Our Critics' Picks 

The Kronos Quartet, Tim O’Brien, Dan Paisley & Southern Grass, The Death Set, Katt Williams, King Lear, Donnie Fritts and more

THURSDAY 3/13

Space InvadersA CONVERSATION WITH THE KRONOS QUARTET This lecture/demonstration is a preview for the string quartet’s Friday concert at Ingram Hall. Sun Rings is “a multimedia, NASA-commissioned ode to the earth and its people, featuring celestial sounds and images from space,” so it’s only fitting that Vanderbilt’s Dyer Observatory will host the event, which features a chance to hear the artists discuss the influence of space sounds on their music, as well as lectures by Dyer director Rick Chappell, who specializes in the Sun-Earth environment, and Dr. Bob O’Dell, an expert on the Orion Nebulae. And for those budding romances, it’s the perfect excuse for a two-night date: Think of Thursday as the foreplay and Friday’s performance of Sun Rings (it’s like highbrow Laser Floyd) as the Big Bang. 6-8 p.m. at Dyer Observatory; concert, 8 p.m. Friday at Ingram Hall —JACK SILVERMAN

 

TheaterDOUBT The Oscar-winning film Moonstruck (1987) put writer John Patrick Shanley on the show-biz map. A later script, Joe Versus the Volcano (1990), also received serious attention. But Shanley has remained a denizen of the stage, with more than 20 produced works dating back to 1982. Doubt, winner of both the 2005 Tony Award for Best Play and the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, hearkens back to Shanley’s Bronx Catholic school days of the 1960s, relating a parable about a nun and a parish priest squaring off over inappropriate behavior involving a young black student. (Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman star in the forthcoming film version.) Tennessee Repertory Theatre mounts the Nashville premiere under the direction of René Copeland and starring Rona Carter, Jessejames Locorriere, Jenny Littleton and Delali Potakey. March 13-29 in TPAC’s Johnson Theater —MARTIN BRADY

 

Sarandon in AbandonTHELMA & LOUISE The Downtown Presbyterian Church’s always adventurous Lenten Film Series focuses this year on emancipation. In the case of Ridley Scott’s 1991 road movie—damn, has it really been almost 20 years?—that means the freedom to shoot a rapist, fight back against sexist pigs and gun your T-bird off a cliff into the sweet hereafter rather than submit to the laws of men. Talk it over on the drive home, as most everyone did 17 years ago after staggering out of the theater. Written by former Nashvillian Callie Khouri, who’ll be at the Nashville Film Festival next month, the movie is free and open to the public, as is the meal beforehand at 6 p.m. 7 p.m. at Downtown Presbyterian Church —JIM RIDLEY

 

Connect the DotsCANDY APPLE & THE BUDDIES The press kit sez early Replacements, but the sound of this tag-team garage-folk aggregate—the union of Kim, Scott and Justin Collins from Pale Blue Dot with Coley Kennedy and Pete Javier from Chicago’s Welcome to Ashley—is a sponge capable of absorbing and wringing out anything from Pulp’s rave-up “Like a Friend” (reconfigured as “Wreck My Motorcycle”) to Eddie Cochran’s “C’mon Everybody” (“Rock ’n’ Roll Paddy”) into their reverb-soaked stompers. Recorded in the Collins’ East Nashville living room, their new CD country record. kicks up a gladdening racket—boozy, shambling, sweetly grungy hoist-alongs that should ideally be accompanied by a new round at every chorus. With The Glib and The Sways. 9 p.m. at The 5 Spot —JIM RIDLEY

 

MusicSTRANGE BEDFELLOWS As we all know, things are not always how we assume they should be—especially when it comes to issues of faith and sexuality. The four acts performing at this event are all openly gay artists, and they’ll all be playing faith-based music and talking about their experiences. Included on the bill are TRiLiGi, a vocal trio featuring Steve Morris, Bob Allen and Daniel Vincent; Jeremy Ryan, a solo vocalist and member of Willing Grace, singer Justin Ryan and singer-songwriter Rusti Rae. This event is part of the God in Music City event series. 7 p.m. at The Basement —LEE STABERT

