Back from his disappearing act, Maxwell will perform Ryman

Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 12:00am

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
Tennessee State University’s Annual Summer Stock Program
The Performing Arts Center Cox/Lewis Theatre
TSU Main Campus, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
pay what you can, 7 p.m.

Tennessee State University hopes to carry on its tradition of excellence with its upcoming summer stock production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).

Conceived by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield in 1988, this roller-coaster ride showcases the Bard’s canon with boundless energy and non-stop gags. But as usual, director Barry Scott (an acclaimed actor, writer, producer, director, voice over artist and motivational speaker who currently serves on the Tennessee Arts Commission) has a few ideas of his own.

“Of course, the big joke in the original script is having three male actors perform all of Shakespeare’s plays in a single evening of theater,” Scott said. “In our approach to the material, we will utilize upwards of 20 actors, both male and female and all of whom are of African decent. So where’s the joke in that? I’m so glad you asked. ‘Too black? Or not too black? Black is the question!’ The mood of the piece will retain its comic/satirical framework but will endeavor to explore the boundaries of political correctness and racial stereotypes.”

The play kicks off tonight on TSU’s main campus. Tickets are available on a “pay-what-you-can” basis, with all proceeds benefiting the university’s summer stock theater program.
— Amy Stumpfl

32nd Annual Uncle Dave Macon Days Festival
Cannonsburgh Village
312 South Front St., Murfreesboro
(800) 716-7560,
free, 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Uncle Dave Macon, the so-called "Elvis" of Rutherford County, is among the most successful entertainers to hail from the Nashville area. Born in 1870 (he died in 1952), Macon was a building block of modern country music, assimilating folk music, African-American blues, and vaudeville into a highly entertaining act that also graced the stage of the Grand Ole Opry for many years. The festival that bears his name — consistently ranked among America's premier summer festivals by various travel outlets — is a family-oriented event that each year attracts more than 40,000 people to Murfreesboro. In addition to being one of the few old-time music competitions remaining in the country, highlights of the festival include break-out jam sessions, dancing competitions and demonstrations, arts and crafts, food and a "motorless parade" (Saturday at 10 a.m.) featuring horse and mule drawn vehicles.
— Drew Ruble

visual arts SATURDAY, JULY 11-Aug. 15
The Occidental Tourist: East Meets West Asian Art & Artifacts with Paintings by Roger Clayton
Snow Gallery
1517 Dallas Ave.
free, opening reception 6 to 9 p.m.

Lucky Nashvillians may know Roger Clayton’s work from past shows at various incarnations of TAG gallery over the last several years. For those unfamiliar, Clayton’s paintings combine the plastic-coated and strawberry-scented cuteness of Japanese pop culture with the minimalist style of traditional Japanese sumi-e watercolor and fleeting diversions of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Standing in for the sumo wrestlers and courtesans are stoic anthropomorphic rabbits, deer and cats painted in playful gouache.

Clayton grew up in Memphis, but today he lives in Nashville and makes frequent trips to Japan with his daughter and Tokyo-born wife, Rie.

If you’ve ever been struck by the Zen strokes of a child’s painting or pondered the reflecting pools of Astro Boy’s eyes, then this show — opening Saturday— is the one you’ve been waiting for.
As an added bonus Snow Gallery is within walking distance of Belmont Boulevard’s popular PM restaurant, should you want to begin your evening of nouveau Japanese art with some nouveau sushi.
— Helen Stevens

Keep It Country! – Concert to benefit Bells Bend
Loveless Barn, behind Loveless Café
8400 Highway 100
RSVP at 665-1010,
$25, 6 to 11 p.m.

A concert to benefit the Beaman Park to Bells Bend Conservation Community will be held at the historic Loveless Barn on Saturday, but the main thrust being the event is to preserve Bells Bend as a scenic, open-space part of Nashville.

Key artists are the ever-benefit-conscious Jonell Mosser, Buffalo Rome, Don Henry and Bill Lloyd. Others featured include Jaime Kyle, Todd Cerney/Casey Kelly/Leslie Ellis, Thom Shepherd, Charlie Morgan, Lance Hoppen, Bill Cumo, Pat Meusel, Beth Hooker, Sally Barris and Dave Bradley.

There will be a cash bar, as well as Bells Bend T-shirts and merchandise for sale at the event.

