Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
RIDE WITH PRIDE TROLLEY
North Little Rock Trolley Barn. 8 p.m. $25-$40.
On May 31, President Obama declared June as LGBT Pride Month, saying, "I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people." The members of Central Arkansas's LGBT community have done a lot of hard, often thankless work in the name of dignity and equality over the last year, so it's high time for some play. Those of legal drinking age may join Central Arkansas Pride on a trolley "decked out with pride" and stocked with an open bar for a celebratory ride on Little Rock's River Rail. The ride begins at the trolley barn at the corner of Sixth and Main streets in Argenta, so you need not brave the parking lots further downtown. See centralarkansaspride.com for tickets, details and a reminder to drink responsibly.
LATE ROMANTICS, RODNEY BLOCK, RAH HOWARD
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
The moment you've mastered a recipe, it's probably time to fiddle with it. When I heard John Willis & Late Romantics at South on Main in 2014 (and then dragged some friends from out of town to see them at The Afterthought a few weeks later), I heard sounds that were joyful without a hint of irony, even when the lyrics themselves were wry, self-aware. Willis' songs stand on their own without the fanfare of a full band, but it's sure hard to argue with the glorious harmonies that open up when Sarah Stricklin, Jack Lloyd and Sydney Hunsicker chime in halfway through the first verse of "Sensitive Man." Since the release of the band's EP "Bad Boyfriend" a year ago, it's ventured off into more democratic territory, changed its name, the musicians "kinda holed up and stumbling our way through writing new material," said Lloyd, "seemingly moving in a far more R&B, funk, soul direction." Jeremy Brasher's joined Mike Motley in the rhythm section; the new lineup debuts Friday evening, preceded by Little Rock's beloved trumpeter Rodney Block and emcee/harmonica player Rah hoWard.
FRIDAY 6/10-SATURDAY 6/11
ARKANSAS STATEHOOD 1836: THE PEOPLE RULE
Old State House Museum. 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday. Free.
If you are still tenaciously sporting your submission to Little Rock's Beard Growing Contest, if you own a pair of suspenders, or if you know what LARP stands for, you're already properly outfitted for the Old State House Museum's live-action role-playing event recreating life during 1836, the year during which Arkansas attained statehood. Upon arriving at "The People Rule," you'll be given information about who you are, what you do to earn your living, a handful of "money" to spend and vouchers for services you'd presumably need in the 1830s — say, from the local cobbler or blacksmith. The living history interpreters at the museum will be on hand to guide you through activities like a puppet show, speeches and toasts from the would-be political candidates of the day, gambling and era-specific games and dances. Or, stop by the night before for 2nd Friday Art Night: Cindy Woolf and The Creek Rocks perform music that sounds as if it flowed directly from the mouth of an Ozark Mountain spring. Southern Gourmasian, Loblolly Creamery and Stone's Throw Brewing will have food and drink for purchase, and the museum's displaying "Different Spokes: Bicycling in Arkansas" and "First Families: Mingling of Politics and Culture."
FRIDAY 6/10-SUNDAY 6/12
FREE FISHING WEEKEND
Statewide. Noon Friday-midnight Sunday. Free.
Did you know that you can check out a fishing pole from the Central Arkansas Library System? That there's one weekend out of the year during which you don't need a fishing license to fish? Yes, even if you don't have a fishing license or a trout permit, you can cast a line from noon Friday to midnight Sunday anywhere in the state's "9,700 miles of fishable streams and rivers" and "600,000 acres of lakes," by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism's measure. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission provides fishing poles to local libraries if you don't own one, and suggests nearby places where you can use them: Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Fourche Creek, Burns Park, Lake Maumelle, the Saline River, Palarm Creek or Lake Pickthorne in the Holland Bottoms. Bream and redear sunfish are abundant here in June for those who want to wade in with a pole, or if you're outfitted with a boat, go for a white bass or walleye. On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the AGFC's five hatcheries will be stocked with fish for the AGFC's Kid's Fishing Day. Be a good steward of our waterways and check out the rules at agfc.com before you head out; you'll find out about general fishing etiquette and about the size and quantity of fish you can legally catch for supper.
Verizon Arena. 8 p.m. $70-$100.
"Baduizm" came out in 1997, which seems completely impossible. There's an air of antiquity surrounding so many other chart-topping names of that year (Smash Mouth, Third Eye Blind, Marcy Playground), but "Baduizm" feels like something that could have been released five years ago, not 20. The precision and intention behind the lilting vocal lines of tracks like "Next Lifetime" seem no closer chronologically to Roberta Flack's or Billie Holiday's vocalizing than, say, "Out My Mind, Just in Time" (2010) or "Me" (2008). The latter, a track from her album "New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)," is a prime example of how Badu since the beginning has managed to focus on what's intensely personal while remaining aware of how her identity — as a woman, an American and later on, a mother — is situated within a political moment. Videos of Badu singing Sinatra's "High Hopes" with her children in the car and lines like "This year I turned 36, damn, it seems it came so quick, my ass and legs have gotten thick, yea, it's all me" seem completely at one with the last verse of "Me:" "So I salute you, Farrakhan, yes, cuz you are me." The tune's bass groove and hand-claps drop out abruptly, leaving us with a candid and completely endearing outtake in which Badu sings her mother's life story in unison with a trumpet. Whether you dug into "Baduizm" in 1997 within the confines of your earphones or you're doing so for the first time at Verizon Arena, her catalogue is a deep one, full of complexity and completely worth your attention.
White Water Tavern. 9 p.m. $5.
A veteran of the Towncraft-era Little Rock scene, John Pugh moved on to New York to play drums for !!!, a band that helped usher in the dance-punk revival of the 2000s, before founding Free Blood, another outfit that made compelling dance music. These days Pugh is performing and recording as a solo "punk science" project called Vision Control. His drumless experiments reside somewhere in the territory between Philip Glass and Tom Waits: He does a series of "vibrational drum tests," in which objects like playing cards and broken drumsticks are propelled into motion by the vibrations of modified speakers, and pieces like "Lateral Traveling," a spooky four-minute groove about a "wet night" spent dodging a whispering, unseen creature. (Given the chance, I'd gladly trade that four minutes for any time I spent watching episodes of "Lost.") Tuesday's show celebrates the release of Pugh's collaboration with The Crisco Kids — which Pugh calls "one of the best secret bands in Little Rock" — on two tracks, "Crisco Kids Meet The Zomby" and "Halloween Xmas." The tracks made their way to me with a warning alongside: "Protect your ears. It's easily the trashiest thing to come out of Arkansas since 1847." Joining Pugh and The Crisco Kids are psych-wave band The Casual Pleasures with the soft release of its 7-inch "Heaven," and Half Sestina 811, a "live-action poetry duo" in which interpreter Jerry Colburn "bends his body to create images that dynamically describe" the words of writer Jordan Galaxy. If, like me, you've got a soft spot for artists that make you double-check the volume knob before you cue up a song because you aren't sure what's about to come seeping out from the headphones, go to this show.
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