 

FRIDAY 3/14

MusicKENNY & AMANDA SMITH BAND Arguably bluegrass’s leading husband-and-wife team, the Smiths reached out beyond the genre’s core audience last year with Tell Someone, an all-gospel release that earned both Grammy and Dove Award nominations. Newcomers are likely to be energized by their instinctively deft blend of contemporary and traditional touches, while long-term fans will enjoy Amanda’s increasingly assured lead vocals and the familiar fire of Kenny’s muscular rhythm and supple guitar solos. And while they’re still plenty young themselves, they’ve assembled an even younger band that includes some dandy up-and-comers in bassist Zak McLamb, mandolin player Aaron Williams and new banjo player Trent Callicutt. 9 p.m. at Station Inn —JON WEISBERGER

 

Sweet LimeUNTITLED ARTISTS GROUP PRESENTS ACTIVE INGREDIENT For this year’s spring show, Untitled takes their one-night-only extravaganza over the river to the East Side, for an art-party at night club and live music venue Limelight Nashville. Active Ingredient will feature painting, photography, sculpture and mixed-media work by more than 80 artists, and the audience is invited to participate. Quickly becoming a regular feature of Untitled exhibits, visitors will have a chance to make their own art by taking part in on-site life drawing. 6-10 p.m. at Limelight (201 Woodland St.) —JOE NOLAN

 

The Ghost With the MostBEETLEJUICE Michael Keaton made a fine, haunted Batman, but he’s even better playing the Joker in Tim Burton’s macabre 1988 fantasy, a Charles Addams-meets-Dr.-Seuss jamboree that’s one of the merriest black comedies ever made. The cast is full of wonderful actors—Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin as the dearly departed, Catherine O’Hara and Jeffrey Jones as their haunted house’s horrible new occupants, teen dream Winona Ryder as the Goth-chick daughter who befriends the ghosts—but it’s Keaton’s untoppable daredevil turn as a sort of demonic Yosemite Sam that can make you dizzy from laughing. It’s this week’s Staff Pick late show, selected by Belcourt staffer Elle Long. Midnight March 14-15 at the Belcourt —JIM RIDLEY

Righteous BabeANI DIFRANCO is the kind of artist whose fans feel they’re on a first-name basis—they’ll talk about the first time they saw “Ani” as if describing a first date with a hopeless crush they had in high school. At the same time, DiFranco enjoys icon status: outspoken feminist, entrepreneur, independent spirit, ass kicker, taker of names and so on. That she can simultaneously seem both like an acquaintance and a goddess to her devotees speaks volumes about her talent and perseverance—as does the fact that she’s now touring both as a musician and as the author of a new book, Ani DiFranco: Verses. Reading and Q-&-A, 1 p.m. at Davis-Kidd; performance, 8 p.m. at Ryman Auditorium —STEVE HARUCH

 

MusicFOREIGNER If you happen to “accidentally” stumble upon Foreigner playing say, a Fourth of July show or a rib-fest, but don’t recognize any of the dirty white boys onstage, it’s not double vision getting the best of you. With only one original member—founding guitarist Mick Jones—there’s little link between the motley crew onstage, which includes drummer Jason Bonham and new vocalist Kelly Hansen, and the jukebox heroes of old, except all those mega-hits. As with a number of the faceless ’70s bands who’ve survived, you’ll probably spend much of the concert swigging beer and yelling at your buddies, “I didn’t know this was a Foreigner song, woo!” Of course, when the band belts out “Feels Like the First Time,” it won’t, really. But it’s still a nice thing to say. If you’re feeling too hip for so much nostalgia, have no fear: Kings of Cool, the AARP, are sponsoring. 6 p.m. at Wildhorse Saloon —AARON JENTZEN

 

