Little Rock Full Figure Fashion Week is underway right now, through May 6, 2012. Full Figure Fashion Week showcases local and national talent. There will be a runway show, a Kurvy Boutique and other events. The kickoff is today at Juanita’s in the River Market. Enjoy margaritas and an impromptu runway show. Dress to impress. ($20, doors at 8 p.m.) Wednesday is Girls Night Out at Maurices, at North Little Rock's McCain Mall. Mingle and preview runway fashions. Friday is Bodykiss, Seduction Edition at the Omega Psi Phi Facilities (2512 South State Street )— not sure what this is,exactly, but we the "come in exercise clothes and heels" part is shall we say, curious ($5). Saturday, back at McCain Mall, the bottom floor will be dotted with live mannequins, and the main runway show will be Sunday at the Arkansas Art Center (6 p.m., $15), with a trunk sale immediately following.
Man, what type of world are we living in when a handsome young singer can't pack up his guit-box and head to the beach to lay a couple-three heartfelt pop tunes on a small crowd of admirers without the cops showing up and dumping all over the good vibes? I suppose it's the type of world we are all currently living in, even those of us who are Kris Allen, Arkansas's American Idol.
You see, Kris had the notion to head down to the pier in Santa Monica last night to perform for free, because that's how he does things because he's a good dude like that. He tweeted about it: "How bout the peir in Santa Monica? 8 pm. You...me...couple tunes...ocean breeze...birds pooping on us. It's gonna be great."
So right in the middle of a song, some beach cop showed up and stopped him and told him he had to have a permit. And then Kris, being a dude of exceedingly even temperament and good nature, tried to shake this cop's hand as a gesture of good will. And then the cop said, "I'm not shaking your hand. I don't shake hands with anybody" like he's just so tough and uncompromising in his role as a tough, uncompromising peacekeeper that he can't even touch the hand of some ragamuffin pier urchin. And get this: the cop was wearing shorts. Shorts! And he's gonna tell Kris Allen how it's gonna be!?! Kris Allen, who's just trying to have a nice little low-key get-together at the beach!?! Gimme a break!
And then Kris follows up the ridiculous incident with these tweets: "Thanks to everyone that came out. Had a good time. And to the people that just stopped...thanks for stopping. Btw I didn't mean any disrespect to other street performers out there. I respect them so much for what they do."
See? A perfect gentleman. Kris could teach that beach cop a thing or two about manners and how you should treat people.
7 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $21 adv., $25 d.o.s.
I've probably bemoaned the current state of music and culture as much as or more than anybody, but there have been some positive developments in the last few years. For one thing, the major labels are dying. With a few notable exceptions, these corporations were bloodsuckers that found no limit to the ways they could screw over artists and fans, especially in the '80s and '90s. $18.99 for a CD with maybe two good tracks? Good riddance. Who needs 'em?
Hank Williams III recently articulated this to SkeletonCrueTV: "It's a great time to be DIY. You've got YouTube, the Internet, when you jam in your rehearsal room, record it, upload it, make your own website." Years ago, you didn't have that option, he said, but "you don't need the majors now, just do it yourself man."
Williams also epitomizes another thing that's good about nowadays: You don't have to be one thing. Williams plays country, punk, hardcore, psychobilly, metal, sludge, whatever he wants. He's not constrained by some record label jerk saying, "Well, I don't know about this doom metal side project, Hank. It doesn't really fit in with the branding strategy we've created for you." He'll be showcasing his multiple musical styles at this show, with Hellbilly, Attention Deficit Domination and 3 Bar Ranch.
The film program at UCA in Conway has been churning out starry-eyed young filmmakers for awhile, and now UALR is pumping up the film options for their students, with a new cinema-centric degree emphasis offered through the School of Mass Communications.
Courses available will include screenwriting, movie-making techniques, documentary production, and non-linear video editing, all applicable toward a degree in Mass Communications with an accent on motion pictures. UALR's Mass Comm already has a film minor.
For more information about the movie making option, contact Mark Giese at (501)569-3250 or visit ualr.edu/masscomm.
Midwest chanteuse Jessica Lea Mayfield returns to Little Rock for a show at White Water Tavern with Mandy McBryde & The Unholy Ghost, 9 p.m., $12.
