Posts Tagged ‘Lexington Avenue’

The Mountain Xpress in Asheville printed some wonderful coverage of this years Lexington Ave Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF).  I am going to post some exceprts from each with inks to the full articles and intermingle a few of my shots from the fest… Check it out.

Great article on the LAAFF Music, the Asheville Music Scene, and the evolution thereof:

Rockin’ in the freak world

This year’s LAAFF music lineup is more indie than ever

by Alli Marshall in Vol. 17 / Iss. 06 on 08/31/2010

Molly Kummerle of Paper Tiger

Browsing old Xpress coverage of the inaugural LAAFF turned up this walk down memory lane: “More than 25 local acts [are] scheduled to appear on two stages. Highlights include Devilish Mary (all-girl string band with Cary Fridley, performing at noon); The Oxymorons Comedy Troupe; rising rock stars Drug Money; West African drum-and-dance group Ballet Warraba; and celebrated burlesque troupe The Rebelles.”

Yes, it was just as eclectic seven years ago as it will be this year, only this year there are almost twice as many acts and six stages. And, there’s another notable difference: This year’s LAAFF takes on an indie-rock flavor that it’s never had before.

“We try not to have repeats from year to year,” explains festival organizer Erin Scholze. “We sift through the genres. It seems like this year there are just a lot more successful indie bands.”

Here’s what that evolution looks like: Toubab Krewe headlined in 2005 (along with Strut, stephaniesid, the Great Slide, Cabo Verde, Fifth House, Mad Tea Party, the Buckerettes, Aaron Price and Christina Aurea).

LAAFF Electric Stage 2010

In 2006, Jeremy Long (then-percussionist with Avec La Force Percussion and Dance Initiative) told Xpress, “The planning committee decided LAAFF needed to be more diverse this year.” Enter Flamenco Saltado, Soora Gameela, Baraka Mundi, Banana da Terra, the Shining Rock Reggae Band and Nbale (Newborn Ancient Love Ensemble) with Biko Casini of Strut on West African balaphone — a group formed just for LAAFF.

LAAFF circa 2007 hinted at indie rock — the Sophisticated Chimps fit that bill, along with Speedsquare and Nevada. But the balance was jam, experimental and world music.

“Do everything faster”

… … … … …Check out this portion of the inter view with Kovacs and the Polar Bear here.

Just for LAAFF

Take Nbale. That band formed for LAAFF four years ago after Scholze noticed a number of players (Nbale included Casini, Ryan Reardon, Simon Tisman & Sage Sansome) from various bands waiting out a rainstorm together in a College St. storefront and suggested they try playing together. Another mashup was Sons of a Keeled Over Snake with members of Sons of Ralph, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge and Snake Oil Medicine Show.

“We’ve always called it a showcase event,” Scholze says of LAAFF. “You walk up the street and you are going to hear something you never would have heard. It’s a way for the musicians to intermingle with each other as well.”

Asheville Horns LAAFF 2010

Asheville Horns was also born of an opportune moment: A group of local brass players were tapped to record with Laura Reed and Deep Pocket. “Someone said ‘You should become a horn-rental section,’” recalls trombonist Derrick Johnson, whose main gig is with Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. They did, and putting a bunch of horn players together “gave us a chance to play different types of funk,” says Johnson. Soon, Asheville Horns wasn’t just a brass section for hire, but a band with its own shows.

Johnson, a fan of collaborations, co-created the local Funk Jam (held every Tuesday at the Emerald Lounge) when friends from a Long Beach, Ca.-based funk band were visiting Asheville and looking for a place to jam. Musician/soundman/promoter Frank Bloom offered up Emerald Lounge, and what was meant to be a one-off evolved, over the last two years, into a full-on scene. That scene attracts not just local performers, but touring musicians from bands like Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Galactic and Phish. For new-to-town musicians, “It gave people a chance to get established in the scene,” says Johnson. “People started getting different phone calls for different gigs. It was a card-swapping music exchange.” … Networking for funk players.

