Thursday, Oct. 5
Quite possibly the best musical party taking to concert stages these days, Yerba Buena is coming to town as part of the Fifth Third Bank World Rhythms series. As is so often the case in our world, the sound’s stylistic pedigree comes from all over (Cuban, traditional African, hip hop) but the ensemble’s genesis is pure New York. Their recent sophomore album guest-starred Les Nubians and John Leguizamo. Group masterminds Andres Levin and Ilena Padron will transform the Bomhard Theater with a highly theatrical sequence of street grooves. We’re not sure that the sitar player’s coming along on this tour — but then he’d probably be in danger of being stomped when everyone else, onstage and off, can’t help but dance. —T.E. Lyons
Kentucky Center for the Arts
$25; 8 p.m.
‘The Mercy Seat’ & ‘Rent’
Louisville theatergoers are treated to a double Manhattan (the city, not the drink) this weekend. In the first, the Necessary Theatre opens its season with Neil LaBute’s “The Mercy Seat,” about Ben, an office worker who skipped a meeting at the WTC on Sept. 11, 2001 for a tryst with Abby, his boss. Though many of his co-workers died, Ben narcissistically views the tragedy as a chance to start a new life with Abby while avoiding a messy divorce. Abby doesn’t want to cede her career (and fat pension) to live in voluntary exile with this cowardly lout. LaBute, author of “Your Friends and Neighbors” and “In the Company of Men,” is the undisputed dramatic master of the reptilian side of our species, especially those with Y chromosomes.
Starving Lower East Side artists are the focus of the ever-popular Broadway musical “Rent,” a modernized version of “La Boheme.” Hailed as the “Hair” for the ’90s when it was unveiled, this long-running show features eight friends who deal with controversial topics (the plague of AIDS replaces Puccini’s consumption) over the course of a year as they struggle to help a squatters’ camp and keep their apartments. —Sherry Deatrick
“The Mercy Seat” — Oct. 5-7, 12-14
Kentucky Center for the Arts
$15; 8 p.m.
“Rent” — Oct. 6-8
$26-$61; times vary
Oct. 5-Nov. 11
‘the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil …’
“… is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke said that in 1795, and mixed media artist Lisa Austin believes it’s as pertinent today. She found out that her uncle was a Ku Klux Klan member when he showed her the tree where they had lynched a man. Her art is helping her deal with this horrific family past. Additional Pyro members have addressed similar issues in the accompanying group show. The opening reception is Friday from 6-9 p.m., during the First Friday Gallery Hop. Austin will also give a gallery talk on Saturday from 10-11 a.m. —Jo Anne Triplett
624 W. Main St.
Free; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (Thu.-Sat.)
Oktoberfest on Fourth
For many reasons, LEOites like this annual festival that celebrates all things German — from beer to brats. But — full disclosure — it may have a bit to do with proximity. The city closes off the section of Fourth Street in front of our offices to make room for several beer trucks that are literally two steps out our front door. Sure, we have to endure several run-throughs of the “Duck Dance,” but it’s certainly worth its weight in schnitzel. Schnitzelbank restaurant of Jasper, Ind., will cook up the traditional German delectables this year, while bands Virgil Baker Band, The Rheingold Band and Alpenland Duo provide the soundtrack. Oompah! —Sara Havens
600 block of S. Fourth St. @ Theatre Square
Free; 4-11 p.m. (Fri.), 1-11 p.m. (Sat.)
St. James Court Art Show
Although the St. James Art Show is always special, this year marks the 50th anniversary for the Louisville tradition. To celebrate the occasion, Mayor Abramson unveiled this year’s poster of the St. James Court fountain at the Sept. 1 kick-off event. Louisville artist Sonny Whittle created the poster, and on Friday morning, posters will be auctioned at the fountain to benefit Kosair Charities. As always, this year’s Fest will boast more than 700 artists from 41 states as well as Canada and Israel. Mediums range from fine art to clay, glass, sculpture and jewelry. We’ll see you there, rain or shine. —Claudia Olea
St. James Court
Free; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sun.)
Keeneland Fall Meeting
The big news this fall at Keeneland is the Lexington racetrack has installed a Polytrack synthetic racing surface to replace the picturesque — but much-maligned — old dirt strip. The 1 1/16-miles course has also been rounded out a bit, with the sharp first turn made symmetrical and the stretch now lengthened to 1,235.6 feet — which is one foot longer than the long lane at Churchill Downs.
But that’s just the news. Most fans are far more interested in Keeneland’s beauty and traditions — and high-quality horse racing. Opening weekend features many rich stakes that will serve as final preps for the Breeders’ Cup, Nov. 4, at Churchill Downs.
Not to be forgotten is the pretty drive to the track, which, perhaps, might include a detour off four-lane roads to find the proverbial “Back Way” to Keeneland that meanders through the horse farm country of the Bluegrass. —Bill Doolittle
Keeneland Race Course
4201 Versailles Road (U.S. 60), Lexington
$3; 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 8
Bruce Hornsby, solo at a piano for 90 minutes. One price for all available seats. Plus you get a copy of his new box set for attending. How easy is this to figure out?! If you’ve liked Hornsby at all during the last 20 years, he’s offering up an intimate show and giving away CDs and DVDs with a combined retail value that exceeds the price to get into the Brown Theater for the show. As the man himself said in one of his biggest hits from the dawn of the ’90s, That’s just the way it is. —T.E. Lyons
315 W. Broadway
$48.50; 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 8
If you’ve never seen the busiest and unquestionably noisiest folk band in the land, now is the acceptable time to do so. Over the course of the last decade, Wilco released seven excellent studio albums, a double-disc live album, several EPs and even a number of 45s. Plus they wrote a book and starred in a feature-length documentary film. Remarkably, all of these impressive testaments have come in the midst of a relentless touring schedule and a much dramatized battle with evil corporations. For their efforts, the boys have earned many accolades and a loyal following. —Kevin M. Wilson
Iroquois Park Amphitheatre
$29; 8 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 9
Don’t you just get entranced when a woman gets her ax to really snarl? OK, it’s probably been so long that you don’t remember. Anne McCue clearly has more in common with Stevie Ray Vaughan than with Bonnie Raitt. McCue aggressively pushes and plays with her riffs. Fortunately, she’s got a fine studio band on the new Koala Motel, and they join her in powerhouse arrangements that carry the entire dynamic range of her tracks — even the few with moments that show the young L.A.-by-way-of-Australian singer-guitarist is still learning to dig deep to consistently deliver the songwriting she’s capable of. You should figure that it’s worth the drive to Lexington to see her, considering how folks like John Doe and Lucinda Williams found it worthwhile to join her in the studio to boost truly outstanding tracks (“Driving Down Alvarado,” “Hellfire Raiser”). —T.E. Lyons
214 Main St., Lexington
$10; 6:20 p.m. (doors)