Wednesday, July 25
The Avett Brothers
    The latest installment of Waterfront Wednesday brings three familiar acts: The Avett Brothers, who bend traditional bluegrass, folk and pop to their will and reform it into their own catchy concoction; Willy Mason, who, having been raised by his folk singer father and mother, was predestined to be a musician; and our own Peter Searcy, whose new release, Spark, is much more than a typical singer-songwriter album. Show starts at 5 p.m., weather permitting. —Mat Herron
Waterfront Park
129 E. River Road
Free; 5 p.m.

Thursday, July 26
‘T’What?’ gallery talk
    In their Photo Biennial exhibition “T’What?,” Lori Beck, Hallie Jones and Aron Conaway pose the question, “T’What does it mean to be a woman?” They further explain in their press release that the show “offers a challenging, emotional and provocative presentation of photography and film that confronts its viewers …”
    That question will be explored further in a gallery talk featuring speakers Judi Jennings, executive director of Kentucky Foundation for Women; John Begley, director of the Hite Art Institute Galleries at U of L; and Mary Carothers, professor of photography at U of L. A reception follows the talk.
    And T’What is that you say? That The Courier-Journal decided not to publish the title of the exhibition in their listings of Photo Biennial shows? T’What a shame.
    The exhibition closes on July 30. Gallery NuLu hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. —Jo Anne Triplett
Gallery NuLu
632 E. Market St., second floor
Free; 6 p.m.

July 26-27
Studio2000 art sale and auction
    The tabloid headline could declare: “Louisville Metro has kids on its payroll!” — and it would be true. “Youth at work in the arts” is the motto of Studio2000, part of the Office of Youth Development in the division of the Louisville Metro Department of Neighborhoods. They employ and train 14- to 18-year-olds in the visual arts under the skilled eyes of Gwen Murphy, Caroline R. Neumayer, Emily Howell and Stephen Hammer.
    The bounty of this summer’s artistic efforts will be for sale July 26-27. The silent auction opens at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, with the 5 p.m. awards ceremony, sale of tagged items and the closing of the silent auction at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 27. Buy to help support our city’s child labor. —Jo Anne Triplett
Kentucky Center
501 W. Main St.

July 27-28
Jean Ritchie and friends
    Forecastle isn’t the only game in town this weekend. For 32 years running, the Kentucky Music Weekend festival at Iroquois Amphitheater has staged a folk and bluegrass feast, and this year, the dame of the dulcimer, Jean Ritchie, headlines the evening concert on Saturday. Born in 1922 and the youngest of 14 children, Ritchie is a state treasure who’s performed more than 50 years. She’s rubbed shoulders with Alan Lomax, Leadbelly and Pete Seeger, among many other notables, and has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the 1998 Folk Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award. At heart, though, she’s still the girl from Viper, Ky., whose mountain songs are antidotes to any sort of tribulation. See the full schedule at the festival’s Web site. —Mat Herron
Iroquois Amphitheater
1080 Amphitheater Road
Free; 7-11 p.m. (Fri.), 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (Sat.)

Saturday, July 28
Happy birthday, Anne Braden
    Saturday would’ve been Anne Braden’s 83rd birthday. Braden, the civil rights activist whose dedication and resolve were as thick as her blood was red, spent a lifetime working in Louisville and the larger American South toward securing equal rights and protection for minorities of all stripe. She and her husband Carl were a force for change when Louisville (and much of America) wasn’t ready to make the leap.
    The folks at the Braden Center work as tirelessly as Anne did, keeping the spirit for change alive and well. At a birthday celebration there this Saturday will be a cookout, a civil rights history exhibit and various youth presentations. Show your support. —Stephen George
The Braden Center
3208 W. Broadway
Free (donations encouraged); 1-5 p.m.

