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MARCH 31 - thursday
Opera Carolina never lets too many years go by before delivering a fresh fix of Tosca. That's a good thing. Passion, idealism, jealousy, brutality, torture, suicide and murder are all part of Puccini's supreme operatic ragout. A whole new cast wallows in the principal roles, as Cynthia Lawrence plays the tempestuous title role — demure folks aren't named Floria — with Gordon Hawkins as the diabolical Baron Scarpia who covets the diva. Completing the turbulent love triangle as the patriotic artist Cavaradossi is William Joyner — a tenor, of course, expert in whining and dying. The three performances at Belk Theater are at 7:30pm on Thursday, 8pm on Saturday, and 2pm for the Sunday matinee. Tickets range from $10-$81. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

APRIL01 - friday
The Light Factory presents its latest exhibit Textile Towns by Phil Moody at the Knight Gallery, Spirit Square April 1-May 12. The Opening Reception with the artist is on Friday, April 1, 6-9pm. The event includes Composer David Crowe of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra who will preview a chamber ensemble piece written specifically for the exhibit. See Scott Lucas' story in this week's Arts section. For further details call 704-333-9755 or go to lightfactory.org.

It's Outreach to the Boomers week at Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, as The Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony! will be shaking the walls of Ovens Auditorium. Charlotte Symphony Orchestra plays for one raucous evening with guest conductor - and Zep symphony creator — Brent Havens, amplified by a full rock band and Randy Jackson's screaming vocals. No, this isn't an April Fool prank. When the Bic lighters come out for "Stairway to Heaven," you'll know it's for real. Tickets are priced at $18-$38 with a 50% discount on student rush sales. Call Symphony ticket office at 704-972-2000 or TicketMaster at 704-522-6500. (Tannenbaum)

Catch Them If You Can: Saints and sinners are the featured players in two recommended films opening today. Danny Boyle's Millions, a change of pace effort from the director of Trainspotting and the zombie flick 28 Days Later, is a charming fable about a deeply spiritual boy whose life changes when he discovers a bag full of money. And Sin City, based on Frank Miller's comics, is a stylish piece of pulp fiction that follows several lowlife denizens of the title burg. For reviews, see this issue's Film section; for theaters and showtimes, go to the Moviefone link at charlotte.creativeloafing.com/flicks_toc.html. (Brunson)

One of Charlotte's coziest and best-run venues, The Evening Muse in North Davidson, celebrates its 4th anniversary tonight with a typically diverse lineup featuring the Near Misses, Tesser, sketch comedy from The Loft and the infectious pop of Poprocket, along with strippers, games, cash prizes, free Duff beer and valet parking. Well, at least the lineup is true and you never know about the rest (it is the first of April, after all) — except for the free booze, of course; no such animal, folks. For more information go to www.theeveningmuse.com or call 704-376-3737. (Schacht)

A host of local musicians get to try out their best Tom Waits covers for the second annual Fool's Brigade benefit show — "An Invitation to the Blues — A Tribute to Tom Waits" — at the Visulite Theatre tonight. Among the performers expressing their Waits love: David Childers, Bruce Hazel, the Houston Brothers, Sea of Cortez, Tyre Fyre, Lou Ford, Todd Busch and many more. Tickets are $10, all proceeds from the door and merchandise going to Hospice of Charlotte . Doors open at 9 pm, for more information go to www.visulite.com. (See our story in this issue) (Schacht)

Other club Shows of Note: Friday: Horror rock from Graveyard Boulevard, Smoke or Fire, Hairball, Me Vs. the Monster and Southside Punks at the Milestone.

APRIL 02 - saturday
Murano, an island off the coast of Venice, has been the home of the world's greatest glass designers for centuries. Over 200 outstanding examples of 20th century blown glass will be on display at The Mint Museum of Craft + Design's exhibit MURANO: Glass from the Olnick Spanu Collection, which opens today. Included are mosaic glass vases from Artisti Barovier, brilliantly colored whimsical birds by Peter Pelzel and Alessandro Piaonon, and Maestro Lino Tagliapietra's "Boats." The Mint Museum of Craft + Design, at 220 N. Tryon Street, will host the exhibit through August 21. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $3 for ages 6-17, and free for members and children age 5 or younger. Free admission on Tuesdays from 10am-2pm. For more information, call 704-337-2000, or visit www.mintmuseum.org. (Vespa)

Charlotte's Finest Duathlon, a 5K run/10 mile bike ride/5K run race, will be held April 2 beginning at 7:30am at 1770 Shopton Road. Proceeds will benefit North Carolina Special Olympics. The first 5K run portion will be a scenic tour of the police/fire training grounds through trails, paved roadways, and up a hill named "Bubba." The bike portion will be two loops around a 5.3-mile loop that runs North on Beam Rd, East on Yorkmont Rd, East on Tvyola Rd., South on S. Tryon St. and West on Shopton Rd. The bike loop is followed by a second 5K run. For more information or to register online, go to http://www.set-upinc.com/rp5/cfinest/cfinest.shtml. (Servatius)

Experience the traditional Indian Classical and Folk dances and the rhythmic challenges of international dance styles at Dances of India at Pease Auditorium on the central campus of CPCC today from 4-6pm. The colorful and varied performances are presented by Charlotte-based classical dance teacher Dr. Maha Gingrich and her students. Tickets are $5. Call 704-330-6534 for more details. (Shukla)

Club Shows of Note: Saturday: Ex-Flat Duo Jet frontman Dexter Romweber rocks the Room along with rockabilly kings the Painkillers...delightful experimentation from Hopeforagoldensummer and straight-up alt-country from Two Cow Garage at the Evening Muse...20th anniversary tour for Drivin' N Cryin' at Amos' Southend, along with Dash Rip Rock...Christine Navarro's last show with Etheric at the Neighborhood Theatre...The Talk return after their triumphant SXSW appearance with a show at Tremont...the unhinged twang of Unknown Hinson at the Double Door Inn... true corporate hardcore from the Yuppie Pricks at the Milestone...

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