Random acts

Of note

Secrets From Space: Not satisfied with their self-titled The Alien Music Club, the band has announced plans to release a new album, Top Secret, later this summer. For more information, visit www.alienmusicclub.com.

Unleashing the ‘core: Asheville’s emo-hardcore rock unit Secret Lives of the Freemasons plan to release their debut CD on Aug. 1, coinciding nicely with their upcoming spot on the Vans Warped Tour. According to a source within the group, Secret Lives also recently signed a one-year contract with Chapel Hill-based indie Venge Records, which promises national distribution. Visit www.secretlivesofthefreemasons.com for more information.

Sound off: After 20 years performing with other musicians in Chicago, Denver and Seattle, now-local singer/songwriter Joel Underwood has released his debut album, Tacoma Narrows. Learn more at www.joelunderwood.net.

Local mix-compilation challenge

We all know the best means of discovering new music is through the time-honored tradition of the “mix tape.” Really, how better to uncover new auditory passions than a full disc cobbled from choice bits of someone else’s own favorite albums?

Well, for the next month, Random Acts will be hosting a contest in which area music-philes can put their taste to the test to see who can come up with the best mix collection of local-only tunes.

Of course, like any game worth playing, there are a few ground rules.

• First, only compilations completely created from local music are eligible. (This goes for sampled material, as well — all sound clips must be from locally produced sources.)

• Second, entries must be clearly marked with relevant album information such as song titles, band or solo artist’s name and (if possible) the album title itself.

• Third, mix compilations must run no longer than 60 minutes each.

• Lastly, all compilations must be received at Xpress by Saturday, Aug. 14, to be eligible to win.

Entries will be judged on song selection, mood transition, eclecticism and packaging. DJ mixes of local music are also encouraged, but again: All source materials must be locally originated, and samples (also local) must be credited.

The winning entrant will receive a Mountain Xpress T-shirt, as well as an in-depth description of his or her mix in the Aug. 25 edition of Random Acts. (Runners-up will also receive mentions.)

Send entries to:

Random Acts Comp Mix Contest

c/o Mountain Xpress (attn: Steve Shanafelt)

P.O. Box 144

Asheville, NC 28802

That’s it. So get spinning, and let us hear Asheville through your ears.

Front-row reviews

What: Love’s Labour’s Lost

Where: Hazel Robinson Amphitheater in Montford Park
When: Sunday, July 11

Jason Williams‘ best directorial talent is his ability to find room for a good slapstick joke between Shakespeare’s poetic lines. The Bard wrote plenty of low-brow humor into his plays, but lesser directors often let the sticky briars of Elizabethan English entangle their actors, as if a pratfall or spit-take might somehow shame Shakespeare’s memory.

Not so with Williams, or with this cast.

The court members attending the Princess (Stephanie Hickling) shock each other with well-placed pinches. The vassals of Don Armando (Steve Livingston) tease their lord with well-timed kicks to the rear. The suitors dance, and their ladies sing. But what’s more, they all make frequent use of none-too-subtle phallic gestures and pantomimed sexual innuendo. Their verses ooze naughty double meanings, rolling from players’ mouths accompanied by knowing winks and smirks.

It makes Old Bill’s words funny again.

Of particular note in this performance was the excellent bawdiness of Kane Clawson as Boyet, the witty French Lord attending the Princess of France. Clawson’s ribald, worldly take on the role was a true highlight.

For a lusty revisitation of a typically musty play, this is a production of Love’s Labour’s Lost well worth catching.

Love’s Labour’s Lost closes its run with shows Friday, July 23, through Sunday, July 25, and again Friday, July 30, through Sunday, Aug. 1. Performances start at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.

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