Friday night we went to the Paris 76 cabaret at Manbites Dog. It was awesome in parts, and pretty dang goofy in other parts. Everyone was puffing on those stage cigarettes that emit a little cloud of powder when you blow through them. It was a genuine cabaret in the sense that much of it seemed to be a semi-random assortment of local talent doing whatever it is they’re talented at. I found this mostly enormously endearing.
Saturday we went to the Nasher and saw the truly excellent 60s/70s English + American screenprinting show. Over half the pieces are abstract, and a lot of those are super brightly colored geometric works. Stunning stuff. There’s also the ongoing 919 show of NC artists, and a survey show of the [impressive] collection of yet another art collecting Duke grad.
Saturday night was Cassandra Wilson at the Carolina Theatre, doing songs from her new Billie Holiday tribute, Coming Forth By Day. It was a fun set – she seemed ultra-loose and relaxed and genuinely happy to be there. The arrangements are all pretty far away from the classic Holiday arrangements – the album was recorded by Nick Cave’s longtime producer – and it worked better than a faithful historical recreation likely would have, especially given how much lower & more powerful Cassandra’s voice is.
I could have done with a better mix, though – from where we were sitting, we were getting way too little reeds & way too much of the guitarist, who was doing a lot of little noisy textural fills that seemed intended to sit well in the background, rather than out front at screaming lead volume.
Plus I could go the whole rest of my life without hearing another solidbody electric mandolin. Seriously.
Sunday night we watched A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, the Iranian/American feminist vampire movie. It was gorgeously shot in deep rich black-and-white, and had the languorous feel of a Jarmusch movie. Now that I think about it, it was a better Jarmusch vampire movie than Jarmusch’s vampire movie.