TheaterTHE FULL MONTY This balls-to-the-walls, serio-comic musical based on the Academy Award-winning film earned nine Tony nominations following its 2000 Broadway run. The setting is moved from Sheffield, England, to Buffalo, N.Y., where unemployed steelworkers determined to earn money and enhance their self-esteem mount a male striptease act. The Street Theatre Company production is under the direction of Sara Youngblood Ochoa, whose cast features a salient blend of young talent and more experienced vets, including Dan McGeachy, Brian Hill, Jeffrey Williams, Daniel Vincent and Sara Schoch. Rated “R”: No children under 18 without an accompanying parent or guardian. March 14-30 at Gordon Jewish Community Center —MARTIN BRADY

 

SATURDAY 3/15

MusicGO, DOG. GO! P.D. Eastman’s children’s books, while often suffering from comparison to the better-known and more prolific output of Dr. Seuss, certainly have their own charm, and early 1960s favorites such as Are You My Mother? and Go, Dog. Go! remain staples of the read-aloud genre. Steven Dietz and Allison Gregory’s stage adaptation of the latter offers a circus atmosphere and multicolored clowning canines, all of which should enthrall the intended Nashville Children’s Theatre audience (ages 3 and up). Julee Baber directs, and she’s got strong locals to perform the dog tricks, including Peter Vann, Shawn Knight, Ross Brooks, Misty Lewis, Brooke Bryant, R. Alex Murray and Marin Miller. Through April 6 at Nashville Children’s Theatre —MARTIN BRADY

 

Paint by NumbersDIALOGUE I: PAINTING The new Dialogue series at Zeitgeist includes four shows featuring artists in different media, including photography, drawing/sculpture and works on paper. The series kicks off this Saturday with an exhibit of some of the gallery’s best painters: Will Berry, Richard Feaster, Brady Haston, Farrar Hood, Sara La, Megan Lightell, Johnny Nelson, James Perrin, Kelly Popoff Punches, Julian Rogers, Terry Rowlett, Lars Strandh, John Tallman, Lain York and Rocky Horton, the abstract painter whose work at the Lipscomb University faculty show was one of the highlights of the ’07 art year. March 15-April 26 at Zeitgiest Gallery; opening reception, 6-8 p.m. —JOE NOLAN

 

MusicDRIVE-BY TRUCKERS Nineteen songs sounds like a terrible idea. After making their shortest album to date, 2006’s A Blessing and a Curse, the Drive-By Truckers have crafted their longest work, the recently released Brighter Than Creation’s Dark. But I guess it doesn’t matter how long an album is when you listen to the first track over and over again. “Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife” is Patterson Hood at his best—understated, wistful and addictive. The rest of the album also houses some highlights, including Mike Cooley’s “3 Dimes Down” and Hood’s intense interpretations of the unfathomable demands on soldiers in the Iraq War—“The Man I Shot” and “The Home Front.” Oh, and they still put on the best live show around. 9 p.m. at Cannery Ballroom —LEE STABERT

 

Field ResearchTENNESSEE ORGANIC GROWERS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE So you want to start your own organic farm, you’re ready to start composting or you’ve already got an organic farm with compost and everything but you need to get your sustainably grown produce into the hands of local chefs: Then sign up for the Tennessee Organic Growers Association’s fourth annual conference. The day of workshops, exhibits and presentations will cover everything from beekeeping and honey production to heritage beef cattle and biodegradable mulches. Speakers include Jay Denham, opening chef at Latitude restaurant, and Peter Fossel, gardens manager at The Hermitage. Register online at tnorganics.org. $60 fee; $20 with student ID. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Farrell Westbrook Complex at Tennessee State University —CARRINGTON FOX

 

Word UpWORKS WITH WORDS It was 30 years ago that William Burroughs and Brion Gysin published The Third Mind, their how-to guide/apology for the “cut-up method”: the application of painterly collage techniques to the written word. Now, Works With Words, the new juried show at the Downtown Library’s Fine Art Gallery, turns the tables to explore the way that textual elements can play a role in visual art. Words features paintings, letterpress printing, collage, altered books, artists’ books, comics, photographs and even sculpture, like Kaaren Engle’s nest-like paper-forms. Through June 22 at Downtown Public Library —JOE NOLAN

 

