Although his show with the Duke Jazz Ensemble is sold out, Branford Marsalis' lecture on The Future of Jazz is an excellent opportunity to interact with the world-renowned saxophonist. Get off work a little early and come with questions for the Marsalis brother that now graces our Triangle. 5 p.m., Baldwin Auditorium, Duke University East Campus, Durham. 660-3300. Free.
The NC Dance Festival has come down the mountain and is invading Merideth College campus. Don your leg warmers and see what troupes across the state have been sweating over for the past year. Thursday-Saturday, Jan 29-31, 8 p.m., Jones Auditorium, Meredith College, Raleigh. 760-2840. $10, free for kids age 12 and under.
Romance is on the auction block at Visual Art Exchange's 20th annual fundraising art auction, L'Amore D'Arte/Love of the Arts. 6-11 p.m., Exploris, 201 E Hargett St, Raleigh. 828-7834, www.visualartexchange.org. $70.
Hear the story of Imbolc, also known as Candlemas or Groundhog Day. It marks the middle of winter and celebrates the eventual return of the sun. Or, the return of a giant rodent, depending on what you're looking for. 7-9 p.m., Nature Preserve Center, 503 Old School Rd, Chapel Hill. 942-7477.
Dr. Alex Roland, former NASA historian and outspoken critic of the US manned spaceflight program gives a lecture called Let's Sell the Space Station: The Future of Manned Spaceflight at Morehead Planetarium tonight. 7 p.m., 250 E Franklin St, UNC-Chapel Hill Campus. 843-7995, www.moreheadplanetarium.org.
Artists and arts organizations are invited to respond to a survey sponsored by the Orange County Arts Commission for the Economic Impact of the Arts in Orange County report. Find surveys at all Orange County libraries or www.artsorange.org/survey.htm. Due by Feb 23.