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See & Do 

Have an insatiable appetite for scandal and gossip? So does everyone else if you're heeding our nation's mainstream media. Christopher Durang has written Betty's Summer Vacation for the few among us who might not care who the ultimate survivor is or which hunk the bachelorette will pick. Durang's satire takes us to a deceptively placid beachfront condo where Betty and her chatty friend Trudy have a summer time-share -- and paradise until they meet their neighbors. Some of Charlotte's wackiest performers conspire in this Actor's Theatre production, including Johanna Jowett, Brett Gentile, Jorja Ursin, and Hank West. CL's reigning Theaterperson of the Year, Lon Bumgarner, directs at 650 E. Stonewall Street through July 11. Tickets are $17-$22 with June 29 set aside as Pay-What-You-Can Night. Call 704-342-2251. (Tannenbaum)

Central Piedmont Summer Theatre goes decadent with its next musical offering, bringing Kander & Ebb's Chicago to panoramic Pease Auditorium through July 3. You've likely seen the Academy Award version of this Jazz Age sizzler, which celebrates the PR war between two sexy murderesses, Velma Kelley and Roxy Hart. But the movie flipflopped the heroines, shifting our sympathies away from Roxy, the stage protagonist. And it omitted the most sinfully hilarious showstopper of the past 25 years, "Class." Longtime CP veterans Lesley Shires, Dana Alderman, and Pat Heiss are on hand, with newcomer Patrick O'Herron taking on Billy Flynn's corrupt charisma and Kelly Cusimano shimmying Velma. All that jazz is at 1200 Elizabeth Avenue, and single tickets are $16. Call 704-330-6534. (Tannenbaum)

Native Charlottean Charlie Viracola is a funny guy, even if he does write jokes for Carrot Top. His own career has taken off, with TV specials (Showtime and Comedy Central), critical notice and bigger and bigger crowds. He'll be letting you in on what life would be like on Planet Charlie (for instance, for every piece of luggage lost at the airport, each airport employee must remove an article of clothing), tonight through Sunday at the Comedy Zone at 8th and College Streets. For full information, call 704-348-HAHA. (Grooms)

The Charlotte Sting take on reigning WNBA champions the Detroit Shock (what are they putting in the water up there? First the Shock, and now the Pistons!) at 7pm tonight at the Charlotte Coliseum. Call 704-424-WNBA for tickets, or log on to sting for more information.As author Lee Smith puts it, everyone in the know realizes that Fred Chappell is North Carolina's greatest writer. The former Poet Laureate of the state has produced an amazingly wide-ranging body of work that includes poetry, novels and short stories and he's in town to share it tonight at 7pm at the Barnes & Noble at the Arboretum. It's free. Call 704-341-9365 for more information.

The Charlotte Bobcats will hold their inaugural NBA Draft Party today at the Charlotte Coliseum beginning at 5:30pm. The Bobcats own the fourth pick in the first round and also in the second round (33rd overall), and will announce their first-ever picks to the crowd assembled before the news goes out over the national airwaves. The event also features a tailgate party outside the Coliseum, as well as the Budweiser True Music Lounge and the NBA Jam Van. For more information, log on to (Davis)

Dixie's Tavern and KISS-FM play host to the annual Uncle Sam Jam, and the lineup this year isn't half-bad. Liz Phair, one of rock's reigning Dirty Girls, headlines, with the decidedly pop-tacular Fountains of Wayne, The Calling, and Josh Kelley also on the bill. A decade after Phair debuted the critically acclaimed Exile in Guyville, she released her self-titled fourth record, an unapologetic (and unsuccessful) attempt to become a pop star. On the other hand, Welcome Interstate Managers was Fountains of Wayne's third slice of power pop and their most popular to date. Josh Kelley got famous for reminding folks of John Mayer, and for bombarding people -- including his eventual label boss -- with his songs on Napster; unorthodox, perhaps, but a year later and he's still touring around his 2003 debut, For the Ride Home, which spawned two radio-friendly hits. As for The Calling, a pre-packaged slab of MOR fare from L.A.? They make Matchbox 20 look downright inventive: Show up late. For more information on the show, call 704-374-1700 or go to (Schacht)

Shorts In the Spirit III, the third annual showcase of African-American short films, will be presented at 7:30pm this evening at Spirit Square. Audiences will vote for the top short film of the evening, and the screenings will be followed by a gathering in the Spirit Square Atrium with food, live music and more. Among the eight titles in contention are Narcel Reedus's For Colored Boys Who Have Committed Suicide, a drama with a fantasy element; Rosalyn Coleman's Allergic to Nuts, about a divorced woman hosting a dinner party; Alrick Brown's The Adventures of Supernigger: Episode I, The Final Chapter, a superhero yarn that touches upon police brutality; and Lionel Hillard and Sheldon Collins' Sunday Morning Stripper, a religious tale with a twist. Admission is $10. For other details, call 704-492-2519. (Brunson)

We're hoping the night is clear, the moon is high, and a gentle breeze is blowing when Keith Buterbaugh sings Lerner & Loewe's "They Call the Wind Mariah" in the great outdoors at Symphony Park. More than that, we're hoping that Charlotte Symphony Orchestra subscribers and the general public will buy into the idea of paying $15 for its Music Under the Stars concert, an elegant and intimate alternative to its wildly popular free-for-all Summer Pops series. The park opens at 6:30pm for picnicking. Musical fare will be served from the bandshell beginning at 8:15pm, with medleys from The Merry Widow and Lerner & Loewe's My Fair Lady supplementing the obligatory dollops of Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, and Les Miz. Buterbaugh will get a few breathers, allowing CSO to shine in selections from Saint-Saens, Johan Strauss, and Symphony's current favorite composer, Dvorak. Call 704-372-1000 for tickets, 704-927-0056 for baskets. (Tannenbaum)

The Charlotte Sting take on WNBA superstars Tamika Catchings, Kate Starbird and the rest of the Indiana Fever at 6pm tonight at the Charlotte Coliseum. Call 704-424-WNBA for tickets, or log on to for more information.

It's been over eight years since Rent took Broadway by storm, winning the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. But the tradition of $20 front-row seats -- sold on the day of each performance -- lives on! The thrill and electricity should still be there as Jonathan Larson's landmark musical makes its second visit to Belk Theater through Saturday. After Miss Saigon proved that Puccini plots could be recycled for Broadway audiences, Rent took it to the street, riffing on the Pooch's La Boheme and substituting a grungy East Village milieu for Gay Paree. Actually, the Rent Village is gayer, with our tragic youths suffering from AIDS instead of TB. The curse of poverty remains, with irony and resentment recycled to a rock beat. Tickets are $22-$59. Performances through Thursday begin at 8pm, but the Friday and Saturday shows lift off at 8:15pm -- with an added 2pm matinee on Saturday. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Long-running proponents of blue-eyed soul, Hall and Oates will play the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre tonight beginning at 7:30pm, along with special guests Michael McDonald and Average White Band. While the group has fallen off the popular radar over the past 15 years or so, they were, in their prime, a radio hit-making machine ("Sara Smile," "She's Gone," "I Can't Go For That") who took plenty of cues from Motown and Stax. As such, they're perfect for the Summertime Shed Circuit, where people often want nothing more than an excuse to harmonize in the late day's haze (and who can't go for that?). For tickets, call 704-522-6500. (Davis)

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