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It may be difficult to think of art when mere survival becomes as raw an errand as it has in Haiti, but art doesn't diminish in value when a culture is threatened — if anything, its preservation becomes more essential. Author Madison Smartt Bell recognizes this, and when his friends at LeQuire Gallery contacted him shortly after the recent earthquake asking how they could help, he helped organize this exhibition. Vivid canvases by a group of Haitian artists — Emales Delis, Armand Fleurimond, Guidel Présumé, Telfort, Rosaria, Estevenson and Metellus — all part of what Bell describes as "a loosely created guild system," will be on display, with 75 percent of sales going to the artists and two NGOs: Fonkoze, which provides micro-loans, and Lambi Fund, which works for sustainable development. (Both Delis and Fleurimond were in Port au Prince during the earthquake and survived.) Opening reception 5 p.m. at LeQuire Gallery. Through March 27 STEVE HARUCH


If you're like me and your idea of gardening is yanking a clump of crabgrass from the yard every 12 weeks or so, you may not have considered the allure of the Nashville Lawn & Garden Show. Sure, the event offers bushels of inspiration for the enthusiastic home gardener, but the sheer pageantry of the exhibits is an awe-inspiring treat for almost anyone. More than 20 live garden tableaux will be on view, created by some of Nashville's best landscape professionals. This year's theme is "Artistic by Nature," which means some displays will pay homage to famous works of art, while others will include artfully crafted fountains, fire pits and other elegant geegaws. And then there are the flowers: A floral gallery displays amazing designs from the clever minds of local florists. Lectures and a huge roster of product vendors will also feed the imagination of home gardeners. Who knows — maybe even I will get energized to fix up my own weedy little plot of land. For info and tickets ($10 for adults, $1 for ages 12 and under), visit March 4-7 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds DANA KOPP FRANKLIN


Nashville homeboy Justin Terry leaves Brooklyn behind to visit his old stomping grounds and open a new exhibit for March's Art After Hours festivities. Hush the Static collects work the artist has produced since 2007, including a number of oil-on-birch panel paintings. Terry's surfaces vary from stormy to studied, and the work progresses from early expressionistic abstracts to near-monochrome color fields in his most recent material. Although the arc of the artist's output is of interest, Terry's individual works are compelling utterances that deserve one's full attention. Opening reception 5-8 p.m. at Zeitgeist Gallery. Through March 27 JOE NOLAN


People's Branch Theatre's second annual Festival of Short Plays invites audiences to become a part of the creative process as they view staged readings of original 10-minute plays written by local authors. There are 10 new plays per evening, directed and performed by the theater community's finest, and some of the contributing writers include Music City's most creative dramatic thinkers, among them Jeremy Childs, Nate Eppler, Shawn Whitsell and Mary McCallum. Some of the pieces are based on stories commissioned from the Nashville Adult Literacy Council by PBT artistic director Ross Brooks. Feedback sessions offer an immediate give-and-take between audience and creator, while a panel of local theater professionals — including Brooks, Denice Hicks of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Lauren Shouse of  Tennessee Repertory Theatre — also chime in with instructive input. March 4-6 at Belmont University's Black Box Theater MARTIN BRADY  


J.S. Bach's great B-minor Mass summarizes the composer's staggering achievements in sacred music, much as his Art of Fugue and Well-Tempered Clavier catalog his prowess in instrumental genres. Bach specialist Helmuth Rilling joins the Nashville Symphony and Chorus this weekend to conduct this late-career masterpiece. Rilling founded the Stuttgart Bach Collegium in 1965, and began work on his acclaimed complete recordings of Bach's cantatas. He also conducts the Oregon Bach Festival, which he co-founded in 1970. Though it is undoubtedly a high point in Western music history, the mass is not frequently heard in the concert hall, so Rilling's appearance with the NSO's strong chorus will be a rare treat for classical music lovers. Admission is $35-$100. March 4-6 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center RUSSELL JOHNSTON


