Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
7:30 p.m. Reves Recital Hall, Hendrix College.
Little Rock's Kevin Brockmeier, the novelist and short story writer who has published fiction and essays in the New Yorker, the Oxford American and McSweeney's, has been teaching a class at Hendrix College this semester called "Science Fiction and Fantasy," which is only appropriate for a writer who has written choose-your-own-adventure stories, stories about bio-terrorism and the afterlife, stories in which emotional pain is rendered visible, stories with titles like "A Fable Ending in the Sound of a Thousand Parakeets" and stories in which the sky is literally falling. As he explained once in an interview with Bookslut, "I suppose I turn to the fantastic or the magical or the strange or the uncanny so often because I'm the kind of person who sees more clearly when he views the world at a tilt, but also because such methods have provided me with a number of metaphors that seemed potent and beautiful to me, because the imagery of fantasy allows me to write certain kinds of sentences I enjoy writing, and finally, frankly, because I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and there are certain kinds of oddity that simply excite my imagination." He's the kind of writer who can't say enough nice things about both Italo Calvino and "Battlestar Galactica," and, as anyone familiar with his Arkansas Literary Festival appearances can attest, he's a captivating live performer. WS
9 p.m. Afterthought. $7.
Here is Jim Mize, king of the sensitive dive-bar grunge-country rock anthem, a touring songwriter since Vietnam and the satisfied resident of a Faulkner County swamp. Here is Jim Mize, an insurance claims adjustor who has spent the bulk of his time driving to disaster sites all over the South for over three decades, writing melodies in his head while he surveys the aftermaths of hurricanes. Jim Mize, approaching 60 years old and only getting better at wrenching real, auditory human pain out of minor moments and private emotional nuances: "I was like the wasp," he sings on "Empty Rooms," "beating against the screen." Here is Jim Mize, purveyor of ragged and startlingly honest songs like "Let's Go Running" and "Emily Smiles" and "Promises We Keep," songs that belong near the top of the Arkansas canon. Mize, who when I asked him about the latter song explained, "This is my vision of it: It's dark, you got your honey over here sleeping, only the hall lights are on. And you got this radio playing some song where you can't quite make it out, but you hear it. And you're sitting there just looking at her. And she wants it all." WS
BAD MATCH, AMASA HINES
9:30 p.m. Stickyz. $8.
Bad Match is a new band led by singer Sarah Stricklin and rounded out by a promising cross-section of Little Rock's literate-rock scene: Isaac Alexander, Jack Lloyd, Ryan Hitt and Mike Motley, collectively representing local bands Amasa Hines, Sugar and the Raw, John Willis and Late Romantics, SW/MM/NG, Collin Vs. Adam and more. In January, they played at the Hillcrest recording studio Fellowship Hall Sound and seemed impressively, unexpectedly fully formed (it was their first show), balancing compulsive, soulful rock with carefully calibrated arrangements heavy on Rhodes piano and steely, charismatic energy. Their next appearance is Friday night, when they'll share a bill with Amasa Hines, inarguably one of the city's most forward-thinking and consistently great indie rock bands. WS
5-9 p.m. Main Street, North Little Rock
Though it is not an official ArtWalk event, this Friday visitors can watch as artists draw in the inaugural Studio Argenta 12-Hour Draw-A-Thon that starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m. at Argenta Gallery, 413A and 413B Main. You don't have to be an artist to draw and you don't have to draw to attend (though if you've just come to watch, you'll be restricted to the area with the draped models). There will be long poses, short poses, supplies, refreshments and art on the walls. The event ($10) benefits Stephen Cefalo's Studio Argenta. More traditional ArtWalk events will be at the Thea Foundation, 401 Main St., where work by Guy Bell (of levitating pyramid fame) is on view; Greg Thompson Fine Art, 429 Main, which is hosting its 20th anniversary show of gallery artists; Mugs Cafe, 515 Main St., and other venues along Main Street. LNP
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $12.
Arkansans in 2015 are extraordinarily lucky to be represented on the national stage by Pallbearer, the deservedly celebrated doom metal proponents and psychedelic voyagers who re-emerged last year with "Foundations of Burden," the much-praised follow-up to their debut, "Sorrow and Extinction." Their approach to metal is almost vintage in its invocation of Black Sabbath and open space, and in their reliance on vocals that lean toward tonal melody rather than visceral, horror-villain cadences. Also, like other metal bands have done for south Louisiana, Florida or the Pacific Northwest (to say nothing of rural Norway), Pallbearer add a distinct element to the artistic vocabulary and iconography of Arkansas, especially as it's viewed by outsiders. They make Little Rock seem mysterious and forbidding and evocative, and we owe them for that. Saturday night they'll be at Revolution with Beneath Oblivion, Sumokem and Apothecary. WS
'KILLER OF SHEEP'
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5.
Charles Burnett, who the Chicago Reader has called "the most gifted and important black filmmaker this country has ever had," was born in Vicksburg, Miss., but spent most of his upbringing in Watts, a high-density, historically black neighborhood in South Los Angeles famous for the 1965 race riots that were a key moment in the civil rights movement's West Coast front. In the 1970s, Burnett attended UCLA's film school, where, unlike the stiffer, more industry-minded USC, it wasn't even particularly necessary to attend classes — the idea at UCLA was to go out into the world and make films, which Burnett did. His time at UCLA resulted in his first feature, the legendary "Killer of Sheep," shot on 16mm, released in 1978 and rarely screened (but often discussed and written about and championed) for decades afterward, until its restoration, due in part to the enthusiastic advocacy of the director Steven Soderbergh. A dreamlike, digressive epic built from small portraits of everyday life, the film documents powerfully the community and atmosphere that made Watts in the 1970s so difficult and beautiful. The New York Times has called it "an American masterpiece, independent to the bone," and the Washington Post described it as "unlike any American film of its time or any other ... See 'Killer of Sheep.' Then see it again, and again. It's one of those truly rare movies that just get better." We're screening the film Saturday night as part of the Arkansas Times Film Series, co-sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival. WS
BILL FRISELL AND KENNY WOLLESEN
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $20.
Modern jazz guitarist Bill Frisell grew up in Denver and moved to New York City in the 1980s, where he recorded with John Zorn's skittish, imaginative Naked City collective and with his own quartet. His collaborations became more expansive and unclassifiable in the next decade, ranging from the Japanese composer (and former Yellow Magic Orchestra front man) Ryuichi Sakamoto to the stoner metal band Earth and the cartoonist Gary Larson. Frisell's musical curiosity has always been too great and neurotic for trad-jazz boundaries or genre tags — he's been drawn to noise music and Americana, and has won Grammys for records that reflect his eclectic, rootless, wild-card taste. Arkansas Sounds brings Frisell and drummer Kenny Wollesen, his longtime collaborator (who has also performed with Tom Waits, John Lurie and others), to the Ron Robinson Theater Monday night. WS