A festival that helped build the musical landscape

Dj Candice B at LAAFF 2010

Those kinds of opportunities to meet and mix have changed the sonic topography of Asheville in recent years. When LAAFF started, “People didn’t know each other,” Scholze says. “As the years have gone on, they started doing the funk jam and that brought in people like Vertigo Jazz Band and Matt Williams. That [created] the soul-jazz thing and now they’re cultivating that.” Scenes have formed around common interests, and each scene (jazz, jam, funk, etc.) has its own following. “But I think the next step is for the [various] scenes to start connecting and opening up, maybe connecting the soul-jazz people to the orchestra-jazz people; maybe connecting some of the singer/songwriters to the funk jam,” says Scholze.

So, will next year bring a more decisive move toward indie-rock? Or perhaps an indie/world fusion? Will The Archrivals battle Nataraj? Will Woody Pines bring a DJ on stage? Will Sky Lake add a balaphone to its lineup? Whatever the next LAAFF brings — or this one, for that matter — it’s sure to be a surprise.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2010/090110rockin-in-the-freak-world

Great writeup on the happenings other than the music at LAAFF. This article also gave a round up of all the LAAFFter parties:

LAAFF: More than music

Vol. 17 / Iss. 06 on 08/31/2010


Tall Bike Freak Michael Mooney

• Bike Jousting: Though Michael Mooney’s tall bike will not return to LAAFF this year, his bicycle jousting — a game that Mooney developed specifically for LAAFF — will. Contestants gear up in foam armor, sit astride a bike with a banana saddle and elliptical wheels, and try to dismount their opponent with a boxing glove at the end of a long pole. Fun for kids and adults.
• Big Wheels for Big Kids: This new-to-LAAFF sport was also invented by Mooney and his friends. Adults board low-rider tricycle-like vehicles and race a track made of tires.
• Miss Kitty’s Interactive Arts Area: Made for adults and kids, the arts area features many performers from the ongoing Pritchard Park Cultural Arts Program. Asheville Hoops will be on hand, along with Stina Andersen’s Tunnel of LAAFFs, which gives participants a chance to note what they love about the festival on a CD that is then woven into a bamboo tunnel. Melissa Glaze of the Asheville Mural Project does live painting, Our VOICE organizes a hand-print project and a hope box for survivors of sexual violence. Check out a preview of the upcoming Freaks of Asheville Calendar and hang out in the sideshow world created by Royal Peasantry.
…and more…


This year, 82 arts and crafts vendors will sell their wares along Lexington Ave. Since the festival’s inception this number has grown along with the square footage of LAAFF itself, which now extends all the way to BoBo Gallery. The number of arts vendors this year exceeds the number represented in this year’s Arts Park at Bele Chere.


Catch two very different theatre shows on the LaZoom Bus Traveling Stage: Asheville Playback Theatre…The Feral Chihuahuas…Unifire Theatre…Asheville Vaudeville…Street performers


There’s more than just music at LAAFF; there’s dance, too. Local movement artists show their stuff — many of these performers also teach classes…Belle Afrique…Asheville Dance Revolution…Asheville Hoops Troupe…Lisa Zahiya hip-hop and bhangra…
READ THE FULL ARTICLE with performer descriptions HERE: http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2010/090110laaff

Wonderful Local Food at LAAFF:

Festival of Flavor

LAAFF has eats and drinks to keep you dancing

by Mackensy Lunsford in Vol. 17 / Iss. 06 on 08/31/2010

The Hop Ice Cream serving it up

What’s a street festival without food? A grouchy group of drunken zombies, that’s what. Fortunately, for festival-goers, there are plenty of local restaurants available to help soothe the blood-sugar woes at LAAFF. Just what can revelers expect to see and taste?Several Lexington Avenue merchants will be represented at the LAAFF food court, and it’s only fitting — local is what this block party is all about. Look for local buffalo short ribs from the Lexington Avenue Brewery, for example. Want something a bit more exotic? Visit Mela’s booth for a taste of Indian cuisine on the streets of Asheville.

… … …

Plenty of local beer will be available at LAAFF, which should come as no surprise. Should you be teetotalling, however, there are options for you, too. Buchi will be pedaling their special brand of local kombucha, and two lemonade stands will be on hand to slake your thirst sans alcohol.

