Arts Briefs: Smokin’ Notes fest serves up jazz, ‘cue

Family fun



From barbecue to jazz, everything’s smokin’ hot during Saturday’s inaugural Smokin’ Notes festival at Providence’s Knickerbocker Park in northwest Las Vegas.

The free event features a performance by the award-winning Tommy Thompson Project band. Barbecue will be available for purchase and members of the Southern Nevada Traffic Safety Coalition will present a safety fair — that is, when they’re not competing for bragging rights during a barbecue sauce-making competition.

A children’s activity area will feature chalk drawing and other crafts, along with a kid-friendly obstacle course.

Attendees are invited to bring blankets, picnic baskets and well-behaved, leashed dogs.

The free Smokin’ Notes festival will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Knickerbocker Park, 10695 Dorrell Lane. For more event information, call 702-216-2020 or visit Theater



The new baseball season brings with it a host of home-plate heroes in the making.

But it’s doubtful any of them will surpass baseball’s original Sultan of Swat, the inspiration for Friday’s free presentation of “Babe Ruth, a Life and a Legend.”

The Chautauqua performance is by Frank X. Mullen, an award-winning author and journalist whose other Chautauqua portrayals range from Henry VIII to Albert Einstein, U.S. Grant to Edward R. Murrow.

This one traces Ruth’s Baltimore boyhood, his initial heroics as a Boston Red Sox pitcher and, finally, his legendary slugging prowess as the deadliest member of the New York Yankees’ “Murderers’ Row” alongside, among others, fellow Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig.

Mullen will perform “Babe Ruth, a Life and a Legend” at noon Friday in the jury assembly room of the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South. For more information, call 702-229-3515 or visit




If you think gender-bending’s a relatively recent phenomenon, think again.

Or check out the play “Compleat Female Stage Beauty,” which begins a six-performance run Friday at the College of Southern Nevada’s Cheyenne campus.

Set during the Restoration era, during the reign of England’s King John II, Jeffrey Hatcher’s comedy-drama focuses on Edward Kynaston, the era’s most famous player of female roles. That is, until a decree allows women to finally act onstage, causing Kynaston to lose his livelihood, his love — and his sense of self.

The play — which inspired the 2004 movie “Stage Beauty,” with Billy Crudup and Claire Danes — “is rife with themes of identity and gender,” according to director Ann-Marie Pereth, a CSN theater instructor, who cites its “witty, gritty, contemporary language” and “spectrum of identifiable characters” as attributes.

The real-life Kynaston was a 17th-century star, “the last of his rather unique kind,” she says, likening the play to “ ‘Shakespeare in Love’ meets ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch.’ And Hatcher’s creative liberties with history truly capture the many flavors of this flamboyant period.”

“Compleat Female Stage Beauty” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., North Las Vegas; additional performances are at 7:30 p.m. April 25 and 26 and 2 p.m. April 27. For tickets ($10-$12), call 702-651-5483 or visit




A Spanish-language Easter drama and a staged reading of “Diversity Day” — a re-enactment of combative public testimony regarding anti-discrimination protection for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — demonstrate the diversity of the free drama presentations at the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday, the “Drama de la Pasion de Jesus Nazaret,” presented in Spanish, will depict the trial, suffering and death of Jesus Christ. (Because of subject matter and mild violence, parental supervision is advised.)

And at 7 p.m. Thursday, “Diversity Day” will offer a one-hour staged re-enactment of the Missoula, Mont., city council debate surrounding anti-discrimination provisions for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community — a first in Montana history. A discussion will follow Gregory Hinton’s play, which is based on actual public testimony.

For more information on the readings, call 702-507-3459 or visit




To quote the Oscar-winning song, “It Might as Well Be Spring.” Which it is, when Las Vegas local — and coast-to-coast jazz fave — Laura Taylor returns to The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz Thursday.

With fans ranging from Tony Bennett (“she’s really unique, you gotta listen to her”) to Michael Feinstein (who called her latest recording “beautifully produced and performed”), Taylor will perform a mixture of spring songs, originals and songs from her CDs — including her latest, “Have Mercer on Me,” a tribute to legendary songwriter (and sometimes singer) Johnny Mercer.

Taylor’s also a notable songwriter herself, with such compositions as “Think I’m in Love,” featured on Diana Ross’ platinum album “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.”

Joining Taylor for Thursday’s performance: guitarist Joe Lano, with whom Taylor has recorded four CDs.

They’ll perform at 7 p.m. Thursday in Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave. For tickets ($28-$55), call 702-749-2000 or visit