FRIDAY, MAY 22
Defending a Life: John Adams Writes Back
(Part of the exhibit John Adams Unbound, through June 25)
Nashville Public Library
615 Church St., 862-5800
noon to 1 p.m., free
Poor John Adams, the one-termer stuck between the Washington and Jefferson presidencies, he needed an HBO mini-series to rescue him from obscurity, and now a Belmont professor comes to his defense as well.
For an hour on Friday at the downtown library, professor David Curtis, chair of the Department of English at Belmont, will attempt to assess Adams’ place in the scribbling generation of founding brothers like Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin. Though not as famous as them, Adams did produce several volumes of letters, diaries, newspaper opinion pieces, and even an autobiography during a life largely spent brandishing the quill.
The lecture is part of the John Adams Unbound exhibit that explores Adams’ personal library — a collection of 3,500 books willed by Adams to the people of Massachusetts and deposited in the Boston Public Library in 1894. This remarkable collection provides first-hand insight into how Adams shaped American history.
If that wasn’t enough enticement, the first 50 pre-registered attendees are getting a complimentary lunch. It’s the price you pay for a little respect these days.
— Vincent Troia
FRIDAY, MAY 22
Happy Birthday, Joey: A Nashville Tribute to The Ramones
Mercy Lounge, One Cannery Row
9 p.m., $5 minimum
The Mercy Lounge kicks off the weekend in fitting style with an all-out tribute to the one and only national icon of glue-sniffing solidarity and outsider status, Joey Ramone. Celebrating what would have been the punk trendsetter's 58th birthday, the show's line up includes a string of local bands and musicians that embody a variety of elements of a band and songwriter often unfairly labeled as just plain simple and noisy. A Ramones comparison is apt for the three-cord scuzzy assault of the Tits. The Privates, with their pretty pop-rock songs, channel Ramone at his most tuneful. And with an already storied career filled with inner band dramatics and label up and downs, the members of The Pink Spiders have weathered blows well known to Ramone. But whatever particular take these bands put to the songs, Joey Ramone’s tunes have a timelessness we usually only associate with canon-favorites like Bob Dylan or Neil Young. In the hands of others they maintain their strength, proving Ramone to be more than the front piece to a musical movement, but rather a true American musical original with as much substance as style. Warthog, And the Relatives and Hotpipes are among the other bands scheduled to play.
— Kyle Swenson
FRIDAY-SATURDAY, MAY 22-23
High Speed Fun in Music City
4847F McCrary Road, Lebanon
9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. both days, free
The helmets have been polished, the engines tuned, the tires properly inflated... Car enthusiasts from around the region will gather at the Superspeedway just off State Route 840 in Gladeville this weekend to take runs around the track in their own cars for the ninth running of High Speed Fun in Music City.
Although the event is sponsored by the Music City Mustang Club and the Mustang Club of America (as well as Heacock Classic auto insurance), cars of all makes and models will be put through their paces at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour. Participants will make the rounds on a 1.9-mile course that combines the speedway’s high banks and interior road course.
Drivers will be divided into groups according to their experience with these types of events. Make a friend at the track and you, too, may be strapping on a helmet for a few hot laps.
— Geert De Lombaerde
FRIDAY-SATURDAY, MAY 22-23
Always... Patsy Cline
Ryman Auditorium, 116 Fifth Ave. N.
7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday,
$29.50, $36.50 for adults, $18.25, $14.75 for children 12 and younger
The hit bio-musical Always... Patsy Cline will play the final two performances of its six-week run at the Ryman Auditorium this weekend. The Ryman has special significance because it is the actual stage where the country singer with pop tinges rose to fame. The play is based on the true story of the powerful friendship formed between Cline and Louise Seger, a fan Cline met prior to a performance she was giving in Texas. The two corresponded until Cline's death in an airplane crash on March 5, 1963, and the show's name is taken from Cline's signature on her letters to Seger, which was "Always...Patsy Cline." Vocal powerhouse Mandy Barnett is reprising her critically acclaimed turn as Cline, while theater veteran Tere Meyers plays Seger. The production features more than 20 of Cline's most memorable songs including "I Fall to Pieces," "Crazy," "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and "Sweet Dreams."
