Quail Ridge Books
Quartet, new from Safe Harbor Books, collects the work of four N.C. photographers freezing the world mundane for an eternity–Rob Amberg captures the life of rural communities; Caroline Vaughan presents landscapes; John Rosenthal freezes ordinary motions; and Elizabeth Matheson documents the architect. All except Amberg speak about their photography at 7 p.m.
Butch Walker, Damone
I’ve always thought Walker would feel at home in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, so it’s perfect he’s touring with Damone (who take their name from the movie’s ticket-scalping usher). Walker’s big hit, “Freak of the Week,” would’ve fit on the soundtrack, right next to Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby.” Walker’s always had a penchant for ’70s rock, whether kicking out furious Cheap Trick-inspired power pop or copping the moves of ’70s singer/songwriters, with a touch of new wave verve. For proof, look no further than his recent covers EP, which features two Elvis Costello tunes, a Queen medley, Wings’ “Live & Let Die,” and Naked Eyes/Burt Bacharach’s “Always Something There to Remind Me.” Walker’s playful spirit allows him to bring it off. Go at 9 p.m. for $13-15. –Chris Parker
The Del McCoury Band
It’s only fair to note that the latest from The Del McCoury Band, The Company We Keep, is one of the unit’s most “fair” efforts to date: The song selection–traditionally, a strong suit of the band–can be predictable, though the playing is the embodiment of high-lonesome skill and masterfully adroit turns from one of the best units of traditionalists around. But never mind that, as McCoury’s outfit puts on a live show with sincere-spun enthusiasm and a vivacious rapport. McCoury is one of the most gracious men in music, as evidenced by the album’s extended-family liner notes, in which he writes, “I have never kidded myself–I’m no self-made man.” With that credo, expect big grass for your buck ($18-20) at 8:30 p.m. –Grayson Currin
The Pour house
An apex on the road that leads from Lucinda Williams to Steve Earle, James McMurtry is a Texas songwriter still in search of his due despite having delivered the goods since John Mellencamp–enamored with a demo given to him by McMurtry’s father (and author) Larry–produced his Columbia Records debut in 1989. McMurtry’s songs take some back, but for the younger lot they offer a prescient warning: Someday, the nostalgia–bittersweet tears for a drifting memory–may be all we have. Well, that, and the future’s burden. As plotted on his latest Childish Things, that onus–imminent tragedy, eventual estrangement, cowardly politicians, cold-blooded capitalists–is a beautiful, heartbreaking, soul-building endeavor. The show cranks 8 p.m. with Stoll Vaughan for $10. –Grayson Currin
Alexander Bogardy, Divine Aesthete
Gallery of Art & Design
Late Washington, D.C., painter Alexander Bogardy’s work is as aesthetically pleasing as it is theoretically stimulating. Bogardy, an outsider artist who sidestepped academic training, employed surprising color schemes in portraiture used to explore his theological and philosophical beliefs. The exhibition runs through Dec. 17 at N.C. State University, and its opening reception starts today at 6 p.m. A symposium entitled “Supreme Sacrifices: Outsider Art at a Crossroads” follows on Nov. 5 with several guests, including the exhibition’s curators–Marsha Orgeron and Margaret Parsons.
Anders Parker, Matthew Ryan
Anders Parker, in both his Varnaline guise and as a solo artist, has always seemed like the result of Richard Manuel and Rick Danko being co-reincarnated as an indie-rock-schooled singer/songwriter. And as a Band fanatic, that’s about as high as my praise gets. Likewise, Matthew Ryan’s way of approaching a song, which he subtly reimagines from record to record, inspires critics to connect the dots from Bruce Springsteen to Paul Westerberg to John Mellencamp to Joe Henry and back again. The music starts at 10 p.m. –Rick Cornell
Paddy KEenan, Patsy O’Brien
Paddy Keenan’s billing as the “Jimi Hendrix of the uillean pipes” has no doubt led a wiseass or two to ponder whether Keenan tries to set fire to his pipes at any point during his performances. Non-wiseasses will get lost in the untethered playing of this founding member of the legendary Bothy Band. Joining Keenan is singer/songwriter/ace guitarist Patsy O’Brien, whose own billing might read something like “an Irish Robbie Robertson.” Tickets are $14-16, and the show begins at 8 p.m. –Rick Cornell
African Puppet Companies
A collaboration between South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company and Mali’s Sogolon Puppet Troupe, this evening of exquisite puppetry explores the influence of African culture on European culture over the last several centuries. At center is the story of Sogo Jan, or “Tall Horse,” a giraffe given to French King Charles X by Egyptian leader Pasha in 1827. The show’s 16-foot-tall Sogo Jan is orchestrated by two men, moving with grace to crane the giraffe’s neck, move its feet, flap its ears. Only six American cities were lucky enough to get this show this year, and–thanks to Memorial Hall and UNC’s Carolina Performing Arts Series–we get it at 8 p.m. tonight and at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 6.
