Our Critic's Picks 

THE GREAT WHITE JENKINS If you’ve spent any amount of time on music blogs The Catbirdseat, Songs: Illinois or their ilk, there’s a reasonably good chance you’ve heard “O Night,” the slightly off-kilter and engagingly weird song by Richmond, Va.’s The Great White Jenkins.

THURSDAY 10/11

Music

THE GREAT WHITE JENKINS If you’ve spent any amount of time on music blogs The Catbirdseat, Songs: Illinois or their ilk, there’s a reasonably good chance you’ve heard “O Night,” the slightly off-kilter and engagingly weird song by Richmond, Va.’s The Great White Jenkins. The shambling, woozy number starts off with what sounds like hubcaps falling out of the sky, then proceeds with muted barbershop-style backing vocals and bluesy electric piano. From folksy Americana to creepy, gurgling brass, this band make a joyous noise, kind of like a somnambulistic marching band on its way to a Smog-y Palace, if you catch my drift. 9 p.m. at The 5 Spot —STEVE HARUCH

Live Comedy Taping

CHRIS CROFTON If you’re disgusted by crude, puerile jokes about fat chicks, porn, incest and jizz, well, too bad for you, sucker—you’ll miss out on Chris Crofton, Nashville’s fastest-rising comedy star. For most comics who do blue, vulgarity is a cheap, shock-value tactic to disguise lack of talent (Dice, anyone?), but for Crofton, it’s the other way around: the raunch contrasts with his crushing sense of irony and piercing insight into the American psyche. Simply put: he realizes that, despite our pretensions to the contrary, we’re all vapid, celebrity-obsessed deviants who could give a rat’s ass about the world. America’s funnyman Neil Hamburger was so impressed with Crofton’s opening set at his last Nashville engagement that he scored him a spot on Comedy Death Ray, a weekly comedy showcase held at L.A.’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. On the bill with Crofton that night: Bob Odenkirk and Louis C.K. Tonight’s set will be recorded for a live CD, so come have your taunts and guffaws preserved for posterity. 9 p.m. at The End —JACK SILVERMAN

The Price Is Right

THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES “Nine killed her, nine shall die.... Nine eternities in doom!” Only the late Vincent Price could have declaimed such fustian with a straight face, while inviting the listener to stifle giggles and shivers simultaneously. Price ringmasters a three-ring circus of ornate horrors in director Robert Fuest’s sick-humored 1971 romp, playing a scarred doctor who unleashes his own plagues of Egypt against the physicians responsible for his wife’s death. Jonathan Malcolm Lampley, author of The Amazing, Colossal Book of Horror Trivia, will introduce and share some of his Phibes memorabilia. 6:15 p.m. at Nashville Public Library —JIM RIDLEY

Bible Study

MARK NOLL Contemporary evangelicals such as James Dobson and George W. Bush are known more for their impenetrable zeal than for their intellectual ability. It would be easy, then, to throw the evangelical baby out with the anti-intellectual bathwater were it not for Notre Dame history professor and Vanderbilt alum Mark Noll. In his best-known work, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Noll notoriously states, “the scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” Noll will deliver two lectures titled “The Bible in American Public Life.” The first, subtitled “Dilemmas at the Center, Insights from the Margins,” will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 11; the second, “The Special Case of the King James Version,” will take place at 10 a.m. the following day. Oct. 11 & 12 in Vanderbilt’s Benton Chapel —PAUL V. GRIFFITH

Greek Geeks

DRAMATIC READINGS FROM HOMER’S ODYSSEY In collaboration with the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, The Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA) will present this rare culture-vulture evening of staged readings excerpted from Homer’s Odyssey. Harvard professor Gregory Nagy will introduce the program. A dessert-and-coffee reception follows the free 90-minute event. For reservations, call 862-8431. 7:30 p.m. at The Parthenon —MARTIN BRADY

