Lecture: The truth may be stranger than fiction, but trying to mix the truth into fiction is an even stranger predicament – and a rather difficult one. Anthony Giardina – a playwright, former University of Rochester professor, and author of several novels, including “White Guys” and last year’s “Norumbega Park” – will discuss this process in his lecture “The Novelist and the Historical Imagination,” which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees library, on UR’s River Campus (252 Elmwood Ave.). Giardina’s talk, which is part of UR’s yearlong Neilly Series of guest lectures, will focus on the difficulties that novelists face when researching the Civil War for their own fiction projects. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more info and events, visit rochester.edu or call 275-4461.
Music: If you like your jazz smooth, with an extra helping of funk on the side, Jimmie Highsmith Jr. is the sax player for you. After studying at the Hochstein School of Music and School of the Arts, Highsmith joined the United States Air Force and formed a jazz band to play USO events. Since returning to Rochester in the early 1990’s, he’s recorded four albums as a leader. In recent years Highsmith has shared the stage with Wynton Marsalis, Wes Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, and many other jazz luminaries. Highsmith plays Wednesday, March 20, 8 p.m. at Tala Vera, 155 State St. $10. 546-3845, tala-vera.com.
Theater: There’s no place like home. That’s what three Rochester theater veterans learned after venturing to work on Broadway and then returning to perform in the Flour City. Hometown heroes Nicolette Hart, Tom Deckerman, and Mark Bradley Miller – along with newcomer Grace Wall – will illuminate their personal Broadway-and-back journeys in “City Lights,” a world premiere musical revue presented by the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre. The show is tribute to New York City, as well as Rochester, with the actors’ struggles and triumphs illustrated through classic Broadway numbers like “All That Jazz,” “New York, New York” along with newer hits from Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, and Billie Holiday. “City Lights” debuts at 7 p.m. tonight, and continues through Apr. 14, with evening and matinee performances held at 3450 Winton Place. Tickets are $26-$39 and can be purchased by calling 325-4370. For the full schedule of performances, go to downstairscabaret.org.
Music: The archers’ bows may have broken, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any arrows left to sling, and tonight Arrows Over Athens will be hitting up the Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave., bugjar.com). There I Say is Lightning, Scholar, and Hideout open the night up. Music start at 9 p.m., cover runs $7-$9.
Special: Which venue will have to display the repugnant stuffed bobcat, “Bob,” for the next year – Lovin’ Cup or Tap & Mallet? Be the first to find out at the annual Bobcat Challenge competition, which will be held at last year’s winning establishment, Lovin’ Cup (300 Park Point Dr., Suite #101). As per tradition, Lovin’ Cup and Tap & Mallet will both feature their homemade brews in this wild keg race, and the losing restaurant will have to house “Bob” in its bar for at least the next year. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the event, which is free, begin at 8. Visit lovincup.com for more upcoming events.