Vallee in the Valley

It's the last chance to catch a free jazz concert on Broadway this summer, as Uptown Columbus winds down its series of concerts on the 1000 block of Broadway. The show, featuring the Lou Vallee Four with Suzanne Swan, is 7-9 p.m. tonight and it's free.

Do you prefer the rock ’n’ roll? Head to the SoHo Bar & Grill on Saturday, when the the palindromic SixxiS perform SongS that are part GaragE and part PsychedeliC. They'll also likely be in outfits inspired by the Jack White collection. They perform with Poanna — which, face it, you've got more in common with than Richanna — starting at 10 p.m. Cover is $5. Details: 706-568-3316.

Sunday's cool-off time in a megapex to be determined. Lots of interesting movies have ventured into various Columbus theaters this weekend. There's "Mongol," which purports to show the kinder, gentler side of Genghis Kahn. "The Foot Fist Way," a martial arts comedy that I've been dying to see, even though it's nearly two years old. There's "Savage Grace," an excruciating true story of social class. Then, of course, I could always venture into the potfest that is "Pineapple Express," thus making room for next week's opening of "Tropic Thunder." Decisions, decisions... Showtimes: 706-576-3456.

— Brad Barnes


You, too, can earn enough national popularity to one day sing a coronation song that includes the phrase "magical rainbows."

Interested? Then hit up the "American Idol" auditions Saturday at 10 a.m. CDT at Village Mall, 1627-53 Opelika Road in Auburn. The local event, sponsored by Fox affiliate WXTX, gives one singer a trip for a guaranteed audition in East Rutherford, N.J.

You won't be singing in front of Paula, Randy and Simon there, but you will be in the proud company of many psychos in chicken suits. It's open to contestants 16-28 years old. Call 706-494-5400.

If the morning's's selfish quest for fame leaves you craving some altruism, go to H2O (6499 Veterans Parkway) for a fundraiser Saturday night to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Atlanta.

The John J. Hooker Band performs, and there will also be a raffle offering a variety of prizes. Doors open at 5 p.m., music starts at 8 p.m. Cover is $10. Call 706-327-9700.

Finally, end your weekend by bonding with a rented DVD. I'm going to opt for the original "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" so I can be all knowledgable before I watch the sequel.

Yes, it's a slight deviation from my usual hatred of chick flicks, but I'm going to need some consolation after messing up my rendition of "Greatest Love of All" at the "Idol" auditions.

— Sonya Sorich

Alan Riquelmy is unavailable today for his Weekend Pick's. His understudy, Jeff Hendrickson, is playing the part of Alan Riquelmy this week.

By channeling the spirit of John Carlos, who along with Tommie Smith created the most popular medal ceremony ever in 1968, we’ve decided to spend the weekend wondering why the Olympics are taking place in one of the most oppressive places on earth.

Carlos, who I talked with on occasion during a previous professional stint in Southern California, joined Smith in raising a fist to protest racism and poverty during the medal ceremony of the 200-meter race in Mexico City.

What can we do from our living rooms to protest the human rights offenses that China has been perpetrating on people for decades? How about not watching the Olympics and supporting NBC’s decision to not only embrace communism but to give a big thumbs up to China’s human rights offenses.

Instead of watching the opening ceremonies tonight and betraying the core values of the Olympic movement, take your kids (unlike in China, here you can have more than one) to Prime Time Pro Wrestling at Columbus Event Center at 5000 Burnham Boulevard. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for active military and tikes under the age of 12. And, to get into the Olympic spirit, the air quality will be just about the same as it is in Beijing.

On Saturday, at least briefly, head to the Village Mall in Auburn for the truly un-Chinese experience of “American Idol” auditions. Why is it so un-Chinese? Well, democracy for one. Capitalism is another and, thirdly, the losers will not be jailed for not agreeing with the decision.

While hanging out in that part of the world, make your way to Jimmy’s Restaurant at 104 South 8th Street in downtown Opelika. Jimmy’s serves cajun and creole dishes and has a pretty sweet list of wines.

Sunday, the day many folks in the U.S. worship and the day many folks in China risk their lives to worship, take it easy. Enjoy a China Village Mai Tai (look it up online) as long as you are an adult as mandated by the laws of this country. You can enjoy the freedoms of this country by reading the paper, either online at or the traditional printed edition, and practice the First Amendment to the Constitution. (that’s freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, to petition, and to assemble, for those of you scoring at home or even if you’re alone.)

So remember as you embark on the fun of this weekend, choose freedom from oppression, freedom from fear and freedom from NBC’s coverage and support of China’s deadly government.