Enjoy the party — and don’t forget to bring your appetite.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2010/090110festival-of-flavor

LAAFF stage schedules were laid out here http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2010/090110laaff-schedules

Full descriptions of the interactivities at 2009 LAAFF. Asheville Hoops, Stina Andersons-The Tunnel of LAAFFs, Melissa Glaze of Asheville Mural Project: Live painter, Freaks of Asheville Calendar Preview, Royal Peasantry and more are all laid out here in the MX  Interactive Arts area Performer Descriptions

LAAFF for the Kids:

Edgy Mama: LAAFFing with kids

by Anne Fitten Glenn on 08/29/2010

Related topics: parenting, Edgy Mama, LAAFF
It’s time again for that funkiest and most family-friendly of Asheville street fests: the Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival, coming to that once raffish downtown area often referred to as Lex this Sunday, Sept. 5.There again will be a multi-tented kids’ area based in the parking lot between Downtown Books & News and Heiwa Japanese Restaurant. For the first time this year, Kids Universe, as it’s been dubbed, is being organized and run by the Asheville-based Earth Fare supermarkets.

READ THE FULL POST HERE: http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2010/edgy_mama_laaffing_with_kids

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There are so many great shots from this year’s Lexington Ave Arts and Fun Festival. I have posted some shots below- all which link back to their original albums. Check em out, and please post a comment with links to YOUR shots is they are not already in here. Cheers~!

Great shots of the lovely Ladies on Stilts, Hula Hoopers and other colorful Stuff.  Click the photo for the whole album:

Ladies on Stilts LAAFF 2010 Photo by Mignon Petrini

Bright Life Photography~ Alisa Whelan~ got some amazing shots from the day. Check out the album by clicking on the photo below.

The Pons Brithers on the LaZoom Bus at LAAFF 2010. Photo by Bright Life Photography

Joseph Carney III got some excellent shots as well. Click the photo to see his album:

Derrick Johnson form the Asheville Horns. Photo by Joseph F. Carney III

There are some wonderful shots in this Blog by Romantic Asheville. Click the photo for the full blog post and lots of pictures:

Kenny The Clown. Photo By Romantic Asheville

Find some great pics by G SocialMedia Gary here: http://ashevillenorthcarolina.blogspot.com/2010/09/laaff-2010-photo-album-see-these.html and they are also posted on facebook. Click the photo for the facebook album:

LAAFF Co-Founder Kitty Love. Photo by G Social Media 2010

Here is an album with some great shots of the LAAFF Photo Dress-up Booth that was in Miss Kitty’s Interactive arts area. Click the photo for the whole album:

LAAFF Photo Dress up Booth 2010

Peter Lorenz got some excellent shots of Jack and Rosetta’s wedding at LAAFF. Click the photo for the full album:

Jack and Rosetta's wedding at LAAFF 2010. Photo by Peter Lorenz

And the Mountain Xpress got some Great Wedding shots as well by Photgrapher Jonathan Welch. Click the Picture for the full album:

LAAFF Wedding Parade by Jonathan Welch with the Mountain Xpress

The Mountain Xpress also had a fantastic Photo booth set up complete with a boxing ring. Click the photo below for their full album:

Mountain Xpress Photo Booth LAAFF 2010

More Great Shots in the Xpress by Jonathan Welch. Click the pic for more:

Big Wheels for Big Kids at LAAFF 2010! Photo by Jonathan Welch

Here are some great shots by Edgy Mama. Click the pic for more form her.

Wretler at LAAFF 2010. Photo by Edgy Mama.

Some great pics by MyGothLaundry. Click the picture for the full album:

LAAFF 2010 Photos by My Goth Laundry

Andolent posted a great photo journal of LAAFF Here as well. Click the photo for the whole album.

Photo by Andolent. LAAFF 2010

Here are some pics on Facebook by Earthfare of the LAAFF Kids Area. Click the photo for the album:

Bouchon restaurant got some fun shots as well. Check em out by clicking the pic below.

Crepes! Photo by Bouchon.


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Check out these couple articles about LAAFF in Bold Life and the Laurel of Asheville.

