In the depths of the Durham Arts Council building last week, the Durham Symphony Orchestra gathered to rehearse its upcoming “A Musical Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.”
It was a weeknight, and the musicians who came were volunteers and paid professionals, some in jeans and T-shirts, others in the business casual they wore all day at an office.
Stephen Murray has to lean his phone on a corner of his porch and put it on speaker to have a conversation with good reception. The singer and guitarist of Holy Ghost Tent Revival recently moved to the North Carolina mountains, trading Greensboro for Asheville. Four out of the six members of the horn-driven rock band are in Asheville now.
“Dirty Dancing” is a summer movie that has lived way beyond its 1987 release, becoming entrenched in pop culture for its love story, songs, dancing and setting. It was filmed at Lake Lure, North Carolina, and at Mountain Lake in Giles County, Virginia – both mountain settings filling in for the fictitious Kellerman’s resort in upstate New York. It’s the story of Baby, the teenage girl played in the film by Jennifer Grey, who falls in love with the dance instructor Johnny, played by Patrick Swayze in the film. It’s set in 1963 with music from that era along with new songs, making for a memorable soundtrack of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” “Hey Baby,” “Hungry Eyes” and “Do You Love Me,” which are all in the new musical.
There is some fascinating art at the Nasher Museum of Art, and the conversations between the works span decades and cross continents. The core of the show is 34 works of art by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) on loan from the Rauschenberg Foundation. Those images have been juxtaposed with Russian art created during the 1980s and 1990s, which are part of the Nasher permanent collection. Added to this mix are 24 works from the newly acquired gift of more than 50 objects by San Franciscan Bruce Conner (1933-2008), photographer, videographer, collage artist and longtime friend of Rauschenberg.
American Tobacco Campus’ 10th anniversary celebration culminates Sunday afternoon with a street party featuring music, performances and food trucks from 1 to 5 p.m. downtown.
Starting off the musical performances Sunday will be the Heart of Carolina Chorus, a 25-member male barbershop chorus established 10 years ago, too, in Durham.
The Ori Naftaly Band, who will perform on Saturday’s bill at the 27th Bull Durham Blues Festival, is another of countless examples of how musical influences migrate.
Guitarist Naftaly and vocalist (and instrumentalist) Eleanor Tsaig both grew up together in Israel, where they heard American blues, soul, funk and related styles.
Phillip and Chuck Campbell, two members of the sacred steel band The Campbell Brothers, say audiences should come to their concert Friday at Hayti Heritage Center prepared to get involved with the music.
At the Thursday performance of “where did I think I was going? [moving into signal],” performed and created by Thomas F. DeFrantz and Kenneth David Stewart, the audience could ask the same thing. “Where did we, the audience, think we were going in this theater with a dancer and musician and a network of cables, cameras and laptop computers?”
The big film festivals – Full Frame and the N.C. Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – take place in the spring and summer, but fall has several film series, and many of the screenings are free. Here are a few:
The fall season is the busiest time of the year; school begins, the leaves turn and art in all its forms competes for our attention. This year is no exception. The next months will see art exhibitions of the giants from the golden age Dutch and Flemish artists of the 17th century to those of the 20th. And while modern painting was moving off the walls and out of the frame, a mechanical object called the camera was changing everything we thought we knew about the visible world and we’ll see what that looks like.
Offerings from a brand-new, Durham-based dance organization; two women – one from the Triangle, the other from India -- who are trailblazers in their dance forms; performers from Rio de Janiero; work by a Haitian-born, Durham resident; and a new, autobiographical dance by a Duke professor/dance scholar/performer liven up the dance scene this fall.
After the performance of humorist John Hodgman on Sept. 5, the Carolina Theatre, 309 W. Morgan St. has a full schedule of comedy, concerts and other shows this fall. Here are some highlights:
John Hodgman became a household face, if not yet a name, when Apple commercials ran for years with him playing the nerdy PC. For the record, he’s actually a Mac man.