Regulator Bookshop—The first thing is to gasp when you see the portrait of the young writer, gazing back at us with disarming intensity. The year is 1956, and this insolently handsome figure is sitting at a cafe in London. The photo in question graces the cover of Ardent Spirits, the third volume of Reynolds Price's memoirs—and his 38th book—and the man is Price, who was then in the midst of a three-year course of study at Merton College, Oxford University, on a Rhodes scholarship. Ardent Spirits, which publishes May 12, concerns a crucial six-year period of his youth: his time in Europe and his early years teaching at Duke, culminating in the writing of his first novel, A Long and Happy Life, which won the William Faulkner Award in 1962. Price appears tonight at 7 to read and sign from his new book. Visit www.regulatorbookshop.com. —David Fellerath
Tacomentary: The Durham Taco Story
The Pinhook— ¡Órale! It's time to rock out with your (taco) gut out. Tacomentary: The Durham Taco Story takes a light-hearted, full-bellied look at the culinary intricacies of Durham's favorite Mexican food gems, and of all who are lured by their mysteries. Seriously, if it weren't for these taco joints, most of you gringos wouldn't even look at tongue meat, let alone taste it. Now you smother that stuff with cilantro, onions and salsa verde, grab the warm tortilla with both hands, and shove it in your mouth screaming: ¡Ay, yai yai! (OK, so maybe that's just some of us). Carpe Durham blogger and Duke law student Sarah Ribstein and fellow classmate Sofia Hernandez filmed and edited the 18-minute documentary for both taco aficionados and newbies. Originally an entertainment law class assignment, the documentary has not yet been graded. But you are free to give your score at The Pinhook, where it will run a couple of times from 6-9 p.m. Entrance is free, amigos. Tacos from the Sabor Latino truck outside are optional. Visit carpedurham.wordpress.com to check out the movie trailer. —Victoria Bouloubasis
The Sun Magazine's The Mysterious Life of the Heart
The ArtsCenter—For 35 years, Sy Safransky has published The Sun every month out of Chapel Hill. Since 1990, he's been doing it without advertising, relying instead on a subscription base that sits upward of 70,000. Lots of fine writing has passed through The Sun over the decades—enough that the magazine's best copy on a single topic, romance, can be compiled into a stand-alone book. The contributors include such mainstays as professional drifter Poe Ballantine, as well as Pushcart winner (and the magazine's associate publisher) Krista Bremer and Chapel Hill psychotherapist and poet Lou Lipsitz. Tonight, from 5:30-7:30, the magazine's staff and contributors gather for a celebration of the book's launch. The reception will feature free refreshments. —David Fellerath
Carolina's Funniest Comic
Dirty South Improv—Kicking off this five-week-long event at DSI, half of the 32 competing comics will get five meager minutes to prove they are worthy to move on to the semifinals two weeks from now. This is the second year of DSI's search for the best new standup in North Carolina, with contestants vying for a $1,000 cash prize and the gift/ curse of being asked to tell jokes at all social events they attend.
This year's batch of hopefuls includes representatives from around the area and abroad, though the overwhelming majority come from the Eastern part of the state—come on mountain folk, where are the Asheville comedians?