Arch-itects of Sound

AUGUST 25, 2010 www.boldlife.com


Bele Chere is bigger, but LAAFF may be better.

The Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Fest, sponsored by Arts 2 People, is more distinctively Asheville. Local artists and artisans get to shine, and stages welcome the area’s more interesting musical acts, like The Archrivals, fronted by keyboardist/vocalist Chuck Lichtenberger. Lichtenberger delivers engaging, provocative pop in his alter-ego role as the party-leading Archrival, retro-hoopster sporting Afro and shades, 6th man off the bench for the Dominican Republic National Team.

Lichtenberger is best known from his work with indie-rockers Stephanie’s Id. The Archrivals’ self-titled debut CD will explain a lot about the Id’s sound. “It’s been brewing for a long time,” Lichtenberger says. “We focus a lot of our energy on Stephanie’s Id. When it’s time to do it, we do it. With The Archrivals, it’s like we do it when we can. It’s going to be a little different now, I think.”

READ the FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.boldlife.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A15650

and here is the Laurel of Asheville article:  Click here and go to page 25 to see it online:

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You can register to volunteer through this link

Now Scheduling Volunteers for LAAFF 2010

September 5, 2010 11am-9pm

There are several opportunities to volunteer… Perks include free t-shirt, drink tickets and invitation to the volunteer appreciation party!

*Beer and Wine


*Set up (shift begins at 7:30)

*Break Down

*Information Booth

*Merchandise Booth

*Barricade Watch

Volunteer shifts are as follows…

Early shift- 11am-3pm (check in at 10:45)

Mid Shift 3pm-6pm (check in at 2:45)

Late Shift 6pm-9:30 breakdown(check in at 5:45)

First time volunteers are welcome…Sign up with a Friend!

Please send your first three requests of WHICH JOB and WHICH SHIFT! We will be scheduling on a first response basis, so please respond to volunteerwithLAAFF@hotmail.com or the registration form as soon as possible!

Feel free to email with questions. I will personally respond to each email with schedule confirmation!

Thank you so much for helping put on the best LOCAL festival in NC!

— Erin Walker


registration form

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by Jason Sandford in Vol. 14 / Iss. 47 on 06/18/2008

Mountain Xpress http://www.mountainx.com/

At long last, a mighty mural project at the end of North Lexington Avenue has begun to take shape.

Taking shape: Local artists are painting a mural beneath the I-240 bridge over North Lexington Avenue. Photo By Jonathan Welch

The outlines of the mural have already been drawn on the concrete supports of the Interstate 240 bridge spanning Lexington Avenue, and artists have begun adding color to the form. For 21-year-old Molly Must, the painting marks the realization of an idea she first had some three years ago. “It’s nice to get it off the ground,” Must said last week as she prepared to scale a scaffold and put acrylic paint to pillar.

In 2005, Must dreamed of taking a dark overpass and turning it into a more vibrant place for passersby to enjoy. “I think public art should bring people together, or create an experience in some way by bringing people together,” the UNCA student said.

Must pursued her vision. She helped create the Asheville Mural Project under the umbrella of the nonprofit Arts 2 People, and started planning. She worked with other local artists and residents to come up with a design, and she started landing grant money. Key donors include the city of Asheville, which gave $6,000 in taxpayers’ money; Greenlife Grocery, which contributed $1,000; and The EcoBuilders, which offered $500. Sherwin-Williams provided paint and primer.

Despite the outpouring of energy and interest, the visionary still had to tangle with bureaucratic red tape. “I had no idea how much bureaucratic muck we would have to trudge through,” Must said.

But trudge she did, and the mural has started coming to life. Working with fellow artists Josh Spiceland and Dan Beck, Must hopes to have the center section of the mural complete in about three weeks. The design depicts a timeline of sustainability, she said, highlighting the mural forms—a Cherokee woman and child, a colonial woman spinning thread, a bicycler, an architect and a man watering a garden.

The section of bridge supports on the west side of the overpass will pay tribute to Asheville’s arts culture, Must explained. Artists Kurt Theasler and Steve Lister have been creating that design, and work will begin once the center section is complete. Must hopes to have the east-end side of bridge supports painted as well, but those plans aren’t firmed up.

