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See & Do

The good folks behind Folkin' Vote! bill tonight's event as one of "music, politics and voter registration." But where many voter registration drives toe the politically correct "let's avoid mention of who you're actually voting for" line, this event wants the performers to wear their politics on their sleeves, T-shirts, songs, stump speeches, whatever, just express an opinion. Of course, what the performer says is entirely up to them -- this is not a partisan event, just a committed one. Apparently it's what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Among those discovering their inner political selves, mostly in a stripped-down version to accommodate all the musicians, will be: Jeff Williams, David Childers, John Dungan, C.R. Edwards, John Morris, Mike Strauss, Bruce Hazel, Tom Eure, Brian Doyle, Michael Reno Harrell, Steve Simpson, Jerry Chapman and The Near Misses. For more information on this free event at the Evening Muse, go to or call 704-376-3737. (Schacht)

Actor's Theatre's production of last year's Tony Award winner for Best Play, Take Me Out, continues this week. The story is of baseball star Darren Lemming who announces that he's gay, sparking a media frenzy -- and clubhouse consternation. Homophobes lurk everywhere, some as tactless and repellent as the ones we grow right here in Charlotte. Jeremy Davis portrays the reluctant lightning rod under the direction of Lon Bumgarner. Tickets are $17 for Wednesday and Thursday evenings -- and a Sunday, September 26, matinee -- with Fridays and Saturdays priced at $22. Call 704-342-2251. (Tannenbaum)

One of Charlotte's venerable institutions, Festival in the Park, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The Festival, which began in 1964, is a mix of a juried arts and crafts show, family entertainment, a variety of musical concerts, fairground food and God knows what. FITP draws tens of thousands of visitors every Fall to Freedom Park, followed closely by griping from neighbors who want to know why people are parked in their yard. At the event, families and groups of friends walk around in a relaxed atmosphere that, these days, can seem almost quaint and nostalgic. The festival begins today and will continue through Sunday. Hours: today, 6-10pm; Friday, Kids Day 9am-1pm, regular festival 12noon-10pm; Saturday, 10am-10pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm. Best of all, it's free. Parking is available within Freedom Park, but it's pretty skimpy. If you park on a side street, please be considerate of the park's neighbors. Note that the Festival runs van shuttles from East Boulevard to the main entrance of the park. Need more info? Call 704-338-1060. (Grooms)

The Southern Women's Show takes place today through Sunday at the Merchandise Mart. This annual domestic extravaganza always draws a huge crowd for shopping, makeovers, spa treatments, demonstrations by celebrity chefs, and seminars on topics like self-improvement, diet, cruises, and home decorating. Also featured are a showcase of women authors, including Judy Goldman, special appearances by Andrew Dan-Jumbo of TLC's While You Were Out and Molly Barker of "Girls on the Run," and, back by popular demand, Charlotte firefighters will burn up the stage at the Firefighters Fashion Show. The show opens at 10am each day -- closing hours vary. Tickets are $8 at the door, $7 in advance, and $6.50 each for groups of 20 or more. For advance tickets and more information go to www.southern sws/wch. Or call 800-849-0248. (Vespa)

A burst of yeah-yeahs! and a squirt of yee-hahs! will likely await balletomanes at the Belk as NC Dance Theatre launches its 2004-05 season with Beatles Barbeque & Balanchine. Choreographer Dwight Rhoden celebrates the 40th anniversary of the mop-tops' US invasion with a new piece, Beatle Juice, set to the Fab Four's hits. Mark Godden handles the down-home Southern segment in Divining Grace, another world premiere, and NCDT fortifies its Balanchine creds with a new staging of Mozart Divertimento #15. It's the sort of eclectic program from NCDT that set New York critics on their rears this past spring. The rockin' tutu revival begins at 7:30pm tonight and 8pm on Friday and Saturday with tickets priced at $14-55 and student rush tickets on sale an hour before each performance for $10. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Charlotte Shout's Culinary Arts Experience marks the capstone of the Center City's month-long cultural celebration. The three-day food fest features cooking demonstrations by a slew of celebrity chefs including Wolfgang Puck and Michelle Bernstein. Local restaurants will also be on hand with samples. Be sure to Experience the 2nd annual Blues, Brews & BBQ, where more than 20 national teams will go hog-to-hog for a guaranteed slot at the World Championship Cook-Off at Memphis in May next year. As the events' title insinuates, there's gonna be plenty of beer and musical performances including regional faves, Acoustic Syndicate. This all goes down at Gateway Village today through Saturday and it's all free. Visit for details or call 704-332-1800. (Grossman)

