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Monica Staggs to UCA 

WEDNESDAY 4/4

MONICA STAGGS

7:30 p.m. Stanley Russ Hall, room 103, UCA. Free.

Monica Staggs is a real life superhero, except that sometimes her world-saving is a bit dubious (think Tarantino — she's been cast in three of his films, both volumes of "Kill Bill" and "Death Proof"), and sometimes she flings herself from moving 18-wheelers and ends up with four skull fractures ("Joyride"). But usually she flies through the air ("Bewitched"), falls down stairs ("Crash") and jumps rooftop to rooftop ("Four Dogs Playing Poker"), as breezy as can be. This North Little Rock girl turned Hollywood crash dummy (a.k.a. stuntwoman) has doubled for everyone from Nicole Kidman to Uma Thurman, and she's in town to tell all — what's been fun, what's been dumb, why she'll fight in lingerie but never go topless on camera, her unabashed fear of heights and how her whole career goes back to her middle school dance classes. (Did we mention that she's brash, fast-talking and hilarious?) Check out her creds at MonicaStaggs.com, check out her stories at UCA on Wednesday night. CF

THURSDAY 4/5

BLESS THE MIC: TAVIS SMILEY

7 p.m. Philander Smith College. Free.

Tavis Smiley's career as a radio and TV host spans more than two decades now. After starting out in Los Angeles doing local radio spots, Smiley became a regular contributor to the "Tom Joyner Morning Show," discussing issues of race and discrimination against minorities. Some of his past jobs include hosting "BET Tonight" and "The Tavis Smiley Show" on NPR. Today, you can hear him on PRI and watch him on PBS on his self-titled shows with guests who run the gamut of politics, academia, sports and entertainment. Alongside Terry Gross and Charlie Rose, Smiley is one of the most successful and widely known interviewers in public media. This will be the final installment of Philander Smith's Bless the Mic series under President Walter Kimbrough's tenure. RB

THURSDAY 4/5

ROBERT EARL KEEN

9 p.m. Revolution. $25.

I've never seen Robert Earl Keen play a concert, but I saw him at a live taping of NPR's "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me" a few years back and he was the epitome of the laid-back, irreverent entertainer, a perfect counterpoint to host Peter Sagal's adenoidal yuppie smugness.That is to say, it was an odd pairing, but worked out surprisingly well. Keen was quick-witted and hilarious and didn't give Sagal an inch. After introducing Keen as "the singer/songwriter all the other singer/songwriters want to be," Sagal said that "Rolling Stone once called you The Grateful Dead for frat guys. I'm not quite sure what that means, but I like it. I guess it's songs you can sing along to especially when you're drunk." "Right," Keen said, "if you run out of mushrooms you can drink Keystone." That's true, though woe to the unlucky soul who has to hang out with frat guys whose bellies are full of cheap suds and psychedelics. Even the literate, easygoing country anthems of Keen probably couldn't keep that situation from turning tragic. So will this show be full of frat bros tripping their flip-flops off? Maaaaaaybe. A far more likely scenario on a Thursday night in Little Rock: A roomful of Keen diehards, gripping Bud Light longnecks and singing along to every song. The show is 18-and-older. RB

THURSDAY 4/5

ARKANSAS TRAVELERS OPENING GAME

7:10 p.m. Dickey-Stephens Park. $6-$12.

Man, can you believe it's already baseball season again? It seems like only a few days ago that I was watching the Cardinals win the World Series. Maybe it's the fact that we didn't have a winter this year. Or perhaps it's simply that as the cosmos continues its incomprehensibly massive expansion further and further into the realm of the unknowable void, time itself is speeding up, imperceptibly at first, but increasing exponentially. Either way, time flies, huh? Anyways, the Arkansas Travelers make their return to Dickey-Stephens Park this week for a three-game series against the RockHounds of Midland, Texas. In a couple of weeks, the promotional giveaways get rolling, starting with Mike Trout Pinstripe Jersey Replica Shirt Night on April 21. Mike Trout Bobblehead Doll Night is May 19. You can get a planter kit on Go Green Sunday, April 22, or Travs Tube Socks on July 14. Probably the biggest giveaway — Clunker Car Night — is Aug. 17, followed by pre-game Midget Wrestling on Aug. 18. This year's concerts include Band of Heathens on June 15, Honeytribe on July 21 and Walter "Wolfman" Washington on Aug. 4. But even without any promotions or concerts or giveaways or doo-dads you can always count on the cheap fun that is minor league baseball. Affordable admission? Reasonably priced beer and snacks? An uncomplicated, almost guaranteed good time? Sign me up. RB

FRIDAY 4/6

'BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE RED OCTOPUS'

8 p.m. The Public Theatre. $8-$10.

