Hot Dates: Ethan Uslan, Dr. John, Seven Guitars and a rockin’ new exhibit

Charlotte-based Ethan Uslan will bring his mix of piano playing to Petra’s Piano Bar.
Charlotte-based Ethan Uslan will bring his mix of piano playing to Petra’s Piano Bar. courtesy of Ethan Uslan

Tuesday, 9 p.m., The Ethan Uslan Show at Petra’s Piano Bar and Cabaret, 1919 Commonwealth Ave.: Uslan, based in Charlotte, is a ragtime/jazz/silent film pianist who is a three-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest. He’s performed his music all over America and in Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and in Cyberspace, where his “Für Elise“ has gone viral.

Uslan has performed with symphony orchestras, jazz bands and small improvisational comedy groups. He began studying classical music at age 9 in South Orange, N.J., and went to Indiana University to study classical piano. As a diversion, he picked up the music of Scott Joplin and Fats Waller, but eventually syncopated music took over.

His music is filled with a deep love and passion for America’s rich musical past. His repertoire includes original arrangements of Civil War-era songs, New Orleans-styled jazz, 1920s Charleston, blues, stomps Harlem stride piano, swing, Cuban rumbas and jazzy versions of classical masterpieces.

Blue Danube Waltz Uslan-style:

Also Tuesday, the return of Dr. John and the Nite Trippers at the Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon Street: Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, better known as Dr. John, will bring his songs, and piano and guitar music that combines blues, pop, jazz and zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll. He is a six-time Grammy Award winner and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

Two years later, Tulane University granted him an honorary doctorate of fine arts. The university’s president called him “Dr. Dr. John.” Details, click here.

Make it Tuesday, and you’ll surely be in the right place “at the right time.”

Wednesday, “Seven Guitars” opens at Duke Energy Theater, Spirit Square, 345 N. College St.: August Wilson’s play is produced by On Q Productions. The play is about a bluesman who returns to Chicago in 1948, seeking justice after spending time in jail. Lou Bellamy, a godfather of theater, directs.

Before the show opens Wednesday at Spirit Square, Bellamy and On Q’s Quentin Talley will meet the public Monday at an event titled “Lou, Q and You @ The Vue.” The discussion begins at 6 p.m. Monday at The Vue, 215 N. Pine St. Tickets are $50 and include dinner, music and scenes from the “Seven Guitars.” Details: youarenowonq.com.

The play runs May 27-June 6 at Duke Energy Theater in Spirit Square. Tickets are $28. Details, click here.

Thursday, 7:30 p.m.: Already got Letterman withdrawals? Well, Jay Leno’s in town at Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. The author, car collector and long-time host of “The Tonight Show,” now retired, is getting back to the stand-up comedy work that started his career.

A cappella group The Funx opens. Details, click here.

Opening Friday at a theater near you: “San Andreas,” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a helicopter pilot trying to rescue people in a Los Angeles torn up by an earthquake. And “Aloha,” a romantic comedy starring Bradley Cooper as a civilian working on a military base, trying to rekindle an old flame while satisfying a new boss. Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone co-star.

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., A rockin’ new exhibit at Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St. The show is simply titled “Guitar,” with this subtitle: “The Instrument That Rocked the World.” It explores the history of the world’s most popular instrument, tracing its evolution from 3,000 B.C. to the present through a gallery of 60 rare instruments, playable guitars and interactive games. Children can even rock out with real keyboards, drums and guitars. You’ll be able to test your musical knowledge with a game of “Name That Tune.”

A highlight is the world’s largest playable guitar: a 2,255 pound, 16-foot wide and 43-foot long replica of a Gibson Flying V. Other iconic instruments include the Rock Ock, the world’s only playable 8-neck guitar; a PRS Dragon guitar inlaid with 238 pieces of gold, red and green abalone, mother of pearl and the ivory of a woolly mammoth. Details, click here.

Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins: Two of the best pickers:

Also Saturday, 7 p.m., “Recital of the Lotus” at Stage Door Theater, Fifth and College streets uptown. The Secret Poets Society hosts spoken word artists (modern and traditional); music from alternative, hip-hop, acoustic and folk performers; drum circles, belly dancers. Details, click here.

Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Brad Paisley at PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd.: The country music star headlines his “Crushin’ It” world tour to kick off the summer concert season at PNC. Later in the spring he will open for The Rolling Stones in Nashville. With Justin Moore. Details: www.livenation.com.