"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
HOLIDAY ART SHOWS
Gallery 26, 2601 Kavanaugh; 413B Main St., Argenta
OK, so you didn't get what you wanted for Christmas? Feeling sort of sorry for yourself? After all you did for everyone! Here's the solution: Buy yourself some art. There are two holiday shows still up: the 20th annual "Holiday Show and Sale" at Gallery 26 and the "Holiday Art Show" of works by Artist INC fellows and the students of the Art Connection. The Gallery 26 show includes work by more than 50 artists — it's packed in there — and stays up through Jan. 10. The gallery also sells jewelry and all kinds of comforting tchotchkes to make up for your lousy family's deficiencies. The Artist INC/Art Connection show at 413B Main St. (that's the other half of John Gaudin's Argenta Art Gallery) runs through Jan. 5. Artist INC is a yearly program for artists wanting to grow their businesses; fellows in the show participated in 2013 and 2014. Art Connection introduces high school students to all sorts of art careers and builds confidence. There are numerous works of art available in this show, including paintings, ceramics, sculpture, greeting cards and music CDs. Go on. Make someone happy: you. Gallery 26 is open 10 a.m.to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 413B Main is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. LNP
9 p.m. Revolution. $20.
Country singer-songwriter Hayes Carll claims he writes "degenerate love songs." That doesn't give them enough credit for their humor, probably — songs like "Wild As a Turkey" and "She Left Me for Jesus" are funny in the way that, say, half of every John Prine record was (nondisposable novelty anthems in the tradition of "Illegal Smile") — but otherwise it sounds fairly accurate. Carll grew up outside of Houston and somehow found himself going to Hendrix College in Conway. He never quite got over Arkansas either, as is sometimes the case; he's immortalized the state on his album "Little Rock" and on songs like "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart," with its unforgettable opening line: "Arkansas, my head hurts / I'd love to stick around and maybe make it worse." He'll probably play that one Friday night, and the title track from the former record, too, where he admits, "To all these years of searchin', I finally found my spot / One way or another, Lord, I'm gonna make it down to Little Rock." Band of Heathens opens. WS
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
"Holyshitholyshitholyshit!" is a representative sample of how the Internet greeted the news of the first American Princes show in two years. One fan, in sharing details of the event on Facebook, expressed reluctance to spread the word since it would make it harder for him to get into the show. It's a sentiment a generation of local music fans probably shares. For that group, in which I'm included, American Princes were the Arkansas band of the last decade. Their first shows, in the early aughts, coincided with my arrival in Little Rock. I remember them being Jawbreaker-y, energetic and sloppy. They played a lot. They got better. Members came and went (original bassist John Beachboard went on to found a beloved local restaurant empire). Before long, a lot of people were singing along at shows. The band signed to Yep Roc Records, toured relentlessly and released an album, "Other People," which Magnet Magazine called the best of the year in 2008. That accolade turned out to be the beginning of the end for the band. AP played little during the nearly two years that followed as bassist Luke Hunsicker battled brain cancer. He died in 2010. It was a low point for the local scene perhaps not seen again since TC Edwards was murdered recently. Since the band went dark, there've been weddings and babies and graduate schools. The Princes' primary songwriters, Collins Kilgore and David Slade, became lawyers. Kilgore now lives in Los Angeles. Slade is about to have a second kid. The band has played twice (on the same weekend) in the last five years. So shows like this, full of nostalgia and sadness and joy, aren't likely to happen with any regularity. Show up early if this is a can't-miss proposition for you. Jeremy Brasher (Canehill Engagement and The Moving Front) will be hosting karaoke before the Princes play. LM
8 p.m. Vino's. $5.
At a certain point last year, Fresco Grey started to worry that people would forget he was a rapper. It wasn't false modesty; it was a time management issue: He spent a huge portion of 2014 directing videos and crafting wild, unpredictable beats for other people's songs — for his friends in the rap collective Young Gods of America and other artists in Little Rock and around the country. His videos look sharp and he's a great, intuitive producer, maybe even a vital one; but in the scheme of things, those are just sidelines. First and foremost, Fresco is a rapper. Now, the artist formally known as Fresco the Caveman has a new mixtape on the way, "Slump Sports," that promises to remind the city of that fact. He'll headline a release party of the tape at Vino's Saturday night, along with Vile Pack, YGOA, Jungle Juice, Keeshawn and XP, with new merch, giveaways and more. The uninitiated should check soundcloud.com/fresco-grey for a preview of his range and sense of humor (I recommend "BallaBlockin," "Twin Turbo" and "Aquaman Grey"); he's one of the most talented young artists in the city and it's about time he got credit for it. WS
BIG BOSS LINE
10 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Little Rock's Big Boss Line formed exactly 20 years ago and played gritty, pummeling, blue-collar punk rock until they didn't, going their separate ways only to finally reunite for one night only on a Tuesday night (natch) at the White Water Tavern with openers The Suffer Jets. It's fate! Some reunion shows are boring, but this promises not to be one of those. Check the Big Boss Line memorial page on towncraftmovie.com (reliable repository of Little Rock's collective punk nostalgia): Every entry mentions cocaine and the whole run seems glorious and emotionally straining. Billboard Magazine once compared the band to Social Distortion. The group had a T-shirt that said "Legalize Heroin and Murder" on the back. Who does that anymore? WS
W. KAMAU BELL
7 p.m. Juanita's. $15.
"You're on a bit of a mission, which is to break down racial stereotypes on your show," Conan O'Brien said to W. Kamau Bell in late 2012. "Do you feel like you're having an effect?" Bell's answer was complicated and the show in question, "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell," was canceled just a few months after his "Conan" appearance," but at the time the question felt justified (if a little hyperbolic): Bell was on a mission, and it seemed to be going well. "The show feels faintly revolutionary," New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum wrote, "just because the man is black — ridiculous but true, given the whiteness of late-night TV." The show was an outlet for Bell, a great comedian who came up in the alternative comedy scene in San Francisco, to dive into discussing race forcefully and sincerely and hilariously with a diverse group of comedians and commenters from a number of different angles. And this has always been Bell's M.O., in his stand-up specials ("One Night Only" and "Face Full of Flour"), his podcast ("The Field Negro Guide to Arts and Culture") and his activism. WS
Congratulations Tara, beautifully written!