The Ohio singer/songwriter's darkly introspective tunes are showcased on a couple of fine albums produced by fellow Buckeye State native Dan Auerbach of Black Keys renown. Last year's "Tell Me" sounds incredibly confident for such a relatively young artist.
The Los Angeles Times wrote that Mayfield has "…a sound that’s coy and plain-spoken, a fascinating take on the demure female singer… Her cool connects her to Patsy Cline; her haunted side recalls Gillian Welch.”
From Epiphany's recently released "Such is Life" album, check out the video for "Untouchable."
I dig the sparse spookiness of the production on this track. After the jump, give a listen to a remix featuring Arkansas Bo, Marion Write, Jarren Benton and SeanFresh. If you wanna see him live, Epiphany's gonna be in Jackson, Miss. tonight and has some other out-of-town dates coming up, as well as shows at Cornerstone Pub and Revolution next month.
Word has it that the garage-psych- and classic country-warping weirdoes in The Frontier Circus have some new tunes in the works to shock and amaze the crowd. Booyah! Dad opens the show at White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $5.
The Meshugga Klezmer Band brings the good-time tunes to The Afterthought, with guest vocalist Stephanie Smittle, of The Smittle Band, 8 p.m., $8.
If you want to witness a genuine southern Illinois hillbilly ruckus, check out The Whistle Pigs at Reno's Argenta Cafe, 9 p.m.
For an evening of Southern summer wear, drinks and appetizers, croquet and live jazz from Jeremy Shrader's Hot Memphis Four, check out The Seersucker Social, benefiting the Old Statehouse Museum, where the event kicks off at 6 p.m., $25 adv., $30 door.
The Celebrity Dance Showcase benefits Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind and Sickle Cell Support Services, with a silent auction, complimentary wine, beer and desserts and, of course, dancing. Showcase starts at 6 p.m., after-party at 8:30 p.m., Wildwood Park, 5 p.m., $35 adv., $45 door.
The Weekend Theater celebrates its 20th anniversary as an institution of community theater with a party at The Villa Marre, 6:30 p.m., $35.
Biking for Bigs is a Big Brothers Big Sisters biking event that includes a post-ride party and cookout and the opportunity for little brothers and sisters who don't have bikes to be given a used, fitted and restored bike, Big Dam Bridge, 10 a.m., $15-$25.
8 p.m. Low Key Arts. $7.
It's a shame that so much contemporary roots reggae sounds bogus, with tinny synthesizer tones that are thin and dry, compared to the warm, enveloping throb of the classic stuff. And don't even get me started on digital dancehall or ragga or whatever they're calling it these days. So where should one look for some reggae that sounds like the good old days? Try South Africa's Tidal Waves, a band that's been going for more than a decade now.
The band blends Jamaican sounds, such as jazzy piano reminiscent of some of the original ska bands, with Afrobeat elements, like the distinctively bright high life guitar sound that weaves through some of their tunes. There are occasional guitar heroics that might sound a bit out of place for those accustomed to the stripped-down, minimal sounds that emanated from the island in the '70s, but it works in the context of Tidal Waves' fusion of styles.
"Mafikeng," from the band's recent album "Manifesto," manages to blend haunting chants reminiscent of Burning Spear with Clash-like horns and crunchy distorted guitar. "Geypseys Lament" is a minimal, rock-steady inspired number that coasts along on beautiful harmonizing and classic-sounding organ. The band sufficiently impressed Ziggy Marley that he asked them to back him up for performances in Soweto and Johannesburg, so they've gotten the nod from reggae royalty. But I really can't stress enough how good their "Manifesto" album sounds. In a world filled with posers, this band is the real deal.
They also play at Juanita's Sunday night at the Mane Affair Hair Show.
OK all you Rock Candy readin' Steve Martin fans, here's your chance to get tickets to see Martin and his bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers. They don't officially go on sale until tomorrow, but you can go right over here and get them a day early.
Just enter the password: BLUEGRASS.
After the jump, check out Martin on the Tavis Smiley Show.
The hypnotic psych-blues grooves of Tyrannosaurus Chicken will help keep you up all night at Midtown Billiards, 12:30 a.m., $5.
Maxine's hosts another Songwriters Showcase, with Brian Martin, Andy Warr, Mandy McBryde and Jonathan Wilkins, 8 p.m., $5 adv., $7 door.
