"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. Free.
We're thrilled to be teaming up with Arkansas Sounds to host the U.S. premiere of Tav Falco's ambitious and fascinating new film "Urania Descending." Falco was born on a farm in rural Arkansas and today lives in Vienna, where he writes books, directs films and records music with the cult art-rock band Panther Burns, whose most recent album, "Command Performance," was released in March. For many years, Falco lived in Memphis, where he befriended and collaborated with a cast of now-iconic characters that included the producer Jim Dickinson, the photographer William Eggleston and Big Star front man Alex Chilton.
Influenced by the German Expressionist cinema of Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau, the film follows a young woman in Little Rock who travels to Vienna, where she "becomes embroiled in an intrigue to uncover buried Nazi plunder." Part fable and part tone poem, it's an eerie and powerful experiment from one of Arkansas's most distinctive native artists. The film, Falco's first full-length feature, has been screened at David Lynch's club Silencio, in Paris, but Falco has held off on American showings until he could premiere the movie in his home state. Falco will attend the premiere and participate in an audience discussion after the screening, which is free and open to the public.
9 p.m. Stickyz. $10.
Athens, Ga., has had a long, fruitful association with college rock, but its alt-country lineage is equally impressive: It's where Uncle Tupelo recorded its seminal third album, and where Drive-By Truckers have been based for most of their existence. More recently, it's become the home of Futurebirds, the country-inflected indie-rock group that has recorded three albums since it formed in 2008. Futurebird's music is moody and atmospheric and Southern, with steel guitar repurposed as a psychedelic instrument — recommended for fans of My Morning Jacket and stuff like that. Also, as a Little Rock connection, they recently recorded a version of the song "Midnight" — a country standard made iconic by Ray Charles — for the Oxford American magazine's Georgia Music Issue.
8 p.m. South on Main. $20.
Victor Goines is a New Orleans-born saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and professor. He began his career in the 1980s as part of Ellis Marsalis' quartet. In the '90s, he joined up with Ellis' famous son Wynton, performing on a wildly successful string of jazz records that won Grammys and, in the case of 1997's "Blood on the Fields," a Pulitzer Prize. He's played with Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson and Diana Ross, and appeared on film soundtracks, NBC's "Today" show and at Lincoln Center. As a bandleader himself, he's recorded eight albums, and was commissioned by the Juilliard School to compose a work for its 50th anniversary. Since 2007, he's been director of jazz studies at Northwestern University. The New Orleans Times-Picayune calls him "laconic yet agile, serious yet playful, studied and still hip."
SPIDER STACY & THE LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $20.
Spider Stacy cemented his persona in a mid-'80s appearance on the UK's Channel 4, on which his band, The Pogues, played a traditional Irish folk song called "Waxie's Dargle," while Stacy accompanied them on tin whistle and beer tray. The whistle he played expertly — particularly for a grimy punk band. The tray he smashed repeatedly into his forehead — effective as percussion, but even more so as pure atmosphere. This was the kind of band, it established, that would play folk songs and kill brain cells at the same time. Stacy started the band with Shane MacGowan after the two of them met in the bathroom at a Ramones concert in 1977. Their music was unhinged and traditional and working-class and self-destructive — nobody's ever recorded better songs to drink to. They opened for The Clash, were championed (and produced) by Elvis Costello, and broke through on pop radio in the late '80s with a record called "If I Should Fall from Grace with God," featuring the greatest Christmas song ever recorded, "Fairytale of New York." MacGowan sang lead until he was thrown out (long story, I guess), after which Stacy fronted the group for the better part of a decade. Stacy's lived in New Orleans since 2010, and Friday night he'll be performing Pogues songs backed by Louisiana's great Lost Bayou Ramblers, the Grammy-nominated Cajun band known for its contributions to "Beasts of the Southern Wild," etc. As if we needed further incentive, Lucero front man (and Little Rock native) Ben Nichols will open the show.
SUNDAY 1/24 & WEDNESDAY 1/27
'THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE'
2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Cinemark Colonel Glenn 18. $5.25.
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is one of the best films ever made about greed and hope and capitalism and rural desolation. It's one of the great American artworks of the 1940s, the only movie I've ever stolen from a Blockbuster Video. It's got one of Humphrey Bogart's best leading roles, and is one of the earliest Hollywood films to be shot on location (in northwest Mexico) — an unmistakable fact, because the film radiates heat and sand and authenticity. John Huston directed it after getting out of the Army, adapting the script from the classic novel by the enigmatic, presumably German anarchist B. Traven (whose identity — his most basic biographical details — remain the subject of heated scholarly debate). A story about shady gold prospectors in Mexico who hit the jackpot only to confront their own sins and nightmares, the film combines elements of the Western and film noir. It's a kind of desert noir — the director Paul Thomas Anderson has claimed he watched it every night while writing "There Will Be Blood." You'll have four chances to see it this week; I recommend you go at least twice.
SONGS FROM 'THE LAST WALTZ'
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5 donation.
In early 1976, Richard Manuel, deep in the throes of a monumental addiction to cocaine and Grand Marnier, hurt his neck in a boating accident near Austin, Texas, leading his band — The Band — to cancel all remaining tour dates. The idea had been suggested before. Guitarist Robbie Robertson wanted out anyway. He figured this was a good opportunity to leave the road for good; they could be a studio-only group, he thought, like The Beatles. They planned a final concert at Winterland Ballroom, a former ice-skating rink in San Francisco. On the day, 5,000 people showed up and were served turkey dinners, followed by opening acts the Berkley Orchestra and a group of poets that included Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The Band went on at 9, along with a guest list that ranged from Arkansas legend Ronnie Hawkins to Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison and the group's occasional front man, Bob Dylan. Martin Scorsese filmed it, obviously, a decision for which — he's since made clear — we can also thank cocaine. The late Levon Helm called the film "the biggest fuckin' rip-off that ever happened to The Band," but even he'd probably admit it had its charms. The only way to pay tribute to "The Last Waltz" would be to recreate its sense of overwhelming celebrity participation — the concert to end all concerts — and that's just what KABF, 88.3 FM, has planned, in Little Rock terms, for its fundraiser this weekend: Amy Garland, The Wildflowers, The Salty Dogs, Isaac Alexander, Bluesboy Jag & The Juke Joint Zombies, Fret & Worry and many others will take the stage.
Congratulations Tara, beautifully written!