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BY JIM MACNIE
 

THURSDAY 12

ART: Some writers listen to an album and hear a great story spill forth (fans of the Band should grab a copy of John Niven’s new Music From Big Pink, part of Continuum’s 33-1/3 series, to see how evocatively fact and fiction can be married). Some artists have taken a shot a putting the essence of great writing onto their canvases. Spring Bull Gallery, 55 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, presents "A Novel Idea," which asks an array of painters to do just that. From Anne of Green Gables to The Cat In the Hat, their interpretations of written works are done in watercolors, oils, glass, and constructions. The show runs through the 31st | 401.849.9166 | www.springbullgallery.com

FRIDAY 13

THEATER: Remember grinning when Fleetwood Mac broke out the parade band for "Tusk"? Remember popping goose pimples when the dudes from Drumline rocked the silver screen with all that percussion and brass power? Blast! brings that energy and fun to the stage, offering an overwhelming whirl of continuous exclamation. Thirty-five performers under the direction of drum and bugle corps vet James Mason are organized to erupt with what one critic calls "youthful energy and cocky panache." Combining showmanship and spectacle, Blast! made its mark on Broadway, organizing three sections (brass, percussion, and visuals) into a stunning whole. Flags, sabers, drums, mallets, horns, horns, and more horns — the Vegas version of a football halftime show comes to the Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset Street, today at 8 pm, on Saturday at 2 and 8 pm, and on Sunday at 1 and 6:30 pm | $60-$33 | 401. 421.ARTS

MUSIC: He built his rep snapping off some truly stinging blues licks, but there’s never been any doubt that Duke Robillard is a jazz dude at heart. Through the years he’s proven just how creative he can be with extended improvisations, and his new "Classic Jazz Guitars" duo with pal Paul Kolesnikow allows him to address an altogether different songbook. Two skilled string players trading ideas on time-tested material in a cozy room? Now you’re talking. Head to Chan’s, 267 Main Street, Woonsocket, at 8 pm | $12 | 401.765.1900

ART: From Duchamp’s "The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors" to Goldberg’s off-kilter concoctions, the art world has dabbled in weird mechanisms and oddball machines — go ahead, consider them toys of a sort. Wheeler Gallery, 228 Angell Street, Providence, is looking into this realm. Its "Re:Play, Examining the Relationship Between Artists and Toys" proposes that "the creative process roots back to our most primal forms of play and imagination, where we make up our own rules and trust our own instincts." Christopher Deris’s machines "invite play, becom[ing] surreal manifestations of basic human needs, simplified to the cause and effect of a few mechanical movements." The ray guns and superhero imagery of Craig Hill’s paintings scrutinizes the process of boys becoming men, offering "a subversive vision of maleness." Randa Newland’s mixed media pieces place toys in the center of her investigation of the human condition. The social critique offered by Mary Ellen O’Meara’s sculptures is also part of a commentary on gender roles. And the white paintings of Duane Slick, a Native American, echo with traditional masks and corporate logos, suggesting a clash between "spirituality and global commercialism." The show runs through February 2; the opening reception is today from 5 to 7 pm | 401.421.9230

SATURDAY 14

MUSIC: It ain’t called the Ocean State for nothing. The bay informs our careers and our culture, which in turn informs our socializing. The 7th Annual Gathering of Fiddlers and Fishermen is all about celebrating these experiences. The Celtic songs and shanty tunes always fill the Common Fence Point Community Hall, 933 Anthony Road, Portsmouth, at this time of year. Led by session maestro Jack Wright, they call it an "open mic tribute to the sea." An Irish session takes place and chowder is served at 6:30 pm; the show begins at 7:30 pm | $8 | 401.683.5085

NATURE: Sometimes it’s all about simple pleasures. Release your inner Thoreau by listening to author and ecologist Mario DiGregorio explain the beauty of our area’s flora and fauna. With the help of some gorgeous photographs, the wetland scientist will present a lecture titled "Discover Our Vanishing Coastal Wildflowers" at 1 pm at the Audubon Environmental Education Center, 1401 Hope Street, Bristol | Free | 401.245.7500

SUNDAY 15

ART: Today is your last chance to check the Degas show at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, 224 Benefit Street, Providence. "Six Friends at Dieppe, 1885" documents the pals who visited the artist at his summer house — gorgeous portraits, paintings, and prints from a late summer getaway in 1885 | 401.454.6500

