Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
9 p.m. Stickyz. $10.
Dax Riggs fronted the influential sludge metal band Acid Bath, who formed in South Louisiana (deep in "True Detective" country) in 1991, played spooky, experimental "death rock" that sampled "Blue Velvet" and Jim Jones, and then disbanded in the late '90s. Riggs went on to start a handful of other bands, including the equally scary and rage-filled (but quieter and more accessible) Fat Possum indie rock band Deadboy and the Elephantmen. These days he records and tours under his own name, settling into his role as, in Fat Possum's words, "Louisiana's own dark star and Orpheus of the underground." If his aesthetic has moved away from discordance towards dark, Nick Cave-like folk-rock, his sensibility is the same as it ever was: His most recent album was called "Say Goodnight to the World," and featured song titles like "I Hear Satan" and "Let Me Be Your Cigarette."
THURSDAY 4/3-SATURDAY 4/5
DELTA SYMPOSIUM XX
Arkansas State University. Free.
Arkansas State University will host its 20th Delta Symposium this weekend, titled "Diversities in the Delta," and featuring a variety of free lectures, readings and performances on the theme. Talks on Levon Helm, swamp rabbits and 19th century cookbooks will be followed by panel discussions focusing on topics like blues and Delta memoir writing. Two highlights of this year's event are a reading, Q&A and book signing by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa (5 p.m. Friday, April 4) at the Wilson Hall Auditorium, and a concert by blues musician John Hammond, the man who introduced Bob Dylan to The Band (his father was the famous talent scout who got Dylan a record deal in 1961, the same year he also spearheaded the reissue of Robert Johnson's "King of the Delta Blues Singers"), at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at City Water and Light Park.
8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $50.15-$58.85.
"I know ya'll seen me in the movies, but the money's gone goddamnit, that's why I'm here tonight." That's how Mike Epps opened his "Inappropriate Behavior" special in 2006, and I can only assume the money is gone once again, because Epps will be in town Friday night on his "After Dark" tour. One of the emergent stars of the Def Jam Comedy boom of the early '90s, Epps quickly found a home outside of the stand-up circuit, in Hollywood. Famous for his roles as a stoner in "Next Friday," a pimp in "How High," a thief in "All About the Benjamins" and a Kodiak bear in "Dr. Doolittle 2," he's also appeared in music videos by Kendrick Lamar (playing a priest), Ice Cube and T.I. (twice).
10 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Beloved alt-country band The Gourds, an important presence in the Austin music scene since the mid-'90s, went on hiatus last October, giving singer Kevin Russell time to focus all his resources on his newer project, Shinyribs, which also features Gourds drummer (and Russell's brother-in-law) Keith Langford. Here, Russell dances and plays occasional ukulele and writes songs about his "favorite root vegetable" (sweet potato) and conspiracy theories involving the moon. As always, he also plays engaging, skewed country music filled with falsetto and upbeat, Southern-funk, bar-band stomp. The group's strongest trait is its unpredictability: Its second and most recent album, "Gulf Coast Museum," ended with a wounded Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes cover.
6 p.m. Reynolds Center, Fayetteville. Free.
The King Fahd Center at the University of Arkansas will present "Zajal Live: A Poetic Duel in Lebanese Arabic," featuring Antoine Saadeh and Bassam Harb, two celebrated experts in the art of zajal, an Arabic oral poetry tradition dating back to the 13th century. Zajal is semi-improvised, semi-sung and presented in the form of a duel, a kind of proto-rap battle in which both participants riff on a common theme ("riff" in this case implying a much higher level of complexity than is typically intended by the word). Professor Adnan Haydar will be on hand to explain and summarize the proceedings. Middle East Studies instructor Paula Haydar will give a lecture on the history of the folk tradition earlier that day, at 1:30 p.m. in room 408 of the Science and Engineering building.
THE GODFATHER: PART II
7 p.m. Market Street Cinema. $8.
The "Godfather" movies never really fit the New Hollywood narrative very comfortably — they're stuffy, white-elephant, prestige dramas, classically constructed and a little humorless. They are beautiful though, especially the second one, which pays tribute (to put it charitably) to the visual breakthroughs of Bertolucci's "The Conformist," and brings to life the grimy old New York that Luc Sante wrote about in "Low Life." There are more interesting movies on the same subject and milieu (e.g. "Once Upon a Time in America") and even better Francis Ford Coppola movies ("The Conversation"), but there's a lot to enjoy about this thing, even in the margins (note the rare and awesome Lee Strasberg performance as the cold-hearted and shirtless Miami kingpin Hyman Roth). Also, I've never seen it on a big screen, and that's what Market Street is offering.
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
"I deal in actual sounds," John Wiese once told the L.A. Times. "Often, these will have a lot of trajectory of their own and define their own path." A composer and noise musician, Weise has dealt in his own chaotic brand of "actual sounds" since the late '90s, touring and recording with his projects LHD and Sissy Spacek, and with a diverse orbit of often better-known groups looking to borrow his distinctive sonic tool-kit, like Wolf Eyes, Yellow Swans, No Age and Sun O))), who I once saw nearly shatter a collection of stained glass windows in an Athens, Ga., chapel by force of volume alone (the fire alarm went off and no one even noticed). Wiese is a little brilliant and maybe dangerous, and he'll share a bill with Bonnie Montgomery and The Bloodless Cooties.
7:30 p.m. Vino's. Donations.
Splice Microcinema, the new underground film series to be held in Vino's back room, is starting out strong with its opening night pick, the first in a set of four early Jean-Luc Godard films (screened in 16mm). If Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" officially announced the arrival of the French New Wave, "Breathless" gave it personality. With its sloppy, barely explored manhunt plot, makeshift tracking shots and seemingly arbitrary edits (within single takes, giving it that idiosyncratic, jittery feel), the film was something new in a way that divided audiences and thrilled aspiring filmmakers. It's hardly representative of Godard's approach, as he never really made another film like it, but it's taken on a cultural-historical life of its own as a cinematic landmark, admired for its radical direction, D.I.Y. ethos and fashion, among other reasons.
Building a lead so rapidly and holding it in games, even professional football, is difficult…