Music

POLLY PANIC Why does rock hate the cello? It’s a beautiful—and beautifully dark—instrument that’s consistently ignored. Portand’s Polly Panic, like the Metallica-playing women in Rasputina before her, is staking her musical life on the stand-up violin. Amping up her instrument until it sounds like bombs going off, she can rival any metal band going. If her sonic signature seems stuck in the grunge era, well, at least she’s holding nothing back. 9 p.m. at Springwater —WERNER TRIESCHMANN

Music

THE NIGHTWATCHMAN No matter how much passion he puts into it, it remains difficult to accept former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello as a solo acoustic performer. On the other hand, you can’t blame the guy for trying to establish a more stable creative space for himself after finding multi-platinum fortunes not once, but twice (more recently with Audioslave), only to have them dashed by the whims of mercurial frontmen. Boasting a refreshing baritone, Morello attempts to channel the ghost of Woody Guthrie without exactly staking any new musical ground. 10 p.m. at the Exit/In —SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Life and Times

ROBERT BARSKY A professor of French at Vanderbilt, Barsky has made a second career chronicling the life and work of Noam Chomsky, himself a man with two identities: distinguished academic and prominent left-wing dissident. Credited with revolutionizing the study of linguistics in the 1950s, Chomsky is better known for his fierce critique of American intervention abroad, from Vietnam to Iraq. Barsky’s new book, The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower, examines the concepts behind Chomsky’s activism and his impact on the wider culture. 4:30 p.m. in Vanderbilt Law School’s Hyatt Room —MARIA BROWNING

FRIDAY 10/12

Activist Theater

THE LARAMIE PROJECT Producer/director William Prater is the guiding force behind this production of the noted play about the citizens of Laramie, Wyo., and the notoriety the town gained following the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old college student and budding gay activist. Prater’s cast—which includes Tara Schaefer, Chuck Long, Menzo Faassen and Becky Delius—has been performing the show at different locations around town since Oct. 4. The three remaining dates are Oct. 11 (Club Blu), Oct. 12 (PLAY) and Oct. 13 (Cafe Coco). Admission is free, but donations are certainly encouraged and will be earmarked for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which supports inclusive hate-crimes legislation. For more information, visit praterproductions.org. Through Oct. 13. —MARTIN BRADY

Music

KANYE WEST Playing the modest, unassuming “I’m just happy to be here” card somehow paid off in Kanye West’s underdog 9/11 sales victory over 50 Cent, but where does he go from here? Now that he’s the top dawg, he’s got to start acting like it. Fortunately, his new record, Graduation, is the rare platinum album that deserves to be. Enlisting a genre-crossing lineup including Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Lil’ Wayne and John Legend (not to mention sampling everyone from Daft Punk to Elton John), Graduation manages to be simultaneously introspective and bombastic, sonically groundbreaking and stripped down—something backpackers, clubgoers and even indie-rock fans can love. West is still not much of a rapper, but as an impresario who can aggregate diverse talent in one place, he has no equal. After declaring that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” in 2005, and bounding onstage at the MTV Europe Video Music Awards to deliver an expletive-laden tirade in ’06, this year West has started…a blog (kanyeuniversecity.com/blog), which is mainly focused on his music. Well, that, and vanity shots of himself at fashion shows. 8 p.m. in Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium —BEN WESTHOFF

Bard with a Bite

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Producer/director Mark Cabus initiates his new Naked Stages project with one of Shakespeare’s more controversial works. Technically classified as a comedy, The Merchant of Venice is most commonly identified with the prickly character of Shylock, a vengeful Jewish moneylender. Cabus pushes the envelope with his updated staging, which incorporates references to drug use and features some mild sexual content (but no nudity). He’s also gathered some fine pros to work the provocative script, including Lane Davies, Ruth Cordell, Marin Miller, Jon Royal and Richard Northcutt. The costumes are by noted designer Franne Lee. The production already has a weekend of performances at Valhalla Farms in Cannon County under its belt before this in-town debut, the inaugural event at Belmont University’s new Black Box Theater. A talkback panel of experts in Shakespeare, Judaism and human rights will follow the Oct. 18 performance. Oct. 11-20 at Belmont University —MARTIN BRADY