— Alexa Hinton
SATURDAY, MAY 23
ALIAS Chamber Ensemble Spring Concert
Blair School of Music’s Turner Recital Hall
2400 Blakemore Ave.
8 p.m., $12, $5 for students
Unconventional and unusual music from across the spectrum of the classical world is the forte of Nashville’s ALIAS Chamber Ensemble. They continue their two-year set of programs under the banner of “Emerging Voices" Saturday night at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. This concert presents three pieces that span multiple centuries. Cellist Matthew Walker’s “Squartet” blends blues and funk and represents his interest in non-classical idioms. It will be paired with Mainardi’s “Notturno for cello quartet.” Other pieces include Germaine Tailleferre’s “Sonata for harp,” Isabella Leonarda’s “Sonata duodecima for violin and continuo” and Fanny Mendelssohn’s “String Quartet in E flat Major.” A pair of works for marimba and wind instruments by Michael Kallstron and Anders Astrand will also be performed. Murray Somerville, Sari Reist and Daniel Reinker are guest artists. The program will include a silent auction and reception in the lobby. All proceeds from the concert will benefit Shade Tree Family Clinic, a free health clinic run by Vanderbilt medical students to address the health needs of uninsured and underinsured patients in the East Nashville area.
— Ron Wynn
SATURDAY, MAY 23-AUG. 31
Adventure Science Center
400 Fort Negley Blvd., 401-5061
Visit sudekumplanetarium.com for show times
$6 for non-members, $4 for members plus museum admission
When I was 10, I made a deal with my parents that if I didn't watch television for a year, they'd pay for me to go to Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. After 365 days of zero TV (besides a few sneaked episodes of Star Trek), I was eating all the astronaut ice cream my heart desired... and doing a few mock shuttle simulations. For all those aspiring and derailed astronauts, the new show opening at the Sudekum Planetarium will surely be a thrill. Aptly titled ASTRONAUT, the star-studded film — pun intended — is narrated by Ewan McGregor of Moulin Rouge and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith fame and explains what it takes to become an astronaut. Audiences will take a journey into space and beyond, experience a rocket launch from inside the human body and float around the inside of the International Space Station. You'll also discover the perils that lurk in space as you follow "Chad," a test astronaut, who is set up against everything space has to throw at him. The show, which is presented in stunning high-definition 360-degree fulldome video and explosive surround sound, will illustrate why exploration of space is the greatest endeavor that humankind has ever undertaken.
— Alexa Hinton
SUNDAY, MAY 24
Rock and Roll trivia hosted by Out the Other
Mercy Lounge, One Cannery Row
9 p.m., free
Janet Timmons is the unquestioned matriarch of the local music scene. With her Monday night radio show on WRVU (with a new 7 p.m. time slot by the way), and her blog site outtheother.com, Timmons has established herself as the champion of all things Nashville and the champion of all things indie rock.
Timmons serves as a link between the casual indie music fan and the best bands around. She’ll gladly sing the praises of national acts like Spoon, or Wilco, or White Rabbits, but Timmons is at her best when she’s pushing Nashville bands like All We Seabees or Pico vs Island Trees.
She’s a fan first, but her knowledge has garnered attention outside Music City. Earlier this year Timmons served on a blogger panel discussion at South By Southwest, and she’ll soon be covering Bonnaroo as well.
She’s also oozing with music knowledge, meaning her rock and roll trivia night at Mercy Lounge should be both fun and challenging to even hardcore fans. Oh, and it’s free.
— Nate Rau
MONDAY, MAY 25
Blues Spring Festival
2500 West End Ave., 862-8411
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., free
Bobby “Blue” Bland has been a champion of soulful, powerful blues and country-tinged singing since he made a string of spectacular albums for Duke Records in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Bland, a member of the Rock and Roll and Blues Halls of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, will be among the many stellar performers appearing at the Blues Spring Festival on Memorial Day in Centennial Park. This all-day, free event is sponsored by the New Hope Foundation, an organization that provides humane and supportive services to the terminally ill and persons with HIV/AIDS in the Nashville area. Others on the bill include Marion James, Music City’s Queen of the Blues, Stacy Mitchhart, James “Nick” Nixon, Miranda Louise, Johnny Jones, Queen Ann Hines and Michael Holloway. Also performing will be Carol Ann’s Home Cooking Restaurant’s house band. Their lineup includes Ronnie Yates, Jake Booker, Bill Transley, Jessie Boyce, Samuel Dismuke and Tyronn Hamilton, plus vocalists Racquel Payne and Donald Patton.
— Ron Wynn