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Mofro, I Wish To Live, Madama Butterfly

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Wednesday, October 25

Jonathan Taplin's first credit as a film producer was for Martin Scorsese's breakthrough feature Mean Streets, and that would provide any individual enough bragging rights to last a lifetime. Yet Taplin's credentials run far and wide and deep. Before entering the world of film, he served as road manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. And after he got his feet wet in cinema (in addition to Mean Streets, other credits include Under Fire and To Die For), he ventured out into the areas of finance (working for Merrill Lynch) and media technology (as one of the founders of Intertainer, which in turn created Video On Demand). For his efforts, Taplin will be honored by The Light Factory at the Power of Image event, which will be held at 8 p.m. tonight at Ballantyne Village Theatre. Taplin will receive the 2006 Power of Image Award, while Herman Stone, president and CEO of Consolidated Theaters/The Stone Group (whose theaters include frequent Best of Charlotte winner Phillips Place), will receive the Pillar of Image Award. After the awards presentation, Scorsese and Taplin's documentary The Last Waltz, a look at The Band, will be screened, followed by a Q&A session with Taplin. Tickets cost $20 and should be reserved in advance. For more info, go to www.lightfactory.org or call 704-333-9755. (Brunson)

Thursday, October 26

Florida-based swamp music purveyors Mofro have been given a warm, patchouli-scented (or these days, Polo or "Unforgivable"-scented) embrace by the jam band world, mostly due to the band's rather effortless meld of funk and Caribbean and Muscle Shoals-shirted southern rock and roll. However, the band doesn't bother with 10-minute solos, instrumental grandstanding, or little else of that genre's occasional excesses, preferring to settle into bottom-of-the-bourbon-barrel deep soul and blues grooves and keeping the focus on the song at hand as opposed to the hands playing the songs. With Charlotte's own David Childers and the Modern Don Juans, perhaps this town's best straight-ahead rock and roll band (maybe ever), and more than worthy of the price of admission by their (high) lonesome. See 'em tonight at the Visulite Theatre. Tickets and times available at www.visulite.com. (Davis)

Jai Lavette has put together a one-woman show, I Wish to Live, that she'll be performing live at the Hart-Witzen Gallery through Sunday. Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's "informal autobiography" of 1969, To Be Young Gifted and Black, Lavette portrays multiple characters and blends monologues, music, and poetry into her Wish. The reconfigured Hart-Witzen performing space, at 136 E. 36th Street, proved very congenial to the solo format when Hank West did his Nijinsky there last month. So those of us who missed Lavette at her premiere on College Street back in August will have no complaints about the funky setting. Shows begin 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 3 and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $15, or $10 for students. Call 704-975-8548. (Tannenbaum)

The second half of October is rolling in, and you know what that means! That's right, forking over large sums of cash and have sketchy goons in dark clothes scare the ever-loving crap out of you. The only difference between now and the rest of the year -- it's completely voluntary. This year, the places to be for that self-induced stroke are the Charlotte Haunts (if this doesn't do the trick, try staring directly into a set of strobe-lights). Set your girlish shrill free in the two haunted houses of Nightmare on Independence, or take a turn for the terrifying at the Haunted Mill. If you're sensitive to things like decapitations of Florida Congressmen, take caution. Prices range from $10-$15. Not recommended for kids under 10. For more info, check out www.charlottehaunts.com. (Adam Padgett)

British folk-rock legend Richard Thompson has influenced a generation of musicians with his songwriting prowess while his smoky voice has remained true to his folk origins through decades of musical trends. Thompson's effortless dance on the guitar and lyrical wit can fill a room with an air of dark romanticism. Thompson's work goes back to his stint with the 60s Brit folk-rock combo Fairport Convention, followed by a few years as a duo with wife Linda, and stacks of solo albums and collaborations since. Last year's recording Front Parlour Ballads was a more acoustic affair than his recent works. This year there's a 5-disc box set release, Life & Music Of Richard Thompson, that's filled with rare and unreleased performances. Thompson performs tonight at 8 p.m. at Neighborhood Theatre with opener Amy Correia. Tickets are $25. Details: 704-358-9298 or www.neighborhoodtheatre.com. (Shukla)