Even though the urban folk revival was more than a generation ago, and even though its big stars — Dylan and Baez, for instance — are pushing 70, the hopeful, utopian, socially conscious spirit of the thing lives on with considerable finesse in the work of post-'70s folk singer-songwriters like Carrie Newcomer. She's been making albums for New England roots stalwart Rounder for almost 20 years, and her latest, Before & After, comes on the heels of an ambassadorial trip to India — the sort of peace-, justice- and arts-related effort she often ties in with her music. That applies to this tour, too: she's donating 10 percent of sales to the Center for Courage and Renewal. Newcomer's new batch of songs — sung in a dusky, soothing voice — present just the sort of reflections on spirituality and living right that might prompt a person to do such things. 7 p.m. at 3rd & Lindsley JEWLY HIGHT


With a title inspired by comic Eddie Izzard, this original script by Anne-Geri Fann and Elizabeth Hayes serves up a farcical British drawing-room comedy, which, according to Fann, "combines Blithe Spirit with Three's Company." (Even the dapper, sophisticated Sir Noel could probably groove with that, so long as folks are laughing.) The setting is Hollywood in 1999, in an apartment inhabited by ghosts, and Shakespeare, James Dean and The Wizard of Oz figure into the scenario somehow. The cast of six includes the co-authors, plus Kelly Lapczynski, Kenneth Jackson, Daniel Vincent and Hugh Britt, under the direction of Bowd Beal. This production is the very first in Encore Theatre Company's new performing space near the Wilson County line. Through March 14 at Encore Theatre Company, 6978 Lebanon Rd., Mt. Juliet MARTIN BRADY

[International Lens] BLAST! w/ MARK DEVLIN

Last seen as the backdrop for Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World, home to shivering, isolated eccentrics and the odd penguin marching off solo to its demise, Antarctica's McMurdo research station figures prominently in this 2009 doc by Paul Devlin, who records two separate missions by University of Pennsylvania astronomers and grad students to hoist a high-powered telescope into the heavens. Attached to a massive balloon, the telescope will beam back images that can help solve the mysteries of the universe's creation — or so hopes project leader Mark Devlin, the director's brother. Attention all stargazers: Mark Devlin will appear to the human eye at tonight's free public screening, discussing the project and the ensuing film. 7 p.m. at Sarratt Cinema, Vanderbilt JIM RIDLEY



Neil LaBute's black comedy starring a big girl and the average guy who falls for her ample charms might not be for everybody. LaBute's works tend to provoke and rankle, and he's been accused of sexism. On the other hand, this is the country whose first lady is out stumping to stamp out childhood obesity. We're a "fast food nation," and despite the idealistic Hollywood- and advertising-driven images of physical perfection that make most of us feel inadequate, we still keep gaining weight in record numbers. Have we managed to skew the concept of classic beauty altogether? Leave that answer for another day, perhaps. In the meantime, this GroundWorks Theatre production of a Nashville premiere should offer some tantalizing what-ifs about self -image and the desirable other. Paul J. Cook directs, and Amanda Lamb, who's been seen in local musicals, courageously takes on the "big" role, with Michael Coursey portraying her new lover Tom. Wilhelm Peters and Lauren Atkins round out the cast as Tom's questioning, acerbic friends. Through March 13 at the Darkhorse Theater MARTIN BRADY


Thanks to collaborations with Joanna Newsom and flagship freak-folk frontman and frequent fashionista Devendra Banhart, Vetiver are often grouped with the aforementioned psychedelic-folk resurgence — which is interchangeable with the term "naturalismo" for those who shun the bearded, bead-wearing, Christlike facade that seems to accompany modern use of the word "freak." And sure, Vetiver have the jangly, freewheeling, indie-folk instrumentation and collaborative bullpen to fit in with that set. But they proved their worth and their range on last year's Sub Pop release Tight Knit, from expansive, introspective folk ballads like "Rolling Sea" to funk-imbued soul numbers like "Another Reason to Go" and the undeniable "More of This." The latter is about the furthest they get from their typically comfortingly mellow, lush approach, but it also features captivating, Bolan-esque melodic bravado and one of the better tambourine parts you're likely to hear these days. Scout Niblett — that's the English indie songstress who seems to continually fetch comparisons to Cat Power's early material — will open, along with local favorite Caitlin Rose. 8 p.m. at Exit/In D. PATRICK RODGERS


