Wednesday, May 22
1017 E. Broadway
$10-$12; 8:30 p.m.
Vandaveer is a band that’s from all over the place, with leader Mark Charles Heidinger being born in Ohio, raised in Kentucky, and settled for the time being in Washington, D.C. But for all its roaming and a revolving cast of characters — including the enchanting chanteuse Rose Guerin — the band has returned to the banks of the Ohio with its latest release Oh, Willie, Please, a gritty set of “murder ballads and songs of self-ruin” that includes such chilling gems as “Pretty Polly,” “Mary of the Wild Moor” and “Knoxville Girl.” If death by drowning, stabbing or blunt objects is your forté, then this show is for you, with the arrangements and harmonies of Heidinger and Guerin sure to send a shiver up your spine. —Jason Howard
Thursday, May 23
335 W. Broadway • 873-4400
Free; 6:30 p.m.
Celebrated author appearance: As part of Spalding University’s semi-annual Festival of Contemporary Writing, Tim O’Brien, author of the classic Vietnam War story collection “The Things They Carried,” will give a reading/signing at the 16th-floor gallery of the Brown Hotel. Sena Jeter Naslund — no slouch herself — will introduce O’Brien, whose works also include the National Book Award-winning “Going After Cacciato.” “The Things They Carried” earned recognition by The New York Times as one of the 20 best books of the last quarter-century, and O’Brien’s books have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. The festival will continue on Friday and Saturday afternoons with readings of works by alumni of the Spalding MFA in Writing Program (all events are ticketless, but locations vary). —T.E. Lyons
Thursday, May 23
102 Bauer Ave.
$5; 9 p.m.
Since achieving international fame in the mid and late ’90s, Danielle Howle has remained comfortably just beneath the radar of mainstream America. She has been regarded as “South Carolina’s best kept musical secret,” accompanied only by the powerful chords of her guitar and a strong, nimble voice. Although she has lately ventured into acting, scoring roles in “Army Wives” and an independent film, Howle has never lost sight of her musical passion, writing and recording music for various independent productions and TV shows. She returned to touring this May, now with all sorts of new merchandise, particularly of the food-related variety. Be sure to stock up on branded beer koozies and homemade hot sauce before her concert! —Natalie French
‘Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody’
Bomhard Theater, Kentucky Center
501 W. Main St. • 584-7777
$45+; 8 p.m.
Just like Rihanna, chains and whips excite me. So you would think I would have read E.L. James’ popular “Fifty Shades of Grey” series that made housewives horny from sea to shining sea. It’s on my summer reading list, so don’t get your panties in a wad. Or do. Whatever turns you on. “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody” is coming to town this weekend to bring naughtiness to the Kentucky Center stage. A parody of the best-selling book, the show mixes musical numbers, sexy striptease performances and lots of spanking in what Chicago Public Radio called “a hilarious satire of practically every trope in popular culture.” Sometimes it just feels good being bad. —Sara Havens
‘Great American Sex Play’
501 W. Main St. • 584-7777
$11-$16; 8 p.m. (2 p.m. on May 26)
Take six sexual deviants looking for a good time and place them in a laboratory for a secret sex study — that’s the basic premise of “Great American Sex Play,” a racy romp that will make you laugh and blush in equal measure. The Louisville Repertory Company first put on this production in 2006 to rave reviews, with LEO Weekly describing the play as “a fascinating study of sexual polarity” and praising director Gil Reyes for challenging the audience “to examine themselves through theater.” For this rendition, Reyes has once again teamed up with playwright Brian Walker to close out LRC’s season with this titillating comedic undertaking, replete with nudity, explicit language and sexual situations. —Sarah Kelley
Abbey Road on the River
500 W. Main St. • arotr.com
$15-$120; various times
Abbey Road on the River was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, with the simple hope of honoring The Beatles’ legacy: make the world a happier place. Throughout the past 13 years, the festival has hosted more than 250 tribute bands, each with equally diverse backgrounds — Europe, America and Asia are all well accounted for. This year, the festival boasts Leon Russell and a total of 61 tribute artists, three of which are ensemble groups from Louisville’s Youth Performing Arts School. Abbey Road on the River has grown and matured over the years and has come to be the signature Memorial Day weekend activity — representative of peace and an encouragement of compassion and nonviolence. Talk about a revolution. —Natalie French
May 23-June 9
‘An Evening with Lillian Baxter’
1031 S. Sixth St. • 312-316-8158
$15; 7:30 p.m.
