Prine, Birbiglia on A&E priority list for Sept. 18-24

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Here's my A&E priority list through Sept. 24.

“American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition”

You may want to stop by The Slippery Noodle (the oldest continually operating bar in the city) before visiting the Indiana State Museum for this exhibit. Exploring those allegedly dry years between 1920 and 1933, the exhibit includes re-created environments—including a church pulpit where you can hear temperance speeches. Created by the National Constitution Center, it’s curated by Pulitzer Prize finalist Daniel Okrent, author of “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.” Plan ahead for the related Oct. 3 “Indiana Spirits” event, which will include music, food and, of course, drinks, with the world’s first female Bourbon Master Taster Peggy Noe Stevens on board.  Sept. 20-Feb. 15 Indiana State Museum. Details here.

Mike Birbiglia

There can be a fine line betweenastand-up act and one-man play, and Mike Birbiglia blurred it handily in his shows “Sleepwalk with Me” and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend.” Awkward, embarrassing, but endearing storytelling is his specialty. In his new show, “Thank God for Jokes,” expect to cringe and laugh as he mines moments from his life when joking got him in trouble. Sept. 18  Clowes Hall. Details here.

John Prine

Who needs hit records? John Prine has been popular over five decades courtesy of terrific, loopy songwriting, a distinctive voice, and a loyal fan base. For his early 1970s roots in Chicago (which spawned such songs as “Illegal Smile” and “Sam Stone”) to his emergence as a songwriter’s songwriter (“Angel from Montgomery” is probably the song most familiar to those who don’t know his name), Prine’s writing and unique vocals continue to win over audiences. His latest recording is actually his earliest—“The Singing Mailman Delivers.” It features songs recorded at an open-mic night before he hit the semi-big-time in 1971. Sept 20 Clowes Hall. Details here.

Also this week

The finalists in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis square off at Hilbert Circle Theatre Sept. 19-20 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Charlie Chin, an artist-in-residence at the Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco, performs “The Moon Among the Stars,” a set of nesting stories (tales within tales) Sept. 20 at the Indiana History Center.

Benedict Cumberbatch narrates “Jerusalem,” a big, big screen documentary opening Sept. 19 at the Imax at the Indiana State Museum.

Al Jarreau plays the Palladium Sept. 20.

The Phoenix Theatre opens its season with the comedy “Clark Gable Slept Here” Sept. 18-Oct. 19.

The Lotus World Music and Arts Festivalbrings performers from around the globe to Bloomington Sept. 18-21.

Fountain Square’s Masterpiece in a Day/Art Squared events Sept. 20 include art and writing contests, live music and more.

Comedian Nick Swardson plays the Egyptian Room Sept. 21.

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