1) Harlem-born blues singer Shemekia Copeland gained a lot of notice with “Never Going Back to Memphis,” which featured her resonant blues/soul vocals, storytelling lyrics, and fantastic guitar and drum playing. Copeland—the daughter of Texas blues guitarist and singer Johnny Copeland—started out singing professionally as her dad’s opening act while still in high school. A two-time Grammy nominee, she’s performed with such notables as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton. Copeland has also performed for President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House. She’ll be at the August Wilson Center with her band, so bring your own top guy or first lady and join the fun. 8 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District.
2) If you’d like to see a bunch of the region’s best theater artists doing a whole lot of live theater on the spur of the moment—creating it practically off the tops of their heads (or maybe the seats of their pants)—try B.U.S. 11, the 11th annual Bricolage Urban Scrawl. This is a “play in a day” event, in which the object is to conceive, write, rehearse, and perform an original 10-minute play within 24 hours. Six local all-star teams of playwrights, directors, and actors will race to accomplish that, presenting their results en masse in a single closing show.
The B.U.S. is also a fundraiser for the Bricolage theater company, with tickets at price levels from the basic (for the final show on Saturday night) to the deluxe “Double Decker B.U.S.” pass. The latter includes multiple events, starting with a Friday evening VIP reception and “Actor Exhibition” that’s an amusing show in itself. See the web link above for details—and whenever you go, you’ll find that the Bricolage tradition is to make every event a party. Opener 7 p.m. Fri. at 937 Liberty Ave.; performances 8 p.m. Sat. at The August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave., both in the Cultural District. (MV)
3) Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn features a variety of visual and performing arts at galleries, clubs, and restaurants along Penn Avenue (4800-5500) in the Garfield, Bloomfield, and Friendship neighborhoods. 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. Most events are free.