How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Deep Dish Theater—This evening at 7:30, Deep Dish will hold an informal discussion of Julia Alvarez's novel How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents in conjunction with their production of Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House. Last year, as part of a school board-approved hunt for offensive literature, Johnston County banned the book after a high school student complained about its language and sexual content. In response, Ms. Alvarez said she was concerned about "the curtailment of civil liberties and an erosion of the best values of this free country." Garcia Girls is the tale of a Dominican family that immigrates to the U.S. and the difficulties they face, focusing on the narratives of four sisters. Alvarez was born in New York, but her family quickly went back to the Dominican Republic, not to return until she was 10, whereupon she faced many of the same challenges the Garcia girls do. For more info, visit www.deepdishtheater.org or call 968-1515. —Megan Stein
"Nomadic Thinking and Happy Accidents"
Page-Walker Arts and History Center—Another interesting event in the Triangle's ever-calamitous public art scene is imminent with tonight's 7 p.m. talk by artist Elizabeth Conner. She is on board with the Downtown Cary Streetscape Project, which will hopefully fare better than our area's recent public art shortcomings (the bitter aftertaste of the Jaume Plensa plaza comes quickly to mind). Conner is an accomplished public art veteran with a lengthy list of site-specific works, so there should be plenty of insights to glean on what could make this project successful. A concept described on the Project's Web site (www.carystreetscape.org) is that of downtown Cary as a sort of front porch for the community. As oxymoronic as it may sound, Cary's "downtown" area is nonetheless a poster child for the era when walkability and pedestrian social interaction regularly occurred on the streets of American towns. This streetscape project thus seems ripe for positive implementation of public art in a setting amenable to the cause. —Dave Delcambre
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Theaters everywhere—Don't let any killjoys dampen your enthusiasm for the fourth Indiana Jones movie, which as everyone in the media-civilized world knows, opens today. Expect the usual desiccated corpses, cobwebby tunnels and creepy crawlies, along with breathtaking, minimally CGI-ed stunt sequences. Friends old and new join Harrison Ford, a bit more crumpled but still game, as earnest Shia LaBeouf attempts to fill a pretty big fedora. Cate Blanchett, in trim grey jumpsuit, Louise Brooks bob and purring School of Funny Talking Russian accent, relishes her supervillain role. And, luckily, we moviegoers are still free to hate the Stalinists. Go and have fun! —Laura Boyes
The film opens in multiplexes everywhere. Alone among the art houses, the Carolina Theatre of Durham secured a 35-mm print. Read our review.
AV Geeks' "Testy, Testy"
Center for Documentary Studies—Let us never forget that the horrors of school testing existed for decades prior to the agonies of No Child Left Behind. "Testy, Testy," the latest compilation from the AV Geeks, features a bevy of "classic" instructional films based on the themes of tests and testing. The shorts include You Bet Your Life, The Handtrap Test, and the magnificently titled Comparative Tests on a Human and a Chimpanzee Infant of Approximately the Same Age.
On his blog (irrationalpassion.blogspot.com), AV Geeks head Skip Elsheimer offers a summary of the anthropological short film: "Without any background on the experiment, the tests seem insane, including hand preference, startle reaction time (to a pistol being discharged), delayed reaction [and] cap-on-head (the chimp hates this)." Sure to offer plenty of unintentional laughs, "Testy, Testy" will be held at 7 p.m. at the Center for Documentary Studies. Suggested donation is $5. For more information, visit avgeeks.com. —Zack Smith
Chop Chop, Soft Company
The Cave—A melodic bill for which to kill, really: Reid Johnson is Schooner's frontman, and he sits solo with his wistful ruminations here. He'll be surrounded by Filthybird—a Greensboro quintet that exudes generous Southern grace on songs about growing up, falling apart and moving along—and Chop Chop, an all-femme Massachusetts act that fortifies its Sarah Records twee lineage with humor and humility. Not to be missed is Soft Company, now wrapping up sessions for a six-song EP recorded with Greg Elkins in Raleigh: Missy Thangs writes torch songs that could take Tiger Mountain by swooning, and a band of local veterans lets them glow. Show starts at 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin
Thick as Thieves: Images from the Bultman Family 1930-1942
Through This Lens Gallery—You probably have some of your own, hidden in drawers, stashed in shoeboxes or, in this day and age, stored in backlogged computer files: old family photos that come from a time far away but could have been taken yesterday.
Photographer Ramona Bultman-Lewis uses her family photos to create Thick as Thieves, now showing though June 17 at Through This Lens Gallery. The images, taken by various family members and chosen from about 300 negatives, capture the family and friends at home, at church and at play in Sumter, S.C. Besides the general charm of a time gone by, the photos provide a unique glimpse into a successful mixed-race family in the Depression years of the South. "These images are hauntingly familiar and yet so foreign," says Bultman-Lewis, describing the challenge of imagining older family members as once being young. She chose to include photos made from negatives that experienced more wear and tear than others over the years, embracing those "flawed" images rather that writing them off as ruined (perhaps a lesson for us all).
In conjunction with her family prints, Bultman-Lewis has three prints from her "Elmira" series on display. Now a historical site and tourist attraction, Elmira Castle was a major holding area on Africa's West Coast for slaves headed to the Americas. Her images capture young African school girls on a field trip to the site, a subtle but decisive contrast to the Castle's original use.
"The Elmira series is an ongoing series I've worked on for a couple of years, and the family prints were something I'd been burning to do," Bultman-Lewis says when asked why she combined the two groups of images. "It isn't that there is something directly tying them together, but it is my goal to challenge the viewer's personal convictions regarding cultural stereotypes." —Jessica Fuller