THURSDAYS-SATURDAYS starting Aug. 20
The Dance on Widow’s Row
The Writer’s Stage
1008 Charlotte Ave.
7:30 p.m., $15
Looking for a light-hearted evening of fun? You’ll want to check out The Dance on Widow’s Row, now playing at The Writer’s Stage for an indefinite run.
Written by Samm-Art Williams, this charming comedy follows four wealthy widows who plan a romantic get-together for four of the area’s most eligible bachelors. It’s a risky move, sure to stir up plenty of gossip. But these feisty ladies are determined to find “Mr. Right.” The show enjoyed a successful run at Tennessee State University in 2004.
“The results at Tennessee State a couple of years ago were powerfully encouraging,” said director Barry Scott, who is widely known as an actor, writer, producer and director. “I am excited to bring this show back in an indefinite run to Writer’s Stage and to give Nashville something that it doesn’t get enough of — an extended run of a top-notch comedic theatrical production depicting African-Americans.”
Indeed, the cast features an impressive ensemble, including Diane Dixon, Stella Reed, Tamiko Robinson, Darlene Knight, Barry Scott, Kenneth Dozier and Eric Williams. A true collaborative effort, the play is presented by the American Negro Playwright Theatre and produced by bScott Productions and SistaStyle Productions.
— Amy Stumpfl
FRIDAY, AUG. 21- SATURDAY, AUG. 29
Wilson County Fair
James E. Ward Agriculture Center
945 E. Baddour Pkwy.
Gates open noon Saturdays, 1 p.m. Sunday, 5 p.m. weeknights, $7 for adults, $5 for children, 5 and under free
With a headliner like country superstar Darryl Worley and the chance to win your choice of a new car, truck or tractor, the fact that the Wilson County Fair was named as one of the Top 50 fairs in the United States this year is merely icing on the cake.
Speaking of cakes, there'll be plenty of cakes, pies and other delectables in the Martha White-sponsored baking contest — just one of hundreds of contests showcasing the skills of local home economists, gardeners, farmers and wine makers.
And if all this talk about sweets is whetting your appetite, there'll be plenty of funnel cakes, cotton candy, roasted corn and more to satisfy any craving.
Take a break from the heat and let your snacks settle at any one of more than a half-dozen entertainment stages or check out homegrown beauties in a handful of pageants for young ladies and gents.
Find out more about Wilson County's history with a stroll through Fiddlers Grove, a historic village of original and recreated local landmarks.
With partly cloudy skies and moderate temperatures in the forecast, this weekend is the perfect time to take the short drive out Interstate 40 east to see what more than 400,000 others saw last year — the Wilson County Fair.
— Sherry Phillips
FRIDAY, AUG. 21
Beer at the Ballet
Martin Center for Dance
3630 Redmon St.
297-2966, ext. 30, nashvillballet.com
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., $35 in advance/$40 at the door
Even the Nashville Ballet’s Web site admits that “when you think of ballet, you probably think of tutus, tights and dainty dance moves.” You may not, however, think of beer. But on Friday, ballet and beer come together, along with food and music, at an event intended to attract the young Nashville community to the ballet, which, by the way, is more than tutus, tights and dainty dance moves.
While discovering just how much the ballet has to offer, patrons can sample different types of Yazoo beer and enjoy local fare from The Local Taco, Kalamatas, The Cupcake Collection, City House, I Dream of Weenie, Zumi Sushi and more. Nashville band Floyd the Barber will also be on hand to entertain with retro-dance music from the ‘80s.
The ticket price includes a membership to Friends of Nashville Ballet, which will set you up to receive discounts on Nashville Ballet performances throughout the year.
— Katie Porterfield
SATURDAY, AUG. 25
Franklin Wine Festival Vintner Dinner
1935 Mallory Lane, Franklin
7 p.m., $85 (seating limited)
In early October, the fifth edition of the Franklin Wine Festival will look to top its 2008 fund-raising record of $112,000. Before then, vinophiles will get two chances to taste pairings of food and wine chosen by some of the area’s top chefs and vintners.
The festival’s first event at Criallo’s (with another dinner held at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse Sept. 22) will feature food and wines from Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Argentina and California: Think pinot grigio with bruschetta, malbec with a New York strip or alabriño with seafood paella.
Proceeds from all Wine Festival events go to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, which last year facilitated one-on-one mentoring programs for more than 2,200 youths from 54 schools around the region. The main Wine Festival event is Oct. 2 at the Factory in Franklin. There, attendees will be able to sip from more than 300 wines, take in some live music and bid on various prize packages during a silent auction.
