CVILLE Arts Beat: Top Picks for Jul 30-Aug 6

Comedienne Esther Ku packs a lethal punchline on Saturday at PlayOn! Theatre. (publicity photo) Comedienne Esther Ku packs a lethal punchline on Saturday at PlayOn! Theatre. (publicity photo)

Saturday 8/4
Deadpan diva
Esther Ku is charming and adorable. But, be warned—it’s all part of a devious plan to put you at ease, leaving you wide open for a self-deprecating, possibly racially tinged joke right where you least expect it. A finalist in both “Last Comic Standing” season six and Howard Stern’s hottest funniest chick contest, Ku is a regular on the national comedy circuit. Her Korean-American background got her booked on NBC’s Stand-Up for Diversity showcase and it provides a wealth of scathing source material. $18, 8 and 9:30pm. PlayOn! Theatre, 983 Second St. SE. 872-0184.
Through 8/5
Lady like
French novelist Roland Dorgelès wrote, “Émilie Charmy, it would appear, sees like a woman and paints like a man; from the one she takes grace and from the other strength, and this is what makes her such a strange and powerful painter who holds our attention.” Remembered in part for her place in the early avant-garde movement, Charmy produced a body of work full of…the body. Her sensuous, expressive portraits of the female form have remained objects of admiration, and are displayed alongside work by contemporaries Dufy, Matisse, Rouault, and Valadon.“Émilie Charmy and the Feminine in Modern French Art” runs through Sunday at the Fralin Museum of Art. Free, Tuesday-Sunday, noon-5pm. UVA’s Fralin Museum of Art, 155 Rugby Rd. 924-3592.

Wednesday 8/1
Above the fret
A standout among the slew of local picking talent, The Whiskey Rebellion developed its bluegrass pedigree playing complex rhythms under the gravely voice of Mary Simpson accompanied by wailing mandolins and banjos chasing fiddles, while calling out images of Appalachian life and front porch jams. The band formed at an impromptu session during a bluegrass convention and lists “sit-ins” with celebrity players including former Governor Tim Kaine, Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”) and Robert Duvall. Free, 10pm. South Street Brewery, 106 W. South St. 293-6550.
Thursday 8/2
Bird games
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. You could try to say it, but you’re better off just dancing five times fast when it comes to this electro-funk outfit from Baltimore. Growing its own cult around high-energy music, goofy stage antics, and all around good vibes, the Pigeons even have an official following: The Flock, which carries on the Deadhead tradition of making each show its own little party. 21-plus. Free, 10pm. Rapture, 303 E. Main St., 293-9526.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong brings its traveling party to Rapture on Thursday. (publicity photo)

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