Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
CELEBRATE THE GRAPE
6 p.m. Argenta Plaza, 520 Main St., NLR. $30 adv., $40 day of.
The Internet is awash with articles with titles like "how to impress your friends when ordering wine," and studies showing that almost half of all wine consumed in the United States is consumed by millennials. That is to say, wine is most definitely "back," if indeed it ever left in the first place. This weekend, the Arkansas Times' annual Celebrate the Grape Wine, Food & Jazz Festival returns, with an array of wines so staggering, it's difficult to believe they all come from a single fruit. Our preview last week included incorrect info about who will be providing food. Our bad. Here's the real deal: Whole Foods is providing some al fresco-style delights with which to test your pairing skills — shrimp cocktail; vegetable crudités with dip; ciabatta; cranberry cheddar; house-made beef picnic sticks; sustainably produced dark and milk chocolates; charcuterie; and seasonal melons and berries. The Funkanites will be providing some killer vibes and Joshua Asante (Velvet Kente, Amasa Hines) will be spinning a DJ set. All proceeds benefit the Argenta Arts District, and tickets can be purchased at bit.ly/grape16.
FRIDAY 5/20-SUNDAY 5/22
INTERNATIONAL GREEK FOOD FESTIVAL
11 a.m. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Free.
"Liturgy" is a strange word. When it strikes the ear, we may hear all sorts of things: cathedral bells, Anglican chants, scriptural incantations. As defined by the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on the website for this year's International Greek Food Festival, it means simply "the work of the people," which is a perfect way to describe what one would observe if she were to stand in the epicenter of the celebration: the buttery smell of pastitsio, the whirling palette of hues on a group dancing the Kalamatianos, the crowd noise from folks perusing the goods in the Old World Market. The schedule of entertainment and vendors makes clear that the festival's focus goes well beyond the Hellenic: There are Irish cloggers, wooden tools fashioned in the Ozarks, hand-painted Russian nesting dolls and Mexican folkloric dance groups. The festival takes place in and around the dome-topped building on Napa Valley Drive, a destination you can reach by car (parking is free), by foot or by the trolley, which will run every 10 minutes from the parking lot across the street at Agape Church. If your goal is to score some falafel and skedaddle, though, they've also set up a drive-through pickup line; you can download the menu ahead of time at greekfoodfest.com and call in an order via Chef Shuttle.
FRIDAY 5/20-SUNDAY 5/22
BALLET ARKANSAS: 'UNDER THE LIGHTS'
7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Arkansas Repertory Theatre. $35-$40.
Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line" and "Jackson" seem about as far from Stravinsky's "Rites of Spring" as one can imagine, but whether it's plunked by a Martin dreadnought or a Maggini double bass, a beat's a beat. With the help of live accompaniment by Nashville neo-rockabilly band Sugar + The Hi-Lows, the dancers at Ballet Arkansas are going to demonstrate that universality with a nod to the Man in Black, in pirouette form. Choreographer Chris Stuart's portfolio is filled with classical appearances in "The Nutcracker" and "Romeo and Juliet," but he began to push the envelope with "American Dreams," a contemporary piece set to music by Peter Schickele (aka P.D.Q Bach, an alias under which Schickele developed a set of satirical, often outright slapstick works that parody the symphonic canon).
DUNBAR GARDEN PIG ROAST
6:30 p.m. Dunbar Garden. $50.
The lunar calendar suggests there may be newborn goats to coo at (or Instagram, whatever floats your boat) at this year's Dunbar Garden Pig Roast. If the kids appear — or even if they don't — the dinner will honor life in all stages of its cycle: an organic pig cooked on site for the waiting plate, the scent of seasonal flowers wafting across the garden, and the compost pile that will take any food waste from dinner and transform it into rich, black fodder for next season, when the whole beautiful mess starts over again. Grab a signature cocktail and take a tour of the garden, where the soundtrack for this idyllic scene is two-pronged: the Wildflowers Revue (Mandy McBryde, Bonnie Montgomery and Amy Garland) and the Catholic High School Jazz Band. (In the event of rain, the roast will be rescheduled to May 28.)
FRANK TURNER AND THE SLEEPING SOULS
6:30 p.m. Clear Channel Metroplex. $17-$20.
You'd never know it after having your self-composure hung out to dry by the lyrics of "I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous," but Frank Turner was once in a post-hardcore punk band called Million Dead. Then, a friend gave him a cassette of Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska," which he cites as a turning point in his musical direction. Springsteen's influence (and Billy Bragg's) is intrinsic to Turner's 2008 album, "Love Ire and Song," and like his professed heroes, his politics have often come to the forefront. After a series of quotes published by The Guardian yielded him a stream of hate mail and death threats (he'd described himself as "pretty rightwing," a statement he later said he wished he could retract), he's since been asked to clarify his positions again and again. (What did he expect after he wrote "Thatcher Fucked the Kids"?) The songs on his 2015 release, "Positive Songs for Negative People," could stand alone with only guitar accompaniment, but with the help of his full band, his songs become rollicking anthems with lush, open-tuning chords underpinned by drone notes. Two Cow Garage and Homeless Gospel Choir open the show.
7 p.m. Vino's. $5.
Bikini Kill made statements that demanded the listener to question; Priests asks questions that demand a response. The D.C. punk band joins locals Bombay Harambee, RadRadRiot and Sad Magick for an early show on a Sunday night, and the songs from its 2014 release, "Bodies and Control and Money and Power" (a split release on Sister Polygon and Don Giovanni Records) will illuminate exactly why the comparison to Kill Rock Stars artists is so ubiquitous, but also how the quartet is accomplishing something totally different from "Rebel Girl" or "Suck My Left One." Its early work is full of repeated chants, like "Watch You," which forces catcalling to look itself in the mirror: "I've got tits but I've also got eyes, and baby that ass got me mesmerized. I'm gonna watch you ... I'm a pervert, I've got the gaze." Priests' latest release is lyrically broader, less art-punk criticism of the outside world, more biting psychoanalysis turned inward: "I'm trying to understand, trying to explode the upper hand, trying to procreate without fucking and breeding." Priests gravitates toward playing all-ages shows in a spirit of inclusiveness, and this Sunday evening's show is no exception.
7 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. Riverdale 10 Cinema. $7.50.
Since Prince's untimely passing to the next realm (although arguably, he was never quite of this realm to begin with), I've heard the song "Purple Rain" in the following ways: blasted several times in a row from a maxed-out car stereo in a park cradled between the Mississippi River and the Confederate cemetery in Helena, weaved seamlessly into David Gilmour's guitar solo in a live performance of "Comfortably Numb," and emanating loudly from the house of a long-retired neighbor who's never mentioned an affinity for music of any kind, let alone that of The Purple One. If, like so many, you've gone searching in vain for Prince's songs on YouTube in hopes that you might blast out a similar tribute, here's a chance to pay homage to one of his weirder (but nevertheless, terrifically popular) ventures: "Purple Rain," a groundbreaking rock musical filmed in 42 days under the direction of Albert Magnoli. "Purple Rain" has swept into movie houses in the wake of Prince's death, and Riverdale 10 will be among them. Pull up a cushy theater recliner (and a box of Kleenex, if you suspect you might need it) and thank the stars the movie executives didn't get their way when they wanted to replace Prince with John Travolta.