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Opera fans will want to check out Wildwood Park’s After-Dinner Opera Series program of “The Music Theatre of Gian-Carlo Menotti” on Friday, Feb. 3, beginning at 8 p.m. at the park, located on Denny Road in West Little Rock. Menotti’s comedy “The Telephone” will be featured among several other Menotti favorites. In “The Telephone,” Ben (sung by Robert Holden), can’t get his beloved Lucy (Christine Donahue) to accept his marriage proposal, as she won’t put down the telephone. Other performers include Mary Wynston-Smith and Timothy Tucker. Tickets are $35. Call 821-7275 or visit www.wildwoodpark.org on the Internet.
Poetry on the tracks
Joe Graves and JoAnn Johnson (see photo) join Nancy Eyermann as Jo McDougall's poetic play "Towns Facing Railroads" continues its run at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre Sunday on the Rep's Second Stage. Tickets are $25; call 378-0405 to reserve.
Ray goes clubbing
Rachael Ray, TV personality, author and chef, will be making a visit to Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom on Tuesday, Feb. 7, beginning at 7:30 p.m. A free show with the Salty Dogs will celebrate Ray’s visit, and the Food Network will be filming the show.
The stop is part of several that Ray and her Food Network crew are supposed to make around Little Rock next week, but Juanita’s has been the only venue to announce a definitive time for Ray’s visit as she films her show “Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels.” The show will focus on local favorite spots, down-home cooking and places to go after dark, but no air date has been announced.
Ray’s film crew will be shooting footage Monday and Tuesday at Capers, Cotham’s, Doe’s Eat Place, Cafe 42 in the Clinton Library, Damgoode Pies, Brave New Restaurant, Loca Luna, Whole Hog Barbecue, The Faded Rose, Homer’s and Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack. Ray’s production team said she may not visit all those spots in person.
Horses on course
The “World Famous” Lipizzaner Stallions are back at Alltel Arena for two shows Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., as riders and an assortment of descendants of the fabled horses, saved by U.S. Gen. George Patton in World War II, perform. The Lipizzaner show is in its 36th year of touring the world.
Tickets are $19.50 and $22.50 for adults, and $17.50 and $20.50 for seniors and children under 12, through Ticketmaster outlets or the arena box office (975-9000). For more information, see www.lipizzaner.com.
Tour the zoo
Little Rock Zoo director Mike Blakely will give a behind-the-scenes look at construction going on at the zoo on Sunday, Feb. 5, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Blakely will discuss the zoo’s multimillion-dollar renovation master plan, and take visitors on an exclusive first peek at the new Cafe Africa, located in the zoo’s old lion house, plus other areas.
The tour is free, but spots are limited. Call 666-2406 for reservations.
The Red Octopus sketch-comedy troupe, in its 15th year, is back for a pre-Valentine’s Day slam at all the romantic implications of the special day with “Furious Affections,” a show debuting Wednesday, Feb. 8, and running through Saturday, Feb. 11, at Easy Street Cabaret.
The various looks into the perplexing voyage that is love include such subjects as new love, newlyweds, infidelity and older married women. The cast features Sandy Baskin, Josh Doering, Jason Gregory, Jami Kath Harrison, Michael Henderson, Jennifer Pierce, Jennifer Salazar and John Thomas Smith.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Tickets at the door are $10. The theater is at 307 W. Seventh St. Call 372-3530 or 301-8007, or visit the websites www.redoctopustheater.com or www.easystreetpianobar.com for more information.
Homeless artists’ show
A gala exhibit at the Clinton Library of work by Mississippi artists who lost their homes, studios and bodies of work to Katrina is set for 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Great Hall.
“Hearts for Art,” put together by The Arts of Hancock County, Mississippi, with help from the Arkansas Arts Council, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute and other groups, will kick off a national tour of works by artists from Bay St. Louis, which USA Today ranked as one of the top 10 Small Art Towns in America (Hot Springs was fourth to its third place ranking in 2002). The Clinton Foundation OK’d the use of the Great Hall last week; it will be the first art sale to be held in the library.
Event organizer Claire Haun, who lost her own home and evacuated to North Little Rock when Katrina destroyed the Waveland-Bay St. Louis area, said some 200 artists were displaced by Katrina; they’re now working from tents and FEMA trailers.
Tickets are $75 and may be purchased at Arkansas Art Gallery at 500 Main St., North Little Rock, which has extended its hours to accommodate working people, or by calling the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute at 501-321-4747.