Staff Picks

Jul 17, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Now showing
‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’

    It’s becoming cliché to say, “The latest Harry Potter film is darker and more adult than the last,” but one can’t help but say it about “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which opened last Wednesday to rave reviews and vast legions. Dark and adult it certainly is, as Harry’s sophomore year at Hogwart’s marks the introduction of Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), a new teacher who takes up residence with a decidedly conservative agenda. As Harry and Albus Dumbledore sweat growing skepticism over their warnings of the return of the evil Voldemort, Umbridge goes retro with McCarthy-esque gusto, besieging the school with invasions of privacy, suspension of liberties, ad hoc surveillance, unsanctioned torture, a “return to traditional values,” intimidation and — my favorite — the suppression of age-appropriate knowledge. “Progress for the sake of progress,” she declares, “will be discouraged!”
    Can we say “allegory”?
    The stellar cast the series has accumulated is out in force, and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry shows he has the chops to transcend the curse of the child star. But be warned, the PG-13 rating is for real. Parents, think twice before taking your under-10s. —Scott Robinson
Showing at theaters near you

Friday, July 20
‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’

    Attention all wizards, witches, squibs and muggles. Harry Potter is back! For the release of the seventh and final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” bookstores all over the city are throwing parties comparable to the Yule Ball, but don’t feel like you have to don your dress robes. While most major bookstores are planning Potter events, here is a select list:
    Carmichael’s Bookstores will host a “Potter Party” complete with Potter-themed refreshments, contests, drawings, a scavenger hunt and even live owls (1295 Bardstown Road, 456-6950; 2720 Frankfort Ave., 896-6950; 10:30 p.m. both locations). Attendees are encouraged to bring an item of clothing to donate to “Dobby’s House Elves Clothing Drive,” which benefits the Center for Women and Families. The Public Library, too, is hosting a release party, with games, live music and a giveaway of 60 copies of the book (Main Library, Third & York streets, 574-1620; 9 p.m.). Hoosiers who want to stay on that side of the river can visit Destinations Booksellers (604 E. Spring St., New Albany, 812-944-5116; 9:30 p.m.), where they’ll have a potion mistress, origami demonstrations and lots more, including a special dinner at La Rosita. Finally, the Frazier International History Museum will host an event, where guests can visit not only Hogwarts, but Platform 9 ¾ as well! Trivia and costume contests are planned, and admission is free when you pre-order the book with the museum (829 W. Main St., 412-2221; 8 p.m.). —Meghan Wiggs

Saturday, July 21
Great Escape turns 30

    Turning 30 is tough. Luckily for us, the Great Escape knows how to throw a birthday party. The comic book hotspot will celebrate three decades of comical commerce by hosting “Free Goods Day” on Saturday. The store will pack its parking lot full of comics, CDs, LPs, movies, games, posters and books and let customers walk off with any five items for no charge at all. Those attending don’t have to buy a thing, and the store will restock the lot throughout the day.
    Celebrants also get a bag containing coupons and a letter from the owner. The giveaway anchors a three-day customer appreciation weekend beginning Friday, featuring drawings and a 30-percent storewide discount.
    Giving away merchandise runs counter to conventional business models, but manager Sonya Skipworth said it’s all in the name of thanking the customers.
    “The Internet’s putting a lot of places like this out of business,” she said. “We’re here because of the solid customer dedication we have.”
    One thing’s for sure: It’s a lot easier to feel appreciated walking away with an armful of free stuff. —Ryan Real
The Great Escape
2433 Bardstown Road
Free; 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Saturday, July 21
Soul Journey to the Four Winds

    It seems that a show could never be mundane when Hunter S. Thompson has called one of the performers “crazy as nine loons” and their poetry “a dazzling mix of folk wisdom and pure mathematics.” This is how the great Thompson described Ron Whitehead, who will perform at The Rudyard Kipling with wife Sarah Elizabeth and the Grammy-nominated Tony Redhouse.
    Whitehead, nominated in 2006 for a Nobel Prize in Literature, will perform spoken-word pieces, while Elizabeth will perform her own Southern-style of music. Redhouse, acclaimed to have been a rare success in bridging the gap between his Navajo culture and that of others, will add his motivational speaking and traditions from his culture, such as dance, storytelling and music, to the evening’s events. —Erin Clephas
The Rudyard Kipling
422 W. Oak St.
$15; 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 21
Maylene & The Sons of Disaster

