Madison Smartt Bell Talk/Jam Session
Where: LeQuire Gallery Green Hills, 3900 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 34
When: Thu., Dec. 29
Readers of this paper, and of papers in general, are likely familiar with Madison Smartt Bell, whose work has appeared everywhere from Harper’s to the New York Times Book Review, and whose novels have earned him wide acclaim — with this year’s feverish 9/11 meditation The Color of Night serving as the most recent demonstration of both his writerly gifts and the respect he commands among critics.
But readers of this paper may be less familiar with Haitian visual artists, whom Bell will discuss at a free event tonight, and even less so with his musical stylings, which range from bluesy rockers to avant-garde-leaning experiments. Bell did, however, cut a record featuring Mitch Easter on lead guitar — so you know the Nashville native has more than enough Music City in him to give Stephen King’s cover band a run for its money
A ChristMAS Holiday Hangover
Where: The Belcourt
When: 8 p.m. Wed., Dec. 28
MAS Nashville — a “mutual admiration society” consisting of five talented lady performers — gets back in gear just in time to ring out the holiday season with a gig at the historic Belcourt. The MAS missies have previously mounted five well-received cabaret-style shows, but this one features a full band — a fact that may push the presentation into more elaborate territory. But in this case, more is probably more. And even though Christmas itself will have come and gone, these garrulous gals will still offer holiday standards, plus reworkings of familiar carols and winter-type songs, as well as musical parodies. (Above, you can hear their take on Katy Perry's "Firework.")
MAS majordomo Erin Parker sees this date as an opportunity to extend the holidays and to “give people somewhere to take their families that are still in town … or somewhere to escape from the families they’re in town visiting.” (Rimshot!) Expect strong vocals and irreverent humor from Parker, Cori Laemmel, Laura Matula, Melodie Madden Adams and Megan Murphy Chambers, all experienced musical comedy artists. There’s apparently enough of a hint at ribaldry to earn the show a PG rating.
Poetry Sucks! Feat. Nickole Brown, Daniel Pujol, Jacklyn Marceau and Mystery Twins
Where: Dino's Bar & Grill, 411 Gallatin Rd.
When: Thu., Dec. 15
Last month’s inaugural Poetry Sucks! night both lived up to its full and proper name — Poetry Sucks! A Night of Poetry, Music and All Sorts of Bad Language — and marked the auspicious beginning of a genuine happening on the East Side. The December installment will feature Nickole Brown, poet, fiction writer and assistant professor of English at the University of Arkansas, who also worked a spell as editorial assistant for Hunter S. Thompson.
Joining her are Jacklyn Marceau (an instructor at Stephens College whose forthcoming memoir concerns the decade she spent working as a stripper), Daniel Pujol (the local rocker/stream-of-consciousness prose-poem scribe) and Mystery Twins (the new musical duo featuring Doug and Steph from local garage-rock mainstay The Clutters). Come for the culture, stay for the cussing and cheap beer!
Call 226-3566 for more info.
Here in the catacombs of the Scene edit bunker, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn't a fan of Re-Animator, the gonzo 1985 splatter movie freely adapted from the works of H.P. Lovecraft. (If they aren't, they're wise enough to keep it to themselves. Same with Pootie Tang.) That's why we practically bobbled our severed head when we heard that actor Jeffrey Combs — yes, Re-Animator's scientific inquisitor Herbert West in the flesh — will be performing his one-man show Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe at the Nashville Public Library 7 p.m. Jan. 19.
The show's a special treat for Re-Animator fans, as it reunites the star with director Stuart Gordon and co-writer Dennis Paoli. (They last collaborated on a Showtime "Masters of Horror" episode derived from Poe's "The Black Cat," which inspired this well-reviewed production.) It's also likely to draw folks who've followed Combs' career through stints on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Enterprise and The 4400.
There'll be a reception at 6:15 p.m. followed by the play, which kicks off a promising new series called "Night at the Library" that expands the downtown library's already plentiful cultural offerings. For more information, see the press release below.
Where: The Basement
When: 9 p.m. Wed., Dec. 14
Andrew Trube and Anthony Farrell have been The Greyhounds for over a decade now, and they’ve spent about half of that time in Austin, which is no doubt how singer-songwriter of spirituals and soul — and fellow Austinite — Ruthie Foster wound up recording one of their songs. But there’s nothing particularly Texas-y about their sly garage-funk sound — they've had gigs handling guitar and keyboards for Florida’s J.J. Grey & Mofro and, a few years back, supporting American Idol-sweeping Alabamian Taylor Hicks.
The Spring Training EP The Greyhounds put out earlier this year (which they're currently offering as a name-your-price download) has the sort of rubbery leanness, analog fuzz and half-submerged hookiness that won The Black Keys so many fans — plus a small dose of eccentricity in the form of the synth-driven pseudo-spelling lesson “H-E-L-L-O”. Who wouldn’t root for these guys?