Miss Nelson Is Missing
Raleigh Little Theatre
Oh, those kids in Room 207. They had it so easy, misbehaving beneath the tutelage of the warm-hearted Miss Nelson. She was the kindest teacher ever, and then she went missing, replaced by the criminally curmudgeon Viola Swamp. Now, it’s up to the good-hearted juvenile miscreants to figure out where Miss Nelson went, and fast. This is an area premiere of the play, adapted by Joan Cushing from the popular childrens book of the same name, written by Harry Allard and James Marshall. It runs through Nov. 20, and it plays at 1 and 5 p.m. today.
Watts Hospital-Hillandale Neighborhood Art Walk Watts-Hillandale
An amazing concentration of talented people live within a three-mile radius of one another, in the Watts-Hillandale, Old West Durham and Ninth Street neighborhoods. They decided to open their studios and living rooms for an art walk three years ago with the idea of presenting local, affordable art. Forty-one artists (from pros to undercover day-job creatives) will participate this year, and several folks have indicated they’ll post signs in their homes designating a certain percentage of sales to relief for natural disaster victims. It starts at noon and ends at 6 p.m. For information, contact Galia Goodman at 286-4463.
King, N.C., native and Duke Divinity School student Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove ventured to Iraq in 2003 as part of a church peacemaking team to witness as Christian missionaries to Iraqi citizens. A near collision with shrapnel in a warzone found Wilson-Hartgrove and his wife, Leah, in a hospital in Rutba, a town heavily bombed by American forces. An Iraqi doctor’s ecumenical hospitality in the face of political conflict caused the Wilson-Hartgroves to found the Rutba House in Durham’s Walltown, hoping to reach out and offer a hand to the community. Wilson-Hartgrove will read from his new book, which details his inspiration for the Durham refuge. The reading starts at 7 p.m.
From Autumn to Ashes, Boy Sets Fire
A pair of heavyweights in the post-core scene, Boy Sets Fire was the standard in the late ’90s and remain one of today’s better emo/metal-core acts. They jumped from Victory to Creed’s label, Wind-Up, but their 2003 album, Tomorrow Come Today, hit before the sound began to blow up. With their new album still several months away, they cede the headline slot to Long Island’s From Autumn to Ashes. FATA aren’t as aggressive, but when they’re not raging through hardcore breakdowns, they play surprisingly good, melodic alt-rock. It’s well-executed MOR that feeds on the edge their hardcore bridges provide. Rock for $14-16 at 8 p.m. –Chris Parker
Ris Paul Ric
If you equate acoustic discs from punk rockers with boredom, you’re not alone, but you may be wrong, especially with this one. Ris Paul Ric is Christopher Paul Richards, the former frontman of Dischord’s worth-it Q And Not U. Purple Blaze, his RPR debut and the first post-departure disc to emerge from the former Q Camp, is an acoustic collaboration with Tim Hecker, a Canadian associate of the Alien8 stable, and it subverts the dreaded “solo acoustic project” with disregard for simplicity. Adventurous, bustling and mildly psychedelic, Purple Blaze wraps Richards’ sense of pop in gossamer layers of shimmering notes off of dreadnought surfaces, the fabric painted with an expressionist’s whim. Ben Davis and Shock Cinema open. –Grayson Currin
Easily one of the year’s best hip-hop albums and one of the most approachable pieces of the Definitive Jux catalog, Black Dialogue is the unapologetically confrontational debut from Boston’s The Perceptionists, a veteran unit shaped by the flip-flop rhyming of Mr. Lif and Akrobatik backed by cuts from producer DJ Fakts One. Call them heavyweight progressive traditionalists, nodding their heads back to the days when Talib Kweli was the place to be, twisting ostensible party anthems around analytical themes of missing WMDs (“Would Condoleezza Rice cover grenades in a foxhole?”) and hip-hop hacks who get in it for the cash and turn it into self-eliminating war (“Hard tracks remind me of blacks with scarred backs.”) New 6 Hole artists Asamov open at 10 p.m. for $10. –Grayson Currin