Deep Dish Theater—It pains me to admit to having anything in common with Family Guy, but I felt a moment of kinship in the gag where Peter's watching a production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and goes, "What the hell is this? For crying out loud! Somebody throw a pie!"
Well, perhaps I was just too young to appreciate the deep human truths at the heart of Chekhov's tale of declining aristocracy and thwarted ambitions. Now that I'm in my late 20s, I can appreciate it. Actually, thanks to the economy, a lot of people can relate to it. And it's an accessible production, as Deep Dish dramaturge Karen C. Blansfield will introduce theatergoers to the world of the play before the show on Friday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. in the theater lobby, while UNC professor and Chekhov scholar Radislav Lapushin leads a discussion after the March 1 show. For more information, visit www.deepdishtheater.org. The show opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. and runs through March 14. —Zack Smith
Hayti Heritage Film Festival
Hayti Heritage Center—The 15th annual Hayti Heritage Film Festival kicks off tonight at 6:30 p.m. with a free community screening of Something's Killing Tate, the story of a depressed young African-American man and his battle with his personal demons; writer/ director Leon Lozano will be present for the screening.
Thus begins a very promising new chapter in the history of the festival, newly renamed from the Black Diaspora Film Festival. Local film artists Angela Ray and Dilsey Davis have injected new energy into the proceedings, and this fest includes panel discussions and, of course, parties (including a filmmakers' bash at the Golden Belt on Saturday night; tickets required).
The programming of this four-day festival is appealingly diverse, with excursions into such genre fare as the suspense thriller Algeny: The Genetic Factor and the New Orleans-set supernatural detective tale The Abduction of Jesse Bookman. There's also a healthy selection of shorts, including the gritty, award-winning Premature, a tough look at a pregnant teenager's predicament.
The documentary lineup looks especially strong, with Renaissance Village, a look at post-Katrina New Orleans in the resettlement community of the same name. The urgent—if sometimes overlooked—issue of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is the subject of Bloodlines: AIDS and Family, a 12-minute short by documentary photographer Kristen Ashburn. An Afro-centric film that seems to strike a considerably more positive note, however, is Diamonds in the Rough: A Ugandan Hip Hop Revolution. This film introduces us to The Bataka Squad, a hip-hop combo that uses music to empower the youth in a war-torn land.
The festival runs through Sunday, concluding with an awards ceremony, for the first time, at 5 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit www.hayti.org/hayti-film-festival. —David Fellerath
TABLE—When Branch Gallery relocated from Carrboro to Durham in 2006, it left a gap in the Southern Orange County arts scene. The building was taken over by TABLE, a not-for-profit organization that provides food for hungry children in the area. Joy MacVane, director of TABLE, saw an opportunity in the bare walls, and invited UNC art professor elin o'Hara slavick to curate shows. "All the lights were still there," says slavick—and voila! Art space reborn.The current show, Vertigo Earth, features work by UNC-Chapel Hill students and graduates. Artists include Gail Goers, who melds pre-existing images from National Geographic and other sources into otherworldly landscapes, and Rosemary Winn, who shines light through intricate paper collage cuttings, giving the impression of aerial photographs of cities at night. The show opens tonight and runs through April 17, with an opening reception Friday, Feb. 27, from 7-9 p.m. TABLE is located at 205 W. Weaver St. Call for hours: 636-4860. The show is free.—Marc Maximov
919 Noise Showcase
Nightlight—The 919 Noise group helps local independent outsider artists network. Here, a handful of Triangle-area noisemakers gather to throw some sounds at the wall and see what sticks: Brian Howe (an Independent contributor) does the video/ audio mix thing with a small group, creating a clanging soundtrack for the visual background with all manner of items, including a broken cello, a sampler and pots and pans. Phon's been known to set up rigged electronics with Tibetan bells; Nic Slaton and Joey Prinz do unnatural things to upright bass and guitar; and Weather Machine does its thing, too, whatever that is. Pitch in $5 at 10 p.m. —Chris Toenes