FRIDAY 8/15-SUNDAY 8/31
'INDIGO VISIONS,' 'A DREAM RITUAL RETRIEVAL'
Hearne Fine Art. Free (exhibit), $5 (performance).
"Indigo Visions" at Hearne Fine Art is an exhibition that serves both as a showcase for 26 emerging and established artists and as backdrop for a short multimedia performance piece, "A Dream Ritual Retrieval," by Little Rock composer Ryan Gaston. Combined, they promise to make Hearne Fine Art one of the weekend's more innovative art destinations. "Dream Ritual" opens with two shows, at 7 and 8 p.m. Aug. 15 at the gallery; at 3 p.m. Aug. 16 there will be a panel discussion, "What is Your Catalyst for Creativity?" and a reception for the artists of "Indigo Visions" at 5 p.m. "Dream Ritual" repeats at 7 and 8 p.m. Aug. 16, 22-23, 29-30 and at 3 p.m. Aug. 17, 24 and 31. Here's how the creator of "A Dream Ritual Retrieval" describes the work: "Performers wander through the audience; musicians tear up their parts and defy their director; the conductor actively mocks the audience — it emanates the spirit of Satie and Duchamp. Musicians rattle paper, whisper at one another, yawn and shout while electronic hubbub evokes images of a surreal river — while our narrator strains to remember the dream from which she had just woken... It is a monodrama in the spirit of Maxwell-Davies' 'Eight Songs for a Mad King,' Ligeti's 'Mysteries of the Macabre,' and Zappa's 'Food Gathering in Post-Industrial America 1992.'" Got that? Can you see it in your head? While the exhibition is a pop-up inspired by the "Dream," don't drop in for the performances; reserve at 372-5824. A $5 donation gets you in. LNP
THURSDAY 8/14-SUNDAY 8/17
SUPER CIRCUS HEROES
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $10-$60.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus will return to North Little Rock's Verizon Arena with a new show extravagantly titled "Super Circus Heroes." The press release cites "unbelievable animal talent" and stresses that there will be "no computer generated animations." The award-winning Italian clown Davis Vassallo will be on hand portraying a character named Mr. Boredom, as will the "Shaolin Warriors of China" and the "high-flying Cuban Comets." The "Twin Titans" will be there, those "two brave Bulgarian men with bulging biceps and unwavering strength," as will the "Silver Satellites," who "fly at lightning speed on roller skates." There will be sword fighting, courtesy of "The Lopez Family," and dogs riding horses. Circuses aren't traditionally known for having compelling plots, but this one actually seems sort of poignant to me: "... real life superheroes from around the globe [here] not to fight crime, but to battle boredom." I'm considerably less bored just reading about it. WS
JOHNNY CASH MUSIC FESTIVAL
7 p.m. Convocation Center, Arkansas State University. SOLD OUT.
You think you've heard enough about Johnny Cash, and then one day former L.A. Times rock critic Robert Hilburn comes to town to give a presentation about his new Cash biography, and in passing mentions a shelved 1984 novelty song called "The Chicken in Black." Cash and his label tried to disappear this thing (though Hilburn claims it was initially made in good faith, as a bid for a late-career hit in the "Boy Named Sue" realm), but you can watch the video on YouTube. It's actually a little upsetting: Cash gets a brain transplant that turns him into a thief, while a mad scientist puts Cash's old brain in the body of a chicken, who performs as the Man in Black. It just goes to show: Cash and his music are endlessly fascinating. There will always be more dark corners and strange career digressions worth exploring.
So this festival — the proceeds from which will go to support the completion of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess, Ark., and a college scholarship in Cash's name — is a beautiful, righteous cause. And the headliners this year include Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire and Bobby Bare. The Arkansas Times is doing our part to support the event by hosting bus trips to the festival, featuring live music and beer and wine. WS
7:30 p.m. Walmart AMP. $24-$79.
