Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 10 p.m. Fri. and Sat. Loony Bin. $7-$10.
Master hypnotist Gary Conrad, who will appear this week for a four-night stretch at the Loony Bin, was a guest on an old episode of "The View," which you can find on YouTube. "What exactly is hypnosis?" Joy Behar asks him. Conrad smiles. "Let me explain it to you this way: Your brain pulsates," he says. "It moves at a particular rate of speed. When you're hypnotized, it kinda slows down. It's found that when human beings' brains go that way, they become highly suggestible." The camera pulls back to reveal four guests lined up on a couch, apparently already hypnotized. Behar asks how he does it, and he is cagey on the subject: "I present them with an object of fascination," he says. He moves over to the guests, who are expressionless and still, then he snaps one hand, makes a popping sound with his tongue and mumbles something about a "hypnotic boomerang." He has them fall asleep, then start patting their right knees while humming. As a stage effect, it's both unconvincing and fascinating. Conrad, whose website advertises that he has shared the stage with "Tony Bennett, Barbara Walters, Cher, Lenny Kravitz ... even the late, great, Tiny Tim," sometimes presses their faces or waves his hands, but mostly just describes what they should do next — then they do it. A clue to his technique can be found in the comment section under the video: "I never was actually hypnotized by him, but I put on a show for him like I was," writes someone named Dennis Wells. "Was the star of that particular show in Dalton, Ga. lol." WS
SATURDAY 5/9-SUNDAY 5/10
QUAPAW QUARTER SPRING TOUR OF HOMES
Six sites downtown. $20 adv., $25 day of tour; Candlelight Tour and Dinner, $150; $50 Sunday brunch.
The 51st annual tour of Little Rock's oldest neighborhood injects a bit of 21st century architecture into the mix this year: a visit to the 2008 office and art studio of architects Jennifer Herren and Jeff Horton at 1219 S. Spring St., a block east of Mount Holly Cemetery. The architects chose sustainable and energy-efficient materials for the gray brick and white metal structure, creating attractive and affordable infill in the neighborhood. Also on the tour: Curran Hall (ca. 1842), 615 E. Capitol Ave., restored as the Little Rock Visitor Information Center; a restored home at 1411 Broadway (ca. 1896); the Haile Cottage (ca. 1880s), 417 W. 13th St., a folk Victorian home restored by Carl Miller; Christ Episcopal Church (1941), 509 Scott St., the successor to two previous churches that burned; and the Firehouse Hostel and Museum (ca. 1917), 1201 Commerce St., a Craftsman structure that once served as Fire Station No. 2 and is to open as a hostel later this year. The kickoff Candlelight Tour, which includes trolley service, is 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday with dinner at Christ Episcopal Church at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday brunch and garden tour is 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Curran Hall and tours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thirteenth Street will be closed from Broadway to Center streets for entertainment by Folkin' Around (1:30 p.m.) and guitarist Mickey Rigby (4 p.m.), as well as food by vendors Loblolly Creamery, Southern Salt and the Pastry Basket, The Waffle Wagon (11 a.m.) and Katmandu Momo (4 p.m.). Tour participants will get $1 off Stone's Throw Brewing pints on Sunday afternoon. Tickets to just the tours are $20 ($25 day of) so you don't have to participate in the pricier events to enjoy the architecture. Go to quapaw.com for more information on where to buy tickets and a map. LNP
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
For many, the name Swingin' Utters is enough to conjure a whole world of shaky-cam skate videos, Van's Warped Tour posters and leather CD binders lined with "Punk-O-Rama" and "Give 'Em the Boot" compilations. Remember Fat Wreck Chords and Tony Hawk's Pro-Skater and George W. Bush? The band, which was formed in Santa Cruz in the late '80s, holds up surprisingly well even absent these contexts, and they've been evolving and maturing since 2010, when they reformed after a seven-year hiatus. They are a street punk band of the highest order, playing fast and steady power chords under tetchy, growling vocals offering rough-hewn scenes of the everyday, vague distrust of authority or just generally complaining. As they put it, on one of their new records, "Channel it all into a manuscript / Or divert it all into a clenched fist." Locals The Uh Huhs and Trophy Boyfriends will open. WS
MONDAY 5/11-SUNDAY 5/17
LITTLE ROCK FILM FESTIVAL
Ron Robinson Theater, various other Little Rock venues.
We'll have more on the 2015 Little Rock Film Festival, including our top picks, in next week's issue, but we feel it's necessary to point out that the festival actually starts on Monday, May 11, and there are plenty of worthy films to check out during the first few days of programming. This year's opening night film, screening 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Ron Robinson Theater, is "King Jack," a debut feature from NYU grad Felix Thompson starring Charlie Plummer (both of whom will be in attendance). The film, which won the audience award at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, has been described as a "tough and tender coming-of-age story." The opening night celebration will be afterward at Cache Restaurant and Lounge. Promising screenings on Tuesday and Wednesday include "Of Men and War" (5:30 p.m. Tue.), Laurent Bécue-Renard's nonfiction effort about a California treatment center for Iraq War veterans with PTSD; "Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, D.C." (8 p.m. Tue.), a documentary about the scene that spawned Bad Brains, Minor Threat and Fugazi (featuring a performance by local punk band Headcold); "Tired Moonlight: (11:15 a.m. Wed.), the Grand Jury Prize winner at Slamdance, an "unclassifiable" 16 mm portrait of a town in Montana; "Krisha" (5:30 p.m. Wed.), the Grand Jury Prize narrative film winner at SXSW directed by Trey Edward Shultz; and plenty of others, including panels on local filmmaking, trivia nights, Arkansas and World Shorts sidebars and a "celebration of Arkansas film and filmmakers" at South On Main featuring live music by Isaac Alexander and Bad Match (10 p.m. Wed). WS
8 p.m. Juanita's. $10.
JMSN — which is not an acronym, and is pronounced "Jameson" — is by far the best Albanian-American R&B singer ever endorsed by Usher (who called him his "favorite act" a couple of years ago). The singer, who lists Phil Collins, Radiohead and Prince as influences, has also produced records for Ab-Soul and lent vocals to a handful of tracks on Kendrick Lamar's "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City." He's been lumped in with the so-called PBR&B renaissance that produced stylish, moody, dance-influenced R&B artists like The Weeknd and others; but on his new album, "The Blue Album," he sounds more like Justin Timberlake than anyone else, and over stark and fluid and jolting beats that recall (appropriately) Timbaland. WS