In a unique, promising and most welcome collaboration, Nashville Ballet and Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music have joined forces to present an evening of new dance pieces set to original music. The musical compositions and arrangements are by Blair faculty members Michael Alec Rose, Stan Link and Crystal Plohman, and the Vanderbilt New Music Ensemble will perform the scores. The showcase work, choreographed by Nashville Ballet artistic director Paul Vasterling, is an interpretation of Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana, which completes the hat trick of local artistic homage to the great Southern playwright. (Previously this season, Tennessee Repertory Theatre produced A Streetcar Named Desire, and Mockingbird Theatre staged The Glass Menagerie.) The other featured dance works include Robert Philander’s “Premeditated” and Heather Malloy’s “Le Suil Go?” The two performances, March 14-15, are at 8 p.m. in the Blair School of Music’s Martha Rivers Ingram Center for the Performing Arts. A short discussion with the choreographers and musicians will take place after each event. Call Ticketmaster 255-ARTS or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
This week’s picks by Todd Anderson, Martin Brady, Chris Davis, Steve Erickson, Paul Griffith, Heather Johnson, Bill Levine, Jonathan Marx, Steve Morley, Jim Ridley, Joshua H. Rothkopf, William Tyler, Jon Weisberger, Angela Wibking and Ron Wynn.
The Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen For the second year at 12th & Porter, local musician John Rogers has organized a benefit for the senior remaining member of Sun Ra’s Arkestra, alto saxophonist Marshall Allen. At the age of 79, Allenfor nearly four decades the Johnny Hodges to Sun Ra’s Duke Ellingtonleads a revamped 13-piece Arkestra. He promises “something for everybody,” including off-balance reharmonizations of big-band standards, cross-fertilizations of Egyptology and the blues, as well as unbounded flights into the universe of free jazz that were far ahead of their time decades ago and still are. While the current configuration relies more heavily on guitar parts to replace the inimitable keyboard techniques of the late Sun Ra, those who attend the benefit can expect to see the Arkestra in full ritualistic flourish.
The Carter Administration This local unit are something of a cross between Weezer and Superchunk, but they compress plenty of attitude and energy into their two-minute songs. Just don’t call them emoa genre that one of their song titles mocks. They play with Grafton at the Slow Bar (and they open for Brian Jonestown Massacre Tuesday).
Mac Gayden Gayden was an A-list session guitarist back in the glory days when the likes of J.J. Cale and Bob Dylan cut tracks here. His wah-wah slide on Cale’s “Crazy Mama” is but one highlight of a semi-shadowed career that includes uncredited work on Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and founding membership in the genre-bending Barefoot Jerry. Gayden subsequently set an idiosyncratic solo course on which he remains today, serving up hippie-delic swamp-rock to two generations of the tie-dye tribe. At the Belcourt, he’ll beef up his band Mad Dogs & Englishmen-style with guests Bonnie Bramlett, Jonell Mosser and others.
Amelia White & The Blue Souvenirs Seattle’s known as the cradle of grunge, Boston has a legendary folk scene and Nashville is Singer-Songwriter Central. White has lived in all three cities, defying easy categorization wherever she goes. On Blue Souvenirs, which mixes rootsy melodies with a disconcerting lo-fi throb, she sings of palm readers, jilted sailors and the packing away of bittersweet mementos in a clear, pretty voice that never tries to match its surroundings the way a dilettante might. A talent to watch, White performs with Nini Camps and Jimmy Atto at The Basement.
Dean Hall For the better part of a decade, blues-rocker Hall appeared regularly at Rivalries on Murfreesboro Road. For some, that might conjure images of Blues Hammer (the white blues band wailing about “picking cotton” in the film Ghost World), but for fans of Hall’s imposing, Hendrix-influenced guitar and his muscular vocals, those weekly shows were can’t-miss affairs. After landing a part in The Last Castle, Hall relocated to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career; he returns to play 3rd & Lindsley.
Chris Cutler Recommended Records honcho and iconoclastic percussionist Cutler, an alumnus of Pere Ubu and Henry Cow, performs on amplified drums at ruby green contemporary arts center. See the story on p. 25.
