Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $38-$147.
There are worse fates for a band than being remembered mainly for your tour gossip. Like, say, not being remembered at all. Mötley Crüe gamed the system, sneaking into the cultural pantheon through the backdoor (via sex tapes, tell-all memoirs and Nikki Sixx's urine), but the group is here nonetheless, their concert tickets more expensive than ever. This is, at least nominally, a farewell tour for the glam metal pioneers, one last job for the criminals responsible for "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "Dr. Feelgood" and "Smokin' in the Boys Room." Revisiting their hits today, what stands out is how bright and fun and great most of them are — as propulsive as disco and as cheesy and riff-heavy as modern country. How great is the talk-box solo on "Kickstart My Heart"? What were they thinking — and why does nobody think it anymore? Alice Cooper is along for the ride, too, a super-human feat considering he's been an elder statesman longer than I've been alive. In a recent Rolling Stone profile, the group consulted with Cooper on livening up their stage show for the end game. "Alice, can you build us three more guillotines, and then we'll just end it?" guitarist Mick Mars quipped. "Better, it's a puff of smoke," Cooper replied, droll as ever, "and when it clears, there's just skeletons up there with your clothes on — and that's it."
THURSDAY 10/8-SATURDAY 10/10
KING BISCUIT BLUES FESTIVAL
Downtown Helena-West Helena. $50.
The story of the King Biscuit Blues Festival and the radio show that inspired it — "King Biscuit Time," supposedly the country's longest-running daily radio broadcast, the program that inspired B.B. King and Ike Turner and Levon Helm — has been buffed up and trotted out so often that it's almost lost its spark, acquired a textbook sheen that's enough to make your eyes glaze over. But don't let that blind you to the thing's significance, which remains real and fascinating and worth attending to. The event, this year celebrating its 30th anniversary, has to be one of the best bargains in live music, three nights of blues performances by heavyweights like Taj Mahal, Bobby Rush, Jimmie Vaughan, Leo "Bud" Welch and many more. And Helena's history offers a memorable backdrop. This is what we talk about when we talk about Delta Blues, a living history with real origins and real vitality.
ARKANSAS'S REEL HISTORY
1-6 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. Free.
Arkansas history archives and organizations — including the Arkansas History Commission, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, UALR's Center of Arkansas History and Culture and several more — are collaborating this weekend on a promising-sounding screening of archival footage and found film from around the state. Ranging from the 1930s to the 1960s, the material is all over the map — Ozark folk songs, small-town parades, Hot Springs in its Golden Age and more. Like our own equivalent to Thom Andersen's essay film "Los Angeles Plays Itself," the result will presumably be an elegiac collage-history of vanished Arkansas characters and cultures.
LITTLE ROCK PRIDE FEST
11 a.m. Clinton Presidential Center.
This year's Pride Fest kicks off with a parade through the River Market at 11 a.m., followed by a full afternoon of music and events and vendors on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center. "It's all about creating community, and I believe we are doing a good job with that," says the festival's sponsorship director, Zach Baker. "It is a great way for people to network, celebrate, and see many businesses, nonprofit, and civic and religious leaders who support equality." Triniti Nightclub hosts a kickoff party at 9 p.m. Friday, featuring Orlando, Fla., drag scene fixture Axel Andrews; Sway hosts a Pride party of its own at 9 p.m. Saturday, starring Milk (from Season 6 of "RuPauls' Drag Race"). The festival lineup includes 2015 Karaoke World Champion Anthony Magee (12:45 p.m.), Flameing Daeth Fearies (1:15 p.m.), 2015 Pride Pageant Winners (2 p.m.), Ryan Cassata (3 p.m.) and John Willis and Late Romantics (4 p.m.). Food trucks will include Loblolly Creamery, Katmandu MoMo, Le Pops, Black Hound BBQ, Yvette's Sandwiches and more.
FRIDAY 10/9-SUNDAY 10/18
ARKANSAS STATE FAIR
Arkansas State Fairgrounds. $15.
Nothing is more simultaneously inspiring and harrowing than the State Fair, an ecstatic vision quest of stuffed animals, prized pigs, motorcycle stunts, Ferris wheels and funnel cakes, all of it soundtracked by Styx and Tony! Toni! Toné! "Have you ever seen a coatimundi or an exotic fox up close?" asks this year's promotional material — you'll have your chance, if the answer is no. There will also be beer and cheese fries and beauty pageants, petting zoos and mechanical bulls, parades and high-dives, corn dogs and tractor pulls. The musical headliners would've made for a dream lineup in 1991: Eddie Money sharing a stage with Naughty By Nature, Grand Funk Railroad, Joe Diffie and early '90s R&B group Silk (of "Freak Me" fame).
FRIDAY 10/9-SUNDAY 10/18
HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
Arlington Hotel. $7.50-$250.
With the recent passing of the Little Rock Film Festival, it's never been more apparent how crucial it is that we support (and attend) what local cultural institutions we have left — and luckily for us, our state still has a world-class film event in the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, an Academy Award-qualifying outlet that is also one of the oldest events of its kind in the country. There will be parties and concerts every night — at Maxine's and Deluca's and the Gangster Museum and local bathhouses. (Have you ever been to a party at a bathhouse? It would be shameful to skip this.) There will be constant film screenings, bookended by appearances by filmmakers, documentary subjects and local luminaries. Highlights, at random: "The Primary Instinct," featuring the life story of actor Stephen Tobolowsky (inspired by Tobolowsky's popular podcast), who will be in attendance; "The First Boys of Spring," Larry Foley's film about Hot Springs' baseball spring training history, with former St. Louis Cardinal Lou Brock on hand; "Made in Japan," about Japanese country-western singer Tomi Fujiyama; and "Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made," about the Mississippi 11-year-olds who made a shot-for-shot remake of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in the early '80s. It's an incredible event, and an important one.
8:30 p.m. Stickyz. $10.
Every Thanksgiving, without fail, one of my uncles will drink too much, get misty-eyed by a satellite radio station that plays only Stephen Stills and the Alan Parsons Project, and wonder out loud, "Why don't they make music like this anymore?" Well, they do — pretty regularly — and Dripping Springs, Texas, native Israel Nash is here to prove it, with a debut album ("Rain Plans") that resummons the era of shaggy Laurel Canyon folk rock. It's good because "Harvest"-era Neil Young is good, and if that's not enough to satisfy your drunk uncle, nothing will be.
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