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See & Do

The Actor's Theatre of Charlotte will present Moises Kaufman's drama, The Laramie Project, based on the experiences of a small town in Colorado after the killing of Matthew Shepard, today through October 27 at Spirit Square. Tonight's performance will be followed by a wine & cheese reception, and each Thursday show is followed by a "talk-back" session with the cast and director. Showtimes are Wednesday-Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday-Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday, October 27, at 2pm only. Tickets range from $15-$20 (for those of you out there on the tight budgets -- October 15 is "pay what you can" night). For more information, call 704-372-1000 or visit online at (McKinney)

Moving Poets Theater of Dance will open their season with Gateway South, a collection of works which pay tribute to painter Maud Gatewood (Southern Tour) and the prison writings of Wole Soyinka (The Echo). The show will run tonight through October 13 in the Booth Playhouse of the Performing Arts Center. Showtimes are Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 7pm. Tickets range from $15-$24.50. For more information, call 704-372-1000 or visit online at (McKinney)

St. Louis rapper Nelly will take the stage tonight at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. The witty MC, touring in support of his latest release, Nellyville, will be joined by Fabulous, Amerie, Big Tymers and Lil' Wayne. Showtime is 7pm and tickets cost $20.50, $35.50 and $50.50. For more info, call the venue's concert hotline at 704-549-5555 or visit (Farris)

The Light Factory's Factory Films Series has lately proven itself to be best friend of the local filmmaker, premiering homegrown pictures alongside more nationally distributed independent fare. This month's offering, Higher, is one such Carolina product, a self-assured debut from writer-director-costar Jamal McLemore that follows several storylines that finally collide in a startling climax (see Flicks section for a review). Higher will be screened at 7:15pm (doors open at 6:15pm) tonight at the Visulite Theater, and McLemore will be in attendance. Tickets cost $7. For more information, call 704-333-9755. (Brunson)

If you're a Dancing Queen or just a rabid ABBA fan, then Mamma Mia! is just what the doctor ordered. It's ABBA's greatest hits woven into three love stories. Some fans may equate ABBA more with horror than love, but music snobs should note that someone as influential as Pete Townsend, no less, says ABBA was a "great, pure pop group" and that their "Knowing Me Knowing You" is one of the greatest pop songs of all time ("I wish I'd written it," says St. Pete). Mamma Mia! runs through October 20 at Ovens Auditorium. Showtimes are Tuesday-Thursday at 8pm, Friday at 8:15pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8:15pm, and Sunday at 2pm and 7:30pm. Tickets range from $20-$67 (choice of seats depending on just how much you love ABBA). For more information, call 704-522-6500 or visit online at (McKinney, Grooms)

Don't assume Martin Sexton is just another singer/songwriter on the "newfolk" acoustic scene. Yes, he's got all the usual elements -- a good voice and he tells a darn good story -- but even the New York Times agrees Sexton manages to jump beyond standard folk. Tonight he'll be at the Neighborhood Theatre in NoDa. Chris Trapper will open the show at 8pm. Tickets cost $17.50. For more info, call the theater at 704-358-9298 or go to (Farris)

The Charlotte Checkers, led by coach Don MacAdam, kick off their 2002-2003 season tonight against one of the worst-named teams in professional sports, the Greenville Grrrowl. Tickets for the big ice hockey tilt are $6-19, available at the Independence Arena box office or by calling 704-522-6500. (Davis)

The Charlotte Symphony revs up its season by taking on the Melancholy One of Vienna, Gustav Mahler. Mahler fans say his mammoth symphonies are probing, haunting masterworks that plumb the depths of the human soul. Detractors say they're just too damned long. Either way, the CSO takes a crack at Mahler's Third Symphony tonight and tomorrow at 8pm in the Performing Arts Center. The show will feature contralto Renee Morloc, women of the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte and members of the Charlotte Children's Choir. Tickets range from $12-$60. For more information, call 704-972-2000 or visit online at (Grooms)

Tonic and Carmen! Carmen! Salon will hold an outdoor hair and fashion show, Cirque du Salon, in the Tonic parking lot at 1427 East Fourth Street. The parking lot of Tonic will be transformed into a traveling circus show that will include trapeze artists and models dressed as animals. The festivities start at 9pm, rain or shine. Cover is $5. For more information, call 704-777-3822. (Servatius)

If you've been in North Charlotte this week and heard a constant buzz from afar, don't fear, it probably wasn't a swarm of West Nile-carrying mosquitoes, it's the thunderous roar of racecars at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Practices, Pole Night and Busch and ARCA races were all held earlier this week culminating in today's UAW-GM 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. The green flag will fly at 12:30pm and country music artist Neal McCoy is scheduled to sing the national anthem and perform as part of the pre-race activities as well. Tickets start at $19. For a look at a full schedule of this week's racing events or to order tickets, visit www.lowesmotorspeed or call 1-800-455-FANS. (Farris)

Sharyn McCrumb is a North Carolinian with a split personality. She's written mysteries that are hip and filled with pop culture references and satire (Bimbos of the Death Sun and Zombies of the Gene Pool), but she's also penned several mysteries that mine her Appalachian background for its backwoods malice, mythology and spiritual contradictions (i.e., the co-existence of rockrib fundamentalism and the supernatural). McCrumb will read and talk about her writing as part of the Novello Festival, at the Great Aunt Stella Center at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15. Call (704) 372-2500 or go to www.performing (Grooms) OCTOBER 16-WEDNESDAY
Creative Loafing Carolina Writers Night has earned a reputation as one of the best parts of the Novello Festival. The reasons: we present some of the best writers in the Carolinas, and it's free. This year's lineup is one of the best yet. Lee Smith holds a rare place in the ranks of Southern authors: a writer with a huge fan base who also garners utmost respect from the literati -- not to mention that her readings are loads of fun. She'll be there, as will author Jim Grimsley, whose gritty, heartfelt novels (Winter Dreams, Boulevard) have won him a strong following. Ron Rash, the author of One Foot In Eden (the winner of the 2002 Novello Literary Award -- see review in this issue) will also read, along with other Novello Festival Press authors Irene Honeycutt (Waiting For The Trout To Speak) and children's author Lauren Faulkenberry. It takes place at the Neighborhood Theatre in NoDa at 7:30pm and it's absolutely free. (Grooms)

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