The $10 show starts at 7:30 p.m., and when it ends at 9:30, the audience is invited to stay for a free improv show with DSI's Mister Diplomat. For more info, visit www.dsicomedytheater.com. —Hobert Thompson
The T's, The Infamous Sugar
Slim's—A week after celebrating its 10th anniversary on Wilmington Street, downtown mainstay Slim's turns its attention to the next party—the birthday of bartender and Man Will Destroy Himself bassist Abe Quinn—with two fists full of rock 'n' roll: Raleigh rock standard-bearer The T's puts big, round beats beneath sizzling doubled riffs that switch from tough to trim in an instant. The band's heavily amped bar anthems come complete with a punk's sneer and a populist's jangle. Portland, Ore., expat The Infamous Sugar is a one-man band subsisting on piss, vinegar, shit-talk, sex-jive and, well, sugar. His sinister odes to debauchery and running with the devil come laced with hooks so delectable that biting the bait—being a belligerent badass and living to sing the stories—becomes that much easier. Pay $5 at 10 p.m., and pretend it's your birthday, too. —Grayson Currin
Reverend Horton Heat
Cat's Cradle—Moving with the lithe grace of a cat on a hot tin roof, the Reverend Horton Heat's guitar jukes and jives all over his heated, reverb-heavy rockabilly licks. Though arguably at his best roaring through rock rave-ups, he'll squeeze out a little country or slow-burning blues when the mood hits. His charismatic stage presence lends itself to roof-raising party anthems—"Bails of Cocaine," "Psychobilly Freakout," "Big Red Rocket of Love." Those tunes give short shrift to some of his more thoughtful moments, though, like "Indigo Friends," about those lost to drugs, and "Someone in Heaven" off 2005's stirring Revival. The Triad's Jimmy & the Teasers open at 9:30 p.m. for $10. —Chris Parker
Benefit for Big Anthony: Taz Halloween, Stu Cole, Randy Whitt and more
The Cave—This show goes to benefit Big Anthony Lener, who's lent his musical talent to Two Dollar Pistols, Lud and many others, and can often be found in the clubs supporting his friends and peers. Lener's fresh from a hospital stay and now encumbered by the sizeable bills such a visit with no health insurance can earn. A wide range of musicians steps up to support: There's sultry smoky-voiced Taz Halloween, whose torch theatrics come swathed in enough velvet to warm you like bourbon. She's backed by musical man-about-town and Squirrel Nut Zipper Stu Cole. Randy Whitt's country twang is easier to sidle up to than an open bar. Brandon Herndon's usually heard fronting Twilighter, pouring ragged ache from the bottom of his soul and enriching it with moody textures. Dave Spencer recently graduated from a five-year stint as one principal of SpencerAcuff. On his debut solo release, Love Like a Symphony, Spencer's sleek tenor swells and swoons through grand adult contemporary pop conceits. Donate generously at 10 p.m. —Chris Parker
N.C. Symphony: Verdi's "Requiem"
Meymandi Concert Hall—The potential scope of a local performance of Giuseppe Verdi's "Requiem" mass goes like this: 75 musicians in the N.C. Symphony Orchestra plus 170 voices in the N.C. Master Chorale plus 150 voices in the Choral Society of Durham equals close to 400 people expressing the drama of Verdi's funeral mass. This concert, which repeats on May 2, is part of the Duke Medicine Classical Raleigh Series. Music starts at 8 p.m. and tickets start at $37. NCSO music director Grant Llewellyn leads a discussion and Q&A session about the work at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. —Margaret Hair
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Multiplex theaters—For a character whose coolness once came from his mysterious loner nature, the Canadian mutant formerly known only as "Logan" has become the most overexposed character in comics. At this point, he appears in Uncanny X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, Wolverine, Wolverine: Origins, Wolverine: Weapon X, New Avengers, X-Force, Wolverine: First Class and Marvel Adventures: Avengers, along with two or three one-shots, miniseries and tie-in novels per month, plus a few books we've probably omitted. At this point, the only part of Wolverine's past left unexplored might be the time he tried strawberry cream cheese on a bagel, but luckily, a film can easily make a coherent storyline out of thousands (yes, thousands) of disparate comics. As a result, the highly anticipated prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine is able to condense the backstory of Hugh Jackman's Adamantium-clawed crusader into a reasonable length, with appearances from such other Marvel mutants as Gambit (Taylor Kitsh) and Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds). An unfortunate (?) Internet leak of an early version unexpectedly boosted buzz for the film, which promises to have many scenes of things being slashed apart in a PG-13 manner guaranteed to send fans into a berserker rage. Incidentally, Wolverine's creator, Len Wein, recently lost most of his possessions in a house fire; hopefully, Marvel Comics will see fit to help the veteran creator out. —Zack Smith