Quail Ridge Books & Music—Standing at the emotionally charged intersection of religion and politics, the Israeli-Palestinian situation is a topic that a lot of people won't discuss in polite company. And it's a difficult subject to understand fully, with arguments for competing claims on the land twisting and coiling through some of the more problematic chapters of the 20th century.
Though the history of the Israeli state is convoluted and open to dispute, underneath lies a straightforward tale of dispossession. And though there are certainly two sides to the story, press coverage in the American mass media has tended to skew toward the Israeli point of view; save for the work of fringe broadcasters like Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, the Palestinian voice is seldom heard. Which helps explain why support for the Israeli government by the United States, its key ally, has long verged on the unconditional.
British journalist Ben White's first book, Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide, seeks to redress this imbalance. White graduated from Cambridge University with a B.A. just four years ago, and judging from samples of the book posted on his Web site, his rhetorical style is fairly hotheaded; he seems to take after the Michael Moore style of argumentation, which is to hammer away at your case with a righteous fervor while barely recognizing opposing viewpoints. Judge for yourself whether his 7:30 p.m. bookstore visit lives up to its title, "An Intelligent Look at the Israeli-Palestinian Issue." Visit www.quailridgebooks.com for more information. —Marc Maximov
Local 506—As much as American Aquarium's rootsy tunes make natural candidates for stripped-down acoustic takes, Red Collar's fevered bursts are the opposite. Nevertheless, BJ Barham and Jason Kutchma—frontmen of Raleigh's American Aquarium and Durham's Red Collar, respectively—co-headline a night of acoustic translations also featuring illusions from magician Mike Casey, who will perform between each set. Barham wears his heart on his sleeve, pining for and railing against the disposable women whom a country boy finds on his endless journey across the nation's dance halls and dives. Meanwhile, Kutchma's earnestness is channeled through pent-up frustration with the status quo, his insistent rallying cries spilling over acoustic strums tonight instead of peals of distortion. Matthew Schwartz, singer/songwriter of ethereal Triad pop-rockers Pacifico, opens the free show at 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith