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See & Do

June 29 - Wednesday

The Charlotte Knights take on the Pawtucket Red Sox — the AAA affiliate of the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox — today through Friday at Fort Mill's Knights Castle at 7:15pm. At press time, the expatriate "Charlotte" Knights were 17.5 games out of first place in the South Division of the International League, but, much like the Charlotte Bobcats, have been in more games lately than the record would indicate. Friday's tilt includes the team's biggest fireworks display of the year, just in time for Independence Day festivities. Tickets for each (k)night are $6-$10, available at the Knights' box office or by calling 704-36-HOMER. (Timothy C. Davis)

July 01 - Friday

NYC-based Latin pop star Jade Estaban Estrada will present a comedic history of the gay and lesbian world in Icon: Lesbian and Gay History of the World Vol. 1 tonight and Saturday night at the Lesbian and Gay Center on Central Ave. In the play, Estrada depicts the lives of famous gays and lesbians such as Oscar Wilde, Ellen Degeneres and Sappho. Estrada has toured the globe with this play and it's been featured on Comedy Central's "The Graham Norton Effect." Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Proceeds from the play will benefit the work of the Center. For more details call 704-333-0144 or visit (Shukla)

After a 24-year absence, local photographer and artist Ráed Al-Rawi returned to his homeland of Baghdad last year for a family reunion. During his time there he took more than 1,000 photographs to capture the Iraqi people during their daily lives. Many of these images will be on display at an upcoming exhibit that Al-Rawi hopes will show these people as real human beings — neighbors, families, students, friends — and not just faceless images or statistics on the news. The exhibit, Baghdad Reunion, will run from 6-10pm at Gallery 620, located on 620 West Morehead St. The exhibit will continue until July 29. For more information call 704-618-9966. Several of Al-Rawi's painting will also be on display July 1 as part of the Summer Show at The Center Of The Earth Gallery, 3204 North Davidson St., 704-375-5756. (Boykin)

July 02 - Saturday

It's been a long hard season for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, so they're breaking out the party hats — and the heavy metal! — before they boogie off for their summer vacations. Admittedly the heavy metal at Celebrate America in Symphony Park is pretty square: John Philip Sousa's "Liberty Bell March" and the cannonfire from Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture." But CSO's patriotic outpour is a sacrosanct holiday tradition, and the "1812" is always a preamble to a crowd-pleasing fireworks display under the stars. The whole family-friendly evening kicks off at 7pm with a Prelude concert, and at 8:15 the varsity will take the bandstand for the "Star-Spangled Banner." Once again, admission is free for this SouthPark happening, and the people-watching is every bit as entertaining as the music. (Tannenbaum)

If you haven't seen La Rúa, Charlotte's most popular rock en espaol band, by now, give it up and go see the premiere of the group's video for its single "El Chanchito" (The Piggybank). The song's about a guy who works a variety of blue-collar jobs to save enough money for his girlfriend to come join him in United States. It's a universal theme of love and longing among the area's Latino immigrants. And it's a sensational clip, shot with cranes and high-definition video and using area actors and extras. (Disclaimer: OK, so I'm one of those extras, hovering in the background with a bunch of beautiful, crazy dancers. It's out in the open now.) With La Marea. Doors open at 9pm for the 10pm show tonight at Visulite. Tickets are $8. For more information call 704-358-9200 or visit www.visulite. com. (Kemp)

Not only will there be fireworks after Domino's Pizza Grassroots Nationals at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but there are sure to be some on the track as well. Bring the family down to the Speedway and catch NASCAR star Kenny Wallace and his famed "Hermenator" in their first race on The Dirt Track. Gates open at 5pm, fireworks will start after the races at around 10:15pm. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets will be $5 more at the door. To purchase tickets call 1-800-455-FANS or visit (Lauren MacLeod)

July 04 - Monday

WBT's SkyShow 2005 starts off at 2pm today with a street show — entertainment, activities and refreshments make Mint Street between 1st and 3rd the place to be for Charlotte's (rather safe) Independence Day festivities. Lukewarm S.C. singer/songwriter Edwin McCain and has-been pop-metal band Survivor (ouch, I can hear that Rocky theme already) take to the main stage starting at 4pm, followed by headliner (and head-banded has-beens) Loverboy at 8pm. Our illustrious Mayor McCrory (not yet a has-been) kicks off the fireworks display after dark, and Cherrybomb (a group, not the explosive) finishes off the evening. But that's not all, folks. Throughout the day, appearances by local radio personalities and sponsored activities like a Kid's Zone, Veterans VIP area, Military Museum Exhibit and an Extreme Sports Zone, will keep you busy while you wait for the rockets' red glare. Admission is free (although some of the activities will cost you). For more info, visit (Vespa)

July 05 - Tuesday

Barely a year has passed since Children's Theatre presented that familiar gingerbread-baking witch and those two nibbling sibs she never quite cannibalizes. Quicker than you can say Engelbert Humperdinck, The Story of Hansel & Gretel is back — this time in a kiddy musical version — at CP Summer Theatre. Ron Chisholm choreographs and directs the whole bread-crumb journey, and Kelly Cusimano (the worldly Anita in last year's West Side Story) returns as the Gingerbread Witch. You do have to wake up early in the morning to watch the diabolical witch's latest attempts to hoodwink Hansel. All shows at panoramic Pease Auditorium, off Elizabeth Avenue, begin at 10am through July 16, and tickets are bargain-priced at $5 for young and old. Call 704-330-6534. (Tannenbaum)

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