■ Chattanooga Choo Choo, Friday-Sunday.
The actual name 'steampunk' started off as a jab toward the style, which emulates Victorian style and glorifies anachronistic technologies, like gears and steam-powered machines. But the style kind of took off, and took the name with it. The convention, held at the Choo Choo, will include a masquerade ball, a pool party, the 'Steambits' swap and shop, an appearance by Dr. Shock (naturally), belly dancing and a costume contest. Basically, if you're someone who has latched onto steampunk, this event is like your Christmas, your March Madness, your Rena-faire. If you're not, it's great for people gawking (the entry fee is steep, but the Choo Choo lends itself pretty easily to wanderers.).
■ Heritage Park, free
Reviews for this film actually garnered some decent reviews - The Guardian deemed it "apt to delight sociologists, stoners and six-year-olds alike." And since it's a free movie shown outdoors with popcorn, that could be a pretty sweet deal.
■ The Camp House, $5
Just five dollars will buy you a night of upscale hometown culture. Cardon Smith's words, Mountain Creek Americana with a touch of country blues, and local storyteller extraordinaire Jim Pfitzer. Grab a high gravity craft beer or a macchiato, and be sure to pick a cute Instagram filter for this authentic and hip experience.
■ JJ's Bohemia, $5-ish/$10-ish, depending on the crowd and the bouncer's mood (amirite?)
Music genre labels are so liberal and free-flowing these days, it seems like bands fill out a Mad Lib to pinpoint a name for their group's sound. Man or Astro-Man?, who hail from Auburn, AL and came together in the '90s, use synthesizers and even noises from printers to create a "surf rock meets new wave" sound. They're also into science fiction and anachronisms - but not like steampunk.
Wray, the Birmingham trio also on the lineup, call their band "power gaze," which combines "shoe gaze, surf-punk and lo-fi garage rock," according to a recent writeup about the band in the New York Times.
■ Downtown Public Library, 2 p.m. Free
An outsider comes to the deep south and makes a film about it. It's an old trope and a tired one. But the first showing, "On the Map," is about the people who live in rural Manchester, TN and what they think about hosting one of the biggest music festivals in the world there once a year. Worth checking out, for free.
■ Mocha Restaurant, $15-$20
James Brown's half brother has earned the title "The Godfather of Soul," and he's playing two shows Saturday night at Mocha Restaurant and Lounge.
■ 21st Century Riverfront, free
Chattanooga invites this menagerie of folk rockers down to the river for Riverfront Nights. The band from Gulf Port, Mississippi is on the rise. They beat out 10,000 other artists at the international Hard Rock Rising festival, but their sound isn't exactly hard. More like persistent, with soul. Definite toe-tapping, blanket sprawling music.
■ Rhythm and Brews, 10 p.m., $10
Remember that girl in high school who wrote DMB all over her binder and backpack with Wite-Out? Was that just my school? I can't get over how much I like the idea of a Dave Matthews Tribute band because I'm still not really over DMB. Who is?