Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
5 p.m. Bernice Garden. Free.
"Weird Science" is a movie filled with great and troubling scenes. There's the one where two teenage boys in blue jeans take a shower with Steven Seagal's wife. Or the one where Anthony Michael Hall and his computer-whiz friend accidentally hook an early '80s PC up to a copy of Time magazine, in the process causing a Pershing medium-range ballistic missile to break up a house party boasting an Oingo Boingo soundtrack and a clan of malicious mutant bikers. I hear Hollywood's planning a remake. Until then, we'll have to make do with the weird and almost definitely unscientific original, which KABF-FM 88.3 will be screening for free this week as part of its "Movies in the Garden" series. Also, there will be popcorn and wine and couches (not free) and food trucks and live DJ sets by Bryan Frazier, Mike Poe, Chris Terry and others.
BERNIE WORRELL ORCHESTRA
9 p.m. Revolution. $10 adv., $15 day of.
When Bernie Worrell was 8 years old, he wrote a concerto. He lived in Plainfield, N.J., then, and took the piano seriously. Later, he met a singer named George Clinton who convinced him to take it a little less so. Worrell put in a famous stint with Funkadelic, beginning in 1970 with "Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow," and went on to record and tour with the various P-Funk iterations and members (especially Bootsy Collins) for decades, along with other groups like Talking Heads (that's him in the white vest and moustache in "Stop Making Sense"). He'll bring his "orchestra" to the Rev Room Friday night, and the funk-inclined among you are encouraged to take note.
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $30.
Little Rock novelist Kevin Brockmeier once wrote that Iris DeMent's second album, "My Life," was "one of exactly two albums I own that I wouldn't hesitate to call perfect" (the other being Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks"). "When I say that I consider the album perfect," he wrote, "I mean that I can't imagine what change might be made to it that could improve it." I can't match that endorsement, or even really come close, but DeMent, a singer who's collaborated with John Prine, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris, has a voice that lends itself to literary exaggeration. She was also born in Paragould, and though she only lived here for three years, before her parents took her to L.A., those first few years are important.
8 p.m. First Security Amphitheater. $61.50-$102.50.
"My fans have always loved my metaphors," R. Kelly told The Guardian in a recent interview, and I think he is correct but also understating the issue, a rare moment of modesty from a singer who's won three Grammys, written hits for Aaliyah and Michael Jackson and was a few years ago named by Billboard the most successful R&B artist of the last 25 years. His fans love his figurative language, but even more than that they love what he does with it: How he can skip from sappy sincerity to irony to a kind of hyperactive sensuality over the course of one song. His fans love his voice, is the thing. He's been embroiled in legal and ethical dramas that you can choose to involve yourself in or not; this has always been the dilemma of being a consumer of American popular music produced (as it has always been produced) mostly by shady narcissists, from Jerry Lee Lewis and James Brown onward. This is not to say that these issues aren't important, only that they are not new. Kelly will share a bill with Tamar Braxton, Toni Braxton's younger sister and a celebrated singer in her own right.
MONDAY 5/12 – WEDNESDAY 5/14
LITTLE ROCK FILM FESTIVAL
7:30 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $60-$300.
This year's Little Rock Film Festival, which we'll highlight in much greater detail in next week's issue, will officially kick off Monday night with a screening of "Happy Valley," directed by Amir Bar-Lev, the documentary filmmaker behind "My Kid Could Paint That" and "The Tillman Story." The film focuses on the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal and the reactions of and aftershocks throughout the Penn State community that resulted, examining, as Variety explains, "the assumptions of an entire community, as well as the football-first culture that allowed evil to flourish in its midst." Bar-Lev will be in attendance at the screening, which will be followed by the LRFF Opening Party at 9:30 p.m. at Ron Robinson Theater, featuring food provided by The Fold and music by Trey Johnson. Tuesday night's schedule will feature three programs of short films, Shawn Christensen's "Before I Disappear," Kim Swink and Chris Spencer's Arkansas-made "Valley Inn" and an after-party at Stickyz featuring music by Randall Shreve and the Sideshow, The Salty Dogs, Amy Garland and others. Wednesday's lineup includes Alejandro Fernandez Almendras's "To Kill a Man," Emilio Aragon's "A Night in Old Mexico," Zachary Wigon's "The Heart Machine," Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman's "E-Team," Robert Greene's "Actress," and more programs of Arkansas-produced short films, with an after-party at The Fold. We'll devote next week's issue to a preview of the rest of the festival.
7:30 p.m. Clear Channel Metroplex (moved from First Security). $32-$47.
An incomplete discography of the American rock band Primus, a list of titles that taken together could also conceivably serve as a poetic summation of the band's ethos, would include "Sailing the Seas of Cheese," "Tales from the Punchbowl," "Antipop," "Suck On This," "Miscellaneous Debris," "Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People" and, maybe most importantly, "They Can't All Be Zingers." The history of the West Coast funk metal group is studded with Claymation music videos, appearances on the soundtracks for "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" and "The Beavis and Butthead Experience," collaborations with Phish and Fred Durst and the nightmarish faux-country theme song for "South Park." According to their Wikipedia page, they're hard at work recording an album-length cover of the original soundtrack for "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Godspeed.
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.
It's basically accurate but also misleading to say that Chuck Mead has spent his last few years on Broadway. He was enlisted as the musical director, arranger and supervisor for a hit musical called "Million Dollar Quartet," about a jam session between Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, but only because of his decades of unassailable redneck-rock credentials as a co-founder of Nashville alt-country institution BR549. Mead, who was born and raised in Lawrence, Kan., has since struck out as a solo act, occasionally performing with his backup band The Grassy Knoll Boys. His new release, "Free State Serenade," is a tribute to his upbringing, lined with regionally informed Western swing and honky-tonk stomps like "Reno County Girl" and "Neosho Valley Sue."