Cozy Writer

TASHA ALEXANDER Winning the literary jackpot doesn’t always mean writing a best seller. More often, it’s writing a bestseller and then signing a Hollywood contract for the film version. Local mystery novelist Tasha Alexander has tweaked that scenario: first the movie—in this case Elizabeth: The Golden Age—and then a book of the same name. The film is a sequel to Blanchett’s 1998 hit, Elizabeth, and HarperCollins tapped Alexander to write the novel adaptation of the screenplay. The movie opens this weekend, with Blanchett reprising her role as the Virgin Queen and co-stars including Geoffrey Rush and Clive Owen. At the film’s Franklin premiere, Alexander will give an introduction and sign copies of her book. Afterward, she’ll conduct a Q&A with the audience. 7:15 p.m. at Carmike Cinema Thoroughbred 20 in Cool Springs —LACEY GALBRAITH

Music with Pluck

BLAIR STRING QUARTET This ensemble, which serves as the quartet-in-residence at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, established itself as a top modern-music group with the release of its all-Charles Ives disc last year. On Friday, the players—violinists Christian Teal and Cornelia Heard, violist John Kochanowski and cellist Felix Wang—will perform one of those Ives works: the String Quartet No. 1. Ives based each of the movements on a popular American hymn, and on their CD the players performed every note with remarkable energy and immediacy. The recital will also feature Beethoven’s String Quartet in F major, Op. 18, No. 1 and Brahms’ String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51. 8 p.m. in Blair School of Music’s Ingram Hall —JOHN PITCHER

Comedy

LISA LAMPANELLI She’s been likened to a female Don Rickles. And her comedy’s a lot like his as well. (Rimshot.) A former Rolling Stone reporter who began her stand-up career in the ’90s, Lampanelli has established herself as comedy’s Lovable Queen of Mean with her no-holds-barred insult comedy. Known mostly for her caustic wit on Comedy Central’s roasts, including those of William Shatner and Flavor Flav, no topic is taboo for this foul-mouthed filly. Though Lampanelli’s mainstay is racial humor, such as her Kobe Bryant fantasies, she’s an equal-opportunity offender. Her list of favorite topics reads like a hate-crimes bill, but her reliance on exaggerated stereotypes tends to explode them—and result in explosive laughter. 8 p.m. at Ryman Auditorium —BRENT ROLEN

SATURDAY 10/13

Art

ILLUMINARIA: PAINTINGS BY RODNEY WOODS You could easily imagine Gandalf, Harry Potter and all their brother wizards collecting the paintings of this imaginative artist. Woods’ style could be called “magical realism”—the images in his paintings look real, but the scenarios are mostly implausible. Two oils on canvas, “Oracle” and “Aegis,” appear to show Druid priestesses summoning the spirit world. “All Souls Pass With Beauty” and “On Gentle Wings” both show birds resting on human skulls—are those Gandalf’s paperweights? Meanwhile, “Taboo” shows a brightly colored yet menacing snake coiled around an apple (a clear reference to the Book of Genesis). And in “Flora,” arguably the artist’s most original work, a nude reclines in a field of violets. Opening reception 6-9 p.m. at Estel Gallery; the show runs through Nov. 3. —JOHN PITCHER

Music

MELVINS W/BIG BUSINESS Protégés of the Melvins recognized the pop possibilities in the band’s sludgy guitar riffs and, by doing so, laid the foundation for an explosion called grunge. As grunge’s forefathers, the Melvins traveled an unbeaten path—they never quite achieved the commercial success of the bands they influenced but became cult legends in the process. Reveling in slow, heavy, Sabbath-like riffs, they became the grunge band favored by metalheads. Now, 25 years in, the Melvins are as vital as ever. Having spent most of their career with a rotating cast of bassists, the typically trio-ed Melvins commissioned like-minded bass/drums duo Big Business to fill the rhythm section vacancy on last year’s (A) Senile Animal, resulting in the dueling drummer four-piece that will perform on Saturday. Big Business will also open the night. 9 p.m. at Exit/In —MATT SULLIVAN