Proceeds will help pay the outstanding expenses of the Beaman Park to Bells Bend Conservation Community that accumulated during the group’s ongoing efforts to defeat the proposed May Town Center. Proceeds also will be used to help fund the new cooperative Bells Bend Neighborhood Farm and further development of a Third Vision alternative for recreation and agriculture.

As a side note on open space, there is plenty of free parking outside the Barn.
— Vincent Troia

Mikky Ekko, with the Non-Commissioned Officers, Perrin Lamb and the Mean Tambourines
2208 Elliston Place
free, 9 p.m.

No matter what conflicting reports we hear about the economy rebounding, word on the street is times are tough. That means music fans need to find affordable avenues for seeing live shows, and on Saturday at Exit/In, they’ll have an option that comes at just the right price. At The City Paper, we call it the “journalist’s special.”

For the fair price of $0, the Miller Made Showcase at Exit/In will feature Perrin Lamb, the Mean Tambourines and the Non-Commissioned Officers of Make-out With Violence fame.

Not to be overshadowed is one Mikky Ekko, whose layered vocals and random yelping sounds give him the feel of a one-man Animal Collective, only not quite so rough around the edges. Ekko’s got soul, there’s no doubt about that. Check out his MySpace page ( for proof of that — new song “Sedated” will have you dancing in front of your laptop.
— Nate Rau

Ryman Auditorium
116 Fifth Ave N., 458-8700
$49.50, $62.50, $89.50

Vocalist and songwriter Maxwell became an instant sensation on the urban music circuit with Urban Hang Suite in 1996. He was a master of sultry, romantic tunes and just as effective doing funk and uptempo pieces. Maxwell's single "Fortunate" proved the biggest R&B hit of 1999, and he kept things going through 2001, then completely dropped out of sight. He resurfaced in 2008 at the BET Awards, doing a marvelous tribute tune to Al Green titled "Simply Beautiful."

Now he's completely back, with a new CD BLACKsummersnight, the first of a planned trilogy that will take him through 2011, and a concert tour that stops in Nashville Sunday night at the Ryman Auditorium along with another prominent figure, demonstrative vocalist Chrisette Michele, whose new CD Epiphany currently sits in the Top 10 on both the pop and R&B charts.
— Ron Wynn

food and wine
Wednesday, July 15
Battle of the Wines
RUMOURS Wine and Art Bar
2304 12th Ave S.
6 to 8 p.m.

In Music City, many concert venues hold “battle of the bands” competitions for local musicians to see which ensemble can captivate crowds and judges with their arsenal of tunes. A similar type of competition is fermenting at Rumours Wine and Art Bar.

At Rumours, where “Wine is Art,” six wines and six distributors will join in a friendly contest to find out whose wine is the most divine.

Even though Rumours has an award-winning wine list complete with all different types of red and white wines, they like to introduce new wines not found on the list in order to expand the palettes of their customers. Participants in this event can enjoy crab cakes and cheese plates while they imbibe some quality vino.

Art works from many local artists will contribute to the atmosphere, and if one piece in particular catches your eye, buy it, as all the paintings are for sale.

Come educate yourself about wine and enjoy the spirited vibes offered by one of Nashville’s hippest sipping locations.
— Bennett Davidson

Handsome Furs
Exit In
2208 Elliston Place
$10, 8 p.m.

Although only consisting of a husband and wife duo, the Handsome Furs can kick up an impressive and catchy racket. Featuring Wolf Parade frontman Dan Boeckner on guitar and Alexei Perry behind keyboards and electronic beats, the pair has put out two albums of complex, forward thinking music that still manage to lure listeners along with pop hooks.

For the Montreal-based band, the music fuels the touring, the touring the music. Their initial 2007 release, Plague Park, was inspired by the couple's travels through Scandinavia, and their latest, Face Control, was born of travels through Eastern Europe and Russia.

Over Perry's wintery industrial beats, Boeckner juggles grungy rhythm parts and ringing solos while delivering each song in his gruff, desperate Springsteen croak. On lead single “I'm Confused,” the band re-imagines an 80s rocker; “Radio Kalliningrad” is as anthemic as anything Wolf Parade has put out. Lyrically, Boeckner mines the same territory he's fond of in his day job. But whereas Wolf Parade's last album fell short of the promise of their debut, this band has upped the game the second time around. It's the rare instance where a nominal side project takes center stage, and Wednesday night at Exit/In the Handsome Furs finish out a string of North American dates before returning overseas.
— Kyle Swenson