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WEDNESDAY 27

The Royal Shakespeare Company -- yes the Royal Shakespeare Company -- continues its Davidson College presentation of The Merchant of Venice. Performances are scheduled for 7:30pm the evenings of February 27-28 and March 1. A matinee show will be offered at 2pm on March 2. Tickets are $60. For more information, call 704-894-2135.

The Southern Spring Show continues today at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart, featuring all manner of gardens, features, exhibits, speakers, and vendors, as well as an "ugly yard contest," wherein folks bring a picture of their yard to win a $5,000 makeover. In addition, Al and Patty Wheeler of Skyland Books in Blowing Rock will host an impressive list of North Carolina writers. We recommend: Jerry Bledsoe, author of Bitter Blood, 2-4pm Friday; Doug Marlette, author of The Bridge, 10am-noon on Saturday; Ann Ross, author of Miss Julia Takes Over, Saturday 1-3pm; and Robert Inman, author of Captain Saturday, from 1-3pm on Sunday. Show hours are Saturdays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 9pm, and Sundays and Mondays from 10am to 6pm. Admission is $9 at the door, $8 after 5pm weekdays, $7.50 in advance, and children 12 and under free. For more information, call 704-376-6594.

The Charlotte Hornets take on the surprising New Jersey Nets, led by all-star point guard Jason Kidd, tonight at 7pm. Tickets are $9-$39, available by calling 800-4NBA-TIX.

The Charlotte Gay and Lesbian Film Series continues with two films, The Iron Ladies and Punks, tonight at Carolina Pavilion 22 beginning at 7pm. For more information, visit www.outcharlotte.org.

THURSDAY 28

The Light Factory will present the final installment of their series Art:21 - Art in the Twenty-First Century at 7pm. The program is entitled Consumption and features an introduction by none other than John McEnroe (who we're sure knows tons about art) in a video by Barbara Kruger. Additional information on the Art:21 project can be found at www.pbs.org/art21. For more information contact The Light Factory at 704-333-9755.

Bach's B Minor Mass will be performed by the Oratorio Singers and the Charlotte Symphony, as the Singers organization celebrates its 50th anniversary tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday at 8pm. The show will be held in the Belk Theater of the Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $12-$55. For more information, call 704-972-2000, 704-372-1000, or visit online at www.charlottesymphony.org.

John Hiatt, longtime critics' favorite rocker/songwriter, and one of the most acclaimed live performers around, performs tonight in support of his The Tiki Bar Is Open CD, at 8pm at the Neighborhood Theatre, with opening act Scott Miller. Alas, the Tiki Bar is closed if you don't have tickets, as the show is sold out.

FRIDAY 1

Performance poet Glenis Redmond brings the dancing words and vivid images of Heroes & Sheroes to Children's Theatre tonight at 7:30pm and tomorrow at 3pm. Tickets are $7 for center seats and $5 for side seats. For more information, call 704-333-8983 or visit online at www.ctcharlotte.org.

Sweeney Todd, the award-winning musical tale of a homicidal barber, will be performed by students from the Northwest School of the Arts, Charlotte-Mecklenburg's only performing and visual arts high school. The show takes place tonight and tomorrow at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm in the Booth Theatre of the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $12. For more information, call 704-372-1000 or visit online at www.performingartsctr.org.

Master Class, a drama about the post-stage life of opera legend Maria Callas by Terrence McNally, will be presented by Winthrop University's New Stage Ensemble at 8pm in the Frances May Barnes Recital Hall. Tickets are $10 for general admission. For more information, call 803-323-2651.

Soulful crooners Jaheim and Faith Evans will perform at Ovens Auditorium at 8pm tonight as part of the "Night For Lovers Tour." Tickets are $35 and $37.50, available by calling 704-522-6500.

SATURDAY 2

The Second Annual Art With Heart Auction to benefit United Family Services' domestic violence programs, The Shelter for Battered Women, and Victim Assistance will be held today starting at 6:30pm in Dana Auditorium at Queens College. There will be both a live and a silent auction. Admission is $40 per person/$75 per couple in advance and $50 per person at the door. Hearty hors d' oeuvres and beverages will be provided. For more information, call 704-367-2705 or visit online at www.unitedfamilyservices.org/artwithheart.htm.

SUNDAY 3

The Gizmo Guys, a group of dazzling world-class jugglers, will perform at 2pm in the Belk Theater of the Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $5-$8. For more information, call 704-372-1000 or visit online at www.performingartctr.org.

The Charlotte Hornets take on UNC alum Jerry Stackhouse and the Detroit Pistons today at 3pm. Tickets are $9-$39, available by calling 800-4NBA-TIX.

MONDAY 4

Lady Day: The Many Faces Of Billie Holiday and A Great Day In Harlem, the story of a historic 1958 photograph by Art Kane, will be shown as part of the Jazz on Film series at the Public Library's Francis Auditorium. Showtime is at 7pm. For more information, call 704-432-0337.

TUESDAY 5

Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo's classic novel, can be seen as the paradigm of Broadway's recent penchant for big, splashy, spectacular productions. Les Miz shows more passion than most of the big-noise shows (like Miss Saigon), though, and, depending on the production, can be powerful and moving, or just loud and confusing. This touring show should hopefully be in the "powerful and moving" category. It takes place at Ovens Auditorium beginning tonight. The show will run through March 10 with performances Tuesday-Thursday at 8pm, Friday at 8:15pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8:15pm, and Sunday at 2pm and 7:30pm. For more information, call 704-522-6500.

The Tuesday Noon Concert Series at St. Peter's Episcopal Church presents its next installment at 12:10pm. The program will feature Dover Beach by Samuel Barber and Akhmatova Songs by John Tavener. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call

704-332-7746.

WEDNESDAY 6

Wilhemenia Fernandez, who reached popular acclaim in the film DIVA, will speak at 7:30pm tonight at the Jane M. Smith Memorial Church on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University as part of the school's Lyceum series. For more information, call 704-378-1022.

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