Staff Picks

Mar 20, 2007 at 6:21 pm

March 22-23 ‘The Seven Samurai’ Of all the great actor/director teams — Ford and Wayne, Scorsese and De Niro, Eastwood and Leone — my favorite is probably Toshiro Mifune and Akira Kurosawa. They were such an odd pair. Kurosawa was always such a methodical, contemplative, compassionate director. Mifune was a madman, alternating barbarian frenzy (“Roshomon”) and a deadly still tension (“Yojimbo”). Either way, heads were going to roll. “The Seven Samurai,” their best pairing and maybe the greatest movie ever made, is playing at University of Louisville’s Floyd Theater. I can speak from experience that it is a tempest on the big screen. —Alan Abbott U of L Floyd Theater 852-6691 $2 ($1 students); 7 p.m. (Thu.), 8 p.m. (Fri.)

Saturday, March 24 ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’ Yes, you have seen it parodied by Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in the classic Looney Toons cartoons. This Saturday, you can see “The Barber of Seville” staged by the Metropolitan Opera, which the renowned company is broadcasting live in high definition to theaters in cities across the country, including Louisville. The original narrative is as witty and hilarious as the Looney Toons version, as Count Almaviva plots to win the heart and hand of Rosina, while Rosina’s father does everything in his power to keep the two apart. Only the clever Figaro can help Almaviva. In this production, the Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florex sings the role of Almaviva, Joyce DiDonato sings the character of Rosina, and Peter Mattei sings the part of Figaro. The broadcast is part of the Metropolitan Opera Series, which continues through April 28. —Elizabeth Kramer Tinseltown 326-0088 $18; 1:30 p.m.

Friday, March 23 Watermelon Slim and the Workers Beyond pork rinds and tamales and barbecued fried bologna, one of the reasons I make the annual trek to the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Ark., is to discover bands you’ll hardly ever see around here. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to see that Phoenix Hill Tavern has booked Watermelon Slim and the Workers. I caught ’em at the Biscuit last year, and also saw them do a set at Ground Zero, Morgan Freeman’s juke jointy club in Clarksdale, Miss. We are talking unbridled, transcendent, joyous musical energy with real blues mojo. Mr. Slim himself (real name: Bill Homans) — a former trucker, MENSA member and multiple degree holder — plays a mean slide, including something that looks like a lap steel on steroids. It stomps, it romps, it slinks and slides. It’s the real deal. —Cary Stemle Phoenix Hill Tavern 644 Baxter Ave. 589-4957 $10 adv./$12 DOS; 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 24 ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ YUM! Stage One presents William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the versatile Amy Attaway as Hermia, Starveling and Moth. In this immortal comedy, two pairs of mismatched lovers collide with feuding fairies in an evening of screwball hijinx. This production features both classic and modern elements. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest, the show is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national theater initiative. Stage One is one of 36 professional theater companies chosen to participate in this important project bringing the Bard to thousands of middle and high school students across the nation. Artistic Director J. Daniel Herring is excited about this partnership. He says, “This won’t be your typical Shakespeare piece. We will bridge the Elizabethan theater with that of the modern-day world, which will make for a (unique) and interesting piece.” —Sherry Deatrick Bomhard Theater, Kentucky Center 584-7777 $20.50; 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 24 Tommy Womack Tommy Womack has wrestled demons both seen and unseen, battling back from a nervous breakdown and hospitalization for depression to release a therapeutic album, There, I Said It, his first solo album since 2002. “Todd Snider says I’m the only person in Nashville that’s crazier than he is. I don’t wear that as a badge of honor. For me it’s a cable channel that doesn’t turn off,” Womack said by phone from Austin’s South by Southwest Festival last week. “My only redemption is in the songwriting and prose writing that I do.” There I Said It contains manifestos and magic moments, putting the longtime Nashville musician’s warts on display with wit and newfound drive. For the first time, Womack said he’s penned an album of songs entirely about his battles. “The whole record is about me as much as Plastic Ono Band is about John Lennon. I recommend the practice to anybody who wants to get something out of their system,” he said. One choice cut, “Alpha Male and the Canine Minstrel Blood,” came while he was sitting in a Franklin, Tenn., bar watching old college buddies play. “I asked the bartender if she could spit out two feet of cash register ribbon. I wrote it in about the time it takes you to sing three times. Everything comes out in that song. Everything that’s kept me up at night.” —Mat Herron Gerstle’s Place 3801 Frankfort Ave. 899-3609 $8; 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 25 Saved by Our Music In the early 1900s, a Bagandan African warrior, who was living near the small city of Mbale in what is now Uganda, converted to Judaism, and his people followed. He called his congregations Kibina Kya Bayudaya Absesiga Katonda (the Community of Jews who Trust in the Lord). After his death, many in the tribe held on to their Jewish faith and practiced it over decades in isolation from other Jewish communities. Their music, sung mostly in African languages including Luganda and Swahili, has developed through an mélange of African melodies and text from accepted Hebrew prayers. This week, Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, the leader of about 700 Abayudaya Jews, is bringing a group of musicians from Mbale to perform in Louisville. Sizomu plays guitar and composes music with his wife, Tziporah. Two of their sons perform with them. —Elizabeth Kramer Congregation Adath Jeshurun 2401 Woodbourne Ave. 458-5359 $10; 7 p.m.

