1. Parker with Strings at University Theatre, U of C (Monday, Oct. 1)
When Charlie Parker played with a string quarter in the 1950s, jazz purists thought he was selling out. His artistic integrity is intact, I think, and you can just enjoy Vaughn Ambrose play the role of the Bird in this beautiful combination.
2. Frogs and Oilsands talk at the Alberta Wilderness Association (Tuesday, Oct. 2)
The first thing you should know is that you should never mix your frogs into any oilsands you might have. Herpetologist Brian Eaton speaks about frog toxicology and will have more insights into this sentinel species.
3. Rob Stewart at John Dutton Theatre, W.R. Castell Central Library (Wednesday, Oct. 3)
The Sharkwater author now wants to Save the Humans (the title of his new book). Be sure to hear his talk at the Central Library downtown; Bruce Weir has your primer Q+A here.
4. Soulocentric at Vertigo Theatre Centre (Wednesday, Oct. 3 to Saturday, Oct. 6)
The Soulocentric Performing Arts Festival opens with two events: a free noon-hour concert at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer presented by the ProArts Society with youth singer-songwriters Brielle Usher and Emily Richardson, and then an evening show of some songs by Julianna Hindemith followed by a performance of Wilma-May and Her Tight White Socks, a comedy about the afraid-of-everything Wilma-May by Jennifer Roberts.
5. Smashing Pumpkins at Scotiabank Saddledome (Thursday, Oct. 4)
Some full-page ads in Chicago newspapers was all it took to reform the Pumpkins back in ’05. The alt-rockers play Calgary for the first time in a long time.
Honourable mentions: Dragonette rocks the Republik on Wednesday; the Johnny Summers Quintet plays the music of Etta James, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and more Wednesday; it’s Astronomy Night at Telus Spark on Thursday; learn about viruses both real and imagined at Alberta Health Innovates’ free screening of 28 Days Later followed by a talk. —Jon Roe