It would be unfortunate if your only recollection of Cartagena happened to be the 1984 Robert Zemeckis romp Romancing the Stone. Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas certainly cut a dashing silhouette through the thick jungles, donkey-tread winding roads and rural villages, but the flick was actually filmed in Mexico. Same goes for the "Smugglers Blues" episode of Miami Vice, the Cartagena drug-running plot of which fictionally went down in South Beach. We poorly traveled North Americans looking for a reliable cultural reference might do well to return to our copies of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, the cobblestone streets, breezy terraces and whitewashed walls of which seem more aligned with the real Cartagena — or at least the same one seen by Nashville painter Jorge Yances for his series Cartagena Memories. Like Garcia Marquez, Yances spent his childhood there, and his oil-on-canvas trek through the city of his youth reveals an imaginative eye. Also like Garcia Marquez, Yances brings elements of magical realism to his recollection of an idyllic waterfront or an aging local with a careworn face. The images are dreamily potent on first glance, but it's the longer look that conjures the haze of nostalgia we so often recast our remembrances in. Opening reception 6-8 p.m. at the Parthenon. Through June 26 TRACY MOORE


Disciples of The Omnivore's Dilemma will recognize Joel Salatin as the no-nonsense "grass farmer" whose idyllic, family-run Polyface Farms in Virginia serves as an agricultural ideal in Michael Pollan's blockbuster warning about the industrial food chain. Salatin's innovative farming systems — including portable electric fencing for moving grazing cattle; "Raken" houses for sheltering both chicken and rabbits; and "pigaerators" for building compost — provide a colorful and encouraging vocabulary for the growing dialogue about sustainable agriculture. Salatin delivers the luncheon keynote, "Going Full Time With Your Part-Time Farm," on Saturday at the sixth-annual TOGA Conference. The two-day gathering starts on Friday and includes local farm tours, speakers and workshops on urban farming, beekeeping, organic fruit production, local food systems and more. For information and registration, visit Conference 8 a.m.-5 p.m. March 5-6 at the Cool Springs Marriott CARRINGTON FOX


The Belcourt's midnight movie series offers up another healthy dose of '80s nostalgia this weekend with Jim Henson's Labyrinth. This 1986 Gothic fantasy follows young Sarah Williams (16-year-old Jennifer Connelly) as she races through a giant, M.C. Escher-inspired maze to rescue her baby brother from Jareth the Goblin King (David Bowie). She encounters a plethora of memorable puppet companions as she traverses the wonderland-like environments, solving logic-based brainteasers and avoiding Jareth's deceptive optical illusions (including the sometimes questionable bulge in his tights) along the way. The gaping plot holes (in a script concocted by Monty Python's Terry Jones, Henson and an uncredited Elaine May) are easily forgiven thanks to Bowie's original soundtrack, fantastic set design, Michael Moschen's skilled contact juggling and that warm feeling you get from watching Henson's creations come to life. Labyrinth not only provides a great cult film experience for all ages, but also a unique glimpse into the darker side of Henson's brilliant imagination. Midnight March 5-6 at The Belcourt MADISON CONGER



An Alabama native who cut his music-business teeth working for famed producer Rick Hall in Muscle Shoals, Roger Murrah has become one of Nashville's most honored songwriters. Over the course of a four-decade career, Murrah penned big hits for Mel Tillis, Alan Jackson, Wynn Stewart and Blake Shelton. And while his contributions to country are immense, Murrah also co-wrote Al Jarreau's massive 1981 crossover single "We're in This Love Together." Known for his business acumen and willingness to foster the talent of up-and-coming tunesmiths, Murrah is a quintessential Nashville figure — a creator with his eye firmly on the bottom line. Elected to The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005, Murrah has true staying power — "True Love Is a Golden Ring," a song he wrote with Alan Jackson 23 years ago, appears on Jackson's forthcoming full-length Freight Train. 1:30 p.m. at the Country Music Hall of Fame's Ford Theater EDD HURT


