Spanish for “A is for art,” the tenth annual Con A de Arte is a celebration of Charlotte’s Latino culture, community and achievements through arts and entertainment. This year’s participating artists have created works that respond to the Mint Museum Uptown’s captivating exhibit, Sociales: Debora Arango Arrives Today. Some of the many artists include Ivan Peña, Claudia Pureco, Oscar Ortiz, Angela Lubinecky and Nico Amortegui. Other artists, poets, dancers, storytellers and creative folk also are slated to showcase their art forms during the event, which includes an awards ceremony.
BRIAN CULBERTSON He seems like such a nice guy, but composer-keyboardist-trombonist Brian Culbertson should kick the shit out of whoever stuck him with the “smooth jazz” tag. True, Culbertson’s latest CD, Dreams, is a velvety, late-night baby-maker, but dig a little deeper into its hypnagogic grooves and you’ll find solid and confident grounding in funk and R&B. Unlike smooth jazz atrocities such as Chuck Mangione, Culbertson has no interest in concocting a pop hit, and though he frequently relies on suave and shimmery vocals, the kind of hired guns he turns to are Neo-soul luminary Musiq Soulchild, R&B stalwart Ray Parker Jr. and fatback funkateer Bootsy Collins. Culbertson’s high-water mark remains his 2008 LP Bringing Back the Funk, which cross-breeds sunny Ramsey Lewis-styled melodies with uplifting Earth, Wind & Fire choruses, swinging Jazz Messengers gospel and the exuberance of pre-plastic surgery Michael Jackson. Culbertson’s recent turn to mellow and romantic vibes seems like he’s forsaken funk for the time being. Yet, his compositions sway and breathe while hanging onto the heartbeat of R&B, proving that “smooth” shouldn’t be featureless, and that “adult contemporary” needn’t mean dead and buried. $74.70-$196
Having opened to the public on Earth Day, the Altered exhibit at Cornelius Arts Center up in Lake Norman features what you could call sustainable art. Four artists — Andrea Vail, Jessica Naples, Amy Bagwell and Laurie Schorr — have used found and/or discarded objects to create the works on showcase. As upcycling’s popularity grows, we’re reminded of the power that items of the past possess. The reception for the exhibit is slated to go down during ’Tawba Walk, an art crawl with entertainment. Free admission
Paul Newman delivers one of the finest performances of his lengthy career in this absorbing drama directed by Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men). Working from David Mamet’s lean script (adapted from Barry Reed’s novel), Newman stars as a boozy lawyer struggling down the comeback trail via a medical malpractice suit. No one gives him a shot at winning, especially against a polished opposing attorney (James Mason), which means he also has crippling self-doubt as one of the challenges placed before him. This was nominated for five major Oscars: Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor (Mason), Director and Adapted Screenplay. And yes, the long-standing trivial tidbit is accurate: That is indeed a 20-something, pre-Moonlighting Bruce Willis as an extra in the final courtroom scene. This will be shown as part of the Main Library series Order in the Court: Seven Classic Courtroom Movies. Free admission
It’s no big surprise that tickets to see one of the most popular comedians of our time at Belk Theater went like hot cakes — and led to a second and third show add (if not sold out already, they will be soon). Dave Chappelle remains a spearhead in the stand-up world despite his abrupt departure from Chappelle’s Show in the middle of the third season. Since then, he’s taken a rather low profile, leaving a void in the comedy scene — only filled with the occasional pop-up gigs, like this mini-tour stop in the Q.C. Rumors are circulating on the Internet about a stand-up super tour between Chappelle and Chris Rock in the future. So is this his big comeback before he hits the road with a partner in crime? We really can’t say, judging by Chappelle’s unpredictable behavior and what seems to be a fancy for reclusivity. But we do think this is one of those shows that shouldn’t be missed. $52
Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley’s classic sci-fi gothic, is usually unrecognizable when adapted to another medium. So calm your excitement if you’re expecting Shakespeare Carolina’s upcoming Frankenstein to be true to the original 1818 novel. On the other hand, the new adaptation by Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller doesn’t try to deliver anything like the old-timey Hollywood scarefest. Science has marched far closer to achieving synthetic creature creation — and conquering death — since Boris Karloff was hunted down with pitchforks. Chris O’Neill, S. Wilson Lee, and Katie Bearden star in a millennial version distilled for three players, with fresh imagery by Jon Pritchard and original music by the Clamor Sound Collective. $10-$15; Pay what you can on June 16 at 3 p.m.