Looks like the good folks behind Red Octopus Theater have been feasting on trash lately — specifically, lowbrow auteur Russ Meyer's 1970 film "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (co-written by Roger Ebert). This time around, they're paying their respects to the kitschy, the campy, the trashy, the cheesy and the cornball. Sample skit titles: "All My Children Went to Amsterdam, and All I Got Was This Crappy T Shirt," "Is Jesus a Rabbit?" and "LSD? You're Soaking in It!" As usual, this show is for grownups with fully developed senses of humor, and not for kids, prudes, squares, scolds, prigs or no-fun-damentalists. The cast for this show includes Sandy Baskin, Brian Chambers, Alli Clark, Josh Doering, Drew Ellis, Michael Goodbar, Grant Morris, Jason Willey, and Ramthor, a.k.a. Luke Rowlan. The show runs this weekend and returns April 12-14. RB

FRIDAY 4/6

'NEXT FALL'

7:30 p.m. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.

Geoffrey Naufft's "Next Fall" concerns a couple — Adam and Luke — who don't see eye-to-eye on matters of spirituality. Luke is a dyed-in-the-wool fire-and-brimstone Christian and Adam is an atheist. Luke is worried his significant other will spend an eternity in the lake of fire, while Adam can't brook such superstition. An accident forces uncomfortable confrontations amongst their friends and families. When the play opened in June 2009, the New York Times' Ben Brantley called it "an intellectual stealth bomb," and "the kind of gently incisive, naturalistic play that rarely materializes anymore." The play's off-Broadway run was extended for several weeks, and opened the next spring on Broadway with the same cast and director. Weekend Theater director Ralph Hyman saw the play on Broadway and loved it. This production stars Jackson Stewart, Harold Dean, Ryan Whitfield, Hannah Blackburn-Parish, Allison Pace and Byron Taylor. It runs through April 21. RB

SATURDAY 4/7

DESIGNERS CHOICE FASHION PREVIEW

6 p.m. Metroplex Event Center. $35-50.

Soaring temps warrant bare skin, and bare skin warrants catwalks. Lucky for Little Rock, this Saturday marks the fifth annual Designers Choice Fashion Preview. It's the largest fashion event in the state, attracting hundreds of Arkansas fashion devotees to check out the merch (clothing and jewelry), the flesh (hot local models) and the talent (do the names Korto Momolu and Jerell Scott jolt your brain? Hello, "Project Runway?"). It's for a good cause — yeah, a good cause other than ensuring your summer wardrobe is up to par. Proceeds benefit the Timmons Arts Foundation, which focuses on restoring art and music programs in public schools. In addition to the show, there's a beauty product expo and if you spring for the pricier tickets, a V.I.P. greet-and-munch fest (rub shoulders with models much?). Tickets are available at www.designerschoicefashion.com, Jeante, Vogue Visage, Box Turtle, 4th Dimension Salon and Uncle T's. CF

MONDAY 4/9

REAL ESTATE

8 p.m. Revolution. $12.

The name Real Estate might have an appealing, Pavement-like plainness to it, but where Pavement's name belied its sprawling, omnivorous guitar rock, Real Estate's sound is mostly neat-as-hedgerows jangle pop that never raises too much of a ruckus. The Jersey band was last in town in 2009, supporting its self-titled debut. That album was an odds-'n'-sods collection of singles that felt remarkably cohesive, sorta like The Clientele's "Suburban Light," which had a similar reverb-soaked sound. Their latest, last year's "Days" sounded like a natural progression, with more of the clean-sounding guitars and lilting melodies and faintly melancholic vibe. If you've been digging on the similarly forlorn pop of Girls or Smith Westerns and somehow haven't checked out Real Estate, here you go. Opening the show are the Flying Nun adherents The Twerps, all the way from Melbourne, VIC. RB

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