MusicDAN PAISLEY & SOUTHERN GRASS That’s “Southern” as in Va.-to-Pa., stomping grounds for generations of hard-core bluegrass artists ranging from Del McCoury to Paisley and his cohorts. After laboring for years in the Southern Grass alongside his late father Bob, Paisley’s taking the group to wider audiences—if this isn’t their first ever regular Music City gig, it’s their first in a long, long time—on the strength of a magnificently melismatic, thick tenor voice that’s earned raves from colleagues like McCoury and Alison Krauss. Out later this year, his Rounder Records debut mixes Paisley staples like Hylo Brown’s vivid “The Room Over Mine” with new songs from the likes of California’s Chris Stuart, served up with picking and singing stout enough to knock you over. 9 p.m. at Station Inn —JON WEISBERGER

 

MusicJUSTIN THOMPSON was a fixture on the Nashville jazz scene before departing a few years ago for New York City. A smooth crooner and incendiary guitarist (he’s a rabid Django-phile, though by no means an imitator), Thompson wrote nearly all of the music on 2006’s Brand New Same Old Obsessions, a collection of old-school swing, ballads, the occasional pop number and even a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that sounds like a cross between late-’60s Miles and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. A warning to the fellas: Thompson’s got the kind of laid-back delivery—somewhere between Chet Baker and Harry Connick Jr.—that makes the women swoon, so grab your date and skedaddle before he goes on break. 7:30 p.m. at F. Scott’s —JACK SILVERMAN

 

Art HousePHARMACON AND VISCERA Anyone who attends house shows in Murfreesboro has likely heard of House House, a regular location for rough-and-tumble punk and metal gigs, and more recently a hotspot for noise shows. Of late, it’s also become an impromptu art gallery featuring works from MTSU students and professors ranging from paintings and mixed media to post-consumer art and mobiles (and other weird shit made out of yarn that you’d expect to see at a house show doubling as an art gallery). Hosted by organizers (and exhibiting artists) Zach Duensing, Rob Beckham and Jesse Williams, this fourth show in six months features bodily organs and medicine as its theme and invites the larger art community for viewing. With a theme like this, we’re hoping for dark interpretations—something like Silent Hill once the town turns evil. But with refreshments. 6-10 p.m. at House House Gallery (600 Greenland Drive, Murfreesboro) —TRACY MOORE

 

Are You Ready to Rumble?!WWE’S WRESTLEMANIA XXIV FAN AXXESS TOUR We’ll pile-drive you, twist your gutless little spine like a pretzel, then put you in a fisherman’s suplex till your brains ooze out of your ears, if you’re boneheaded enough to miss this exxibition of exxtatic exxess. Meet superstars Deuce, Domino and Val Venis, and divas Cherry and Jillian! Star in your own wrestling-match entrance DVD! Go head to head in WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 video-game tournaments! Compete in a WWE Raw trivia challenge (odds-on favorite: Scene editor and WWE überfan Liz Garrigan)! It’s all hosted by the legendary Hillbilly Jim (pictured), the man who used to tag-team with André the Giant. And if you even try to tell us this is a “pretend” sport, we’ll pumphandle-slam your ass from here to Tullahoma. Noon-8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at Opry Mills Mall Entertainment Court —JACK SILVERMAN

 

SUNDAY 3/16

ComedyKATT WILLIAMS Seems anybody with an over-expressive mug and the ability to crouch can be the next Dane Cook, but it takes something a little more to be universally hailed as the next Richard Pryor. For starters, it takes a keen wit, formidable improv skills, the ability to dominate multiple creative outlets and, last but not least, the chutzpah to cut to the very heart of the truth, no matter how painful the process. With January’s It’s Pimpin’ Pimpin’ CD—which flipped the rap-albums-including-comedy-bits model by featuring the likes of Snoop Dogg, Lil’ Wayne, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Da Brat and Lyfe Jennings—the proudly permed BET staple and actor accomplished all this and more. And if he’s that impressive on disk, just imagine the experience he’ll deliver in person. 7 & 10:30 p.m. at Ryman Auditorium —JULIE SEABAUGH