Art

CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS AT RUBY GREEN Almost two years ago, Rob McClurg and Dona Berotti, a ceramicist and a painter who are mainstays of the local art community, curated a very fine show of contemporary glass at Ruby Green. They’re back as guest curators at the gallery, this time focusing on clay. Thanks to involvement in programs such as the Ox-Bow school in Michigan, McClurg and Berotti draw on people across the country as well as the strong pool of local artists who work with clay. Many of the artists in this show treat ceramics as a sculptural medium, rather than building vessels or functional objects. That certainly holds true for the most iconic of the local participants—Jason Briggs with his biomorphic oddities, Delia Seigenthaler with her lovely but troubling dolls and John Donovan with his toy shapes grouped into compositions designed to evoke social anxieties. Opening reception, 6-9 p.m. at Ruby Green; the show runs through Nov. 24. —DAVID MADDOX

Family Outing

SAFE HAVEN’S THIRD ANNUAL HIKE FOR THE HOMELESS How many events offer the opportunity to exercise, get your Halloween on, be a good Samaritan and meet Ozzy, the Nashville Sounds’ mascot? Only one that we know of: this weekend’s Hike for the Homeless, a fundraiser for the Safe Haven Family Shelter, the only shelter in Middle Tennessee that serves homeless families as whole units. And speaking of families, this is an ideal family outing: there’ll be pumpkin painting, inflatables, live music and food, and the paved trails are suitable for all ages. Channel 2’s Brad Schmitt is the emcee. Registration is $20 in advance, $25 the day of the hike; children 10 and under get in free. For more information, visit safehaven.org. 10 a.m at Edwin Warner Park —JACK SILVERMAN

An Alien Not Even Rush Would Deport

SECOND SATURDAY SUMMER SCI-FI SERIES AT SUNDOWN SAYONARA: E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL What, it’s been 25 years since this came out? (No wonder I’m always shocked to hear Drew Barrymore is in her 30s.) I can still remember walking out of the opening-night show in Murfreesboro in a state of euphoria, back when Steven Spielberg was asserting himself as the most reliable brand name in pop entertainment since Hitchcock. This disarming 1982 fantasy about a boy and his alien buddy seems to encapsulate everything cynics claim to hate about Spielberg—the gee-whiz sense of wonder, the galling technical fluency, the unironic, unhated suburban milieu—but it’s so beautifully made and unabashedly loving that I’m startled by the resentment it generates. It’s a fitting close to the Belcourt’s hugely successful outdoor film series, which looks like the start of a new Nashville tradition. The movie will be projected in the theater’s side lot, free and open to the public. Bring chairs and blankets or watch from your car. Concessions will be available—but no word about Reese’s Pieces. Sundown at the Belcourt —JIM RIDLEY

Cabbage Patch Kids

FIRE HALL CABBAGE STEW COOK-OFF If the mere mention of cabbage stew conjures memories of a late-’90s fad diet involving unlimited amounts of cabbage soup, don’t give in to your gag reflex. The beef- and sausage-heavy recipes at the 6th Annual Cabbage Stew Cook-Off benefiting the Auxiliary of the Metro Nashville Fire Department are a far cry from an anemic potpourri of boiled vegetables touted to promote rapid weight loss. The friendly all-you-can-eat rivalry among stations kicks off at 2 p.m.—the city’s bravest will take on former cabbage champions from Headquarters and Engines 5 and 9, a.k.a. The Bottoms. $5 in advance, $8 at the door. 2 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium —CARRINGTON FOX