A veteran feature-film set-construction foreman on movies as diverse as Remember the Titans and Boxing Helena, Ken Taber says in his artist's statement that he always promised himself he would paint. His inspiration, he says, comes from "the accidental and randomness of unplanned composition" — stains on concrete, lichen on rocks. The abstract gouache painting available for view evokes nothing so much as a polished cross-section of petrified wood, its blond/dark vertical lines scuffed intermittently by blocky, horizontal pastel strips. Gallatin's Square Space Gallery hosts an opening reception for his month-long show, which will also give you a chance to see the gallery's showcase of works by the Lost Boys of Sudan. Reception 5-7 p.m. March 6, show through March 27 at Square Space Gallery, 101 Public Square, Gallatin JIM RIDLEY


For the better part of about as long as anyone can remember, East Nashville rock lifers The Carter Administration have been cranking out jams of consistent quality on a consistent basis. With a bevy of influences ranging from AC/DC and GBV to Tom Petty and Superchunk, the Carters — now a quartet for the first time with the addition of guitarist Sam Powers — play sawed-off rock 'n' roll that makes you pump your fist one minute and clutch your gut the next. Folks who pay the modest $5 cover on this night will come away with a copy of the band's latest EP, Mount Rockmore. Tristen and Action! open. 9:30 p.m. at The 5 Spot STEVE HARUCH


Detroit catches a lot of flak. Between the bad economy, high crime rate and the Lions, one can't really blame the droves who have left the city. But imagine you were there in, say, the late 1960s. Sure, Detroit wasn't a safe place then either, but it was also the epicenter for proto-punk and garage-rock bands like MC5 and The Stooges, not to mention the whole Motown thing. That's where The Fast Boys see themselves, though more so for the proto-punk reasons. These South Carolinians are about the same age as Iggy Pop & Co. were when they got started, and The Fast Boys are just as snotty, obnoxious and disenchanted with their own generation. But they've also got a taste for the style's poppier sensibilities, covering The Damned on their record Rock N' Roll Trash and matching Buzzcocks hooks with Dead Boys grit. 9 p.m. at Springwater MATT SULLIVAN


Over the course of the last decade, the warmed-over corpse that is Rod Stewart has paid tribute (if you wanna call it that) to classics of the American songbook. As a glorified cocktail singer, Stewart has soiled his standing in the rock 'n' roll pantheon beyond even the godawful possibilities his '80s and '90s output led you to expect. Conversely, Nashville's cover-band-par-excellance, The Long Players, have spent years meticulously paying tribute to their own heroes by playing rock's greatest albums in their entirety. While The LPs exist to celebrate the classic cornerstones of rock 'n' roll, Stewart now exists only to pay his own bills. The Anakin Skywalker of rock singers, Stewart has gone to the greatest of lengths to decimate his legacy as the Otis Redding of blue-eyed soul. But let us not forget his indelible musical contributions, from his work with The Faces to the fantastic albums of his early solo career — a career that peaked with the classic Every Picture Tells a Story, an album that showcases a version of Stewart we wish could've endured. That Rod Stewart – you know, the mod — is dead now. The Long Players will memorialize his legacy when they recreate the definitive album of his past life. 9 p.m. at Mercy Lounge ADAM GOLD


The Steep Canyon Rangers have traveled an auspicious road for a bluegrass band made up of players who didn't first serve apprenticeships with well-known veterans. They started out as jamming college buddies at UNC and, just over half a decade later, got themselves named IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year ... which wasn't the end of the story. Last year's mighty solid Deep in the Shade made bluegrass charts and year-end lists on the strength of the original material and tasteful playing. But the Rangers' game-changer was being tapped to back Steve Martin on tour last year. Not that they couldn't have made it onto Late Show with David Letterman or The View on their own, but backing a guy who — in addition to being a capable banjo player and wry frontman — is one of the world's better-known comic actors couldn't have hurt. Good for them. 9 p.m. at Station Inn JEWLY HIGHT



