ETC opening: Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati tackles Romulus Linney's wonderful but troubling Lesson Before Dying, a play based on the Ernest Gaines novel (subject of The Enquirer's first On The Same Page initiative) about a man biding his time until his execution. It's a play about maintaining dignity when all odds are against it. 8 p.m. today, continues through Feb. 14, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, $28, $25 students and seniors. 421-3555.
Authorspeak: The Mercantile Library offers a midweek literary moment with its Winter Author Series, this time with Norman Rush discussing his insightful Mortals, the story of a dying marriage and the havoc it wreaks on everyone close to it. 6:30 p.m. today, 414 Walnut St., downtown, $15 members, $18 nonmembers; $40 members, $45 nonmembers for the series. 621-0717, reservations required.
Freebie: Four bands take over Short Vine for a freebie tonight. Scallywagon, the acoustic and inventive Stinky Bottom Holler Boys, Selfless Union and Josh Hill show up for a night of music. 9 p.m. Sudsy Malone's, 2626 Vine St., Corryville, free. 751-2300.
Independent movies: The Cincinnati World Cinema Independent Film Festival kicks off today and keeps on kicking through Feb. 3. Today's screening of Indigo is sold out. Up-and-comers this week are a night of nine live-action shorts including La Jetee and Powder Keg Thursday; the spicy comedy Gaudi Afternoon with Judy Davis and Marcia Gay Harden Friday; and Long Night's Journey into Day, Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman's documentary on South Africa's post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday, Greaves Concert Hall, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights. $8, $6 students; advance tickets are available online, register for Cincinnati World Cinema. (859) 781-8151.
On sale now: Tickets for the Peking Acrobats' Feb. 27 performance at the Aronoff Center for the Arts' Procter & Gamble Hall are on sale now. They're $15-$28 at the box office and Ticketmaster outlets. 241-7469; Web site.
Comic ballet: Tickets for Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, considered the world's No. 1 comic ballet troupe, are also on sale now, same locations. They're at the Aronoff Feb. 28; $20-$38.
24 hours out: They're looking to introduce the sport of kings to a new generation over at Turfway. Thursday is now college night for students presenting a valid school ID. In exchange, they get a free program, soft drink and $2 voucher. Thursdays are also the nights for cornhole with qualifying rounds for the Cincinnati Cornhole Classic each week through Feb. 19 ($25 per team to enter). 5 p.m. Thursday college night, 6:30 p.m. cornhole, Turfway, Exit 182 off I-75, Florence. Free. (859) 647-4818.
Also 24 hours out: The Contemporary Arts Center gets musical as all get-out when pianist Anthony Molinaro (1997 Naumberg winner) and diatonic harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy perform works from their Live CD. 6:30 p.m. Thursday for cocktails, 7:30 p.m. music, after-party at Bella. Sixth and Walnut streets, $25. 345-8400.
E-mail: jknippenberg@enquirer .com; fax: 768-8330.
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