Science and Songs of the Buffalo River 

Also, Lum and Abner Festival in Mena, African-American Arts in Arkansas at Mosaic Templars, Conway Pride Fest, Sunday Serenades at St. Paul United Methodist and Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils at Stickyz.

click to enlarge lumabner.jpg


10 a.m., Janssen Park, Mena. Free.

Before "The Beverly Hillbillies" and Abbott and Costello, there was "Lum and Abner," the brainchildren of Chester Lauck and Findley Norris Goff, a couple of comedians in their early 20s living in Polk County. The pair had less affinity for learning their fathers' trades (lumber, banking, retail) than they did for mimicking the old-timers they hung out with at Goff's father's network of general stores, and their routines scored them an invitation to appear at a 1931 flood relief drive in Hot Springs, where they thought up the names "Lum Eddards" and "Abner Peabody" mere seconds before appearing on stage. The shtick stuck, and the "Lum and Abner" radio program ran until 1955, inspiring sponsorships from the likes of Quaker Oats and Horlick's Malted Milk, their own brand of sorghum, seven movies and even an official name change for their real-life community of Waters (Montgomery County); "Lum and Abner" fans asked so frequently about the location of "Pine Ridge" (the fictional town in which the radio program was set) that a ceremony was held at the state Capitol in 1936 to change the name from Waters to Pine Ridge. Eighty years later, the program's famed "Jot 'Em Down Store" still exists, and fans flock to Mena every year to celebrate Lauck and Goff's legacy. The 2016 festival features the Ouachita Quilt Show, live music from Pamela K. Ward and The Last Call Orchestra, a classic car show, arts and crafts vendors and something called an "All-American Lumberjack Show." SS


10 a.m.-3 p.m., Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Free.

Artists, an art dealer and a historian will take part in this day-long event about African-American visual, performing and literary arts at Mosaic Templars, the state museum that celebrates African-American entrepreneurship and culture. Delita Martin, known for her large-scale mixed-media printmaking and whose work is in the collection of Mosaic Templars; Garbo Hearne, owner of Hearne Fine Art, which deals in work by African-American artists; Chicago sculptor and Mellon Fellow Garland Martin Taylor; and archivist Jeff Lewellen of the Arkansas History Commission will be speakers at the event. Topics include "Talking Palette, Hidden Artist: The Art of Arkansas's Henry Lewis Jackson," about the 19th century political cartoonist who lived in Pine Bluff; "The Soul of Arkansas: A History of Arkansas's African American Musicians"; "In Search of Self: The Preservation of Culture through African American Art"; and a presentation on literary arts. To attend, register by May 30. Check-in begins at 9:15 a.m. Lunch will be provided. Teachers may earn up to four professional development hours by attending. The event is sponsored by the Black History Commission of Arkansas and the Arkansas History and supported by a grant from the Arkansas Arts Council. LNP

click to enlarge TEACHING TOLERANCE: The late Robert Lloyd (left) and husband John Schenck have organized every Conway Pride Parade since 2004, and this year's celebration honors his memory.
  • TEACHING TOLERANCE: The late Robert Lloyd (left) and husband John Schenck have organized every Conway Pride Parade since 2004, and this year's celebration honors his memory.


2 p.m. The Pink House, Conway. Free.

With the same breath we use to celebrate Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision that overturned bans on same-sex marriage, we also mourn the loss of a longtime Faulkner County champion of tolerance: Robert (Bobby) Loyd. Loyd, a Vietnam vet who died earlier this year, organized every Conway Pride Parade since 2004 along with his husband, John Schenck, who was an employee at the Stonewall Inn during the riots of 1969. The couple, married for over 40 years, broadcast the mantra "Teach Tolerance" across the head jamb of their bright pink house, where the parade begins. The Pink House, as it's called (and popularized in Hendrix grad Jonathan Crawford's movie "Pink Houses"), has endured its fair share of the bigotry hurled at its owners: It was once the dumping site for a large load of manure left in protest of the first Conway Pride Parade and, as Loyd told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2005, "One year we had a 9-foot Energizer bunny. It was decapitated Easter morning. I thought that was a little extreme." Schenck has organized a college scholarship in Loyd's name for an Arkansas LGBTQ person studying in-state, and The Lantern Theater is dedicating its run of "The Normal Heart" to Loyd's memory. SS


3 p.m., St. Paul United Methodist Church, $8-$10.

