We Recommend 

thursday August 17

Booksigning by Lara Parker

Davis-Kidd Booksellers, 7 p.m.

Lara Parker is an actress who was part of the cast of the cult vampire soap opera Dark Shadows. In her novel Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch, she continues the soap's saga in a tale that involves a vampire made human who falls in love with a woman whose daughter is in a mental institution due to flashbacks of being burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials.

36th Annual United Negro College Fund Gala Banquet

Memphis Cook Convention Center, 7 p.m.

This gala, featuring R&B artist Stephanie Mills, kicks off the Hank Aaron Celebrity Sports Weekend.

friday August 18

Painting Class with Billy Kirk

Memphis Botanic Garden, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., $125 members, $140 nonmembers

Landscape artist Billy Kirk leads this class on painting, which will focus on individual goals rather than strict technique. Continues on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parallel Lives

Buckman Arts Center, 8 p.m., $15

Created by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy, this two-woman show with multiple personalities lands in the capable hands of Kim Justis and Jenny Odle Madden. They'll take on the 28 different characters tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and again for a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

Kirk Whalum

Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, 8 p.m., $43.75-$50.75

Jazz saxophone performer Kirk Whalum takes the stage. The show includes performances by Jonathan Butler, Wayman Tisdale, and Brian Simpson.

saturday August 19

Songwriting Workshop

MO's Memphis Originals,

10 a.m.-2 p.m., $20 for Memphis Songwriter's Association members, $30 for nonmembers

A songwriter cannot be made in a day. But two days? Easy. The Memphis Songwriter's Association hosts Michael Porter's workshop "Who, Whose, Whom, What, When, Where, Why, and How." Continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 626-4127 for reservations.

India Fest

University of Memphis, University Center, 11 a.m.

The India Association of Memphis celebrates its 25th year with this annual two-day festival, featuring food, music, henna painting, dramatic presentations, and more. This year's theme is jharokha, a Hindi word for "window," an apt designation for a festival that provides a look into Indian culture. On Sunday at 5 p.m., CREATION, a dance group from India, will perform traditional dance as well as contemporary and classical numbers.

Booksigning by Jennifer Paddock

Borders Books in Germantown, 2 p.m.

Jennifer Paddock signs her novel Point Clear, which follows the 27-year-old protagonist Caroline Berry, who gives up a hectic life in New York to write a novel in Alabama. But her timing is terrible as Hurricane Ivan strikes and she encounters a man who goes missing the next day.

sunday August 20

Classic Cool at the Clark

Clark Opera Center, 3 p.m., $20

The finale of the Classic Cool at the Clark jazz-concert series features the Jazz Orchestra of the Delta. Created in 1998 by U of M instructor Jack Cooper, the Jazz Orchestra of the Delta features some of the area's most talented jazz artists performing their own compositions.

Images of the King Gospel Brunch

Holiday Inn Select, 2240 Democrat, 10:30 a.m.

The winners of the annual Images of Elvis tribute-artist contest gather for this champagne brunch to perform gospel songs.

Wednesday August 23

Court Square Concert Series

Court Square, 6 p.m.

The Court Square Concert Series continues with a performance by musician extrordinaire Alvin Youngblood Hart, who'll perform with his band Muscle Theory.

Sierra Club Garden Presentation

Memphis Public Library Cordova,

8457 Trinity, 7 p.m.

Suzy Askew will talk about preserving the gardens at the historic Magevney House. She worked with members of the Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs and the National Garden Clubs to restore the home's gardens to antebellum condition.

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