Witherspoon Student Center, N.C. State Campus—When Decasia was released in 2002, it dazzled critics to the point of hyperbole: "This may be the greatest movie ever made," raved director Errol Morris (who's admittedly prone to grandiose statements). It's built from a succession of images culled from the decayed film stock of old, forgotten silents dug out of archives. Turns out there are several ways old film can turn rotten, all of them strangely beautiful: blistering, bubbling, warping and blurring, disintegrating into patches of speckled dots, pools of blackness or jarring flashes of negative light. The frame rate is slowed to register the individual pattern of degeneration in each exposure. This gives the images of the long-dead actors and extras from this earliest epoch of filmmaking a spectral quality, as of ghosts being eaten alive by the very matrix that preserves their form.
Decasia is difficult to categorize but it's enjoyable on many aesthetic levels: as a murky record of the people, places and cinematic decisions of a vanished age; of the mysterious physics of decomposing celluloid; and as a meditation on evanescence and mortality. The score, by Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon, recalls a more atonal, cacophonous Philip Glass, appropriately invoking the horror of physical decay. The screening is at 7 p.m. in the Witherspoon Student Center. The screening is free. Visit www.ncsu.edu/cinema. —Marc Maximov
Correction (Oct. 15, 2009): In print, we erroneously included ticket prices.
Lincoln Theatre—With clean, crisp lines, middling tempos and operatic vocals, Queensryche's mannered '80s metal was always more dinner party than midnight mass or alley brawl. Informed as much by prog rock and the power ballad as anything blues-based, they rolled like a Caddy, with grace and elegance but very little punch or chug. The band's late-'80s popularity faded during the next decade, but they maintained and are now supporting a concept album about war, American Soldier. Former Runaways singer- cum-metal queen Lita Ford opens. Pay $30-$35 at 7 p.m. See www.lincolntheatre.com. —Chris Parker
Dr. Dog, Jeffrey Lewis
Cat's Cradle—Poised between rootsy '60s pop and more lush chamber pop textures, Dr. Dog's five albums possess more hooks than a tackle shop. They move with woozy charm and stoned sway through bright arrangements loaded with organs, backing harmonies and occasional bursts of garage soul. It's an irrepressibly endearing, highly melodic approach tinged with a self-conscious shambling spirit. In fact, that may be the only thing holding this Philly quintet back from greater commercial success. On the other hand, it's the defining feature of wry antifolkster Lewis, whose odd, strummed tales are delivered with a flat affect and inherent innocence reminiscent of Jonathan Richman, only more existential. Pay $15 at 9 p.m. See www.catscradle.com. —Chris Parker
Titmus Theatre, Thompson Hall, N.C. State Campus—After opening with Amadeus, N.C. State's second production this season moves the action from the 18th-century Austrian court to the 1970s rural South. Written by Charles Randolph-Wright, a 1978 Duke graduate, Blue tells the story of the Clark family, proprietors of a funeral home in South Carolina. Told by son Reuben, the play follows the Clarks through 20 years of domestic drama. The title character is Blue Williams, a soul singer who performs songs written for the show by Nona Hendryx. The production runs until Nov. 1, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and matinees on Sundays at 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.ncsu.edu/theatre. —Sarah Ewald