in artistic jealousy

Deborah Johnson, a Brooklyn-based multimedia artist who has toured with Wilco, Calexico and Iron & Wine designing and performing interactive video backdrops, has created works based on the rich layered visuals she used on tour. So in addition to Radio City Music Hall, The Fillmore in San Francisco and Madison Square Garden, she can add Rebus Works to her travel diary. The opening reception for up stage, her current show, happens on Sunday, March 12 from 2-5 p.m. at Rebus Works, 301-2 Kinsey Street in Raleigh. For more info, see For a taste of Johnson’s visual candy, see
–Maria Brubeck

In loaded lyricists

A sampler: “In 1984 I was hospitalized for approaching perfection;” “I’m drunk on a couch in Nashville in a duplex near the reservoir / and every single thought feels like a punch in the face, I’m like a rabbit freezing on a star;” “No I didn’t really want to die / I only wanted to die in your eyes;” “Fast cars and fine ass, these things will pass/ And it won’t get more profound.”

Possibly more than any other American songwriter, Silver Jews principal David Berman evokes the word “goddamn” with the most consistency. In one fell swoop, he breaks hearts and cracks smiles. For his breathtaking, soul-thumping ability to tap the essence of every problem you may have ever had in four lines or less, Berman and his Scotch-dry delivery are American treasures. An artist, he’s continued to improve as a songwriter, moving from the early, associative bent of his early work to smart, snappy lines that epitomize the plight of modern man by linking muscle cars and tight jeans to primal instincts. The band gets better, too: Jews’ latest, Tanglewood Numbers, is a rollicking affair of country guitars and open chords, rolling Berman’s mind onto the big screen.The show’s at Cat’s Cradle on Tuesday, March 14. Tickets are $14-16, and the show starts at 9:30 p.m.
–Grayson Currin

In bumpin’ birthdays

“Be warned–there will be dancing on the bar,” Chico Scott writes parenthetically in a message on the Kings Web site, thanking supporters of the weekly Sunday night Kings dance party, Neu Romance, for the past three years. But the party’s not over: As Neu Romance celebrates its third year on Sunday, March 12 with a third annual installment of Yo’s Jams (which reaches back to the bygone eras of Raleigh’s best dance nights), it continues to gather supporters and DJs. On this bill, look for Scott as DJ Madcow, with help from Castro, Kiko and Mark T. and New York visitor Ms. Shing-a-Ling. The celebration is free for members and includes free snacks, pool and drink specials. Get to it at 9 p.m.
–Grayson Currin

in 19 brutal seconds

One Song Productions, a student organization run by local high school students, is producing Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles 1992. Twilight retells the story of the Rodney King beating, the trial of the officers charged with the crime, and the Los Angeles riots that followed. A diverse collection of monologues written verbatim from interviews conducted by Anna Deavere Smith portrays 34 characters, including a gang member, Korean store owners, a white juror, the former head of the Black Panther Party, and the former mayor of Los Angeles.

The free show runs from Wednesday, March 8 through Saturday, March 11 at UNC’s Swain Hall Studio II at 7:30 p.m. (with an additional 2:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday). Contact for more information.