- Photo courtesy of the artist
- Janiva Magness, who knows from the blues, plays Friday night at the Blue Bayou in Hillsborough.
Blue Bayou—Janiva Magness sings with the strength and joy that comes with beating the blues. Her voice drips with an attitude and sexuality to make brave men sweat. That self-confidence is built on self-reliance: As a teenager, Magness lost both parents to suicide, was homeless, cycled through 12 foster homes and gave up a child for adoption. The blues turned life around for Magness, though, who reconnected with the daughter she gave up (and discovered a grandson). When Magness slows the celebration for reflection, she can tap a deep source of pain from her past. It hurts when she sings, "Everybody's dreaming about something they can't touch" on "Sometimes You Got to Gamble." Yet there's also a glimmer of hope based on her personal experience. These experience-steeled blues won her both Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year at the 2009 Blues Music Awards. Pay $20-$24 for the survivor songs at 9:30 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey
- Princess Nicotine
Durham Central Park—Let's face it: If the U.S. lasts another 200 years, North Carolina will still be known as a tobacco state. The "bright leaf," introduced to Europeans by Sir Walter Raleigh returning from his Roanoke colony, remains a major icon in the area, even as the state's share of the industry inexorably shrinks. The Durham Cinematheque celebrates our controversial heritage with Nicotine Cinema, a collection of smoking celluloid through the ages. Short films include J. Stuart Blackton's 1909 short Princess Nicotine; Mary Filippo's 1987 short Who Do You Think You Are; Cigarette Blues; a 1986 short from Burden of Dreams' Les Blank; and television commercials for cigars and cigarettes, banned from the airwaves since 1971, which should please fans of the Old Gold slogan, "It's toasted," memorably quoted in Mad Men. The outdoor festival screens the films in 16 mm. Bring a blanket or lawn chair, and offer a donation if you enjoy the free performance. The show runs from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. This screening is part of Durham's Third Friday lineup of downtown arts and social activities. For more information on Nicotine Cinema and the other offerings, visit www.thirdfridaydurham.com. —Zack Smith
McIntyre's Fine Books—How much fun are pop-up books? Yes, they're ostensibly for children, but come on, you have to have a heart of stone not to be enthralled by how those pages creating colorful, intricate worlds. Pop-up author Pamela Pease brings her latest book, The Pop-Up Tour de France, to McIntyre's at 2 p.m. on the first day of the tour. Pease's book chronicles the history and nature of the famed bicycle race in colorful detail, though it's no fair asking her if she thinks Lance Armstrong will bring it again. For more information, call 919-542-3030. —Zack Smith
North Carolina Museum of Art—The biopic Milk recounts the life of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), a gay rights activist and the first openly gay elected official in the United States. Beginning on his 40th birthday, the film follows Milk's political activism in San Francisco, including his failed campaigns and his protests in the gay-centric Castro neighborhood, leading to his election to office and subsequent murder. Directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Drugstore Cowboy) and written by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black, the film beautifully portrays the courage of one man in the struggle for gay rights. The film was nominated for eight Oscars and won two, for original screenplay and best actor. Here's your chance to catch it if you missed it. The NCMA will be screening it at 9 p.m. For more information visit www.ncartmuseum.org. —Belem Destefani