Dr. Cornel West (Princeton University professor, author, activist and more) is a heavy thinker devoted to pondering big issues, usually related to race, democracy and human rights. As a result, he's written more than 18 books, including his newest, titled Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir. Don't miss West when he visits Charlotte to speak at Knight Theater tonight. He'll be addressing the "State of the Union," and you know what that means -- he's gonna have a lot of enlightening things to say. $29-$49. 7 p.m. Knight Theater, 430 South Tryon St. 704-372-1000. www.blumenthalcenter.org.