Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
ARGENTA FILM SERIES: 'SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT'
7 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. Free.
This month, the Argenta Film Series pays tribute to Arkansas native and film legend Hal Needham. The stuntman auteur passed away last month, so AFS will screen one of his greatest gifts to the world: "Smokey and the Bandit." The fourth-highest grossing film of 1977 (behind only "Star Wars," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Saturday Night Fever"), "Smokey" was basically a 90-minute car chase with the ever-charming Burt Reynolds smirking his way across the South in a Trans Am on a mad-dash round-trip bootlegging jaunt to smuggle 400 cases of Coors from Texarkana to Georgia in only 28 hours. (Apparently it was illegal to sell Coors east of Texas back in the day; its regional scarcity must've had some sort of inverse effect on the actual taste of the stuff. Nowadays people smuggle much better stuff out of Colorado). Along the way, Reynolds picks up a bride-to-be (Sally Field) who doesn't want to marry the son of Buford T. Justice, a pugnacious Texas sheriff played by Jackie Gleason. They high tail it across several states to get the beer back to Georgia in time for a big party. That's about it for the plot, and really, it's all you need. So just take off your thinking cap, put on your killer-car-chase-appreciating cap, crack open a cold smuggled-in Coors and enjoy!
STEVE HOWELL AND THE MIGHTY MEN
9 p.m. The Afterthought.
Texas native Steve Howell became entranced by the blues when, as a youngster, he heard the warm, laid-back singing and supremely deft fingerpicking of the great Mississippi John Hurt. According to Howell's bio, that initial spark led the way to a lifelong obsession with country blues and early jazz. Howell has honed his considerable guitar-playing skills over several decades of playing solo and with other performers, plying his trade for some time in the Shreveport scene. He's got a new CD out called "Yes, I Believe I Will" that features Howell and some veteran backing players who'll be familiar to many Central Arkansas observers: Dave Hoffpauir on drums, Jason Weinheimer on keys and Chris Michaels on guitar. The new CD includes 10 covers, ranging from blues and folk classics ("I Know You Rider," "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning") to doo wop ("Mr. Blue") and more recent numbers ("Wasted Mind" by bluegrass great Danny Barnes). Isaac Alexander opens the show.
FRIDAY 11/22-SATURDAY 11/23
STEVE KIMOCK AND FRIENDS
9:30 p.m. George's Majestic Lounge. $20.
Guitarist Steve Kimock has long been hailed as one of the heirs to Jerry Garcia's melodic fretboard wizardry. Garcia himself once described Kimock as his favorite guitarist. Kimock played in the Bay Area group Zero for many years, as well as with various members of the Grateful Dead, including a stint with the short-lived Heart of Gold Band with Keith and Donna Godcheaux and post-Dead outfit The Other Ones (he's touring early next year with Bob Weir and Ratdog). Since 2000, he's headed up his own band and has built up a major following on the jam circuit in general, Fayetteville in particular and that town's late great venue Chester's Place even more particularly. That was where he played many sold-out shows over the course of the late '90s and '00s. This weekend sees Kimock returning for his first Fayetteville shows in a few years, so it's safe to say these will likely sell out, especially considering that Parliament-Funkadelic keyboard legend Bernie Worrell is among the players. Also performing with Kimock are his son John Morgan on drums, Reed Mathis of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Tea Leaf Green, Tulsa keyboardist Steve Pryor and more.
ARKANSAS VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE
11:21 a.m. War Memorial Stadium. $65.
Dammit. Just ... dammit. Here's where we are, fellow Hog faithful: Hoping for a single, solitary SEC win in 2013 (I think we can all safely rule out a Miracle in Baton Rouge later this month, right?). We all knew this was going to be a rough season, rebuilding in the ashes of the crash of Bobby's April Fool's Day Extramarital Motorcycle Tour and Johnelle's 2012 SMILE! Campaign of Terror and all that. But holy hell, this has been painful. At least for some of us. I'm not naming names, but there are certain commentators out there who seem to positively relish how poorly the Razorbacks are playing this year. Which, whatever. If that's the sort of thing that brings some folks a bit of joy in this gray, late-capitalist world, I won't begrudge them that. I'd only ask them to remember that while schadenfreude might be an exhilarating sugar rush of an emotion, in the end it provides only empty spiritual calories, unlike memories of cheering for your favorite team with friends and family. I still remember screaming and jumping up and down and high-fiving my friends when Ryan Mallett threw that crazy 80-yard bomb to Cobi Hamilton for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half of the 2010 game against LSU. That was an awesome moment of celebrating with people I care about, and I'll always savor it no matter how poorly the Hogs are playing right at the moment.
MOSCOW BALLET'S 'GREAT RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER'
3 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $79.
It's time once more for one of the most enduring works in the history of ballet: Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." According to a press release, the Moscow Ballet's current touring production promises to take the "150-year Nutcracker tradition to a new level incorporating props, costumes, and a new level of dramatic depth." Among the new bells and whistles: a "Magic Table" for Uncle Drosselmeyer; a 5-foot pile of "teetering presents" for the Christmas party scene; and two 6-foot "Matryoshka Dolls," which reveal Drosselmeyer's magic dolls for party guests. Sounds like a Nutcracker-y good time to get everyone in the holiday spirit.
7:30 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $15 adv., $17 day of.
It seems that Austin metal outfit The Sword often gets saddled with the "doomy sludge metal" shorthand. But that gives short shrift to a band that incorporates a lot more than just Sabbath-y riffs into its repertoire. I hear a lot of their fellow Texans ZZ Top in The Sword's sound, along with a good bit of Groundhogs-esque heavy blues as well as an overarching classic rock vibe that shows that the band has listened to and absorbed much more than just the first six Sabbath albums (undeniably brilliant though they are). All in all, these sounds are spun into a whole that's pretty killer. The group is still touring for last year's excellent "Apocryphon" full-length. A trusted peer of mine saw the band about this time last year at Downtown Music Hall and said they were incredibly tight live. On tour with The Sword are Austin's American Sharks, a group that sounds a bit like if Blue Cheer took about six Adderall and downed a bum-jug of Carlo Rossi Sangria. Also performing: The mighty Seahag and Little Rock prog-metal outfit Enchiridion.
8:30 p.m. Stickyz. $7.
If you're looking to get in a raucous night out on the town in the hours immediately preceding Thanksgiving, here's your best bet: The Revolutioners headline an evening of rock 'n' roll hedonism that's sure to have your ears still ringing (and your head possibly throbbing) by the time it's time to slice up the turkey and serve up the fixins' and pie. I hear tell that this show in particular will be a lively affair, with lots of the bands' friends and family in town for the holiday. The Revolutioners also have a full-length album forthcoming, mostly likely in early '14, so look for the band to be playing some cuts from that. Also on the bill of this 18-and-older show: Fayetteville alt-rockers Chasing Pictures and Central Arkansas rockers Dead End Drive.