Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $19.75-$169.75.
Muses and creative sparks can come in all manner of shapes and sizes, and for Barry Manilow it came in the form of State Farm Insurance. Imagine him at his piano struggling with the tune, deadline approaching, taking occasional swigs from a bottle of bourbon as the lyrics just won't come. And then — and who knows what stores of childhood memories he drew on at the last possible moment to pull this out — they did: "Like a good neighbor," he wrote, wiping the tears from his eyes, "State Farm is there." A smile, a nod, a paycheck. He didn't stop there. Do the words, "I am stuck on Band-Aid brand, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me," mean anything to you? Thanks again, Barry. There were jingles for Pepsi, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dr Pepper, McDonald's, Tab. He soundtracked so many of our earliest encounters with raw capitalism that it could be hard to distinguish his face from its innermost machinations — he's a born salesman, with good hair and a trustworthy smile. Manilow won more Clio Awards than Don Draper, and yet he still walked away, more or less. He teamed up with like-minded folks — a lounge-friendly, crowd-pleasing, smooth-voiced, TV-ready crew that included Bette Midler and Tony Orlando and Donna Summer — and wrote and performed some of the least offensive, most medicinally soothing orchestral pop of the 1970s. He did great work! He could laugh at himself. He famously sunbathed in the nude. Moreover, listen to his 1974 single "Mandy" and tell me it doesn't give you chills. Look me in the eye and try telling me that much. WS
LOUISIANA SOUL REVIVAL WITH DOUG DUFFEY
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.
Doug Duffey is a Louisiana music legend who has collaborated with George Clinton, Keith Richards, Herbie Hancock, David Byrne and many more ("One of the most prolific songwriters living in Louisiana," is the line frequently quoted, though I wasn't able to locate its original source — a fact that probably only confirms its longevity as a cornerstone of his reputation). He was inducted into the National Blues Hall of Fame in 2009, at which ceremony he was dubbed the "Louisiana Ambassador of the Blues." These days he performs with a group called the Louisiana Soul Revival, which is less a backing band than a full-on, 11-piece, Frenchman Street-style funk ensemble. WS
FRIDAY 4/1-SATURDAY 4/9
OZARK FOOTHILLS FILM FESTIVAL
Various times. University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville and Lyon College. $25.
"We're not the biggest, in fact we may well be the smallest, but we're indisputably one of the best film festivals in the country." That's what Bob Pest, founder of the Ozark Foothills FilmFest, told the Times in 2011, and in the last five years the event has only grown both in proportion and all-around reputability. This year's 15th annual event promises to continue the trend, with screenings of a truly diverse array of features and documentaries, shorts and animation. There are films from Sweden, Spain, Russia, France, Hungary and, of course, Arkansas. Highlights include Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1956 epic "The Mystery of Picasso," winner of the 1956 Cannes Film Festival jury prize and often cited as one of the best films about art every made. Unavailable for over a decade for various rights- and tech-related issues, you can now see it in Batesville. There's also Zack Godshall's acclaimed documentary "Water Like Stone," about the people who make a home and a living among the disappearing wetlands of Louisiana. There's Ted Roach's "120 Days," about an undocumented immigrant facing deportation, which the Huffington Post called "required viewing for every American." There's Scott Ballard's feature "Death on a Rock," a lyrical character study that recently took prizes at the L.A. Indie Film Fest, and "The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead," which the Oscar-winning animator John Canemaker described as "Laurel and Hardy in hell." Screenings will be interspersed with filmmaker panels, parties and other special events. Individual screenings are $5 and the full "Red-Eye" movie pass will run you $25. WS
10 a.m. Riverfront Park. Free.
Riverfest, the nearly four decades-old arts festival held each year on Memorial Day weekend, has changed things up this year, separating the music portion of the event (which will be held June 3-5, featuring The Flaming Lips, George Clinton and many more) from the family-friendly, all-day games and crafts portion. For the latter, we now have Springfest. Kicking off at 9 a.m., there will be a 5K Fun Run, the always-thought-provoking "Ruff on the River Pooch Parade" (the theme of which, this year, we've learned is "Woofstock," FYI), short-legged dog races, dogs jumping off docks, arts & crafts activities for kids, food trucks, local craft beer, Etsy vendors and more. More, in this case, meaning a performance by perennial children's music favorites Trout Fishing in America and various demonstrations put on by the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center staff. WS
7:30 p.m. Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA. $15.
The second and final lecturer in the University of Central Arkansas's "Distinguished Lecture Series" (the first was Bill Nye), Josh Radnor — best known as the protagonist of the CBS sitcom/shaggy dog story "How I Met Your Mother" — will appear at Reynolds Performance Hall on Monday. Asked about the nature of his appearance — stand-up comedy? one-man show? — UCA representatives told me, "He will be talking about his career so far as an actor, writer and director." Less well-known than his sitcom successes are his triumphs as a filmmaker: He directed and starred in the 2010 comedy-drama "Happythankyoumoreplease," which won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, and the 2012 indie comedy "Liberal Arts," co-starring Elizabeth Olsen, which Roger Ebert called "an almost unreasonable pleasure." (That was a compliment.) Radnor has also appeared on Broadway and is a strident proponent — only somewhat surprisingly — of Transcendental Meditation. WS
4:30 p.m. Sturgis Hall. Free.
If you think you're sick of hearing about the presidency, imagine how Jon Meacham must feel. Executive editor (and vice president) of Random House and former editor-in-chief of Newsweek, he's spent over a decade writing critically acclaimed nonfiction tomes about U.S. presidents new and old: "Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship," "American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation," "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House," "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" and, most recently, "Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush," released last year. His biography of Andrew Jackson won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009, so we'll presume he knows his stuff. In addition to his already very full-sounding plate (a James Franco-level feat of implausible multitasking), Meacham is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and holds six honorary doctorates, including one from Yale. Congrats, Jon Meacham, on possessing the most dauntingly impressive Wikipedia page I've encountered in weeks. WS
Noon. Clinton School of Public Service. Free.
In advance of the Kinsey Collection exhibition that opens April 8 at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, businessman, philanthropist and collector of African-American art and artifacts Bernard Kinsey will give a talk about the nationally touring show. Kinsey is president and founder of the management consultant firm KBK Enterprises and is considered a pioneer in breaking racial barriers to corporate employment thanks to his leadership of the Xerox Black Employees Association during his 20-year tenure with Xerox. He and his wife, Shirley, amassed the collection, which includes documents, artwork and artifacts, some dating to 1600. The California couple are also founders of the Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Foundation for the Arts and Education. "African American Treasures from the Kinsey Collection" runs through July 2 at Mosaic Templars. LNP
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