Autumn temps are perfect for outdoor activities
'NORTH BY NORTHWEST'
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5.
This month's Arkansas Times Film Series screening is Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 spy-thriller "North by Northwest," which the Village Voice has called "Hitchcock's ultimate wrong-man comedy" and the Chicago Reader has called "certainly one of the most entertaining movies ever made." It's important to see this movie in a theater, because in some ways it's a film about size, spectacle and scale. Action sequences are set in the U.N. General Assembly building and at Mount Rushmore. We are shown skyscrapers, car chases along high cliffs, and crop-dusters in wide, endless fields. Hitchcock was determined to top himself, to repurpose vast American landmarks and landscapes as settings for terror and dislocation. Working with screenwriter Ernest Lehman, the stated goal was to make "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures." The resulting film is pure thrill-ride momentum, scenic paranoia and constant visual energy in widescreen VistaVision. The template for future movies of its kind — the James Bond series, most notably — it's a perfect, genuinely entertaining film. Interviewing Hitchcock for a book, the French filmmaker and critic Francois Truffaut said that he recognized, in "North by Northwest," a "taste for fantasy founded in the absurd." Hitchcock replied, "The fact is I practice this taste for the absurd absolutely religiously."
11 a.m. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Free.
If we can all agree that July 4 commemorates the Great Day of Independence from Tyranny, let us also agree that Juneteenth, celebrated June 19, commemorates the day in 1865 our government tried to extend a portion of that freedom — tentatively, awkwardly, haltingly — to African-American slaves. It only took a war. Not strictly recognized as a federal holiday — more often a state holiday or ceremonial observance — Juneteenth has nevertheless been celebrated for over a century. Join the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center this year for a block party featuring food trucks, a rock climbing wall, live music and dance (from acts like Big Piph and Tomorrow Maybe, the Big John Miller Band and the Out Loud Artistry dance troupe), film screenings, vendors and more.
JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS
8 p.m. Magic Springs. $54.99.
Joan Jett moved around a lot as a kid, but by the mid-1970s her parents had settled on Brentwood, a suburb just a bus ride outside of L.A., where she would go and dress up like Marc Bolan and hang out at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco and, eventually, slip her phone number to Kim Fowley, a producer who made a fortune from one-off '60s novelty songs with names like "Alley Oop," "Nut Rocker" and "Popsicles and Icicles." Fowley helped Jett assemble an all-girl rock band called The Runaways, who were very successful though generally not taken seriously. "The fact that The Runaways picked up guitars was not accepted," Jett once told an interviewer. "We were called sluts, whores and dykes all the time. And we were constantly laughed at by bands we played with, by the crews and by the press. It was just totally frustrating." In the '80s, Jett founded The Blackhearts — all of them guys, this time — and had a hit with "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," which you've heard if you've ever heard anything. In ensuing years she would appear on the soundtracks to both "Days of Thunder" and "Freaks and Geeks," be worshipped as a literal saint by the polyfidelitous Kerista Commune of San Francisco, nicknamed the "Original Riot Grrrl" (by Rolling Stone) and all sorts of other things. She is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for instance, and is a vegetarian.
BLACK AND BROWN COMEDY GET DOWN
8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $49.75-$75.
It's been an unusually good year for stand-up comedy in Little Rock, with local appearances by Todd Barry and Hannibal Burress making up for 2014's comedy drought. Still, the lineup for Verizon Arena's Black and Brown Comedy Get Down show Saturday night seems almost too promising — like an attempt to revive the energy of the "Def Comedy Jam" golden days, or a return of "The Original Kings of Comedy." There is Cedric the Entertainer, former host of "Showtime at the Apollo" and "ComicView" and "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" and actor in everything from "Barbershop" to the Broadway revival of David Mamet's "American Buffalo"; there is Mike Epps, stand-up power-house and pioneering stoner character actor ("Next Friday," "Friday After Next"); D. L. Hughley, political commentator, author, former star of "The Hughleys" and longtime drive-time radio personality; Charlie Murphy, older brother to Eddie, breakout star of the "Chappelle's Show" and brilliant storyteller; Eddie Griffin, the best part of "Malcolm & Eddie" and a hero to millennials hoarding VHS copies of "The Meteor Man" and "Undercover Brother" and "Scary Movie 3"; and George Lopez, veteran of Nick at Nite, "Lopez Tonight" and both "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" movies.
'OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL'
8:30 p.m. First Security Amphitheater. Free.
"Oz the Great and Powerful" wasn't an especially well-liked movie on its release in the summer of 2013. New York Magazine called it "peculiarly joyless," and Grantland titled its review "The Wizard of Zzzz." Somehow the tone of even the bad reviews, though, made it seem great. Slate, for instance, called it a "visually over-crammed, emotionally empty mega-spectacle," which I wish I could adopt as a recommendations category on Netflix. CNN's critic said it "falls short of the 1939 Oz," which just seems cruel and meaningless as a critical metric — like saying Luke Bryan falls short of Hank Williams Sr. It's a 21st century fantasy blockbuster directed by the mind behind "Evil Dead" and pieced together from psychedelic CGI and Danny Elfman music and one of James Franco's most sphinxlike, art-school performances. It has that over-determined, huge-scale catastrophic quality that most of the great Hollywood bombs all share — like "Waterworld" or "Xanadu" or "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," its failure is what makes it beautiful. Let's all go outside and watch it together by the Arkansas River on a big screen, for free. Why wouldn't you want that?
9 p.m. The Lightbulb Club, Fayetteville.
Madison, Wis., punk band The Hussy, whose fourth LP, "Galore," is due out June 30, calls itself a "two-piece trash band," and should be properly considered in the lineage of great American two-piece trash bands, a tradition inaugurated by Suicide, perfected by The Flat Duo Jets and made lucrative by the White Stripes. Band members have adopted the name: They are Bobby Hussy and Heather Hussy now, self-described "Shriekin Hipsters and Hippie Vampires." Their songs are brief and bruising and a little interchangeable — angry, squawking, petulant noise-rock that puts you in the right mind for smoking meth or robbing a gas station or refusing to clean your room.