The world's most frequently performed opera, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, returns to Charlotte after a five-month hiatus. Opera Carolina's revival at Belk Theater treads fearlessly in the wake of CPCC Opera Theatre's, touting two Met Opera singers sharing the leading role of Cio-Cio-San, the fragile geisha who falls prey to heartless American imperialist Lt. Pinkerton. Neither of these worthies, we'll add, sports a vowel at the end of her name -- nor, we dare to hope, the extra avoirdupois allowed to superstar Mediterraneans. Cynthia Lawrence wields the showstopping arias and the samurai cutlery on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., returning on Saturday at 8 p.m. Spelling her is Kallen Esperian on Friday at 8 p.m. and the getaway Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10-$92. Call 704-372-1000 or click www.operacarolina.org. (Tannenbaum)

Friday, October 27

Everybody is getting into the true spirit of Halloween -- capitalism. Youth Harbor, a local children's charity, is throwing its 1st Annual Haunted House & Terrifying Trail -- Dr. Rodman's Monsters & Mayhem. On his Myspace page, Dr. Rodman describes himself as a 99 year-old Scorpio whose occupation is "Scaring You to Death!" (wow, what a catch). Proceeds will benefit the Rodman Community Center and various local programs that help children in need. Dr. Rodman's Monsters & Mayhem is located at RCC, 2484 Rodman Road/Hwy 909 in Rodman, SC. Tickets are $10 per person. The event runs Oct. 27-31 from sundown 'til midnight. Volunteers and info seekers should call 704-372-2363. (Calloway)

Back in May, Backporch Records released the John Cale-produced The Boxing Mirror, Alejandro Escovedo's first new solo effort since 2000. The album was something of a return to form for the man whose friends call him "Al," which is to say it is reasonably wonderful. However, Escovedo's biggest return to form has been his overcoming Hepatitis C, a disease that had slowly eaten away at the singer for years. Thanks in no small part to a 2004 tribute album that featured Americana all-stars like Son Volt, Lucinda Williams, the Jayhawks, Steve Earle and others, Al (we ain't friends, FWIW, but what the hell) was able to overcome his musician-mandated lack of health insurance recovery and return to the stage, which is, as anyone who's seen him live will tell you, is where he belongs. Still trying to make up your mind on nationalized health care? Escovedo plays Spirit Square's McGlohon Theatre at 8 p.m. Pick up tickets at www.carolinatix.org. (Davis)

Get ready to have your bones chilled and your hair raised. If you love to be terrified, we're talking so afraid that your blood runs cold, pick up an advance ticket for Scarowinds. Seven haunting attractions lurk in store, each one attacking your senses in a completely different way. Newbies include the Freak Show, featuring a misfit and burlesque sideshow. If freaks aren't your taste, dare yourself to survive a walk through the Haunted Woods, Murder Manor or the Slaughter House where the sound of screaming pigs throws you into a twisted version of Silence of the Lambs. Hours are Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m.- midnight, Ticket prices vary from $27.99 in advance to $34.99 at the gate. Find more info at www.scarowinds.com. (Maria Fisichello)

Saturday, October 28

Unleash your inner hedonist at CarnEvil 13, the freaky costume party for a cause. Thirteen may be an unlucky number, but as CarnEvil's promoters say, a lot of people are bound to get lucky this night. For the price of the ticket, you get beer, wine, food and entertainment galore. Lives bands include Alternative Champs, gogoPilot, J.T. & The Blame, Lamb Handler, Taradactyl, Suburban Shaman and Anders Manga. Among the guest DJs will be D‚ Nooch, Starseed, Spaceboy, Anthony Ramirez, Tober, Kate, Jeff Nagel and Christian. Not to mention Mistress Jadetiger's torture chamber. Proceeds benefit the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network. As always, costume is REQUIRED. Hanford Mill, 1111 Hawthorne Lane, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $25 in advance at Jeff's Bucket Shop (1605 Montford Drive) and The Common Market (2007 Commonwealth Ave.) or $40 at the door. For more information, see www.carnevil.org. (Shugart)

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