The Band's Visit
N.C. Museum of Art—Here's another chance to see one of last year's best films, the Israeli comedy The Band's Visit. So droll you might want to put jelly on it, Eran Kolirin's film concerns an earnest, uniformed Egyptian music group called the Alexandria Police Orchestra. They've flown to Israel for a gig but have arrived in the wrong town, an Israeli backwater far from their intended destination. An unplanned layover turns into tender comedy, as the Egyptians and Israelis pass the night together. The cast is marvelous, especially Sasson Gabai as the bandleader. Best of all is Ronit Elkabetz, the sexiest actress in Israel: She's something of a cross between Penelope Cruz and Anna Magnani; no one who saw her in Late Marriage (2001) will forget her. The film begins at 8 p.m., but get there early because these Friday night screenings have been selling out. Tickets are $5. —David Fellerath
Chapel Hill and Durham
Final Fridays and WXDU Party
Local 506 and Pinhook—On opposite sides of the Tobacco Trail, two different but not diametrically opposed dance music events creep through the late night. Final Fridays, Local 506's new series organized with representatives from the Signal Electronic Music Festival, pairs Charlotte spinner George Brazil (of the Kinnikinnik collective) with local DJ Silvaback. Their challenge? Take the slow heat of Harvey Milk's 8 p.m. show (see "Yes, Please" on page 41) and ignite a few sparklers, letting everyone loosen up and flare out after the bone-stiffening metal menace hurled the audience's way earlier.
Over in Durham, a handful of WXDU DJs throw a free party, attempting to establish their own foothold of sorts. DJs Nate (of WXDU's Funk Disco Dance Friday show), Viva (also of Funk Disco and Jett Rink), Datahata (a FrequeNC rep) and DJ Nasty Boots (ditto) will work to keep it loose. They don't have a built-in crowd yet, and that's where geography comes in. As The Pinhook evolves in its infancy, it's under the watchful eye of local club-goers, but also at the mercy of their scrutiny. It's essential that they do their own thing in Durham, not just what already exists elsewhere, be it Chapel Hill or Raleigh or Graham, dance music or death metal. Tonight's a chance to see if it can happen. As a member of the Funk Disco Dance Friday team at WXDU, I'll even get a chance to see the crowd take shape from the DJ booth.
The 506 show starts at 11:30 p.m. and costs $5; Pinhook's free party starts at 10 p.m. —Chris Toenes
Jon Shain Trio, Sweet By & By
Broad Street Cafe—With a relaxed, sliding voice and Piedmont blues finger-style guitar, Jon Shain sounds like a bit like a young, sincere Randy Newman with a different instrument of choice. Somehow, Shain reflects both the early dawn lonesome of a highway diner and the brotherhood you might share with the guy eating scrambled eggs two tables away. His playing made him a finalist for solo/ duo at the 2009 International Blues Challenge with bandmate F.J. Ventre (bass) in Memphis earlier this month. In full-band form tonight, dobro and harmonica also join Shain. All-female bluegrass quartet Sweet By & By open. Expect three-part harmonies, smooth banjo picking and fiddle solos, and a good night of local acoustics. Pay $8 at 8 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey
North Carolina Symphony: The Masters
Meymandi Concert Hall—The Masters, the title of this state symphony program presented tonight and tomorrow, works on a couple of levels. There's the music itself—pieces composed by Mozart, Beethoven and Bach, each of them falling in a different spot on the spectrum of classical music familiarity. Then there's pianist Robert Levin, known for playing works by those composers. A Mozart scholar and zealot for Beethoven and Bach, Levin is noted in the classical world for his attention to the style and form of his favorites (to the point of actually completing Mozart's famously cut-short-by-death Requiem).
Joining Bach's Keyboard Concerto in D minor and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor on the program are three overtures from Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera. Because the opera bombed at its premiere and hit roadblocks during several subsequent performances, Beethoven rewrote the overture three times. The three attempts, all presented tonight, are vastly different, providing contrast to the more straightforward piano music on the orchestra's program. Piano music starts at 8 p.m. both nights, and tickets start at $37. —Margaret Hair
Swain Hall, UNC Campus—Chicago-based theatrical ensemble Goat Island carved out a reputation through their skilled presentations of avant-garde performance work textured with blends of theater, live art and contemporary dance. Its performers have built a legacy through their commitment to asking questions about themselves and the world around them in their performances.
Tony Perucci, a communication studies professor at UNC who brought the group back to North Carolina for a final residency and performance, says, "Goat Island's blend of spoken word and exploration of movement allows for a collision of cultural elements of our society to be transformed into an explosion of action that covers new theatrical ground but does not alienate its audience."
Tonight, in celebration of the end of their 10-day residency, the group explodes into action with The Lastmaker. This final adieu, a high-energy performance modeled on both mathematical movement and spoken word, presents an archive of famous farewells: a female impersonation of Lenny Bruce's final routine; a performer singing a pop spiritual while accompanying himself on the saw; an interpretation of Saint Francis' farewell instructions; the last minutes of Bach's "Art of the Fugue"; and a dialogue between an aged poet and his young assistant on composing a poem that says goodbye.
Intrigued? So are we: Catch the double-header of this farewell show tonight or tomorrow at 8 p.m. for $5--$10, with a discussion following tonight's performance. Visit iah.unc.edu/calendar/goatisland. —Kathy Justice