Music

THE BLUES REVUE What makes contemporary Southern soul music fascinating is the way its practitioners modernize the style without losing sight of its time-tested subject matter. Tonight’s show will feature six artists singing about illicit sex and the social possibilities afforded by after-hours clubs. Mel Waiters hit with 1999’s “Hole in the Wall,” which contains the lines, “It’s seven in the morning / And I’m still in there.” Denise LaSalle is known for her Westbound and ABC recordings, and her new Pay Before You Pump finds her in superb form. A compelling live performer, Latimore remains a favorite of soul aficionados for recordings such as “Let’s Straighten It Out.” Roni, who bills herself as “The Sexy Lady of Southern Soul,” records for Nashville’s Allison label and performs songs such as “Freaky.” Rounding out the bill are Clarence Carter, whose 1986 song “Strokin’ ” is a lewd delight, and Sir Charles Jones, a vocalist specializing in pleading ballads. 7:30 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium —EDD HURT

Music

VIC CHESNUTT In both 1996 and 1998, Athens, Ga., songwriter Vic Chesnutt released major-label albums. Though his star had just risen—thanks to a benefit compilation of covers featuring Madonna and Sparklehorse—Chesnutt never charted with those records. Now, seven years into this century, Chesnutt has released five albums on four different independents. North Star Deserter, Chesnutt’s latest, released on Canadian imprint Constellation and distributed domestically by a small Chicago independent called Southern, would never have survived the suits that now sink with their major-label ships. It is a tense, cantankerous, uneasy listen recorded in Canada with a backing band composed of Silver Mt. Zion, Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Fugazi members and produced by indie filmmaker (not a musician at all) Jem Cohen. North Star Deserter creeps and clamors, and Chesnutt’s lucid visions of pills becoming religion and destruction generating newness are painted in brilliant instrumental imagery. Really, it’s no surprise that his best album in years—possibly ever—would terrify the same people responsible for signing Everclear and Garth Brooks. 9 p.m. at The Basement —GRAYSON CURRIN

Music

ROCKY VOTOLATO With a weary, bittersweet baritone—a bit like Rhett Miller under duress—Rocky Votolato remains true to the parched alt-country sound that’s his heritage as a former Texan. His tales of illusion-shattering truths (“Secrets of a Salesman”), odd characters (“Tinfoil Hat”) and transient life (“Tennessee Train Tracks”) camp out in jangly mid-tempo country-folk ballads colored by bits of harmonica, pedal steel and other traditional trappings. While originally an outlet for quieter songs that didn’t fit Waxwing—the punk band he helmed with his younger brother Cody (The Blood Brothers)—Rocky’s solo career eventually took precedence. The critical acclaim heaped on 2003’s Chris Walla-produced Suicide Medicine, along with the success of his brother’s band, eventually spelled death for Waxwing. Votolato’s follow-up, 2006’s Makers, continued to build on his understated roots-driven sound and featured crisp, well-written songs. But this summer’s Bragg & Cuss may have not gestated long enough and suffers from frustrating lack of distinctiveness. 7 p.m. at Rcktwn —CHRIS PARKER

 

SUNDAY 10/14

Race in America

ELLIOT JASPIN In his controversial new book, Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elliot Jaspin chronicles one of the most depressing periods in the whole sorry, sweeping history of racism in the U.S. His book goes beyond mind-numbing tales of lynchings, beatings, rapes and torture—the kind that makes Abu Ghraib look like a high school church retreat. It also uncovers incidents in America where white hysteria during the early part of the 20th century systematically forced every single African American out of town—places like Tulsa, Okla., and Rosewood, Fla., although most of the towns he focuses on were part of the South—and allowed the perpetrators to confiscate the property that was left behind. Jaspin will discuss our regional history of ethnic cleansing as part of the Vanderbilt Holocaust Lecture Series. 7 p.m. at Sarratt Cinema —MARGARET RENKL

Creature Feature

FRANKENSTEIN Don’t expect the familiar cinematic imagery of Boris Karloff in this new theatrical adaptation of the Mary Shelley tale. Drawing upon the 1818 version of the novel, as well as the journals of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and others, writer/director Lee Rennick strives to explore the parallels between Mary Shelley’s social and intellectual life and the characters in her book. Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s monster remains a pathetic yet articulate creation, one that is rejected by all because he is ugly. At a basic level, there’s still a designated scare factor (i.e., Halloween-friendliness) to this treatment—there’s murder and mayhem, and it’s not recommended for young children—but Rennick expands the scope of the drama to focus on human behavior in the wake of psychological trauma. Angela Gimlin leads the cast of 14. Oct. 11-20 at Rutherford County Center for the Arts —MARTIN BRADY

