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I Am "Women," Hear Me Roar

Of vixens, vampires, and Verona

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Lots of folks crowded into The Evening Muse on Thursday evening, and half of them were from the UK. Or so it seemed -- you see, Tara Busch, the lead singer for the trippy Wales act Dynamo Dresden, was back home again, and her brother Todd, a bit of a reclusive chap, actually left his. Do not discount how cool this is, especially if you're one of those lazy types like me who take their vacations infrequently. Even I got into the act after a while: "I'll have a pint, act-ually." The siblings Busch were indeed worth waiting for: Tara's voice is every bit as strong and supple as it was when she sang in the defunct (and de-funked) Charlotte act Sheva, and Todd Busch has recently returned to playing primarily acoustic material, some of which is the best he's ever penned -- lush, symphonic work that's light-years away from the sonic fury of his band The Flyweb. At one point, I stepped outside for a breath of fresh air. Two chaps beside me, evidently part of the Dynamo entourage (the band recently won best up-and-coming act at the Welsh Music Awards) lit their cigarettes and began talking about the weather, which was cold and foggy. "Feels like "ome," said one. "Deed," said the other. They began talking about their plans for the evening, and what they wanted to check out of their band mate's home city. As this was going on, I began talking to a really nice guy who said that meeting me was "cooler than meeting Bob Inman." Having met Bob Inman, allow me to say that I, sir, am no Bob Inman (but hey, call me!). As the Dynamo posse prepared to roll, I heard one of the band members tell the rest of the group to hurry, as Charlotte's nightlife awaited. What cultural endeavor awaited our guests and their mysteriously accented (think Madonna) American hostess? "Hey, mates! Uptown Cabaret's closin' soon!"

If any Charlotte musician's going to hit the big time, it'll likely be Unknown Hinson. The King of the CawntryWesturn Troubadours (that's how he pronounces it -- assume any misspellings from here on are my attempt at dialect) packed the house at the Double Door Inn on Friday. Hinson's the rare breed that manages to be interesting to most everyone. To an intellectual or would-be hipster, he's a caricature of Southern Culture, remarkable in the thoroughness of the Chart-Toppin' character he (Danny Baker) portrays. To an unreconstructed redneck -- there were a few of them there, too -- he's The Man Show, Bocephus, and Frankenstein all rolled into one. To others, he's possibly the best guitarist in the Charlotte area. And, judging by the folks wearing Dockers in attendance, he's also a chance to say "I saw him back at this quaint little roadhouse in Chah-lotte." How Capitol, his new recording home, will market him is anyone's guess. Do they market him to the Rawk audience and endure Hinson's wrath? To the womerns, in hopes of creating a sex symbol? Or to the idiot common denominator, the aforementioned Maxim-reading knuckleheads above? Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

I likes me a little bit of theatre, especially if its got some womerns in it (sorry -- the Unknown accent's a little hard to shake). As such, I headed to my favorite little theatre, the Off-Tryon Theatre Company space, to see Chickspeare's presentation of Shakespeare's R&J, a story of a group of young girls at a boarding school who perform Shakespeare for fun to escape the strict, parochial rules that govern them. The work of the Bard means different things to the different girls, and by the end of their recitation, the girls are no longer the same people they were at the beginning. It's a fine adaptation of the most famous work by ol' Shakesy, The Would-be Greatest Screenwriter Alive Were He Actually, and the Chickspeare people do a fine job of crafting an entertainment with the most puritan set imaginable. It had nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with the fact that the play had four young girls in Catholic schoolgirl outfits kissing and rolling around on the floor for an hour and a half. Really. No, really.

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