 

Kraken UpCLASH OF THE TITANS Nobody remembers the hokey theatrics involving studmuffin Perseus (Harry Hamlin) and the Europudding tribunal on Mount Olympus (Laurence Olivier as Zeus! Ursula Andress as mighty Aphrodite!). But any kid who saw this end-of-an-era Sinbad throwback in 1981 can tick off all the monsters—lovingly rendered in stop-motion animation by the American Méliés, special-effects wizard Ray Harryhausen. Coming right after the FX advances of Star Wars, Close Encounters and Alien—movies that all owe a debt to the ’50s effects pioneer—Harryhausen’s admittedly jerky menagerie of hissing Gorgons, winged horses and towering sea monsters looked as quaint as outsider art. Turns out that’s exactly what they were and are: signed handmade works defying the coming age of mass-produced photocopies. Selected by Belcourt marketing chief Josh Hayes, “who thinks there needs to be more stop-motion in your life.” Noon March 15-16 at the Belcourt —JIM RIDLEY

 

Art Sex DeathANGELO FILOMENO: EROS AND THANATOS The new show at the Frist Center’s Contemporary Artists Project Gallery reads like a love letter to the Grim Reaper. Filomeno draws on his background as a theatrical costume designer to create darkly dramatic symbol narratives in embroidered silk. The large-scale, iridescent surfaces and exquisite stitch-work of Filomeno’s art embrace the viewer before a given piece reveals itself to be more sepulcher than seducer. In End of Presumption, metallic silk forms the flame-like tail of a preening peacock while blood pours from its mouth in the form of ruby red crystals. In Elixir—a sly, alchemical self-portrait—black crystals spew into the open mouth of a skeleton from the rear-end of a crowing, scarlet rooster. How do you like your blue-eyed boy, Mr. Death? Through June 1 at Frist Center for Visual Arts —JOE NOLAN

 

TheaterKING LEAR Murfreesboro’s Center Players present a new interpretation of the Bard, as director Bryan M. Booth dares to relocate the noted tragedy to the late 20th century and recast the aging Lear as a Vito Corleone-figure seeking a successor to his empire. Of course there’s nothing new about new angles in staging Shakespeare, but if Booth’s mixed-bag ensemble of community players can successfully capture the organized-crime milieu with all that elevated language, it might be pretty interesting. Tony Wakefield is Lear, and his daughters are played by Amy Bernstein (the manipulative Goneril), Lauren Atkins (the cruel Regan) and Jillian Weller (the sympathetic Cordelia). March 13-23 at Center for the Arts (110 W. College St., Murfreesboro) —MARTIN BRADY

 

MusicMIKE FARRIS W/THE FAIRFIELD FOUR Sure, The Fairfield Four need nothing but their voices and the occasional handclapping to keep time while Mike Farris favors the sound of a full band and horns, but you don’t have to play six degrees of separation to show why putting them on the same bill makes sense. For starters, there’s the McCrary connection. Last year, Ann McCrary—daughter of the long-running, legendary a cappella gospel group’s late Rev. Sam McCrary—lent her formidable vocals to the jubilant, New Orleans-influenced boogie-rock on Farris’ gospel, spirituals and soul collection, Salvation in Lights. Then there’s the fiery conviction that all the singers share, regardless of their differences in age. When the Fairfield Four really get cooking a couple minutes into “Dig a Little Deeper”—the tenor hollering from the gut and bass swooping perilously low—there’s a spirit not all that unlike Farris’ bursting, throaty notes during “Sit Down Servant.” 8 p.m. at 3rd & Lindsley —JEWLY HIGHT

MONDAY 3/17

MusicTHE DEATH SET Baltimore’s Australian expat duo The Death Set explode with a sample-fueled fury unheard since Atari Teenage Riot. The buzzing synth and drum machine beats are joined by distortion-drenched bass and guitar and shouted childlike vocals for a sound that resembles the Go! Team giving Daft Punk a beatdown. Live, the raw attack’s abetted by the pair’s sweaty, spastic, hardcore intensity. At times their innocent roar suggests an electro-punk Shonen Knife, particulary on tracks like “Negative Thinking,” where frontman Johnny Siera sings, “If I felt cynicism / I’d wrap it in a blanket of discontentment / Fuck that!” They’ve released a handful of EPs and 7-inches since forming three years ago, and in April they’ll premier their full-length debut, Worldwide. 8 p.m. at Exit/In —CHRIS PARKER