Move over Sister Act! When it comes to habits and Hail Mary’s, you’ve got competition from playwright Charles Busch’s The Divine Sister — stirring up hallelujahs at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, May 31-June 22. Actor Ashby Blakely stars as the leading lady, Mother Superior, in this heavenly production directed by Matt Cosper. Superior, who was a sassy reporter before she confined herself to the convent, faces the dreadful task of building a new school while dealing with the other sisters, each of whom has their own secrets lurking behind the cloister walls. There’s a young postulant who is experiencing “visions,” a sensitive schoolboy in need of mentoring, an unusual nun visiting from Germany, suppressed sexual urges among most of the nuns, and a former suitor intent on luring Superior away from her vows. No-nonsense nuns? We think not! $17 during previews on May 31 and June 1; $26-31; Pay what you can on June 12
FLEETWOOD MAC Fleetwood Mac released a new EP to coincide with its current tour, but the anorexic Extended Play consists of just three Lindsey Buckingham cast-offs and Stevie Nick’s sun-dappled “Without You,” which dates back to the couple’s pre-Mac duo Buckingham Nicks. More telling, the tour supports the 35th anniversary reissue of the iconic 1977 LP Rumours. All early Mac iterations, including Peter Green’s hard blues incarnation and Bob Welch’s alchemical pop-psych machine, are ignored. Indeed, all that remains in the current repertoire of key songwriter (and hold-over from the Welch era) Christine McVie is the Bill Clinton ’92 campaign anthem “Don’t Stop.” To be fair, though songs from the 1975 self-titled LP and Buckingham’s fussy, coke-fueled masterwork Tusk make the cut, the Mac’s set list revolves around Rumours. How can it not? Produced when the group was a snake pit of jealousy and betrayal, Rumours is unparalleled pop that makes private pain both universal and anthemic. Reviews of the current tour are split between “recaptured magic” and “ghastly wax museum.” Yet, such a bipolar schism is fitting, coming from a band that crafted an enduring and gleaming pop surface over the hot mess wreckage of their lives. $49.50 - $139.50
Comedian Kyle Kinane has a knack for twisting mundane, everyday life occurrences. With his witty, unmotivated attitude, he ventures into the kind of territory that anyone who lacks a quirky sense of humor may not follow. He’s not lazy, but there’s something about this bearded fella that will resonate with slackers. Whether he’s talking about his experiences at Trader Joe’s, growing up in suburbia and/or living alone, Kinane mixes in his own commentary and turns a simple observation into a humorous, cynical tongue-lashing of sorts. $15
The Silent Disco is a national craze that utilizes wireless headphones that pickup groove-worthy jams broadcasted via FM-transmitters. Rather than a traditional speaker system, the seemingly silent headphones allow for the good times to keep rolling far beyond any noise curfews.
A seven-and-a-half-cent raise? This is what the protagonist of 1950s-set The Pajama Game pitches a fit for. The Tony Award-winning musical comedy is set in a PJ factory, where labor activist Babe Williams is fighting for a higher income. But in the midst of his demands, he seems to be getting cozy with Sid, the new superintendent. This has workplace drama written all over it. $12-$24
Bending wood is one of those art techniques that I don’t understand. It looks complicated and I kind of enjoy keeping its twisted process a mystery. Folks who share similar appreciation and ignorance about the craftsmanship of this art form will want to visit New Gallery of Modern Art for sculptor Rick Lazes’ The World Is Bending exhibit. Lazes, better known as CEO of the N.C. Music Factory, has been sculpting for three decades. The latest exhibit, filled with sleek, curvy, sharp designs and wood work is described as making “a social statement about the changes and challenges that people around the world are encountering during the early part of the 21st century.” Free admission
They say you are either remembered or forgotten after death. But Emilio Stanzani falls somewhere between those lines. A renowned Swiss sculptor and artist (1906-1977), his abstract works continue to circulate the globe, yet little seems to surface about Stanzani himself (try a quick Google search and you'll see what I mean). That makes the new exhibit of his works, Appetite for Risk: Works by Emilio Stanzani, at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art all the more curious. Though small, the exhibit only contains 12 works created by Stanzani between 1956 and 1968, it provides insight into the styles of his works, which vary from abstract drawings, sketches and paintings that are polychromatic and shape shifting, to more representational sculptures of wood, stone and bronze. While you're there, be sure to check out the museum's main exhibit, Artistic Relationships: Partners, Mentors and Lovers, as well as other collections of mid-20th century artwork by big name artists. $4-$8 (free for members and children ages 10 and under)
In recent years, objects used for eating and drinking have taken interesting new turns — rubber ducky tea infusers are plenty proof of that! Mint Museum Uptown's newest exhibit F.O.O.D (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design) takes this concept a step further by showcasing innovative objects that are used to prepare, cook or present food. Antoni Miralda, an artist from Spain, curates the exhibit with products showcased from Alessi and black+blum. The exhibit is comprised of appliances and devices spread out among four categories: table, kitchen, pantry and garden. While you're there, be sure to check out two other new exhibits, Sociales: Debora Arango Arrives Today and Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto. $5-$10
It's not an exaggeration to say that love is in the air at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The museum's latest exhibit showcases more than 50 pieces by some of modern art's most renowned figures including Joan Miró and Alexander Calder. Artistic Relationships digs deep to expose the ways these artists were connected to one another through shared passions and more personal circumstances. Many of them shared friendships, love affairs (ooh la-la!) and teacher/student relationships. Think of this as the closest you're ever going to get to a Midnight in Paris-type experience. $4-$8