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OCTOBER 2 - THURSDAY
Bypassing the usual Hollywood scene, the coming-of-age film Arizona Summer will hold its world premiere tonight at Phillips Place before opening its general run tomorrow. While tonight's screening is by invitation only, the public is invited to show up for the Red Carpet activities, which include autograph and photo ops with the quasi-celebrities on hand for the opening. Among those slated to attend (barring last-minute scheduling conflicts) are The Six Million Dollar Man's Lee Majors, BJ and the Bear's Greg Evigan, General Hospital's Scott Clifton, the film's director Joey Travolta, and possibly Morgan Fairchild. The event will be held at 7pm in front of the Phillips Place movie theater. (Brunson)

A new play by local playwright Nanci Hightower will be at Theatre Charlotte for just this weekend. Heartworm is a romantic, whimsical comedy about a woman whose fiance throws her over for her sister. Her reaction is, shall we say, unconventional -- she takes on the behavior of a mad canine. Sheila Snow Proctor, a former CL Actress of the Year and Charlotte's Sexiest Woman, lets the fur fly, and other Charlotte theater stalwarts round out the cast. Tonight through Saturday at 8pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm at Theatre Charlotte. Tickets are $20 for evening performances and $15 for matinees. Call 704-334-9128 for reservations. (Vespa)

OCTOBER 3 - FRIDAY
Paramount's Carowinds turns into scare central for the next month as their annual Halloween event, Scarowinds, opens tonight. Favorite attractions that are coming back to haunt us include Nightmare Manor, Creature Feature 3-D and Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion. This year, Scarowinds introduces two new attractions: The Carnival of Terror (not for the cowardly or coulrophobic) and the Toxic Trap. Scarowinds is open every Friday and Saturday night through Nov. 1 from 7pm-midnight. General admission tickets cost $32.99. For more information call 704-588-2600 or visit www.carowinds.com. (Herman)

One of the most influential singers in the history of folk music, Joan Baez is performing an intimate show at the Neighborhood Theatre tonight in NoDa. Tickets cost $40 and the show begins at 8pm. For more details, call the theatre at 704-358-9298. (Farris)

In conjunction with the ongoing Cinefest, The Light Factory hosts two days of screenings. Tonight from 6-10pm and tomorrow from 12noon to 5pm, Spirit Square's Knight Gallery will hold screenings of short movies made by filmmakers from the NC School of the Arts. Many of the filmmakers will be in attendance to discuss their works. Other Cinefest activities scheduled around town on Saturday include feature film showings, a special effects makeup booth, talent agency open casting, live music, and more. Events are free, but contributions from companies and individuals are encouraged. For more information, contact Peter Duggan at 704-378-4412 or Elyse A. Williams at 704-846-5801. (Brunson)

OCTOBER 4 - SATURDAY
When The Carolina Renaissance Festival came to town nearly a decade ago, the most common reaction was something along the lines of "Hmm. Not a bad idea, but there's no way they're going to make it here." And now . . . the Renaissance Festival has grown in popularity and scope every year; no one blinks when folks in medieval garb are seen wandering around North Mecklenburg; and giant turkey legs have become a common reference point. The arts and comedy festival that took up six acres near Huntersville in 1994 has ballooned to an 18-acre park filled with people-powered rides, a ton of crafts for sale, pubs, eateries, games of skill (I guess throwing vegetables at an insulting guy is a skill), wandering minstrels, and eight stages hosting music and comedy acts. And that doesn't count the people filling sizeable stands several times a day for medieval jousting tourneys, nor the activities for smaller children. In addition, the Renaissance Festival has been a source of work, i.e., money, for actors who are paid to walk around and be royalty or peasants and say odd things like "Huzzah!" All in all, it's amazing how the event has become one of the solid, constant parts of fall entertainment in the area. The Tenth Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival will take place over seven consecutive weekends, from today through November 16, running from 10am till 5:30pm each day. It's located between Concord and Huntersville on Hwy. 73 at Poplar Tent Road, between I-77 and I-85. Tickets are $14 for adults, $5 for kids 5-12, and if you can convince them you're under 5, you can get in free. For more information, call 704-896-5544. (Grooms)

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race For The Cure takes place today in uptown Charlotte. Some 12,000 walkers and runners are expected to take part in this year's "fundracer," which kicks off with pre-race registration and T-shirt pickup at 6:30am. Pre-race activities begin at 7am with local personalities, and the race begins at 8am. Other activities, such as a race for kids and a one-mile run/walk, begin starting at 8:30am. For more information, log onto www.komencharlotte.org

OCTOBER 5 - SUNDAY
Celebrate Hispanic/Latin American culture through food, art, dance and music at the always fabulous 13th Annual Latin American Festival on the lawn of the Mint Museum of Art today from 12noon-7pm. Back by popular demand, 12 year-old Miami recording artist, Stephanie, will headline the event. Admission is $5 adults, children 9-12 are $3 and free for ages 8 andunder and Mint members. Proceeds will fund educational, cultural and social programs of the three organizing institutions: the Latin American Coalition, The Latin American Women's Association and the Mint Museum of Art. Call 704-337-2000 for more information, including parking.

OCTOBER 7 - TUESDAY
Since NASCAR is saying good-bye to the "Winston Cup Series" and hello to the "Nextel Cup Series" next race season, the folks at Lowe's MotorSpeedway decided to kick race week off with a bang by hosting the WinstonCup Extreme Tribute Concert in appreciation of RJ Reynolds' 33-year sponsorship. Stand up comic Killer Beaz will emcee the shindig, which boasts a hearty lineup of country artists including Hank Williams Jr, George Jones, Jimmy Wayne and Trace Adkins. Classic rockers ZZ Top are also on the bill along with Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton. The music starts at 3pm. Tickets range from $20-$45 and are available through Ticketmaster and LMS. Net proceeds from the event will be donated to the Speedway Children's Charities in honor of RJR. For more, call Ticketmaster at 704-522-6500. (Farris)

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