The Colony—Seven-year-old Palace is a shy girl with anxiety problems that periodically keep her out of school. But at the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, she emits piercing screams into the mic and writes lyrics like "San Francisco sucks sometimes."
Each year, 100 girls, from elementary- to high school-aged, alight on an Oregon warehouse for a five-day camp that teaches them to write lyrics and play instruments, as well as other practical lessons like self-defense and how to communicate in a band. The new rockumentary Girls Rock follows four girls through their week at camp, right up to the climatic performance on the final night, when the girls perform in front of about 700 people.
Interestingly, Girls Rock was not made by girls but by two men. According to press materials, filmmakers Arne Johnson and Shane King began to see their maleness "not as a hindrance, but as a strength" when making the film, and that it gave them a chance "to talk in ways that men don't usually."
The film covers the breadth of the problems girls—particularly teenage girls—encounter, citing startling statistics on MTV-watching, sexual harassment, stress and role models (on the last point, the camp's founders summarize their motivation in a short cartoon about "a diabolical new threat [that] emerged" in the '90s, with images of Britney Spears filling in the background).
Out in Raleigh, with a booking at Cary's Galaxy beginning next Friday, Girls Rock is a satisfying look into the puckish, surprising and fiery souls of teenage girls that will endear itself to both genders and all ages. For more info on the Colony show times, visit www.therialto.com or call 847-5677. And to read about the Triangle's own Girls Rock outpost, vist girlsrocknc.blogspot.com. If you've got daughters, act quickly, because this summer's camps are mostly filled.—Megan Stein
Transactors' 25th Anniversary Celebration
The ArtsCenter—The Carrboro-based improv troupe Transactors turns 25 with tonight's performance. Although 25 is an age associated with the nascent street smarts that lift slackers out of the post-collegiate numbness toward the "real world," 25 is impressively old for a comedy troupe.
Transactors celebrates its ripening age by bringing back nearly a dozen past members of the troupe—including co-founder Mark Miller, longtime stalwarts Steve Scott and Jane Allen Wilson, and Durham luminary Jay O'Berski—to perform alongside the eight current members. Formed in 1983, Transactors boasts lengthy memberships from its actors, including that of artistic director Greg Hohn (seen at upper left in photo), who has been in that role since 1996. The first half of Transactors' 25th Anniversary Celebration features short scenes that encompass the troupe's favorite styles and games from past years. The show closes with an all-inclusive long-form set. The performance begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $14 or $8 for students. For more info, visit www.artscenterlive.org or call 929-2787. —Megan Stein
Lincoln Theatre—Bolstered and burdened by his pedigree, Jakob Dylan has long had an audience but always been cast into improper contexts for his last name. But Dylan's long since accepted that he is indeed his father's son, and, unlike Sean Lennon, his apparent refusal to reinvent the family legacy is strangely reassuring. After all, he's covered "The Weight," answered "Nothing Was Delivered" with "I've Been Delivered," and quit his rock band, The Wallflowers, for folk revivalism built on social critiques and love stories. The largely acoustic Rick Rubin production Seeing Things hits shelves next week. It doesn't reinvent anything, but—through Dylan's husky hassle and perfect rhythmic ease—it still lives. With Wrecking Season at 9 p.m. for $22.50-$25. —Grayson Currin
Down in the Hollow
Durham Arts Council—You have to credit filmmaker Peden Young for guts—not many doc makers would start their films with a graphic closeup of a bunny being slaughtered. And indeed, in these first few moments of Down in the Hollow, an affecting study of a family living off the grid near Boone, N.C., one has a sinking feeling that what we're really about to see is a story more like "At Home with the Unabomber."
Fortunately, survivalist Nathan Roark is no antisocial crackpot, but a loving husband and father who happens to be a particularly intense, tattooed woodsman. Roark also teaches his premodern skill set to troubled children in Miami, Fla.'s foster care system who visit every summer. We see Nathan—a serenely commanding instructor—and his highly trained camp staff teach the children such qualities as self-respect, and demonstrate such useful skills as starting a fire with two sticks. Most of the kids are black and Latino—virtually none have ever seen the world outside Miami—and indeed, there's poignancy in seeing them splash about in cool, rushing mountain streams.
Down in the Hollow is really two films—a sketch of a family out of time balanced by a more conventional tearjerking narrative. There are some excesses—particularly a portentous sequence of Roark on a deer hunting excursion that ignores the fact that one cannot stalk deer with a film crew in tow. Nonetheless, the achievements of Roark and his family are real, and something of a rebuke to the rest of us. —David FellerathSouthern Documentary Fund hosts a screening tonight at 7:30 p.m. and director Peden Young will discuss the film afterward. Admission is $5. Visit www.downinthehollow.com for more info on the film.
Nona Short: A Retrospective
Lee Hansley Gallery—Walking through the diverse images in the Nona Short retrospective now on display at Lee Hansley Gallery, I was reminded of this photographer's multifaceted vitae. Short taught both photography and the classics at Meredith College for years before her retirement in 2004, thus creating an intriguing background to her photos—most of which are set throughout the Southern landscape.
Short has a keen eye for vernacular images, especially the rural environs of small country churches, agricultural fields and pastures, and assorted farmhouses and outbuildings. There is also a selection of portraits of her artist friends and acquaintances—most, if not all, of which were taken in the 1970s. There is no mystery in the titles of her photos, which often have the most straightforward (and lengthy) passages you're likely to come across, such as "The Homeplace at Eurekaton, Haywood County, Tennessee, July 1992: One of the Magnolias was Struck by Lightning." Yet in many instances, the actual subject of the photograph is not so much the object or landscape depicted but, rather, a past occurrence that has left an impression or directly impacted a scene.
Such works seem to be emblematic of Short's other area of expertise, the classics, in that the photos strike a balance between us (or, in this case, our land) and a cultural element that has had a distinct role in shaping that environment. —Dave DelcambreThere is a reception tonight in honor of Nona Short from 7-10 p.m. The exhibit closes June 11.