The opening line of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" is arguably the most recognizable phrase ever written for clarinet, and after hearing the fantastic colors that emerge in the piece through the interplay between the clarinet, the solo piano and the rest of the orchestra, it's hard to fathom that such a palette could be as eloquently expressed by a smaller ensemble. But then, the clarinet is a many splendored thing. "Rhapsody in Blue" for clarinet quartet is among the pieces to be performed this Sunday afternoon by the Little Rock Wind Symphony, a nonprofit ensemble of about 50 musicians "dedicated to the performance of wind band music." (Music Director and Conductor Israel Getzov will be in China during this performance, where he's conducting the Tianjin Philharmonic, so these small-group pieces will be "conducted" from within the ensembles.) Unlike a full orchestra, a wind symphony relies less on strings — although there's often a double bass involved — and more on brass and woodwind instruments. The program also includes a Poulenc sextet, "Miniatures for Flute, Oboe, and Piano" by Little Rock's William Grant Still, and a one-movement trio called "Quiet City," a distillation of Aaron Copland's incidental music for a play by Irwin Shaw about a Jewish man haunted by his abandoned aspirations. SS

click to enlarge SAVING THE BUFFALO, AGAIN: Folk duo Still on the Hill present story songs about the Buffalo River, and Dr. Van Brahana presents the findings of his study of water quality around the country's first National River.
  • SAVING THE BUFFALO, AGAIN: Folk duo Still on the Hill present story songs about the Buffalo River, and Dr. Van Brahana presents the findings of his study of water quality around the country's first National River.


6 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church, free.

The late conservationist Neil Compton would likely have been disheartened at news of an industrial hog facility spreading waste over the Little Buffalo River Watershed, but he'd be proud of the folks who are doing something about it. Thanks in part to a grant from the Patagonia Foundation to the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance (BRWA), Dr. Van Brahana has been studying the quality and flow of surface and groundwater through the karst topography of the Ozarks to the Buffalo National River to detect chemicals commonly used at Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) like the nearby hog farm. Folk duo Still on the Hill offers the musical counterpart to Brahana's presentation, performing songs from the upcoming album they've created in partnership with BRWA, "Still a River: Story Songs About the Buffalo River." You may or may not be old enough to remember the first "Save the Buffalo" campaign preceding its establishment as the nation's first national river, but if you've enjoyed the bluffs on a leisurely float around Tyler Bend or cut your teeth on the feisty spring rapids at Ponca, you've still got time to get informed and help "Save the Buffalo — Again." SS

click to enlarge 57179fc99eca3.image.jpg


8 p.m., Stickyz, $10-$12.

At a certain point in time, maybe a time that is not entirely yet past, it was damned near impossible to play a blues-rock solo on the electric guitar without being likened unto Stevie Ray Vaughan. As Ian Moore told South by Southwest, "Charlie [Sexton], Doyle [Bramhall II] and I were all tossed into the next Stevie Ray mixer, and it blunted some unique voices that were developing. My band and I were trying to take the blues rock and soul that was part of our sound and mix it with psychedelic music, gothic imagery, power pop, 'mind soul,' and even psychedelic funk." Moore shared stages with Joe Ely and Willie Nelson, and turned out a politically charged video in 1994 for "Harlem" (directed by Ice Cube), but still couldn't seem to escape audience's tendencies to homogenize bands coming out of Austin, Texas, at that time. So, he put down the electric guitar in favor of the acoustic for a while, and didn't come back to it until after a stint in a hidden cave near Krause Springs and at least one suicide attempt. Emerging from the haze, Moore bonded with guitarist Matt Harris over "Middle Eastern psych and Marcella Hazan," as Moore states in his bio, and the duo evolved into The Lossy Coils. The four-piece band plays Wednesday in Little Rock, fresh off a stint at Hipnic, a festival put on by harmony-heavy psych-rockers The Mother Hips. SS


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