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Mavis Staples comes to Pulaski Tech 

THURSDAY 2/4

ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE

8 p.m. Stickyz. $5.

Congrats to the Little Rock neo-soul group SOULution, which won round 1 of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase last Thursday. This week's semi-final matchup includes Sean Fresh & The Nasty Fresh Crew, who specialize in sensual, fire-and-brimstone R&B with live instrumentation (find their debut LP, "The Teshuvah Project I: FreshSeason," on iTunes); Collin vs. Adam, which makes savage, propulsive and elaborately produced dance-punk; Galaxy Tour Guides, who play spacey funk-rock (billing themselves as a "futuristic party band"); and Sea of Echoes, whose guttural alt-rock is indebted, members say, to Alice in Chains. The winning band will move on to the finals, which will be held at Revolution on Friday, Feb. 26. WS

FRIDAY 2/5

MAVIS STAPLES

8 p.m. Pulaski Technical College. $65-$100.

Mavis Staples was born in Chicago in 1939, into a gospel-singing family that billed itself as "God's Greatest Hitmakers." And they really were: "Uncloudy Day," "Respect Yourself," "I'll Take You There," "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)." The Staple Singers belonged to the golden age of Stax, and to the heights of the civil rights movement. "It was the most mysterious thing I'd ever heard," Bob Dylan once said of the family soul group. "I'd think about them even at my school desk ... Mavis looked to be about the same age as me. Her singing just knocked me out." He once asked her father, Pops, for her hand in marriage. (She turned him down.) Of the Staples family, Mavis has had the most impassioned and long-standing solo career. She's maybe the only person alive who has recorded with Booker T. and the MGs, Curtis Mayfield, Prince, Dylan, Ray Charles, Ann Peebles, Paul McCartney — and been sampled by Ice Cube and Ludacris, to top it off. And she hasn't stopped. Her new album, "Livin' on a High Note," features collaborations with Ben Harper, Neko Case, Nick Cave, Merrill Garbus (of tUnE-yArDs) and more. "I've been making people cry for so many years," Staples told the New Yorker recently, "and I just want to sing something joyful." WS

SATURDAY 2/6

SOMA MARDI GRAS PARADE AND MASQUERADE BALL

Parade, noon on South Main Street; ball, 7-10 p.m. at the Villa Marre. $50 (ball only).

Not satisfied with merely parading, this year the Southside Main Street Project will hold its first "SoMa Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball," and urges partiers to "bring your biggest hair" in honor of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. That sounds a little dangerous, given what happened to the royal couple, but surely there will be no bloodletting at the Villa Marre, unless you choose to wear heels, which is strictly interdit (sticking with the French theme here) — it will be off with your shoes! Food by South on Main, beer from Stone's Throw, daiquiris from Raduno's, king cake from Community Bakery and complimentary portrait photography: Sounds decadent enough to bring on a revolution. However, thanks to the noon South Main Street parade and the Root Cafe Beard Judging contest afterward, the masses will be appeased, especially if their float wins the $500 first prize, and the $250 and $150 for second and third place aren't too shabby, either. That parade starts at 22nd and Main and proceeds to 12th Street, and there will be special events along the way. Find tickets to the ball at eventbrite.com. LNP

SATURDAY 2/6

HAT TRICK MUSIC FESTIVAL

8 p.m. Kings Live Music, Conway. $5.

Hendrix College student radio station KHDX-FM, 93.1, is presenting its annual Hat Trick Music Festival this weekend, featuring Moon Hooch, Dent May and Black Milk. Moon Hooch is a Brooklyn trio that makes highly danceable indie-rock unusually heavy on saxophones (the instrument of choice for two of the three members), and which apparently reached No. 9 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart with its 2013 debut. Black Milk, the Detroit hip-hop producer born Curtis Cross, is best known for his work with fellow Detroit eccentric Danny Brown, the great Pharoahe Monch and Slum Village's Elzhi. Dent May, who emerged in 2009 as a ukulele-wielding island-pop songwriter endorsed by Animal Collective, now makes more baroque, icy New Wave and sings in a formal baritone that kinda reminds you of Morrissey, if Morrissey were from Mississippi. WS

SUNDAY 2/7-WEDNESDAY 2/10

'TO CATCH A THIEF'

2 p.m. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. Wed. Cinemark Colonel Glenn 18. $5.25.

"To Catch a Thief" isn't the best Alfred Hitchcock movie, but it's easily one of the most enjoyable. It's the cinematic equivalent of a gourmet layer cake, or a luxury cruise ship. It's a lark — and I don't think I've ever used that word in a sentence before. Basically: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly traipse around the French Riviera, in VistaVision. Grant plays a jewel thief. Kelly plays a woman with a lot of jewels. It's not so simple; there are twists. But things never get too stressful — it's not that sort of movie. They go for picnics. They go to parties. They watch fireworks. (The cinematography won an Oscar.) "You have a very strong grip," Kelly tells him at one point, "the kind a burglar needs." Then she falls into his arms. WS

TUESDAY 2/9

SCOTT STAPP

8 p.m. Clear Channel Metroplex. $25.

Marx said that history repeats itself "first as tragedy, then as farce." He might have been talking about grunge, which emerged out of the Pacific Northwest fog in the 1990s as a brooding, regional subculture preoccupied with noise and grief and alienation. Like primal scream therapy (or Marxism) it was ultimately absorbed into the marketplace and quelled. But that wasn't the end of the story, not by any means — the state of Florida hadn't yet had its say. Scott Stapp was born in the wilds of Orlando, and assembled his band, Creed, while the group was in college at Tallahassee's Florida State University. They were men of God, and they became millionaires before they were finished. But success came with a price: Stapp lost his friends and, finally, his band. There were sex tapes and suicide attempts. He wrote a memoir, "Sinner's Creed," which began, "For a long time I believed in irreconcilable divisions — good and evil, heaven and hell, absolute right and wrong." He had lost that clarity, too. Pray for Scott Stapp; pray for all of us. WS

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