999 Eyes Freakshow w/Panty Raid
When: 8 p.m. Thu., Dec. 8
Today’s culturally sensitive citizen might be wary of paying to see “freaks” exploited onstage. But at 999 Eyes, you can indulge your curiosity with no guilt attached. The genetically anomalous talents behind this touring troupe have rethought the old-fashioned sideshow — their mission is to celebrate genetic diversity and let “freaks” present their unique talents.
Performers such as Elephant Man, The Tiger Lady and Black Scorpion alternate between sword-swallowing vaudevillians and heartfelt storytellers, sharing tales about what it’s like to be born different from everyone else. Circus-style jug ensemble THAT Damned Band’s original numbers provide the perfect background for a night of lurid yet educational fun. The show is profanity-free and appropriate for all ages, but burlesque troupe Panty Raid opens.
The Messiah Sing-in
Where: Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway
When: Mon., Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.
A Celebration of Christmas
Where: Collins Alumni Auditorium, Lipscomb University
When: Mon., Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.
The chance to raise your voice in song, without fear of funny looks or causing dogs to howl, and hear others doing the same is one of our favorite things about the holidays. And in a city with vocal talent spilling from every coffee shop, campus pub and church function, you’ll find opportunities to hear soul-stirring performances most every night of the season — leading to choices as difficult as tonight’s.
At Christ Church Cathedral, the acclaimed Music City Baroque ensemble, under the direction of Murray Somerville, leads a mass sing-along of Handel’s evergreen The Messiah, leaving the solos to pros — tenor Stan Warren, soprano Megan Farmer, alto Mareike Sattler and bass Grant Farmer, with Joel Treybig testing his mettle on the Baroque valveless trumpet — but inviting the assembled crowd to join in on those triumphant choruses.
At the same time, Lipscomb University’s “A Celebration of Christmas” offers an evening of holiday favorites performed by the university’s A Cappella Singers and University Singers with the Lipscomb Wind Ensemble.
If you were looking for the previously announced Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore in this slot on the ACT 1 theater schedule, you might be disappointed. But instead, you might consider it an opportunity to experience something truly new and different. Indeed, this unusual musical creation, originally produced for the Internet and cannily designed to get around the technical hassles caused by the 2007-8 Writers Guild of America strike, has attained cult status: a wacked-out contemporary-lite opera gone viral.
Screenwriter/director Joss Whedon — whose credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Toy Story, Roseanne and the upcoming The Avengers — collaborated with family members Zack Whedon, Jed Whedon and Jed’s wife, actress Maurissa Tancharoen, to launch this musical tragicomedy. Set in Los Angeles, it tells the tale of aspiring supervillain Dr. Horrible, his nemesis Captain Hammer, and Penny, their shared love interest.
The original production rather famously featured Neil Patrick Harris in the title role (excerpts readily available on YouTube). Anne-Geri’ Fann adapted the screenplay and directs the Nashville premiere, and her strong cast includes Patrick Kramer, Daniel Vincent and Lindsay Terrizzi Hess, plus seven others. Look for an over-the-top story approach, plus a strangely catchy pop score that sometimes recalls the musical quirkiness of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The results definitely bear watching.
ALIAS' nomination is especially sweet, as its very first Grammy shot comes for its very first CD. Its nod for Best Small Ensemble Performance comes for Frank: Hilos, a recording of the acclaimed piece commissioned by the Nashville ensemble (among others) from composer Gabriela Lena Frank, who performs on it as well.
Elsewhere, in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category, the NSO's recording of Joseph Schwantner's Concerto For Percussion & Orchestra from the Schwantner: Chasing Light… CD won a nomination with percussionist Christopher Lamb. The NSO took home three Grammys last year for its recording of Michael Daugherty’s Metropolis Symphony and Deus Ex Machina.
Both recordings are on the Franklin-based Naxos label. The winners will be announced Feb. 12, 2012. Bravo!
An Evening with Lee Smith and Hal Crowther
Where: Lipscomb University
When: 7:30 p.m. Mon., Nov. 28
To those of you who perceive Lipscomb as a conservative Christian university ... well, not so fast, there, pigeon-holers. Yes, it’s affiliated with Churches of Christ — but the administration may be more open-minded than you give them credit for, as the Landiss Lecture Series makes clear. Case in point: the latest installment, featuring Lee Smith and Hal Crowther.
Smith, of course, is an immensely talented author whose perceptive and sometimes dark novels and short stories about life in the South have won a slew of major awards. But it’s Crowther who might raise brows. A former staff writer for Time and media critic for Newsweek, he’s a terrific journalist and essayist who makes no bones about where he stands on the cultural divide.
In a searing takedown of the Tea Party in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., alt-weekly The Independent Weekly last year, he wrote, “The Hard Right is wisdom-proof and lethally repetitious.” And in a piece titled “The Worst of the South,” published in 2007 in The Oxford American, he wrote, “When the South is safe for Darwin, maybe that’s when we can begin to boast.”
Take notice: This isn’t your father’s Lipscomb University. Free and open to the public.
UPDATE: Hal Crowther had to cancel at the last minute. Lee Smith will still appear.
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