CSO's Mahler, Lorna Luft, Nick Carter join this week's Fab Five

The Beat is an avowed Gustav Mahler fan, and one of the reasons why is the German composer's proclivity for expansive and, and times, unorthodox instrumentations. His Symphony No. 6 features two hammer strikes - we're talking giant, "hammer of the gods" kind of hammer. We got the lowdown on how the Columbus Symphony Orchestra is preparing to accomplish this, courtesy of CSO percussionist (and stage manager) Bill Lutz. We'll be BeatBlogging details from the conversation - which was absolutely fascinating - so for best results, "Like" The Beat on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TWTheBeat and we'll get those links in your feed. The Mahler 6 is a favorite of music director Jean-Marie Zeitouni, who leads the CSO on the Ohio Theatre stage Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11. Tickets are $68-$24.75. Visit www.columbussymphony.com. Lorna Luft's latest program, Songs My Mother Taught Me, is extra cool since her mother was Judy Garland. The live music and multimedia event comes to Newark's Midland Theatre Saturday, Feb. 11. Luft and her seven-piece band bound through a stirring set that includes Chicago, Man That Got Away and, of course, Over the Rainbow. The show is a sort of full-circle moment for the longtime singer-entertainer, who made her debut as a 'tween on her mother's TV show. Tickets are $50-$28. Visit www.midlandtheatre.org. In many respects, Nick Carter could be the poster child for fame in our times. The former Backstreet Boy gets points for at least doing something for which to become famous, and followed it up with the standard litany - solo career, attempts at acting, drug problems, health problems, recovery, reality show, famous sibling … it's the blueprint, for sure. Carter released a record, I'm Taking Off, last year. (No comment. You expect us to do your work for you?) With openers Midi Mafia and Guinevere, Carter plays Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Sunday, Feb. 12. Tickets are $25/$30. Visit www.promowestlive.com.