Every Friday, we highlight three shows from great local performing artists that you can see this coming weekend.

Blu-Bop: A Tribute To The Music of Bela Fleck And The Flecktones
Friday, January 17th at 9 pm at the Cat’s Cradle Back Room


Michael Jackson tribute band? Of course! AC/DC tribute band? Goes without saying! Bela Fleck and the Flecktones tribute band? Come again?

The gifted local banjo player Hank Smith has chosen an unusual path, but maybe not a surprising one. After all, he loves to jump genres as much as his musical hero Fleck, who is equally at home in the worlds of bluegrass, jazz, and rock. Smith bounces between the first-rate bluegrass band Kickin’ Grass and the mellower soul group The Morning After, and now he’s formed Blu-Bop with five collaborators to follow in his idol’s fingerpicks as well as his footsteps. They’ll play note-for-note recreations of the Flecktones’ mind-bending greatest hits, but they’ll also mimic their adventurous improvisation with their own in-song explorations.

Friday night’s show is also a chance for audiences to get to know one of the best new performance spaces in town: Cat’s Cradle’s Back Room. This intimate venue is no cleaned-out broom closet; it’s a fully-equipped 160-seat stand-alone club behind its legendary parent, complete with a well-stocked bar and some of the best acoustics in the Triangle.

Old Time Square Dance
Saturday, January 18th at 8 pm at the Arts Center


Since when does a square dance count as performing arts? When the house band is none other than the Carolina Catbirds, a terrific old-time string band out of Chatham County. Led by master fiddler (and fiddle builder) Shay Garriock, they swing the slow numbers and burn up the fast ones. With able callers Sarah Gibson and Aaron Ratcliffe alongside them this Saturday, they’ll serve up hours of great music to do-si-do by.

This week’s dance is a monthly occurrence for the NC Squares, and a low-pressure, high-energy affair. Dancers from every age group and experience level fill up the hall, so you’ll never be lacking a partner, and you pay as much or as little as you want at the door. Best of all, it’s as much exercise as your local aerobics class, and twice as fun!

Debris Play Reading
Sunday, January 19th at 2 pm at Deep Dish Theater


Where do plays come from? When you see the finished product, you’re really seeing untold hours of ideas, drafts, rewrites, and workshops. It’s a thrilling and sometimes agonizing process to birth a new play, and it can take years.

Now Deep Dish Theater is taking you inside the creation of a new work, Katja Hill’s one-woman show called Debris. This gifted local actress brings you along as she and her mother travel to the latter’s birthplace of Finland. Their journey takes them deep into unreliable memories, as well as their own history as mother and daughter.
Sunday’s show is the last of five script-in-hand performances (including 8pm shows on Friday and Saturday nights), with audience discussions after each one. Hill will revise between performances, so you could even attend multiple showings to watch the piece change! It’s a rare chance to go behind the scenes of a play as it’s being born.

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