Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Haynes Center, UNC-CH
As senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, RFK Jr. is at the forefront of the fight against the Bush administration's dangerous policies. He's been instrumental in Hudson River and NYC watershed protection and has spearheaded litigation to force polluters into compliance with the Clean Water Act. In this free 7:30 p.m. talk, he will explain his past struggles and what the rest of us can do in the days ahead. --Eric Weddle
Kill Henry Sugar
The duo of Erik Della Penna and Dean Sharenow are former Joan Osborne session players (?!) who formed Kill Henry Sugar to play, as Penna describes it, "early Felliniesque Northeastern Americana." The NYC pair create a cabaret intimacy with their delicate, jazzy, blues-folk numbers, which linger like smoke in a barroom, with an atmospheric quality almost gothic in dark intensity. Stark, stunning stuff. Show's at 10 p.m.; tickets are $5. --Chris Parker
Streetsigns Center, UNC-CH
"I set about to write very freely about white people, white people I happened to know, without other races being a factor. I thought, let's just look at how some white people operate and see where that leads ... White people who have very specific ideas about how the world works and who's on top. And I found myself making sketch comedy out of what I'd made in the past rather grim novels out of." Playwright Jim Grimsley describes the inspiration for his controversial comedy White People, which Joseph Megel directs for StreetSigns Center this week. Shows run 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, with shows at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $14/$12; call 843-3865. --Byron Woods
The Pour House
One of my favorite musical moments of 2004 occurs in Dave Alvin's "Nine Volt Heart," the Guilty Man leader and ex-Blaster's tribute to the (former) magic of radio, when he tells of "the Staples singing, 'Baby, I'll take you there'." That line, like the whole song, reflects an earthy and earnest confluence of rock, soul, blues and country. Just like a Dave Alvin concert. This will be an acoustic duo performance. Show's at 8 p.m.; tix are $12. --Rick Cornell
To Widespread Panic, fans come first. The band turned down a tour with the Stones a few years back because they said their audience wasn't interested in seeing them in a setting like that. Still, constant touring proved to be a bit much, as the band took 15 months off. But on the comeback, they're still giving back. Percussionist Dominic Sunny Ortiz conducts a drum clinic for this show when the doors open at 5:30 p.m. Panic performs Saturday at Alltel, too. Showtime is 7:30; tickets are $33.50. --Grant Britt
The Carolina Theatre is looking for some diehard cinephiles, ones with the pulp sensibilities of Quentin Tarantino and the jacked-up energy of a raver. One night, six movies, starting with Big Trouble in Little China at 7:30 p.m., continuing with the disco infernon of Xanadu, the birth of Arnold in Conan the Barbarian, the notorious Deathrace 2000, the Pam Grier showcase Coffy and then the sun finally comes up over those ghouls who have lingered for Transformers. This is a fundraiser, and $50 in pledges gets you free admission, door prizes and T-shirts. Individual tickets are available for everyone else. www.carolinatheatre.org. --David Fellerath
The Barn at Valhalla
Are you ready for a vacation that takes you beyond the far reaches of the universe while never leaving your yoga matt? K. Sridhar was granted the honorary title Sur Mani (Sky Jewel) at the Kal-Ke-Kalakar festival in Bombay at the age of 25.
His musicianship is nothing short of brilliant, and his audiences find themselves so relaxed and at peace during and after his performances that it feels as though you went on holiday and got a soul massage to boot. Nada Yoga is the Yoga of Healing Sound--enlighten and experience for yourself this evening of North Indian classical music featuring K. Sridhar on the sarod, accompanied by Branavan Ganesan on the tabla. Call 643-2949 or 929-4111, or go to eightgatesmusic.com or sridhar.org. Showtime is 7 p.m.; tickets are $15 at the door.
Tranny Road Show
Tackling transgender and queer issues results in either tiresome discourse or explosive humanistic art. Kelly Shortandqueer and Jamez Terry, nationally recognized zine writer and archivist, are on the latter tip with their roving Tranny Road Show, a beehive of jugglers, flickering lights, stomp and spoken-word locked on the nationwide DIY circuit. On a quest to educate and entertain "where the expression of gender and the expression of self are inseparable," each stop is venue-specific, steeped in audience interaction and hellbent on inciting laughter and thought equally. --Eric Weddle
Choreographer and artistic director Robert Weiss returns to a favorite subject--the artistic process off-stage--in two new works. Also, Timour Bourtasenkov presents Fallen Dreams, a work created during a choreographic institute last fall at New York City Ballet, and Attila Bongar premieres his vision of Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin. Shows are April 21 & 22, 8 p.m.; April 23, 2 & 8 p.m.; and April 24, 2 p.m. at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. For info, 834-4000 or www.carolinaballet.com. Tickets are $10-$59, with a $5 student rush; call 719-0900. --Byron Woods
The Pour House
Bluegrass with percussion? It ain't quite that simple. Guitarist Nicolas Nguyen's foot is wired for sound. Vocalist Scott Johnson shakes rattles and rolls everything from maracas to hand drums--newgrass with a world beat. There's folk and gospel in there, too, as well as country and rock, courtesy of Kenny Wright. Bassist Doug Habbena's résumé includes Goose Creek Symphony and Shelby Lynne. Show's at 7 p.m.; tickets are $5. --Grant Britt
Damien Jurado is a keen storyteller with an empathetic eye, obsessed with the way the details fall into the big picture. Previously, his most graceful moments were marred by bits of chugging, but with his latest, On My Way to Absence, Jurado builds his serene acoustic plucks into beautiful big-band arches concerned with racism, abandonment and uncertainty, bridging Raymond Carver and Charles Bukowski as well as they do Nick Drake and Dylan--Jakob included. Easily one of the year's best returns. Two Gallants--whose debut, The Throes, was devastating--and Sail On, Sailor! open. --Grayson Currin
The Honored Guests, Tennis & The Mennonites
This double-shot of Chapel Hill-area pop-rock fits a spring weeknight like that pair of comfy old sneakers. The Guests work the mellow melodics, a side jaunt from some members' previous work in Milo, while Tennis and gang move along at a mid-tempo, introspective shuffle, with occasional breathy vocals. If you've missed Tuesday nights at the Library thus far, here's a starting block for spring. Show's at 10 p.m.; tickets are $2. --Chris Toenes
Can this really be called a reunion? Barely four years after their last shows (on the "Brotherly Love" tour with Oasis), the brothers Robinson have reunited. It certainly has nothing to do with the flagging fortunes of Rich's solo album, Paper, and Chris' side project, New Earth Mud. The oft-feuding brothers wanted to rediscover the magic. (Not that the Crowes have proven to be such a great live show in past years.) The Stonesy country-rock swagger is there, but the hunger and passion have been absent. There is some hope: They've reunited with guitarist Marc Ford, whose departure in 1997 is credited by some as the moment the Crowes jumped the shark. Showtime is 8 p.m.; tickets are $40. --Chris Parker