Kathy Chiavola Band Though best known as a classically trained bluegrass singer with a growing list of harmony vocal recording credits, Chiavola is no slouch as a rhythm guitarist, making her too-rare appearances as a bandleader all the more enjoyable. Expect her band at The Station Inn to be augmented by a few guests drawn from her long and eclectic list of friends, and expect some dandy singing and great songs.
This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb This Pensacola band offer an interesting take on punk rock as hoedown. At times they sway like an Irish drinking song played by, well, some heshers from Florida. But in a better light, they invoke the bare arrangements, thin guitars and jaunty rhythms of new wavers like Violent Femmes and English Beat. They play at Red Rose in Murfreesboro.
Jack Pearson Jazz Trio Guitarist Pearson is best known for working with a host of blues and rock giants, among them Bobby “Blue” Bland, Delbert McClinton and The Allman Brothers. But when he’s backed by Charles Dungey and Jim White at Cafe 123, he’ll be demonstrating his facility with jazz improvisation.
Chef Dave This band is led by slide guitarist Seth Davis, whose name got mispronounced one evening while opening for The Samples. Davis and company celebrate the release of their disc Happy Accident, a record that features guest appearances by organist Johnny Neal and bass master Victor Wooten and a unique mix of influences the band dub “swamp fusion.” Things get under way 1 p.m. at Jazz on White Bridge.
Mark Selby/Jeffrey Gaines A pairing of edgy, if sometimes erratic singer-songwriters whose collective influences range from ’60s soul and ’70s rock to blues and country. Gaines can be a compelling vocalist and prickly lyricist, while Selby is an underrated player and sometimes arresting singer. They’ll be at 3rd & Lindsley.
Lori Mechem & Ritmos Picantes Here’s a chance to catch topflight Brazilian jazz midweek, something that doesn't happen often locally. Pianist Mechem heads the stellar ensemble Ritmos Picantes in a program of compositions showing the links between Brazilian rhythms and jazz phrasing. Things get under way at 4 p.m. at the Nashville Jazz Workshoip headquarters.
Lunasa Without creating much of a stir in the musical mainstream, this virtuosic Irish quintet have steadily gained a reputation internationally as the heirs to the contemporary Celtic throne. Sans voice or percussion, Lunasa have made their mark by punctuating traditional themes with driving acoustic guitar and upright bass (an anomaly in purist circles). Featured atop this rhythmic framework are a trio of soloists whose Emerald Isle peers are few. On St. Pat’s Day at Cafe 123, you can see why they’ve created more buzz than a glass room full of bagpipers.
Maura O’Connell Head to Station Inn for a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with the luminous O’Connell, whose Irish roots have been nourished with more than a decade’s worth of newgrass, new acoustic music and the more enduring products of the singer-songwriter movement. With backing from a group that includes fiddler Jason Mowery (on loan from Keith Urban’s band), the singer promises to offer the holiday’s most intimate and wide-ranging tribute to the Emerald Isle.
Pat Garvey A veteran singer-songwriter who has contributed material to the likes of Judy Collins and Jerry Jeff Walker, Garvey has had a long career on the road, playing college campuses, folk clubs and Irish festivals. He’ll help Music City celebrate the “wearin’ of the green” when he brings his 12-string guitar to Mulligan’s on Second Avenue North for a noon concert.
Monday, 17th-Tuesday, 18th
Corb Lund Band This Alberta-based trio bring Americana from the Frozen North. Frontman Lund’s songs are the usual two-beat, hay bales and rough ridin’ stuff, but with convincing dynamics and interesting chord changes. Currently touring in support of their new Harry Stinson-produced LP, they’re on the showcase circuit, with performances Monday as part of 12th & Porter’s 12@12th lineup and Tuesday at the Western Beat Revival and Slow Bar’s New Faces Night.
Brian Jonestown Massacre Brian Jonestown Massacre return to Nashville after a too-long absence. Their in-your-face psychedelic rock breaks little new ground, but rock ’n’ roll isn’t about pushing envelopes so much as pushing gusts of air through speakers at a rate and frequency that can incite pollination among the plants-as-people who frequent local clubs when good rocking bands like BJM play. The Carter Administration and LaGuardia open the show at The End.