The center and west sections of the overpass will also have portraits of Asheville “saints” painted inside the columns, Must said, and people can nominate anyone for the portraits by going to http://www.ashevillemuralproject.org and clicking on the “nominate your Asheville Saint” button.

Sizing up the mural, Must exuded the enthusiasm that’s seen her through the planning process.

“What I love about this project is that it’s so collaborative, and it’s reflecting experiences that we have had in Asheville,” she said. “A lot of public art doesn’t say anything, but this is full of ideas and sentiment.”

The Asheville Mural Project invites volunteers to work on mosaics that will be part of the mural. The mosaic work will be held Saturday, June 21, during the Asheville Building Convergence.

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by Kitty Love, LAAFF Festival Director

Spirit of the Smokies http://livingnewstories.com/

September 2005

The Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival is about to happen. All the weirdness elves have dusted off their magic wands and pulled out their bags of pixie dust for another day of enchanting surprises.

In reading Gayatri’s instructions for how to write an article for Spirit in the Smokies, what emerged on paper was more a poem than an article. It’s about empowerment, and the nature of creativity, and working together, and creating community, and healing our relationship to profit.

The LAAFFestival is a totally homegrown arts festival, consisting of exclusively local WNC offerings (even the beer!), which takes place Sunday of Labor Day weekend on Asheville’s funkiest street, Lexington Avenue. Its reason for being is contained within the mission of its parent organization, Arts2People. We are seeking to preserve the culture created by the united anarchists, the artists, the folks whose lives are art (this means you!) we have come together here for a purpose, drawn inexorably out of our dull and destructive pasts, and have created an affiliation that deserves celebration.

As chief cat-herder, the festival has been for me an exercise in trust. I have always had a do it myself attitude, often to a fault. The downside of being capable is allowing limited opportunities to see the miracles of which others are capable. In part, I created the fest to further the enlightenment I received from the experience of single motherhood. At that time, I wasn’t averse to begging help from strangers in parking lots, much less from my friends and family. I was astounded at what people could do; things I never thought of, solutions that were totally unique.

So the festival is like that. My coordination style is this (to the organizers): “Here’s some insurance, money, a tent, some supplies and a couple of volunteers. Knock us all out and don’t leave any trash.” And we unleash our creativity on the town.

This article, of course, is an unabashed sales pitch designed to entice you, the reader, into joining the frolic. I have become addicted to the process of co-creation of community and radical self-expression, and I know you will, too. We open the invitation to everyone to come and do something funky with us, and then enjoy the wacky, weird and wonderful result. Come in costume! We encourage participation, not just voyeurism (though there’s plenty to gawk at!)

A few festival tidbits include: beer painstakingly crafted in Asheville by the French Broad Brewery, food by local culinary artisans, WNC crafters, an underground art competition, interactive art games, kids art activities by the Arts Council and ArtSpace Charter School, art cars and an art car painting party, performance in three separate areas, and more, all brought to you entirely by volunteers from the community. Last year, we successfully enticed over 10,000 of you to come out and share the fun!

To share a few lines from the free association exercise that preceded this more left brain discourse:

When I work on creating the LAAFFestival I…

See peoples’ desire to connect and give and share

Feel like art has a chance against profit

Feel like art and profit can happen together

Believe poor people can prosper

Believe we can deflate the false importance of money

See god/dess

Feel divine guidance

Feel the presence of the energies of the mountains

Remind people to play

Create an investment in home

Acquaint people with the birthplace of creation

Its what the arts are all about, and how they create a quality of life worth preserving against the seduction of growth choices made with only profit in mind. As our area prospers, lets not relinquish what drew us here in the first place.

Arts2People works to preserve our culture, to strengthen the prosperity of our professional creatives, and to empower people through the creative process. Please go to arts2people.org to learn more about us.

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by Tracy Rose in Vol. 10 / Iss. 4 on 08/27/2003

Mountain Xpress, http://www.mountainx.com/

The recent flowering of high-end boutiques on Lexington Avenue adds a different kind of vitality to the strip of asphalt and concrete long associated with mohawked, dreadlocked and buzz-cut-topped kids with metal bits and Birkenstocks and heaps of attitude on parade.

