Jan. 12-Feb. 16
Details, Details, Details: Photography by David Harpe
David Harpe’s photo byline has shown up in area newspapers, including LEO, over the past few years, but those photos barely hint at his artistic side. A new KMAC show— Harpe’s first solo exhibition — highlights his large-format art photography, divided into three bodies. The first, “Water Drops,” features flowing streams of water shot in freefall to create vivid abstract imagery. The second, “Steele Bastille,” is a series of abstract images of building faces in Louisville, usually shot at sunset or at night. The third is a series of detail photographs from the book “Stephen Rolfe Powell: Glassmaker,” the first public showing of those prints. (KMAC also has a Powell retrospective up through Feb. 2.) With a sharp eye and mad technical skills, Harpe is an artistic force to be reckoned with. Buy now while you can afford him. —Cary Stemle
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
(Opening reception, Jan. 11, 5-7:30 p.m.)
715 W. Main St.
Friday, Jan. 11
Author Michael Pollan
Once upon a time, any talk about “the food chain” usually was a joke — usually with a punchline featuring either a grizzly bear or Hannibal Lecter. But Michael Pollan got environmental journalism out of the Muir Woods and onto the average American’s paper plate when he authored “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” in 2006. With his new book “In Defense of Food,” the UC-Berkeley journalism prof tries to help us dig out of the overprocessed (and perpetually and subliminally hyped) pile of food-equivalent substances and into something that’s much healthier not just for us, but also for our natural resources. In a ticketed event at the Bomhard Theater, interviewer Michael Shnayerson will grill Pollan (pardon the pun), followed by a general Q&A and book signing. If you already have tickets, you’re lucky — the event is sold out. (But stay tuned, the KET tape of the interview will be shown Feb. 25 at the Crescent Hill branch of the Louisville Free Public Library at 7 p.m.) —T.E. Lyons
Bomhard Theater, Kentucky Center
501 W. Main St.
$17; 5 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 11
InKY Reading Series Poetry
Going out with your friends doesn’t have to be all about house music and appletinis. Enter the InKY Reading Series, which Friday will present three published poets doing selected readings from their works at the Rudyard Kipling (where else?). This isn’t the stuff of “Roses are red,” mind you — expect deep, emotional, intelligent passages that will demand your attention. For instance, Cincinnati poet Jillian Weise is the author of “The Amputee’s Guide to Sex,” a collection of writings based on the experiences and emotions of an above-the-knee amputee. Kristi Maxwell, who also resides in Cincinnati, has received glowing reviews of her recent collection “Realm 64,” which presents life as a series of chess games. Kentucky poet Christina Lovin is an award-winning, oft-published writer whose compositions can be at once folky, wistful and graphic. Louisville singer-songwriter Teneia Sanders joins the trio to round out InKY Series’ first event of the year, and the evening begins with an open-mic segment starting at 7 p.m. —Kevin Gibson
The Rudyard Kipling
422 W. Oak St.
Free; 7 p.m.
Like many country singer-songwriters, Bryan Kennedy’s first brush with fame came from songs he wrote for someone else — that someone being Garth Brooks. Kennedy wrote three No. 1 hits for Mr. Friends in Low Places: “Good Ride Cowboy,” “Beaches of Cheyenne” and “American Honky Tonk Bar Association.”
Born in Shreveport, La., Kennedy picked up the strings after three seasons as a defensive end for Ole Miss. Music was a more profitable, less painful career.
He wasn’t short on connections, either, since country music was the family’s stock-in-trade. Kennedy’s father, Jerry, ran Mercury Records’ Nashville operation for more than 20 years, and recorded with Dylan, Ringo and Roy Orbison. Shelby Kennedy is an A&R rep, and another brother, Gordon, helped write the Grammy-winning song “Change the World” for Eric Clapton.
Friday and Saturday belong to Bryan, though, who will reunite his band of musical comedians, Toe Roaster (more info, this page), for a two-night stint at Coyote’s in the newly renamed City Block music complex. Proceeds benefit Kosair Charities. —Mat Herron
116 W. Jefferson St.
$25 (adv.) $30 (door); 7 p.m.
