Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
BIG BOO!SEUM BASH
6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Various venus.
I remember the first Big Boo!seum Bash fondly — the smiling heads on platters at the Historic Arkansas Museum (emerging from hidden holes in the table), the spooky grounds of the Old State House, the happy 4-year-old. That was 19 years ago; the Big Boo!seum Bash is now firmly ensconced in Little Rock Halloween tradition as a place where young trick-or-treaters will get more than sweets (and do so safely) at nine downtown haunts: the Arkansas Arts Center, HAM (a Twinkie Walk here!), the Little Rock Visitor's Center at Curran Hall, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Museum of Discovery, the OSH, the Ron Robinson Theater and the Witt Stephens Jr. Nature Center. Each location will have game cards; those whose cards prove they've visited all nine venues will get Big Boo!seum Baskets of goodies and can enter a drawing for a flat-screen TV (limited to ages 18 and under). Hit seven destinations and enter a drawing for a $100 gift card. The costumed are encouraged to show off their duds and their Boo!seum booty by posting Instagram pix with the hashtag #LRbooseum. LNP
7:30 p.m. Reves Recital Hall, Hendrix College.
Nathan Englander is often compared to Isaac Bashevis Singer and to Woody Allen. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Englander's writing has frequently appeared in "The Best American Short Stories" series, as well as in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly and the Washington Post. The New York Times has described his story collections — including "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges" (1999) and "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank" (2012) — as "poised at the trapdoor between spiritual thirst and physical hunger." His characters clash with rabbis, therapists, wives and the Angel of Death. He's written plays, and published a translation of the ancient Jewish text the Haggadah. "I'm obsessed with the social contract, or rather the ways that it can be tested and eventually broken," he said of his work in an interview with Granta. "It fascinates me how an individual has to hold so many opposing realities in his or her head simply in order to survive." WS
HALLOWEEN COVER-UP: WILCO AND ELTON JOHN
10 p.m. White Water Tavern.
For 12 years running, local musicians have used Halloween as an excuse to dress up like a favorite band and cover its songs in front of a costumed crowd. The now defunct Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative began the tradition, hosting truly memorable nights — American Princes did The Pixies so well, they did it two years in a row; a few years later, The Moving Front legitimized lazy music writer comparisons (cough, cough) by embracing them and playing as The Clash. At some point, the best bands started playing Halloween at White Water. There was The Boondogs and friends doing Fleetwood Mac. The Good Fear as Six Tom Pettys and a Heartbreaker, which the Fayetteville band enjoyed so much, it now does it annually (this year on Saturday at Smoke and Barrel in Fayetteville). And Greg Spradlin and members of Amasa Hines and Velvet Kente as The Allman Brothers. I haven't been lately, but the formula for success is still there: Familiar music, played with enthusiasm and some precision, is really fun to sing along with when you're dressed in a costume and tipsy. This year: Isaac Alexander does his best Jeff Tweedy, with Phillip Huddleston, Thom Asewicz, Lee Petray, Ryan Hitt, Brenna Gilstrap and Kim Farris rounding out the rest of "Wilco." Expect more "Honky Cat" and "Crocodile Rock" and not so much "Candle in the Wind" and "Circle of Life" from Elton John imposters Justin Hicks, Gaines Fricke, Joe Yoder, Lucas Murray, Charles Lyford, Joshua Blackstock and James Szenher. LM
FRIDAY 10/31-SATURDAY 11/15
7:30 p.m. Weekend Theater. $16.
Suzan Lori-Parks' Pulitzer Prize-winning play about two brothers, named Lincoln and Booth by parents with a mean sense of humor and worse ability to care for them, who are struggling with racism, poverty, sibling rivalry and petty crime, comes to the Weekend Theater for a three-weekend run Fridays and Saturdays Oct. 31-Nov. 1, Nov. 7-8 and Nov. 14-15. Byron Thomas Jr. plays Lincoln (the "topdog," played by Don Cheadle off-Broadway in 2001); Jermaine McClure plays Booth (the "underdog," Jeffrey Wright on and off-Broadway) and also directs. New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote that the play "considers nothing less than the existential traps of being African-American and male in the United States, the masks that wear the men as well as vice versa." LNP
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $39-$80.
In 1995, Joey Jordison worked in a gas station in Des Moines, Iowa. When he worked nights, his friends Paul and Shawn would hang out, and they'd talk about the band they wanted to start together. They were private school kids, children of stagnant Iowan suburbs. Generation Xers, born in the early 1970s, just like Beck and Green Day and Goodie Mob and Aphex Twin, but again: This was Iowa. Theirs was a sensibility that didn't develop in record stores or downtown bars or dorm rooms — they didn't have cool older brothers or college radio. They had absent fathers, Slayer and VHS horror. When they played in public, they wore masks. The masks changed over the years, but there were constants: leather straps, metal teeth, disfigured wooden noses, nails. They tuned their guitars down, added auxiliary percussion and turntables. They called their fans "Maggots," and NME described their concerts as "a scene of chaos." They wrote songs with titles like "Wait and Bleed" and "I Am Hated" and "People=Shit" and "Iowa." The last is 15 minutes long, a suite of distorted prog menace. "Relax, it's over," it begins, "You belong to me." In the background there is panting, maniacal laughter, pained groans. "I fill your mouth with dirt," they sing. "Relax, it's over." WS
8 p.m. Juanita's. $8.
"I wouldn't say we live in a commune, as some would suggest," Eternal Summers' Daniel Cundiff told Impose Magazine in 2010. "However, we are very interwoven in the quilt of life and live closely with one another. We are all really into the spirit of music and really enjoy sound as a medium." In other words, they live on a commune. Or, they did. Based somewhere in the woods of Roanoke, Va., the so-called Magic Twig Community was a collective of lo-fi musicians in the tradition of Elephant 6 from Athens, Ga. Eternal Summers, then a duo, was one of a number of overlapping bands that also included The Young Sinclairs, The Sad Cobras, SUNKING and The Missionaries. Their recording studio was called the "Mystic Fortress." The band has domesticated a bit now. They have a bassist, a Facebook page, a publicist. Recording their new record, "The Drop Beneath," they eschewed the Mystical Fortress for Austin, Texas, and hired producer Doug Gillard, a former member of Guided By Voices. It's 11 songs of good-natured, upbeat garage pop, jangly and sensitive and bright. WS