In comedy over the top

If there’s a thread that runs through the career of AMY SEDARIS, a member of the Triangle’s first family of funny, it’s her unapologetic tendency to find a joke and push it to the extreme. The feature-length version of Strangers with Candy suffered for that, offering overly saturated, extended plays on jokes already executed on the excellent Comedy Central show of the same name. Stories of her young life, as presented by brother David in his books, reveal the same kind of comic tenacity, whether it be her insistence on frightening her father by wearing a fat suit to a family holiday or shouting back to her brother on a crowded New York subway, “Good luck, David. I hope you beat that rape charge.” Her latest project handles the tradition well: I LIKE YOU: HOSPITALITY UNDER THE INFLUENCE is a 304-page guide to party-planning that’s full of pictures of Sedaris playing a mischievous housekeeper. It’s easy to imagine Gerry Blanks delivering quips like “The party log may sound more like something you’d leave behind at a party after a big dinner….” Sedaris reads from I Like You at MEREDITH COLLEGE’S JONES AUDITORIUM (presented by Quail Ridge Books & Music) on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and at the DURHAM ARMORY (presented by Regulator Bookshop) in Durham on Friday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 or free with the purchase of the book. Grayson Currin

In volume control

Monolithic metal stalwarts THE MELVINS have conjured up an especially impressive constellation of current and future heavy music demigods for an extreme national tour. Openers include two side projects of Melvins drummer Dale CroverPORN and ALTAMONT (in which Crover plays guitar)and Karp and Murder City Devils offshoot BIG BUSINESS. Impressed by that band’s 2005 Hydrahead debut, Head for the Shallow, Melvins guitarist/vocalist Buzz Osbourne invited Business’ Jared Warren and Coady Willis to officially join the Melvins, resulting in a crushing new two-drummer, two-vocalist approach that proves effective on their latest, A Senile Animal. Sure, Melvins has doubled its number of consistent members, but the evening’s overall low musician-to-band ratio could have interesting results when it rolls through the CAT’S CRADLE on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The bill boasts “special guests” and insists the music will start when the doors open, suggesting a seamless assault of the senses once the clock strikes 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. An after-party with BLACK SKIES, IMPERIAL BATTLESNAKE and BLOODCOW is planned at the RESERVOIR BAR (see this week’s Get Out for more information). Rich Ivey

In daring difference

Even though it lacks a permanent, consistent home base, the Triangle’s electronic music scene is ultra-resourceful, empowered by both vision and dedication. In fact, the scene’s relative transience could be what gives it the uncanny ability to take one weekend show at one club and turn it into a big event. That’s what Chapel Hill-based electronic label Broken Fader Cartel has done with AUDIBLE, VISIBLE: A NIGHT OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND ABSTRACT ART. Broken Fader Cartel owner Brian Miller recruited five of his favorite electronic artists from across the state (including Hickory’s fantastic NAUSEOUS YOUTH FUTURE, whose kitsch keyboards twist between glitch beats) and five visual artists. This Saturday, Oct. 21, the artists will install their work in NIGHTLIGHT as the musicians alternate sets, turning the Rosemary Street space into a multimedia immersion. It starts at 9 p.m. Grayson Currin

In buying local

If you’re discouraged by the flotilla of Wal-Marts, Targets and Home Depots sailing through local planning and zoning regulations, take heart: Since 2000, citizens have stymied nearly 200 big-box developments across the United States, ranging from the hamlet of Helotes, Texas, to the L.A. suburb of Inglewood, Calif. In BIG BOX SWINDLE: THE TRUE COST OF MEGA-RETAILERS AND THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA’S INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES, author STACY MITCHELL explains how grassroots organizers have shut retail giants out of their communities or imposed size caps on the stores, whichouchreally cramps their style. Mitchell, a senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, analyzes the public policies that spur these stores to proliferate virtually uncheckedand then leave town if sales don’t meet expectations. “Subsidies have fueled the massive overdevelopment that has left much of the nation littered with dead malls and vacant big-box stores,” she writes. “It’s a self-perpetuating cycle: Faced with an empty box, cities are even more desperate to entice any sort of development.” Mitchell also dismantles arguments that big chains spur economic growth and exposes the hidden societal costs of those allegedly low, low prices. C’mon, is that sweatshop-made handbag really worth it? Mitchell lays it on the line at QUAIL RIDGE BOOKS & MUSIC in Raleigh on Monday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. Join Mitchell in advance of the reading for a wine and cheese networking reception at 6 p.m. for the RALEIGH INDEPENDENT BUSINESS ALLIANCE, which encourages consumers to buy locally produced goods and services. Lisa Sorg