As far as Oscar parties go, you could hardly pick a better year to attend one. Thanks to a Best Picture nomination field featuring 10 films — a tradition discontinued after 1943 and now brought back as the academy's answer to the throwback jersey — an uncharacteristically accessible collection of films has made the cut. I mean, District 9 was cool, but Best Picture? Really?? Between the controversy spurred on there and co-hosting duties being split between living legends Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, the 82nd annual Little Gold Man ceremonies promise to be pretty damn entertaining. Will the Na'vi present the animation award? Will Kathryn Bigelow give ex-husband James Cameron a cool nod en route to the podium, or will it be vice versa? Will you hurl one of the theater's seats at the screen when Inglourious Basterds gets the shaft? Whatever happens, what makes this better than watching at home is the surrounding hoopla: lavish goodies by Whole Foods, wines by Village Wines, lots of swell-looking folks dressed to the nines, a real-live red carpet and a silent auction of great swag. Plus the proceeds go towards helping out a theater that shows better movies most every week of the year than what's being honored. The Belcourt's Oscar Night America Gala is a local tradition that manages to make Nashville, or the "Hollywood of the Red States," feel just a little more like the real deal. Tickets start at $50 for the gala only and $125-$1,000 for the works. Patron's party 5:30 p.m., gala 7 p.m. at The Belcourt D. PATRICK RODGERS


Even with the most extreme and brutal metal bands, there's often at least some small olive branch offered to those for whom "extreme" and "brutal" aren't exciting buzzwords, be that a melodic guitar line or a particular groovy breakdown. Admittedly, some of these olive branches are barely twigs, but you're lucky to get even that from Massachusetts death-metal/grindcore unit The Red Chord. Their latest, Fed Through the Teeth Machine, proves that after five full-length releases of this madness, they aren't making any concessions just yet. Tempos shift and jar as vocalist Guy Kozowyk jumps from shrieks to guttural growls to just, you know, talking. And Mike "Gunface" McKenzie's hyper-technical guitar lines provide even less comfort, never sticking to a single riff long enough to dig in, mostly contented to churn out a convoluted assault of screech, squeal and chug. 7 p.m. at Rocketown MATT SULLIVAN


Metal certainly hasn't cornered the market on juvenile pomposity. Rock's always been plenty self-indulgent and preposterous, making it a fine satirical target for Kyle Gass' band Trainwreck. The glabrous half of Tenacious D, Gass inhabits a leather-vested, rug-sporting alter ego, Klip Calhoun, looking like a lost member of Toto. Trainwreck's debut LP, The Wreckoning, skewers a variety of rock staples, from "The Drummer," to latent homoeroticism ("Brodeo") and over-the-top sexual innuendo ("Milk The Cobra"). Sonically it's a grab-bag of classic/stadium-rock glyphs. Gass provides the fluttering flute à la Jethro Tull for "R.B.M." aka Rock Boulder Mountain, "Brodeo" gets a cowbell-banging country-rock strut on, and their jazz-rock theme song sounds like a cross between Traffic and Santana. Though well-executed, it never reaches the parodic levels of Tenacious D, probably in part because '70s rock is so dated and its elements so ingrained in musical culture that they're hardly questioned. 8 p.m. at 3rd & Lindsley CHRIS PARKER


[Caine, More Than Able] GET CARTER

On the Mount Olympus of cinematic ass-kickers, we'd have to rank Michael Caine somewhere around Zeus. In Mike Hodges' 1971 pulp masterpiece, a cult movie of almost inconceivable popularity in its native Britain, Caine's cold-eyed angel of doom ankles London for grimy Newcastle (where former NaFF artistic director Brian Gordon now runs the local film festival) to avenge his brother's murder. When a porn loop reveals another ugly slight to the family, assassin Caine chucks his loyalty to the London mob and declares war on the locals. Far tougher than the dweeby lad movies it spawned, Hodges' frozen-blooded thriller stands in sharp contrast to the elegant Jean-Pierre Melville gangster fantasias in the Belcourt's Noir Fest 2. It's smudged with location grit, stocked with seedy birds and ruddy thugs, and steeped in a mortal chill so pervasive that it leaves your teeth chattering. And it has Caine, a bad-ass so self-assured that when two mob enforcers interrupt him mid-shag, he coolly whips out a shotgun bollocks-naked and marches them into the street. What, you say, you already saw the Stallone remake? Now's your chance to atone. March 6 & 8 at The Belcourt JIM RIDLEY


