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Theatrical release
From tear-jerking dramas to funky puppetry, Atlanta's theaters are in full springtime blooming. Here are four shows worth checking out this weekend:

The Alliance Theatre's adaptation of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, a heavyweight drama set in the 1930s, winds up its world premiere production April 24, making this your last chance to see it before its probable New York run. $15-$45. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m,; Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000.

Downstairs, on the Alliance's Hertz Stage, a beauty parlor sets the stage for Shear Madness, a comic murder mystery in which the audience decides "whodunit" every night. $25-$30. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m,; Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Through May 15. 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000.

Meanwhile, two wild puppet shows consider man's place in the universe. PushPush Theater presents an irreverent adaptation of Gilgamesh that uses everything from live Persian music to contemporary pop references to interpret the Mesopotamian epic poem. See Arts, p. 48. $12-$15. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. Through May 1. 121 New St. 404-377-6332.

And Principia Discordia, opening April 22 at Dad's Garage's Top Shelf space, lays out the tongue-in-cheek tenets of the Discordian Church in an irreligious service that features parables about the Trojan War and King Kong. See Arts, p. 48 $13. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Through April 30. 280 Elizabeth St. 404-523-3141.

Inspired insomnia
Men and women are a lot alike in certain situations. Like when they're both on fire - they're exactly alike. DAVE ATTELL, the comedian who offered us that gem of wisdom, performs APRIL 21 at the Tabernacle. Self-described as "Andre Agassi with a drinking problem," Attell is best known as the writer and host of Comedy Central's "Isomniac." Though our sources couldn't tell us whether he'd be filming another episode while in town, we recommend you look for him after the show at the Clermont Lounge, where on his last visit he ogled a "raging 200-pound stripper." $32.50. 8 p.m. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. 404-659-9022.

We love the parade
Buying a house these days in Inman Park is out of the question for most mortals. But once a year, during the Inman Park SPRING Festival, some of the most stunning homes in the leafy neighborhood throw open their doors. The festival, happening APRIL 22-24, also offers one of the city's wackiest parades at 2 p.m. on Saturday, lots of live music, a dance festival and hundreds of booths selling all manner of art and tchotchkes. See Arts, p. 53. Tour of homes: $20. Fri., noon-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., noon-6 p.m. Festival: Free. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Clustered at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Euclid Avenue. 770-242-4895.

(Re)mix it up
Heralded as a groundbreaking piece of cinema for its many technical achievements, The Birth of a Nation is a silent film from 1915 that champions racism and the Klu Klux Klan. Ick. DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid has reimagined the melodrama to form dj spooky's rebirth of a nation. Projected onto three screens, images from the original film segue into deconstructed visuals of pop culture icons and images from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. DJ Spooky created a score based on Robert Johnson's blues, and blends in jungle, dub, space rock and ambient hip-hop. Brought to the city April 22 by the Atlanta College of Art, the performance piece addresses issues of race and the use of technology and media in modern society. See Vibes, p. 83. $10-$15. 8 p.m. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000.

April 21 Thursday
The Atlanta Ballet closes its 75th anniversary season with Cinderella, opening tonight. Though lots of performances might claim it, this is one ballet that really does offer something for the whole family. Dads can take a Mom-approved gander at some amazing gams. Lots of kids will sympathize with the evil stepsister thing while learning some moral lessons. And there's a serious shoe problem at the end that we're guessing most women can relate to. $22-$66. Times vary. Through April 24. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. 404-817-8700. (LB)

April 22 Friday
Like Dolly, REBA has become a no-last-name-needed country crossover artist, boasting her own clothing line, TV sitcom, Broadway starring role and product endorsements. With all the commotion, it's easy to forget that she was also the most successful female country artist of the '80s and '90s. So tonight, along with the glitz, you'll get a slick reminder of her hit-making days. An onstage collaboration with openers Brad Paisley and Terri Clark also seems likely for this family-friendly evening. $46-$60. 8 p.m. Philips Arena. 404-878-3000. (Hal Horowitz)

April 23 Saturday
Who doesn't need a laugh after a day of serious shopping at Atlanta's temple of retail? Fortunately, you don't even have to leave Lenox Square for a little levity. ArtWalk's latest exhibition is Knew Kartoons: The Use of Cartoon Imagery in Art, featuring local artists Amber Boardman, Jacob Escobedo, Jonathan Fenske, Tom Ferguson and Travis Pack. Free. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m. Lenox Square Promenade, 3393 Peachtree Road. 770-435-5180. (Felicia Feaster)

April 24 Sunday
High school is the central theme of Prom, the second solo CD from singer/songwriter/activist Amy Ray of Decatur-born folk duo Indigo Girls, but she's graduated into an international icon. Tonight, she celebrates the album release (on her own Daemon Records label) at the Variety Playhouse. A dance party set from supergroup Group Sex rounds out the bill. See Vibes, p. 86. $15. 8 p.m. 1099 Euclid Ave. 404-524-7354. (Lee Valentine Smith)

April 25 Monday
Ben Lee's never quite fulfilled the promise of his teenage solo albums and his band Noise Addict, but his power pop is sweet and fun in a boy-next-door kind of way. Har Mar Superstar is a classic R&B singer in the body of a balding white man, and while there's a joke in there, he's got an uncanny sexy croon that provokes a double-take. $10. 9 p.m. Drunken Unicorn, 736 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-870-0575. (Chris Parker)

April 26 Tuesday
First-generation emo act Jimmy Eat World's massive 2001 album, Bleed American, pushed open the floodgates to modern-rock radio, and second-generation emo act Taking Back Sunday has surged into the breach. A grassroots group, TBS is part of the snidely termed "screamo" sub-genre, which combines a hardcore punk attack, metal breakdowns and tortured, screaming vocals with hooky choruses and pop-punk melodics. Jimmy Eat World is more anthemic and slickly, straight-forwardly pop rock by comparison. $25. 7 p.m. Arena at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway. 404-249-6400. (CP)

April 27 Wednesday
Opening tonight, Menopause: The Musical is a parody featuring 26 re-lyricized baby boomer hits from the '60s and '70s like "Puff, My God I'm Dragging" and the disco tune "Stayin' Awake, Stayin' Awake." Hot flashes and night sweats might not be fun to experience, but we've been told this ensemble can make for a good laugh. $42.50. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. 14th Street Playhouse, 173 14th St. 404-733-4750. (Jaiye Andrews)

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