2012 summer calendar highlights | Summer Guide | Indy Week
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Our picks of the summer's cultural offerings

2012 summer calendar highlights 

Big crowds gather on the lawn for summer concerts at the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham.

Photo by D.L. Anderson

Big crowds gather on the lawn for summer concerts at the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham.


For the full Summer Guide calendar as found in the print edition, you can download a PDF or view Page 2 here.

Also see our online calendar for more details about these and other events.



click to enlarge "The Phantom of the Opera" and Alloy Orchestra - PHOTOS COURTESY OF NCMA AND ROGOVIN.COM
  • Photos courtesy of NCMA and rogovin.com
  • "The Phantom of the Opera" and Alloy Orchestra

All summer—outdoor films at NCMA, Koka Booth, etc.

Now that it's summer, it's time to start unspooling some flicks in the open night air. The N.C. Museum of Art begins its popular outdoor movie series on Saturday, June 2, with a screening of the Bill Murray favorite Groundhog Day. It will also have performance/movie combos later in the summer. The first one will be on Saturday, July 28, with the Alloy Orchestra accompanying a screening of the 1925 silent-film version of The Phantom of the Opera. For more details, go to ncartmuseum.org.

The NCMA isn't the only Triangle spot to catch movies all out in the open. May 19 marked the beginning of Koka Booth Amphitheatre's "Movies by Moonlight" series (boothamphitheatre.com/movies-by-moonlight). This year's rundown of movies has everything from Crazy Stupid Love this Friday to a sing-along version of The Sound of Music to a screening of the ultraviolent neo-noir Drive. This weekend, the Lumina in Chapel Hill will start up its outdoor movie series (thelumina.com/outdoormovies.html), which will have weekend screenings of such recent hits as The Avengers, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and The Hunger Games. Later in the summer, Chapel Hill's Locally Grown Music and Movie Series (downtownchapelhill.com/locally-grown) will begin on July 12, with free movies and concerts every Thursday night on Wallace Plaza. This season's picks include The Muppets, Back to the Future and Vertigo. We'll keep you posted about other outdoor movie spots that may pop up throughout the summer. —Craig D. Lindsey


June 8—The Clean and Times New Viking at Local 506

It's not that The Clean doesn't tour; in fact, during the last five years, the foundational New Zealand pop band has eked out a few dates on several continents. It's just that, for all of the legacy bands currently playing dates for buckets of money, The Clean seems among the most honorable. They made a relatively new and very good record, they play small clubs and they tour with excellent acolytes who have treated their melodic brilliance with requisite restlessness (in this case, Times New Viking). A must-see this summer. Visit www.local506.com (and catscradle.com). —Grayson Currin


June 15—Andy Hall at CAM

Chances are you look forward to the end of the work week every Friday. Artist Andy Hall brilliantly captures this feeling in "T.G.I.F." Neon lights spelling this phrase will illuminate for 24 hours, powered by the energy its solar panels have collected all week. Similar humorous and insightful works will be on view in Form Special, an exhibition of newly commissioned solar projects and site collages by Hall. With N.C. State's North Carolina Solar Center as a partner, who knows what new works Hall will create. It's on view at CAM Raleigh June 15-Oct. 8; visit camraleigh.org. —Julie Thomson


click to enlarge Aziz Ansari - PHOTO COURTESY OF AZIZISBORED.TUMBLR.COM

June 21—Aziz Ansari at Meymandi Concert Hall

A Carolina boy done made good in the form of South Carolina's Aziz Ansari. In less than a decade, he's established himself as a wry and hilarious standup comedian. In addition to co-creating the cult MTV series Human Giant and co-starring as would-be player Tom Haverford on TV's Parks and Recreation, he's developing multiple screenplays/starring vehicles with Judd Apatow after appearing as the standup parody Raaaaaaaandy in Funny People. He also hosted the MTV Movie Awards and did a music video with Jay-Z and Kanye West, all before age 30. And I'm ... sitting here writing blurbs about him. I've wasted my life. Feel the crushing pangs of envy when Ansari plays Meymandi at 7 p.m. Tickets are $39; visit progressengergycenter.com. —Zack Smith


June 30—Shaquille O'Neal Presents All Star Comedy Jam at Memorial Auditorium

Every year when the NBA All-Star Game rolls around, there are a few things you can always expect will go down on that particular weekend: 1) a lot of drunk brothas and sistas stumbling from club to club, and 2) a night of comedy organized by Shaquille O'Neal and his Shaq Entertainment company. Lately, Shaq has been taking the show on tour, bringing the funny to cities around the country—without the drunk people. The lineup of comics is always up in the air, with comedians popping in and out during the tour. Let's hope the Raleigh bill will include DeRay Davis and Corey Holcomb, comics who have done All-Star Comedy Jams in the past and who are funny as hell. It starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $35–$45; visit progressenergycenter.com. —Craig D. Lindsey


June 30—Doc Watson & Deep River Rising with Wayne Henderson & Jeff Little at N.C. Museum of Art

A few seasons shy of his 90th birthday, Doc Watson has become a cornerstone of North Carolina culture—an assumption and an axiom in discussing the music made within the state's jagged edges. Today, the N.C. Museum of Art will pay tribute to that import with a symposium dedicated to Watson and a concert featuring him and some trusted friends. Perhaps there's still time to lobby for his image to be cast in bronze on the Capitol grounds, too? Visit ncartmuseum.org. —Grayson Currin


click to enlarge "The Dark Knight Rises" - PHOTO BY RON PHILLIPS/ WARNER BROS.
  • Photo by Ron Phillips/ Warner Bros.
  • "The Dark Knight Rises"

