Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
7:30 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $13.50.
Writer, actor and filmmaker Del Shores will be in Little Rock this weekend presenting the bulk of his recent output and more, thanks to the Weekend Theater and the Little Rock Film Festival team. First up, Friday night, there's a screening of his latest film "Southern Baptist Sissies," an adaption of his 2000 play about a group of kids struggling with religion and sexuality in Texas. The Hollywood Reporter says, "Its heartfelt emotionalism is sure to strike a chord with younger viewers, especially those struggling with similar issues themselves." The next day, Shores will lead an acting workshop called "Trust Your Gut!" at 11 a.m., $125. At 7:30 p.m. that night, he'll perform his one-man show "My Sordid Best," $28.50.
CHER, "Dressed to Kill Tour"
8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $36.50-$127.
Before she married Sonny Bono, Cher, who was born Cherilyn Sarkisian, worked as his housekeeper. Bono worked in promotions for the producer Phil Spector, who first recorded Cher as a backup singer on wall-of-sound anthems like The Ronette's "Be My Baby." That was 1963. Twenty-six years later, she would film the music video for "If I Could Turn Back Time" aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, at the site of Japan's surrender in World War II. "Words are like weapons," she sang on that song. "They wound sometimes." In 1997, "The X-Files" aired an episode centering mysteriously around the Cher single "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore," a cover of the song made famous by The Walker Brothers in 1966. The episode was titled "The Post-Modern Prometheus." That was 17 years ago.
9 p.m. Vino's. $6.
Even metal bands come out strange in the weird confluence of the Southern Gothic and the psychedelic that's always marked the Athens, Ga., music scene. Think of Harvey Milk, the great, growling noise rock band that never could settle on a volume, much less a genre. Jucifer, which sprang out of the same early '90s scene, shares this ambivalence, opting out of the esoteric rules of metal subgenre to focus more generally on making bracing, experimental rock music, whatever it's called. The duo — singer and guitarist Gazelle Amber Valentine and her husband and drummer, Edgar Livengood — have left Athens behind for a more deliberately nomadic existence, touring and living out of an RV, and their reputation has blossomed. Their live shows are sludgy, sonic broadsides, with a wall of amps designed for your discomfort. They'll share a bill with Iron Tongue and Crankbait.
NO PLACE IN PARTICULAR: A CELEBRATION OF SOUTHERN POETRY AND MUSIC
6 p.m. South on Main. $7.
"No Place In Particular" is an odd name for an event so explicitly focused on a sense of place, but I think I understand what the hosts mean: the South as a nonspecific and abstract grid of countless places united by a set of principles or interests which may or may not even exist. The Oxford American magazine will hold a night of poetry and music more or less on the theme, featuring readings by Southern (in one way or another) poets Carter Monroe, Justin Booth, Verless Doran, R.J. Looney and N. A'Yara Stein. Seating is first come first served, and the show will be capped off by a performance by Delta swamp rock wild man Jimbo Mathus.
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5.
Movies about current events can sometimes seem too timely, too ripped-from-the-headlines and almost cynically opportunistic in their celebrity reenactments of actual issues or tragedies. Think of "World Trade Center," which was a devastating and despondent viewing experience for reasons completely apart from its real world source material. "Fruitvale Station" doesn't fall into this trap, partly because its subject, the apparently pointless killing of 22-year-old Oscar Grant by an Oakland police officer, deserves wider attention and partly because it's genuinely well-made. The film blends actual cell phone footage of the incident with a recreation of the last day of Grant's life, expertly evoking the tensions and rhythms of Bay Area life (with help from a great soundtrack featuring Mac Dre and The Jacka). Grant is played by Michael B. Jordan, best known for his role as Wallace on "The Wire."
7:30 p.m. South on Main. Free.
Amasa Hines, which plays indie rock with vivid scope and a spaced-out, jazz-funk texture, has inspired a pretty remarkable local following; and, because they're not exactly common, its concerts each have an urgency to them — they're events. The two, back-to-back album release shows it played at White Water in January were packed, and the album itself, "All The World There Is," deserved the attention. Frontman Joshua Asante (also of Velvet Kente) thinks in visionary widescreen, and the record is all momentum and ambitious post-punk with horns and emotional intelligence. To see Amasa Hines live this year is to see one of the best, most inventive and exciting bands in Little Rock at a key moment in its development. It's a good thing to do, is what I mean. And this time it's even free.
7 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $50-$80.
"I've never known of any singer with a quality voice to last past 60 years old." That's something Merle Haggard, who is now 76, told The New Yorker's Bryan Di Salvatore in 1990, and it's only become more obvious in the interim how entirely and strangely mistaken this notion is, Haggard himself being only one of the more notable exhibits to the contrary. You can look up recent live videos on Youtube and see for yourself — he's a little stiff, maybe tired, but his voice is strong. The Outlaw Country legend, who started out playing shows for free beer in the '50s after working long shifts in the oil fields, quit smoking cigarettes in 1991, so maybe that's his secret. And so what if he's tired? Remember the Darrell Scott song "Long Time Gone," later a hit for the Dixie Chicks, which calls out contemporary Nashville songwriters? "They sound tired," he sings, "but they don't sound Haggard."
OZARK FOOTHILLS FILMFEST
Various venues in Batesville. $5-$25.
The Ozark Foothills FilmFest, held each spring in Batesville, returns this April with screenings of narrative and documentary features, short films and animation, plus presentations by visiting filmmakers and a screenwriting workshop. The festival will also host a new panel this year, "Breaking Through: Promoting Cultural Understanding Through Film," featuring the documentaries "Sweet Dreams," "I Learn America" and "Fambul Tok," and the feature "Detroit Unleaded," made possible in part by a festival grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (only 23 of which are given out each year). Regular admission for single screenings will be $5 and "Red Eye" festival passes will be $25.