Cy Rawls has a Posse II: Superchunk, The Rosebuds, Birds of Avalon
Cat's Cradle—Any history of Triangle music would be incomplete without these three bands: Not long after forming, Superchunk, née Chunk, became essential indie rock, punchy and misanthropic and hooky as hell. Its frontman and bassist started Merge Records two decades ago. Now, it's something of an international empire, but Raleigh's The Rosebuds allows it to keep excellent local roots. Listen for new ones from Life Like tonight. Birds of Avalon is the byproduct of a place once called Kings and Raleigh's classic rock dream pool. Right now, the quintet's easily the best it's ever been. Your $25 goes to Cy Rawls. Show up at 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin
Regulator Bookshop—Something on your mind? Then join in this open discussion where you can speak freely about Obama's choice of Biden as veep; going green; the Triangle's need for mass transit; Michael Phelps' 12,000-calorie diet; America's weight issues; and Russia's latest political conflict. Inspired by the Utne Reader's Utne Salons' online discussion forums and the antiquated but fabulous French literary and philosophical discussion salons of the 17th and 18th centuries, this creative space and conversation is meant to provide your brain with nourishment. The chat begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Show up early to choose a discussion topic and then let the idea-swapping roll. —Kathy Justice
ProgDay Pre-show with Speechless and Kinetic Element
Local 506—Prog rock has something of an infamous reputation. Now in its 14th year, ProgDay, "the world's longest-running progressive rock festival," is a two-day festival that strives to celebrate the sprawling genre, venturing from classic rock behemoths like Yes to modern math/ metal hybrids. This weekend's ProgDay lineup gathers bands from Japan, with acolytes of the Canterbury sound Ain Soph; big-time '70s Danish icons Secret Oyster; and Americans who've championed the stuff in their own vein for years, like Cheer Accident and relative newcomers Canvas Solaris.
Tonight's pre-show kickoff fields two of the winding web-weavers in prog today. Atlanta's Speechless is just that—all instrumental—and carries a fusion emsemble approach. In other words, it's not pegged in by an abundance of solos or asides but sticks to interplay between band members. Kinetic Element works from the center of keyboardist Mike Visaggio, who draws straight from the main well of prog's synthesizer lynchpins—Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman.
Prog rock's heyday in the '60s and '70s changed how people approached the rock idiom, with its focus on a pyrotechnic style of play often threatening to spiral out of control. That spirit of headstrong adventurousness remains today, flourishing online in communities that critique, promote and discuss each other's work. Tickets for tonight's pre-show are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, which opens at 8:30 p.m. For more on the weekend fest, visit www.progday.com. —Chris Toenes
Performance Art Night
Common Ground Theatre—And now for, as they say, something completely different. Common Ground Theatre's sixth episode of "Performance Art Night," presented by Verynormal Productions, follows in the previous episodes' traditions of apes, yoga, cross-dressing geishas, dance, group poetry, head shaving and more. This particular presentation features Rus Hames, Catherine Overman, Jonathan Blackwell, Phyllis Wiley, Gabriel Sexton and Tony Hughes, along with a special screening of Jeffrey Moore's short film What the Frock? The 12-minute short, which recently screened at the N.C. Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, tells of a recently deceased drag queen's last request to be buried in a dress and pearls, with much hilarity ensuing. The emceed event is performed in a cabaret style, with an emphasis on performers talking directly to the audience. Tickets for this popular event, which starts at 8 p.m., are free on a first-come first-serve basis, though donations are accepted. Drinks and snacks are available at the performance. For more information, visit www.cgtheatre.com or call 417-1445. —Zack Smith
Local Art Houses—For her first feature film, writer/ director Courtney Hunt chose to highlight a class of Americans who are often ignored in cinema—the working poor. "I'm interested in people who are marginalized," says Hunt, whose film, the acclaimed Frozen River, premieres in the Triangle this week (read our review). "We go so far out of our way to create these hyper-realities—all these escapist-fantasy-adventure dramas—and there is just so much drama going in people's lives. You don't have to go far to create big drama—there is a lot of stuff going on in people's everyday lives that is worth a movie."
Frozen River earned the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival for its depiction of two mothers in upstate New York, played by Melissa Leo and Misty Upham, who become human smugglers to earn desperately needed extra cash. Hunt says her goal with the film was "to capture the feel of a documentary."
"I wanted the feeling that the characters were on the edge—I wanted them to know it and to see it, because that's the way many people who are poor are sometimes [living], and I wanted you to go into their houses and walk in their shoes and feel that," Hunt says.
Hunt discovered the story through news stories of women smugglers and says she interviewed residents on a Mohawk reservation, incorporating their lifestyle into the story: "I had a sense of how that culture played out in the present day in these people's lives, and that's how I developed the character of Lila."
Hunt is currently looking for her next project as Frozen River heads into wide release with rave reviews. Though the film's 24-day shoot was "fast and intense," she admits that she's imagined continuing the story: "In my mind there's a 10-part sequel where every week a person of a different nationality or different culture could jump out of [Leo's character's] trunk." —Zack Smith