seinfeld really need to keep on innovating? Probably not, but at least he still puts on a good show. —Zack Smith
Snake Oil Medicine Show
The Pour House—Asheville six-piece Snake Oil Medicine Show jumps through styles—bluegrass, zydeco, calypso, reggae, psychobilly—like a kid on a sugar high flips through cartoons after a sweet mix of cereals. Fiddle, banjo, guitar, keyboard, accordion, bass and drums compete for attention, while male and female vocals bungee above it all. Visual art created on stage enhances the feeling, as the music and art pulls the crowd further in with fun, extended jams and short, danceable PSAs for world peace. Take a breath, let go and enjoy the sugar rush. Pay $8-$10 for the 10 p.m. show. —Andrew Ritchey
Regulator Bookshop—On the heels of the election of a young, handsome, charismatic Democratic president, some may be inclined to revisit the Kennedy administration. Author Adam Braver's November 22, 1963 is a fictional chronicle of the last, indelible day of Camelot, and his particular literary device is to inhabit the personae of the numerous witnesses to that Dallas day, beginning with Jackie Kennedy in a Fort Worth hotel and ending with her arrival back in Washington, D.C., with the world utterly changed. (As an aside, the man who took the photograph of Lyndon Johnson's swearing-in on Air Force One, Cecil Staughton, died last week at age 88.)
Along the way, Braver captures the viewpoints of such figures as Abraham Zapruder, a motorcycle cop and the aides to Mrs. Kennedy who must begin researching the details of Lincoln's funeral. According to author Philip Lopate, "This extraordinary reconstruction blends fact and imagination with a subtlety that utterly dissolves the line between public and private. It's the intimacy, the closeness we come to these (mostly) well-known protagonists, that is so shocking and moving."
Braver makes three Triangle appearances: In addition to tonight's 7 p.m. reading, he's at Quail Ridge Thursday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m. and McIntyre's Sunday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. —David Fellerath