Velvet Kente and several guest musicians will be playing classic soul and funk covers, with DJ sets to keep everything rolling, White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $7.
It'll be an evening of eardrum shredding heaviness at Downtown Music Hall, with Shadows Fall, Moment of Fierce Determination, Severe Headwound and A Darkend Era, 7 p.m., $17 adv., $20 d.o.s.
Texas rocker Bleu Edmondson plays Stickyz, 8:30 p.m., $10.
8 p.m. Walton Arts Center. $43-$79.
Glen Campbell might be mostly remembered for "Rhinestone Cowboy," but as I've noted in the pages of the Times before, his CV is staggering: He sold more than 45 million records; he hosted his own TV variety show (the second Arkansas native to do so — Johnny Cash, of course, was the other one); he was a member of the vaunted studio wizards known as The Wrecking Crew, alongside legends like Hal Blaine, Dr. John, Jack Nitzsche, Leon Russell and many more; he won five Grammys in 1968 alone; he was hand-picked by John Wayne to star in the original film version of "True Grit" (and also "Norwood," another film based on a Charles Portis novel), and filled in for Brian Wilson on tour with The Beach Boys (and recorded the 1965 single "Guess I'm Dumb," a sublime pop nugget written and produced by Wilson).
It's gonna be hard not to think about Levon Helm now when considering Campbell — another small-town Arkansas boy who lit out for the territories, finding fame and fortune as a musician (and sometimes as an actor). Campbell last year made his Alzheimer's diagnosis public, announcing that he'd be going on tour one last time. So folks, these shows will most likely be your last opportunity to see one of Arkansas's musical legends play live.
Arkansas director Eric England, whose Arkansas-filmed retro-slasher flick "Madison County" will be out on DVD early next month, recently blocked a fan on Facebook. Said fan, who straightfacedly refers to himself as "The Jack," has now posted a response video (seen above) in which, among other things, he admits that he was looking forward to seeing "Madison County" so much that he went ahead and torrented it (AKA: ripped it off illegally) online. NOTE: NSFW due to language and tearing-sheetmetal voice ("DIRECTOR! PRODUCER!")
BONUS: The Jack has now posted an even more unintentionally hilarious video calling for a boycott of the film, in which he contends: "the director is mean! He's a jerk! He has no compassion to his fans! His name is Eric England, and he is a very bad director, because he does not care for his fans! Nor does he care about his reputation in the film industry, which I will stinglehandedly tarnish, because I can do that!"
Entertainment Weekly reports that South Arkansas author Charlaine Harris, whose Sookie Stackhouse books have become big bidness after being translated into HBO's "True Blood" television series, has now sold the rights to her Harper Connelly Mysteries series for development into a series called "Grave Sight."
The four book series follows a woman who gains the ability to sense the memories of dead people after being struck by lightning.
9 p.m. Juanita's. $13 adv., $15 d.o.s.
You will likely recall James Durbin as the studded leather-clad young man from Season 10 of American Idol. A fan favorite who made it to the top four urging viewers to "give metal a chance," Durbin brought a dose of hard rock to Idol's mostly pop-oriented proceedings, singing numbers by Guns N' Roses, Queen, Sammy Hagar and Judas Priest, who he brought on the show for a wailing medley of Priest classics "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law."
Durbin's on tour right now supporting his debut album, "Memories from a Beautiful Disaster." He was on Idol a couple weeks ago performing the earwormy single "Higher than Heaven," looking like Darby Crash's hunky little brother and sounding a bit like Sebastian Bach fronting a crunchy post-nu metal outfit. In a recent interview, Durbin named Ronnie James Dio as a primary influence. Dio's "music was so heavy but the vocals were so smooth," Durbin said. "To hear this operatic voice over these heavy guitars was just moving."
That a guy who did really well on Idol claims Saint Dio among his influences would, on its own, be enough to make me root for him. But Durbin also overcame Tourette's and Asperger's syndromes and struggled just to be able to have normal interactions with people. Plus, he seems like a really genuine dude who just loves metal.
I always liked the Riverdale 10. Prices were fair, and--to be honest--sometimes I just liked…
You don't have any imagination. Visit the food court in the River Market. It doesn't…
It was an honor to play with him.
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