Staffpicks for 4-2-08

Justin time

Two hardscrabble acts are returning for a second dose of Louisville tonight, and we’re better for having this reprise. One of them is Justin Townes Earle, whose vitality and creative output should be a cause celebré. The 25-year-old son of former hell-raiser Steve Earle is a recovering addict who, had he not entered rehab and gotten clean, would either be a corpse or a convict.
His radical, necessary life change has given rise to an endless songwriting jag, a record deal with Chicago’s Bloodshot Records, and a brand new album, The Good Life, to show for it.
Earle plays a free in-store show at 5:30 p.m. at ear X-tacy records (1534 Bardstown Road, 452-1799). Later that evening, he joins Felice Brothers, a folk-rock ensemble from upstate New York that brought the house down last month opening for the Drive-By Truckers. BBC Radio says “No one else is doing what Felice Brothers are doing.” Saddle Creek recording artists McCarthy Trenching open. See for yourself. —Mat Herron
St. Francis of Assisi Church
1960 Bardstown Road
Free; 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 3
Colin Powell

    I can’t think of a better guy to deliver a speech called “Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust and Values” than Colin Powell. He convinced Congress and some of the international community that President Bush’s Iraq War plans weren’t based on a lie. Then it turned out they were. Powell has taken justified criticism for warmongering, and he tried to atone and work through some diplomacy in Iraq, so the Bush-Cheney cabal tossed him under the bus with his reputation fucked. Kinda makes one forget that Powell had an illustrious career before his Iraq disgrace, one marked by diplomatic efforts. He’s here via the World Affairs Council of Kentucky/Southern Indiana’s “Global Issues Forum.” —Stephen George
Kentucky International Convention Center
221 S. Fourth St.
$30; 6 p.m.

Friday, April 4
Organist Theirry Escaich

    When was the last time you were at a high-toned organ recital, and the star organist suddenly broke into improv mode — sweeping the charts off his stand and floating away on a musical flight of fancy?
    Not recently?
    And if it’s something you can’t even conceive, Friday night at the Cathedral of the Assumption world-renowned classical organist Thierry Escaich will prove it can be done. After performing several standard literature works, Escaich (pronounced esh-kesh) will be handed a theme of music — a few bars of melody, of which he has no previous knowledge — and from that theme compose in his mind and then play an entire four-movement symphony.
    “Improvisation is a recital tradition in Europe, and especially France, but it’s not something we have in the United States,” explains Dr. Philip Brisson, the Cathedral’s Director of Music, who will dream up the surprise theme for Escaich. “It’s just like what you might see a jazz musician do … taking a little theme off in whatever direction tickles his fancy. Only this will have the structure of a symphony. We’ll just give him the theme, and he’ll go to town.” —Bill Doolittle
Cathedral of the Assumption
433 S. Fifth St.
Free; 7:30 p.m.

April 4-28
Thousand Poets Festival

    In honor of National Poetry Month, Louisville, over the next few weeks, will become a veritable Mecca of writers and other artists performing their work. The Thousand Poets Festival, according to its co-founder, Merle Bachman, head of Spalding University’s BFA program in Creative Writing, “seeks to engage citizen poets, connect the disparate local poetic communities in a transcendent way, and to bring together the literary arts with other art forms.”
    The kickoff event on Friday will be sponsored by The East Downtown Business Association. As part of the Trolley Hop action, the event will feature street and gallery readings. At 8 p.m. that night, Adam Day and Erin Keane will read poetry at the St. John Renaissance Theatre, with music by The Big Time Band and Brett Eugene Ralph. For details of these and other spectacular events nearly every day of the month of April, check the calendar at the Thousand Poets website. —Mary Welp