Tuesday, March 27 Evanescence Amy Lee knows exactly what a Grammy feels like. “Heavy. It’s a big chunk of weight, so it seems pretty valuable,” the Evanescence singer said in a recent phone interview. The Grammy-winning group stops Tuesday at Louisville Gardens, where it will roll through selections from its latest Wind-Up Records album, Open Door. Conceptually and musically, Lee said the record represents personal and stylistic growth from a band that paired the heavy with Lee’s operatic voice on its breakout album Fallen. “There was no pressure to break into the industry. It was a free writing process,” said Lee, who counts Portishead, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden era) and Bjork among those singers who helped shape her singing. Chevelle and Finger Eleven open. —Mat Herron Louisville Gardens 525 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. 587-1858 $39.50; 7:30 p.m.

Through May 11 ‘Nation’s People’ by John Nation In our economic climate, you have to appreciate someone who has stayed — or been able to stay — at the same company for 30 years. Louisville magazine and photographer John Nation have been symbiotic for that span of time, and Nation has the images to prove it. His retrospective exhibition covers the range of humanity that lives in or passes through Louisville. The famous include such luminaries as Muhammad Ali and Mother Teresa, but it is the not-so-famous that give the best slices of life. The Kentucky Derby and its surrounding events are guaranteed to supply great situations for memorable shots, such as the arrival, by cab, of a pony at a 1983 party. Another photograph that fully illustrates these over-the-top moments shows a woman hoisted up in the air by her strongman husband at the 2004 Oaks. May Nation have 30 more years of scenes like these. Or at least 20. —Jo Anne Triplett Photographic Archives Gallery Ekstrom Library, U of L 852-6752 Free; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Mon.-Fri.)

Through May 12 ‘Finding Family’ Ask a room full of people to describe the structure of their family, and you’ll get a room full of different answers. That’s the point of “Finding Family,” a show curated by Karen Gillenwater, director of the art galleries at Georgetown College. “The idea of family is typically connected with words like ‘tradition’ and ‘values,’ making it seem like a sacred, unchanging concept,” she writes in the exhibition booklet. “However, family is difficult to define and constantly evolving. In today’s society, family is often described as more than just biological relationships, including a wide net of people who care for and have special significance to each other.” The eight artists in the show have created work that shows this diversity. Bryce Hudson’s “Global Familia” combines a map of the world with a photograph of his multiracial family, while “The Breakup” by George Haviland Argo III displays the dissolving of a relationship. The affection for pets, or “fuzzy humans” as a friend calls them, is the focus of Brooke Jacobs’ “Dog and Man.” You’ll certainly feel the love. —Jo Anne Triplett 21C Museum Hotel 700 W. Main St. 589-4690 Free