— Geert De Lombaerde
SATURDAY, AUG. 22
Bluebird on the Mountain concert series
Featuring hit songwriters Dave Berg, Rivers Rutherford and Victoria Shaw
Vanderbilt’s Dyer Observatory
1000 Oman Drive, Brentwood
8 p.m., $95 per ticket or up to 8 people per vehicle for $399
Bring blankets, lawn chairs, food and drink and set out under the stars in the observatory's lawn while listening to some of the top hit makers of Music Row let it rip (anyone who’s ever seen Rivers Rutherford perform knows that’s the only way he knows how to do it!).
Rutherford’s hits are too many to name (“Livin’ in Fast Forward” and “When I Get Where I’m Going” come to mind), and he’s one of those songwriters whose voice and guitar playing make you wonder why the suits on Music Row never made him a star in his own right.
Berg’s songs (“Stupid Boy” and “If You’re Going Through Hell,” to name just two) dominate contemporary country radio. He’ll prove it Saturday night. And his peculiar brand of humor is arguably worth the price of admission.
Victoria Shaw’s hits run the gamut from Garth Brooks to Latin sensation Ricky Martin. ‘Nuff said.
After the show, stargaze using the Observatory’s Seyfert telescope. Tickets are limited, so hurry.
— Drew Ruble
MONDAY, AUG. 24
The Belcourt Theatre
2102 Belcourt Ave.
7:30 p.m., $35
Among his numerous accomplishments and exploits over the years, singer/songwriter Steve Earle has always championed the music of his friend and fellow songwriter Townes Van Zandt.
He’s working on a novel that Van Zandt’s music inspired and is performing a tribute to Van Zandt in his current live performances.
Earle’s introduction to Van Zandt’s music came as a 14-year-old in San Antonio. Over the decades, no matter what his personal situation, Earle has never lost his love for Van Zandt or his music. Since Van Zandt’s death 11 years ago, there have been various essays, books and articles penned about his importance to the alt.country, folk and even alternative rock worlds, but few are in a better position to truly understand his music than Earle, who saw Van Zandt when he was both at the bottom and top of the music world.
Earle’s CD, Townes, was mostly recorded first in his Greenwich Village apartment with an acoustic guitar, then later polished with overdubs at Nashville’s Sound Emporium by Dennis Crouch and Greg Morrow.
Monday night Earle will be playing the songs from this release solo and on acoustic guitar, along with special guest Allison Moorer, in concert at The Belcourt Theatre.
— Ron Wynn
TUESDAY, AUG. 25
The Belcourt Theatre
2102 Belcourt Ave.
7 p.m., $18.50, $20.50
Ben Sollee’s classical training on cello was augmented by an early introduction to soul music, especially the songs of Otis Redding and Ray Charles, through his parents’ huge record collection.
Later he became immersed in folk music, and eventually he became part of The Sparrow Quartet. Sollee, banjo ace Bela Fleck, fellow banjo soloist and vocalist Abigail Washburn and violinist Casey Driessen explored everything from gospel to outside jazz, rock, folk and the blues on their 2008 debut Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet.
Sollee subsequently issued his own EP If You Are Gonna Lead My Country and later a full CD Learning to Bend.
A tremendous improviser and equally accomplished melodic interpreter and accompanist, Sollee enjoys disproving notions about how the cello should sound or what context most fits it thematically.
He’s become a popular favorite on NPR, which picked him as one of the Top Ten Unknown Artists of the Year two years ago. Sollee has been touring since March with the Vienna Teng Trio, and they’ll appear at the Belcourt Tuesday night.
— Ron Wynn
TUESDAY, AUG. 25
The Jonas Brothers
(with Jordin Sparks and the Honor Society)
7 p.m., $29.50-$84.50
Yes, I know The Jonas Brothers played here in January. But that was at the smaller Ryman Auditorium, and their new CD, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, had not been released. And this show is one of the last three in the United States before the brothers take off for Canada and Europe for the rest of the year.
So, if you have a daughter under the age of 16, and she’s been nagging you to take her to see Kevin, Joe and Nick, and there are tickets to be had, well, this may be your best chance. Their World Tour 2009 includes a massive 140-foot plus stage centered in the arena that aims to give a larger number of Jonas Brothers fans a closer, more interactive live concert than they’ve ever experienced before. It features a one-of-a-kind circular water screen, multi-color laser effects, motion automated video screens, a giant crane levitating over the audience plus other surprises that will bring the tour to the next level of concert entertainment.
Oh, and the music is pretty darn good, too — sort of like a modern-day Cheap Trick, but with better hair and fashion sense. Check out “Paranoid” and “Tonight” if you don’t believe me.
— Vincent Troia