After a two-week postponement caused by the unexpected success of Garden State as well as the opening of Vanity Fair, the Manor Theatre is now ready to present the September lineup of the Charlotte Film Society's Second Week series beginning today. This month's offerings are the original Japanese version (minus Raymond Burr) of the 1954 sci-fi favorite Godzilla, the Oscar-nominated Japanese import The Twilight Samurai, the heartfelt Kitchen Stories (see the Film section for a review), and the Canadian comedy Seducing Dr. Lewis. For information on prices and times, call 704-414-2355 or go online to http://charlottefilm (Brunson)

Plaza-Midwood's Steeple Lounge, in association with local promotion team NastyShane, is throwing something called Wonderboogie tonight, a 70s-themed party featuring the local all-star band Nighthawk (performing with guest singers Emily Hewson, Bruce Hazel, Eric Gilstrap, Nicole Atkins and others), as well as former Mythos don Andy Kastansas on the wheels of steel. In addition, the Fred Astaire Ballroom Dancers will be teaching interested parties "The Hustle" throughout the evening. Dress to kill (or at least to pimp), as prizes will be offered for best outfits. The whole shebang starts at 10pm, and $10 gets you in. For more information, log on to (Davis)

Ready for some strong theater with an edge? The Lesbian & Gay Community Center is presenting their second annual gay theater event, CenterStage 2004, a celebration of diversity through theater. Directed by Jermaine Nakia Lee, CenterStage promises the opportunity to experience Gay America through monologues, soliloquies, poems, and dramatic scenes -- a pretty safe, non-traumatic alternative for straight folk to the left of Bill James. Philistines and neanderthals are forewarned that they will find strong language and adult content at 1401 Central Avenue if they happen to peep in beginning at 7:30pm -- but there is a talkback session with cast and director afterwards. Tickets are $10. Call 704-333-0144. (Tannenbaum)

From blowing the roof off the joint with The Blasters to his long solo career, from his many production credits to his stints in X or the Knitters, Dave Alvin's music and writing evoke all things distinctly American. The true blue (or is it red) songwriter's latest collection, Ashgrove, is about as punchy as anything in his catalog. Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men roll out roots-embraced rockers with abandon and can easily mellow down into somber folk/blues or country tunes, all within the timeframe of reaching for your cold beverage. See our lead Music story for more on Dave Alvin. Visulite Theatre. Details: 704-358-9200 or (Shukla)

Take a foursome of former congressional aides, all bent on political satire, and put them on a collision course with the massive stupidity of 435 representatives, 100 US Senators, and an executive branch that's bunkered under a hailstorm of 9/11 probes. No wonder Capitol Steps, of NPR renown, are booked for double duty at Spirit Square. The high impact satirists, who customarily express themselves through song parodies like "Everybody Must Get Cloned" and "Sittin' in Guantanamo Bay," perform at 5pm and 8pm in cozy McGlohon Theatre. Seats for this election year roast are priced from $12.50-$32, offering a ticket you can actually believe in. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Paul Krugman, economist turned pundit for the New York Times and author of the best-selling The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the 21st Century, has become one of the most quoted and respected columnists in America. Krugman will present the Wearn Lecture at Davidson College's Duke Family Performance Hall at 8pm. The lecture is free. For more info, call 704-894-2140.

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