THURSDAY-SATURDAY, MAY 28-30
The Nashville Symphony presents Beethoven's Ninth
Schermerhorn Symphony Center’s Laura Turner Concert Hall
One Symphony Place, 687-6400
7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, $40-$110
Leonard Slatkin leads his last performance as Nashville Symphony's Music Advisor with a performance of Beethoven's Ninth, one of the most popular works in classical music. Slatkin, also Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, among other positions, accepted a three-year appointment as interim Musical Director of the Nashville Symphony in 2006, the position that was left vacant after the unexpected death of 22-year Musical Director Kenneth Schermerhorn in April 2005. The symphony won its first Grammy award under Slatkin’s direction. Following this performance, he passes the baton to incoming musical director Giancarlo Guerrero (though Slatkin will continue to conduct occasional concerts). Samuel Barber's Prayers of Kierkegaard opens the concert.
— Drew Ruble
short film festival
SATURDAY, MAY 30
Fugitive Video Project 2009
Harmony Landing, 201 H.G. Hill Road, Pegram
gates open at 4 p.m., screenings begin at 7 p.m., $5 suggested donation
The Fugitive Video Project 2009 is like a mini Bonnaroo for film lovers. The bi-annual event is an evening of artist film and video. More than 80, one-minute videos by nationally and internationally known film makers, as well as young, emerging artists, will be screened — and all under the stars on a giant screen at the Harmony Landing Retreat Center in the verdant, nearby escape of Pegram. Accomplished curators and artists from across the world have chosen the videos and films submitted by artists from all regions of the United States, France, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Cyprus, Austria, Brazil and England. Some are faculty members of UCLA and The Art Institute of Chicago; have participated in film festivals such as Sundance and Toronto; and have works collected by MOMA and The Whitney. Visitors are encouraged to come early and enjoy the 70-acre grounds of Harmony Landing, including self-guided walking tours and views of the Harpeth River. Cabin and bunkhouse rentals and camping are available for those who would like to stay the night.
— Alexa Hinton
SATURDAY, MAY 30
Cedric The Entertainer
Ryman Auditorium, 116 Fifth Ave. N.
7:30 p.m., $59
Cedric The Entertainer has proven a sharp social commentator, competent actor and excellent stand-up comedian in many ventures dating back to his days as a member of the cast on The Steve Harvey Show, which still airs in syndication on WTBS. He also hosted a short-lived sketch show on Fox. But his main claim to fame came as part of the Original Kings of Comedy crew, one of the most profitable comedy tours of all time. He's appeared in several films, among them Barbershop, and written the book Grown-A$$ Man. He can be topical, satiric, or just silly in his monologues, but his live routines tend to focus more on political and cultural events and personalities. Get a dose of him when he appears Saturday night at the Ryman Auditorium along with some special guests.
— Ron Wynn
SATURDAY, MAY 30
Moustache May '09 Celebration, featuring Ghostfinger, And the Relatives and Uncle Skeleton
Mercy Lounge, One Cannery Row
9 p.m., $7
This week throw away your razors. On Saturday night the Mercy Lounge is hosting an interesting tribute to the favorite facial growth of hipsters worldwide. Clean-shaven or not, Moustache May '09 is an opportunity to take in Ghostfinger, one the Nashville's best live bands fronted by its most infamous moustache. Lead singer Richie Kirkpatrick's nimble screech powers the band through its eclectic brand of music, most often termed “referential” — music critic shorthand for impossible to predict. On their 2005 debut These Colors Run, Ghostfinger swung the pendulum, crunching out metal power chords on one track, a country swing the next, only afterward to convincingly dip down into slow balladry. The 2008 followup, The Feeler, focused heavily on a slower, more atmospheric sound. But the band's one consistency has always been its sense of humor — a taste for antics — which makes their live shows memorable. Ghostfinger shares the stage with And the Relatives, recently featured in Spin's “8 Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen,” and Uncle Skeleton.
