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JUNE 3 - THURSDAY
The Light Factory will present The Best of Full Frame at 7:30pm tonight and tomorrow night in the Duke Power Theater at Spirit Square. Two of this year's award winners at Durham's acclaimed Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will be screened, with Born Into Brothels airing tonight and Word Wars being shown tomorrow night. Tickets cost $7 and are available for purchase at the door. For reviews of both films, see this issue's Films section; for other details, call 704-333-9755. (Brunson)

She's been wearing both her heart and sexuality on her sleeve since she appeared on the scene in 1988, and you can catch her doing it live Thursday at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. But it wasn't until her break-out, 1992's Never Enough, that the raspy-voiced Melissa Etheridge gained a substantial following drawn to her rootsy honesty. While some fans and critics pored over her lyrics to try and determine her preferred sexuality (a media pastime for some unknown reason), Etheridge used the title of her next release, Yes I Am, to answer the "is she gay?" question, then beat everyone over the head with it on the critically panned Your Little Secret in 1995, beginning a string of lackluster releases. But the good news for her followers is that this year's recent release, Lucky, finds Etheridge returning to her Joplin/Springsteen/Mellencamp roots and reviving her passion. Tickets run $35-$75; go to www.verizonwirelessamphitheater.com/charlotte for more information. (Schacht)

With the demise of Charlotte Rep's New Play Festival, perhaps BareBones Theatre Group's pocket-sized celebration will get more attention. More kudos for BBTG's kewl 4th Annual 15-Minute Play Festival would be well-deserved. Held in strictest confidentiality in the Suzanne Little Recital Hall through Saturday at Queens University, the 15-Minute Fest offers opportunities for aspiring playwrights, directors, and actors to develop their chops in front of supportive audiences. Audiences get their chance to crown their favorite by casting ballots throughout the three-day event. The full slate of five mini-plays is on display every night. These include Leslie Bramm's Real Beatlemaniacs directed by Anne Lambert, Next Season directed by Andy Lawler, Robin Rice-Lichtig's Seducing Ramona directed by Julie Ryburg, EK Deutsch's Burping the Baby directed by Connie Rhyne Bray, and Matt Casarino's The Boy Who Was Born With a Tail directed by Beth Pierce, CL's reigning Actress of the Year. Tickets, priced at $10, can be reserved at 704-332-5300. (Tannenbaum)

Get ready for an historical trek to Australia as Off-Tryon Theatre Company welcomes Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country's Good to their Cullman Avenue quonset. We're going back to that uncomfortable time in the late 1780s, when the continent was little more -- to the civilized world -- than the home of savages and a dumping ground for England's hardened criminals. Sort of a Nouveau America. This adaptation of Thomas Keneally's The Playmaker recounts the staging of the first theatrical performance in Australia, with Lieutenant Ralph Clark and convict Mary Brenham as prime antagonists. Just how ennobling and civilizing is theater when strategically employed as therapy? Sometimes the answers are darkly funny in this intelligent script. If Keneally's name seems familiar, think Schindler's List. Through June 19 at 3143 Cullman Avenue with tickets $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students. Call 704-375-2826. (Tannenbaum)

Award-winning photojournalist John Isaac will give a free seminar tonight at 7pm, sharing his life's work along with a few tips and techniques. Isaac worked as a photographer for the United Nations for 30 years. His remarkable portfolio includes images from over 100 countries, most notably his photographs of Audrey Hepburn during her UNICEF years. Star-struck shutterbugs might be interested to know that Isaac was also the official photographer of Michael Jackson's first son, Prince. The seminar will be held at Byron's South End, 101 W. Worthington Ave. RSVP by emailing E1Charlotte@Olympus.com. (Grossman)

JUNE 4 - FRIDAY
The annual Wachovia Movie Fest returns this summer with its monthly program of films being shown at 7:30pm on select Fridays on The Green at 425 South Tryon Street. Tonight's feature is the animated hit Ice Age; other titles scheduled for later this summer include Dirty Dancing and Radio. Admission is free. For details, call 704-332-2227. (Brunson)

