PLAY!A Video Game Symphony

Koka Booth AmphitheatreIn the opening to Amadeus, Antonio Salieri attests to the genius of Mozart by pointing out how anyone who hears the first few bars of “A Little Night Music” can name the song. A similar phenomenon occurs among most people born after 1980 upon hearing the first few notes of the theme to Super Mario Bros. Game music has come a long way since the days of 8-bit graphics and Casio-driven soundtracks, and the new concert PLAY! features the N.C. Symphony and the Concert Singers of Cary performing renditions of everything from the classics of Castlevania and The Legend of Zelda to the newer hits of Halo and Silent Hill. They’ll be joined by Carlos Alomar, whose work includes co-writing “Fame” with David Bowie and John Lennon and collaborating with the likes of Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Iggy Pop. With the Triangle rapidly becoming one of the major video game hubs of the U.S., this event testifies to gaming’s increasing cultural import. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the show, which starts at 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit and Zack Smith

Lunch Money

The ArtsCenterIndie-rock fans with kids have their pick this weekthey can either take their children to Gustafer Yellowgold at the N.C. Museum of Art or head on over to Carrboro for Lunch Money, a Columbia, S.C.-based band that brings an alt-groove to “Ate Too Much of My Favorite Food,” “I Want a Dog,” “Nightlights” and “I Love my Library.” They’re promoting their second album, Dizzy, with a concert at 11 a.m. Tickets are $7, and no, we don’t know if they’ll bring the titlular object from their number “A Cookie as Big as My Head.” For more information, visit or Zack Smith

Kung Fu Panda

N.C. Museum of ArtGrossing more than $600 million worldwide last summer (yes, $600 million), Kung Fu Panda stars Po (voiced by Jack Black), a lovable, pudgy panda with dreams of becoming a kung fu master. After Po is unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, his dream is in reach. But, as he works toward becoming the Dragon Warrior under the guidance of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), Tai Lung (Ian McShane), a vengeful snow leopard and treacherous former student of Shifu, vies to become the Dragon Warrior at any cost. The film will be screened as part of the NCMA’s family fun night at 9 p.m. Tickets are $3 and free for ages 6 and under. Paper lantern crafts, a Red Sun Academy martial arts demonstration, $1 face painting and a meet-and-greet with someone purporting to be the panda precede the film at 7 p.m. For more information, visit or call 715-5923. Belem Destefani

Raleigh Downtown Live: Joan Jett, better locals

Moore Square ParkDespite our misgivings about Joan Jett’s artistic free pass, her bottle-black hair and her backing Blackhearts have ostensibly inspired the best afternoon of free music in Moore Square Park since Raleigh Downtown Live began four years ago: From the cuddly fuzztones of Schooner’s soul-inflected pop to the rock ‘n’ roll blasting caps of The Bleeding Hearts catalog, today’s seven-band opening slate is dynamic, diverse and smart. Carolina steel-drum band Panyelo opens, easing into the day in the mid-July heat. Schooner follows, after which the energy spikes to 10 and hovers around that mark for the rest of the day. There’s the sugar-high, snap-heavy pop of I Was Totally Destroying It and the searing guitars of Raleigh’s fine electric greyhound The T’s. Violet Vector’s paisley propensity and hints of psychedelics will fit perfectly beneath the summer sun, as will The Beast’s dexterous, erudite fusion of hip-hop, reggae and jazz. From the second stage, The Bleeding Hearts will play between the sets on the other side of the square. Don’t worry about losing your local music buzz: Their muscle and finesse won’t allow for much of an energetic nadir. It’s free and runs from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. Visit for more. Grayson Currin