Eleni Mandell Until her most recent album, Mandell was acclaimed as a noir-accented chanteuse whose songs occupied a shadow zone inhabited by Tom Waits, Kurt Weill and the L.A. post-punk scene. In a change of pace, Country for True Lovers replaces Sturm und Drang with torch and twang, featuring covers of Merle Haggard, Jeannie Seely and Irma Thomas gems given nimble neo-honky-tonk treatments by producer and former X guitarist Tony Gilkyson. Mandell’s singing sometimes overdoes the back-to-the-barrooms mannerisms, but for the most part this is an elegant and affecting assertion of country devotion. She performs at the Slow Bar’s New Faces Nite with Gouge, Melomane (see below) and the Corb Lund Band.
Frank Black & The Catholics For the dozen years since The Pixies’ demise, Frank Black has immersed himself in rock ’n’ roll. After a few memorable but stylistically divergent albums, Black found his footing with The Catholics and an unconventional, live-to-two-track recording technique. Since 1998, they’ve released six albums, including two on the same day last year. These recordings reveal how tight the band aretheir songs are spare but never thin, meaty but never fat. They play at the Exit/In with David Lovering (see below).
David Lovering As the metronomic backbeat behind The Pixies, Lovering did his part for inventing alternative rock in the early ’90s. Now he’s assumed the persona of an indie-culture Mr. Wizard; his stage show is a strange blend of scientific gadgetry, performance art and stand-up comedy. No one, even the lab-coated Lovering, seems able to describe exactly what it is he “does,” but he should be a colorful opening act for former bandmate Frank Black at the Exit/In.
Aislers Set San Francisco’s Aislers Set may have a jones for ’60s psychedelic pop, but they’ve also honed a postmodern sense of narrative and wordplay. Their smart pop songs are bright but never quite cheerful. Indeed, their mournful pop and full sound distinguished them from their punkish tourmates Sleater-Kinney when they played The End in 2000. This time around, they visit the Slow Bar with Hella and The Quails (see below).
Hella/The Quails Another serendipitous booking at the Slow Bar gives us the opportunity to see “brutal prog” band Hella, whose Magma- and Beefheart-influenced drum and guitar workouts will drop jaws and leave the crowd wondering where the structure’s at as it flies over their chatter. Also on the bill are Frisco punk rockers The Quails, whose Atmosphere is an astonishing quilt stitched from a vision of folk culture that finds Bascom Lunsford and Bikini Kill on the same patch of cloth. Both bands open for Aislers Set.
the Natural History At times, this New York band’s choppy guitars and Brit-pop melodies take after Elvis Costello and XTC, while their punkish enthusiasm recalls The Clash and The Jam. All of these influences, along with hints of their emo/math rock beginnings, converge on Beat Beat Heartbeat, their forthcoming full-length debut. The Natural History play The End with Midwestern garage-rockers The Sun.
The Conformist Ever since January, when Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Cinema announced a rare screening of Bernardo Bertolucci’s ravishing drama, excitement among local movie buffs has been rising to a fever pitch. This 1970 feature about a spineless intellectual (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who becomes a Fascist tool in World War II Italy established the 29-year-old Bertolucci as a supreme cinematic stylist; it should not be missed, especially on the big screen. It shows Thursday through Saturday at Sarratt; see the review in our Movie Guide on p. 54.
City of God The time-bending intricacy of Pulp Fiction meets the kaleidoscopic narrative propulsion of Boogie Nights in this dazzling Brazilian feature by director Fernando Meirelles, an account of teenage thug life over three decades in a Rio de Janeiro slum. The film opens Friday at Green Hills; see the review on p. 31.