Theatre Charlotte has been in the new play festival racket since 2002, offering a homey regional variant at its Queens Road barn. Thirty-three unpublished, unproduced scripts have been whittled down to a final four that will get staged readings at the Contemporary Carolina Playwrights Festival through Sunday. Kathryn Martin's Tricks of Memory leads off the celebration at 8pm, followed by a Saturday doubleheader. Steve Willis serves up Falling So Slowly at 2:30, with Night, Sleep and the Dreams of Lovers by David Hopes at 8. The festival climaxes Sunday in true holiday spirit with a 2:30 matinee, offering up Ron Holsey's The Best Christmas Murder Ever. Nestled into Theatre Charlotte's lobby, noted playwright/director Ted Swindley (Always... Patsy Cline) presides over a Playwriting Workshop, beginning Saturday at 10am. Festival tickets are $6 for each reading and $20 for all four plays. Workshop admission is $10. Call 704-334-9128. (Tannenbaum)

The first annual "Queen of Arts' NoDaFEST kicks off with the NoDa Gallery Crawl from 6-9pm. The evening's festivities feature a Chalk Art Contest to be held on the sidewalks of NoDa with the winners announced on Saturday -- where the real fun begins. Tomorrow from noon until dark, local and regional art vendors, food, live music, theatrical performances and a beer garden (woo hoo!) will fill the streets of NoDa. The beer garden is located conveniently next to the main stage which is chock-full of local talent including David Childers & The Modern Don Juans, Abe Reid & The Spike Drivers and Bellyfull to name a few. A Children's Stage and creative area on 35th street will keep the kiddies entertained. Visit NoDa.org for a complete schedule of events or call 704-334-0300. (Grossman)

JUNE 5 - SATURDAY
Local tenor saxophonist Brent Bagwell (also of Pyramid fame), along with New Yorkers Seth Nanaa (drums) and Jordon Schranz (bass), comprise The Eastern Seaboard, a free jazz trio with some serious chops and a brand new record, Nonfiction, out soon on the respected Italian label, Black Saint. The record is a lyrical, dissonant, playful and slightly sinister document taking inspirational nourishment from creative mulch like Sonic Youth, 60s free jazz, Chicago post-rock, Charlie Parker, Joe Strummer, Midwestern tornadoes and the novels of Jim Thompson, for starters. The Eastern Seaboard headline tonight at The Room in a highly recommended double-bill, playing after the equally intriguing rock-based ensemble The Sea of Cortez. For more information, see our story in this issue, go to www.theroom.tv, or call 704-527-4511. (Schacht)

The Charlotte Museum of History commemorates the 60th anniversary of D-Day with World War II Weekend, today and tomorrow. Today's activities run from 10am-4pm, including an encampment of Allied troops, a D-Day "Briefing Room," and hands-on stuff for the kids. The Museum will also show the film, D-Day - June 6th 1944: The Normandy Landings. There's also a swing dance, held from 7-11pm tonight, which features live music by A Sign of the Times. The dance costs $15 and reservations are required. Regular Museum admission applies for the rest of today's events. Sunday, the weekend concludes with a Remembrance Ceremony at 2pm. Admission is free on Sunday. The Museum is located at 3500 Shamrock Dr. For swing dance reservations and further event details, call 704-568-1774.

JUNE 6 - SUNDAY
Charlotte's signature free-for-all cultural phenomenon, Summer Pops, kicks off at SouthPark with an evening of orchestral favorites they're calling "Symphony Park Hit Parade." Picnickers gather early on the Symphony Park greensward to claim prime vantage points for listening and people-watching. Musicmaking begins at 7pm with a prelude concert by the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra. Albert-George Schramm leads the varsity onto the bandshell at 8:15pm for the National Anthem -- Sousa style -- and a smorgasbord of festive fare. Neighboring Doubletree Suites offers rooms with balconies overlooking the concert, pre-concert and intermission refreshments, and gourmet picnic baskets you can pre-order at 704-927-0056. (Tannenbaum)

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