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Wednesday, January 18

Alright, you self-appointed hipsters, give it up. We know you sing along to Bon Jovi while thinking, "Damn, I'm singing along to Bon Jovi!" The definitive '80s hair band rocks the Charlotte Bobcats Arena tonight at 8pm. Their worldwide "Have a Nice Day Tour" comes on the heels of the new album of the same name, but let's face it, it's really the string of '80s hits that'll pull in the South Park soccer moms. "Ooo-oohh, livin' on a prayer ..." Um, sorry, I mean, "Kool thing, let me play it with your radio ..." Tickets for the Bon Jovi show are $49.50-$89.50, available by calling 800-495-2295 or visiting You'll have to wait for the Sonic Youth gig. (Shukla)

One of the earliest divas of jazz and theater, Alberta Hunter sang with Louis Armstrong and originated the role of Queenie in Show Boat -- opposite Paul Robeson! During the onset of rock, Hunter hibernated for more than 20 years, making a historic comeback in 1977 at the age of 82. Overnight, she was the toast of Manhattan, singing 15 shows a week while her Columbia albums flew to the top of the jazz charts. The PAC brings the Hunter saga to life -- and the moribund Booth Playhouse along with it -- serving up Cookin' at the Cookery through January 29. Gretha Boston, a Tony Award-winning Queenie in her own right, portrays the octogenarian jazz legend, and Janice Lorraine is the young Alberta in this uptempo bio. Evening performances at 8pm Wednesday to Saturday with matinees at 4pm on Saturdays and 3pm on Sundays. Tickets are $30 and $35. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Friday, January 20

The Charlotte rock band Simplified writes potent songs, but on stage is where the quartet's musicianship really shines. The band celebrates its third release, the 14-song Live at the Visulite, tonight. Their combination of rock, country, reggae and jazz can be laid back or rocking, depending on the mood of the evening. Catch the band at the same venue -- the Visulite, that is -- tonight at 10pm. Opening acts are Jared Allan & Co. and Noah Garrett. Tickets are $8 for this 18+ show. For more details, go to or give 'em a buzz at 704-358-9200. (Shukla)

Throughout its ragtag history, CPCC Opera Theatre has been sparsely budgeted and confined to Pease Auditorium. Now they have the chance to bring Bizet's Carmen to Central Piedmont's new arts complex. The challenges are immense: filling the stage with colorful scenery for the seductive pageantry, filling the new Halton Theater with full-bodied music and filling the 1,056 seats with bodies. Judging from the standard set by The Sound of Music when the complex opened in November, we can expect a good old college try onstage and a full-sized orchestra in the pit below. Maria Mercedes Woods sings the title temptress, torturing Todd Geer as her ill-fated lover, Don Jose. Two evening performances at 8pm on Friday and Saturday are followed by a 2:30pm matinee on January 22. Tickets are $14 and $16. Call 704-330-6534. (Tannenbaum)

It's a perilous life when every part of you is delicious. That's poor Wilbur's dilemma as Children's Theatre brings Charlotte's Web to ImaginOn for the first time. Carver Johns figures to be scrumptious as the runt pig striving to avoid his appointed destiny as chitterlings, pork rinds and bacon. April Jones, our two-time Theaterperson of the Year, is the epigrammatic spider who befriends the beast in this best-of-all children's stories by E.B. White. The only real suspense is whether you can snag a ticket for yourself and your anklebiter during the run, scheduled upstairs at the McColl Family Theatre though February 5. Friday evenings at 7:30pm and multiple matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Front orchestra is $18 and general admission is $14. Call 704-973-2828. (Tannenbaum)

Boasting alums that include Robin Williams and Paul Reiser, Chicago City Limits is the high-energy improv outgrowth of the legendary Second City Comedy Troupe. The current company brings its highwire act "Taking Liberties" to McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square for a two-night stand, building many of their skits on audience suggestions. Excitement and hilarity are high voltage in this unpredictable comedy revue. Tickets for 8pm performances Friday and Saturday are $19-$29. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

The life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is the inspiration for a contemporary ballet, Frida, presented by Gonzalez Diaz Enterprises in collaboration with the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre. As if Frida's life weren't interesting enough, Cuban dancer and choreographer Nelson Reyes dances the role of Frida, and Asheville actress, storyteller and singer Becky Stone portrays Frida's husband, the muralist Diego Rivera. The work, created by Reyes and Susan Collard of ACDT, is onstage at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte, 650 E. Stonewall Street, tonight and tomorrow night at 8pm. General admission tickets are $20; students and seniors pay $18. For more information or reservations, contact Elio Gonzalez at 704-779-4500 or the Actor's Theatre at 704-342-2251 or (Vespa)

Saturday, January 21

Extreme dance troupe Diavolo leaps and spins onstage at the Duke Family Performance Hall at Davidson College tonight. The company's dancers, gymnasts and actors work with oversized props to expand the boundaries of dance and investigate the absurdities of contemporary life. Diavolo was founded in 1992 by Jacques Heim (one of the "100 Coolest People in LA," according to Buzz magazine) to "create large-scale interdisciplinary performances which examine the funny and frightening ways individuals act with their environment." Indeed. Catch this edgy performance at 8pm. Tickets are $20. Make reservations online at or by calling 704-894-2135. (Vespa)

Sunday, January 22

Does the confirmation of Samual Alito as Supreme Court justice send a chill down your spine? Want to send a message that women, not politicians, should control their reproductive destinies? Join the Charlotte chapter of the National Organization for Women at 3pm Sunday in front of the Charles R. Jonas Federal Building at 401 W. Trade St. They will be joining groups across the nation in commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the 1973 US Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion. Free. (Shugart)

To avoid those embarrassing "bridezilla" moments it might be a good idea to attend the Wedding Showcase. A plethora of offerings from the bridal industry's finest will be on display. Looking for the perfect caterer, photographer, florist, travel agency, etc.? Chances are they'll be at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 South New Hope Rd/Hwy 279 in Belmont, today from 11am to 4pm. Also enjoy door prizes donated by participating vendors, including a daytime wedding rental in DSBG's Nellie Rhyne Stowe White Garden. Admission is free for members, $8 for nonmembers, $6.50 for seniors 60 and older and $4 for children 4-12. For more information, visit or call 704-825-4490. (Calloway)

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