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See & Do 

"Out" takes on a whole new meaning for baseball star Darren Lemming in last year's Tony Award winner for Best Play, Take Me Out. In Richard Greenberg's probing drama, fan fave Lemming announces that he's gay, sparking a media frenzy -- and clubhouse consternation. Homophobes lurk everywhere, some as tactless and repellent as the ones we grow right here in Charlotte. In fact, the regional premiere at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte, running through October 9, threatens to resurrect the Philistines who embarrassed us during the Angels in America flap. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail at 650 East Stonewall, where the locker room nudity will be partial, and you won't be traversing a crime scene to enter the theater. Jeremy Davis portrays the reluctant lightning rod under the direction of Lon Bumgarner. Tickets are $17 for Wednesday and Thursday evenings -- and the September 26 matinee -- with Fridays and Saturdays priced at $22. Call 704-342-2251. (Tannenbaum)

Cars, cars, and more cars. The Food Lion AutoFair, the nation's largest show of its kind, will be held today through Sunday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Food Lion Pavilion will house star attractions including a collection of vehicles from the Discovery Channel's Monster Garage, modern muscle cars, and a tribute to the 35th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing, featuring several cars driven by Dale Earnhardt. There'll also be a car show, parts and memorabilia vendors, and an auction, not to mention hundreds of vehicles for sale or trade. The AutoFair runs 8am-6pm today through Saturday and 8am-4pm on Sunday. Tickets are $10 per day, parking is $5. Children under 12 admitted free when accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 704-455-3205.

Aspiring spoken word artists will have three minutes to do their thing and impress the judges at the upcoming Poetry Slam, hosted by the nationally recognized SlamCharlotte. Each poet gets three minutes to read one original poem, the poet can't use props, costumes, or musical instruments. Five randomly selected audience members will serve as judges. Terry Creech started SlamCharlotte last year, and in August the group placed fifth in the 2004 National Poetry Slam held in Saint Louis. The event will be held at Spirit Square's McGlohon Theater at 8pm. Poets pay $3 to participate and general public admission is $5. (Boykin)

A night of hell-raising psychobilly awaits those attending the Reverend Horton Heat show at the Visulite tonight. The Rev, nee Jim Heath, has been at it for nearly two decades, honing his act into a sleek mean pickin' machine -- for fans of fret-work, few can compete with the Rev's encyclopedic left hand. Live, expect subtlety to take a back seat, with the trio delivering their usual set of nitroglycerine-fueled originals, and, if you're lucky, perhaps a sermon or two on the joys of the martini. Opener Dexter Romweber, ex-Flat Duo Jets, will provide rabble-rousing rockabilly from his new disc, Blues That Defy My Soul. The doors open at 9pm, and tickets are $12. For more information go to or call 704-358-9200. (Schacht)

Charlotte Repertory Theatre has experienced some nasty turmoil over the last couple of years, so Rep is setting about repairing its rep with a warm-hearted, homespun comedy, Joe DiPietro's Over the River and Through the Woods. It's grandparents meddling in their grandson's future when he's poised to move from Jersey to the Left Coast, getting their Nicky a girl and plying him with Italian soulfood. Rep interim artistic director Terry Loughlin directs, bringing some familiar faces back to the Booth Playhouse stage. Michael (Tuna Christmas) Edwards will be the most familiar, but Cynthia Barrett and Cinny Strickland will also strike welcome chords with Rep aficionados. Greg Logenhagen stars as the beleaguered Nick, through October 3. Tickets for this week's previews are $24.50 through Sunday and $31.50-$37.50 beginning next Wednesday. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

The Sundance Film Festival comes to Charlotte -- sort of -- thanks to Dance @ Shout - The Film Showcase, which will be held tonight in Duke Theater at Spirit Square. The venue will showcase a handful of short films that have played at Sundance (and, in one case, at Slamdance) in the recent past. Among the offerings are Curtis, a half-hour look at the late artist Curtis Wheeler (and recipient of an honorable mention at the fest), and Pictures from Dorothy, an offbeat take on The Wizard of Oz. Showtimes are 7pm and 9pm; individual admission is $10 at the door, or $15 for two people. For more info, call 704-492-2519. (Brunson)

