Marissa Nadler, Alela Diane
The ArtsCenter—New England songwriter Marissa Nadler suggests long shadows creeping up a living room wall at dusk. Gray and chimerically thin but neither unfamiliar nor frightening, her voice feels naturally full of mourning for the passing day. Images of flowers and fowl left on graves, of nights spent alone and of bottles of wine emptied quickly tie those tones together as though they were dying vines. This year's Little Hells is the latest in a series of still, heart-rending records from Nadler, who offers her dark-hearted confessions with a bedroom intimacy. In her first visit to North Carolina in two years, she shares the bill with Avett Brothers compatriot Alela Diane. Her latest, To Be Still, rustles with a sort of country vigor, and her music—less singular than Nadler's—at least casts one eye up toward the light. The $10 show starts at 8:30 p.m. Visit www.artscenterlive.org. —Grayson Currin
Fletcher Opera Theater, Progress Energy Center—Older woman gets jealous of younger woman and puts a contract out on her stepdaughter. Stepdaughter escapes and takes up residence with a coterie of little people, taking care of the cooking and cleaning and basic female gender-role requirements. With that setup, the Brothers Grimm fairy tale sounds like a B-movie melodrama on Lifetime or a Fox reality show. If not for the little animation studio that could, the story might not have withstood the test of time. Touring children's troupe Theatre IV presents the show for one performance only at 10:30 a.m. Is your child's school group going? If not, visit www.theatreiv.com/artspresenters.html or www.progressenergycenter.com. —Sarah Ewald
McKimmon Center, NCSU Campus—Will Allen isn't notable so much for how he farms—organically, sustainably, with intensive composting and aquaponics—but where: on a jam-packed, 2-acre plot in the middle of Milwaukee. Recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, Allen is one of the leading proponents of urban agriculture, the logical endpoint of the locavore movement and a community-building way to involve city dwellers more intimately in their eating choices.
Allen is a former professional basketball player who's been farming all his life. His father, a sharecropper from South Carolina, rented a small piece of land to work after he moved to the suburbs to raise his family. Allen grew up doing farm chores, which he resented. But after graduating from college, while playing pro ball in Belgium, he found himself hanging out with Belgian farmers who worked the land in the old-fashioned manner of his father. He planted a garden, bought some chickens and has had one hand in the soil ever since.
After spending many years working corporate jobs and farming on the side, Allen, 60, now devotes himself full-time to his nonprofit, Growing Power Inc. Belying its compact size, the farm in Milwaukee is home to some 20,000 plants in greenhouses and hoop houses, as well as fish, goats, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, laying hens and beehives. It also produces 150 tons of rich, wormy compost each year. But its most important product is farmers. Allen enlists local residents as employees and volunteers, and he uses workshops, internships, conferences and, as here, speaking tours to propagate his urban agriculture techniques. The free lecture begins at 7 p.m. It's open to the public, with reserved seating also available; visit www.cefs.ncsu.edu. —Marc Maximov