‘43 Plays for 43 Presidents’
In its season follow-up to “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Actors Theatre jumps on the political bandwagon, but on a much lighter, satirical note. “43 Plays for 43 Presidents” is just that — 43 two-minute skits on each American president, from George W. to George Dubya — by a five-member cast that includes Gregory and Abigail Bailey Maupin, who you may know from the Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble. As a bonus, each night the audience votes on President No. 44, and a prepared Obama or McCain skit follows, based on popular vote, of course.
Director Sean Daniels says the skits have a wide range — from a musical to a puppet show to complete silence (James Polk?). “It’s a funny, satirical take on American history, up to the present,” he says. “Basically the audience takes a look at the past, and then gets a chance to figure out the next step.” Put on the spot, Daniels admits he has a sweet spot for Jimmy Carter. “When I directed this play in Atlanta, we actually got Carter to come to a performance,” he says. “Instead of hiding out in a ‘safe room’ we made in the back, he stayed during intermission and shook everyone’s hands.” —Sara Havens
316 W. Main St.
$24-$34; various times
FRIDAY, SEPT. 12
Black Tide’s ability to shred in these Guitar Hero-driven times is inversely proportional to lead singer Gabriel Garcia’s eloquence in the all-important pre-show interview. In fairness, he had just woken up when we called.
LEO: What attracted you to metal in the first place?
Gabriel Garcia: I started playing guitar when I was 8. My cousin taught me how to play. I liked bands like Megadeth and Pantera.
LEO: How did you guys settle on “Hit The Lights”?
GG: We saw Metallica and we love Kill ’em All. We wanted to play it, so we pretty much just kept (the song) how it was.
LEO: Now that one of you is, according to your website, a Lionel Ritchie clone, can we expect a cover of “All Night Long”?
GG: Um, oh dude, that would be awesome.
LEO: Three things about Miami that people don’t know?
GG: I don’t know, that’s hard. I don’t know. I don’t know, dude …
LEO: Have you clocked how fast you’ve played?
GG: Oh, no. —Mat Herron
Coyote’s @ City Block
133 W. Liberty St.
$25; 7:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 12
Put a Capp in it
Grayson Capps kicks off his next tour here, bringing along the off-the-cuff-quality rock found on his newest album with The Stumpknockers, Rott & Roll. No, the John Deere tricycle on the album cover does not double as the band’s tour van, although, Capps says, “It might as well be.”
You have three chances to see him. He plays WFPK’s Live Lunch, ear X-tacy at 6 p.m. and Gerstle’s at 9 p.m. Unlike his previous Songbones — a collection of unreleased and rare material — Rott & Roll has a slightly polished, but not gussied up, sound. “It was almost like a cleaning-the-closet-type thing,” Capps says.
Most curious is the track “Sock Monkey,” which basically consists of Capps singing those exact words ad infinitum. He explains: “There’s this woman who used to hang out with our bass player, and she was kind of a crackhead. She would go on the road with us. One night we were staying with a friend of mine, and she was raiding the refrigerator at my mother’s house. I yell at her, ‘You goddamn sock monkey, get out of the refrigerator.’” —Mat Herron
3810 Frankfort Ave.
$8; 9 p.m.
Italian & Irish Fests
Italy is about 1,600 miles from Ireland, but this weekend the distance is magically shortened to a mere four miles. The smell of tomato sauce and garlic will linger above St. James Church as it hosts the Festa Italiana, while down by the river ye might grab a pint to get your Celtic on at the Irish Fest.
Festa Italiana will feature authentic Italian food, live music, dancing and contests involving meatball-putting, pizza-decorating and spaghetti-eating. Michigan’s Pino Marelli Trio will provide Italian tunes and visitors can enjoy wine and beer as well — they’ve got it all but the gondolas and the Pope.
If the Pope was here, I’m sure he’d bust out his kilt for the Irish Fest, which will feature the usual Celtic merriment like food, live music, the McClanahan dancers (who rock!), children’s activities and — get this — Irish Idol finalists. Go to one festival or both, and celebrate the cultures that love kisses. —Jane Mattingly
•Festa Italiana (Sept. 12-14)
St. James Church
1826 Edenside Ave.
$2; 5 p.m. (Fri.), 2 p.m. (Sat.), noon (Sun.)