Saturday, July 28
Gaj Mustafa Cell
Local hardcore/punk band Gaj Mustafa Cell has been stirring up interest for its high-energy shows and controversial “Jihadist” stage personas. Words, the band’s debut CD, unleashes a relentless sonic onslaught, or according to its MySpace page, “polka with a branding iron.”
    With a chuckle, guitarist Saint Guitard elaborates. “That’s actually someone else’s description. We overheard somebody ask, ‘How was that band, what did they sound like?’ ‘Like polka with a branding iron.’ And I thought it was hilarious. But the way we construct songs is to say, ‘Here’s how this riff goes, where would you expect it to go from there? Let’s do the opposite.’”
    On stage, Saint Guitard wears a black burka, similar to those worn by Muslim women. Asked why, she leaves interpretation to the audience. I ask if they are harboring any terrorists. “Ha ha, no. The only thing we like doing is terrorizing your eardrums,” quips singer Mick Donalds. “We’re prepared to give them a full beating!”
    Words is out now on Louisville Lip Records. Visit —Tim Batson
Lisa’s Oak St. Lounge
1004 E. Oak St.
$5 ($3 w/ Lebowski Fest or Forecastle ticket stub); 10 p.m.

Saturday, July 28
Weasel Walk
    Motorists in St. Matthews: Be aware of stumbling, drooling, half-baked beasts roaming the streets around the Frankfort/Breckinridge/Shelbyville/Lexington intersection Saturday night. Keep your Resident Evil maneuvers at bay, however — these aren’t flesh-eating zombies, they’re beer-guzzling pub crawlers. The only thing they’re going to hurt is themselves.
    The 11th annual WQMF Weasel Walk begins this year at 10 p.m., an hour later than usual. The two-hour, seven-bar drinking binge challenges participants to collect stamps at each establishment (after consuming an alcoholic beverage of their choice, of course) in return for an XL T-shirt that proves you survived. City Scoot will be hanging around most of the bars if you need a ride home. And trust me, if you complete this pub crawl, you will need a ride home. —Sara Havens
Meet at: BW3, BBC, Saints, Gerstle’s, Dutch’s, Diamond or Brendan’s
Free; 10 p.m.

Monday, July 30
Sarabande Reading Series
    Since 1994, Sarabande Books, the nonprofit, independent literary press, has provided a home for talented writers of poetry and short fiction. This Friday, as part of its new series, James Baker Hall — a former Poet Laureate of Kentucky — will read from his catalogue. This is a rare treat, since Hall prefers to submerge himself in his photography work these days. Be prepared for a glimpse into his psyche — Hall’s poetry offers a surreal image of his childhood and other life events.
    He is followed by the ragtime folk tunes of Louisville’s own Pokey LaFarge, whose debut album Marmalade has been described as raw, visionary and passionate. And there may be a few surprises; LaFarge has been known to pepper his sets with a cappella gospel numbers and a dash of cynical humor, but anyone who loves acoustic music will have much to look forward to. —Mary Q. Burton
The Pink Door
2222 Dundee Road
Free; 7:30 p.m.

Through Aug. 13
Lynn’s Ugly Lamp contest
    It’s almost time for the Kentucky State Fair (Aug. 16-26). That means concerts, decadent food, horse shows, carnival rides, livestock, big vegetables and … ugly lamps. The Ugly Lamp Contest, sponsored by Lynn’s Paradise Café, started a decade ago and quickly became a State Fair staple. Now, contestants have their chance to throw their lamps in the ring before Aug. 13.
    The contest began after Lynn Winter, owner of the café, jokingly suggested she sponsor an ugly lamp competition to avoid sponsoring a poultry dressing contest. To her surprise (and chagrin), the idea proved more popular than children clothing chickens, and the competition became reality.
    Contestants can submit their lamps in either the “born ugly” or “made ugly” category. In a decade of overseeing the contest, Winter said she’s seen plenty of illuminating eyesores, from a stuffed fish lamp to a lamp constructed entirely of chew toys. Five single guys judge the entries, which must be brought to Lynn’s Paradise Café for submission before the deadline. “Single guys know ugly,” Winter says. “Actually, next year we might have an ugly apartment contest, too.”
    The grand-prize winner gets a free breakfast at the café weekly for a year. Who knew ugly lamps could illuminate such bright futures? —Ryan Real
Lynn’s Paradise Café
984 Barret Ave.