THURSDAY, NOV. 29
This Nashville songstress, who has earned praise from the likes of Ben Folds, falls squarely in the triple-A radio genre. Sparks’ latest, Under the Yellow Sun, which she co-produced with David Henry (R.E.M., Cowboy Junkies, Indigo Girls), finds Sparks reveling in her independence and quirky, intelligent rock ’n’ roll. “Most of the Nashville producers are very, very country, and I wanted to avoid that,” says Sparks, who ditched her previous record label in favor of more creative control. “Most people think that … you get on a label, and it’s kind of like getting accepted to a college. All labels are different. I’m happier like this.”
Sparks plays three shows this weekend: at 10 p.m. Thursday at Jenicca’s Café & Wine Bar (636 E. Market St., 587-8720), and two shows on Friday, 7 p.m. at Border’s at Fourth Street Live! and 11 p.m. at The Jazz Factory’s Late Night Salon (815 W. Market St., 992-3242). —Mat Herron
Nov. 30-Dec. 1
‘Seussical: the Musical’
“After all these years being stuck on a page, did you ever imagine you’d see me on the stage?” asks the Cat in the Hat — who, with a raft of his pals from the Dr. Seuss stories, does, indeed, make the leap from page to stage in the Youth Performing Arts School’s production of “Seussical: the Musical,” this weekend at the YPAS Main Stage Theater. The show is based on a tale about Horton the Elephant, called “Horton Hears a Who,” but before long our friend the Cat has dragged in Gertrude McFuzz, Layzie Mazie and pretty much all the Whos of Whoville. —Bill Doolittle
Main Stage Theater
1517 S. Second St.
$9-$12; 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 & Dec. 2
‘Dialogues of the Carmelites’
Here’s the final scene of “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” the Francis Poulenc opera being presented this weekend by Kentucky Opera that is based on the actual beheadings of 16 Carmelite nuns during the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution. So here’s how it ends: The nuns are all gathered on the scaffold, singing as they await their deaths. All 16 of them. Then the guillotine blade drops — thunk — and now there is one less nun, and one less voice. The blade drops again, and another voice is silenced. And so it goes with the blade and the blood and the singing, as 16 voices come down to just one — thunk — and then there are none.
It’s all the joys of imperialist government and religious zealotry (and I guess we don’t have to look too far for that in 2007) — the allure of martyrdom, the attraction of the blade and a government run by fanatics. The good news is that some say this historical event of 1793 served as the last straw of the Reign of Terror. —Bill Doolittle
Whitney Hall, Kentucky Center
$40-$95; 8 p.m. (Fri.); 2 p.m. (Sun.)
Good Folk Fest
Let’s face it — Christmas is too predictable. What’ll it be this year? Gift certificates? Slipper-socks? Bath & Body lotion? Let’s break this cycle of bad gifts and get each other something special. Unique. One-of-a-kind. This weekend, head over to the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center for the Good Folk Fest, which’ll have art for sale from more than 75 local and regional artists. And while you’re browsing through every inch of the 14,500-square-foot building, local musicians like The Smacks, Jamie Barnes, Pokey LaFarge and Warren Ray will provide the background music. Check out www.junkabilly.com/goodfolkfest for the music and artist lineup. —Sara Havens
Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center
1860 Mellwood Ave.
$5; 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 2
Asia Through the Arts concert
The Crane House will celebrate its 20th anniversary of community service with a performance of Asian music and dance called Asia Through the Arts, Sunday at U of L’s Margaret Comstock Concert Hall. The varied performances include a Vietnamese lion dance performed by the Vietnamese Eucharistic of St. John Vianney Church; Indian dance by Samyuktha Kemparajurs; music from the Louisville Chinese Choir; selections from Beethoven by Japanese performers Kahoru Amano and Moegi Amano; a performance by the Louisville Korean Women’s Choir; and Uzbekistani dance by the Crescent Moon Dancers. Founded in 1987, the Crane House is a non-profit Asian cultural center that fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and Asia through education. —Kevin Gibson
Margaret Comstock Hall
U of L Music Building
$10, $75 for VIP ticket; 3 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 3
‘Out of the Book’ event
Historian David Halberstam died on the cusp of one of his greatest triumphs. At the time of his fatal car accident earlier this year, the Pulitzer laureate was about to reinvigorate consideration of the Korean conflict. Fortunately, colleagues and friends helped make sure that the book “The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War” received proper distribution. A notable follow-through effort comes to Louisville Monday night. On that evening, independent bookstores throughout the country are sponsoring showings of a short documentary film on the author and his 10-year effort to complete a book that would bring to life this somewhat-overshadowed part of American history. Carmichael’s was involved with a successful film/book evening earlier this year (for Ian McEwan’s “On Chesil Beach”). This time they’re working with the Filson Historical Society. The film includes interviews with Korean War veterans, and all veterans are encouraged to attend and contribute to the panel discussion afterwards. Reservations are requested. —T.E. Lyons
Filson Historical Society
1310 S. Third St.
Free; 5:30 p.m.
MONDAY, DEC. 3
“I felt like I was dancing around the outskirts of what is my true center,” the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman says on his Web site. “With this album, I really wanted to stay on the mark, right in the middle, right where rock ’n’ roll is. I wanted this one to be easier, a lot more fun than some of the past records have been.”
Revival, the album in question, is the first from Fogerty in three years, and a welcoming end to the battles he’s been fighting with his record label over his back catalog — they finally ended two years ago. None of the bitterness and anguish is present on Revival, just old-fashioned, take-no-prisoners rock that shows, as the man says, he’s right where he wants to be. See him front and center Monday night. It’ll be worth the late arrival to work on Tuesday. —Mat Herron
625 S. Fourth St.
$39.50-$59.50; 8 p.m.
Through Dec. 22
Paintings by Steve Cull
Twenty-first century folk art usually looks to the past for inspiration, and the work of Steve Cull is no exception. The warmth generated from his large oil on board paintings comes from the gold-brown sepia tones he uses, as well as his nostalgic 19th century scenes. His specializes in a world of romanticized happiness and smiles.
While Cull taught himself how to paint in this primitive manner from photographs and books, his own style has emerged and can’t be mistaken for folk art done in earlier centuries. A special feature in his work is the hand-painted frame with activity extending onto it, as if the painted scene is pushing right off the board and out into your space. The American Folk Art Museum in New York City thinks so highly of this local 21st century folk artist that it has one of Cull’s paintings in its permanent collection. —Jo Anne Triplett
Chapman Friedman Gallery
624 W. Main St./584-7954
1835 Hampden Ct./468-9393
Through Jan. 2
Norman Rockwell’s ‘Home for the Holidays’
Norman Rockwell’s 47 years with The Saturday Evening Post weekly magazine produced many popular depictions of Americana. “Rockwell’s art mirrors our world — or at least an ideal, slightly lost version of that world,” Robert A.M. Stern, architect of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., said at the opening of the museum. “He captured in ways no one else has how America was, and how a large part of it wants to be.”
The 40 magazine covers in this special collection, on loan from the Norman Rockwell Museum, feature many of his holiday images, from New Year’s Day to Thanksgiving. His Christmas illustrations were — and still are — extremely popular, and they began appearing in late November. Santa Claus is the sentimental favorite, with Charles Dickens and his tales of Victorian England inspiring many other popular scenes. —Jo Anne Triplett
Frazier International History Museum
829 W. Main St.