— Kyle Swenson
SATURDAY, MAY 30
Chuck Mead CD release show
The Basement, 1604 Eighth Ave. S.
9 p.m., $10
Chuck Mead was the co-founder of an innovative and still missed alt-country group BR549 (although they really never particularly cared for that label). BR549's music encompassed a wealth of influences, among them rockabilly, honky-tonk, the Bakersfield sound, even a bit of the blues. Now Mead is on his own, and has a fine new solo CD. Journeyman's Wager is not only his first, it's a bit to the left in terms of what's currently airing on country radio (though it's a good candidate for Americana stations). Smartly produced by Ray Kennedy, it's a showcase not only for Mead's thoughtful lyrics and edgy vocals, but for his versatility as a songwriter. Top tunes include "I Wish It Was Friday," "A Long Time Ago" and "In a Song," and he'll be performing selections from it as well as his vast catalog from the BR549 days Saturday night in a CD release show at The Basement.
— Ron Wynn
trail run, bike race
SUNDAY, MAY 31
Muddy Buddy Nashville
Cheatham Wildlife Management Area
1299 Headquarters Road, Ashland City
8 a.m., $150 participating teams; spectators free
The 2009 Muddy Buddy Ride and Run Series is looking for partners in grime. This unique trail running and biking race is both fun and challenging, so if you don’t want to get dirty, you can just watch. Beginners and experienced racers alike will run through obstacles, including in the infamous Mud Pit. There is still time to register online and race-day registration will be available if there are spots remaining.
Packets, instructions and directions can be picked up at REI on Franklin Road in Brentwood from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, and just down the road at Cross Corner from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday is a pre-race party with food and $3 Redhook pints for those over 21.
On race day, two-person teams alternate from bikes to running, switching at each of five obstacles over the nearly seven-mile course, then in tandem crawl through the Mud Pit and head to the finish line together. The event benefits the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), which helps people with physical challenges live active lifestyles.
For the littler ones, there is the Mini Muddy Buddy at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, but children will get muddy. The race will offer a short obstacle course before the kids enter the mud pit! And apparently, what happens in the mud pit, stays in the mud pit.
— Vincent Troia
SUNDAY, MAY 31
The Titans "Play 60" Challenge
Nashville Zoo, 3777 Nolensville Pike
2 to 5 p.m., free with Zoo admission ($14 for adults, $9 for children, $12 for seniors)
The Tennessee Titans are teaming with the Nashville Zoo to host an action- and animal-packed day of "wild" fitness and activities for the entire family. The event, The Titans "Play 60" Challenge, is meant to promote hulking muscles and super hero endurance — or simply the importance of physical activity — by making it fun. There will be low-impact exercises, inflatable games, football drills, obstacle courses, relay games, field goal kicking challenges and much more. And, if you or your youngster needs a little extra motivation to get active, Titans players and cheerleaders and Twiga, the Zoo's mascot, will be on hand to help give an extra boost to burn.
— Alexa Hinton
TUESDAY, JUNE 2
U.S. Air Guitar Championships – Nashville Regional
Exit/In, 2208 Elliston Place
8 p.m., $12 (18 and over)
The U.S. Air Guitar Championships are again hitting up 25 cities across the country for the loudest unplugged shows around. There’s no way Music City was not going to be on this list…
The contest is a two-phase affair. First, the instrumentalists will rip and shred for 60 seconds to songs they’ve chosen. In a second round, they’re hit with surprise songs. Technical merit is important, but so is stage presence and ‘airness,’ that elusive quality when “a performance transcends the imitation of a real guitar and becomes an art form in and of itself.”
City winners will make their way to the U.S. Air Guitar Finals in August, whose venue has not yet been revealed. There, they will look to succeed two-time champ Hot Lixx Hulahan and snag the grand prize for the U.S. champ: A trip to the world championships in Finland.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, air roadies and groupies do need to buy tickets. Rock on.
— Geert De Lombaerde