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Delta Exhibition opens at Arts Center 

FRIDAY 7/10

57th 'DELTA EXHIBITION'

Arkansas Arts Center. Free.

Juror George Dombek has chosen 88 works by 84 artists for the Arts Center's annual regional show, numbers that happen to exceed last year's show by 23 (works) and 11 (artists). Will the bigger show be better than last year's really fine exhibition? We'll have to show up Friday and find out. The exhibition, open to artists in Arkansas and contiguous states, includes 23 artists from the Little Rock area and another 23 from the rest of the state. The list includes several past Delta exhibitors: Sheila Cantrell, Taimur Cleary, Debi Lynn Fendley, Ted Grimmett, Neal Harrington, Dennis McCann, Jason McCann, John Salvest, Katherine Strause, Robin Tucker and Louis Watts among them. Dombek, a nationally recognized Arkansas artist, also chose the winners of the $2,500 Grand Award and two $750 Delta Awards, to be revealed when the show opens. For a complete list of Arkansas artists in the show, check Rock Candy on the Arkansas Times' website. LNP

FRIDAY 7/10

'MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR'

10 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5.

There is a certain kind of optimism to post-apocalyptic cinema. It's the genre that says: While the shit may in fact be hitting the fan all around us, as long as we've got time to project pictures of Armageddon on a wall, we've still got time to turn things around. Such is the case with director George Miller's 1981 octane opera "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior." It's deservedly a classic of the genre, the story of a former cop [Mel Gibson] who roams the blasted wastes, where warring tribes scramble after the world's last drops of fossil fuel. Equal parts extended car chase and morality play, "The Road Warrior" is clearly the seed corn for Miller's recent blockbuster sequel "Mad Max: Fury Road." Let's just pretend "Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome" doesn't exist, shall we? Bonus: If you miss this screening, Riverdale 10 will be screening "The Road Warrior" again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, for $5. Our cup of guzzoline doth truly runneth over. DK

SUNDAY 7/12

JIM ADKINS

10 p.m. Juanita's. $15.

Jim Adkins is 39 years old and lives in a midcentury ranch house in Phoenix with his wife and three children. He sings in a band called Jimmy Eat World, which began recording music in 1993 and became very famous in 2001. A single from that year, "The Middle," reached No. 5 on the Billboard charts and earned the band appearances on national television shows like MTV's "Total Request Live," which no longer exists. Some of Jimmy Eat World's fans preferred its earlier work, which they believed communicated anger and sadness more viscerally. Other fans — newer fans — disagreed. I don't know how Adkins felt about it. The band began to seem part of a generation of artists who appealed to preteens with disposable incomes (upper middle-class, white) with songs that sonically drew on punk rock and post-hardcore, but with added string sections and explicit sentimentality and more expensive production values and a sense of emotional yearning that spoke to a segment of the adolescent experience. The zeitgeist has continued on in other directions — like a lighthouse, it illuminates part of the landscape only briefly, before transferring its light elsewhere. Jimmy Eat World has recorded other albums since then that haven't intruded as noticeably into the mass pop-culture conversation. As Katherine Anne Porter once wrote, "The past is never where you think you left it." WS

SATURDAY 7/11

SEBASTIAN BACH

9 p.m. Juanita's. $20.

One easy, fascinating exercise in the history of 20th century pop music subcultures is to compare two articles on the band Skid Row from the same magazine (Spin) published in 1989 and 1996. In the first, front man Sebastian Bach is 21 years old and couldn't be happier. "I think, fuck dude, you are some lucky son of a bitch," he says about himself. The article recounts some of his tour exploits, which seem designed to encourage "Hammer of the Gods"-style rock mythologizing. He invites a whole audience (2,000 kids) back to his hotel room, leads a bunch of 13-year-olds in a "rousing chant of 'fuck you.' " This man's future is bright. But the ensuing years turned out to be significant in terms of the behavior and aesthetics and expectations of rock bands — 1991 being "The Year Punk Broke," etc. Things changed. In 1996, the journalist Lynn Snowden goes on tour with Skid Row, and the article is a joke. "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow," it's called. "There would have been three limos out there in the old days," the band's tour manager tells her, sadly, before a gig. She asks Bach about his old leather pants, which had been iconic. "They're rotting in the basement," he tells her, maybe joking, before comparing the alternative rock revolution to "Revenge of the Nerds." The contrast is striking — as is the unavoidable fact that Bach was kind of a dick. "No one [in Skid Row] has overdosed on drugs or shot themselves in the head," he says, explaining why he believes Kurt Cobain's approach supplanted his own. Reading both articles, it becomes interesting that Bach, a man once criticized for performing in a T-shirt that read "AIDS Kills Fags Dead," continues to make a living at this at all. But then maybe that's the lesson of this exercise: that hate and cynicism, if coupled with nostalgia, will always win. WS

WEDNESDAY 7/15

SHUGGIE OTIS

8 p.m. Stickyz. $20-$30.

"I would have loved to tour the world, but it just didn't work out," Shuggie Otis told a reporter in 2001, back when he hardly ever spoke to reporters. The guitarist and singer-songwriter, who was born Johnny Alexander Veliotes Jr. — the son of the great Johnny Otis, godfather of rhythm and blues (who in addition to his own career discovered Big Mama Thornton and Etta James) — had by that point, in 2001, been quiet for decades, a recluse in the Northern California wilderness, supposedly hard at work on a follow-up to his 1974 cult classic of spiritual funk, "Inspiration Information," a follow-up so long-awaited it was hardly awaited at all anymore. His story, though, was as remarkable as his music, and nobody could let it go: Started performing in L.A. nightclubs at the age of 12, sat in with everyone from Louis Jordan to Frank Zappa, recorded three increasingly audacious and brilliant solo albums in the late '60s and early '70s, turned down David Bowie and The Rolling Stones' offers to join them on tour and Quincy Jones' offer to produce his next record ("I was way too much into my own thing," he's since explained), then nothing. The narrative is a little misleading: His records didn't sell; he was always more of a musicians' musician (B.B. King called him his "favorite new guitarist"); he didn't exactly vanish so much as he was dropped by his label and gave up trying to find a new one. Still, his absence and lost-ness were part of the appeal. He was rediscovered in the '90s, thanks mostly to the era's omnivorous crate-digging culture — he was sampled by Above the Law, The Digable Planets, The Fat Boys, J Dilla and so on. His records were reissued by David Byrne. The New York Times called him "an R&B Brian Wilson or Syd Barrett." Now he's touring again. The story ends the way all such stories end in 2015: He joined Twitter. WS

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