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See & Do 

JULY 21 - WEDNESDAY
It's the irresistible glow of youthful innocence and passionate desire against the dark backdrop of racial intolerance and senseless violence. No, it's not a contemporary dance club scene. It's West Side Story. "Tonight" is always magical, no matter how many times you've seen the musical before. CP Summer Theatre brings all the hot ingredients together on the, er, panoramic Pease Auditorium stage: the sizzling Leonard Bernstein music and the spicy Stephen Sondheim lyrics merging flawlessly with the Arthur Laurents streetgang makeover of Romeo and Juliet. Marc Dalio returns to CP for the first time in eight years as Tony -- after excused absences with the national tours of Les Miz, Beauty and the Beast, and Miss Saigon. Kelly Schmitt is his ethereal Maria as Tom Vance directs. Through July 31 at 1200 Elizabeth Avenue with single tickets priced at $16. Get 'em quick by calling 704-330-6534. (Tannenbaum)

JULY 22 - THURSDAY
Stan Peal and wife Laura Depta revive one of last year's most talked-about productions, The Friar & the Nurse, as the City Stage fringe theatre festival cruises into its third week at Spirit Square. Without couplets or pentameter, we see a secret romance between Romeo's confessor, Friar Lawrence, and Juliet's closest confidant. As in Shakespeare's tragedy, natural passions are at odds with duty and loyalty in this Epic Arts Repertory original -- but with fewer hormones on the loose and humbler wardrobe. You won't be seeing Padre Peal climbing any balconies, slaying any braggarts, or chug-a-lugging any poison as he stars in his own script. Under Lon Bumgarner's direction, you'll see a prime example of why Charlotte's fringe scene is worthy of an uptown spotlight. Evenings at 8pm through Saturday in intimate Duke Power Playhouse with a 2pm matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $19.99. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

The annual Smilefest, a burgeoning young festival filled with jam and world music bands as well as a smattering of traditional pickers, will take place today through Sunday at the Van Hoy Farms Campground in Union Grove, NC. Featured acts include The Derek Trucks Band, Keller Williams, Burning Spear, Umphrey's McGee, Tony Rice Unit, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Leftover Salmon, and more. Gates will open to the public at noon today, with Thursday-Sunday tickets available for $100, Friday-Sunday for $85, and Saturday/Sunday for $50. All gate ticket sales are cash only, with no single day tickets available. Alternately, you may charge tickets by phone at 800-594-TIXX (8499). (Davis)

We don't get nearly enough of the fiercely intimate viewpoint of Maria Irene Fornes on local stages -- particularly after the eclat of Fefu and Fornes' residency at Davidson College. Leave it to the provocative young Turks of The Farm to lead us down through the catacombs of the Children's Theatre Black Box to the playwright's notorious Mud. Our heroine, Mae, has her eyes lifted to the skies, seeking to soar above her mundane existence. But ignorance and immaturity keep her down. Not to mention Lloyd and Henry, who try to keep the upstart in her place -- with them, in the mud. Tara MacMullen stars as the caged bird, with George Gray and Matt Cosper as her loving tormentors. Anthony Cerrato directs this strongly cast production, which runs through July 31 at 1017 E. Morehead Street. Your $12 ticket ($10 with reservation) gets you close to the action. Call 704-348-1575. (Tannenbaum)

JULY 23 - FRIDAY
One of the world's best known DJs, Mark Farina stops by Liquid Lounge tonight to blow everybody's mind with a juicy mix of the instrumental hip-hop and jazzy soul dubbed Mushroom Jazz, and the Chicago-style house sets for which he's also famous. He's just released a new disc along with old pal Derrick Carter on OM Records, Live At OM, a double live mix of arguably the two most famous DJs on the global house scene at San Francisco's Mezzanine club. Expect the same from Farina tonight. Advance tickets are available at Central Records and Vibe Tribe for $13. If you need more information, go to www.liquidlounge.net. (Schacht)

Charlie Murphy (Eddie Murphy's older brother) has starred in some of the Chappelle's Show's funniest and most talked about sketches, notably his autobiographical stories about encounters with Rick James and Prince in the 80s, which have spawned "I'm Rick James, bitch!" and other familiar catch phrases. Murphy, along with fellow cast members Donnell Rawlings and Christian Finnigan make up The Chappelle's Show Comic All-Stars, performing at The Comedy Zone tonight and tomorrow night. Showtimes are Friday at 8pm & 10:15pm, and Saturday at 7pm, 9pm & 11pm. Tickets cost $20 each. For reservations, call 704-348-HAHA. (Grossman)

JULY 25 - SUNDAY
It's boomer comedy day at the Belk Theater as two big stars from TV days of yore appear in a show entitled Together Again. Harvey Korman and Tim Conway were longtime co-stars of The Carol Burnett Show, earning critical praise, awards and the public's hoots, howls, hysterics, yucks, guffaws and so forth. And they laughed a lot, too. The two actors have starred in numerous films, including Korman's great work in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety and History of the World, Part 1, not to forget Conway's widely varied stage work and his role as the saving grace of TV's McHale's Navy. The two will perform stand-up routines, and also re-create classic comedy sketches with the help of comedian/impressionist Louise DuArt. Expect plenty of lascivious wit, guys making faces, general silliness and physical shtick. Also expect to hoot, howl, yuck, etc. etc. And you'll probably laugh a lot, too. Performances at 3 and 7pm, tickets are $25-$60. You can get them at the box office by calling 704-372-1000 or online at blumenthalcenter.org. (Grooms)

JULY 27 - TUESDAY
There's a grabby plotline to Mamma Mia!, which makes an encore visit to Charlotte with a cluster of eight performances through Sunday. The comely, curious, and improbably intrepid Sophie chooses her wedding day as the perfect time to discover her father's identity -- inviting all three candidates to the ceremony on a Grecian isle. Even grabbier is ABBA's music, parading us back to the 70s hit-by-hit and harmony-by-harmony. The treacle is so thick, so gooey, and so-o-o-o irresistible! Soon we're forgetting that Sophie's fiance is playing second fiddle to a stunt concocted by a chick who has seemingly OD'ed on The Dating Game. Surrender to the beat at Belk Theater as a guilty evening of pleasure, or hook a new generation at a weekend matinee. Tickets are $29.50-$70.50. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Ken Stringfellow, a co-founder of the late, great 90s power pop band The Posies, is out on the road plugging his freshly released solo record Soft Commands. It's a record that could lead you to turn up the dial thinking, "hey, is that an unreleased Lennon tune?" Stringfellow's knack for nostalgia-laden riffs, wrapped around his comforting voice, showcases a woefully unsung tunesmith. He's a current member of the Minus 5 and has also toured as backup vocalist and musician with R.E.M. and Big Star. The Room. Details: 704-527-4511 or www.theroom.tv (Shukla)

NightBEAT brings the unparalleled competition and the heart-pounding sounds of drum corps excellence to Memorial Stadium. Fort Mill's Carolina Crown competes with the country's top drum corps, the World Champion Blue Devils (from Concord, CA, not Duke) and three other groups in this international and national drum and bugle corps extravaganza. Gates open at 5:30pm and the beat goes on at 7:30. For more information or tickets (prices are from $8-$50), call 803-547-2665 or visit nightbeat.carolinacrown.org. (Vespa)

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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