One of the city's best events, the Taste of the Nation Gala, takes place tonight at Marriott City Center Hotel downtown, featuring food from over 30 of the city's best restaurants, including wine and beer samplings, live entertainment, silent and live auctions, and lots of nice clothes. Taste of the Nation is part of the national Share our Strength effort, one of America's largest non-profit hunger and poverty relief organizations. The Preview Party is 6-7pm, the Gala begins at 7pm. Tickets are $50 for the Gala and $75 for both events. For more information, contact email@example.com or 704-332-2227. For tickets, call Second Harvest Food Bank at 704-376-1785. (Grooms)
APRIL9 - FRIDAY
Former University of North Carolina basketball coaching legend Dean Smith, the winningest coach in the history of college basketball, will be at Park Road Books today beginning at 5pm. Smith will sign copies of his latest book, The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons from a Life in Coaching. For more information, call 704-525-9239. (Davis)
The Charlotte Film Society's Second Week/Second Chance series continues today at the Manor Theatre as well as next Friday at Movies at Birkdale. This month's offerings are Bubba Ho-Tep, Bus 174, In This World and The Statement. 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. (Brunson)
IMAX once again travels under the sea with Ocean Oasis, opening in Discovery Place's OMNIMAX Theatre today. Water-based IMAX flicks -- from Dolphins to Coral Reef Adventure -- have proven to be popular over the years, and this one could (pardon the pun) ride the same wave of success, taking a look at the shimmering beauty of the waters off the coasts of Mexico and California. For details, including show times and admission costs, call 704-372-6261 or go online to www.discoveryplace.org. (Brunson)
Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson brings a new event to the city with the first Charlotte Jumper Classic, held today through Sunday at the Charlotte Coliseum. This elite competition is part of the American Grand Prix Association Series of Show Jumping, with nearly 90 riders and 300 horses competing in 11 different classes, with a collective purse of $260,000. Some athletes involved in this event will also participate in the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in August. All net proceeds will benefit the Bobcats Charitable Fund. For more details including the competition schedule, go to www.charlottejumperclassic.com. Get tickets through Ticketmaster by calling 704-522-6500, Packages range from $55-$220 or on a single-show basis from $15-$50. (Grossman)
Dinosaur duo Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan will appear at Discovery Place to tell the tale of SUE's discovery and its impact on the world of paleontology. A T. rex Named SUE is the featured exhibit at Discovery Place, with a cast of SUE, the most complete and best preserved T. Rex specimen ever found, as its centerpiece. Larson, a T. rex expert, has excavated hundreds of dinosaurs including SUE. Donnan, an award-winning journalist, co-wrote a book with Larson titled, Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law, and My Life which they will undoubtedly plug during their visit. The pair will give informal presentations today and tomorrow along with two formal presentations tomorrow at 11am and 3pm. Regular admission to Discovery Place applies: $7.50 for ages 13-59, $6.50 for ages 60+, $6 for ages 6-12, $5 for ages 3-5 and children under the age of 3 are free. Call 704-372-6261, ext. 300 to reserve seats for the formal presentations.
APRIL10 - SATURDAY
Progressive acoustic guitar wizard Larry Keel, appearing tonight at the Visulite Theatre, sounds like he has 47 fingers on each hand, all of them programmed for high-speed fretwork. In this incarnation of the Larry Keel Experience, the two-time Telluride flatpicking champ is joined by his wife, Jenny, on acoustic bass and Danny Knicely on mandolin. The songs may be rooted in bluegrass, but the innovative arrangements suggest a new direction, a la the Acoustic Syndicates of the world. The Moonshine Racers will open. Tickets for the show are $10, available at the door or by calling 704-358-9200. (Schacht)
CORRECTION: Last week's photo from Moving Poets' production of 1001 Arabian Nights should have been credited to Jeff Cravotta. We regret the omission.