North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Carolina Theatre—Though he was the only one of the Village People to actually live in Greenwich Village, Randy ("the cowboy") Jones was born in Raleigh, attended Enloe High and UNC-Chapel Hill, and considers himself a Tar Heel through and through. "I always call North Carolina my home, and it's always been my home," says Jones, whose main duty at the fest is to introduce Saturday night's screening of Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild and sign autographs.
Despite the Village People's iconic status in the gay community, Jones' busy schedule of touring, recording and acting has kept him from attending the N.C. Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in the past. He'll be there for the first time this year to help promote it, and he is looking forward to the experience. "I'm so happy that this provides me an opportunity to get a close-up look at the success of this festival," Jones says. "From all the comments I've heard, it seems to be extremely successful." He also hopes to network: "It seems like every time I attend a film festival, I get a job in a movie out of it."
Jones says that even with gay themes becoming more mainstream in Hollywood, the festival still offers an important opportunity for a venue where gay-oriented films can gain exposure and a wider audience, citing Brokeback Mountain's Sundance buzz as an example. "There are always going to be film festivals that deal with pointedly focused groups in a community," Jones says. "A lot will either break out and become mainstream, or at least provide a place where filmmakers can get their work seen by a broader audience."
Jones, who's currently working on the film Against the Wind, which includes exteriors shot in Boone, N.C., says he's been talking with the chancellor of the N.C. School of the Arts about possibly becoming more involved with the school. "Without my training at that school and UNC, I wouldn't have had the career that I've had," Jones says.
What's his secret? "I'm like the Energizer Bunny—I just go on and on," Jones says. "Rust never sleeps, and neither do I." Yes, you just read one of the Village People quote Neil Young. Is your mind blown? —Zack Smith
The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival opens tonight. For more on the festival, read our preview.
Awake and Sing!
2nd Avenue South Players, Murphey School—Called "the play that transformed American Theater," Clifford Odets' 1935 Awake and Sing! is a bleak piece of social realism, dealing with a poor Jewish family living in the Bronx. Now, courtesy of 2nd Avenue, a theater project of the Raleigh-Cary Jewish Community Center, modern audiences get a chance to see how much things have—or haven't—changed since Odets' time with their new production. Tonight's final dress rehearsal is open to the public in a "pay what you can" preview at 7:30 p.m. The show opens officially tomorrow night and runs through Sept. 30, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Regular tickets are $18; for more information, call 676-6170 or 803-6840. —Zack Smith
Local 506—Lucero could be the Drive-By Truckers' kid brother raised in Memphis. Both bands bend at the altar of the Replacements with a strong dose of Southern grit. While initially a trad-country outfit meant to piss off punk friends, the band migrated rockward over the course of the first three albums, then sealed the deal with the gritty, garage-soaked twang of 2005's Jim Dickinson-produced Nobody's Darlings. But having gone as far as it could in that direction, Lucero changed course with 2006's Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers. The addition of keyboardist Rick Steff (Cat Power, Bottle Rockets) offered a soul-soaked rock vibe to an album that veers Boss-ward. Frontman Ben Nichols' gruff, whiskey-stained vocals are better, if consumed with similar heartfelt passion. His boozy, skirt-chasing tales retain the earnest charm of the best country songs, another red-eyed dreamer striving for a perfection beyond his reach. Like Springsteen's "Thunder Road" protagonist, Nichols ain't offering redemption, only a ride, singing "I might not be the one, but that's alright," on album highlight "I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight." Also like the Boss, Lucero's shows continue until all but eternal curmudgeons can leave satisfied. With The Glossary. Pay $10 at 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
Gambling the Muse
The Pour House—Moaning steel guitar and aching fiddle: The understated lushness of Gambling The Muse provides a fitting framework for an expression of melancholy. Working within a palette of grays, Daniel Snyder's lyrical brushstrokes paint stark Southern gothic scenery. The rest of this Americana-flavored bill is strong as well: The Tender Fruit is the new outlet for the beautiful, brittle sentiments of Nola's Christy Smith, and The Cadillac Stepback's Nathan Golub (an Indy employee) adds his pedal steel to the honky tonk twang of former Two Dollar Pistol John Howie Jr. Pay $6 at 10 p.m. If you need your night a little more jilted, catch Future Kings of Nowhere next door at Tir Na Nog between sets for free. —Spencer Griffith