 

Drink Till You’re GreenST. PATRICK’S DAY Hey kids! Strap on your puking shoes, it’s time to celebrate embarrassingly accurate ethnic stereotypes! We all know that today is the day Xenu drove the hamsters out of Portugal, but do we really know what this holiday is about? Eating boiled food that smells like dirty gym socks? Wealth-hoarding dwarves with fabulously pointy shoes? Dislodging tubers from multiple, unlubricated orifices? All of the above? You’re damn tootin’, all of the above. So sacrifice a virgin to the patron saint of public intoxication and casual sex, light a candle for the holy ghost of D.U.I. Mike and call a cab, because, if all goes as planned, you won’t know what happened until they file the police report. —SEAN L. MALONEY

 

TUESDAY 3/18

Talk Is CheapDAVID LOY When ex-Catholic David Loy speaks of “the first truly world religion,” he’s not referring to Zen Buddhism, which he currently practices. Loy, who holds Besl Family Chair of Ethics/Religion and Society at Cincinnati’s Xavier University, is instead talking about the rampant consumerism of the global economy. Spirituality and economics are inseparable, he claims, because they share the same motivation: a sense of lack. Because it misunderstands the self, the “religion of the marketplace,” as Loy calls it, ultimately fails to fill this void. Buddhism, on the other hand, can correct such misunderstandings because it takes the lack of self as its starting point. Loy’s latest book is Money, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution. His lecture, “Healing Ecology: A ‘New’ Spiritual Perspective on the Challenge of Consumerism,” is free and open to the public. 7 p.m. in Vanderbilt’s Benton Chapel —PAUL V. GRIFFITH

 

MusicN*E*R*D When not busy jarring commercial hip-hop hits (“Shake Ya Ass,” “Milkshake,” “Drop It Like It’s Hot”) like so much jelly as the production duo The Neptunes, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo man the rock trio N*E*R*D with Shay Haley. Unlike their quirky electro-funk hitmaking machine, Hugo and Williams’ N*E*R*D personas are lugubrious, attention-addled classic rock junkies injecting their inimitable energy and bounce into seam-busting arrangements. From the Santana echoing through the Latin-tinged “She Wants to Move” to the ’70s soft rock lilt of “Wonderful Place,” the trio demonstrate breadth and a lack of musical prejudice. Unfortunately, they’re better at forging an irresistible groove than putting together an intelligent couplet, sometimes penning lyrics that would make Andrew W.K. seem smart by comparison. 8 p.m. at City Hall —CHRIS PARKER

 

MusicPICO VS ISLAND TREES represent the next wave of Nashville rock—the last wave being sooo 2007. Blending bright pop influences into their ragged, catchy rock, this local trio have an earnestness that is undeniably appealing. After a trip to Austin for SXSW, they return to Nashville for their first local headlining gig. If you’re real nice to them, they might even explain what the hell their band name means. 9 p.m. at Mercy Lounge —LEE STABERT

 

MusicTHE FISK JUBILEE SINGERS feat. MANDISA Mandisa—no last name please—may have been a bit too righteous for the American Idol set, but she’s come into her own in her post-Idol career, earning a Grammy nod for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album and becoming the first new female artist to debut at No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums chart. The girl always could blow, and for this performance she’ll be joined by the legendary Fisk Jubilee Singers. 8 p.m. at Schermerhorn Symphony Center —LEE STABERTWEDNESDAY 3/19