Nashville Goes Park City

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL SHORT FILM PROGRAM & WAR/DANCE Last year Sundance picked the Belcourt as one of 14 theaters across the country to participate in its arthouse initiative program, giving it exclusive access to festival selections and archives. This weekend brings a sampler of short subjects from Sundance 2007 as well as a featured documentary title. The shorts program spans a variety of topics, styles and countries: from comedy (Ray Tintori’s “Death to the Tinman,” which tells how Oz’s shivering junkyard lost his heart) to animation (Don Hertzfeldt’s staggering “Everything Will Be OK”), from Sweden (Jenifer Malmqvist’s “Peace Talk,” with two girls playing soldier) to a U.S./France co-production (Sophie Barthes’ “Happiness,” which makes the title commodity available for sale in a condom factory). This year’s documentary prize for directing went to War/Dance, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine’s upbeat film about three displaced Ugandan children who get a chance to prove their mettle in a nationwide music competition. Both the program and the film will show for three days only; see belcourt.org for more information. Oct. 12-14 at the Belcourt —JIM RIDLEY

MONDAY 10/15

Music

PIETA BROWN With a voice dusty as a dirt road and a personal history steeped in restlessness, broken homes and little money, Pieta Brown, daughter of folk hero Greg Brown, reminds many of Lucinda Williams. Sure enough, Williams’ guitarist Bo Ramsey produced Brown’s 2005 record In the Cool, and plays on her evocative new one, Remember the Sun (One Little Indian). Brown weaves country, folk and blues into her musical mix—“In My Mind I Was Talking to Loretta” is a laid-back country shuffle, while “Sonic Boom” finds her tackling an up-tempo rock song. And, if Brown can’t quite match the lyrical heights of Williams, she’s hardly alone on that score. 8 p.m. at Belcourt Theatre —WERNER TRIESCHMANN

Documentary

BILLY THE KID Some bullies at a public high school in Lisbon Falls, Maine, reportedly pointed casting director Jennifer Venditti toward the subject of her acclaimed film: a nervous, gallant and endlessly quotable 15-year-old named Billy, whose trials and tribulations made the movie a standout at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin. At its screening last week at New York’s IFC Film Center, the film was hailed as a funny, haunting and unusually candid portrait of an adolescent outsider. Nashville audiences will get an early look at the movie in its three-day run at the Belcourt, part of its bid for an Oscar nomination. Oct. 15-17 at Belcourt Theatre —JIM RIDLEY

Music

FREDERIC CHIU These days, music schools tend to crank out concert pianists like widgets on an assembly line, so is it any wonder that most of them sound the same? Except, of course, for Frederic Chiu. This terrific Chinese American pianist first came to fame for losing a piano competition—he failed to make the finals of the 1993 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, causing a huge uproar in music circles. Chiu was just too original for the Cliburn jurors, and it didn’t help that he prefers an unusual repertoire. Just consider his upcoming Nashville recital program: instead of playing the usual Beethoven sonata, he’ll perform Franz Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony—a piece so difficult it hurts. He’ll also play Chopin études, along with works by Ravel, Debussy and Prokofiev. The concert will dedicate Lipscomb University’s new Steinway concert grand. 8 p.m. in Lipscomb’s Ward Hall —JOHN PITCHER

TUESDAY 10/16

Music

MUSHROOMHEAD Mushroomhead rock a theatrical, genre-blending brand of alt-metal—and they’ve been wearing masks longer than Slipknot. This head-banging eight-piece, spawned 15 years ago in the grim post-industrial shadow of Lake Erie, inject an insistent electronic clatter and programmed pulse into their stormy metal rumble. Gothic overtones clothe most tracks, but the sound’s far from black metal’s unrelenting gloom. Mushroomhead gild their hard-charging chassis with fierce funky bounce and steely melodicism. Last year’s Savior Sorrow even features moments of delicacy (“Save Us”) alongside the pummeling bottom-end throb. Their sixth release, Savior may be their best to date, finding a sweet spot between Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pantera. 8 p.m. at Exit/In —CHRIS PARKER

