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See & Do

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May 12 - Thursday
One of 2004's most compelling and entertaining books of popular history was Skeletons on the Zahara, a re-telling of a harrowing true-life adventure that enthralled readers in the 19th Century. Author Dean King refreshes the story of a dozen American sailors whose ship, Commerce, shipwrecked on the northern coast of Africa in 1815, and whose subsequent ordeal in the Sahara desert is unforgettable. They first survive attacks by coastal nomads, then after realizing they've landed on the edge of the Sahara, they're taken as slaves by a caravan. Soon, they're sold to a Westerner who leads them on a hellish trip across the desert in which their very ideas of reality and identity are warped beyond recognition by the effects of extreme dehydration. I could go on, but I won't. Instead, I recommend you hear the author read from his book, newly released in paperback, at Park Road Books at 7pm. For more details, call 704-525-9239. (Grooms)

The 2005 Y'allternative RockFest takes place today and tomorrow at Amos' Southend. The showcase lineups this year feature Deviant, Cerebrum, Shadowflag and Extra Medium (tonight) and The Talk, In-V, Brake Thru and CYN (Friday). Tickets are $10 either evening or $15 for both nights. For more information go to www.amossouthend.com. (Schacht)

May 13 - Friday
Roberto Minczuk — who was a leading candidate during the year-long beauty pageant eventually won by Christof Perick — returns to Belk Theater to lead the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in its final classics concert of the 2004-05 season. The program features concertmaster Calin Ovidiu Lupanu standing up for his first concerto solos in Charlotte — a belated CSO debut of Mozart's Violin Concerto #2. Three 20th Century composers (none of whom will scare away CSO's skittish subscribers) add vivid color to the program as we hear Respighi's Fountains of Rome, Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole, and "Suite #2" from Falla's Three-Cornered Hat. The unique four-piece program repeats on Saturday, both concerts beginning at 8pm. Tickets, priced at $14-$68, are available at 704-972-2000. (Tannenbaum)

Holy batmobile, Robin! Commissioner Gordon, aka theatre legend Pat Hingle, is coming to town for a unique benefit at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte. Reflections of an Actor features Hingle's reminiscences on a film career that stretches back to On the Waterfront (1954) with stints on Broadway that include the original productions of J.B., Blues for Mr. Charlie, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Festivities begin at 7pm over on 650 E. Stonewall Street with drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and dessert included in the $50 package, along with a Q&A session after Hingle's talk. Call 704-342-2251. (Tannenbaum)

Discovery Place takes to the skies today as its IMAX Dome Theater opens Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag. The 45-minute movie, which follows a young fighter pilot as he navigates his way through the final phase of military flight training, promises to provide audiences with an up-close look at the F-15, considered the world's greatest fighter jet. For hours and admission costs, call Discovery Place at 704-372-6261. (Brunson)

The Charlotte Film Society's Second Week series continues today at the Manor Theatre. This month's lineup consists of the award-winning documentary Tarnation; the sentimental Argentinean film Valentin; the Iranian drama Deserted Station; and British director John Boorman's In My Country, a South African-set piece starring Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche. For a review of Tarnation, see this issue's Film section; for information on prices and times, call 704-414-2355 or go online to http://charlottefilmsociety.com. (Brunson)

May 14 - Saturday
Like father, like son: The ongoing Reel Soul film program has proven so successful that we can now check out its offspring: Reel Soul Jr. Aimed at a family audience (especially kids ages 4-9), the event will present the feature-length animated film The Golden Blaze at 1:30pm and 3:30pm today at the Afro-American Cultural Center. Featuring the vocal talents of Blair Underwood (L.A. Law) and Oscar nominee Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile), the movie centers on two African-American boys whose dads suddenly develop superpowers. Admission is $3. For details, call 704-374-1565. (Brunson)

May 15 - Sunday
Your last chance to catch The Mill Community Project in Charlotte this season comes at a 2pm performance at The Mint Museum. Best known for his work with Moving Poets Theatre of Dance, composer David Crowe has written a new chamber piece that incorporates narration by David Mills and seeks to connect the history of the local textile industry, specifically the millworkers themselves, with music that draws on their communities' experiences. Crowe performs the piece as a percussionist with an ensemble that includes 11 members of the Charlotte Symphony Chamber Ensemble. Performance is free with admission to the museum. (Tannenbaum)

May 16 - Monday
If ever there was a Charlotte house band, the Spongetones would have to be it — which is not to suggest that their user-friendly, Beatles/Big Star-inspired power pop doesn't transcend borders, regional or otherwise. One listen to their latest, Number 9, and it's clear that after 25 years the talents of Jamie Hoover, Pat Walters, Rob Thorne and Steve Stoeckel have diminished little, if at all. All the winning ingredients that made them pop's best-kept secret in the 80s are still on display across the breadth of Number 9's 13 tracks: jangling guitars, angelic harmonies, deceptively complex rhythms and wistful and witty lyrics. This CD release party at the Evening Muse will not be easy to get in to, so don't dally if you want to catch one of the city's most memorable bands. For more information go to www.theeveningmuse.com. (Schacht)

May 18 - Wednesday
In our April 27 issue, the See & Do item on the opening of Menopause the Musical was the unfortunate victim of PMS. It seems that renovations on the Capri Theatre (3500 East Independence Blvd.) were not completed in time for opening night on May 4, so the show has been postponed until May 18. Even though the production has been delayed, it still promises to be a rollicking good time with a local cast celebrating women and "The Change." Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, with matinees at 4pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday. Tickets are $39.50 and can be purchased by calling 704-563-3332. For more info, visit www.menopausethemusical.com or www.capritheatre.com. (Vespa)

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