The Glasspack goes global

    Dirty Dave Johnson’s spare time has been whittled down to nothing. The Glasspack is celebrating its headlining at the Roadburn Festival in Holland later this month with a show at Longshot Tavern in Crescent Hill.
    “Everybody’s stoked about it,” Johnson says of the Roadburn slot, which marks the band’s first trip to Europe. Down, Celtic Frost and other top metal acts are scheduled to appear.
“I didn’t think it would sell out, but it sold out in like a week.”
Johnson, drummer Brett Holsclaw and bassist Dave Mancini are touting their latest Small Stone Records release, Dirty Women. Johnson’s also in the process of finishing writing a debut album with his other project, Muddy Nasty River. On that project, Johnson’s combining a garage-rock feel with blues in the vein of John Lee Hooker.
Fellow locals The Broken Spurs warm up the night. —Mat Herron
Longshot Tavern
2232 Frankfort Ave.
Free; 10 p.m.

A tribute to Andy Palacio

    The music of Belize’s most revered musical icon will get a rare hearing at the Kentucky Center next Thursday. Before a stroke cut his life short at age 47, Andy Palacio was a deep-thinking, formidable musician who took to heart the beliefs and musical stylings of the Garifuna culture.
    The sounds of Garifuna are rooted in African slaves and native Caribbean peoples, who speak a confluence of Arawak, French and some West African languages.
    Palacio spent his life preserving Garifuna, and eventually the world took notice: His album, Watina, reached No. 1 on the World Music Chart. To celebrate his life, the Garifuna Collective and Umalali will perform selections from Palacio’s past work, in hopes that a legacy will live on. —Mat Herron
Kentucky Center
501 W. Main St.
$25; 8 p.m.

Through April 11
Tracey C. Bolanos’ ‘Waking Between Worlds’

    When I asked Tracey Bolanos what art style she worked in, she replied, “I have been thought of as a Surrealist by many, indeed I am not. I coined the term ‘Universalist.’ … I use equal amounts of reality and unreality, positivity and negativity. Somewhere between there is a line to be found by the viewer. I add a dash of beauty to make easy access for the viewer … to decide where the universal line is for them. The goal is to get to the middle.”
    Her solo show sponsored by Art Sanctuary consists of her paintings and fine art jewelry, which she calls “artlery” (she’s good at making up words to describe her art). The themes are — to use her word — universal, full of belief, strife and clarity.
    “As the first official ‘Universalist,’” Bolanos said, “the credo to this art must be, ‘Everything comes magically together.’” —Jo Anne Triplett
Felice Vineyards
829 E. Market St.

Through April 12
Liz Whitney Quisgard’s ‘Pattern and Structure’

    Mix a little Greco-Roman architecture with the pointillist technique of Seurat, and you get a sense of the paintings and sculptural installations of New York City artist Liz Whitney Quisgard. Her textural patterns, made by a multitude of colored dots, produce a shimmer that makes you think of walls covered in vibrant glass mosaics.
    Her fantasy architecture, composed largely of pink, blue and purple dots, is inspired by historical styles. She comes by that honestly, as she studied at the Maryland Institute School of Architectural Design and Drafting. Quisgard’s skill, coupled with abundant patience and organization, is evident in the size of the work with its large amount of covered surfaces. But it is her playfulness that intrigues, as if we just entered Byzantine Land at Disney World. —Jo Anne Triplett
Louisville Visual Art Association
3005 River Road

Through April 13
CenterStage’s ‘South Pacific’

    Musicals are the opiate of the masses … wait a minute, that’s religion. Well, my religion is musical theater, and what could be better to worship than the fabulous “South Pacific,” set in a romantic island paradise in WWII? It will be hard not to sing along with such haunting Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes as “Bali Ha’i,” “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Younger Than Springtime.” I’ll try to restrain myself so your evening will remain enchanted.
CenterStage veterans Melissa Shepherd, Alex Craig and Peter Holloway (executive director of Music Theatre Louisville) appear in this production. Also, the line-up for next year’s season will be announced! —Sherry Deatrick
Jewish Community Center
3600 Dutchmans Lane
$12-$18; times vary