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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 09/24/2010

Getting Up Guide: Jonathan Franzen and Russian Gershwin

By Alex Baldinger

What are your plans tonight? The Getting Up Guide is here to help you answer that question. Here's what's happening Friday:

Jonathan Franzen
Headed to the National Book Festival this weekend? You can get in some one-on-one time with the fest's big draw, Jonathan Franzen, on Friday night when Politics and Prose hosts the author/birder at Lisner Auditorium for a reading and talk. The author of the bestselling novel "The Corrections" reads from and discusses his new novel, "Freedom." The best part: It's free. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The Gershwin Project: Russian Gershwin
You've heard "Rhapsody in Blue," but what would George Gershwin's most enduring composition sound like with a bit of Soviet flair? The Post-Classical Ensemble, conducted by Angel Gil-Ordonez, gives it a shot, as pianists Genadi Zagor and Vakhtang Kodanashvili reinterpret parts of Gershwin's songbook, including "Piano Concerto in F" and "Cuban Overture" in addition to "Rhapsody," with a Slavic twist. Before the 8 p.m. show at the Clarice Smith Center, there will be a discussion at 7 p.m. exploring Soviet Russia's affinity for the composer.

Merzbow and Richard Pinhas
There's no such thing as a good "starter show" during the Sonic Circuits Festival. The annual celebration of experimental music has nothing resembling accessible fare - it is all some degree of noisy, droney, improvised, often all three. That promises to be the case when Merzbow and Richard Pinhas team up Friday at La Maison Francaise, but this time you will be in the presence of two titans of experimental music. Japan's Merzbow (aka Masami Akita) has released hundreds and hundreds of recordings over the past 30 years, a truly prolific artist who keeps finding new ways of manipulating noise. French guitarist Pinhas has been active even longer, dating back to the mid-'70s. When the two team up it might not be the easiest listening, but that's kind of exactly the point.

--Alex Baldinger, Lavanya Ramanathan and Fritz Hahn

By Alex Baldinger  | September 24, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
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