Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND
8 p.m. South on Main. $25.
It happened this way: Sometime at the dawn of 1970s New Orleans, Rev. Andrew Darby Jr. asks congregant Daniel Moses Barker to start a band, which he knows how to do, having periodically played rhythm guitar in the '30s with, for example, Cab Calloway. Barker recruits a 10-year-old trumpeter named Leroy Jones and others in the neighborhood, others like young Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Shannon "King of Treme" Powell, Lucien Barbarin, et al. Soon the Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band begets the Hurricane Brass Band, renamed the Tornado Brass Band (after troubles with the union), eventually revived as the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, all of them jazz scene cast-offs, funk devotees, traditionalists, titans of WWOZ and Frenchmen Street theater and Uptown dives. "We weren't actually trying to start a brass-band resurgence," founding trumpeter Gregory Davis claimed in Rich Koster's book "Louisiana Music." "The whole idea was just to play some music and throw some new ideas into the old stuff, just because it was fun and it was cool to experiment in that fashion." By "that fashion," he means simultaneous solos of the Dixieland variety, the syncopated stomp of The Meters, valences of James Brown effect, shades of Gregory D as well as the spirit of 1880. They are as good at what they do as anyone ever has been, anytime. WS
DYSE, FELIX MARTIN
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
Here is what I promise you is the year's most inexplicable and inspired billing to date, something that would sound at home in a Thomas Pynchon novel or an episode of "Portlandia": German noise-rock band DYSE paired with the Venezuelan 14-string guitarist Felix Martin. DYSE, pronounced "Doo-zer" according to their website and named for the motel in Amsterdam where its members met, was started in 2003 by Jari, raised in Neustadt an der Orla on the Dead Kennedys and the Cro-Mags, and by Andre, born in Chemnitz (formerly Karl-Marx-Stadt), which he describes as a "Saxon town heavily dependent on its industrial workforce to support the economy ... extremely bleak for young people with an interest in music or arts." Because both were already in other bands, DYSE originated as a "fun, drunken side project" that has over the years become their main priority, a raucous outlet for stoner rock and odd, industrial punk. Martin, meanwhile, on what appears to be two left-handed electric guitars melded together, which he slaps and strums violently and picks in double-time, makes a kind of high-energy progressive metal fusion, with elements of tango and Latin folk and jazz. Opening the show is new Little Rock band Colour Design, featuring members of The Sound of the Mountain, Mainland Divide and God City Destroyers. WS
COURT 13 SHOWCASE
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5.
Court 13, the film and arts collective that director Benh Zeitlen ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") co-founded as a student at Wesleyan University, draws its name from an abandoned squash court he and his friends commandeered while in school. "It had this tiny little door that felt like going through the looking glass," he told Fast Company. "It just felt like you cross this threshold and this is a different set of rules that brings a different code of behavior." That spirit of wonder and defiance and ingenuity became the unifying principle behind Court 13, with members first collaborating on psychedelic videos for the band MGMT and surrealistic short films, and then moving, almost en masse, to New Orleans to make "Glory at Sea," a short film about a group of mourners who build a raft out of debris to rescue loved ones trapped undersea. "Glory" was supposed to take a month and cost $5,000, but it ballooned into a year- and-a-half-long shoot, on a $100,000 budget (including massive credit card debt), with a 25-minute runtime. It directly preceded "Beasts of the Southern Wild," an even more sprawling production that went on to win Sundance's Grand Jury Prize and the Caméra d'Or at Cannes and land four Academy Award nominations. On Friday, as part of the Arkansas Times Film Series, co-sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival, we are screening a Court 13 shorts program that includes "Glory at Sea." There to talk about what the collective is all about will be Casey Coleman, who heads Court 13 Arts, and Nathan Harrison, who's head of casting for the "Beasts" follow-up, which Zeitlen has said is "about a young girl who gets kidnapped onto a hidden ecosystem where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between aging and time." Sounds promising.
On Thursday, beginning at 5 p.m., Coleman and Harrison will host a workshop at the University of Central Arkansas's Stanley Russ Hall, room 108, with a screening of "Beasts" and a Q&A to follow. That's free and open to the public. LM
FRIDAY 3/20-TUESDAY 3/24
VALLEY OF THE VAPORS
$10-$50. Low Key Arts, Hot Springs.
Spa City's finest and largest independent music festival returns this year with five nights of live music, film screenings, visual art, hiking trails and workshops (comic book illustration, DIY touring, etc.). The lineup includes local favorites like Pallbearer and Ghost Bones (winners of the 2015 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase), but the primary draw is the legions of out-of-town garage punk and indie rock bands who are stopping on their way to or from SXSW. The really pretty extensive list includes Jamaica Queens, My Gold Mask, Shilpa Ray, Water Liars, The Memphis Dawls, Native Lights, Two Cow Garage, Ronnie Heart, Daniel Romano, Heaters, Swearing At Motorists, White Mystery, PeeLander Z and many more, hailing from Germany or Japan or New York or California or Canada. There's also a well-curated series of music documentaries, featuring "A Band Called Death," about the '70s Detroit punk band; "Dig!" about Anton Newcombe and The Brian Jonestown Massacre; "The Punk Singer," a profile of riot grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna and more. Then there are the secret shows, the impromptu shows, the outdoor shows and the rest. WS
FILMS ON FEMINISM: '14 WOMEN'
2:30 p.m. Central High. Free.
On select Saturday afternoons in March and April, the Little Rock Central High School Feminist Alliance will host a group of film screenings on the topic of women's rights at the National Historic Site Visitor Center. This Saturday's screening is "14 Women," a 2007 documentary narrated by Annette Bening that profiles the 14 female senators of the 109th U.S. Congress., a group that includes Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Mary Landrieu and Olympia Snowe. The New York Times called it "an inside portrait of women in politics," which "allows its subjects a chance to talk about the 'glass ceiling' in American politics, the hard work that goes into serving in Congress, and how gender can sometimes trump party allegiances in dealing with their colleagues on Capitol Hill." The screening will be followed by a discussion moderated by Stephanie Harris, Women Lead Arkansas founder and Arkansas Supreme Court communications counsel. WS
9 p.m. Discovery Nightclub.
Way down the list at No. 19 on Billboard's "Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop" list, we find Trina, born Katrina Laverne Taylor, who insists that while she was technically born in the city of Miami, "I grew up in a world of Luke." Luke is Luther Campbell, founder of Luke Skyywalker Records and the man behind 2 Live Crew, whose world was an enthusiastic cartoon fantasy built on bass and sweat and palm trees and fireworks. To grow up in a world of Luke was to grow up in a pastel-colored bouncy castle of a city, all decadence and G-strings, and Trina embraced this vision of Liberty City rap, emerging first on a Trick Daddy single and appearing full-fledged in 2000 with a LP called "Da Baddest Bitch," which went gold. Since then she's sustained a career as the reigning queen of luxury rap, gracing Diddy and Rick Ross and Flo Rida with wild, scatter-shot guest verses. Her greatest mentor over the years, though, as she told Billboard, was Missy Elliott: "She'd tell me to stand my ground and stand for what you believe in," she said. "Nobody can hold you down better than you. 'Til this day, no matter what I do — whether I sign a contract or go independent — that advice stands true and I use it. You have to step up to the plate knowing what you want, who you want to work with, and you have to fight." WS