Donnie Darko A strange, unclassifiable film well worth seeking out, despite its quiet release and speedy disappearance only weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Set in a keenly observed ’80s autumn, the plot concerns a geeky high-schooler who may possess the extrasensory powers needed to stave off the end of the world. The announcement of a major talent (writer-director Richard Kelly), this also features breakout performances by the gifted Gyllenhaals: Jake in the title role and Maggie as his wisecracking sister. To a moody, apocalypse-minded generation raised on bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, Kelly’s debut has an almost supernatural grip. The film screens for free, 7 p.m. Friday at Watkins Film School.
The Guru A New Delhi macarena dancer (Jimi Mistry) heads for America in search of superstardom, but instead becomes an oiled-down adornment to the porn circuit and, shortly thereafter, a fake spiritual leader to the uptown social set. Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s Bollywood-infused comedy is actually much gentler than it sounds (perhaps too gentle), but its warm openheartedness, coupled with a smart eye for New York locations and some hip world music, recalls mid-period Demme. Two expert supporting performancesHeather Graham as a porn star and Marisa Tomei as a spoiled devoteepeg the comic desperation effortlessly. The movie is showing at the Green Hills Cinema 16.
Standing in the Shadows of Motown Paul Justman’s documentary about the Funk Brothers, the sterling sidemen who defined the Motown sound, is not an Oscar contender this year for Best Documentary, as we wrote last week. It is, however, still showing for one more night at the Belcourt.
Willard Can’t say we really wanted a remake of the creepy 1971 sleeper about a resentful young man with an army of voracious rodents at his beck and calluntil we heard that the delectably odd Crispin Glover was playing Ratboy, and X Files/Final Destination scribe Glen Morgan was directing. Talk about building a better mousetrap. It opens Friday at area theaters, along with William Friedkin’s thriller The Hunted and Frankie Muniz as Agent Cody Banks.
Belcourt Oscar panel Channel 4’s Demetria Kalodimos, The Tennessean’s Brad Schmitt, City Paper/Scene scribe Ron Wynn and the Scene’s Jim Ridley talk about this year’s Academy Awards in a discussion taking place 7 p.m. Sunday at the Belcourt, before a screening of Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. Miffed that Half Past Dead got passed over? Here’s a chance to sound off in the annual Oscar debate.
The Taming of the Shrew William Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy pits the irresistible object (Kate) vs. the immovable force (Petruchio). Director David Grapes has set Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s new production in the 1950s, which should provide plenty of opportunity for interesting design elements. The cast features Anna Stone and Grant Goodman in the leads, with solid support from Missy Matherene, Jason Heil and Henry Haggard. The remainder of the cast is a veritable who’s-who of local talent, including Jeremy Childs, Matthew Carlton and Denice Hicks. The show previews on Wednesday, March 12, then opens officially the following night for a run through March 23.
Fugitive Art Center Named after a railway station in eastern Germany, “Jena Paradies” is a collaboration between Greg Pond, an art professor at the University of the South, and electronic sound artist Cornel Novac, a student at the school. A native of the Eastern European country Moldova, Novac manipulates and processes “pieces of digital sound,” as he puts it, layering them and playing with pitch, speed and texture to create warmly enveloping, if at times abrasive, musical constructions that share a kinship with the work of fellow Europeans Vladislav Delay and Fennesz. But Novac’s soundscapes are very much his own, infused with palpable human feeling and force. They should correspond in interesting ways, and on a number of levels, with Pond’s installation, which serves as the third and final portion of “Nature Is Leaving Us,” a series of exhibits the artist has set up in local galleries in the past few weeks. Here, images of bull riding, dancing girls, vacant stages and landscapes will fuel Pond’s sculptural/video investigation into the means by which we “civilize” and tame the land we live ina process that has implications as vast as the built environment and as specific and ineffable as the individual psyche. The show opens with a reception 7-9 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at which Novac will perform live.
Watkins College of Art & Design Art lovers often see works by the Watkins fine arts faculty hanging in galleries around town. But there’s only one chance each year to see the works of these talented teaching artists all in one spotat the annual Watkins Faculty Exhibition, now showing through March 21 at the school. This year’s artists include Terry Thacker, Bob Durham, Terry Glispin, Victoria Boone, Franne Lee, Barbara Fontana Yontz and 27 others. Join them at a reception, 6-8 p.m. March 13; a $10 suggested donation will benefit the Watkins fine art scholarship fund.
