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MAY 13 - THURSDAY
The Light Factory will present its Fourth Annual Carolinas Filmmakers Showcase tonight in the Duke Power Theatre at Spirit Square. The evening will feature a wide range of short films created by North and South Carolinians. The night will begin at 6pm with a "Meet the Filmmakers" reception in Spirit Square's Middleton-McMillan Gallery, followed by the movies at 7pm. There will also be a Q&A session after the screenings. Admission is $7 at the door. For more info, call 704-333-9755 or go online to www.lightfactory.org. (Brunson)

MAY 14 - FRIDAY
The Charlotte Film Society's Second Week/Second Chance series continues today at the Manor Theatre as well as next Friday at Movies at Birkdale. This month's offerings are the dark comedy Buffalo Soldiers, corporate thriller Demonlover, brooding drama The Son, and the sentimental tale Together. For an interview with Buffalo Soldiers director Gregor Jordan, as well as short reviews of all four films, see this issue's Film section; for info on prices and times, call 704-414-2355 or go online to http://charlottefilmsociety.com. (Brunson)

The Charlotte Sting have a powerhouse team this year, with returning key players Allison Feaster, Dawn Staley and Andrea Stinson. In addition, the Sting snagged some talented rookies in the draft including All-Americans Nicole Powell and Kelly Mazzante. Check out the team's snazzy new uniforms as they take on the Washington Mystics in a preseason homegame at 7pm. The game will be played at the Bobcats Basketball Center in Fort Mill, SC (exit 88 off I-77). All tickets are general admission at $5 per person, and may be purchased by calling 1-877-WNBA-TIX or at www.ticketmaster.com. (Grossman)

For the second time in just over a year, opera lovers get to experience the exoticism of Georges Bizet. CPCC Opera Theatre is presenting a rare nugget, The Pearl Fishers, that transports us to the coast of Sri Lanka, looking out on the Indian Ocean. Maha Gingrich's Indian Dance Academy and Kathryn Horne's Dance Central supply the colorful ceremony and the orgiastic savagery as the mutual vows of a newly anointed king and a jungle hunter unravel. The cause of the friends' strife is a ravishing priestess who makes grim vows of her own -- including chastity. In a French opera! Shockingly, the king deceives his own people to fulfill his own personal obligations, something that would never happen in Washington, DC. Paolo Pacheco, Ron Taylor, and Nora Waggoner form the lovers' triangle through Sunday in Pease Auditorium at 1200 Elizabeth Ave. Tickets are $12. Call 704-330-6534. (Tannenbaum)

MAY 15 - SATURDAY
Tired of the same alleged "alt.rock" across the radio dial? Bored silly by paint-by-numbers roots music? Head over to The Room tonight for the Califone show and experience a real alternative to the usual fare. This Chicago-based quartet has carved out a unique niche by combining a reverence for authentic blues, folk, rock and country with modern elements like tape loops, synthesizers and imaginative percussion. The resulting mix sounds at once familiar and totally fresh -- and it still rocks. Joined by like-minded local acts Steady Baker (Pyramid's Joey Stephenson and Ben Best) and the Houston Brothers, Califone's set (and the rest of their East Coast tour) will be filmed for possible use in a documentary. The opening act should hit the stage around 10pm, and at only $8 you'll get your money's worth. For more information visit The Room's website (www.theroom.tv) or call 704-527-4511. (Schacht)

Jam band fans can get warmed up for Bonnaroo at the 3rd annual MAY fest music festival. The fest, which is also a benefit to support Hospice at Charlotte, is hosted by local band Matone at Miracle Acres Farm in Midland, about 30 minutes from downtown Charlotte. Five bands perform from 1-11pm, and camping's free on site. They've programmed some different types of music, too, to give you a break from the long jams. Concord band Prevalent Heroes opens with their take on pop punk, and Indian Sunburn mixes Crazy Horse-style Americana with their Panic influences. Bessie Mae's Dream is the most directly Dead-influenced band, but they also draw on Phish and Zappa. Richmond-based Eleventh House throws in some 311-type ska and funk, and Matone plays anything from Southern rock to psychedelia, fusion and funk. Your $20 gets you in, plus a T-shirt. Directions: www.matone.com or 704-564-4368. (Brian Falk)

Beginning at 10am today, the parking lot of the Adams Mark Hotel will be filled to the gills with dead sleds. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's the National Funeral and Parade Car Rally! Hearse owners from across the country will be showing off their one-way wagons, and it's all free of charge to the living. The event is being held in conjunction with the First Annual Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention (HauNTcon), which runs from Friday through Sunday. For more information, go to www.hauntcon.com. (Davis)

Today marks the Center City Green Market Kick-off on 7th Street, between College and Brevard Streets (across from Reid's). The Market will be open every Saturday from now until Sept. 25, from 8am-1pm. Visitors can enjoy weekly themes and activities, or "Market Spectaculars." In addition to the kick-off, this week's "Spectacular" includes the Friends of Fourth Ward Attic Sale and art activities for the kids provided by the Community School of the Arts. Oh, and don't forget all the fresh food and flowers. Free parking in 7th Street Station. To learn about upcoming "Market Spectaculars," visit www.charlottecentercity.org. (Grossman)

Hands On Charlotte Day, Hands On Charlotte's annual fundraiser and community service day begins at 7:30am at Marshall Park with breakfast and registration followed by a program led by Rep. Mel Watt and the mayor. Over the course of the day, more than 1000 volunteers will help with projects across the city, including landscaping, sorting donated clothing, and everything in between. At 1:30pm, volunteers will head back to Marshall Park for food, beer and music. Kind of gives me a warm fuzzy just thinking about it. It's not too late to register: $20 includes all of the above plus an official HOC Day T-shirt. Call 704-333-7471 or visit www.handsoncharlotte.org. (Grossman)

MAY 17 - MONDAY
A new production company specializing in musical revues is invading Booth Playhouse, and they're promising that Lullaby of Broadway isn't the same old song-and-dance. Headlining the fast-paced tuner from Broadway Carolina will be James Getzlaff of Bravo's Boy Meets Boy. If James's new direction has you feeling wary, rest assured that producer Don Hite has surrounded his headliner with a solid ensemble, including local fave Susan Roberts Knowlson and Charlotte native Kimberly JaJuan, whose Broadway apotheosis occurred in Marie Christine. JaJuan will be all "W-O-M-A-N" in Lullaby. Weeknight performances at 8pm with Saturday matinees added at 2pm. Sunday shows at 3pm and 7:30pm. Special cocktail reception on May 23 allows fans to hang out with cast members after the 7:30pm show. Closes May 30. Tickets are $32.50-$39.50. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

MAY 18 - TUESDAY
The Young Affiliates of the Mint's annual Jazzy Ladies music & movies series is starting in May this year in order to avoid the sweltering summer weather - and you had heard global warming wouldn't affect everyday life. This year's theme is "New York New York," with five NYC-centered films being showcased, along with live performances by local jazz musicians, on the enormous front lawn of the Mint Museum of Art, 2730 Randolph Road. The series kicks off tonight with the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, preceded by a musical performance by jazz diva Beth Chorneau. Other upcoming titles include Woody Allen's masterpiece Annie Hall (May 25); Audrey Hepburn in one of her greatest roles as Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany's (June 1); and the Dustin Hoffman classic, Tootsie (June 8). The lawn opens for picnicking at 6pm, followed by the jazz performance at 7:15pm and the movie at 9pm. Tickets cost $7 general public, $5 Mint members, and free for YAM members. For a complete schedule or other info, call 704-337-2093. (Grooms)

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