Staffpicks for 5-21

May 22-26
Abbey Road on the River

    These days, it’s tough to imagine Louisville without Abbey Road on the River. Each spring, this now four-year-old annual event here reminds me why I love the Beatles and why I love music so much — and I’m guessing this year will be no different. Highlights for 2008 include appearances by the Pete Best Band (that would be the Pete Best who was the Beatles’ drummer prior to that Ringo guy), an encore of the live re-creation of the Love album (not to be missed), plus the usual favorites, such as Japan’s the Beatrips. Like last year, Memorial Day morphs from all-Beatles, all the time, to an overall nod to the music of the ’60s, with live tributes to the Mamas and the Papas, Hendrix and more. Of course, you can also catch local bands such as the Rigbys and Nervous Melvin and the Mistakes playing lots of Beatles songs, as well as original bands like Digby and Yardsale performing their own brand of rock ’n’ roll with carefully chosen Beatles tunes mixed into the set lists. The best part of this whole event is that it’s just plain fun — families can find plenty for everyone, and you’ll find 2-year-olds dancing along to “All My Loving” right next to 102-year-olds doing the same. All you need is Beatles. —Kevin Gibson
The Belvedere
(216) 378-1980
$20+; 4-11 p.m. (May 22), noon-midnight (May 23-25), 11 am-9 p.m. (May 26)

Saturday, May 24
A different sort of wedding reception

    Randy Arnold and Rebecca Karman have a wedding to go to on May 24 — their own — and after that, they’re heading to Headliners. It’s not some odd honeymoon prelude, though; they’ll preside over a party of sorts. It’s a benefit concert with 100 percent of proceeds to be divided evenly between their employers: Home of the Innocents (Randy) and Boys’ Haven (Becky). In lieu of wedding gifts, the couple asks folks to make a donation at the door. And the music’s topnotch: Tim Krekel Orchestra, Satchel’s Pawn Shop and The Shinerunners. We’ll watch for Randy, a musician himself (10 Months Later, John Mann Band), to carry his bride over the threshold at the front door … —Cary Stemle
Headliners Music Hall
1386 Lexington Road
Free will offering; 9 p.m.

Saturday, May 24
Mars landing

    If you’re looking for an otherworldly experience to liven up your weekend, look no further than the Rauch Planetarium on the U of L’s Belknap Campus, where enthusiasts and amateurs alike will gather to see the NASA rover Phoenix land on Mars live via satellite. Launched last August, the Phoenix is the first spacecraft in the new Mars scout program, which was created to further investigate the role of water in the planet’s climate as well as the possibility of sustaining human life on Mars.
    The Phoenix is expected to land on Mars at around 8 p.m. on Saturday, but the event at the Rauch Planetarium begins at 7. The event will be kid friendly, with Mars trivia games, “red planet punch” and Mars cookies. Admission is free, but seating is based on a first come, first serve basis. —Aaron Frank
Rauch Planetarium
U of L’s Belknap Campus
Free; 7 p.m.

May 24-25
Kyene Drum Ensemble

    You may have missed them last year, but be sure to check out the Kyene Drum Ensemble this year at The Bisig Impact Group’s 17th annual Kentucky Reggae Festival. This group of local musicians focuses on West African and African Diaspora Music (such as Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian), and they play different types of African drums and percussion instruments. The word “kyene” translates to “any type of drum” from the Akan language of Ghana. The group hopes to record for release in the near future, but for now they are focusing on their gigs and workshops. The drummers will perform at the Reggae Festival both Saturday and Sunday from 8:30-9 p.m. At their Sunday performance, the St. Xavier High School Jungle Drummers will collaborate with the Ensemble. Their rhythms will make you want to get up and dance, guaranteed. —Jane Mattingly
Louisville Water Tower
3005 River Road
$6 (before 6 p.m.), $9; 2-11:30 p.m.

May 24-26
Beach Volleyball Tournament

    It’s time to dig out the flip-flops, sunscreen and beach towels and get ready for a beach party at Waterfront Park. That’s right, it’s a beach party on the Ohio. The AVP Crocs Tour Louisville Open is taking place this weekend, where 150 of the top volleyball players in the world will be competing, including 2004 Olympic Gold Medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. Along with the internationally ranked men’s team of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, May-Treanor and Walsh are the defending Louisville Open champions. 2004 Olympic Bronze Medalist Elaine Youngs and her partner Nicole Branagh, who will also play in the tournament, are currently ranked No. 2 in U.S. women’s teams and will likely compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics. —Jane Mattingly
Waterfront Park
(800) 919-6272
$15-$35; times vary

Through June 1
Bunbury Theatre’s ‘Rabbit Hole’

David Lindsay-Abaire was shocked when he heard his play “Rabbit Hole” had won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for drama. It wasn’t even nominated for the award. How is this possible? None of the three finalists received a majority vote, so the full board rejected them and joined together to pick “Rabbit Hole.” Lindsay-Abaire wrote the play after Marsha Norman (his teacher at Julliard) suggested he write about something that frightened him. As a father, that “something” was the fear of losing a child.
Bring plenty of tissues as you witness this family’s journey through a dark rabbit hole as they move past intense grief to insight following their son’s death in a freak car accident. Bunbury’s cast (which includes Laura Stuart Obenauf, Raquel Robbins-Cecil, Ted Lesley, Carol Tyree Williams and Ned Brewer) is certainly up to the task of tackling this difficult play, directed by Matt Orme.
Lexington native Zach Brock, a nationally recognized jazz violinist innovator, composed an original score for this production. —Sherry Deatrick
Bunbury Theatre
604 S. Third St.
Times and prices vary

Through June 21
‘Convergence’ by Brad White and Dan Pfalzgraf

    Two solo exhibitions in one space can occasionally equal a duo show. That’s the case with Brad White and Dan Pfalzgraf’s “Convergence.” The two friends currently share studio space and have realized their art is complementary.
    At first glance, White’s abstract organic sculptures seem to have little in common with Pfalzgraf’s mythological wall pieces. In their joint artist statement, they dubbed the art in the exhibition “recreated urbanism,” based on an appreciation of nature coupled with an urban lifestyle. Their creative differences even seem to get along with each other: the “polish and intuitive” process of White vs. the “grit and instinctual” action of Pfalzgraf. Summing up the essence of “Convergence,” they say it “shows us our past, brings us to the present, and takes us into the future.”  
    New paintings by Shane Gregory are in the lower level of the gallery. —Jo Anne Triplett
Swanson Reed Contemporary  
638 E. Market St.

Through June 23
Textiles and ceramics by Elmer Lucille Allen

    Elmer Lucille Allen makes me tired. This energetic grandmother is one of the busiest women I know, earning her master of fine arts degree in 2002 after a career as a chemist. To further prove the point, she works in not one but two media — textiles and ceramics.
    She specializes in blue or black shibori fabric wall hangings. Shibori is a Japanese technique that binds or wraps folded cloth, resulting in a unique pattern when dyed. Her hand-built ceramics have a similar design of lines and texture. Both are on display in her solo exhibition currently showing at the Jewish Community Center. —Jo Anne Triplett
Patio Gallery, Jewish Community Center
3600 Dutchmans Lane