Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
'THE RIVER NIGER'
7:30 p.m. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.
The Weekend Theater follows its production of the musical comedy "Monty Python's Spamalot" with a work that is a bit more sober and one that, although it debuted in 1972, has significant parallels to the present day. "The River Niger," by Joseph A. Walker, concerns Jeff Williams, a young Air Force soldier who returns to his Harlem home after flight-training school, but not as the hero his struggling father had hoped he'd become. Tensions escalate as Williams becomes ensnared in a local gang conflict. The play earned some prestigious awards for Walker, including the Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright and the Obie Award for Best American Play in 1973 and the Tony Award for Best Play in 1974. A film version was released in 1976, starring James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson and Louis Gossett Jr. The Weekend Theater's production, directed by Akasha Hull and Margaret Parker, runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. through Aug. 24. RB.
9 p.m. Afterthought.
Arkansas's greatest living songwriter returns to a Little Rock stage for the first time in recent memory on Friday with several added bonuses: He's just wrapped the recording of his eagerly awaited third album, which Big Legal Mess plans to release sometime this fall. So he'll likely be playing some new songs. Laurie Stirratt, a roots-rock hero in own right for her time in Blue Mountain, plays her first gig as part of Mize's backing band. She's on bass. Chris Michaels plays guitar and Dave Hoffpauir plays drums. Last bonus: Killer songwriter Kevin Gordon returns to town to open. LM.
NO KID HUNGRY LITTLE ROCK
6 p.m. The Capital Hotel. $150-$550.
Here's a rare opportunity to indulge in a delectable gourmet meal while also helping out folks who otherwise might not know where their next meal is going to come from: the No Kid Hungry Dinner will benefit the nonprofit Share Our Strength, which seeks to ensure access to healthy food for kids who need it. Share Our Strength supports school meals, cooking and nutrition programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. SNAP helps feed poor kids and low-income elderly folks and has recently been under attack by the Club for Growth's amoral errand boys in Congress, such as our own Tom Cotton. But getting back to this fundraiser, for the price of a nice meal out, you can enjoy culinary creations from such figures as Donnie Ferneau, Brian Deloney of Maddie's Place, Kelli Marks of Sweet Love, John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Miss., Matthew Bell of South on Main and several others. In addition to the food, fellowship and cocktails, you can also bid on auction items. RB.
FATTY ACIDS, GLITTERCORE
9 p.m. Maxine's. $5.
Milwaukee synth-pop outfit The Fatty Acids just released a single called "Airsick," which recalls, by turns, everything from Tame Impala's psychedelic skygazing to Animal Collective's spazzier moments to XTC's propulsive percussion. Elsewheres, the band's tune "Unscreened" is an all-over-the-place jumble of schizo-pop that I swear to you reminds me at times of the Violent Femmes in its dude-angstiness. Also on this bill: Little Rock alt-rock torch-carriers Glittercore, who earlier this year released their self-titled debut album, which you can check out on the band's ReverbNation profile. Recommended cuts: "Lazarus," "Unhinged," and "Trippy 6ix." RB.
LUCERO FAMILY PICNIC
3 p.m. First Security Amphitheatre. $27-$47.
Here's a safe bet: People will be coming into Little Rock from all over the country for the annual Lucero Family Picnic. The picnic got its start back in 2007 up in Batesville; this year's event will truly be a family affair, as Lucero founder Ben Nichols' younger brother Jeff Nichols will be on hand for a Q&A about the movie he directed and filmed in Arkansas, a film called "Mud" that you've probably heard about. Also, Guy Venable, father of Lucero guit-slinger Brian Venable, will perform. Rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson is going to play as well. And, of course, Lucero will headline this shindig, performing its fan-fave album "Tennessee" in its entirety, along with what's sure to be a rollicking set of numbers from the band's deep catalog. RB.