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Thursday, March 30

Cut to the fun! The Blumenthal PAC is bringing Shear Madness, the longest-running play in American theater history, to a freshly reconfigured Booth Playhouse for a nine-week engagement. For the 37,000th time -- and counting! -- concert pianist Isabel Czerny will be murdered in her apartment overlooking a hair salon. Not only can you join the audience in providing the entertainment at this interactive comedy whodunit, you can wolf down sandwiches, appetizers, desserts and sushi while swapping clues and quips. Cocktail tables and drink rails have replaced some of the traditional theater seats at the Booth for this run of Madness, through May 27, but all seats are discounted now for preview performances before the official April 6 opening. Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, with matinees Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $25-$30 on Wednesdays and Sundays (and for the three Tuesday performances April 4 and 11 and May 23), $29-$35 Thursdays to Saturdays, and all seats are $20 for previews. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Friday, March 31

One of the more intriguing contemporary timba bands is the Miami-based septet Tiempo Libre. Timba is the Cuban dance mix of jazz, rock, hip-hop, salsa and older Cuban traditions such as rumba and son. It was popularized by Los Van Van and Irakere in the 1970s. Don't let the party aspect of this music fool you, as it takes training and understanding of Latin jazz to play timba. Just try and resist the spell of horns and percussion, and the urge to get up and dance. Tonight at 8pm in the McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. Tickets are $22-$27. For more info, call 704-372-1000. (Shukla)

Papa didn't write more than a dozen operas -- compared to his 106 symphonies -- so Haydn's vocal music isn't nearly as well-known as his orchestral oeuvre. But with The Creation coming to Belk Theater, Charlotte Symphony subscribers can discover that Franz Joseph's oratorios have a power all their own. With soprano Ute Selbig, tenor Tilman Lichdi and bass Guido Jentjens scheduled as the frontline vocalists, we're going to guess that maestro Christof Perick is planning to do the German Creation rather than the English. The presence of the mighty Oratorio Singers of Charlotte under Scott Allen Jarrett's direction will assure that the warmth and power shine through regardless. Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $17-$49, available at 704-972-2000. (Tannenbaum)

Remember the Steeple? Well, that old church-turned-club/artbar/hipster dive has been reborn as the Goblin. The new venture is the joint effort of folks from the also-now-defunct Room and Single Cell Productions. Charlotte rockers Drat will play there tonight with a little help from DJ Koji. There's no cover, and for those who may have forgotten, the club is located at 1212 Pecan Ave., behind the Penguin. Check the Web site,, for more spooky details. (Shukla)

Saturday, April 1

It's time, baby! For Sisters Only 2006 is hooking the modern black woman up with seminars, shopping and enough entertainment to keep you talking until next year. Billed as "Charlotte's largest cultural shopping event," FSO is about a whole lot more than gettin' yo' shop on. This year's theme, "A Celebration of Family," speaks to the domestic lifestyles of African-Americans. Areas covered include relationships, personal finance, career, health/beauty, autos and fashion. Legendary rapper KRS-One ("Tha Teacha") will be the keynote speaker this year. The music line-up includes Southern rappers Dem Franchise Boyz, former Destiny's Child Letoya, R&B crooners Avant, Ne-Yo and T-Pain, neo-soul man Dwele and '70s synth-funkers Midnight Star. The event begins today at 10am in the Charlotte Convention Center (501 S. College St.) and runs through Sunday from 12-6pm. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door and can be purchased at the convention center, by phone (704-522-6500) or at (Calloway)

Martina McBride walked out of the clubs and into the wider country scene as a traditionalist in the early '90s. She's released her share of nuggets as well as bland pop country fare along the way. McBride returned to the roots last year on Timeless, a nice collection in which she covered vintage country songs such as Hank Williams "You Win Again," Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough" and Harlan Howard's "Heartaches by the Number." McBride will bring those oldies together with her own contemporary hits, such as 2004's "This One's for the Girls," tonight at Bobcats Arena beginning at 7:30pm. Tickets are $34.50-$49.50. Call 800-495-2295 or go to for info. (Shukla)

Not a fan of smooth, girly R&B or lame, mainstream adaptations of classic gritty country? Well, shake off the residue and head over to Scorpio's on this funked-up April Fool's Day for a slammin' set by DJ Paul Oakenfold. The remixin', ee-lixin' British house DJ brings out the dance faithful every time he spins in the CLT. Expect no less from him tonight when he mans the turntables well into the wee hours. Scorpio's doors open at 9pm; admission is $40. For more info, call 704-373-9124. (Kemp)

Sunday, April 2

The award-winning documentary Fading Fabric: Remembering Our Textile Heritage will be shown at 4pm this afternoon on WTVI. Charlotte filmmaker Joel E. Blackwelder's movie, which earned the Best Documentary Award at last year's Southern Exposure Film Forum, looks at the history of the cotton mill in North Carolina. For more information, see Karen Shugart's story in this issue's News section. (Brunson)

Will Downing, the tall chocolate brother from Brooklyn with a voice that'll make you melt on songs such as "All the Man You Need" returns to Charlotte for two engagements. He joins fellow New Yorker Najee for Spring Fling 2006: An Evening of Romance & Smooth Jazz. Najee, a sax player from Jamaica, Queens, is known for pioneering the combination of jazz improvisation with smooth R&B. Downing will also appear at For Sisters Only as a speaker. Spring Fling 2006 is tonight at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 130 N. Tryon St., 7pm. Tickets are available at the box office or charge by phone at 704-372-1000 or online at (Calloway)

Tuesday, April 4

For the first time ever, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater comes to the Belk -- and with two different programs on consecutive nights, the debut figures to be memorable. The incomparable Aileys open with "Recent Works," created by various choreographers between 1997 and 2004 with music ranging from Bach to Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire. Wednesday's program takes us back to "Ailey Classics," including eight pieces created by Ailey between 1971 and 1988. Both programs tack on Ailey's famed "Revelations" (1960) as a finale, giving you the chance to enjoy a replay -- or an early getaway -- if you attend both nights. Action begins at 8pm Tuesday and Wednesday with tickets priced at $25-$55. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

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