Documentary

WE ARE TOGETHER (THINA SIMUNYE) The power of music is demonstrated forcefully in Paul Taylor’s documentary, which follows the children of South Africa’s Agape Orphanage as they face the ravages of AIDS with humor, camaraderie and shared voices. It’s difficult to describe this film without making it sound like some maudlin late-night TV commercial, but advance word (bolstered by audience-award wins at Tribeca, Edinburgh and other festivals) says the movie is joyous, captivating and inspiring rather than dreary. It’s another in this month’s bounty of docs seeking Oscar eligibility with a brief local run. As with the others, Nashville is getting it long before it hits most other cities. If you start hearing about it in January when the Oscar noms are announced, remember that you had the chance—for once—to see it first. Oct. 15-17 at Belcourt Theatre —JIM RIDLEY

Seeing Double

RUN FOR YOUR WIFE Ray Cooney’s comedy is as much a staple of dinner theater as chicken and beef. There’s also plenty of ham in this tale of a bigamist London taxi driver juggling two lives (and wives) until a pair of nosy coppers get wise to his antics. Kim Nygren directs a veteran cast featuring Dietz Osborne, Phil Perry-Dixon, Holly Shepherd, Eric Tichenor, Derek Whittaker, Martha Wilkinson and Bobby Wyckoff. Through Nov. 17 at Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre —MARTIN BRADY

WEDNESDAY 10/17

Music

ALICE IN CHAINS Throughout its original 15-year run, Alice in Chains regularly alternated electric assaults with acoustic breathers, such as the early-’90s EPs Sap and Jar of Flies. The band’s 1996 episode of MTV Unplugged remains haunting—not least because of the visible toll drug abuse had taken on singer Layne Staley, who died of an overdose in 2002. So it’s only natural that the reunited Alice, which now features William DuVall in Staley’s place, should offer a series of shows dubbed “The Alice in Chains Acoustic Hour.” (Don’t worry, it’s only a name—sets have been clocking in at around 90 minutes.) Now as then, the stripped-down format highlights the delicacy of the band’s surprisingly supple interplay and the depth of guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s songwriting. 7:30 p.m. at Ryman Auditorium —CHRIS NEAL

Music

THAD COCKRELL Listening to Thad Cockrell’s songs is to lounge languidly in the bittersweet longing of yesterday, where the only sustenance resides in sweet honky-tonk twang. There’s resilience in his high lonesome tenor, which rings and resonates like a tuning fork, making him a fine vocal foil—as he proved with Caitlin Cary (Tres Chicas, Whiskeytown) on their collaboration Begonias. The finest thing about Cockrell’s voice is not its unwavering warmth but the way it reflects a steadfast innocence. A one-time seminary student, Cockrell brings an unadorned forthrightness to his music. It’s like a welcome mat inviting you into his ache. This show celebrates the release of his new EP, To Be Loved. 9 p.m. at Mercy Lounge —CHRIS PARKER

Music

DAMO SUZUKI Damo Suzuki remains best known for his early-’70s stint in celebrated Krautrock band Can. The band discovered the Japanese expatriate outside a street cafe, and Suzuki performed his first show as a member later that same night. Inspired by beat poets, Suzuki’s approach is largely improvised. His ability to fluidly adapt to every left turn the band made yielded two of Krautrock’s most significant touchstones: Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi. Suzuki then disappeared from music for a decade. Over the past 20 years, the enigmatic singer has steadily built a worldwide network called, wait for it: Damo Suzuki’s Network. Composed of a loosely tied group of collaborators dubbed “Sound Carriers,” the Network lives and dies by improvisation: Mistakes will either lead the musicians further into brave new territory, or just sound like, you know, fuck-ups. 9 p.m. at Springwater —MATT SULLIVAN

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