Alley Theater’s ‘Toe Roaster’
When O’Malley’s Corner recently became City Block, it easily could’ve been a change in name alone. The minds behind the newly formed entertainment complex, however, are making good on their attempt to diversify the nightspot by announcing the grand opening of their cabaret theater venue, Alley Theater. This weekend, the theater hosts “Toe Roaster,” a country-and-western spoof of soap operas that played to sold-out crowds two years ago at Actors Theatre.
Bryan Kennedy (mentioned above), Wynn Varble and Troy Jones, who’ve written for such country superstars as Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley and Leanne Womack, play three men gathered around a campfire, sharing songs, insights and jokes. Saturday evening’s performance will be a gala with hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. —Rebecca Haithcoat
133 W. Liberty St.
$25 (adv.)/$30 (door); 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 13
‘A Jewish Museum with a Post-Tribal Vision?’
Rhoda Rosen, director of the Spertus Museum (part of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago), is Congregation Adath Jeshurun’s 2008 Selina Altman Memorial scholar-in-residence. She will give a free public lecture on recent changes at the Spertus; a good example is the current exhibition, “The New Authentics: Artists of the Post-Jewish Generation” (on display through April 13). Senior curator Staci Boris described the goal of the show — “What does it mean to be Jewish today?” — in the Nov. 29, 2007 issue of Time Out Chicago.
“Likewise, ‘The New Authentics’ pursues the ever-shifting, hazy, indistinct, yet so often assumed boundaries of Jewish identity,” Rosen wrote in the exhibition catalog, “but nevertheless finds that American Jewish identity is not synonymous with mainstream American identity. Indeed, at Spertus Museum, the Jew is no longer considered a stable and single ethnic, religious or cultural category of analysis.”
Rosen will also present additional lectures during Shabbat at Congregation Adath Jeshurun. There is a fee, and reservations are required. Call 458-5359 or visit www.adathjeshurun.com for additional info. —Jo Anne Triplett
Speed Art Museum
2035 S. Third St.
Free; noon (coffee reception), 1 p.m. (lecture)
Sunday, Jan. 13
‘Baptism of Jesus Christ’
Ever wondered about the place where Jesus was baptized and what it means to “people of many faiths”? If so, The Merton Institute of Contemplative Living invites you to the world premiere of the locally created “The Baptism of Jesus Christ: Uncovering Bethany Beyond the Jordon,” a documentary that claims to have found the site. Not since “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” have the worlds of archeology and religion collided so. As a bonus, there shouldn’t be any Nazis trying to run you over in a tank. A small donation is asked, if you can spare it. —Shawn Hudson
2117 Payne St.
Free; 2 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 16
Yo La Tengo
OK, what are Ira, Georgia and James trying to pull off this time?
The three musicians who make up the immortal ensemble Yo La Tengo are shaking up their gigs yet again. The new year brings them out to The 930 Listening Room as part of “The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo Tour.” If you smell some kind of Dylan reference there, it’s probably intentional — but, knowing these Jersey devils, it’s only part of the story. The press release promises that there’ll be at least three interesting features: storytelling about and between songs, an emphasis on the band’s acoustic side and an unusual degree of audience interaction.
This sort of concert isn’t related to any direction set by their last release, but these folks are indie-rock legends partly because of their unexpected (and sometimes hairpin) turns. The price is good and, hell, the writer’s strike is still on, so why wouldn’t you go to this show? Have some sense, people! Kurt Wagner from Lambchop opens. —T.E. Lyons
930 Listening Room
930 Mary St.
$20; 8 p.m. (doors at 7)
Through Feb. 16
‘After All …’
Stephen Irwin has produced a series of shimmering works that needs to be seen to be believed. I was impressed by the beauty of the media — couple (pun intended) that with the initial source of the images, and the result is a typical New Center for Contemporary Art exhibition. The source? Vintage pornographic magazines.
Don’t race to the New Center expecting salacious imagery. On the contrary, Irwin has erased large portions of the scenes, leaving part of a figure (or two or three) in the foreground with a ghostly, barely outlined background. According to the exhibition brochure, “he transforms pornographic material into powerful works that are reminiscent of religious iconography in renaissance and baroque painting.” Indeed.
“This is the first solo show we have done with a local artist, so you have to consider this show in comparison to the David Levinthal, Jen DeNike and Breda Beban exhibitions,” says Jay Jordan, New Center curatorial director. “I think he fits in that company pretty well. He is one artist that is definitely ready to move forward.” —Jo Anne Triplett
New Center for Contemporary Art
742 E. Market St.