Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
56TH ANNUAL DELTA EXHIBITION
Arkansas Arts Center, through Sept. 28. Free.
The Arkansas Arts Center's Townsend Wolfe Gallery looks homeward Friday, when the annual Delta show of contemporary work by artists from Arkansas and contiguous states opens to the public. This year's Delta — an exhibition that has left in the dust an era of mild kookiness (remember the lettuce head being eaten by a caterpillar?) — will feature work by 35 artists from Arkansas and 30 from out of state. (See examples of the work to be featured on our website's Rock Candy blog). This is a much anticipated show, given that it showcases art being made in Arkansas by both the established and up-and-coming. More than 450 artists applied to be in the show; juror Brian Rutenberg, an abstract expressionist who works in New York but hails from South Carolina, made the selections. Rutenberg will give a talk at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 26, which is opening night for Arts Center members. For $15, nonmembers can hear the talk, mingle with members at the well-lubricated reception and find out which artist won the awards. Also opening Friday: "Susan Paulsen: Wilmot," photographs of the southern Arkansas town. LNP
9 p.m. Stickyz. $18 adv., $22 day of.
Old 97's are a first-generation alt-country band, a genre that means different things to different people but in their case mostly means that they sing country-tinged songs and hail from Texas but don't have discernible Southern accents. Frontman Rhett Miller was in town in April for the Arkansas Literary Festival, playing a solo set and, earlier in the day, some Johnny Cash covers alongside a reading by Cash biographer Robert Hilburn. This time he's bringing the whole band, which has released 10 studio albums since it formed in 1993 and which attained a kind of nebulous, major label near-fame in the '90s and early aughts. They seem self-aware and admirably appreciative of this; in a recent interview, Miller was asked if he wished they'd been "bigger" and answered, essentially, no: "The bands that did break through [from our label], like Third Eye Blind, are still playing, but I don't know. I wouldn't trade places with those guys. I think if we were to have a huge hit song or broken through in a bigger way at any point, it wouldn't be like this." WS
8 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs. $20.
Black Flag, the seminal hardcore punk band who released at least two classic albums in the 1980s and in their heyday were blacklisted by the LAPD for the aggressiveness of their shows, reunited again last year (they've tried it a couple of times) and once again it didn't go very well. The singer most often associated with the group, Henry Rollins, now better known as a TV personality, writer and spoken word artist, wasn't involved in the lineup this time; instead, previous front man Ron Reyes took charge, until he was kicked out of the band midway through a set in November, only to be replaced as singer by band manager (and former pro-skater) Mike Vallely. Reyes said it was a "great relief." There have also been lawsuits, a bad new album, and the whole thing has just been a complicated, uncomfortable situation. Things are apparently back on track though, and Vallely told Rolling Stone early this year that the new plan was to have more fun onstage. "You're allowed to smile," he said. "It's OK." WS
9 p.m. Revolution. $10.
If you've seen a beat-up yellow van decorated with flames and racing stripes around town, you've seen The Van, a Little Rock institution operated by Aaron Reddin, who drives the vehicle as part of his homeless outreach nonprofit The One Inc., started back in 2010. "Our slogan is: No rules, no apologies, just help," Reddin told the Times in a 2011 interview. On Saturday, June 28, the nonprofit Arkansas Music United will host a live music showcase at the Rev Room to benefit The Van and its efforts, featuring Siversa, Thin Margins, The Federalis and The Whole Famn Damily. Headlining will be Little Rock indie pop group Knox Hamilton, who have been getting a fair amount of attention off the strength of their recent "Great Hall" EP and particularly the single, "Work It Out." The song is irresponsibly likable and should by now have probably already been featured in the trailer for a movie about young people on the brink of major life decisions (or a Nissan commercial at the very least). The video for the song finds them riding bikes around downtown Little Rock and will fill you with local pride. WS
7 p.m. Laman Library. Free.
Little Rock novelist Kevin Brockmeier released his first work of nonfiction earlier this year, a brilliant, tender, funny and sometimes excruciating memoir of seventh grade titled "A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip." I interviewed him at the time and he said it was an attempt to "give away what was most intimate to me": "One of the challenges for me was figuring out whether I would reflect on that time in my life or immerse myself in it," he said. "How much distance, I wondered, should I permit myself? None, was my decision, or at least as little as possible." He said the book also marked his "hardest effort to capture Little Rock as it actually exists, or at least as it did back in 1985," and it's a success on each of these fronts. At a packed reading during the Arkansas Literary Festival, Brockmeier read a section involving betrayal, loneliness and tricking a fellow student into eating a sandwich soaked in urine. Since then, it's received great reviews; Gawker, not typically a literary (or forgiving) venue, called it a "new Young Adult classic," and the Boston Globe called it "graceful and roundly empathetic." WS
MARA LEVERITT AND JASON BALDWIN
7 p.m. Laman Library. Free.
Mara Leveritt, longtime contributing editor at the Arkansas Times and author of the now-classic true crime book "Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three" (the one they made into the movie), released the second book in her West Memphis Three trilogy last month, "Dark Spell: Surviving the Sentence." The new book picks up where the first one left off and focuses on Jason Baldwin, the youngest of the Three, who collaborated with Leveritt to tell the story of his experiences in prison. Rather than attempt, again, to untangle the intricacies of the trial, the book looks at its aftermath, offering a first-hand account of wrongful imprisonment. Leveritt will discuss the book with Baldwin (via Skype) at North Little Rock's Laman Library Wednesday. WS