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Coral Reef Adventure, the latest IMAX epic from the makers of Everest, opens tomorrow in Discovery Place's OMNIMAX Theatre, but viewers interested in a sneak peek - as well as a chance to hobnob with the son of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau - are welcome to attend a special preview tonight. The film follows the format of many of its large-screen predecessors, employing stunning imagery to gently push its "Save the Planet" message. The scenes involving marine life are fascinating, though the accompanying sound effects (as well as an occasionally overbearing score by Crosby, Stills & Nash) can be a bit much. Jacques' son, Jean-Michel Cousteau, will be on hand this evening for a reception prior to the screening. Tickets for tonight's premiere are $20; tickets for the film during its regular run range from $5 to $7.50. For further information, call 704-372-6261. (Brunson)


The Carolina Cobras arena football team have lost their first three games, although their first home game last weekend was a thrilling nailbiter.Tonight the Cobras play the Orlando Predators at 7:30pm in the Charlotte Coliseum. Season tickets start at $64 for all the heart-pounding thrills you can stand. Tickets for individual games are $8. And hey, if you sit close enough to the field you may even be hit by players coming over the wall -- how's that for excitement?! For more information, call 704-522-6500 or visit online at (McKinney)

The 43rd edition of the Southern Spring Show cranks up at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart today. Hopping on the Wright Brothers centennial bandwagon, the show's theme is (don't cringe) "Flights of Spring," from birds and butterflies to hot air balloons and aircraft. The highly popular annual event in lawn-and-garden-manic Charlotte is a showcase of the finest in horticulture, home accessories and furnishings, lawn and garden tools, power equipment and more. This year will feature a huge aviary filled with butterflies (by Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens), a natural garden guarded by raptors (by the Raptor Center) and a ceiling filled with miniature hot air balloons and hundreds of kites created by elementary school students countywide. The show runs through March 2 from 10am-9pm daily. Tickets are $9 at the door. For more information, call 704-376-6594 or visit online at (McKinney)


Hold on to your mascara! It's An Evening with Tammy Faye, brought to you by the Metrolina AIDS Project tonight at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Tammy Faye Bakker Messner will sit down with host Dale Pierce in a talk show format and discuss her life, faith, charity work and cancer survival, plus she'll field questions. She'll also perform a couple of musical numbers from her one-woman show. Tammy Faye was once the kitschy queen of evangelical TV, but she's become a symbol for surviving and reinventing yourself -- she's practically the personification of the power of positive thinking! The Tammy Faye Show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $25 and proceeds benefit MAP. Call 704-606-0931. (Wicker)

Edward Hopper: The Paris Years will open at the Mint Museum today and run through June 1. The show, which gives viewers a glance into the early work of one of America's best known figurative painters, was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Hopper's work, perfectly suited to his personality, produced realistic depictions of everyday urban scenes, which allowed viewers to identify with the situation in a personal manner. Museum hours are Tuesday from 10am-10pm, Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday from 12-5pm. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 ages 6-18. For more information, call 704-337-2000 or visit online at (McKinney)

A lot of kids play with models of toy soldiers, and a lot of grownups probably wish they still could. But then, some grownups still do. These days, interest in models, miniatures, and action figures of all kinds is booming, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more fervent bunch than collectors of war figurines and dioramas. We're not talking little "army men" here, but figures about a foot tall, often hand-painted and included in handmade structures that bring to mind the war-torn buildings of many World War II movie scenes. It's an extension of childhood, it's a tribute to the guys who saved the world's butt, and it's definitely real artistry. You can see, gawk at, and/or buy a wide variety of these to-scale models, figures and dioramas at the Carolina Action Figure Show from 10am till 4pm at the Holiday Inn at Cornelius I-77 exit 28. Admission is $4. (Grooms)

Former CL contributing writer Glen Hirshberg -- who, while living in Charlotte, also taught English at Providence Day School while coaching their girls' softball team to a state championship -- now lives in Los Angeles and is the proud author of a debut novel, The Snowman's Children. Talk about a Renaissance guy! The book is a compelling, even riveting story of growing up in mid-70s Detroit during a time when a serial killer was on the loose. The novel garnered a multitude of national reviews, including a rave from The Washington Post's Carolyn See. Hirshberg will read from his novel and sign books from 3pm at Barnes & Noble Sharon Corners. It's free. For more information, call 704-554-7906. (Grooms)


Greater Tuna at the Performing Arts Center brings Charlotteans back to their favorite little town in Texas where "the Lions Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies." Anyone who saw A Tuna Christmas knows the goofiness bordering on insanity they're in for; this 20th anniversary tour features Joe Sears and Martin Burke. The show will run through March 2 with shows Tuesday-Thursday at 8pm. Friday-Saturday at 8:15pm, Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2pm, and Sunday evening shows at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $18-$40. For more information, call 704-372-1000. (McKinney)

Angsty, poetic, and sultry to boot, Tori Amos, queen of all things feminine and feisty, hits Ovens Auditorium tonight at 7:30pm as part of a tour in support of her latest album Scarlet's Walk. Though her initial release, A Sorta Fairytale, has earned some mainstream airplay, the album has been virtually ignored by critics and fans alike. Her shows are always interesting, though they've been more low-key since the birth of her child. Kids'll wear you out that way. Tickets are $34. For more information, call 704-522-6500. (McKinney)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Books and Arts Editor Valerie Boyd, author of the fantastic new biography Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston, will appear tonight at UNC-Charlotte's Cone Center Afterhours at 7pm. Admission is free. For more information, call the University's Multicultural Resource Center at 704- 687-3865. (Davis)


Blues legend B.B. King has been touring for something like 50 years, bending the strings of various guitars named Lucille and overlaying a sleek, sophisticated sheen on one of America's great musical artforms. King plays Ovens Auditorium tonight at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $43.50-$38. For more information, call 704-522-6500. (Grooms)

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