Who is Lillian Baxter? If you knew the answer to that, it would defeat the purpose. “An Evening with Lillian Baxter” is a one-man-as-one-woman show about the brief but vivid career of a fictional D-list actress in the early ’60s. Don’t expect too much of the typical drag shtick, though. John Vessels, the Louisville-theater regular who plays the titular character, originally wrote the show for a female actress in Chicago. The drag element was added later. The character, in addition to the mix of well-known and hidden gems from The Great American Songbook, is what’s supposed to shine in this “cabaret memoir” about living on the outskirts of celebrity. If you go, come prepared to ask Lillian something during the interactive Q&A segment. —April Corbin
Saturday, May 25
Instant Installation Invitational
638 E. Market St. • 589-5466
Free; 7-9:30 p.m.
This is the second “ready-set-create” Instant Installation Invitation organized by artist/curator Ezra Kellerman. Nicknamed the “iii Spring Meet,” the live art competition comes with hefty cash prizes totaling $1,000. So what do the artists have to do to get the loot? They have one hour to create an art installation using 10 unknown-in-advance items. Audience voting selects the winning sculptures. The artists in “iii Spring Meet” are Craig Bayens, Andy Cozzens, Valerie Sullivan Fuchs, Brandon Harder, Shohei Katayama, Thaniel Ion Lee, Sarah Lyon, David Metcalf and Michael Ratterman. It’s open to the public and will feature music by Matt Anthony and refreshments. The doors open at 7 p.m. with the competition starting at 8 p.m. The prizes will be awarded at 9:30. —Jo Anne Triplett
Saturday, May 25
Fucking Dyke Bitches
2010 Portland Ave.
$5; 7 p.m.
How Seattle “prohomo” punks F.D.B. got their name is simple: A neighbor used the slur in reference to them and their friends, and they’re using it as their identifier to reclaim it and take the power back. In the band’s direct explanation of its origin (which you can find on their Bandcamp, where you should go to hear them fucking rock out righteously), they add, “It would be careless of us to not acknowledge that the name remains, as it was first perceived, an anti-gay slander.” Therefore, those who also identify in the same manner are encouraged to use their full name proudly. Those who have a different identity are kindly asked to use F.D.B. With Dick Binge (from Olympia) and locals Stabler, All Dead and Die Yuppie Scum. —Peter Berkowitz
Through May 31
Flame Run Glass Studio
815 Market St.
Glassblowing is a form of art not generally acknowledged, perhaps because it is widely regarded as some strange, illusionary act. There is liquid, and then there is glass — and somewhere in the middle, there is a long straw and a large furnace. It is no surprise, then, that the founder of Flame Run, Brook Forrest White Jr., regards the art of glassblowing as magic. This month, he’s invited Devyn Baron to display at his studio gallery, welcoming Baron’s punked-out glass vegetables and quirky sense of humor. A group of flamboyant, outcast fruits and vegetables is the star of Baron’s show: a wilted, crying onion, a rotten apple, and a thug tomato and asparagus all make an appearance. —Natalie French
Sunday, May 26
Phoenix Hill Tavern
644 Baxter Ave.
$5; 10 a.m.
Do you like slicked-back hair? Punkabilly? Other souvenirs of custom car culture? If yes, good news: For the eighth year, the annual Beatersville Car and Bike Show returns for their hotshot show of pre-1968 custom cars and hot rods, with bands, babes and booze to boot. Attendees (free for those under 12) can witness the marvel of the “Beater of the Year” and make as many Chris Brown jokes as possible. (Also, a pre-event show takes place on Saturday night at PHT). Live music will come from simpatico souls such as Hellfire Revival, Jane Rose and the Deadend Boys, Vice Tricks, King Wolf, 3GC and Nulydedz. It’s the most fun you can have while standing near six different guys who all look like Guy Fieri. —Peter Berkowitz
Through May 31
‘The Striped Show’
1151 S. Fourth St. • 736-0818
Weber Gallery has an unusual way of defining diversity; it’s not expressed by words but by using colorful stripes as a metaphor. They are used here to represent ages, cultures and races, including those of the 16 artists in the exhibition, such as Carlos Gamez de Francisco, Shohei Katayama, Ed Hamilton and Luci Mistratov. The result is a striped world. “All my years in Louisville,” says Mistratov, “I’ve been impressed how many different people are able to live, to communicate, to work together and hold their cultural, religious and other traditions, their diversity, without conflict.” The meaning is present whether the artist physically used stripes in the work or not. Many schools and organizations participated, including special needs students and the Louisville Visual Art Association’s Open Door classes. —Jo Anne Triplett