    Ocala, Fla., 1935. FBI agents pumped that murderous crook Ma Barker full of lead, ending a crime spree that ravaged the Midwest. Yet in death, Barker and her band of gang-banging sons managed to reach across the time-space continuum and touch Dallas Taylor’s soul.
    As a kid, Taylor, singer for Alabama’s Maylene & The Sons of Disaster, grew up watching re-enactments of Barker’s demise. When the group finally went in to make II, it chucked formula and wrote a concept album that chronicles Barker’s venomous trail of destruction.
    II’s homage might, on the surface, conflict with the personal beliefs of Maylene’s members, all of whom are Christian. But that’s just merely a component of who the band is. Apart from the studio, they’re regular guys who miss Southern cooking when they’re on tour, Taylor says. “We just try to love people and help them out as much as we can.” They start with a three-guitar attack and whisky-tinged vocals. He is Legend, Modern Life Is War and Paulson also join the bill. —Mat Herron
Bulldog Café
10619 Manslick Road
$13; 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 21

    Galactic’s well-fashioned creole of funk, jazz and interstellar grooves has earned them a rabid fanbase and four appearances at Bonnaroo. But on its Anti- debut, From the Corner to the Block, it enlisted a cadre of ultramagnetic emcees (notably The Coup’s Boots Riley, Juvenile and Lyrics Born, etc.) to add their visions of the world, even going so far as to proscribe corner motifs in each song.
    Guitarist Jeff Raines wanted Corner to have a singular theme, without quashing any imagination. “We didn’t want it to be too specific or too general,” said Raines, who, along with bassist Robert Mercurio, relocated to New Orleans in the late ’90s to start the band. “Originally it was going to be a concept album with one rapper tying it together, (but) that just never took off. We realized it was a record we always wanted to do.”
    Joining Galactic are Dubconscious, a rolling revue of American dub and reggae, whose Realization double-live album teems with limitless execution. —Mat Herron
Headliners Music Hall
1386 Lexington Road
$17 (adv.)/$20 (door); 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 21

    The fabulous, full-throttle Metroschifter capsule is launching again, its first reunion show since, er, its last reunion show in 2005. This time, the band will play for about an hour; no spelling bee. The $2.44 advance tickets are no longer available, but the $7.21 cover charge is still a bargain.
    Guitarist, singer, designer and former mayoral candidate Scott Ritcher explains the numerics: “We wanted to keep it really cheap, just so there’s no confusion that we would be doing it for money. Last time it was $1.79; we had to increase it a little bit to cover the cost of powering our coal-powered amplifiers.”
    Metroschifter, which released several albums, 45s and split EPs during its lifespan, will make its first album available on iTunes later in the year. —Mat Herron
The Rudyard Kipling
422 W. Oak St.
$7.21; 10 p.m.

Saturday, July 21
‘Beyond the Valley of the Comedians’

Those in the market this Saturday for underground, unconventional comedy that doesn’t involve a certain Mr. Lebowski may be in luck with “Beyond the Valley of the Comedians.” The show features stand-up comedian Brad Thacker alongside colleagues Jeff Kachelmeyer, Linda Gambino, Janine Brito, Butch Wesley and Gabe Kea. Music-wise, DJ Chad Casstetter will offset all the talk with rock before and after the show.
Thacker, who has worked with Dave Attell, Mitch Hedberg and Dave Chappelle, put together a similar event at The Pour Haus in December after moving to Louisville from Cincinnati. He said he likes performing in bars because of the younger, “free-thinking” crowd the venue attracts.
    “We all work in clubs, and the thing about comedy clubs is that there’s a lot of restrictions,” Thacker said. “This is a way for us to do what we want to do.”
    With its 10:30 start time, “Beyond the Valley” should keep your alternative comedy and rock music jones at bay until the wee Sunday morning hours. —Ryan Real
The Pour Haus
1481 Shelby St.
$5; 10:30 p.m.

Through July 31
‘Unfolding: New Works in Glass’ by Jonathan Swanz

    Organic forms in glass have become a signature of local glassblower Jonathan Swanz. As a result, sales from the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft gallery is “blooming” with objects in his first solo show.
    Swanz explains in his artist statement that the show “is a collection of work that resounds with nature’s energy: water drops falling from the sky, lotus blossoms opening up to the sun, and sprouts germinating to find the earth. This daily celebration of nature’s beauty is a foundation of my new work, built upon refined glassblowing techniques and a critical consideration of formal sculpture.”
    Dale Chihuly’s name is often mentioned when discussing glass and organic shapes, and his inspiration can be seen in a few of Swanz’s pieces. Other influences are Stephen Rolfe Powell, Swanz’s teacher at Centre College, and Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisburg, artists he apprenticed with in France and Italy. The finished works, however, are all Swanz. —Jo Anne Triplett
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
715 W. Main St.