Ethnic celebrations abound in the Center City today, including the Mid-Autumn Chinese Festival at Gateway Promenade from 5:30-9:30pm. Experience a taste of the Far East with authentic Chinese performance art featuring appearances by the Cao Ying Dance School, the North Carolina Chinese Arts Ensemble, the Violet Violin Academy and the Winthrop Chinese Martial Arts Association. The pre-show begins at 6:30pm followed by the main show from 7-9pm. Admission and parking are free. Go to for details. (Grossman)

Latin American music, food, and arts come to 5th Street between Tryon and Church Street at the Calle Cinco Festival Latino today from 12noon to 11pm. Dance to Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, Latin rock and Latin jazz, provided by Tito Gomez and his orchestra, along with other bands including locals like La Rúa. There'll be a Salsa Dance contest, lots of food, art, raffles, gifts, and children's activities. All proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation for Latin American children in the Carolinas. Admission is $5 for adults; children are free. For more information, call 704-377-4448 or visit (Vespa)

The 4th annual North Carolina Classic Ballroom Competition glides into the Westin Hotel in uptown Charlotte today from 10am to 6pm. Pro-am competitors from Charlotte and throughout North Carolina and the Southeast will vie for titles in American, International, and Latin-style ballroom dance categories and in club-style favorites like West Coast Swing, Salsa and Hustle. A professional exhibition takes the floor at 12noon; following the competition are an awards dinner, general dancing and a cabaret showcase featuring International 10-Dance Amateur Champions Pavel Pashkov and Inna Brayer. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $25 for the day session (10am-6pm), $25 for the night session (6pm-11pm), or $75 for both sessions (10am-11pm, including the program and lunch). Call 941-758-8381 for more information. (Vespa)

Roll out the red carpet! Nominees for the first annual Metrolina Theatre Awards will begin arriving with extravagant fanfare at Spirit Square at 5:30pm. It's a lavish evening of black ties, decolletage, ceremonial slapstick, and the most breathless, excited acceptance speeches Charlotte can muster. If you can't make it for the 5:30 arrivals and pre-show cocktails -- included in the $25 ticket price -- you do want to have your seat when the Awards Ceremony kicks off at 7pm. Beside the presentations, director Ron Chisholm is blending some choice musical morsels into the show, reprising some of the best razzle-dazzle of the 2003-04 season including slices of Evita, A Grand Night for Singing, and Bat Boy: The Musical. There's also a post-show reception at the Palomino Restaurant, also included in your ticket price. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

When Bill Clinton found himself in political trouble in 1993, he brought in longtime presidential adviser David Gergen to bolster his own standing inside the Beltway. It was an extraordinary move since Gergen had previously been adviser to Republican Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, but it demonstrated the respect and recognition Gergen commands. The Durham native has been an author, editor, commentator and teacher and today he's a lecturer at the Levine Museum of the New South, speaking on the topic of "Lessons in Leadership and Election 2004," which will no doubt include an analysis of the current presidential race. The lecture is at 7:30pm at Spirit Square's McGlohon Theatre. Following the lecture, Gergen will return to Levine Museum of the New South for a book signing. Books will be for sale in the Museum Store. Tickets are $20, on sale through the NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Box Office, 704-372-1000. (Grooms)

DJ Paul Van Dyk has a strong pop sensibility and digs up warm beats that eschew DJ pitfalls of repetition. His most recent recording, Reflections, has an array of guest vocalists and is a fine example of his mixing prowess where the trance is never far behind. The German music weaver ranks in the upper rungs of dance music and spins records from Mumbai to Los Angeles. This gig is part of the Rock the Vote campaign, a national movement to get young people interested in the American political process. Also appearing are DJ Scott Modie, a local spinmeister with an ear for what makes booties shake, and Jerry Bonham. At Velocity. Details: 704-333-0060 or (Shukla)

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