Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
8 p.m. South on Main. $22.
Ruthie Foster is a blues and soul singer-songwriter and an accomplished guitarist who hails from Gause, Texas, and a family of gospel singers. In interviews, she says she grew up listening to country music radio and singing in her church choir. She joined the Navy after a stint at a community college — her enlistment a doomed effort, she says, "to get away from music." She became a full-time musician in 1996; since then, she's been nominated for Grammys, toured with the Blind Boys of Alabama and collaborated with the Allman Brothers Band. In May she'll be in New York performing in a tribute show dedicated to legendary Arkansas guitar-slinger Sister Rosetta Tharpe, but we're lucky enough to have her in Little Rock this weekend at South on Main. WS
MUMFORD & SONS
8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $59.90.
If at any point in the past four years you have seen an inspirational movie trailer, shopped at a T.J. Maxx or noticed yourself humming along with a car commercial, you are no doubt familiar with the British folk-pop group Mumford & Sons, who dress like tour guides at a bourbon distillery and make string-band music for the age of ebooks and artisanal chocolate bars. But this is low-hanging fruit: Their songs are catchy, almost too catchy — earworm melodies accompanied by a hint of quiet menace. For a wildly popular band, in other words, they are surprisingly polarizing. This is one British Invasion many of us want no part of: Our folkways are our own, and who are these English interlopers to co-opt them so cavalierly? And, some would say, blandly? Anyway: They're famous, and at this point you already know whether you're willing to pay their extravagant ticket prices or not. For my money, I'd say skip it and get your folk-revival fix from the White Water Tavern any given weekend. Make America Great Again. WS
THURSDAY 4/8-SUNDAY 4/10
29TH ANNUAL OZARK UFO CONFERENCE
Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center, Eureka Springs.
One of the strangest classes I ever took in college was a seminar entitled "Taboo, Magic and Subsistence," taught by a tenured professor whose research involved working with shamans to explore "plant auras," investigating "bead mounds" and spending several years living on Orchid Island (off the coast of Taiwan) amid the Yami people, an indigenous population that he insisted he'd discovered only thanks to a late-night meeting in a bar with a sailor who showed him how to reach the island via star charts. It was a long, fruitful semester. One of our guest speakers, a real highlight for the class, was a journalist and documentarian named Linda Moulton Howe, who had abandoned a career in academia (including a master's degree program at Stanford) to pursue her obsession with crop circles, cattle mutilation and "aerial light phenomena," the latter of which she demonstrated for our class by covering all the windows with duct-tape, playing New Age music and hosting a sort of seance that involved strange, inexplicable flashes of dancing light. Inexplicable, anyway, because the lights were off and the windows were covered in duct-tape. She was an engaging, passionate speaker — a true believer — so I was pleased to see that she's one of the keynote speakers at this year's annual Ozark UFO Conference, which has become a bona fide Eureka Springs institution over the past 29 years. Other notable speakers include Erich Von Daniken (author of the conspiracy lit classic "Chariots of the Gods"), who will discuss extraterrestrials, pyramids and the relationship between the two; Richard Dolan, frequent SyFy channel guest and author of "UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Cover-up 1941-1973"; and Sherry Wilde, whose life was disrupted when she was abducted by aliens in 1987. WS
THURSDAY 4/7-SUNDAY 4/10
FANTASTIC CINEMA & CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
Various times. Riverdale 10. $10-$135.
Little Rock film culture suffered a devastating blow with the closure of the Little Rock Film Festival last year (for reasons that remain, at best, confusing). One of the handful of institutions stepping into the void is the Film Society of Little Rock, which, in addition to forthcoming events like the 2nd Annual Kaleidoscope LGBT Festival (coming in August) and the Flipbook Animation Film Festival (coming in November), is hosting this weekend's Fantastic Cinema & Craft Beer Festival, an event that combines an array of independent genre films (with a heavy focus on sci-fi, horror and fantasy) with a perfectly complementary craft beer component. The opening night feature will SXSW hit "The Alchemist Cookbook," written and directed by Joel Potrykus. There will also be Australian sci-fi mysteries, Finnish horror-comedies, Canadian werewolf thrillers, documentaries about Vikings and countless other things exciting and unspeakable. See a schedule and get more info at fantasticcinema.com. WS
6 p.m. Clinton School for Public Service. Free.
Melanne Verveer, the executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, was also chief of staff to Hillary Clinton when Clinton was first lady. The institute was founded in 2011 as an offshoot of the U.S. Department of State's Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, created under Secretary of State Clinton. That suggests Verveer, besides talking about the institute's research and her role as U.S. ambassador for women's global issues, should be able to provide insight into Clinton's longtime efforts to promote women's education and status. Verveer, who worked on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, is also the co-author of "Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose." LNP
ADIA VICTORIA, JOSHUA ASANTE
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $8.
"I've always been drawn to themes of women in times of darkness," singer-songwriter Adia Victoria told The FADER recently. Raised in a series of small, economically devastated towns in South Carolina along with four siblings — a family of Seventh Day Adventists — Victoria is a rising talent in a genre (indie rock) typically dominated by white men from much more entitled socio-economic backgrounds. (Last January, Rolling Stone included her on a list of "10 New Artists You Need to Know," and she's received a great deal of positive press in the interim.) A temperamental loner and a talented writer, Victoria says of her work: "I am constantly reassembling and deconstructing and reconstructing — and I do it out of necessity." So far she's best known for a ghostly, blues-inflected dirge called "Stuck in the South," which wears its Southern Gothic influences proudly, despite the alienated stance implied by the title. Rolling Stone tagged her sound as resembling "PJ Harvey covering Loretta Lynn at a haunted debutante ball," which seems close enough. She'll share a bill Tuesday with Joshua Asante, who sounds more like Phil Lynott covering Jeff Buckley at a haunted dive bar. (I'm kidding; I have no idea what that means; Asante is one of Little Rock's most innately talented and genuinely moving performers, and this show is the highlight of the week's calendar; go to this.) WS
READERS' MAP OF ARKANSAS LAUNCH
6:30 p.m. Oxford American Annex.
It's been three years in the works, A Readers' Map of Arkansas, and this literary-themed poster is now ready for distribution. The map, an update of the original created by the late poet C.D. Wright, includes the names of the published writers of Arkansas. At the launch party, writers will read from their favorite works by other authors: Poet Jo McDougall will read the work of late Fayetteville poet Miller Williams, Jay Jennings will read from the works of Charles Portis, and so forth. The maps will be provided free to educators and librarians; book lovers can buy one for $10. All proceeds go to the Central Arkansas Library System Foundation, which sponsored the project with the help of Hendrix College. LNP