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CL's must-do list

Polish Joke, the Panthers, Philharmonic Orchestra

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WEDNESDAY, August 31

Actor's Theatre's new season opens tonight with Polish Joke, by David Ives. Winner of the Outer Critics Circle Playwriting Award, the play is a decidedly un-PC comedy about a man who struggles to escape -- and finally embraces -- his ethnic heritage. Chip Decker directs a cast that includes Joe Falocco, Laurie Riffe, Tim Ross, Craig Spradley, and Jorja Ursin. The play runs through September 17. Wednesday and Thursday performances start at 7:30pm and tickets are $20. On Friday and Saturday, the curtain is at 8pm with tickets costing $25. At the 2:30 Sunday matinee on Panthers game day, September 11, guys get in for half price and gals get a free glass of wine. That sounds better than paying through the nose for tickets and drinks at the stadium. Even better, Tuesday, September 6, is "Pay What You Can Night." Call 704-342-2251 or visit www.actorstheatrecharlotte.org to purchase tickets. (Vespa)

THURSDAY, September 1

The Carolina Panthers take on "Big Ben" Roethlisberger -- the QB with the best rookie winning percentage in NFL history -- and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight at 8pm at Bank of America Stadium. Unfortunately, and no doubt due to the huge influx of Terrible Towel-waving Pittsburgh residents relocating here, the game is sold out (if you feel lucky, try calling 704-358-7800). That said, whom are we kidding? It's an exhibition game, and the last one before the regular season (meaning starters will play about a quarter of the game). Get ye to a scalper! (But don't tell them we told you so.) (Timothy C. Davis)

FRIDAY, September 2

The 4th annual celebration of arts, heritage and cultural events in the Queen City, affectionately known as Charlotte Shout, officially begins today and runs through Sept. 25. The idea here is to weave together numerous events happening during the month as an ongoing festival. There are culinary events, film showings, art gallery exhibitions, theatrical events and more. New to this year's schedule is the "Cultural Arts Sampler Series," which highlights six different art forms -- poetry, history, opera, Afro-American culture, filmmaking, and modern dance. It all takes place at different venues around town. For a more comprehensive list of events and other details go to charlotteshout.com or charlotteshoutculinaryarts.com or call 704-332-1800. (Shukla)

The Light Factory's Independent Documentary Month, showcasing feature-length works made by regional filmmakers, begins at 7pm tonight with a screening of Lance Lindahl's naked / nerve / endings. The event, which will also include a live drum circle performance (which ties into the film's plot), will take place in the McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square; admission is $10. For all titles in this month-long series, see this issue's Film section; for additional information, call 704-333-9755 or go online to www.lightfactory.org. (Brunson)

SATURDAY, September 3

The Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra brings back illusionist Lyn Dillies and the Eddie Mabry Dancers for some more Magic at the Philharmonic at Blumenthal tonight. Rumor has it that Dillies will make maestro Albert Moehring vanish and also perform other illusions in sync with classical music. The musical selections include Mozart's "Impresario Overture," John Williams' "Selections from E.T.," and Strouse's "Annie Highlights." Showtime is 8pm and tickets range from $19.50-$45. Call 704-372-1000 or visit charlottephilharmonic.org before the tickets go poof. (Shukla)

This weekend, take the kids and dance uptown to Frazier Park for the 8th Igunnuko African Heritage Festival. This family-oriented celebration of African Heritage through the arts will feature live jazz, reggae, gospel, African, Caribbean music as well as an African Artists Market, and the Children's Educational Village where children can learn about and participate in jewelry making, African drumming, storytelling, woodcarving and much more. This event is free. For more information contact the Ife Cultural Arts Center at 704-921-5800. (Lauren MacLeod)

SUNDAY, September 4

Celebrate that Americans have the right to decide what they read, listen to, or view, and head down to Gallery L of the Main Library for their new exhibit "Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings." The exhibit will feature old posters from Nazi Germany, photos of German students burning books, American newsreel footage and the reaction by the US media. This Freedom to Read exhibit will be on display through October 23rd. Visit www.plcmc.org for more information. (Lauren MacLeod)

WEDNESDAY, September 7

Gather around to witness the definitive sex, drugs and rock & roll revue known as Mötley Crüe. The classic original line-up of Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee will be at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre tonight on their Red, White and Crude 2005 tour. The boys are pushing their double disc of live and b-side material Red, White and Crüe, which was released earlier this year. The sex lives of this crew are as legendary as their theatrical rock blowouts. Expect an assault of hair metal, glam-rock, hard rock, slithering women, and possibly the appearance of Tommy Lee's third leg. Doors open at 7pm and tickets are $20-$68.50. Call 704-522-6500 or visit cellardoor.com for more details. (Shukla)

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