Staff Picks

Wednesday, July 12
Willie Nelson & Family
My personal encounters with Willie Nelson over the last decade have been facilitated not by publicists and managers but rather through the efforts of my somewhat controversial attorney (a longtime pal of Nelson). While interacting with Nelson, it is easy to sense that he is a man full of unconventional wisdom — a redheaded Buddha of sorts. Moreover, Nelson has probably recorded more albums than any other living human and is indeed a living legend. His recordings have encompassed straightforward as well as outlaw country, jazz standards and even reggae. More importantly, Nelson and the rest of his musical “family” flat-out rock as a live ensemble. For this reason I highly recommend a visit to the Kentucky Center to catch tonight’s performance. You might want to bring a good lawyer. —Kevin M. Wilson
Kentucky Center, Whitney Hall
501 W. Main St.
$35.50-$65.50; 7:30 p.m.
All ages

Thursday, July 13
Author Kay McGill
    Author Kay McGill will be in town this week to discuss her book “Mirel’s Daughter.” The book, a true story, chronicles the escape of her mother, Sonia, from the Ukraine to America. With her mother and sister, Sonia hid in the attic, watching attacks on her neighborhood of Brusilov, brought on by a civil war among Bolsheviks, Ukrainian Nationalists and Tsarists. Anything that comes with the label “based on a true story” will, more than likely, tug at the heartstrings. “Mirel’s Daughter” is no exception. McGill’s visit is the first in a four-part “Meet the Authors” series by the Filson Historical Society. For information on the others, go to —Stephanie Salmons
Filson Historical Society
1310 S. Third St.
Free; 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 13
    Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship is a title that might suggest dry biography, and not of the most cheery sort. Maybe you could associate it with India.Arie … but in collaboration with Rascal Flatts? It’s part of her new disc, and Keb Mo’ also drops by, and there’s a very good cover of one of Don Henley’s best. Thematically, the album stays a steady course on how a modern woman can handle a love that’s moving on. Given this Lilith Fair veteran’s style for clear-eyed communication, there’s a fair dollop of revelation handed out among the accomplished soul-folk tunes (often beautifully adorned with elements of hip-hop). The live format might break up some of the single-mindedness of focusing on breakup — but at the same time, India.Arie isn’t going to take to Broadway (the Brown Theatre, that is) with a “just the hits” attitude. —T.E. Lyons
Brown Theatre
315 W. Broadway
$36+; 7:30 p.m.

July 13-16
Kentucky Opera Book/Costume Sale
    Halloween is my favorite secular, non-family oriented holiday. It doesn’t offer delicious grillables like holidays this time of year, but you get to dress up, watch scary movies, go to haunted houses and play tricks on your friends. October is still a few months away, but this weekend the Kentucky Opera’s “Night of First Choice” and 33rd Annual Book/Costume Sale will give the public first chance to buy gently used books, CDs, DVDs and, more to the point, wardrobe pieces that make for great and unusual Halloween costumes. There will be live music, a cocktail buffet and silent auction on the opening night of the show (tickets are $40 per person or $200 for a group of six). The following three days, the props will be open to the public. —Michael Lichvar
St. Leonard Family Center
440 Zorn Ave.
$40 (Thu.), Free (Fri.-Sun.); 5:30-9 p.m. (Thu.), 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.), 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Sun.)

July 14-Aug. 26
‘George Morrison: New Albany’s Portrait Painter’
    New Albany native George Morrison (1820-1893) made a name for himself painting the portraits of many of New Albany’s leading citizens, at a time when the portrait genre achieved uncharted popularity. In the 19th century, it was especially common for prominent families to commission artists to paint family portraits, and Morrison was one of the finest painters in the region to emerge from this period. A new exhibit at the Carnegie Center showcases Morrison’s talent for capturing the people and places of his day. Along with personal portraits, the show offers a beautiful landscape painting of New Albany. The exhibit includes an introduction to portraiture to acclimate visitors to the genre, as curated by Brenna White. A reception is scheduled for Friday evening. The show continues through Aug. 26. —Nathan Thacher
Carnegie Center for Art and History
201 E. Spring St., New Albany
(812) 944-7336
Free; 10-5:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat (July 14 reception 6-8 p.m.)

Saturday, July 15
Happy Birthday, Mag Bar
    The dark but always interesting Mag Bar celebrates its 14th birthday Saturday by throwing a picnic for its patrons — at midnight. For 14 years, the Mag Bar has stood its ground in Old Louisville, opening its doors at the corner of Second and Magnolia to people of the neighborhood, passersby … anyone, really, looking for a decent buzz in a quiet, dimly-lit, smoky atmosphere. The Mag Bar is the epitome of cool without trying to be so. In honor of another year under its belt, a celebration has been planned. Free for the taking this year will be bar swag, hot dogs, hamburgers and, by demand, manager Maggie Linderman’s world-famous potato salad. She made 20 pounds of it last year and it disappeared in 45 minutes! Sounds like some serious salad. —Sara Havens
Mag Bar
1398 S. Second St.
Free; midnight

Sunday, July 16
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
    Since Ladysmith Black Mambazo rose to international fame after singing on Paul Simon’s 1986 album Graceland, this a cappella group has toured the world and performed in Louisville many times. (The last time was only this spring at the Louisville Free Public Library.) This time, the group is performing as part of the Louisville Science Center’s “All Africa, All Day” summer program. These veteran South African musicians are part of the country’s rich musical history, which includes fellow artists Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. All of them fused their musical heritage with the sounds of other countries, including jazz and R&B. The opening act, The Parker Boyd Project, also incorporates African rhythms and timbre in their music. —Elizabeth Kramer
Louisville Science Center
727 W. Main St.
$30 members/$35 non-members
7:30 p.m.

July 18-19
Red Cross Blood Drive
    Ever blacked out on a rollercoaster? You may just get to do so if you give blood at the Red Cross’ “Summer’s Biggest Blood Drive” Tuesday and Wednesday at Churchill Downs. The Red Cross will distribute free passes to Paramount’s Kings Island as well as free Graeter’s Ice Cream and a free Stoker’s Broaster Chicken dinner for every donation. (OK, it must be noted that it’s quite unlikely that you’d go straight to King’s Island right after having your blood drawn, but isn’t it an interesting idea?) Seriously, though, each year about this time, the call goes out for donations, because blood supplies tend to run shorter during the summer, at a time when need clearly could increase. Giving blood is virtually painless, and the actual donation only takes 10-15 minutes. To be eligible, you must be 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. Bring your donor card or a valid I.D. and leave with a bag of goodies! Bet a few races and you may go home with even more. —Michael Lichvar
Churchill Downs Paddock Pavilion
700 Central Ave. (Gate 18)
Free; 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Through Sept. 13
‘Snap Shots: Nature Around Us’
    Patricia Brock has made photography, which started off as a hobby, her livelihood. She calls her images of landscapes, flowers and animals “captures,” and it makes sense that she calls her business Captures of Nature. Her photographs, Giclee on canvas prints and note cards, are sold in art shows and specialty shops. With summer in full bloom, the work in this exhibition gives you the opportunity to travel and commune with nature the allergy-free way. —Jo Anne Triplett
Gallery at the Kentucky Center
501 W. Main St.
Free; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 12-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.