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John Corbett of 'Sex and the City' returns to Hot Springs parade 

WEDNESDAY 3/16

AUSTIN LUCAS

10 p.m., White Water Tavern.

How does one become, well, not only an alt-country singer but something like an underground twang-punk cult figure? For Austin Lucas, it's a long, strange road that starts in Bloomington, Ind., shining at choral music and, of all things, classical opera at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music. All of this before moving to punk and hardcore as a young teen-ager, then moving, literally, to Prague to play crust punk and thrash metal. While Lucas may have traded in doom-and-gloom lyrics for some verbose whiskey-and-nostalgia free-verse poetry, he's held on to his guitar stylings, ferociously shaking and abusing the poor thing to impressive effect. This show marks a stop on a grueling schedule to release not one, but two, albums this Wednesday at White Water Tavern: the first, a special, early debut for "A New Home in the Old World," which doesn't hit stores until April 4; the other, a CD release of Lucas' installment in Last Chance Records' "Live From the White Water Tavern" series, previously only available on vinyl. Also playing: Drag the River, the Fort Collins band with a big, dedicated following in the smokier corners of Little Rock's bar scene. JT.


THURSDAY 3/17

FIRST EVER EIGHTH ANNUAL WORLD'S SHORTEST ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE

6 p.m., Bridge Street, Hot Springs. Free.

The hoopla surrounding Hot Springs' biggest annual PR stunt started earlier in the week. On Monday, there was a wreath ceremony to honor one of the few two-time Congressional Medal of Honor winners, John King, an Irish American buried in Hot Springs. And on Tuesday, baseball historian Bill Jenkinson measured what he believes is the length of a nearly century-old Babe Ruth home run that "altered the course of baseball history." But the party really starts on Thursday, when something called "Romancing the Stone" that involves "smooching the Arkansas Blarney Stone" kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Official parade ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. "The World's Tallest Leprechaun" will be milling about and around 6:25 p.m., the 98-foot route will be measured. At 6:30 p.m., the parade begins, celebrity grand marshaled by "Sex in the City" star John Corbett, whose self-described "good country rockin' bar band" The John Corbett Band will play a free concert post-concert. There'll be food and green beer for sale, too. Read a Q&A with Corbett on our entertainment blog, Rock Candy. LM.

PATTI LABELLE

7:30 p.m., Statehouse Convention Center. $43.50-$61

Anyone would be hard pressed to name more than a handful of R&B singers with careers as active and downright long-lasting as the Creole Lady Marmalade. Since first stepping into the studio, Patti LaBelle has belted her way through church choirs, girl bands, doo-wop groups, feathery space funk, '80s R&B, quiet storm, a duet with Big Daddy Kane, gospel — you name it. Heck, she consistently stole the show from The Who while they toured together in the early '70s. The erratic topography of her 50-year career pretty much tells the story of the diva since the term "diva" was minted. But she's remembered most fondly for her '80s output: synthy anthems like "New Attitude" and "On My Own," her duet with all-time yacht rock captain, Michael McDonald. Now, she's 66 — and the first person to tell you she's 66 — and still strutting and belting out Philly soul like women a third of her age. Longevity is one thing, but consistency is a whole other game. And it's one that LaBelle is setting the pace for. Thursday night, the Wally Allen Ballroom gets treated to her "Vegas revue." Expect a career-spanning retrospective with all the hits; hope for her to revisit that crazy cover of Gil Scott Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" she did as a b-side back in 1972. JT.


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