Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
'MEMPHIS HEAT: THE TRUE STORY
OF MEMPHIS WRASSLIN' '
7 p.m., Market Street Cinema. $6-$8.
Before cable got involved, local and regional wrasslin' was big business, and nowhere was it bigger than in Memphis, Tenn. The new documentary "Memphis Heat" captures the movement's heyday, beginning in the late '50s with the likes of Sputnik Monroe (an early civil rights champion with a skunk-colored pompadour) and continuing into the '70s and '80s, when modern wrestling legends like Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jimmy Hart dominated the scene. The Southern territory wrestlers traveled, which included Jonesboro, Blytheville and Fayetteville, merits some coverage. And Lawler, the doughy, trash-talking, self-styled king of the ring, gets a lot of welcome screen time, both in archival footage and from contemporary interviews. Reliving his feud with Andy Kaufman, from the Memphis wrestling community's perspective, is great fun. And of course fans of piledrivers, top-rope dives and folding chair smashes can look forward to dozens of montages. The film sticks around at Market Street for one week. Co-producer Ron Hall will be on hand Friday to sign copies of his book "Sputnik, Masked Men, and Midgets," which inspired the film and makes a fantastic coffee table book. LM
FESTIVAL ON THE BORDER
7 p.m. Harry E. Kelley Park, Fort Smith. $10.
Well here's something that few people saw coming: an awesome, multi-day music and theater festival in good ol' Fort Smith. The inaugural Festival on the Border seems to have something for just about everyone: classical, pop, country, rock and "Hairspray." Oh, and Girl Talk. If there's one thing seemingly everyone loves, it's Girl Talk, the dude who plays a laptop while dancing around in his skivvies. Friday night's show kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Harry E. Kelley Park downtown, with red-dirt maestros The Randy Rogers Band and the modern country troubadour Dierks Bentley. Saturday night includes two venues. Starting at 7 p.m., the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith hosts the empty-calorie pop sounds of Andy Grammer, the aforementioned mash-up giant Girl Talk and The Fray, a rock quartet that will satisfy those who just can't get enough majestic, sweepingly Coldplay-esque balladry. At 8 p.m., the Fort Smith Convention Center hosts The Fort Smith Symphony Orchestra, featuring Mark O'Connor, the virtuoso violinist and composer. At 4 p.m. on Sunday, The Young Actor's Guild presents the musical "Hairspray," also at the convention center. Tickets are $10 a day, and proceeds from the festival will benefit 10 charities in the region. RB
WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL
6:30 p.m. Wildwood Park for the Arts. $75.
This whole "foodie" whatchamacallit is getting a bit tiresome, but mainly because it's frustrating that it's taken this long for so many Americans to get on board with the idea that of course food and drink are among the most enjoyable, essential elements of life. Well nobody can accuse the folks at Wildwood of being late to the party. This is the 14th year that the park has hosted the Wine & Food Festival. Little Rock has some pretty good restaurants, and this event gives you the chance to sample a bunch of them, including Ferneau, Acadia, Lulav, Ashley's, ZaZa's, Dizzy's Gypsy Bistro and more. The festival also includes scores of wines from all over the world, a grape stomping, silent auction, prizes and music from The Meshugga Klezmer Band and The Itinerant Locals. Proceeds from the festival benefit Art To Go!, which takes Wildwood's touring show to elementary schools around the state. RB
7:30 p.m. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.
There has been no shortage of creative efforts — films, books, visual art, music, theater — that have sprung from the unmitigated heartbreak of Sept. 11. Those that will most likely prove to be enduring works of art, though, will be those that center on people — on the individual stories of loss that too often are swept up in the big-picture narrative. Journalism professor Anne Nelson wrote "The Guys" in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11. She had volunteered to help a New York City fire captain write eulogies for the eight men he lost. The two-character, one-act play is based on those eulogies, and tells the story of four firefighters' lives through a series of overlapping monologues and dialogues between Jane, a journalist, and Nick, a fire captain who is overwhelmed by grief. The play has been performed all over the country, as well as overseas to glowing reviews. The Weekend Theater's production runs through Sept. 24. RB
ARKANSAS VS. NEW MEXICO
6 p.m., War Memorial Stadium. $55.
It's a given, we're going to pound the hapless Lobos, who've won two games in their last 25. But as Joe Adams' miraculous punt return in the season opener demonstrated, you can find drama even in blowouts. Also, you get to do a lot of chest thumping and hear the names of newcomers — like Alonzo Highsmith, Kody Walker and Marquel Wade — who seem poised to contribute this year. At press time, there were still some tickets available in the southeast corner of the stadium. But even if it's a sell-out, there's always tailgating; it'll be glorious in these spring-like temps. If drinking too much and playing Baggo with the masses and paying $55 for a ticket isn't your bag, the game is on ESPNU, too. LM
HANDMADE PUPPET DREAMS
7 p.m. University of Central Arkansas. Free.
If there is such a thing as puppetry royalty, Heather Henson would certainly qualify. Though puppetry has been around for millennia, Henson's father Jim Henson has had an incalculable influence on the art form. "The Muppets," "Sesame Street," "Fraggle Rock," "The Dark Crystal," "Labyrinth" and his other works were, without question, massive touchstones of 20th century American popular culture. The youngest of five, Heather Henson is a puppeteer, artist and co-producer of Handmade Puppet Dreams, a series of films showcasing the work of an emerging generation of puppeteers. She'll be screening four volumes of films, all of which run for 75-90 minutes and include five or six short pieces. Though certainly suitable for children, the films are aimed at an adult audience. On Sept. 17, Henson will screen Handmade Puppet Dreams Children's Program at the Faulkner County Library at 11:30 a.m. This should be awesome. RB
7:30 p.m. University of Central Arkansas. $30-$40.
There was a time when Dionne Warwick was known more for her endorsement of the Psychic Friends Network than for her remarkable voice. According to longtime partner Burt Bacharach, Warwick possessed "a delicacy when singing softly — like miniature ships in bottles." It seems though, that her affiliation with the psychic hotline has faded into the background, just an odd footnote to a long career — 50 years and counting — in the music biz. She had a string of hits that spanned several decades, including "Walk On By," "Then Came You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" and "That's What Friends Are For," among many others. This concert kicks off UCA's Public Appearances series. RB
THE BODY, BRAVEYOUNG
8 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $6.
If ever there were a metal band that created bitchin' studio albums while retaining a live show that must be heard/felt to be believed, it is The Body. "Loud" describes The Body in the same way that "prolific" describes Robert Pollard or "weird" describes Jandek — that is to say, accurately, but incompletely. The Body's last album, "All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood" has been widely hailed as a left-field doom metal masterpiece. The band's current tour is some sort of collaborative thingy with their buddies in Braveyoung, a North Carolina quartet that traffics in slow-build, instrumental sadness epics. The two bands recently recorded an album called "Nothing Passes." I haven't heard it yet, but it includes another off-the-wall cover (something of a hallmark for The Body, which has covered tunes by Danzig, Crass and, naturally, Sinéad O'Connor) with a take on "Vision" by Exuma, the Bahamian psychedelic calypso madman who's way overdue for the deluxe-reissue treatment. I have a hard time imagining how loud it's gonna be to add a whole other loud-ass band's gear to The Body's already cripplingly, transcendently loud-ass show, but I'm excited to experience it firsthand. RB