February 28, 2006

Staff Picks

<THEATER>Thursday, March 2Two-man improv theater Improv is the jazz of theater. It taps years of experience to bring something from nothing. Premeditation is uncouth. Self-destruction is possible. It’s loose and tense within the same 10 seconds. For the most part, it’s just random. Combined, Louisville actors Mike Slaton and Dennis Frymire have around 15 years of experience on stage and screen. “Decent Exposure,” their new project debuting tomorrow at Lisa’s Oak St. Lounge, is long-form freestyle improvisation, on the order of the famed Second City troupe of Chicago. Slaton says he envisions the show as more like a band playing than a stage performance. They picked a good venue for that. —Stephen GeorgeLisa’s Oak St. Lounge1004 E. Oak St. 637-9315$5; 9 p.m.21+<THEATER>March 2-4Walden’s Young Playwrights Festival For 30 years now, Walden Theatre has been cultivating the creative psyches of Louisville’s artistic youth. And though their primary focus has been the works of William Shakespeare, Charlie Sexton considers the playwright festival an important component of Walden’s mission as he strives to push the limits of these young minds. Over the years, this festival has produced numerous works, some eventually being published by Dramatists Play Service, a leader in the publishing industry. This year’s collection of 10- to 15-minute one-acts includes the works of Melinda Beck, Griff Brydon, Ben Kaplin, Greg Webber, John Whitney, Caitlin Willenbrink and Eliot Zellers. Support these young adults as they find their voice. They cannot do it without you. —Bradford CummingsWalden Theatre1123 Payne St.589-0084March 2-4: $15 adults/$10 students; 7:30 p.m.March 4: $10/$8; 2 p.m.<MUSIC>March 2 & 4Brahms sandwich Of the “Three Bs” of classical music — Bach, Beethoven and Brahms — Johannes Brahms is certainly the least familiar to modern audiences. The Louisville Orchestra will do something about that this weekend by headlining its Classic Series concerts with two major Brahms works. Concert-goers may find themselves happily surprised to recognize a very familiar melody in Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture,” which leads off the program. Violinist Jennifer Frautschi then performs Stravinsky’s “Violin Concerto” in D Major, with Brahms’ “Symphony No. 1” completing the concert. Call it a Brahms sandwich. Frautschi is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and one of classical music’s most dynamic young stars. Her instrument is a 1722 Antonio Stradivarius violin known as the “ex-Cadiz.” Edwin Outwater, currently resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, conducts. —Bill DoolittleWhitney Hall, Kentucky Center584-7777louisvilleorchestra.org$16-$60; 10:30 a.m. (March 2), 8 p.m. (March 4)<MUSIC>Friday, March 3Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers Six months after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans native Kermit Ruffins celebrates Mardi Gras here in Louisville with a concert at the Kentucky Center. Ruffins is an award-winning jazz trumpeter, having been honored by Offbeat magazine, New Orleans Magazine and Gambit Weekly, among others. The New York Times said Ruffin possesses “the easy-going persona of a modern-day Louis Armstrong.” But what music-lovers seem to like most about Ruffins is that he comes across as being every bit as New Orleans as Mardi Gras itself. He grew up learning about New Orleans food in his grandmother’s kitchen, and learning about New Orleans jazz in the streets and nightclubs of the Big Easy. In short, he seems to love New Orleans as much as it loves him. Before the show, there’s a free Southern Comfort tasting in the lobby. Also, Jarfi’s Bistro will offer a special New Orleans-style dinner on the night of the show, featuring crawfish etouffee, blackened chicken and more, all prepared with Southern Comfort as part of the recipe. —Kevin GibsonBomhard Theater, Kentucky Center584-7777www.kentuckycenter.org$24.50; 8 p.m.<MUSIC>Saturday, March 4Muse Fest: Celebration of Creative Women With scads of female talent, artistry and community spirit coming together, this music and visual arts event will take on the vibe of an artisan fair when it takes over the Kentucky Theater this weekend to kick off Women’s History Month. An impressive gathering of performers, both known and emerging — including Angelina Wedding, Teneia Sanders, Irrational Fear, Leigh Ann Yost, Kathleen Hoye and Brigid Kaelin — should keep the auditorium swirling with the presence of Lilith herself. But this is no myth — these local goddesses are of flesh and blood and create fine, down-to-earth music. Look for the visual arts display in the lobby. WFPK-FM’s Laura Shine will emcee the festivities. Proceeds benefit the Kentucky Theater Project, a non-profit organization with a mission to foster and support regional artists. —Cindy LambKentucky Theater651 S. Fourth St.589-6419$8; 7-11 p.m.<THEATER>Saturday, March 4‘Cheaters’ Don’t hate the player, hate the game, right? I’m Ready Productions explores the ups and downs of relationships, faithful and otherwise, in its urban theatrical production of “Cheaters.” The story focuses on jazz musician Stephan Mitchell as he reconnects with his father in his adult life, only to discover they share a common trait: the wandering eye. Unable to stay faithful in any of his past relationships, after meeting Chante he swears this time he’ll be true. Yeah, right. Think “Waiting to Exhale” meets “Unfaithful.” The production stars R&B crooner Brian McKnight, Wendy Raquel Robinson from “The Steve Harvey Show” and James “Uncle Phil” Avery of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” —Sara HavensPalace Theatre625 S. Fourth St.361-3100$27.50-$39.50; 3 and 8 p.m.<BOOK>Tuesday, March 7Kentucky Author Forum His love of fellatio notwithstanding, Bill Clinton did a lot for this country. Ask yourself, are you better off now than you were 10 years ago? Hmmm. As with most things in life, there were scores of people behind the scenes making Herr Clinton look good, such as Gene Sperling, a top campaign adviser in 1992 and one of those in the inner circle pushing for fiscal responsibility. Sperling’s not as sexy as John McCain, who recently appeared at the Kentucky Author Forum, but we’re sure there’s lot of folks hereabouts who can get inspired by Sperling’s vision of pro-growth progressivism. Sperling will be interviewed by NPR economics reporter John Ydstie on the topics of Social Security reform, expanding the pool of educated workers, deficit reduction and other seeming dry but urgent topics. —Cary StemleBomhard Theater, Kentucky Center584-7777www.kentuckycenter.org$17; wine and cheese reception/book sale (5 p.m.); interview (6 p.m.)$100; dinner (8:15 p.m.)<WOMEN>Wednesday, March 8International Women’s Day It’s a free celebration, and the public is invited. That’s good enough for me, but most people require more details. Jefferson Community and Technical College celebrates International Women’s Day with a commemorative march and women’s speak-out. Storyteller and activist Nana Yaa Asantewaa is keynote speaker for the event, which also features entertainment from the Squallis Puppeteers and dancer Jamila Zahran. Ultimately, the goal is to increase awareness about women’s societal roles and contributions within the community. If you don’t catch everything, just listen and make a few friends and all will be well. —Matt MattinglyJCC Downtown CampusFirst & Gray streets213-2364Free; 5:30 p.m.<ART>Through April 1‘Two Bodies of Work’ by Sharon Weis The “bodies” in question are Sharon Weis’ oil paintings of human heads and bicycles. Twenty-four people, placed on a 12-inch square panel, seem to interact with each other across the room or with you, the viewer. You know what they say about the eyes following you … The bike series shows an understanding of the wheels and the people who ride them. Whether static or in motion, portrait or genre, Weis has a knack for portraying people and the inner and outer world they inhabit. —Jo Anne TriplettZephyr Gallery610 E. Market St.585-5646www.zephyrgallery.orgFree; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed.-Sat.