This weekend's entertainment best bets include the much-acclaimed action thriller "Zero Dark Thirty," a chamber concert at a local church and a trio of concerts around town.
In theaters: The odds-on Oscar favorite finally will make its way to theaters nationwide on Friday. “Zero Dark Thirty” is Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s first film since “The Hurt Locker,” and this one has all the critics talking. The film chronicles the decade-long hunt for al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks and his death at the hands of the Navy SEAL Team 6 nearly two years ago. The stylish “Gangster Squad,” a film about the war between the LAPD and mobster Mickey Cohen in the ‘40s starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone, also will open on Friday.
Time for the trio: The Saint Joseph Symphony’s upcoming chamber concert will present three masterworks for piano trio. The Haydn C Major trio often is thought of as one of the brightest and most cheerful of all classical chamber works. The Chausson trio, by comparison, is a dark and brooding late Romantic work, while the Mendelssohn D Minor trio is quite hot and illuminating. The concert will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Ashland United Methodist Church. The musicians will include pianist Ellen Bottorff (a graduate and former faculty member at Missouri Western), the symphony’s principal cellist, Sascha Groschang, and the symphony’s music director, Rico McNeela, on violin.
Take a bite of Spongecake: A band that has been winning hearts and blowing minds at music festivals across the country for years is coming to St. Joseph this weekend. Spongecake and the Fluff Ramblers will perform at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Cafe Acoustic. Calling the Carolinas home, Spongecake and the Fluff Ramblers is an improvisational band that dabbles in rock, folk, funk and jazz fusion. The band melds jams of various genres and styles and occasionally performs an off-the-cuff cover, but no two shows are ever the same and no cover is ever played the same way twice. Spongecake is a jam band in the truest and most unique sense.
The Mels return: Whenever the Minneapolis indie rock band The Melismatics comes through St. Joseph to play at The Rendezvous, the place is always packed. The bar on Felix Street will be hopping Saturday, when The Mels take the stage at 10 p.m. The Melismatics, an acclaimed band that has performed at Lollapalooza, will unleash some tunes from their brand new album “Mania!” at the gig.
Rockin’ Americana: After years of constant performing and songwriting, the Americana veterans of Kansas City’s Levee Town created a hard-driving, smoothly polished, soulful sound. From catchy shuffles and grinding blues to North Mississippi-style rockers and Kansas City swing numbers, the band chugs along with tons of energy. You can catch Levee Town at 9 p.m. Saturday at Magoon’s.