Ozark Folk Festival kicks off in Eureka 



Various times and venues. Eureka Springs.

Wednesday, the 66th annual Ozark Folk Festival kicked off in Eureka Springs. It's one of the oldest continually observed folk celebrations in the country — the oldest actually, according to organizers. This year's lineup is highlighted by a Saturday evening taping of folk singer Michael Johnathon's "WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour" (even just typing that out, I can hear the trademark roaring crowd chant that introduces the show: WoodSongs ... Old-Time ... Radio Hour!). Johnathon and crew will be recording two one-hour programs at The Auditorium downtown. The first features The Clark Family Trio, Clancey Ferguson, Martin Johnson, David Kimbrough III, Fiddlin' Banjo Billy Mathews, Mountain Sprout and The Ozark Alliance. The second show includes performances from Leroy Troy and The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band and veteran country-rock figure Michael Martin Murphey. Of course, the festival also includes plenty more good times, with the Queens Contest Thursday night, free music Friday and Saturday in Basin Spring Park (including a performance from Johnathan on Friday), the Folk Festival Parade through downtown starting at 2 p.m. Saturday and a Sunday Gospel Brunch with Brick Fields Sunday at noon at Basin Park. Check OzarkFolkFestival.com for more.

FRIDAY 10/25


8 p.m. The Joint. $20.

It's a classic comedy conceit: The protagonist dies and arrives at that big pearly-gated community in the sky only to learn that in order to enter, he or she will have to go back to the mortal plane and make things right. Such is the story at the heart of "Little Rock and a Hard Place," an original comedy by The Joint's in-house comedy team, The Main Thing (Steve and Vicki Farrell and Brett Ihler). The show ran last fall and earned raves from our publisher, Alan Leveritt, who described it as "a witty and at times hilarious tour of the twin cities' downtowns during their nadirs as Steve [Farrell]'s character tries to win holy points by saving Argenta. The writing shows a real knowledge of the political and cultural nuances of the relationship between the two cities, which is a surprise, because the couple and their extended families are fairly new to Central Arkansas. And it's real funny." "Little Rock and a Hard Place" will have a limited run — Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Nov. 16 — so don't dawdle.



Various times, venues and cover charges.

Seeing as how Halloween falls mid-week rather than on Friday or Saturday, much of the spook-season stuff is happening in advance. Here are a few of the terrifying highlights: White Water Tavern hosts a cover-up show with The Dangerous Idiots as The Joy Formidable, plus renditions of Ryan Adams and The Cardinals (by Phillip Rex Huddleston, Mandy McBryde, John Willis, Alex Piazza, Ryan Hitt, Thom Asewicz) and Hall & Oates (with Tyler Nance, Gaines Fricke, Charles Lyford, Lucas Murray, James Szenher, Joe Yoder and Justin Hicks), Friday, 10 p.m., $5; ImprovLittleRock's "Night of the Living Dead" spoofs the George Romero classic, Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m., $8.; The Political Animals Club brings in Mike Huckabee, The Little Rock Club, Friday 7 a.m., $20. There's a Halloween Sock Hop, with costumes, dance contests, games and more, Unitarian Universalist Church, Friday 8 p.m.-midnight; Magic Screams brings the horror to Magic Springs, Saturday and Sunday, 4 p.m.-close. For more, see In Brief.



8 p.m. South on Main. Free.

This sounds like a sure thing for fans of top-notch acoustic guitar playing and songcraft: Artistry of the Guitar features four guitarists performing in the round, exchanging tunes and providing some insight to the audience about how the songs came to be. Most of the music is of the American Fingerstyle variety with other influences woven into the overall sound. The guitarists include Ken Bonfield, Steve Davison, Danny Dozier and Micky Rigby, all of whom are accomplished players and will likely be familiar to longtime observers of the Arkansas scene.




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