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See & Do Picks 

Thursday, september 29

There's something about Sharon. After all, every other street in Charlotte, it seems, bears her name. To find out why there's so much ado about Sharon, check out the Levine Museum of the New South's program series, "New South for the New Southerner." Historian Dr. Tom Hanchett will lead educational discussions on Charlotte's history and its future, including where you can drive 105 mph without getting a ticket. (Now that's some useful information.) The get-together will also include wine and access to the museum's many fascinating exhibits. The event is from 5:30-7:30pm at the Levine. Cost is $4; museum members and corporate sponsors' employees get in for free. For reservations, call 704-333-1887 ext. 501. (Boykin)

Friday, september 30

Hey, stupid liberal gringo! Carlos Mencia is going to skewer you. Stop grinning, Mr. African American and Ms. Arab American, Mencia is going to skewer you, too. Think you're going to get away scot free, Sr. Latino? Mencia is going to skewer you the worst. That's because Carlos Mencia takes no prisoners. Born in Honduras, the controversial comic grew up in East Los Angeles and began telling jokes professionally after leaving Cal State one credit shy of an engineering degree. Since then, he's released the huge-selling comedy album Take a Joke America and headlined the "Three Amigos" tour that also featured Pablo Francisco and Freddy Soto. Some folks have called Mencia's routine racist; others call it reactionary. Comedy Central calls it potentially lucrative. The channel recently unleashed Mind of Mencia, in hopes it will be as wildly successful as the knee-slappingly funny Chappelle's Show. Hey, Mencia, are you outta yer mind? At the Comedy Zone Fri., Sept. 30, 8 & 10:15pm; Sat., Oct. 1, 8 & 10:15pm. Tickets are $20. Call 704-348-4242. (Kemp)

Charlotte Symphony maestro Christof Perick moves from strength to strength, as he follows up his Mozart/Mendelssohn season opener with an all-Strauss program. Featured guest is oboist Stefan Schilli, whom I saw last month at the Edinburgh International Festival -- dishing out some amazing licks in solo and chamber works by Elliott Carter. You can count on him to make Strauss's Oboe Concerto memorable. Richard's symphonic evocation of Don Juan gets the evening off to a chivalric start, and Perick's expertise with Strauss should put a genial face on CSO's debut of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme at Belk Theater. The concert starts at 8pm with the program repeating at the same time on Saturday. Tickets are $15-$69. Call 704-972-2000. (Tannenbaum)

With Halloween fast approaching, Paramount's Carowinds brings out the fake blood, spooks, mazes and themed rides for its annual metamorphosis into Scarowinds. Frightful ghouls, ghosts, horror movie slashers and other assorted scharacters will lurk in the shadows ready to pounce on unsuspecting visitors for 12 nights. Scarowinds will be open Sept. 30-Oct. 29, Fri and Sat, 7pm-midnight, as well as Oct. 30-31. Advance tickets are available online for $27.99. For more details call 704-588-2600 or visit scarowinds.com (Shukla)

Khecari is a Sanskrit term meaning "moving in the void" or "suspended animation." The Khecari Dance Theatre of Taos, New Mexico, will perform their trancelike Mnemosyne's Dream tonight at the Afro American Cultural Center. The performance will feature music by Mandible Chatter, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Henryk Gorecki. The company founder, Jonathan Meyer, is a graduate of UNC Greensboro. The show is at 8pm and tickets are $12. For more info call 704-374-1565. (Shukla)

Saturday, october 01

The Charlotte Oktoberfest Beer Festival returns to the NoDa neighborhood today, once again setting up shop behind the Neighborhood Theatre. For $25 ($10 for designated drivers, and free for those under 18, both of whom, ahem, can't drink), you get a commemorative glass, which you can then use to sample some 200+ beers produced by 89 different craft breweries (having gone last year, let's just say you shouldn't attempt the clean sweep). There's also music by The Truckstop Preachers, The Kilocycle Kowboys, The Stragglers and Moonshine Racers, as well as food provided by area restauranteurs. Advance tickets are available at area Mellow Mushroom locations, area Flying Saucer locations, and at www.charlotteoktoberfest.com. (Timothy C. Davis)

