Cirque du Soleil 'Quidam' at Verizon 



7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $38-$98.

One of the funniest things that ever happened in the Arkansas Times newsroom occurred one of the times Cirque du Soleil came to town. Suddenly, on a quiet afternoon, a herd of clowns — and weird, silent, mime-esque clowns at that, with one of them teetering around on stilts — invaded our offices as part of their tour of local media outlets. Because then-editor and Arkansas Blog mastermind Max Brantley was scowling a blog post into the existence at the time, of course they made a bee-line for his desk. They proceeded to crowd around and bug the ever-loving hell out of him, touching his stuff and ringing a big school bell in his ear. He, meanwhile, ignored them and continued to work, frowning the whole time like a stone idol on an altar devoted to human sacrifice. There were some clowns who didn't know how close they came to death that day. Luckily for clowns, Max will be out of the country for this return engagement at Verizon this week, when Cirque du Soleil brings its new roadshow "Quidam" to town. Expect to be amazed by jaw-dropping feats of acrobatic grace and strength. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. DK



7:30 p.m. Nadine Baum Studios. $10-$22.

There's something lovely and personal about seeing a stage play. A big part of it is knowing that the actors you're watching are working without a net, and are doing so not for hundreds of thousands of people, but just for whoever is in the audience. That takes a certain amount of bravery, and comedy takes another layer of bravery yet. Featured this week at Fayetteville's Walton Arts Center, in the Nadine Baum Studios, is Stephen Karam's critically acclaimed comedy "Sons of the Prophet." A finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for drama, the play is the story of two Lebanese-American brothers dealing with the accidental death of their father. It's recommended for ages 17 and older. DK



9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.

As a music fan, I've always been baffled at some of the absolute crap that gets played on the radio, even as excellent performers drive rattletrap vans from small venue to small venue. That's across the board, in any genre you can name. The fact is, the general public seems to be willing to listen to any amount of terrible music so long as somebody, somewhere, told them it was what the cool kids are doing. It seems like a crime that there are so hacks and ass-clowns cashing in even as many great performers toil away in relative obscurity. Case in point: Kevin Russell and his band Shinyribs. Russell, known for his work with the five-man alt-country band The Gourds, has got a sound all his own and a voice that can turn from Delta blues to Southern funk on a dime. Russell's songs "East Texas Rust" and "Same Boat" (both of which can be found on YouTube) are great examples of this, with "Rust" sounding something like a Stevie Wonder/Skynyrd collaboration, and "Same Boat" an old timey a cappella stomp. The Shinyribs show, with opener Kevin Kerby, definitely looks like a plan for discerning fans of Southern rock and alt-country. DK



8 p.m. Maxine's. $12.

Listen to enough of Wayne "The Train" Hancock's music and you might just stop caring altogether about any country or rock 'n' roll that came along after, say, 1960. Hancock is one of those characters who truly seems like he was beamed in from another era, and certainly not one of these yahoos who decides he really likes whatever and goes out and buys the costume for it. Allmusic's Steve Huey called Hancock "that rare breed of traditionalist, one who imbues his retro obsessions with such high energy and passion that his songs never feel like museum pieces he's trying desperately to preserve." That about says it. Don't miss this show if you're into any combination of the following: Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, most of the Sun Records roster, white lightnin', unfiltered cigarettes, cruising down a country highway late at night with the top down and a bellyful of Dexies and so forth. Arkansas's own honky-tonk songstress extraordinaire Bonnie Montgomery opens the show. RB



8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $35 single, $50 couple.

Did you ever wish you could relive some important moment from your formative years, say, maybe your high school prom? Like perhaps you didn't have the best prom night because you got ready and all gussied up in your baby blue rental tux and you were nervous as hell and Dad had agreed to loan you the Volare but then your date stood you up and so you said "Ah, to hell with it" and went and got drunk on Colt 45 by yourself down behind the bowling alley and then you drunkenly wandered over to the gymnasium where they were having the prom only get there and see your date dancing with your so-called best friend? Or something along those lines? Well pardner, here is your chance to do it up right this time. According to the organizers of Relive Your Prom, "The time has finally come for you to re-live that one moment that you once looked forward to back in high school, only this time you control the episode." Got that? You control the episode. Here's the deal, you've got to get your tickets online ahead of time at reliveyourprom.com. RB



8:30 p.m. Stickyz.

Washington State native Ken Stringfellow has the sort of resume that would be the envy of many, many a scruffy indie-rocker type: Co-founder of a critically adored power-pop act? Check — See Posies, 1989-1998; 2000-present. Stint performing and recording with one of the biggest rock bands in the world? Check — See R.E.M., various tours and albums. Joining one of the greatest and most influential rock bands ever? Check — See Big Star. Career as a producer/mixer/engineer/arranger/studio wizard? Check — See a whole bunch of bands, including Little Rock's own The Alpha Ray. Release lush, adventurous solo albums that are so awesome-sounding and tasteful that it almost hurts? Check — See, most recently, "Danzig in the Moonlight." The album touches on nearly every facet of pop and rock from the last few decades and does so convincingly and effortlessly. Stringfellow called the album "A culmination of all I have learned and experienced in over 30 years of performing, producing, writing, and conceptualizing music." This 18-and-older show will be a treat, folks. RB



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