•Louisville Irish Fest (Sept. 13-14)
$5; 11 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 13
Author Sara Reinke
Are vampires the bad boys that readers can’t get enough of? Today’s bookstore shelves fairly sag with the clear answer to that question. But anytime Louisville’s Sara Reinke dreams up a new tale, it’s not simply running through the paces of a success-du-jour formula. Her “Brotherhood” series does know enough to touch all the by-now-familiar bases, yes, as brooding anti-heroes spar with sexy and conflicted modern women. But the thoroughly cagey Thoroughbred-plantation origin story continues to pay dividends in Zebra/Kensington’s just-released “Dark Hunger.” The author is celebrating the new title with a Saturday afternoon signing at the Oxmoor Mall Waldenbooks.
Reinke readily puts herself out to the audience — witness her website (sarareinke.com), where multiple titles are available as free e-book downloads. But the reason to pick up “Dark Hunger” or last year’s “Dark Thirst” is in the ways that human and inhuman alike must face up to surprising challenges such as hearing loss, amputation and pregnancy. Theirs is a world where fantastic possibilities are background to the sorts of tests that are rarely allowed onto series-paperback pages. The variety of spice in these melodramas makes for engaging genre characters and relationships. —T.E. Lyons
7900 Shelbyville Road
Free; 2 p.m.
Sunday, SEPT. 14
Bellewood Youth Film Festival
Just like the Sundance Film Festival — but without the snow — Bellewood Presbyterian Homes for Children will present its Youth Film Festival Sunday afternoon at the Second Presbyterian Church on Old Brownsboro Road. Bellewood accepted film submissions this summer from area youth groups, and the top three will be screened at the event — complete with red carpet and cash prizes for the winning directors. The theme of the competition this year is “Respect,” with the filmmakers also required to weave a Kentucky landmark and a tree into the script. —Bill Doolittle
Second Presbyterian Church
3701 Old Brownsboro Road
HYPERLINK "http://www.bellewoode.org" www.bellewoode.org
$8; $5 (adv.); 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 17
Green Film Festival begins with look at MTR
Ever seen the top of a mountain explode? It’s apocalyptic, like a Jerry Bruckheimer movie but without all the sentimentalism.
See for yourself next Wednesday, when a seven-week Green Film Festival kicks off with Dave Cooper’s “Mountaintop Removal Road Show,” a 22-minute slideshow/short that catalogs some of the devastation wrought on the people, places and ecology of Appalachia by this insidious coal-mining practice. Cooper, of Lexington, has given the presentation more than 500 times since 2003. That’s a lot, sure, but not yet enough, as MTR continues to decimate an entire region daily. —Stephen George
Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church
4936 Brownsboro Road
Free ($8 for catered dinner — call for reservations); 7 p.m.
Through Sept. 20
hydration: Sculptures by Joyce Ogden
Water is something we generally take for granted — until it’s not there. Sculptor Joyce Ogden is known for her thought-provoking, large-scale sculptures. This exhibition features her work based on an unlikely inspiration: the management of water.
After reading “Water Wars” by Diane Raines Ward and traveling to Egypt, Israel and Jordan, she interpreted what she read and saw into sculptures of amazing beauty. Some are based on Egyptian fanoos lanterns, while others resemble water-collection vessels. Her work should remind you to be thankful that we have an easy supply of water for our daily living. For now. —Jo Anne Triplett
Cressman Center for Visual Arts Gallery
100 E. Main St.
Through Sept. 21
Pandora goes bi
Pandora Productions swings both ways this month, opening its 12th season with two plays for the first time. Concurrent productions of “The Laramie Project” and “Stop Kiss,” both of which deal with hate crimes, will run in repertory, with alternating performance dates, throughout September. Pandora, a theatrical company with a community-building mission, presents cutting-edge plays that celebrate the diversity of sexual orientation.
Lauded as an effective artistic tool for combating prejudice and homophobia, “The Laramie Project” (through Sept. 20) examines the aftermath of the brutal killing of Matthew Shepard, a gay university student who was beaten to death in that small college town 10 years ago. Drawing on hundreds of interviews conducted with Laramie, Wyo., residents, the show depicts how an all-American community reacts when forced to confront the violence percolating under its idyllic surface.
“Stop Kiss” (Sept. 11-21), on the other hand, examines hate crime from a more immediate perspective, as two New York City women meet, become friends and fall in love before sharing a sudden, romantic and very public kiss. It’s an old story told new, but rather than ending this romcom with a swell of music and a heart-shaped fade, their kiss prompts a violent and tragic homophobic attack. —Erin Keane
Henry Clay Building
300 W. Chestnut St.
HYPERLINK "http://www.pandoraprods.org" www.pandoraprods.org
$15 adv., $17 door; 7:30 p.m. (weekend matinees 2 p.m.)