TEGAN AND SARA
Throughout their 15-year career, twin sisters Tegan and Sara have transitioned from edgy folk-rock to punchy-yet-atmospheric indie-pop, all the while maintaining a lyrical balance between ache and fulfillment, a yearning to connect with the promise of transformation. With their latest LP, the ’80s New-Wavey Heartthrob, the twins take the pop star plunge, ditching the rocky guitars for smooth-as-Katy Perry dance grooves. Tegan and Sara have always been deft with a well-turned tune, so this shift to sparkly princess pop is not unprecedented. Still, it’s odd that their current tour finds this passionate-yet-pensive act opening for mindless boy band du jour The Wanted. In the past, an intriguing schizoid tension pitted Sara’s artsy nuance against Tegan’s simpler, more direct song-craft. That’s been traded for a perky-yet-samey-sounding synth lacquer that sands off the spikes and shards of T&S’s sound for a rough approximation of Cyndi Lauper or early Madonna. It’s not a bad place to be, and Tegan and Sara’s transcendent message remains. Yet their current dance-floor sheen threatens to surround their sharp songs with an impenetrable candy-coated shell. (Pat Moran)
Godspell portrays hippie holiness at its best. That is, John-Michael Tebelak’s ‘70s Broadway musical is a far-out retelling of the Gospel According to Matthew — with Jesus’ teachings, betrayal and crucifixion — paired with Stephen Schwartz’s rock music, colorful costumes and jittery dances. That’s not to say that upcoming performances at Knight Theater will make you a believer, but they might send you rejoicing out onto Tryon Street upon exit. Just have a little faith and see for yourself. (Anita Overcash) $20 and up
Since the ’60s, gifted and intuitive multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg has blurred stylistic lines, effortlessly blending rock, folk, blues and country. Learning guitar from blues titan Reverend Gary Davis, Bromberg hopped on the tail end of the Greenwich Village folk boom, became the “go to” session ace for Doug Sahm, Dylan and others, and launched a solo career characterized by his matter-of-fact baritone, class clown humor and otherworldly incandescence on guitar, fiddle, dobro and mandolin. A musician’s musician on the cusp of fame, Bromberg walked away from the business in 1980, devoting himself to violin-making. After a decades-long sabbatical, the former George Harrison and Grateful Dead collaborator returned with his incendiary flat-picking and warm sense of humor intact. Nowadays touring with a “fuzzy math” quartet that frequently spills over into six or seven members, Bromberg has released the new LP Only Slightly Mad, which channels the laid back eclecticism of his best ’70s efforts. Critics charge that he hasn’t changed his act since those halcyon days, but why should he? Bromberg’s been so ahead of the genre-bending curve that the rest of the world is still trying to catch up. (Pat Moran)
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should create. This is a lesson well-learned in flicks like Frankenstein and The Terminator. In both films, disaster strikes — a mad scientist stitches together a lumbering monster and artificially intelligent machines attempt to destroy the human race — all due to man’s longing to create. Luckily, the latest mechanical pieces assembled by folks at Davidson College are far less threatening. Even better, the works are a parody of Norman White’s “Helpless Robot,” which was incapable of movement. Parodic Machines will feature works by artists Nick Bontrager, David Bowen, Matt Kenyon, Hye Yeon Nam and Fernando Orellana, while Desiring Machines will feature works by Paula Gaetano Adi, curator for Parodic Machines and longtime creator of robotic artwork. Reception on Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Parodic Machines is held in Van Every Gallery. Desiring Machines is held in Smith Gallery.
