Allan Gurganus' lecture On NOT Whistling Dixie: An Exhortation to the South's Young Writers will touch on totems and taboos of popular culture, trace why the South has produced so many invaluable voices and investigate why the myths of the region need contemporary retreading. 4 p.m., John Friedrick ETC Lecture Hall, NC School of Science and Mathematics, 1219 Broad St., Durham. 416-2873, firstname.lastname@example.org. Free.
Come back to NCSSM tonight for a genre-defying perfomance by pulsoptional, a new music ensemble and composers collective. 8 p.m., NC School of Science and Math, 1219 Broad St., Durham. 660-3319. $7, $5 students.
If you don't know about The Know, you oughta. This little slice of soul food heaven serves delectable veggetable plates, jerk chicken that will make you cry, and good old bean pie. Every Friday night from now on they're dishing up live jazz, too. Brother Yusuf Salim, Freeman Ledbetter and his daughter Aidia will grace the room tonight, and you're invited to bring your horns, voices and soul for the jazz jam to follow. Durham's beloved jazz announcer and writer Larry Thomas will continue to bring in regional musicians for a music series that promises to be legendary. Jazz at the Know starts at 7 p.m. at the Know Bookstore & Restaurant, 2520 Fayetteville St, Durham. 682-7228. $5.
Beltane (a.k.a. May Day) is an ancient Celtic festival that marks the height of spring and the bliss of longer days. Light a bonfire, do a dance, and run off into the woods with the fair fellow or maiden of your choice. The Nature Preserve Center honors the day with stories, music and dance starting at 4 p.m. 503 Old School Rd., Chapel Hill. 942-7477. A Scottish Beltane Celebration sponsored by Celtic Wonders includes pipes and drums, Scottish Highland and Cape Bretton dancing and a Celtic jam. 8 p.m., Carrboro Century Center, 100 N. Greensboro St. 933-6933. $12.
If you think potholes are bad these days, Indian and Colonial Era Highways in Durham County might help put things into perspective. Tom Magnuson of the Trading Path Association will discuss where footpaths, horse trails and wagon roads lay in the Durham area way back in the day. 2 p.m., Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., Durham. 560-0150. Optional 1-1 1/2 hour hike beginning at 4 p.m. off Johnson Mill Rd. in northern Durham County (directions at www.tradingpath.org).
Whether you're into crazy, classic, Amish, log cabin, Hawaiian or other quilting styles, you'll find inspiration to keep stitching at the Elements exhibit of 49 quilts at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center thru May 31. 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary. 460-4963. Mon.-Wed. 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Thu. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Behind every top golfer stands an amazing caddy. Author and NPR commentator (and Duke grad) John Feinstein discusses Tom Watson's on-course companion in Caddy For Life: The Bruce Edwards Story. 7 p.m., Quail Ridge Books & Music, 3522 Wade Ave., Raleigh. 828-7912.