- Danny Schmidt
Six String Cafe and Music Hall—You can call Danny Schmidt a folksinger, just so long as you also consider Townes Van Zandt a folksinger. Soul singer would work, too. It's probably best though (and with a nod to Van Zandt's "Rex's Blue") to still your restless tongue, skip the classifying and just bask in Schmidt's "Sunny Days." It beats with an ancient heart, harboring hints of magic and mystery—"Don't you lay me in the cornfield just to take the corn away"—and gentle guitar dazzle. Schmidt's got a bunch more like it, too. He opens for Charlotte-based trio Not a Sparrow, so get there by 8 p.m. for the $5 show. See www.sixstringcafe.com. —Rick Cornell
Charles Dennis/ Hospice of Wake County Fundraiser
Bev's Fine Art—Photographer Charles Dennis was a Detroit native, but for 30 years until his death in 2005 he made his home in Hillsborough. He was a highly skilled commercial and artistic photographer, and much of his work focused on North Carolina and the natural world—for example, producing a stark series that documented the devastation in the state after Hurricane Fran in 1996.
Dennis also suffered, for virtually his entire adult life, from chronic rheumatoid arthritis, a painful, debilitating condition that could only be managed, not cured. His last years were eased with the facilities of the Hospice of Wake County. Tonight, a sale of his work kicks off a fundraiser to support the recently constructed, 40,000-square-foot HOWC facility in Cary. Twenty-eight of Dennis' prints will be available for sale, and an exhibit of his work will remain on view until Feb. 28. To attend the fundraiser, which begins at 6:30 p.m., send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. —David Fellerath
Mark Hewitt: Falling Into Place
Nasher Museum of Art—The big trend now is to do everything locally for minimal environmental impact. Studio potter Mark Hewitt applies that notion to his career and takes a hands-on approach, digging clay, mixing glaze and firing his creations in the kilns on his own property. Hewitt lives in Pittsboro and has worked with Triangle arts institutions before: He co-curated an exhibit on North Carolina pottery at the N.C. Museum of Art in October 2005. Around the state, his work resides in permanent collections at UNC's Ackland Art Museum, Wilmington's Cameron Art Museum and the Mint Museums of Charlotte. Hewitt was also featured in the 2007 PBS series Craft in America. He's known for creating large planters and jars that are both functional and aesthetic, with a mix of influences ranging from Asia to his adopted home state. Expect to see these qualities on display when his installation opens on the Nasher's front lawn. Visit www.nasher.duke.edu. —Sarah Ewald
The Urban Sophisticates, The Beast
The Brewery—Nearly a decade into their run, Greensboro hip-hop band The Urban Sophisticates have become a regional institution thanks to horn-backed, dance-floor-friendly grooves set against the complementary vocals of the James brothers. Durham's The Beast is the rising star, with a jazz-informed trio backing Pierce Freelon's poetic mic skills. Opener Capital Ill splits the difference, merging loose, lighthearted rhymes with soul-inflected production, while Raleigh's edgier Lazzaretto Crew spits streetwise bars over mean beats. Tickets are $8-$10 for the 9 p.m. show. See www.myspace.com/thebrewery.
If you miss tonight's show, Urban and The Beast also play Cat's Cradle Wednesday, Feb. 17, with fellow Carolina hip-hop talents Inflowential and KAZE, making up for a show postponed due to January's snowmageddon. See www.catscradle.com. —Spencer Griffith