Music critic Robert Christgau's original review of the first Boston album was a masterpiece of concision. The review reads, in full, "When informed that someone has achieved an American synthesis of Led Zeppelin and Yes, all I can do is hold my ears and say gosh." Boston founder and producer Tom Scholz, meanwhile, was once asked whether his own son enjoyed Boston's music, and replied, "I think he does, but he's such a nice kid that he would pretend he did even if he didn't." After founding lead singer Brad Delp committed suicide in 2007, he was replaced by a Boston fanatic named Tommy DeCarlo, who lived in North Carolina and posted apparently outstanding Boston covers on his MySpace page. More recently, in the 2008 presidential election, Mike Huckabee used "More Than a Feeling" as his theme song. Scholz was unhappy about it and sent him a letter requesting he stop, but Huckabee just ignored him. WS
THIRD FRIDAY ARGENTA ARTWALK
5-8 p.m. Main Street, North Little Rock. Free.
Mugs Cafe, the Thea Foundation, Greg Thompson Fine Art and the Laman Library Argenta Branch are just a few of the Main Street stops for the monthly after-hours lubricated gallery stroll on Friday. Mugs (515 Main St.) is showing work by Lilia Hernandez, Justin Bryant and Logan Hunter in a show called "Come as You Are"; Greg Thompson (429 Main) continues his summer show of work by Southern artists from Arkansas and the region, Thea (401 Main) features paintings by John Harlan Norris, and Laman Library (420 Main) hosts ceramicist Celia Storey. Laman's event will be extra fun for gallery goers, who'll get a chance to take part in Storey's next Claymation video. She'll provide the scripts. Also, veer off the main drag to 204 E. Fourth St. to see what's on the walls at Art Connections, the arts-careers-for-teens venture in the Innovation Hub. LNP
9 p.m. Sway. $5-$7.
In recent weeks we've written about the local rappers and producers behind the Trill Clinton and Good Vibes showcases, and how they've struggled to find a venue interested in reviving the series. Enter Sway, the nightclub on Louisiana Street owned by Jason Wiest, who heard about this crowd's difficulties and stepped in to offer a space. The lineup for the first comeback showcase is pretty stunning: Kari Faux, BLACK PARTY, the Young Gods of America crew (Goon Des Garcons, Fresco Grey), Rodney Cole, Vile Pack and Nick Ward. The official justification for the show is the recent release of two great mixtapes: Kari Faux's "Laugh Now, Die Later" (one of the best records of the year) and Hector $lash's "Cocaine Demon." Locally, these are some of the people working hardest to keep the ball rolling this year, sonically. They're onto something, and you should at least be aware of it, lest you confine yourself to the dustbin of Little Rock cultural history, etc. WS
7 p.m. First Security Amphitheater. $34.61-$141.24.
There is the Young Jeezy who stands outside malls in Atlanta handing out mountains of free turkeys to fans or anyone who needs one on Thanksgiving Day. There is the Young Jeezy whose career benefited, in the sense of commercial viability, from his association with the now largely defunct drug trafficking organization known as the Black Mafia Family. There is the Young Jeezy who called himself the Snowman and pioneered the notion of "Thug Motivation." When he records, despite his wealth and fame, he sleeps on the couch, eats ramen noodles and works his way through bags of identical white T's. He worries, nowadays, about his potential, his audience. As he told Grantland a couple of years ago, "It's bigger than just me rapping for the cats that was on the corner with me. Now people listen to me in Israel, in Pakistan. How do you reach all these people with the same message?" He will, though. He's the Lee Marvin of hip-hop, its Robert De Niro in "Heat." In a 2008 interview, Kanye West explained his creative process by invoking the phrase "What Would Jeezy Do?" But really, who knows? WS
10 p.m. Juanita's. $20.
Spin Magazine, April 1996: Toadies' then-bassist Lisa Umbarger jumps out of her chair watching an NFL playoff game between the Cowboys and the Packers, screaming "Kill! Kill! Smash those cheese-heads!" Over in the other corner, then-guitarist Darrell Herbert is pondering their goth fanbase, which is exclusive to Florida. "The last thing we need is vampire groupies," he says grimly. On the cover of the issue, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are making weird faces. Toadies appear in a list that includes contemporaries like Garbage, Afghan Whigs and Perry Farrell. "The Alternative to Alternative," reads the caption. "Rock's Newest Rulebreakers." Sometimes they are called "alternative rock" or "post-grunge." Sometimes they sound a little like the Pixies but with less flexibility, less surrealism. Sometimes they sound like the Presidents of the United States of America. Their biggest hit was "Possum Kingdoms," originally featured in an episode of "Beavis and "Butt-head." You can play it on "Guitar Hero," too. WS