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Jazz and blues; premiere of ‘The Exonerated’

Jazz and blues; premiere of ‘The Exonerated’

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WINSTON-SALEM — According

to the movie “Wall Street,” “Money doesn’t sleep” — and neither should you. If you’re ready to get connected to other young Winston-Salem leaders, join the Coalition of Young Leaders for Fourth Street Jazz & Blues from 6:30 to

9:30 p.m Friday.

You’ll find the crowd on Fourth Street between Spruce and Marshall streets, along with light refreshments and a cash bar. All tips from the bar that evening benefit the coalition, so bring a friend or two. RSVP to awarehime@

winstonsalem.com, or call Annessa at 728-9244 with questions. For more information, visit www.coyl.ws.

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I’m excited to announce the return of the Backyard Blues Festival at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. It’s coming up from 2 to 7 p.m. June 12, and I’m giving you 30 days to prepare by marking your calendar, buying a Skeeter Brandon CD and picking out your favorite barbecue sauce. This event has become a tradition, and this year is no exception.

You can “Get Your Mojo Working” Memphis-style by the lake at SECCA while feasting on Southern delights such as ribs. There also will be a cooking contest, great food, cold beverages and art activities for children courtesy of SECCA’s education program. Tickets are sold in advance at SECCA, 750 Marguerite Drive in Winston-Salem, and at the door. For information, call 725-1904. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Children younger than 12 get in free.

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Coming in under the header of bands to watch is ShockOpera.

I stumbled upon this group when it opened for George Lynch at Hartley’s House of Rock in High Point and thought, “Wow, this is what happens when you throw together a bit of Jim Steinman of Meatloaf fame and turn the amp to 11 because, you know, it’s one higher.”

ShockOpera is made up of Dave McBee on vocals, Brian Eury on keyboards, Jason Harris on drums, David Zimmerman on lead guitar and Ronny Eury on bass. The band formed about four years ago. If you’re a fan of Dream Theater, Iron Maiden and Queensryche, then you’ll dig their sound.

For those of you who like to know your bands just before they make it big time, ShockOpera is on the cusp. Its song “Bleeding Heart” is getting play on Charlotte’s WEND (106.5 FM) and the band is selling CDs across the world (including in Brazil, Germany and Canada). It’s finishing up a CD to be released on MetalAges Records. You can check out ShockOpera yourself when they kick it with Orphan Soul Saturday night at Ace’s Basement, 2428 High Point Road, Greensboro.

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OK, so maybe it didn’t win an Emmy, but you have to give this show credit for having an implausible plot and a cast of B-movie actors that really should have been sent out on a boat and stranded on a deserted island. I mean, really — Jim Backus? Not exactly the Pacino of the 1960s.

Still, no one can deny the draw of “Gilligan’s Island.” Was it that Ginger had apparently packed so many clothes that only the Queen Mary II could hold them all? Or was it that the Professor could make a transistor radio out of a coconut? Maybe that’s where the idea for “MacGyver” started. At any rate, if you want to escape reality and have a few laughs, don’t miss Theatre Alliance’s presentation of “Gilligan’s Island: The Musical.”

Shows will be at 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday at SECCA, with a Sunday show at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 and $14. For more information, call Theatre Alliance at 768-5655.

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Conscious Rhythms will offer an Open Drum Circle from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday featuring African, Cuban and Native American drums and rhythm instruments at the Earth Star Spiritual Center at 5F Dundas Circle, Greensboro. No drums, musical skill or rhythm experience required. Explore your own rhythmic expressions. For information, call 286-8082.

Kim Thore is a freelance contributor who covers the buzz in and around Winston-Salem. Got news on art, music, entertainment, a new nightclub, a new restaurant or something in the community? Contact Strutter2B@aol.com. Also, check out her new A&E Web site at strutter2b.tripod.com

GREENSBORO — W.H. Auden once commented that the political history of the world is unaffected by art. But playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen would definitely disagree with him. Their play “The Exonerated” is nothing if not political.

The play, which is having its North Carolina premiere in Greensboro this weekend, is based on the real-life stories of death row inmates who were convicted wrongfully. After acquittal, these prisoners spend years dealing with the effects of their imprisonment. The play was the product of a conference on the death penalty, and it attracted actors such as Richard Dreyfuss, Tim Robbins, Robert DeNiro, Jill Clayburgh and Glenn Close to perform. “The Exonerated” began its national tour this year and will play in Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. Greensboro has a tremendous opportunity to see this piece of art, and I definitely will be taking many of my friends (political and apolitical alike).

Want to go? “The Exonerated” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at Congregational United Church of Christ, 400 W. Radiance Drive in Greensboro. Tickets will be available at the door but not in advance; a $5 minimum donation is requested. For more information, call Nell Hendrick at 288-8917.

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OK, all you Morrissey fans: Here’s your time to dimly glow.

Gate City Noise, 401 Tate St., is holding a midnight sale and party in celebration of Morrissey’s latest CD, “You Are the Quarry.” Festivities will start at 10:30 p.m. Monday. Gate City will begin selling the album at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. To keep you occupied, the shop is hosting a Morrissey look-alike contest. If you think you have the chiseled jawbone and the right expression of world-weary ennui, come out to compete. Gate City Noise will offer prizes for the winner, but isn’t this contest about the title? I’ll mention the winner in next week’s column, so dust off your trenchcoat and head to your favorite indie record store.

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In other music notes, there’s something about spring that makes people want to give back to their community. I’ve spent a great deal of time profiling charity events, and here is another that’s too good not to mention: A benefit show from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday at The Blind Tiger, 2114 Walker Ave., in the name of Michael Joseph Thompson. The Moe Greens are the featured band, and all proceeds go to the Lymphoma Leukemia Society. Donations are welcome at the door.

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Sunday’s a busy day for concerts, it seems. Add to your list of happenings the second annual “Free to Love: United in Song.” This event, sponsored by the Triad Pride Men’s Chorus, will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Solaris, 125 Summit Ave. in Greensboro. There’s so much going on at this event: a raffle (you can win $5,000 or a host of noncash prizes), a cash bar, plenty of free hors d’oeuvres and the opportunity to mingle with some of the best singers in the city. The cover charge is $10, and tickets for the raffle are $50 (this includes a cover-charge waiver). Tickets can be purchased from any chorus or board member or by calling 333-1024.

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I’ll admit it: I have an addiction. It’s serious, and I’m not sure I want to be cured. You see, I’m a compulsive blogger. For the less tech-savvy readers out there, blogs are Web postings or journals that are updated, sometimes monthly and sometimes hourly. Bloggers on the Internet share ideas, hang out in cyberspace and occasionally meet in person. The Triad has a number of blogging communities, but the one I really enjoy is LiveJournal.

To hear what people are saying about the city, its happenings and its people, visit www.livejournal.com/community/greensboro/. (Note: to access the community, you have to maintain an existing LiveJournal account or create a new one. Find information about this on the site’s home page).

Check it out, and happy blogging!

Jennifer Broome is a freelance contributor who covers the buzz in and around Greensboro. Got news on art, music, entertainment, a new nightclub, a new restaurant or something in the community? Contact Jenn at msbroome@hotmail.com

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