Cool stuff to do in Charlotte this weekend

Bark in the Park!
Bark in the Park! AFP/Getty Images



Sat-Sun 9:30 a.m.-11:15 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Wilkes Community College, 1328 S. Collegiate Drive, Wilkesboro. $70 Saturday, $55 Sunday. www.merlefest.org.

It’s not Coachella, but as North Carolina music festivals go, this is the granddaddy of them all. As usual, MerleFest (named for Doc Watson’s son, the late N.C. folk singer Eddy Merle Watson) nabbed some big headliners: The Avett Brothers play at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dwight Yoakam goes on stage at 4:15 p.m. Sunday.


‘Ex Machina’

Sat-Sun New in theaters.

In his review, our very own Lawrence Toppman called this eerie, sexy, twisty sci-fi drama – about an artificially intelligent female – one of his favorite movies so far this year. Expect it to help catapult into stardom Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who has a significant role in five other films in 2015.


‘The Screwtape Letters’

Sun 3 and 7 p.m. Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. $20-$54.50. www.blumenthalarts.org.

Satan is back again. Or, at least, a highly placed assistant to Satan is. This marks the third time in four years that actor-playwright Max McLean has brought his 90-minute two-person play – based on that darkly hilarious novel of the same name by Christian writer C.S. Lewis – to Charlotte.


Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival

Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Historic Rural Hill, 4431 Neck Road, Huntersville. Free. www.charmeck.org.

In addition to a doggie fun run/walk at 8:30 a.m. and performances by the Ultimate Air Dogs throughout the day, there’ll be prizes for largest dog, smallest dog, cutest puppy, best costume and the dog that most looks like his/her owner. There will not, however, be prizes for the loudest barker or the hardest biter. Just sayin’.



Sun 9:30 p.m. on Showtime.

The new 30-minute dramedy – a meditation on the shallow nature of society that centers on Thom Payne, a 40-something married dad who hates his job – has a somber backstory: Payne (“Philomena’s” Steve Coogan) was originally played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died after wrapping the pilot.