'DOWNTON ABBEY' RECEPTION
6 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $25-$30.
First, an admission: I know now that everybody jokingly calls it this, but at first I really for reals thought the show was called "Downtown Abbey," kind of absentmindedly thinking (or maybe hoping) that it was about an urban monastery filled with crime-fighting monks who also brew delicious, fancy beer, which they would drink at the end of each episode to celebrate another crime successfully solved. I was badly way off, though, which is a shame because that seems like a pretty solid premise for a one-hour primetime hit. Soon enough I realized that it was not a show about monks, but in reality a very British period drama about a rich family and their big huge house and their problems with the help. There was lots of gossipy whispering and something about a dowager countess who's looking for a fiancee? That's not quite right, but close. I might give it a chance, but it just seems so extremely British, and not in a charmingly whimsical way, like "The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society." More like in a hard-to-understand way, you know, like Guy Ritchie characters, or calling every bowl of lumpy mystery food a "pudding." But hey, I'm probably just a philistine. After all, the show is hugely popular. My wife loves "Downton Abbey" and lots of her friends do too. They're all champing at the bit for new episodes, so this reception, presented by the AETN Foundation, seems like surefire good times, what with its sneak-preview screening of the first episode of Season 3 and its cocktails and period costume contest. RB
PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND: CREOLE CHRISTMAS
8 p.m. Walton Arts Center. $20-$36.
Here's a great way to really kick off the holidays: Christmas tunes performed by The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. And hey, depending on what the weather's doing, it might be warm enough to seem like Christmas in New Orleans. The PHJB was recently in Arkansas with the Del McCoury Band, and current band leader John Brunious actually stayed for a while in Conway after Hurricane Katrina. There'll surely be many others, but according to the band's website, you can expect to hear the band's jazzy ragtime takes on "Blue Christmas," "Swinging in a Winter Wonderland," "Bells will be Ringing" and "The Dreidel Song." RB
7:30 p.m. Stickyz. $20 or a good used band instrument.
While the jocks and cheerleaders are always going to be the undisputed Lords and Ladies of the brief, hormone-soaked, "Beyond Thunderdome" kingdom that is your average American high school, there is a refuge for those possibly-less-athletic souls for whom the muse calls. That place is called band. Your roving reporter, stuck at a tiny high school with no football team to exploit my soda-machine-like 6'5" 300-pound frame, did several years in band, playing the trombone. Those memories of concerts and basketball game trips on the bus are still some of the best of my teen-age years. Now in its 12th year, Hornucopia — a concert in collaboration with Play It Again Arkansas, which donates used instruments to schools all over the state — has been collecting money and dust-gathering instruments to help make those memories happen for kids who might otherwise be left out. This year's Hornucopia lineup looks to be a good one, featuring Kavanaugh, Flying Balloon-o Brothers, The WTF Band, The Rockets and YT&T. Get digging in those closets for your old horns, clarinets, flutes, drums and cymbals, folks. There's a fun night to be had, and for a good cause to boot. DK