MusicBLITZEN TRAPPER Portland, Ore., quintet Blitzen Trapper burst on the national scene last year, armed with a bushel basket full of weirdo country-rock riffs, campfire melodies and 4-tracked murk. Wild Mountain Nation, the band’s third self-released album, is a wild ride that’s subsequently landed the band on the Sub Pop label, Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” list and, for the title track, Rolling Stone’s “100 Best Songs of 2007.” It kicks off with “Devil’s A-Go Go,” barbed with seemingly arrhythmic guitar jabs reminiscent of early Captain Beefheart, while future-is-the-past nostalgia jam “Sci-Fi Kid” sounds like something Beck might have knocked out between One Foot in the Grave and Stereopathetic Soulmanure. 8 p.m. at Exit/In —AARON JENTZEN

 

Rock, Soul and All Points In-BetweenDONNIE FRITTS We’d be tempted to say the veteran Kris Kristofferson sideman was immortalized by his longtime boss as “funky Donnie Fritts” in “The Pilgrim: Chapter 33.” But when your résumé includes co-writing Dusty Springfield’s gorgeous “Breakfast in Bed,” playing a badass in Sam Peckinpah’s stock company, and helping to create the silt-deep Muscle Shoals sound, you can make your own claims on the infinite. His new album One Foot in the Groove celebrates his triumph over life-threatening kidney trouble with swampy soul, feisty lyrics and a boatload of stellar guests ranging from Tony Joe White and Billy Swan to keyboard legend Spooner Oldham. Since Fritts’ shows often look like the damn Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame, it’s worth going just to see who might show up. 9 p.m. at Douglas Corner —JIM RIDLEY

 

International LensTHE RETURN A symbolic drama with the suspense of a psychological thriller, the gripping 2003 debut feature by Alexei Zvyagintsev tightens the tension between two boys (Ivan Dobranravov and the late Vladimir Garin) and the long-absent father (Konstantin Lavronenko) who whisks them away on a fishing trip that quickly turns sinister. If you missed it during its brief run in Nashville theaters, tonight’s screening is free and open to the public. 7 p.m. at Sarratt Cinema, Vanderbilt —JIM RIDLEY

 

TheaterI AM MY OWN WIFE Naked Stages‘ Mark Cabus has already demonstrated an ability to play dozens of roles in one sitting—as in his now-legendary one-man Christmas Carol. With Doug Wright’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Cabus accepts the challenge of portraying nearly 40 different characters, including the author’s well-researched leading figure, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a transvestite with a violent childhood past and an incredible run of survival through Nazi and communist regimes in East Berlin. Born Lothar Berfelde, Charlotte became a noted collector and curator, as well as a key player in artistic and gay circles, eventually claiming the German Medal of Honor. Wright’s work is a portrait of dignity under duress, and Cabus is daring in attempting the tour de force. March 19-29 in Belmont’s Black Box Theater —MARTIN BRADY

 

ComedyOWEN BENJAMIN Seriously, we’re dying here. You can’t just promise a “Special Mystery Guest (you will not be disappointed)!” and not even offer a hint. Let’s see: Benjamin has worked with Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Nick Swardson, Anthony Clark and Dave Attell, all of whom would excite us to no end. And he did get his big break on Punk’d, though we could live without Ashton Kutcher. He’s musical, so perhaps Stephen Lynch or Tim Minchin? He’s a viral-video God; maybe Sarah Silverman or even Will Ferrell? For now, all we know is that if this secret sidekick is even half as edgy, absurd and pro-fanny pack as Benjamin, this show is gonna be good. March 19-22 at Zanies Comedy Club —JULIE SEABAUGH

MusicTIM O’BRIEN The last time Tim O’Brien released an album (actually, two of them simultaneously, but who’s counting?) he won a Grammy, but even if that weren’t the case, a new one from the genial roots-music master would be an event. As it happens, Chameleon’s a solo effort—just O’Brien, an arsenal of things with strings and the lapidary engineering of another Grammy winner, Gary Paczosa—that serves up a clutch of songs old and new written solo and with collaborators such as David Olney. They’re a dandy bunch, ranging from the melancholy to the nostalgic to the slyly political, every detail sharply etched both lyrically and musically—and each likely to be as good in person as in the studio. 9 p.m. at Station Inn —JON WEISBERGER

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