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Desert Companion

Take 5: Cultural highlights this month

KurzweilIn the pop-culture memescape, he’s best known for predicting the eventual fusion of man and machine — at last, the belly-button USB port we’ve always wanted! — but there’s more to Ray Kurzweil than Skynet-friendly futurism. Dude’s in the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He speaks at UNLV’s Ham Hall at 7:30p, Feb. 10. It’s free, but tix are required. Info: unlv.edu

Bela Flek and Brooklyn Rider

Momentarily Flecktone-less, banjo maestro Béla Fleck teams up with indie string quartet Brooklyn Rider for his return to Reynolds Hall. Their collabo marries his banjo twang to their rich strings for a sound that would’ve turned Deliverance into a healing Lifetime movie. They perform at 7:30p, Feb. 8, at The Smith Center; tickets are $29-$89. Info: thesmithcenter.com

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Answer: 171. Question: How many short films can a Dam Short Film Festival screen in five days? This is the festival’s 10th year, so in addition to a global selection of brief films, look for retrospectives of favorites from the last nine years, plus panels, meet-and-greets and a Feb. 16 Awards Gala. All in the historic Boulder Theater in Boulder City. Full schedule: www.damshortfilm.org

PixiesFor the Pixies-curious, here are random excerpts from recent coverage of this modestly iconic band: “rattled,” “the,” “entire” and “building.” A few more: “surf/punk/noise/etc.,” “overpowering bass line,” “frothed and ranted.” Also, they did “Monkey Gone to Heaven.” The Pixies perform at 8p, Feb. 23, in The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel; tickets are $37-$40. Info: hardrockhotel.com

Melanie BenjaminMelanie Benjamin’s most recent historical fiction, The Aviator’s Wife, takes readers deep into the cockpit of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s marriage. Using their story, Benjamin discusses the process of writing historical fiction. Now that you’re hooked, after the colon we’ll tell you how to see it: 7p, Feb. 27 at the Clark County Library, 1405 E. Flamingo Road, free. Info: 702-507-3459.

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