Memorial Hall, UNC Campus—Born in New York to Irish immigrants, Eileen Ivers strengthens the ties between Irish and American music with her fiddling. She connects the Irish reel "Bunch of Keys" with its Appalachian descendent, "Paddy on the Turnpike," for instance. Ivers also introduces music from the immigrant neighborhoods of her childhood Bronx into the equation, with the influences of African drumming on "Afro Jig" and flamenco guitar on "Whiskey Sangria." Having toured with Riverdance and helped to found Cherish the Ladies, Ivers knows how to put on a high-energy show. For Beyond the Bog Road, button accordion, flute, guitar and drums feed off the dancers on stage in a juxtaposition of Irish and American culture. Ivers' earthy, lilting fiddle holds it all together with clear and breathless virtuosity. The fusion is a reminder that everyone's a little Irish on St. Patrick's Day. Pay $10–$75 for the 7:30 p.m. performance. See www.carolinaperformingarts.org. —Andrew Ritchey
The Regulator Bookshop—We've all been exposed to the phrase "factory farming" so many times that our brains reflexively take a little nap on contact—the dark underbelly of the animal processing industry is far enough away from our daily lives that it's easier just to ignore it. Feed lots, manure lagoons, warehoused chickens, the horror, the horror— when's lunch? But a lot of the people who happen to live near these filthy, stinking torture chambers don't have the option to just Febreze them from their consciousness.
The disastrous local effects of factory farming are the subject of a new book, Animal Factory, by David Kirby. Kirby visits three rural localities in which fed-up citizens are mobilized to take on an industry that has literally shit all over them, choking their streams with waste and filling the air with a sickening stench. He reports on the fight against mega-dairies and hog factories in Yakima Valley, Wash., and Elmwood, Ill., but the book begins and ends here in North Carolina. The hero of that story is Rick Dove, a Marine lawyer-turned-riverkeeper who witnessed the pork industry's devastation of the Neuse River from his home on the shore in New Bern.
Kirby has assembled an amazingly detailed history of his subjects' grassroots struggles. It's an impressive feat of all-consuming, shoe-leather journalism, and his litany of unneighborly insults, like the "stinky, mocha-colored mist" that one mega-dairy inflicts on the property next door, packs a punch. But exhaustiveness is also the book's biggest weakness, as outrages against man and nature sprawl over 450 pages and begin to repeat themselves, along with a few too many summarized panel reports and blow-by-blow retellings of community meetings. Kirby is also liberal in his use of the increasingly popular but crazy-making device of writing dialogue, entire pages of it, that he couldn't possibly have witnessed (whither thou goest, nonfiction?).
Still, his dogged pursuit of the story has made him unquestionably expert on factory farming and the resistance movement thereof. His talk starts at 7 p.m. See www.regulatorbookshop.com.—Marc Maximov