DJ Spooky's Video Soul: From Wattstax to the Avant Garde
Duke Campus, Reynolds Industries Theater—It's been four years since DJ Spooky (aka Paul D. Miller) re-vamped, re-engineered and re-orchestrated D.W. Griffith's infamous 1915 film Birth of a Nation into a political-minded work called Rebirth of a Nation that somehow managed to make Griffith's landmark cinematic grotesquerie relevant to the 21st century. Now the hip-hop spinmeister has developed, exclusively for Duke Performances' Soul Power series, Video Soul: Wattstax to the Avant Garde, a new multimedia mash-up that promises to connect soul music's "then" and "now" through sound bites, music and film. His cinematic inspiration this time is Mel Stuart's 1973 film Wattstax, a documentary record of a 1972 all-day concert staged by Stax Records in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood. Performers at that festival included Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, Richard Pryor, the Bar-Kays and the Staples Singers (whose lead belter, Mavis, is playing Duke this weekend—see Friday listing). —Kathy Justice
Video Soul: Wattstax to the Avant Garde premieres tonight at Reynolds Industries Theater for $20-$26 at 5 p.m. For tickets, go to dukeperformances.duke.edu. DJ Spooky will also speak about his film at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at UNC's Student Union.
Five local bands you should see
Rock clubs—Nostradamus may have written something about tonight, or it may have been part of Mayan prophecy. Either way, five of the best bands in the Triangle headline area stages tonight, and the only real explanation is fortuity (though it may be a clandestine birthday celebration for former New York Met Mookie Wilson, born on this day in 1956). The absolutely great CALTROP brings five pieces of loud to their Carrboro watering hole, The Reservoir; Durham's relatively adolescent indie rock addicts HAMMER NO MORE THE FINGERS plays Jack Sprat Cafe in Chapel Hill; THE OLD CEREMONY (whose frontman Django Haskins now calls Durham home) sweeps Duke Coffeehouse under its suave-soak pop spell; ERIE CHOIR, which betrays an affinity for gritty soul and smooth pop when the band's at its best, eases into the top spot at Local 506; TWILIGHTER's rickety rickshaw carrying folk, blues and a stack of Lou Reed records creaks down Franklin Street stairs into The Cave. Spend some time making your pick, and we'll spend ours working out a clever nickname for tonight's pool of excellence: Fab Five? Jive Five? Quintessential quintuplet? Prime pentagon? Eh, enjoy. —Grayson Currin
Jennie McNulty & Queer on Their Feet
Steel Blue—Returning to Durham after last November's show at the Carolina Theatre, Jennie McNulty brings her comedy troupe Queer On Their Feet to Steel Blue, Durham's new LGBT club located at 1426 S. Miami Blvd. Besides McNulty, the group features Jason Dudey and Erin Foley, and all are seasoned comedians who've performed in L.A., New York and in between. McNulty is currently on the LOGO TV special One Night Stand Up. For more info, visit www.clubsteelblue.com or call 596-5876. —Megan Stein
BLAMO: World Edition Fashion Show
Hayti Heritage Center—SeeSaw is designed for youth, between 12 and 18, to explore the arts and design world. BLAMO will present and auction the students' modern street fashion designs. It is a great way to encourage the students and enjoy a nice reception.The show runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. More info is at seesawstudio.org. —Bruna Zacka
Daniel Bernard Roumain & The Mission
N.C. State Campus, Stewart Theatre—New York violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain's nine-piece, multicultural, genre-hopping project, DBR & The Mission, sweeps from the sounds of sweaty clubs to stately halls, employing everything from cello and electric violins to turntables and drumkits.
Bob Marley Birthday Bash
Cat's Cradle—Every year, area acolytes of Marley—shaman, protest leader and martyr to his followers—gather to jam. Their definitions of reggae may differ slightly, but the spirit remains. What does Marley mean in 2008? Perhaps it's a simple answer: Speak truth to power, and raise your voice through music. With Mickey Mills and Steel, Jamrock, Dub Addis, Cayenne the Lion King, G-Toy Band. Tickets are $15-$20 for the 8:30 p.m. show. —Chris Toenes
Transactors' The Love Show
The ArtsCenter—Every year, Transactors Improv returns to their birthplace at The ArtsCenter to get cozy. The Love Show is an improvised testament to the trials and tribulations of love and heartbreak, based on audience suggestions. Traditionally, all Transactors' performers will kiss (or "smooch") every other cast member during the show. For more info, visit www.artscenterlive.org or call 929-2787. —Megan Stein
UNC Campus, Memorial Hall—When UNC bands director Jeffrey Fuchs says the school's large ensembles are playing a concert "in the style of John Philip Sousa," he doesn't mean they'll be performing a night of parade-style marches. Instead, tonight's concert by the UNC Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band will include serious concert music (including Wagner's "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral") laced with novelties, solo performances and "March king" originals—the kind of program Fuchs says audiences would have heard from the Sousa band. "The one thing that's going to make the program unique is not the big pieces. It's the number and variety of marches the audience will hear." The show begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10-$15. —Margaret Hair