It's the musical that taught us that, even without the PATRIOT Act, a demure librarian can cause a whole heap of trouble ("with a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'P' and that stands for 'pool!'") for a poor, benighted scam artist just trying to make a dishonest buck off the rubes of River City. Beginning July 26, Theater of the Stars does its part to "keep the young ones moral after school" (which we can't help but notice rhymes with "pool"), with its presentation of The Music Man. $20-$59. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 and 7:30 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. 404-249-6400. www.theaterofthestars.com.
A small group of African-American women take advantage of the Homestead Act and build new lives for themselves in 1898 Kansas in Flyin' West. Written by Atlanta author and playwright Pearl Cleage, the work was originally commissioned in 1992 by the Alliance Theatre Company. It is returning to the main stage JULY 18 in a production by True Colors Theatre Company, presented in partnership with the National Black Arts Festival. $29-$54. Showtimes vary, call for details. Through July 31. 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000. www.truecolorstheatrecompany.com.
In a perfect world, instead of the bureaucracy-plagued United Nations, we'd just have Saltworks Gallery spreading peace, love and understanding via art. The gallery has highlighted an Irish artist commenting upon British oppression, a Korean artist applying Buddhist notions of contemplation to art, and now the highly topical work by Moroccan-born artist Lalla Essaydi. Closing July 23, Embodiments features film and Essaydi's photographs printed onto textile panels and examines the confinement and limitations Islam can often impose on girls and women. Free. Tues.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. 635 Angier Ave. 404-876-8000. www.saltworksgallery.com.
The 'boys' are back(street)
Backstreet's back, all right! After disappearing from the pop music spotlight for four years, every tween's favorite, The Backstreet Boys, is stopping in Atlanta JULY 24 in support of Never Gone, an album exploring the fabulous five's journey through adulthood. Worry not, BSB hasn't forgotten the pop hooks and heartwarming ballads of the '90s that brought them undying fame, so cross your fingers for a roof-raising medley, or at least some a cappella finger-snapping. $37-$55. 7 p.m. Arena at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 404-249-6400. www.gwinnettcenter.com.
July 21 Thursday
African princess by way of Dallas, Erykah Badu blends organic soul and modern R&B sounds under a cool and seductive croon. Still touring behind her 2003 release Worldwide Underground (Motown), her current tour offers a sneak peek of new material slated to hit the streets later this year. Also on the bill are neo-soul songstress Jill Scott and royal highness Queen Latifah, ensuring an evening of soul-stirring music. $39-$76. 7 p.m. Continues through July 22. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive. www.ticketmaster.com. (Chad Radford)
July 22 Friday
No doubt Austin Powers developed his lethal judo chop early on as a bantam, intermediate, juvenile or junior athlete in the competitive world that is junior judo. If you want to see how it's done, head for the Gwinnett Center this weekend for the National Junior Olympic Judo championship, where you'll have a chance to count how many 10-year-olds can kick your ass. $12-$18. 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Through July 24. 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 678-924-6960. www.usjudo.org. (Andrew Simon)
July 23 saturday
Frogs and lizards and snakes, oh my! Today, Fernbank Museum presents its fourth annual Reptile Day. The exhibit features 30 to 40 different live reptiles and amphibians, and handlers walk around with select species so everyone can get an up-close and personal look at everything slithering and slimy. $10-$12. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6400. www.fernbank.edu/museum. (Casey McIntyre)
Hip-hop may be big business in Atlanta these days, but 10 years ago, the musical genre dwelled in the ATL's underground. Then came HOT 107.9 FM. Formerly known as 97.5 FM, the station was the first in the city to focus totally on rap and it went on to jump-start the careers of stars like Ludacris and La La of MTV. Celebrate a decade of great music at the HOT 107.9 BIRTHDAY BASH, featuring performances by some of the ATL's biggest hip-hop acts. $10.79-$75. 4:30 p.m. HiFi Buys Amphitheatre, 2002 Lakewood Way. 404-443-5090. www.Hot1079atl.com. (Carlton Hargro)
July 24 Sunday
Hear the future of classical music when two gifted young musicians, Chicago-born violinist Christina Castelli and Atlanta's own trumpeter Stanford Thompson, are featured soloists with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on the final day of the NATIONAL BLACK ARTS FESTIVAL. The Oakland East Bay Symphony's Michael Morgan is guest conductor for the program. Free. 7 p.m. Ebenezer Baptist Church, 400 Auburn Ave. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. (Mark Gresham)
July 25 Monday
Over at the Defoor Centre, the works of 15 international artists are on display as part of the GEORGIA HISPANIC NETWORK ART EXHIBIT. An annual event, this year's showcase includes the works of established and emerging artists from Spain, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Argentina, and features mediums ranging from sculpture to photography. Free. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Through July 31. 1710 Defoor Ave. 404-591-3814. www.defoorcentre.com. (Layla Bellows)
July 26 Tuesday
DARK ROOTS: THE ATLANTA UNIVERSITY AND ATLANTA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY ANNUALS opens today at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. The exhibit, curated by Dr. Amalia Amaki, features the work of Jacob Lawrence and Georgian artist Benny Andrews, and explores the city's role in exhibitions that exclusively displayed the work of African-American artists. Free. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1447 Peachtree St. 404-881-1109. www.mocaga.org. (CM)
July 27 wednesday
What better way to see tulips than when you're a little tipsy? Drop by for COCKTAILS IN THE GARDEN, Atlanta Botanical Garden's monthly cocktail party featuring a special drink paired with a seasonal flower or plant. Held the last Wednesday of every month, July's featured combination is vinnias and zingers (a fancy name for a vodka cranberry with lime). $6-$12. 7-9 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave. 404-876-5859. www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org. (AS)