Om! Playwright Mallery Avidon grew up in an ashram, and in O Guru Guru Guru, or Why I Don’t Want to go to Yoga Class with You, her heroine Lila will thoroughly explain to us why she has strayed from the path. It’s a three-part journey at CAST, including a PowerPoint presentation, a puppet show and a visit to the Eat Pray Love ashram, where we can expect a Julia Roberts sighting. Be prepared to take off your shoes, maybe sit yogi-style on a cushion, and drift off into meditation as Lila — actually the luminous Cody Harding — invites us to see things her way. If you’ve never entertained the notion that spirituality in America is overly commercialized, you will be shocked, shocked by Lila’s attitude in this comedy directed by CAST artistic director Michael R. Simmons. (Perry Tannenbaum) $18-$28
Corny as it is, the folks at Carolina Actors Studio Theatre are bringing back A Tuna Christmas, its favorite (or so we’re guessing, based on numerous past runs — last year was an exception) holiday hell-raiser. Set in the “third smallest town in Texas,” a rambunctious Christmas Eve simmers with the vandalism of Christmas lawn displays, a production of A Christmas Carol that’s threatened by unpaid bills and the arrival of aliens from outer space. Actors Tom Ollis and Jack Utrata portray more than 20 characters (yep — that’s a lot of costume changes), including a duo of radio personalities, snowed in at the station, who report on the town’s chaotic current affairs over the airwaves. (Anita Overcash) $18-$28
Shadows can be dark, mysterious, reflective and distorted. They are faceless, making up for lack of details by elongating forms. For Guyanese artist Stanley Greaves, they are “symbolic of the collective unconscious.” This can be gloomy or gracious, as expressed through the movements and poses of his figures. Greaves, better known for surreal paintings inspired by political turmoil in Guyana from the 1960s to the 1980s, has created this new series for UNC Charlotte’s Murmurs on the Other Side of the Light exhibit. It will also showcase some of his earlier Caribbean-influenced works. Come during the opening reception, when Greaves will lecture and local mime Hardin Minor will perform. Free admission. Reception on Nov. 23, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Anita Overcash) Free admission
Money. It’s the first thing you’ll probably think of when you read the title of this new exhibit at McColl Center for Visual Arts. If that’s the case, you’re partially right about the reference. This exhibit does feature what appears to be money, but also opens the doors to “creative” currency. Organized by Core Visual Art — a collective of six former McColl Center affiliate artists, including Daniel Allegrucci, Crista Camarroto, Diane Hughes, Ashley Lathe, Laura McCarthy and Felicia van Bork — the idea is to create dialogue around forms of exchange. A piece in the exhibit, inspired by the exchanging of ideas, is “State Currencies.” For it, artists came up with their own ideas of currency for all the states in the U.S., based on ongoing political drama. Folks attending the opening reception can add their two cents to an interactive work. Opening reception on Nov. 22. (Anita Overcash) Free admission
Forget Ferris wheels, fun houses, funnel cakes, corndogs or whatever else you associate with fairs. That is not what this new Mint Museum exhibit is about. Instead, Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851-1939 showcases extravagant glass, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, metalwork and textiles. If you’re like me and decorative art at a fair seems foreign to you, that’s because in those days (remember, we’re talking 1851-1939, when technology was limited) it was a way for folks with money to make a big purchase and see new designs from around the world. Exhibition highlights include an extraordinary Fabergé tiara fashioned from hundreds of tiny rose-cut diamonds set on knife-edge mounts, which gives the tiara the appearance of woven lace. Items from Tiffany & Co., Lalique, Cartier, and Boucheron will be represented. And you thought a fair couldn’t be classy?
It's Find Your Muse open mic night at The Evening Muse this and every Monday. Musicians, grab up your music gear and head over to perform one of your own creations in front of a crowd. No one can guarantee they'll be liked, but constructive criticism is always helpful! Get there early to snag a performance spot. And, if you don't play, come out to watch. You never know who might show up. $3
Brew enthusiasts can expand their knowledge — rather than just their bellies! During Growler's buzz-worthy talks, hosted by brewers and distributors, you'll learn the art of craft brewing. Free admission
This exhibit exposes the greatness of photographer Sonia Handelman Meyer and works by other members of the long-defunct Photo League — a NYC photog group established in 1936 for budding young artists. Much of Meyer’s work focuses on social justice and presents individuals in a documentary style. From shoots at integrated hospitals to Harlem scenes, Meyer captures captivating portraits. After PL shut down in 1951, Meyer fell under the radar but her works resurfaced in Charlotte, where she moved later in her life. This showcase reminds us of photography’s ability to spur social change, a power that was very much opposed, and even dismantled, by the powers-that-be of Meyer’s time. (Anita Overcash) $5-$10; free for members and children 4 years old and under
In an effort to further explore African-American identity, The Gantt Center is unveiling three new exhibits. They’ll focus, more specifically, on black men through a variety of mediums. Question Bridge: Black Males, created by Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair, is a video project based around San Diego’s African-American community. Later expanded, the project asks black men to express their views on a range of topics. There’s also New Mythologies, a multi-media exhibit of works by Brooklyn-based artist William Villalongo. He uses symbolism and intricate details to make his viewers dissect the meaning in his works — interwoven with aspects of race, identity and history. It’s a fun quest. Also on exhibit: African-American Art Since 1950: Perspectives from the David C. Driskell Center, comprised of works inspired by the social, cultural and political visions of its creators, both professional and budding African-American artists. $6-$8