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Saturday 5.23 

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Raleigh
John Oliver

Stewart Theater, N.C. State Campus—John Oliver, who has perhaps the greatest Liverpool accent since the Fab Four, has made a big impression in the States since joining Comedy Central's The Daily Show as "senior British correspondent" in 2006. He currently edits the podcast "newspaper" The Bugle, and has dealt amusingly with his own immigration issues, including having to perform during the Writers Guild strike last year to avoid deportation. He'll also appear in the new fall series Community on NBC with Chevy Chase and The Soup's Joel McHale. The show begins at 8 p.m.; tickets are $25 general admission and $15 for students. For more information, contact Rick Gardner at 515-5161. The performance is sponsored by Goodnight's Comedy Club. —Zack Smith



Saxapahaw
John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff

Saxapahaw Rivermill—In the winter of 1996, John Howie Jr. began offering a course in country music for those of us who'd boarded the alt-country train without much knowledge of the tag's latter half: The classrooms for Howie and the rest of the faculty in the newly formed Two Dollar Pistols were Local 506, The Cave and The Brewery, and we learned about Roger Miller's stellar early honky-tonk work and Bobby Bare and "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down." Yeah, OK, that metaphor is a bit tortured, but so were the lives of those in the old numbers that the Pistols sang and in the songs Howie was writing: "I've Let Myself Down Again," "I'll Tell the Bottle," "Bring the Heartbreak." The Pistols persevered during a fluctuating roster through the '90s and deep into the '00s before folding like a card player who knows he's got a good hand but can't seem to keep enough people interested in the game. But Howie has come back strong with the deeply talented and versatile Rosewood Bluff, and there's still plenty of honky-tonk in the curriculum, along with new lessons, like "Michael Nesmith: So Much More Than a Monkee." Class starts at 6 p.m. For more information, see www.rivermillvillage.com. —Rick Cornell


Durham
Bellan Contemporary Dance Theatre

Fletcher Hall, Carolina Theatre—"Bellan is more than dance, it's an experience. Different elements have been considered to offer an experience to the community," says Anjanee Bell, founder of Bellan Contemporary Dance Theatre. This new troupe keeps the community close to its heart. The dancers and teachers are from Durham, many from local high schools. The eclectic performance will feature two emerging artists: Jocelyn Ellis, a former student of Bell's, is a singer and musician, and Victor Murillo is a world fusion artist from Ecuador, known for his musical stylings featuring various instruments.

"The music will be electric, and the movement dynamic and athletic," Bell said. Show time is 8 p.m. Immediately following, there will be an after-party coupled with the official Web site launch at Six Plates Wine Bar. —Sarah Ewald


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Raleigh
The Secret Handshake

The Brewery—Blurring the line between electro-pop and punk-pop, The Secret Handshake is a laptop creation of Luis Dubuc. Like fellow Dallas/ Fort Worth resident Daniel Hunter (aka PlayRadioPlay!), Dubuc fashions pulsing synthetic arrangements that combine the boisterous, radio-ready energy of pop-punk with the burbling warmth of electropop's textures and faux strings. Dubuc's keening music plays off romantic entanglements, perfect fodder for teenage confusion. "Nothing Can Change That," off his latest, My Name Up In Lights, even suggests getting away from one's parents, but Dubuc's compositions are much more adept than typical high-school-addled fare. The 7 p.m. show opens with The Morning Of, My Favorite Highway and The Bigger Light and costs $12. —Chris Parker

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