When big labels started taking notice of punk rock's first wave, they began scooping up the more polished off-shoots that followed and called it "new wave." The post-punk that was spawned around the same time tended to be an artsier-fartsier progression with less commercial appeal. But the bands that comprised the short-lived No Wave movement — DNA, The Contortions and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks — rejected the trend most vigorously. Philadelphia's Satanized are students of that school of rock, a rolling mess of bass-heavy songs supporting dissonant guitars and angry tirades. But their mess is more organized than the free-flowing fuck-all of those original practitioners, owing an equal debt to '90s skronk-rockers like Rusted Shut, Landed and the almighty Jesus Lizard. 9 p.m. at The End MATT SULLIVAN



"In my profession there is neither good nor bad. There is innocence and guilt," observes the unnamed inspector in Carol Reed's 1947 thriller. That's the kind of noirish moral ambiguity you'd expect from the director of The Third Man; it also suits the film's troubled subject matter. Set in Belfast, it follows Johnny McQueen, one of the higher-ups in a secret IRA-like organization. His crew sets out to steal money to fund their operation: the heist goes wrong, he's wounded in the process, and he disappears in the city's labyrinthine streets. In the ensuing dark night of the soul, his supporters and police alike set out to find him. Shot in the same baroque, expressionistic style as The Third Man (but considered even better by some), the film caused controversy by its sympathetic treatment of an IRA terrorist. But the movie's star, James Mason, called the McQueen role the best of his career. This is the closing film in The Belcourt's excellent Noir Fest 2, so if you missed a film here and there, you have one last chance — unlike Johnny. March 9-11 at The Belcourt EMILY BARTLETT HINES



Once upon a time, Cadillac Sky was a bluegrass band — not a strictly traditional one, but a bluegrass band nonetheless. Their second album, Gravity's Our Enemy, made that designation a bit of a stretch. Letters in the Deep, the album they'll release on Dualtone in June, is so far from bluegrass that nobody will even think to link it to what they're doing. And another thing: The new album is produced by Dan Auerbach, master of capturing rough-edged and reverb-drenched performances in the moment. The mandolin-guitar-fiddle-banjo-bass lineup is the one thing Cadillac Sky have kept, though there have been personnel changes in the last few years. But hard-driving songs with typical parts and divvied-up solos during the breaks are long gone. The band has transformed itself into a song-centric unit and headed for indie folk-rock territory, where the landscape morphs from track to track: CSNY harmonies here, Mellotron there. 7 p.m. at the Loveless Barn; also appearing March 11 at Station Inn JEWLY HIGHT


What's in a name? Despite recently adjusting her moniker, Alva Leigh (formerly Allie Peden) has continued to create music of the same quality one has grown to expect from her past efforts under the umbrella of the Esperanza Plantation label. Both fetching and sultry, Leigh's brand of piano folk/pop has also earned her a rep as one of Nashville's brightest young talents. In a city where piano-pounders and crooners are a dime a diva, what separates Leigh from the bunch is a knack for subtlety as well as a penchant to leave her listeners wanting more. And if you happen to be one of those listeners in want, pick up Leigh's newest album at her upcoming record release party/show — and enjoy longtime pop cohorts Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes, Eric Wilson and the Empty Hearts, and The Family Tree, who'll be joining her. If the show and Leigh's newest album are anything like what she's already accomplished, it'll be of definitive quality — at least until Leigh adjusts her name again. 8 p.m. at Exit/In DEREK BARBER

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