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See & Do

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MARCH 11 - THURSDAY
Richard Thompson's effortless dance on the guitar and witty wordplay can fill a room with an air of dark romanticism. His history goes back to the legendary 60s British folk-rock combo Fairport Convention, followed by a few years as a duo with wife Linda, and plenty of solo albums and collaborations in between. Thompson's songwriting prowess has influenced a generation of musicians while his smoky voice has remained true to his folk origins through decades of trends and musical crossovers. And on top of that, the man's an astonishing talent on guitar. Catch his solo acoustic show at Neighborhood Theatre tonight, 8pm. Tickets are $22, details 704-358-9298 or www.neighborhoodtheatre.com. (Shukla)

Popular Comedy Central crank Lewis Black, known for his caustic take on world affairs on the Jon Stewart-hosted The Daily Show, begins his "Rules of Enragement" tour tonight at 7:30pm at Ovens Auditorium. See our story in the Arts section of this issue. Tickets for the show are $31.50, available by calling 704-522-6500. (Davis)

Why should men always have all the delights of swashbuckling heroism and unrequited love? In Epic Arts Repertory Theatre's retelling of Cyrano, Edmond Rostand's tragic action hero is transformed into a woman. Returning triumphantly to SouthEnd Performing Arts Center as CL's newly crowned Theaterperson of the Year, Stan Peal doctors the script and co-directs with his wife, Laura Depta, who also spouts the poetry of the title role. Depta is surrounded by worthies who have rallied to the Epic Arts cause, including James K. Flynn, Anne Lambert, Joe Copley, Patrick Hurley, and emerging from hibernation, Lorraine Larocque, our Newcomer of the Year back in 2000. Runs through March 27 at 201 Rampart Street. Call 704-332-5300. (Tannenbaum)

It's not a big secret that some of the city's best up-and-coming actors are currently students at Northwest School of the Arts, which has racked up more big-time statewide theater awards than you can count. For nine years, NWSA has collaborated with the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center to present a big spring production. This year, NWSA and the Blumenthal present the musical Hello Dolly, the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, meddler extraordinaire. The production will be presented tonight through Saturday at 7:30pm in Booth Playhouse in the PAC, as well as at a 2pm Saturday show. No word about a possible cameo appearance by Barbra Streisand, but hey, you never know. In any case, tickets are $12, available at the PAC box office. For more information, call the PAC at 704-372-1000 or visit them at their website, www.performingartsctr.org. (Grooms)

MARCH 12 - FRIDAY
After a three-month leave of absence, the Charlotte Film Society's Second Week/Second Chance series returns with a trio of titles starting today at the Manor Theatre and continuing next Friday at Movies at Birkdale. This month's offerings are Shattered Glass, Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary and To Be and to Have. For reviews, see this issue's Film section; for info on prices and times, call 704-414-2355 or go online to http://charlottefilmsociety.com. And in anticipation of author Alfred Uhry's upcoming appearance at CPCC's Spring Literary Festival, the organization will also hold a free screening of Driving Miss Daisy at 7pm next Tuesday, March 26, at the Manor. (Brunson)

Discovery Place's next attraction couldn't be more appropriate for this area. NASCAR: The IMAX Experience will begin its local run this Friday in the venue's OMNIMAX Theatre. With footage shot at race events in Charlotte, Daytona, Talladega and other drive-fast-turn-left hot spots, the film (narrated by Kiefer Sutherland) features interviews with stars like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., a history of the sport, and plenty of on-track action. For details of showtimes and admission costs, call 704-372-6261 or go online to www.discoveryplace.org. (Brunson)

MARCH 13 - SATURDAY
Chamber music in Charlotte is on our culturally endangered list -- a good reason to take the annual Music at St. Peter's Benefit Concert seriously in 2004. To keep the live music flowing, three of the Symphony's best string players will be joined by three members of Raleigh's NC Symphony to tackle Beethoven's String Trio #1 in E-flat. Then Raleigh concertmaster Brian Reagin, assistant principal violist David Marschall, and principal cellist Bonnie Thron line up opposite the Charlotte trio in Brahms' Opus 18 String Sextet in B-flat. Tickets for the benefit are $30. Splash extra cash and you can attend the reception. The tricky part is that the whole shebang is at First United Methodist Church on 8th and Tryon. Call 704-335-0009. (Tannenbaum)

Well, we don't have a river to dye green, but our city has its own St. Pat's tradition in the 8th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade & Festival held uptown. The parade kicks off the revelry at 11am, routed down Tryon St. This year's festival is bigger than ever with extended hours from 12noon-10pm and an expanded location on Tryon St. between 1st and 3rd Streets, including the Wachovia Plaza and The Green between Tryon and College Streets. The Dublin City Ramblers will headline one of the two stages, and of course it wouldn't be St. Pat's Day without beer, which will be available throughout the festival. The parade and the festival are free, but you've gotta pay for the beer. Call 704-542-6846 for details or visit www.charlottestpatsday.com. (Grossman)

MARCH 15 - MONDAY
Founded by legendary Bolshoi dancer Sergei Radchenko in 1989, Moscow Festival Ballet's rich repertoire includes familiar classics like Giselle and Sleeping Beauty plus some fine gems rarely seen in America. Carolinas Concert Association has called upon the Muscovites to perform one of these rarities, a full-length three-act Don Quixote with music by Leon Minkus and choreography by Tchaikovsky's venerable collaborator, Marius Petipa. Opulent costumes, resplendent sets, and pirouetting Olgas galore are part of the impressive package at Belk Theater as the Knight of the Woeful Countenance and Sancho Panza set forth to transform the plains of Spain. Call 704-527-6680. (Tannenbaum)

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