Early '90s Dance Party: A Benefit for Nightlight
Nightlight—In its transition into taking over the space it once shared with Skylight, and its biggest renovation yet, Nightlight naturally incurred growing pains and extra expenses. And while it is a business, it performs the function of community space unlike other bars or clubs, so we should treat supporting it in much the same way. This is a perfect excuse to come see the new digs—now doubled in performance and crowd space—and get loose with a variety of WXYC DJs, spinning the fly and maybe hilarious tunes of not-so-yesteryear, alongside some old hip-hop videos. Donate $5 or more at 9 p.m. —Chris Toenes
N.C. Symphony's World Premiere of City of Oaks
Meymandi Hall—When the North Carolina Symphony plays City of Oaks tonight, its composer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and former Duke professor Robert Ward, will be celebrating both the world premiere of his new ode to Raleigh and the eve of his 91st birthday. The Ohio native has been living in North Carolina since 1967, when he accepted the chancellorship of the North Carolina School of the Arts, only five years after winning the Pulitzer for his operatic rendition of The Crucible. Ward taught music at Duke for a decade before retiring to Raleigh in 1989. The symphony commissioned his new work as a nod to the new Raleigh Convention Center, which opened last week. "The title describes the abundance of great trees along the city's streets and the civic pride of its citizens," Ward says in the program notes for the piece. Aside from City of Oaks, the symphony—assisted this weekend by soprano Nicole Cabell—will perform works by Barber, Bernstein and Dvorak. Tickets for tonight and tomorrow night's 8 p.m. performances are $30-$53. —Grayson Currin
J. Roddy Walston & The Business, The Whistlestop
Slim's—At first blush, the pairing of the rather hyper J. Roddy Waltson & the Business from out of Baltimore with the comparatively tame Triangle outfit The Whistlestop seems a little off. But scratch below the surface and you'll find kindred spirits with no interest in easy categorization, two bands that would have been much happier making a run at the radio in the anything-goes '70s. The piano-pounding Waltson is from the Leon Russell/ Harry Nilsson mode, while The Whistlestop relocates Rob Watson's Stevie Wonderish soul-pop skills to a rustic setting. The bonding begins at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5. —Rick Cornell
Burn After Reading
Multiplexes—After their breakthrough smash Fargo and offbeat phenomenon The Big Lebowski, the Coen Brothers ruled with No Country for Old Men. They're back with Burn After Reading. Starring Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney and Tilda Swinton, the film opens in multiplexes Friday. Read our review.