Gadzooks! It's time once again for knights in shining armor, drenched wenches, jousts and big turkey legs. This Saturday, the Carolina Renaissance Festival springs up in its prefab medieval village for the twelfth time. For seven consecutive weekends, Fairhaven's lords and ladies (and knaves and craftspeople) transport you back to the days before cell phones and iPods and daily showers. The festival village opens its gates from 10am to 5:30pm, rain or shine, on Saturdays and Sundays through November 13. Ye olde village of Fairhaven is located on Highway 73 at Poplar Tent Road (between I-77 and I-85). Advance tickets, available at area Harris Teeter stores, are $16 for adults and $5 for kids 5-12 (free for children under 5). You'll pay $1 more at the gate. Prithee call 704-896-5544 for more information. (Vespa)

Sunday, october 02

Death, drugs, bad deals and a surfeit of baby-mama drama have only barely impacted The Allman Brothers Band's nearly 40-year career. Since the 1960s, when the late, great Duane "Skydog" Allman and his baby bruh Gregg pioneered a blues-rock fusion that provided healing balm for generations of New South youths, this influential band's dual-lead-guitar and twin-drum attack has graced spaces from the White House to telephone adverts. The Brothers, wed to the road (and the blue note), can't stop and won't stop. Eat a peach with Les Brers and their jam-band heirs Moe at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. Showtime is 6:30 pm. More details at cellardoor.com. (Crazy Horse)

Tropical-pop singer Frankie Negrón, whose salsa hits include "Con Amor Se Gana" and "Por Tu Placer," headlines the 15th Annual Latin American Festival at the Mint Museum of Art. Not a fan of salsa? Well, there's plenty more to get you moving at this fest, including rock en español from La Rúa and La Marea, and funky, jazzy dance music from A Sign of the Times. You'll also find an explosion of food, arts and information about local Latin Americans from across Central and South America and Mexico. If all you've done is read and hear about the colors, sounds and tastes Latino culture has brought to North Carolina over the past 15 years, it's time you come out and experience it first-hand. Admission is $5; kids 9-12 get in for $3 and the munchkins can crawl in for free. The festival runs from noon until 7pm at the Mint Museum on Randolph Road. For more info, call 704-531-3848 or go to www.latinamericancoalition.org or www.mintmuseum.org (Kemp)

Monday, october 03

Arlo Guthrie makes his only Carolinas appearance tonight at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center at 8pm. As part of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of his song/record/movie Alice's Restaurant -- a song he hasn't played in years, incidentally -- Arlo (son of Woody) will be bringing along his son, Abe, now Pa's new keyboardist. The Mammals, featuring another folk-icon offspring, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, will open. Reserved-seat tickets are $35-40, available by logging onto www.performingartsctr.com. (Timothy C. Davis)

Tuesday, october 04

With all the different places that David Crowe's Mill Village: A Piedmont Rhapsody is showing up these days, it's safe to bet that the commissioned work by the Charlotte composer is receiving a warm reception. The next rhapsodic reprise of the multimedia crowdpleaser is at the lunchtime Chamber Music at St. Peter's series, exactly when you expect it -- at 12:10pm on the first Tuesday of the month. Crowe is the percussionist in the 12-piece ensemble that plays the work, and Charlotte Symphony's David Mills emerges from behind his tuba to narrate. St. Pete's Episcopal is at the N. Tryon and Seventh intersection, with free 90-minute parking offered at the nearby Transamerica Building garage. Can't do the free lunch concert? There's an after work encore at 5:30, followed by a reception at the Hodges-Taylor Gallery. Call 704-335-0009. (Tannenbaum)

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