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See & Do 

My tree-house is better than yours and equally earthshaking issues are at the root of A Tree With Arms, James Saba's expose of playground politics. CAST's second show of the season stars Buddy Hanson and Jason Gilbert as arboreal warriors Corky and Joel. Of course, there are mundane distractions amid the glories of yard-to-yard combat: parents, school, and developing a crush on a member of the opposing army. CAST's Tree is ready to rumble through October 23 at 1118 Clement Avenue. Stick around after the show and watch a different perspective on childhood war games, Ben Werling's one-act G.I. Joe. Tickets priced at $15 and $12 for students or seniors. Call 704-455-8542. (Tannenbaum)

Phreaker, the new movie from local writer-director Mark Young (Dead Bodies), will be screened tonight during its official wrap party at the Visulite Theatre. Fiendishly clever, the picture centers on a digital-age criminal (Eric Wippo) whose escapades land him in hot water with both the law (repped by Carl McEntire) and a particularly vicious thug (John W. Love, Jr. in a scene-stealing performance). Filmed in Charlotte, the flick belies its low-budget roots thanks to Chuck Bludsworth's imaginative camerawork and Young's talent for creating a slew of vivid characters. And it doesn't hurt that he places them smack in the middle of a savvy techno-thriller that will resonate with today's consumer culture crowd. Doors open at 8pm and the movie will be shown at 8:30pm; drink specials will be available, and DJ-spun music will wind down the evening. Admission is free. For more info, call 704-358-9200. (Brunson)

Part interview and part improv, Lifegame delves into the life of a different guest every night -- with actors and actresses recreating events from the guest's experience on the spot. Each guest will choose among Nicia Carla, Aaron Moore, Johanna Jowett, Brian Lafontaine, Chandler McIntyre, Joe Rux, Barbi Van Schaick, and Marty Gregory in deciding who will portray him or her throughout the evening. CL's reigning Theaterperson of the Year, Lon Bumgarner, handles the interviewing chores in this BareBones Theatre Group production at SPAC. Keith Johnstone's high-concept theater happening was first staged in Calgary and then further refined for a celebrated London production in 1998. Each evening is unique through October 24 at 211 Rampart Street. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students/seniors. Call 704-332-5300. (Tannenbaum)

The Charlotte Film Society's Second Week series continues today at the Manor Theatre with four diverse offerings. Coffee and Cigarettes is the latest chat fest from director Jim Jarmusch, featuring the likes of Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and Steve Buscemi. Prisoner of Paradise, a recent Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature, tells the story of Kurt Gerron, a German-Jewish filmmaker who was ordered to make a propaganda film for the Nazis before being executed. The Mexican import Herod's Law is a timely fable about political corruption. And lastly, Monty Python's Life of Brian, the uproarious comedy about a guy who's mistaken for the Messiah, is enjoying a 25th anniversary re-release. See this issue's Film section for a review of Coffee and Cigarettes and an interview with former Python Terry Jones; for information on prices and times, call 704-414-2355 or go online to http://charlottefilm (Brunson)

Hoboken, NJ's musical ambassadors Yo La Tengo have carved out a critically acclaimed niche and a steadfast under-the-mainstream-radar fanbase by following their muse wherever it leads them, music trends and top-dollar contracts be damned. Made up of the husband and wife team Ira Kaplan (guitars, vocals) and Georgia Hubley (drums, vocals), along with bassist James McNew, the trio has developed a consummate live show containing droning, crescendo-filled instrumentals with angular noise-fests, catchy pop songs and inspired covers. This rare Charlotte visit at the Visulite is part of the band's Patriot Act: Yo La Tengo's Swing State Tour, co-sponsored by Music for America, a progressive and proudly partisan non-profit hoping to register one million new voters this election. Each Swing State show features different special guests -- New Zealand legend David Kilgour (Clean), and comedians Jon Glaser and Jon Benjamin tonight. With tickets a reasonable $12 ($14 day of the show), there's no reason not to check "em out. Doors open at 9pm and the show starts at 10pm. For more information, go to,,, or call the theater at 704-358-9200. (Schacht)

Pauly Shore movies are mindless drivel that people either love or hate. Even if you fall in the former category (how can you not like Encino Man?) you have to admit they aren't the spawn of cinematic genius. Pauly's stand-up, in contrast, demonstrates a less juvenile sense of humor that is actually, um, good. See for yourself as "the Weasel" headlines at the Comedy Zone tonight and tomorrow night with performances at 8pm and 10:15pm. Tickets cost $25. Make your reservations by calling 704-348-HAHA. (Grossman)

The naughty heir apparent of Sid Fleischman's Prince Brat and the Whipping Boy is so naughty -- and so royally untouchable -- that it's a full-time job taking his punishments. But the prince and his battered patsy escape from the castle together and share such exhilarating adventures as getting kidnapped by repellent outlaws. Fleischman, in town for Novello, will attend on opening night at Spirit Square as an all-adult Children's Theatre cast brings his Newberry Award book to life at 7:30pm. Linger after the show and the celeb author will field questions. Through October 24 at McGlohon Theatre. Tickets are $15 for the front orchestra or $10 general admission. Call 704-333-8983 or 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

After a successful inaugural year, the Great Grapes! Wine & Music Festival returns to Symphony Park at SouthPark Mall featuring over 150 Carolina wines and gourmet foods. Live music, Eagle Brand's Gourmet Live! Cooking Tent and craft vendors make this an event everyone (wine lovers and abstainers alike) can enjoy. $20 admission includes a souvenir wine glass and sampling tickets. Those not drinking still receive the glass but will be allowed four soft drinks in lieu of the samples (what, no shots of Eagle Brand?). The festival runs today from 12noon-9pm and tomorrow from 12noon-6pm. Visit for details. (Grossman)

This year's Charlotte Oktoberfest Beer Festival in NoDa promises to be the largest beer festival in the city's history with unlimited samples of more than 200 craft-brewed beers. Other highlights include live music, food from neighborhood restaurants and collectible tasting glasses. But c'mon, do you really need any additional incentives when there's so much beer to be sampled? Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door. You can feel good about your hangover tomorrow knowing that a portion of the proceeds goes to Habitat for Humanity and Seigle Avenue Partners. This day of debauchery lasts from 2-9pm. Festival grounds are located behind Neighborhood Theatre, at the 3300 block of N. Davidson St. For more information, go to (Grossman)

Piano man Bruce Hornsby, onetime pop solo artist and latter-day member of the Grateful Dead, will perform at Ovens Auditorium at 8pm. Perhaps best known for his hits "Mandolin Rain," "The Valley Road" and the number one single "The Way It Is," Hornsby's most recent work has seen him take more of a Dead-inspired "improv" direction, with songs melding into others and cover songs appearing with increasing frequency. Tickets for the gig are $25-31, available at or by calling 704-522-6500. (Davis)

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