"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
HA HA TONKA
8:30 p.m. Stickyz. $6.
From the Ozark Hills of southern Missouri comes Ha Ha Tonka. The quartet's name is a nod to a state park up there, a bucolic wonderland on Lake of the Ozarks. In the video for "Usual Suspects" we find the band members hanging around the train tracks and playing their drums and guitars and mandolin, drinking beer, throwing stuff and generally engaging in revelry. Actually, that's what this band's music is very well-suited for: carousing with pals while consuming beers. In a broad sense, Ha Ha Tonka's sound hails from the Kingdom of Leon – it's catchy and propulsive, but rooted in country and southern rock. Or as whoever wrote the bio feature on the band's website put it, "They sit at the crossroads of Americana and indie, where Alabama meets Arcade Fire – shakes their hand and takes them out for a drink." Of the band's latest Bloodshot Records album, the Washington Post said "the Missouri quartet is not only authentically scruffy, it tears at the heart of American roots music with every chord like Mumford [& Sons] only pretends to, and its new record, "Death of a Decade," basically oozes passion for the craft." The opening act is Green Corn Revival out of Oklahoma. If you're north of Little Rock and want to see Ha Ha Tonka, the band plays Lyon College in Batesville Oct. 22 and Harding University in Searcy Oct. 24. RB.
HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
Various times. Mostly at the Malco Theater.
The 20th anniversary Hot Springs Film Festival rolls into its final weekend with a number of promising docs: Festival director Dan Anderson called "John Frum, He Will Come," about a cult religion on the South Pacific island of Tanna that believes an American deity named John Frum will come and bring salvation, one of his favorites (7 p.m. Oct. 19, 6:35 p.m. Oct. 21). Acclaimed food documentarian Joe York shifts his focus in "Mississippi Innocence" (3 p.m., Oct. 22), which follows Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, two men who spent years behind bars for crimes they didn't commit. The title alone of "T'Ain't Nobody's Bizness: Queer Blues Divas of the 1920s" (2:50 p.m., Oct. 20) has me intrigued. But the big draw, of course, is "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," the latest chapter in Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's hugely influential documentaries on the West Memphis Three (8:35 p.m., Oct. 21). Full schedule at www.hsdfi.org. LM.
ARKANSAS STATE FAIR
8:15 p.m., Arkansas State Fair. $4-$8.
Dollar-for-dollar, the best deals on entertainment in Central Arkansas all year (outside of Riverfest) are found at the Arkansas State Fair. I know that might read a bit like an ad, but seriously, where else are you going to see a country giant like Travis Tritt for $8? Tritt's Southern rock-infused style of country will no doubt have the crowd a-whoopin' and a-hollerin' in short order. Remember that song "Bible Belt" from "My Cousin Vinny"? That song is awesome. There should be more country songs that rock as hard as that one does. Tritt plays Thursday night. On Friday night at 7 p.m., you can catch a performance from the people who built a city on rock and roll. That's right, it's Jefferson Starship. Foghat opens that show. Or, if you need a break from the music, the Professional Bull Riders touring pro division is at Barton Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 to $25. On Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., it's the Texaco Country Showdown, which is one of the biggest country music talent searches in the country and is now in its 30th year. Who knows? You might just catch a performance from an up-and-comer who'll go on to be the next Nashville giant. RB.