ART PORTER WEEK
Various times and locations.
The date Aug. 3 would have been Art Porter Jr.'s 50th birthday. The virtuoso saxophonist died in a boating accident in Thailand in 1996, shortly after playing a concert for King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Porter and his father — a musician and instructor — were certainly beloved musical figures in their hometown of Little Rock. The younger Porter recorded several albums for Verve, and had a significant national and international following. He got his start playing drums in his pop's band, but eventually switched to saxophone. In fact, he was so young that it took special legislation — supported by then-Attorney General Bill Clinton — to allow the teen prodigy to perform in the normally 21-and-up clubs. To celebrate his life, the good folks behind Art Porter Music Education Inc., the nonprofit that provides scholarships to budding musicians, have organized this string of performances: Porter's Jazz Cafe is slated to open Aug. 3, with a performance from jazz pianist and composer Alex Bugnon. This event is open only to invited guests and APME sponsors. On Aug. 4 at 8 p.m., The Afterthought hosts a jam session, with several Arkansas musicians paying tribute to Porter. On Aug. 5, Cajun's Wharf hosts world-renowned producer, composer and jazz pianist Jeff Lorber, with whom Porter had performed and recorded. Tickets are $15 and the show starts at 7 p.m. The week wraps up Aug. 6 with a concert from jazz and R&B song stylist Lalah Hathaway at Riverfest Amphitheatre. Tickets are $25 in advance (through Ticketmaster) or $35 at the door. The show starts at 7 p.m.
REVEREND HORTON HEAT
9 p.m., George's Majestic Lounge. $20.
No other single performer has done more to establish psychobilly as an enduring, bona fide musical genre than the Reverend Horton Heat, nee Jim Heath. His trio came roaring out of Texas in the late '80s, signed on to legendary indie label Sub Pop and landed on many a budding, teen-aged music nerd's radar via appearances in the interstitial videos on "Beavis & Butthead." Sure, there are clear precedents for the good Reverend's greaser-punk vamping. The Cramps, Tav Falco, Flat Duo Jets, The Gun Club, X and a number of other acts had all explored the fusion of punk rock and rockabilly. And the primal pounding of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Hasil Adkins and most of the Sun Records roster were all clear inspirations. But the Reverend managed to stamp his own larger-than-life imprint on a musical landscape filled with other wild characters. He's proven to be one of the most resilient and popular of the retro/rockabilly acts that emerged in the last 20 years. George's is probably the best venue in Fayetteville and will be a great place to see this show.
RINGLING BROS. PRESENTS 'ZING, ZANG, ZOOM'
7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $11.75-$50.75.
A lot of descriptors come to mind when I think of PETA: smug, self-righteous, myopic, shrill, sensationalistic, self-important, delusional, holier-than-thou, condescending, self-congratulatory, presumptuous, bratty, careless, tone-deaf, overweening, carping, pompous and so forth. I think these adjectives are suitable more often than not. But I have to concede the whole circus animal argument to PETA. In fact, go right now and search YouTube for "Ringling Bros. + bull hooks." If you've got the stomach, you can watch several Ringling Bros. thugs smack elephants in the trunk, face, ears and hindquarters using bull hooks, which are thick rods about two or three feet long with sharp metal hooks on one end. Look, it's long past time for all circuses to ditch the animals from their shows. If such cruelty is just the price of being entertained, then perhaps we all should reexamine why that is. Maybe you should call up Ringling Bros. at 800-755-1530 and let them know that death-defying acrobatics and sword-swallowers and fire-breathers and exotic dancers and all the other human-based theatrics are entertaining enough and that they can leave the animals out of it.