July 20—The Dark Knight Rises at multiplexes everywhere

With The Avengers on track to make more money than anything else in the history of ever, my encyclopedic knowledge of comic books has gone from somewhat sad to an archetypal symbol of the zeitgeist and the state of arrested adolescence pervasive in young adults, or something. But will Marvel's heroes be beaten back by the Bat? Christopher Nolan's conclusion to his Christian Bale-starring trilogy, which shattered both box office records and got Academy Awards—for acting, no less!—with 2008's The Dark Knight, is under lock and key in terms of spoilers, but we do know that 1) it takes place eight years after the last film, 2) Anne Hathaway plays a morally ambiguous Catwoman, and 3) Tom Hardy wears what appears to be a gimp mask. Also, there are some echoes of class conflict and the "Occupy" movement. We'll go out on a limb and say Hardy is going to have a hard time topping Heath Ledger's searing work as the Joker, but we can most definitely say that a lot of stuff is going to happen, and that I probably waited too soon to flip my cheap copy of the first appearance of Hardy's Bane at Heroes Con in Charlotte last year. Buy your IMAX tickets in advance: I got hosed on that with The Dark Knight back in '08, and I practically had to spend opening weekend in a sensory deprivation tank to avoid spoilers. And for back-issue buyers: Invest in copies of early appearances of Marvel's Thanos character. You'll thank me in five years. —Zack Smith


July 22—Word Up: The Intersection of Text and Image at N.C. Museum of Art

Word Up collects the work of six male artists from North Carolina who, largely influenced by street art and advertising culture, incorporate text into their two-dimensional work. Shaun Richards and Derek Toomes, both based in Raleigh, have more of a magazine or billboard design sense, relating single words or short phrases to images. They both portray environmental wear in their images—billboards peeling or paintings washing out in the rain. Mathew Curran's stencil paintings and drawings look like woodcut graffiti. Charlotte-based Nathaniel Lancaster's work also puts a fine art spin on street art aesthetics, incorporating a cursive script stylized to the edge of legibility scrawled atop an iconic background image. Asheville's Gabriel Shaffer paints colorful visionary tableaux over a collaged surface of letters and found texts. Lincoln Penn Hancock shows paintings that recall Robert Rauschenberg's combine canvases but with more pointed messages and emotional tones. The exhibit runs through Jan. 20, 2013; visit ncartmuseum.org. —Chris Vitiello


July 25–Aug. 5—Race at Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy

Having read David Mamet's scathing 2009 drama, Race, I can safely say it's one of the more incendiary scripts this region has seen in some time. When a wealthy, famous white man is accused of raping a black woman in a hotel, two partners at an upscale law firm—one black, the other white—negotiate our culture's minefield of prejudices while deciding whether to take the case. In this robust indictment of the legal system, Mamet's trademark wit and bluntness are in full force as his characters mercilessly cross-examine a host of racial assumptions, first in their client and then in each other. Visit hotsummernightsatthekennedy.org. —Byron Woods


Aug. 7—Merle Haggard & Kris Kristofferson at Koka Booth Amphitheatre

Of all the geezers making their way across Triangle stages this summer, the two I most want to see are Kris and Hag. What's interesting about this pairing is that in mid-1969, each man wrote and recorded a definitive 1960s song. Although Janis Joplin's definitive reading of "Me and Bobby McGee" wouldn't come out until after her death in 1970, Kristofferson co-wrote it a year earlier. Four decades on, this hippie anthem, with its koan about freedom and nothing left to lose, has entered the American song canon. Then there's Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee," with its snarling contempt for the "hippies out in San Francisco." Back then, Merle sang it straight at the resentful heart of the white working class, even as there is ample evidence the song was written as a gag. These days, he's more likely to whip through it with a wink and a smile. Celebrate a double bill of freedom. Tickets are $40–60; visit boothamphitheatre.com. —David Fellerath


Aug. 9—Ted Nugent at Durham Performing Arts Center

The idea of tickling the wildman Ted Nugent's coffers with $35–$65 of your money might offend your progressive sensibilities in the year 2012. But if you like the idea of assigning each dollar to the show that will provide the most entertainment, this one's a pretty safe bet. A political mouthpiece with a guitar for one arm and a big-game-killing gun for the other, Nugent is nothing if not hilarious (well, maybe he's something else). Hey, you paid your money; laugh away. Visit dpacnc.com. —Grayson Currin


click to enlarge "The Tree of Life" - PHOTO BY MERIE WALLACE/ TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

Aug. 18—The Tree of Life at N.C. Museum of Art

When I reviewed Terrence Malick's film from last year, I was impatient with its longueurs, impressionistic voice-over and fuzzy theology. (Then again, that could be akin to going to a Monet show and being annoyed to find so many water lilies.) Still, Malick's film found a passionate audience who responded to his micro and macro narrative: the travails of a Texas family in the 1960s and the billion-year history of our planet and its creatures. Malick is a filmmaker who makes you want to watch leaves of trees turning in the breeze, and there's much to be said for his visual ardor. Fans and skeptics alike should thrill to the opportunity to see this film in the open night air. Tickets are $4; visit ncartmuseum.org. —David Fellerath



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