Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company
Memorial Hall, UNC Campus—American monoliths just don't come much larger than Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps that's why, for all its sophistication, Serenade/ The Proposition, a dance theater work that Bill T. Jones premiered at the 2008 American Dance Festival, still had the nagging sense of Lilliputians trying to tether a presidential Gulliver with too few threads—particularly when some of its narrative lines seemed far removed from its subject.
The disconcerting effect may have been what spurred Jones, over two years' research, to ultimately create three works on Lincoln. The culminating piece, a multimedia dance theater work named Fondly Do We Hope ... Fervently Do We Pray, shows tonight in Chapel Hill.
Critical response was mixed after its Chicago premiere in September. Billed by the company as its "most ambitious work to date"—in a 25-year history including the landmark 1994 work Still/ Here—Fondly Do We Hope draws upon the poetry of Walt Whitman, historical and original music, Lincoln's own speeches and debates from a century ago, and the present.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Jones said: "When I started this journey, I thought I'd be able to take him down from Mt. Rushmore. But in a way I think I've put him back up there. He stands for the potential greatness in us." Local audiences can judge for themselves tonight. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Visit www.carolinaperformingarts.org. —Byron Woods
N.C. Symphony's Fiesta Latina
Meymandi Concert Hall, Progress Energy Center—"I've always believed that the concert hall ought to be like the world. It should contain everything," says Scott Freck, general manager of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. Hoping to turn that axiom into reality, this weekend's Fiesta Latina concerts (tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m.) are a color wheel of Latin Americana: Mexican huapango, tango and rhumba by American composers Leroy Anderson and Morton Gould; Spanish vignettes by Manuel De Falla; a Brazilian dance for eight cellos and voice by Heitor Villa-Lobos; and the premiere of a Peruvian score with a very personal history for conductor Grant Llewellyn. It was handed to him 30 years ago by a composer he met while hiking through the Andes. Featured guests include Mariachi Cobre, the house mariachis of Disney World's Epcot Center. A youth program Saturday includes an Instrument Zoo and other hands-on activities at 10 a.m. before the 11 a.m. concert. See www.ncsymphony.org. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger
Jonathan Byrd and Doug & Telisha Williams
Six String Cafe & Music Hall—Just like at its original incarnation, the staff at the resurrected Six String Cafe will serve you something to eat and drink. And just like at its original incarnation, they'll do so quietly. In its new home on Buck Jones Road in Raleigh, the Six String—finally open after hacking through that last bit of red tape—remains foremost a listening room. Think of it as a house concert with a menu. Thus, the Six String is the perfect place to see solo acts and duos in their natural habitat.
Enter this double bill: Chapel Hill's Jonathan Byrd made the not-uncommon journey from singing in church to playing in rock bands to discovering a love for roots music (Byrd's old-time epiphany came at a fiddle festival in Virginia), except Byrd's feelings for the traditional tend to run deeper than most. His is a full embrace of the ancient. Doug and Telisha Williams (whose Ghost of the Knoxville Girl from last fall features guest guitar from Byrd) are Americana all-stars in the making, the twang in Telisha Williams' voice a bonus instrument and the songs catnip for the Buddy & Julie/ David & Gillian set. The music starts, and the crowd chatter stops, at 8 p.m. Ten dollars gets you in. Visit www.sixstringcafe.com. —Rick Cornell
715/ The Space—Part of the fun in visiting an art exhibit is wondering "How did they do that?" and "How do these elements relate?" This Washington Street art space, which houses approximately seven artists, will unveil a particularly intriguing installation that's sure to fuel many questions. Up for one night only as part of Durham's Third Friday, the installation features 40 Christmas trees along with rope, hooks, lights and windows. There will also be musical accompaniment. No word on how these elements work together (or how they relate to the exhibit's title), so you'll have to see it for yourself. For more information, contact Megan Stein at firstname.lastname@example.org. —Sarah Ewald
Deliver My Family
Fletcher Opera Theatre, Progress Energy Center—Yea, and on the eighth day the Lord said, "Let me unleash yet another gospel play upon my creation for their edification." Deliver My Family claims familial inspiration in the spiritual vein of Tyler Perry. Written, directed and produced by Imond S. Johnson, the play examines various issues that a modern-day family experiences. Among these are drug abuse and the ever-popular topic of relationships, both stable and unhinged. Judging from the tag line, "The national stage play your soul can't afford to miss," and the Photoshop effects, which in the official photo suggest angel wings radiating from the cast members, you should expect some spiritual salvation in the mix. The first national tour of the play kicks off right here on MLK weekend. The show runs two days, with performances at 8 p.m. today and at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. tomorrow. Visit www.progressenergycenter.com. —Sarah Ewald