Bat vs. wig
Who's the less likely musical star: a bloodthirsty but misunderstood bat boy, or a German glam rocker who -- thanks to a botched sex change operation -- doesn't quite qualify as male or female? Audiences can weigh the evidence this weekend with the opening of two quirky rock-flavored shows that confound our expectations for musical theater.
Beginning MAY 22 at Actor's Express, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH stars Adam Salyer as the embittered transsexual crooner who sings like the love child of Patti Smith and Ziggy Stardust. During the show's run, the theater itself dons Western drag, making itself over as "Dwayne's Range," a seedy country watering hole -- with a cash bar open through the run of the show. Previews May 22-24, 8 p.m. $10. Opens May 25. $20-$25. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. Continues through July 26. Actor's Express, King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. 404-607-7469. www.actors-express.com.
-- Curt Holman
Dad's Garage Theatre's BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL uses song and dance to recount the misunderstood life of the Weekly World News' batty tabloid hero (played by Clifton Guterman, right). Bat Boy plays at the Alliance Theatre's Hertz Stage MAY 22-JUNE 1 as the last installment of the City Series, then flaps over to Dad's Garage starting JUNE 6. Continues through June 1. $10-$27. Tues.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Hertz Stage, Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000. www.alliancetheatre.org. At Dad's Garage Theatre: through June 28. $10-$20. Thurs.-Sat. 8 p.m. 280 Elizabeth St. 404-523-3141. www.dadsgarage.com.
The ATLANTA JAZZ FESTIVAL tops off 26 days of high-caliber talent and technical finesse with its free weekend concert series MAY 24-26. This year's event is a multicultural free-for-all in more ways than one. Saturday highlights include kitchen-sink fusionist Dr. Dan, and a pair of Louisiana treasures, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and trumpeter Irvin Mayfield. Sunday features the funk-flavored acid-jazz of Boston's Soulive and the rich conjunto strains of headliners Eddie Palmieri & La Perfecta. Memorial Day's headliner, Maysa, is a jazz crooner with a voice as smooth as chilled Kahlua. Each day, the music kicks off with one of the top three winners of the Atlanta Jazz Festival Youth Band Competition, so get there early to show your support. Free. Sat.-Mon. 2 p.m. Piedmont Park. 404-817-6851. www.atlantafestivals.com.
-- Hobart Rowland
It may be a weekend for jazz, but it's also a weekend for noteworthy female vocalists. SUZANNE VEGA returns to Atlanta MAY 23, hocking Retrospective, a new greatest "hits" collection that includes just two actual hits: "Luka" and the DNA-remixed "Tom's Diner". $25. 8 p.m. The Roxy, 3110 Roswell Road. 404-233-7699. www.atlantaconcerts.com.
Though not a part of the Jazz Festival roster, JANE MONHEIT is usually classified under the jazz umbrella. Her forays into the American popular songbook (Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.) celebrate a lyric-driven style that allows her voice to dip to honeyed depths and soar to the purest heights. She performs MAY 23-24. $22-$50. 8 p.m. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org.
-- Jerry Portwood
May 21 Wednesday
The DECATUR FILM FESTIVAL kicks off the annual DECATUR ARTS FESTIVAL with screenings by local filmmakers. The first night features the panel "What Makes a Great Movie," followed by multiple screenings showcasing micro-documentaries and other shorts. Free. May 21-23. Panels 5:30- 6:30 p.m.; screenings 7-10 p.m. Holiday Inn Select, 130 Clairmont Ave., Decatur. 404-371-9583. www.decaturga.com. (JP)
May 22 Thursday
BUBBAPALOOZA's three-day redneck-twang fest features Slim Chance and the Convicts, Kevn Kinney, Elvis impersonator Dean Crownover as Heavy Melvis, Nashville roots-country stalwarts BR5-49, and Athens' answer to Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Drive-By Truckers. $15. Thurs. 8 p.m.; Fri. 6 p.m.; Sat. 5 p.m. Star Community Bar, 437 Moreland Ave. 404-681-9018. www.starbar.net. (JP)
May 23 Friday
Author/humorist ROY BLOUNT JR., one-time Decatur resident and a full-time expert on all things Southern, returns to his former 'hood to sign copies of his newest book, Robert E. Lee, which takes on the Confederate icon with wit and grace. Free. 3:30 p.m. Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. 404-370-3070. (JP)
May 24 Saturday
Proving that Shakespeare's always been good for a tune or two, NOVA Performance Group presents the SHAKESPEARE CABARET, with styles ranging from Elizabethan to swing, flamenco to jazz, Renaissance to country -- plus a whole lot of bawdy comedy in-between. $10 (free with Tavern Twelfth Night stub). May 23-24, 11 p.m.; May 30, 11 p.m. The New American Shakespeare Tavern, 499 Peachtree St. 404-371-3341. www.shakespearetavern.com. (JP)
May 25 Sunday
You say there's a dearth of androgynous she-males screaming and kicking to a rock 'n' roll beat? No more. TRANSFIXION hopes to capture some of the energy of Pat Briggs' Glitterdome with drag performers Kristina Diva, Diamond Lil, the Amazing Amber Taylor and more. $5. 10 p.m. The Metro, 1080 Peachtree St. 404-874-9869. (JP)
May 26 Monday
COMMUNAL CLASSICS's final night features a screening of the sharp and witty THE THIN MAN, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as the fun and clever Nick and Nora. Free. Dusk. Commune, 1198 Howell Mill Road. 404-609-5000. www.communeatlanta.com. (JP)
May 27 Tuesday
Hank Stewart hosts the weekly neo-soul/spoken-word night THE WORD, a forum for some of the city's most talented performers to hold court. Free. 7 p.m. The Oh-Zone, 544 N. Angier Ave. 678-851-5015. (JP)
May 28 Wednesday
The city's standup hopefuls should be out in full force for Comedy Central's LAUGH RIOTS STAND-UP COMPETITION semifinal round. These unknowns may not make it big -- but they'd settle for a laugh or two. Call for time and price. Uptown Comedy Corner, 2140 Peachtree Road. 404-350-6990. (JP)