MONDAY 16

MUSIC: "Make some noise if you know he’s coming soon," urges Donnie McClurkin at the start of "Days of Elijah," a tune from Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs (Verity). Recorded live, its fervor gives you a good idea of what the modern gospel superstar brings to the stage, energy-wise. Like his pal Yolanda Adams (with whom he’s sung duets), McClurkin brings charismatic R&B flava to praise-filled songs with an overt Christian message. When he and his choir arrive at 7:30 pm at the Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset Street, Vicki Yohe will be sharing the stage as a special guest. She’s a rather extraordinary vocalist as well. Together, they’ll celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a show titled "The Gospel Experience." If you feel the need to get holy, experiencing McClurkin’s hallelujah vibe on pieces such as "I Call You Faithful" should do the trick | $55-$35 | 401.421.ARTS

A Finnish model meets a French guitarist in Paris. They get romantic and decamp to her homeland, a place known for its splendid isolation. They opt for the most splendid part of that isolation, heading off to a rural cabin to articulate the sounds of silence. They achieve their goal; on their self-titled disc on Young God, Mi & L’au prove to be one of the most graceful and alluring acts in the freak folk scene. Their dreamy tunes are defined by the genuflections to nuance that top the singers’ agenda. Waxing delicate usually comes with a host of travails — it’s a short walk from dreamy to dozing. But Mi & L’au’s songs grip you as they whisper their way through some truly low-key dramas. And they arrive with an indie badge of honor: L’au is the "gentle soul" in the Devendra Banhart song of the same name. Fans of Joanna Newsom, Diana Darby, and Lisa Germano should investigate immediately at AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence. Larkin Grimm and Callers share the bill at 9 pm | $7 | 401.831.9327

TUESDAY 17

FILM: Winter in South Country can be rough, culture-wise. Good thing the Courthouse Center for the Arts, Route 138, West Kingston, is on the case. They’ve been presenting encore screenings of titles from the 2005 Rhode Island International Film Festival, and they’ll continue tonight at 7:30 pm with seven movies that range from five minutes to a half-hour in length. In Aerosol, Australia’s Wojiech Wawrzyniak explains how a factory worker and an ant bump into each other on the job. In Henry Miller’s Quitters, a pair of cigarette fiends dare each other to leave their vice behind. In The Sailor Girl, Brett Simon introduces us to Julia, who can show you a vision of your conception for a fee; for some extra dough, she’ll throw in a vision of your death. And if you fell for Dominique Pino in Amelie, you might want to see her as an elevator-fearing woman being wooed by a — you guessed it — elevator operator in director Hughes Dalton’s Lift | $5 | 401.782.1018

WEDNESDAY 18

ART: We’re often going on about the musicians that come to AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, but there are loads of visual artists working under the space’s roof too. Right now Rachel Shuman’s abstract mixed-media pieces and Renee Sylvester’s boldly-stroked canvases meet up with Antonio Carlos Da Veiga Rocha’s African-American-centered installations and the printmaking, collage, and graffiti by the Broad Street Visuals team. Each participant shares their work through January 29 | 401.831.9327 | www.as220.org

THURSDAY 19

ART: What does he do? What is she all about? The cultural stereotypes we have long assigned to gender roles are in flux these days, and Gallery Z, 259 Atwells Avenue, Providence, reminds us that they are "constantly being rearranged based on the growing range of human experiences . . . No preconceived notion, stereotype, or even appendage can stop the growing range of human experience and redefinition of self-identity." That’s why they’ve put together "Vacillate: A Conversation on Contemporary Femininity." It’s an exhibition of portraits, body forms, social scenarios, and lifestyle choices that includes work by Marty McCorkle, Veronica Ochoa, Jason Roberts, Sydney Hardin, and others. You’ll see McCorkle’s digital sketches abstracted to show figures in "a fractalized, gestural pose of seduction," and Ochoa’s personalized landscapes, which "reveal the frailties in the Cinderella myth and the belief in oneself and manifesting your own destiny." Cat Ganim curated the show, which runs through February 11, with an opening reception tonight from 5 to 9 pm | 401.454.8844 | www.galleryzprov.com

 E-mail 8 Days info to hapboyM@aol.com.


Issue Date: January 13 - 19, 2006
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