Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
9 p.m. Revolution. $20-$30.
Houston rap's first wave is a historical institution, literally. The University of Houston hosts in its library's permanent collection the papers, recordings and archives of DJ Screw and the original Screwed Up Click, many of whom, like Fat Pat, Big Moe and Screw himself, passed away years ago. The question now is, what will become of Houston's silver age, the Swishahouse era of the mid-aughts, in which a new cast of local stars — Mike Jones, Slim Thug, Lil Flip, Paul Wall — broke nationally? Not much, I would guess. "I got the Internet goin' nuts," Wall rapped on their 2004 breakthrough, "Still Tippin'," and that was true then in a way it never has been since. Still, Wall seems healthy these days. He's lost weight, found a new lane. Post-Riff Raff, Wall even seems comforting, traditional, kind of respectable. He'll share a bill Thursday night with Triggaman, Young Jose and The Corner Kingz.
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Adam Carroll is a country singer from Tyler, Texas, who writes songs with grain and casual irony and an instinct toward storytelling that's almost anachronistic, like his scene must have gotten cut from "Heartworn Highways." His songs are often about nostalgia and work and trying to connect, even when they're about something else — sno-cones for instance. He has a handful of records out, but you might as well start with 2009's "Live at Flipnotics," a career overview recorded at the now-defunct Austin venue. Or start with his new record, for that matter, the release of which he'll be celebrating at White Water on Friday night with opener (and spouse) Christian Marie Carroll.
RECORD STORE DAY
Arkansas Record and CD Exchange.
Record Store Day, the annual all-day event highlighting independent record stores, will be happening over at Arkansas Record and CD Exchange, a local institution that's been in business for three decades now. There will be free music giveaways and Record Store Day exclusives, including promotional vinyl and CDs produced especially for the festivities. This year's official list includes vinyl by William Onyeabor, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Mastodon and Sam Cooke. Also Steve Earle and Deerhoof and Haim and Husker Du. There are odd, limited run picture discs and Gram Parsons outtakes alongside live releases from Devo, Donny Hathaway, The Pogues and The Grateful Dead. It's a lot of stuff, and, of course, the store's typically vast selection will be available as well.
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $36-$48.50.
If you haven't purposefully listened to country radio anytime in the past three years, you might be forgiven for not having heard Brantley Gilbert's "Country Must Be Country Wide," the first of the Georgia songwriter's handful of singles to reach No. 1 on the country charts. I recommend it, though — it's a complicated song with a counterintuitive sentiment, maybe the key to Gilbert's wide appeal. It opens with a short scene. Gilbert is at a gas station ("gassin' up") and spots an Ohio license plate pulling in. He groans, thinking the Yankee driver must be lost, but then the man steps out of his car wearing Wranglers and boots (and a "Copenhagen smile"). Gilbert's instantaneous and far-reaching epiphany is that country culture isn't a necessarily regional phenomenon anymore, that "in every state there's a station playin' Cash, Hank, Willie and Waylon." All over the world, in other words, there are potential Brantley Gilbert fans. His latest attempt to find them is his headlining "Let It Ride" tour, also featuring Eric Paslay and Thomas Rhett.
JOYCE CAROL OATES
7 p.m. Fayetteville Town Center. Free.
Joyce Carol Oates must be one of the only National Book Award-winning, periodically Pulitzer Prize-nominated novelists who also regularly use Twitter. Her tweets are sometimes dull, long arguments split into 140-character bursts, and are sometimes hilariously writerly and great. "Please don't tell me of all the song birds we are not hearing any longer," she recently tweeted. "It is too sad to mourn them." Or as she tweeted earlier this month, "Now it is spring ... we will rapidly forget the protracted misery of the winter." This is particularly interesting because, as Oates says in an interview with The Paris Review, she writes her books in longhand, because "the thought of dictating into a machine doesn't appeal to me at all." Anyway, Oates is the author of more than 50 novels and a respectable stack of story collections, and she'll be in Arkansas to speak, read and sign books thanks to the University of Arkansas Programs in Creative Writing and Translation.
CHICK COREA AND BELA FLECK
7:30 p.m. Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA, Conway. $30-$40.
That a collaboration between Chick Corea and Bela Fleck should seem logical says loads about the weird world of contemporary jazz fusion. Corea, the son of a Dixieland trumpeter, came up playing piano in the 1960s for Cab Calloway, Herbie Mann and Stan Getz before falling deep under the sway of Miles Davis well into the latter's electric free jazz era. After "Bitches Brew," there's really no going back, and Corea never did, just drifting farther afield of his trad-jazz roots, embracing Latin percussion and Scientology. Fleck, for his part, is a banjo virtuoso who carved out an unlikely audience all to himself that straddles classical music aficionados and the jam band set. The two put out an album together in 2007, "The Enchantment," which likely sent NPR's editorial staff into a near-fatal, hysterical fit of satisfaction. Between the two of them, they've won 35 Grammys.
TUESDAY 4/22-WEDNESDAY 4/23
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: MICHAEL JACKSON, THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR
8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $52.50-$152.50
Forty-nine international dancers, musicians and acrobats will share the stage this week as part of Cirque du Soleil's hallucinatory Michael Jackson tribute "The Immortal World Tour." The trailer for this show is virtually indescribable, but here are some notes from my first viewing: backflips; "Billie Jean" remix; grotesque tree root monsters; pole-dancing; weird make up for a cellist; geysers of smoke and a man painted silver breakdancing; every iteration of Michael Jackson's look, each iconic music video outfit taken to an alien extreme, made exaggerated and outfitted with lasers or ribbons or shiny, reflective pants; a huge metal tree at the center of the stage; men on wires dressed as bats wearing trenchcoats; a goblin turning the page of a giant book; restless mummies in their coffins; sparks.
7:30 p.m. Vino's. Donations.
A spy named Caution from the "Outlands" comes to the city of Alphaville, ruled by a sentient computer that quotes Jorge Luis Borges. There are no emotions in Alphaville, or even words like "love" signifying emotions, and executions are frequent. Director Jean-Luc Godard didn't build any elaborate sci-fi sets for "Alphaville," his baffling 1965 genre film — he didn't need to. He just isolated Paris's most visually modern architecture, in the process bringing to life a futuristic dystopia that was there all along, latent. Mostly unconvincing as a noir narrative, the movie is nevertheless an utterly unique experiment by a director whose experiments are legendary for warping and remaking the medium.