Friday, May 5
Tavis Smiley book signing
Social commentator and author Tavis Smiley is coming to town over Derby weekend — but not to attend the Derby Eve Barnstable Brown Gala. Smiley, the man on a mission to put black American on a serious self-improvement course, will promote his latest book, “Covenant with Black America.” This collection of essays rose to The New York Times’ Bestseller List last month (the only book published by an independent black publisher to do so) and includes contributors such as Princeton University professor Cornel West and former U.S. Surgeon General David M. Satcher. The essays weigh in on and proscribe remedies to problems concerning everything from health to policing issues. Following the book signing, Smiley will speak at a luncheon at Canaan Christian Church’s “Destiny 2006: An Agenda for Change.” (The “Tavis Smiley Show” airs on WFPL-FM, and his public television program airs on KET-2 .) —Elizabeth Kramer
992 Breckenridge Lane
Free; 11:30 a.m. (line numbers distributed at 9 a.m.)
Canaan Christian Church
2840 Hikes Lane
$50; 12:30-2 p.m.
Friday, May 5
Glitz and kitsch you can find around town all this weekend. But if you want to see our community welcoming visitors and hosting good music, consider Jill Sissel’s show Friday night. Her Americana tunes are not too folky and have good pop hooks, and she’s built up a fan base that really digs the personality she throws into her vocals. A Sissel show at The Alternative might not be the same as when she plays Nashville’s Bluebird Café — but in many respects, that’s a good thing. Down on Story Avenue, they’re more ready to dance. —T.E. Lyons
1032 Story Ave.
$7; 8 p.m.
Derby Weekend, May 5-7
Follow the Paradigm
Louisville jazz band Paradigm is considerably more than a simple jazz group. They infuse elements of all sorts of rock, funk, soul and blues into their weird, prototypical sound. They’re also travelers. This weekend, the band is playing five shows in three days, which is ridiculous for a number of reasons, but considering it’s Derby, what else is there to do, really?
Check ’em out Friday at Qdoba (454-3380) on Bardstown Road (9-11 p.m.) and Hideaway Saloon (485-0114) with Sativa Gumbo and Lexington’s Sexual Disaster Quartet (11:30 p.m.-8 a.m.). Saturday it’s Qdoba again (9-11 p.m.) and then on to Wick’s Pizza (456-1559) on Baxter Avenue (11:30 p.m.-3 a.m.). Sunday, see the band at Gerstle’s (899-3609) from 8-11 p.m. If you need stimulants, try asking around. Derby weekend means plenty o’ substances. —Stephen George
Saturday, May 6
There’s more to life this week than the Kentucky Derby, believe it or not. Frex, funnybooks. In case you missed the president’s proclamation, Derby Day is also Free Comic Book Day, a nationwide promotion wherein participating comics shops will give you, yes, free comics. Now, you can’t just walk in and demand a copy of “Action Comics #1” to go, but there are always plenty of interesting freebies to be had, and there are frequently family-friendly titles so younger readers can enjoy it as well. As an added incentive here in Louisville, artist Greg Land (“Ultimate Fantastic Four,” “Nightwing,” “Birds of Prey”) will appear at the Great Escape on Derby Day from 2-5 p.m. Excelsior! —Jay Ditzer
2433 Bardstown Road
Free; 2-5 p.m.
Tuesday, May 9
This is a photo opportunity that can save your life. As a special incentive for women 40 years and over who are without insurance, free breast cancer screenings and mammograms will be provided by the Catholic Enrichment Center. If you have avoided this crucial health procedure because of expense, or if you know a friend or relative in these risk years who would benefit from this exam, pass the info along so they can schedule an appointment. Sponsored by the Louisville Jefferson County Partnership in Cancer Control, this brief and educational visit takes less than an hour, and the results can last a lifetime. For those with Medicare, Medicaid or other insurance, the appropriate agency will be billed. Walk-ins accepted, appointments honored first (776-0262). —Cindy Lamb
Catholic Enrichment Center
3146 W. Broadway
Free; 8:30 a.m.03:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 10
‘Confessions of a Former Dittohead’
A sage I once knew had a saying: “Idiots. The world is full of them. I’d hold my breath to infinity to ensure no more were born.” The same seems to hold true for dittoheads, author Jim Derych’s term for lockstep Republicans who worship the Party, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Likewise, they possess searing, irrational hatred for liberals, even while professing love for a forgiving God. Dittoheads are laughable tools, rollicking rubes with a disaffection for “facts” that may taint their worldviews. Derych’s book, “Confessions of a Former Dittohead,” recounts his escape from the Right Wing echo chamber in uproarious fashion, as well as examining how the Right’s new rhetorical culture makes it impossible to argue with them.
Derych’s appearance will include the Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas (look for more on that in next week’s LEO). Bring an open mind. —Stephen George
Metro Democratic Club/UAW Local 862 Union Hall
3000 Fern Valley Road
Free; 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 11
Fact and Fantasy in ‘The Da Vinci Code’
The art should be listed as supporting characters in the upcoming movie credits: “The Last Supper,” “Mona Lisa,” “Madonna of the Rocks.” It’s no wonder art lovers have flocked to read Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.” Throw in the Knights Templar, early Christianity and plenty of action in foreign cities, and you’ve got a potboiler that intersects many interest groups.
Not all of the book’s reactions have been positive. Brown has interwoven so much fact with his fiction that it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. This presentation by Dr. Roy Fuller, a Religious Studies scholar, hopes to set the record straight. It will be followed by a reception. This is an early notice — go get your tickets now. —Jo Anne Triplett
Speed Art Museum
2035 S. Third St.
$10, $5 members; 6 p.m.
Through May 14
‘Doors’ by Brent Michael
Brent Michael has made a name for himself locally with his photographs. It is actually not the photographs that are different, but what he does to the finished product that is unusual: He dissects the completed image, forming cut pieces that make it seem three-dimensional.
The focus of his show at Regalo is doors, many of them in Louisville. This is art you have to see in person — just be prepared to do a double take. —Jo Anne Triplett
980 Barret Ave.
Free; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sun.
Through May 31
Win a Harley!
Maybe you’re one of those people who lusts after a Harley when you hear that telltale low rumble. You look to the person next to you and say, “I’ve always wanted one of those, and I swear I’m gonna get me one someday.” Friend, your day may be at hand. That day, specifically, is May 31, and all you need is luck to start saving serious cash at the pump. And your shot at glory will only set you back $20 — the fare for getting into Louisville Ballet’s raffle for a 2006 Harley-Davidson FXDI Dyna Super Glide. Proceeds benefit the Ballet. For a sneak peek at the bike, drop by the Ballet studio during the month of May. To purchase tickets by e-mail or phone, contact the Ballet’s Amy Wagner (583-3150). —Matt Mattingly
Louisville Ballet Studio
315 E. Main St.