Reading & Writing
Jello Biafra Notorious lead singer of San Francisco politipunk band The Dead Kennedys, Biafra makes a rare visit to Nashville as part of a spoken-word tour. While his appearances guarantee a congregation of the converted, social conservatives and those who might not expect to share his views should also attend his 4 p.m. Saturday engagement at Mercy Lounge and hear what he’s got to say. Just consider the dialectic inscribed in his nameour convenient gummable dessert of flavored cows’ hooves juxtaposed against the Ibo tribe’s buried struggle against genocide and famine in Nigeria. The implication that our most trivial conveniences come at a great, unacknowledged cost to the undeveloped world should weigh heavily in our minds at a time when it’s in President Bush’s interest to press toward war, ignoring history and the wishes of the people.
Dave Ramsey If you can handle the evangelical Christian rhetoric that comes with it, there’s a lot of helpful advice in Ramsey’s successful guide to fiscal sanity, Financial Peace. Though it’s hard to place much stock in the syndicated talk show host’s ancient Puritan argument that material comfort means certainty of grace, his solid theories about getting out of debt make perfect logical sense. Still, it’s a shame to make financial security into such an exclusive club. Aren’t Jews and Muslims and Hindus and atheists also entitled to peace of mind when it comes to money? Ramsey discusses Financial Peace: Revisited, the new, revised version of his classic text, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Brentwood, 7 p.m. March 13.
“Orchids of the World” Show & Sale You loved The Orchid Thief and Adaptationnow see the exotic blooms that (more or less) inspired them. Members of orchid societies and vendors from across the South gather at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens this weekend for a show and sale spotlighting this unique flower, which engenders such fervid devotion. Highlights include 20 freestanding exhibits of orchids from all over the world.
Nashville’s 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Plan to wear some greenand give some green to a good causewhen you attend this year’s annual St. Paddy’s celebration. The event includes a parade, a 5K run and a concert, all benefiting the remarkable Room in the Inn program, which provides food and shelter for Nashville’s homeless during the winter months. The parade starts at 1:30 p.m. March 16, at 19th Avenue North and Church Street; grand marshal Maura O’Connell will headline a concert in Centennial Park following the parade.
Sister Cities of Nashville’s St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza Help foster some positive international relations at this fundraiser for Sister Cities, a program that pairs American cities with municipalities around the world to pursue joint projects and cultural exchanges. One of Nashville’s sister cities is Belfast, Ireland, hence this St. Paddy’s Day salute. Belfast humorist Gareth Higgins will be on hand to emcee the event at 6 p.m. March 15 at Belcourt Theatre. Irish music, Irish dancing and refreshments will be on tap.
2nd Annual Birdhouse Thing Last year, this unusual fund-raising event auctioned off birdhouses decorated by celebrities. The results weren’t chicken feed: More than $35,000 went to the W.O. Smith Music School, which provides affordable instruction to low-income children. In the flight path this year are houses designed by everyone from Tim McGraw to Mayor Bill Purcell. Join the bird-minded, 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Green Hills mall, where the houses will be on display and Nashville chefs will offer their wares. For ticket information, call 255-8355.
Adelicia Acklen’s 186th Birthday Party She may not be the original steel magnolia, but Adelicia Acklen could have given Scarlett O’Hara a run for her money. Born on March 15, 1817, to an affluent Nashville family, Adelicia Hayes married well but was widowed at age 29, becoming one of the wealthiest women in America. She and her second husband, Joseph Acklen, built Belmont Mansion, an Italianate-style villa that served as an escape from the heat of Adelicia’s Louisiana cotton plantation. When Joseph died during the Civil War, she soldiered onsecretly arranging with both the Union and the Confederacy to let her ship cotton to England, where it netted her nearly $1 million. The Belmont matron’s annual birthday celebration takes place 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 15 at Belmont Mansion, where costumed characters will demonstrate 19th century parlor games in the gorgeous Grand Salon; tea and birthday cake will be served at 2 p.m.
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