Charles Pilkey: The Machine in the Garden

The ArtsCenterWorld building isn’t easy. And yet when an artist succeeds in birthing a compelling universe, it satisfies something within us. I think this partially explains the galactic success of blockbuster books and movie franchises such as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ring series or George Lucas’ Star Wars. They offer complete other worlds for us to enter and inhabit, worlds that share aspects of our own but retain distinctive logic, language and legends that transport us somewhere else.

Charles Pilkey’s art offers the experience of a fully realized other realm. A comprehensive display of his work at The ArtsCenter covers the full spectrum of his output. On view are fantastical sculptures, drawings, prints and paintings, each of which delivers evidence of Pilkey’s mythic realm. A massive carved wood head rests on its side. The head is reminiscent of a gargantuan sleeping Buddha figure, but arising out of the back of the head arise whimsical homes, the constructed dream world of a sleeping architect. Other imagery includes otherworldly paintings of imaginary landscapes, flora and fauna that feels like it’s of this earthbut not. Even Pilkey’s whimsical abstractions of wave forms, each of which brilliantly bears a single found river stone set on its side, seems to have emerged from his singular world.

The show ends Sunday, June 28. Use whatever transportation you have to get over to The ArtsCenter in timethe artwork will take you the rest of the way. Amy White

Emyl Jenkins

Quail Ridge Books & MusicToo many would-be authors have the problem, once they decide to write, of not having enough to write about. This is no problem, however, for Emyl Jenkins, who forged a second career as a novelist out of her expertise as an antiques expert and dealer. Now Jenkins, creator of the Sterling Glass Mystery series, returns with The Big Steal, a follow-up to her debut success, Stealing with Style. Here, Sterling Glass, Jenkins’ antiques journalist-slash-private eye, travels to a wealthy Virginia manor house brimming with antiquesboth imitation and authentic. Glass must unravel the mystery behind a few lifted goods while managing to keep her cool through questionable insurance claims and noisy board members. If you want some cloak-and-dagger with your Antiques Roadshow, be one of the first to hear Jenkins read from her book tonight at 7:30 p.m. Kathy Justice

Bob Zellner

The Regulator BookshopBorn in Alabama to a Methodist minister father who moonlighted as a Klansman, Dr. Bob Zellner has been arrested 18 times in seven states for his numerous civil rights protests. In his new memoir, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement, Zellner recounts his days protesting, marching, sitting-in and serving as the first white field organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The story speaks of the turmoil and hypocrisy he faced on both sides. It’s an unusual perspectivethat of a white Southern man deeply enmeshed in the struggle for African-American rights. Zellner will be discussing and signing his book at 1 p.m. Visit Belem Destefani

Chapel Hill
Sunfold, Hammer No More The Fingers

Local 506Power and finesse mingle with tie-dyed fluidity in this pairing of local heavyweights Sunfold and Hammer No More The Fingers. Sunfold, the Kenny Florence-fronted progeny of Annuals, splashes splotches of Genesis and Yes all over its slinky, swooning arrangements. Luckily, these guys aren’t afraid to let their glassy sheen shatter into a rising swell of sound, either. Hammer No More lets its punchy, pop-punk roots muscle through intricate webs of instrumental interplay. Both bands deliver graceful melodies, tempered technicality and one hell of a righteous hook. Watch out for your ears. This bill includes Raleigh’s On Photon and Thoughtspeak, offering dark pop and acoustic psychedelia, respectively. The 9 p.m. show runs $8. Bryan Reed

Brett Butler

Goodnight’s Comedy ClubIn the early-to-mid-’90s, it looked like Brett Butler had it all. She went from cocktail waitress to stand-up comedian, and then developed and starred in ABC’s Grace Under Fire, TV’s highest-rated new sitcom in its first season. Golden Globe and Emmy nominations soon followed, and Butler was hailed as a fresh voice in comedy. But it soon soured. Butler battled producers for more creative control, while the set became a revolving door for short-lived writers and actors after the first season. Butler was called out for her drug use and struggled on the set after rehab. Then there was the not-insignificant incident in which she flashed the underage male actor who played her son.

Butler is now back on the road, touring, and she brings her act to Goodnight’s for four performances today and tomorrow. Here’s your chance to see if any of her show-biz mishaps have made it into her routine. Or, if the demons that ruined her TV career have followed her to the stage. For more information, visit Sarah Ewald

Chapel Hill
North Carolina Symphony

Southern VillageFor families looking for an escape from the TV screen without breaking the budget, this North Carolina Symphony performancea stop on the symphony’s statewide tour of summer concertsmight be the perfect evening. Led by conductor William Henry Curry, the symphony will play both classics from Strauss and Wagner and more familiar tunes, too, like the themes from The Simpsons and Superman. The show is free, a most refreshing word for those sacrificing culture for a lack of cash this summer. Bring a blanket to sit on the lawn and a picnic to save even more on munchies. The music begins at 7:30 p.m. See for details. Ally Helmers