Kitty Brown, owner of Sky People Gallery and Design Studio on Lexington, seeks to focus on the street’s financial potential.

“Lexington Avenue should be recognized for its commercial viability,” Brown told me recently in her tattoo studio (Sky People also promotes local art and interior design).

“There may be a ‘freak-show’ aspect to this part of town,” she says, “but it’s still fun and safe.”

Steve Bakes, manager of veteran Lexington Avenue business Downtown Books and News, agrees: “We’re seeing better businesses with better business models.”

What’s more, they’re apparently here to stay.

“We used to see them come and go in a matter of months,” he says. “But now they’re becoming more stable, and more established.”

Brown says she’d long been considering the possibilities of a festival on the street when, at the end of last summer, the time felt right. The first Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival was, she says, “this giant force of nature that kind of bubbled up out of the ground and insisted on happening.”

Accordingly, Brown claims to wield a laissez-faire organizational style wherein she delegates duties and events to different coordinators — and then trusts them to run with their instincts.

“Each person has autonomy [over] their own component,” Brown explains.

Fun, freaky festivities

As might be expected, this year’s scheduled artists (all local, all exhibiting or performing original work) are vastly diverse, encompassing painting, sculpture, poetry, improvisational comedy and some weird hybrids best filed under “Only in Asheville” — plus sounds from chamber music to punk rock.

One particular interactive exhibit should definitely draw a crowd. “The Class War Limo,” created by local artist Sean “Jinx” Pace, can be climbed on, pedaled (it’s loosely based on a rickshaw design) and even coaxed into playing tunes (thanks to a marimba located in front of the rider). The sculpture, Pace declares, demonstrates the efforts many workers must make for the enjoyment of but a few.

“This is about the people who make your meals, and the people who clean your hotel room or home,” he explains. “You don’t see them — you don’t even know they’re there.”

Pace, who uses donated recycled material and calls himself a mind developer — rather than, say, a land developer — won first place for sculpture at the inaugural LAAFF art show in 2002. Last year’s piece, “The Deconstruction of a Piano Lesson,” incorporated a suspended pogo stick and an old, broken piano that unleashed mangled notes as participants jumped up and down. And jump they did.

Such hands-on appeal goes a long way toward mainstreaming “scary” work, Brown muses.

“People aren’t inclined to feel comfortable with emerging art because it’s different, and they don’t know how they should react,” she adds. Brown feels art like this should be fun — yet her belief in permaculture is serious business: Food-and-beverage vendors at LAAFF will all hail from downtown restaurants; you won’t even find a Coke at this festival — only fresh lemonade, tea and beer from area breweries.

“Use what you have,” says Brown simply.

On the right foot

The local slant also embraces two nonprofits, both of which stand to benefit from fund-raising at the free festival.

Arts 2 People, an outreach program, ventures to present art as a healing tool. Among its current programs is providing free art classes to troubled teens at the Swannanoa Youth Center

The Asheville Mural Project, meanwhile, is a loose affiliation of artists who hope to transform the face of the city’s public art.

And such a change can only develop street by street.

Ted Robinson, half of avant-rock duo Dig Shovel Dig, insists that, other than the venues on Lexington Avenue, “you can’t go anywhere else and get such a good palette of music.”

Robinson sings, and plays bass and keyboards — the latter with his foot (what else?).

“I really like the idea of [LAAFF] being a community-based thing,” he goes on, “because some of the coolest people I’ve ever met live here.

“Nowhere else in America will you find as many right-minded people in one little strip of a town.”

The second annual Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (spanning the 240 exit on the north end up to College Street) happens Sunday, Aug. 31 from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., with more than 25 local acts scheduled to appear on two stages. Highlights include Devilish Mary (all-girl string band with Cary Fridley, performing at noon); The Oxymorons Comedy Troupe (4:50 p.m.); rising rock stars Drug Money (7 p.m.); West African drum-and-dance group Ballet Warraba (7:20 p.m.); and celebrated burlesque troupe The Rebelles (9:45 p.m.). For more information, call 232-0076.

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