Though the Radio Cafe has closed its doors, East Nashville has no shortage of exciting entertainment options this weekend. On Friday, in addition to the very intriguing "Out Guitar Night" at the 5 Spot (see Our Critics' Picks for details), there's the Pru Clearwater/Tom Mason Music Extravaganza at Family Wash. Clearwater was recently seen lending her ethereal voice to the Actors Bridge production of The Trojan Women, and got strong reviews. Renaissance man Mason plays guitars, sings, acts on stage and on screen, and plays the best bad trombone you've ever heard. His shows are always part music, part theater, part carnival midway. And just like most other Fridays, you can hop over to Lipstick Lounge, where the club's owners, sisters Ronda & Jonda, run the gamut from R&B to pop to old-school gospel covers, and appear to be having more fun than should be legal.
Then Saturday, The Carter Administration storm the 5 Spot with their irreverent, snotty and hysterical brand of pop-punk with song titles like "Tickle Me Emo," "Mike, Your Girlfriend Sucks," "Carter 8 Chappaquiddick 1," and our personal favorite, "Kinder, Gentler Motherfucker." They're joined by The Whole Fantastic World. Just a few blocks away, Jace K. Seavers brings his ensemble to the Family Wash for a night of jazz and spoken word. Seavers' shows have gotten quite a buzz for their originality and non-Nashville-ness, and apparently there will be someone dressed in what might best be described as an all-white HAZMAT suit, and patrons can draw, paint or otherwise deface the suited one as part of the performance.
Moe Denham brings his swirling, churning Hammond B-3 sounds to Cafe 123 Friday night. Denham is a talented, soulful organist who's played with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Richard "Groove" Holmes, and if that doesn't convince you of his musical gifts, a few minutes in Cafe 123 will. Get there at 8 or 9 and catch some of David Andersen's solo guitar set. Andersen's a gifted player with a vast repertoire, and with just his two hands and a guitar manages to sound like a small combo. Denham starts at 10:30.
Nashville's most dangerous cover band, Guilty Pleasures, play Friday and Saturday at 12th & Porter. Focusing on '80s songs you loved to hateand hate to admit you lovethe Pleasures feature some of the best players in town, headed up by Mike "Grimey" Grimes. Local music celebrities will take turns at the mic, but the most exciting performances often come from the closet rock-stars, who've been known to outshine the pros. The show starts at 10, but get there early to be sure you get in.
If, like us, you find the general tenor in this country to be a tad disturbing, particularly when it comes to issues of gay and lesbian rights, you won't want to miss "Love Makes a Family," an exhibit of photographs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families, accompanied by first-person accounts of love and life. The images will be on exhibit at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, 1800 Woodmont Blvd., May 21-26. There's a reception at 6 p.m. Friday.
Hanging Around gallery hosts an exhibit of Polaroid transfers and prints by Kristoffersen, and the image on the invitation suggests a promising show. The opening reception is 6-9 p.m. Friday. At that same time, Bar Twenty3 holds an opening reception for John Hung Ha's new works. Down in Franklin, at Muse Haven Art Gallery an exhibit of photography by Barry A. Noland, John McCloskey, Chris Price and several others, as well as Asian-influence furniture by Tim Edwards, opens Saturday with a reception, 5-8 p.m.
And we end where we started, back in East Nashville, where the Historic East End Home Tour, featuring some of Nashville's oldest and most glorious homes, takes place Saturday and Sunday. Get your tickets at Bongo Java East, on 11th Street.