Local 506—The lifespan of a relationship—from ogling start to dramatic conclusion—serves as the inspiration for LadyLuck, Maria Taylor's third solo album since Azure Ray's end in 2004 and her first away from longtime label Saddle Creek. Reading a little like a chronicle of your teenage sister's diary if she were wise beyond her years, there's reserved giddiness in the spoon-slap pace of Michael Stipe collaboration "Cartoons and Forever Plans." The parasitic nature of a relationship fuels the optimism-steeped pain and tiptoeing guitar of "Orchids." And, in "Time Lapse Lifeline," it all comes to an abrupt end. The subdued co-ed pop of The Whispertown 2000 opens at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8-$10. —Elizabeth Lilly
Meymandi Theatre at the Murphey School—North Carolina played several key roles in the Civil Rights Movement, and one such incident took place in Raleigh. Over the course of a hot summer night, a decision was made that changed the course of Raleigh's history and ushered in the integration of schools. That event will be recreated at Murphey School—now the home of Burning Coal Theatre—where it originally occurred. 1960, the latest production by Burning Coal, tells of this historic incident, drawing from interviews with those who remember it. William Campbell and Joseph Holt, who were directly involved in the historical events a half-century ago, will attend the opening night performance. The show, which was co-written by Burning Coal Education Director Ian Finley and members of the Burning Coal company, runs through April 26. Jerome Davis directs. For more information, visit www.burningcoal.org. —Zack Smith
Augusten Burroughs and Haven Kimmel
Cinema One, Carolina Theatre—In striking contrast to his comical, often outlandish depictions of his life's darker moments, Augusten Burroughs' most recent memoir, A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father, is a decidedly sinister portrait. "Though I could no longer form an image of [my father's] face in my mind," Burroughs writes of one of his parents' many separations, "I felt him under my bed, behind the closed door to my closet, lurking in the shadows..."
Rather than a complete picture of the man, however, what emerges is one of a monster: a depressive alcoholic capable of animal torture, marital rape and possibly even murder. The author's paralyzing fear of his father is a strong motif in A Wolf at the Table, but beyond Burroughs' childhood speculations, the origins of that fear are cloudy at best. (When the family's Rottweiler becomes aggressive and territorial, Burroughs doesn't consider that the change might be a natural inclination of the dog's breed, only that his father must have tortured it into submission: "Electricity? A car battery? Or perhaps the fireplace poker? What had my father done to the dog?")
There is much conjecture here, but little evidence. As a result, the reader doesn't come away entirely convinced that the author's father was a terrible man, only that Burroughs believes that he was. But fans of Burroughs' other memoirs (Running with Scissors; Dry) will no doubt find this first installment a bold look at the lost relationship between a father and the son who would spend his life trying to come to terms with him.
Burroughs will read from and sign copies of A Wolf at the Table at the Carolina Theatre at 7 p.m., appearing with his close friend (and Durham resident) Haven Kimmel (A Girl Named Zippy; She Got Up Off the Couch). Visit www.durhamcountylibrary.org. —Bronwen Dickey
The Jungle Book
Fletcher Opera Theater, Progress Energy Center—Those who have merely seen Walt Disney's 1967 film of The Jungle Book have done themselves and possibly their children a disservice. Rudyard Kipling's original collection of stories, while lacking the silly fun of "The Bear Necessities" and other songs from the film, includes some wonderfully poetic, evocative writing that's still kid-friendly, along with such non-Mowgli classics as "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" and "The White Seal." Some of the original stories were recently adapted into a graphic novel by IDW Publishing; or you can see them acted out at Fletcher Theatre in this new live-action stage adaptation. Shows are at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.; for more information, including tickets, visit www.progressenergycenter.com. —Zack Smith
Nelson Music Room, Duke Gardens—"How ugly it is, and why is it so ugly?" That, says Ciompi Quartet cellist Fred Raimi, serves as the compulsion for a series of concerts this week, where his long-standing Duke ensemble plays string quartets of modernist composers Bartók, Hindemith and Shostakovich. "Modernism: One of the main features of it is roughness, dissonance. Ugliness is probably not the right word," continues Raimi. "But roughness, dissonance and anger are prominent in all three of these pieces, and they're prominent in most music of this period."
Saturday's concert program at Duke's Nelson Music Room includes Bartók's second, Hindemith's third and Shostakovich's fifth. A Thursday "First Course" discussion and concert at the Duke Gardens' Kirby Horton Hall features pieces of all three string quartets, along with a Raimi-led discussion of their context. Raimi also hopes to touch on how public reception of the composers has evolved during the past century: "It's a way of looking at these three composers juxtaposed, and seeing what the audience can make of it and seeing what we can make of it." Thursday's program starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5. Saturday's concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18. —Margaret Hair