Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries
TRAVS OPENING DAY
7:10 p.m. Dickey-Stephens Park. $6-$12
Peanuts and Cracker Jack! One-dollar dog night! Our long winter of discontent is over. Spring is here. It's baseball season. Our beloved Arkansas Travelers, after opening with a six-game road trip, kick off the 2014 season with their home opener Thursday night at Dickey-Stephens Park against the hated RockHounds of Midland, Texas. This will also mark the debut of the abominable new mascot, Otey the Swamp Possum, the controversial rat-faced, barefooted critter universally considered the worst mascot of all time. Hide the kids! If you're anything like me, you're a little bummed that the Travs are the affiliate for the big league club — the Angels of Los Angeles — with the worst minor league system in the league, and the only player of possible interest to your future fantasy baseball team is Kaleb Cowart. But you are not anything like me. The Travs are good times and outdoor fun. Bring the family or a group of buddies, or take an awkward excursion with co-workers. The crack of the bat and a freshly mowed field. The seventh-inning stretch and one beer too many. God Bless America and the Arkansas Travelers. DR
TRENTON LEE STEWART
7:30 p.m. Hendrix College, Conway. Free.
Arkansas native Trenton Lee Stewart once worked as a video deliveryman in rural Iowa, spending hours on the road to update video displays at gas stations. In between stops, he'd listen to books on tape. He later wrote a book, "Flood Summer," about a guy who lives in a trailer in Locker Creek, Ark. This paper called it a "crackerjack first novel." In the late aughts, Stewart published a children's book called "The Mysterious Benedict Society," which spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list, spawned two sequels and a prequel and was optioned by a film production company. He's currently the writer-in-residence at Hendrix College, where he did his undergrad (studying fiction-writing with Arkansas expat Jack Butler), and on Thursday he'll read selections from his fiction. Not the children's books — the serious stuff, what Terry Southern would call his "Quality Lit Game" material. WS
9 p.m. Revolution. $30.
Kansas City underground rapper Tech N9ne is legendary for his virtuosic quick-draw raps, his dark and dorky Juggalo aesthetic and his profitable independence (his label Strange Music is one of the most commercially successful independent hip-hop labels around; last year Forbes magazine called him "Hip-Hop's Secret Mogul"). He'll bring his "Independent Grind" tour to the Rev Room Thursday night, sharing a bill with Strange Music's Krizz Kaliko, Psych Ward Druggies, Jarren Benton, Pine Bluff's 870 Underground and Gary, Ind., country rapper (and onetime Young Jeezy affiliate) Freddie Gibbs, who seems a little bit like an odd-man-out here, a street rapper who doesn't wear clown makeup or rap about horror movie scenarios. WS
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Jim Mize hails from Conway, started out playing gigs in VFW halls and has been performing at White Water since you could smoke indoors. On the title track of his 2007 album "Release It to the Sky," he sings about "broken glass" and "bloodshot eyes" and "whiskey drinks" and "cigarettes," over sharp, stabbing rhythm guitar and pensive pedal steel, and this is all quintessentially Jim Mize, as far as I can tell. His records are sad and tipsy and honest in the tradition of Neil Young's "Tonight's the Night." "We believe in ghosts down here," he said of his Southern upbringing in one interview, and we probably think we understand what he means by this, though we probably do not understand. WS
5:30 p.m. Old State House Museum. Free.
The Old State House Museum's Second Friday Cinema series continues this month with "White Lightning," the 1973 hicksploitation epic, which will be presented by Ben Fry, UALR film professor and the general manager of KLRE and KUAR. Burt Reynolds is hypnotic as "Gator" McKlusky, an imprisoned moonshiner and Arkansawyer who goes undercover to avenge his younger brother and justify a number of trenchant action scenes. Shot mostly in Central Arkansas (particularly in and around Benton), the film is a minor masterpiece of magic hour car chases, sideburns and whizzing bullets, Stetson hats, bar fights shot with telescopic lenses, enviable wood-slat porches and anxious, sweat-covered brows. An early entry in the moonshiner canon, coming two years before my own favorite, "Moonrunners" (narrated by Waylon Jennings), "White Lightning" has indisputable historical and spiritual value. WS
8 p.m. Walton Arts Center. $25-$55.
Everybody's first Sinbad experience is different. Yours might have been "The Sinbad Show," which premiered in '93. Mine might have been "Good Burger," the 1997 fast-food-themed Kenan and Kel vehicle, in which Sinbad plays a character named Mr. Wheat, who has an afro and, near the end, looks on in exaggerated horror as his car is crushed by an enormous hamburger. Or maybe it was "Jingle All the Way," the most stressful, anti-capitalist Christmas movie ever made, which finds Sinbad playing a postal worker who viciously and desperately faces off against Arnold Schwarzenegger to buy the last remaining Turbo-Man action figure in New York City (I won't ruin it for you). It doesn't really matter: The important thing is that Sinbad, who took his name from an ancient Persian folk legend, has been a real part of my life, part of all of our lives. WS
THAT NASHVILLE SOUND: A TRIBUTE TO RAY PRICE
5 p.m. South on Main. $10.
Country singer Ray Price died at his home in Texas on Dec. 16, 2013, more than 60 years after starting a career that would take him from an Abilene, Texas, radio station to Nashville stardom. Along the way, he befriended Lefty Frizzell, roomed with Hank Williams Sr. (even briefly taking over Williams' band, The Drifting Cowboys, after the latter singer died in the back seat of a Cadillac on New Year's Day 1953), helped crystallize the "Nashville Sound" and served as a mentor for a generation that included Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. The Oxford American magazine and South on Main will host of night of music honoring Price's legacy, with two sets featuring The Salty Dogs and a rotating group of guest performers, including Amy Garland, Bonnie Montgomery, Mark Currey, Dave Almond, Trey Johnson and many others. WS
LEE BAINS III AND THE GLORY FIRES
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Lee Bains III is a former member of Tuscaloosa, Ala. band The Dexateens, whose bass player Matt Patton also left to join The Drive-By Truckers. Bains' new group, the Birmingham-based Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires, claims to make music "for the foundry worker that writes fiction in his spare time," or "the college English professor that changes her own oil." This appeal to the high-brow and the populist, or to an absolution from those sorts of distinctions, runs steadily through their interviews, lyrics and press materials ("bringing to mind Ronnie Van Zant under the tutelage of Noam Chomsky"). The music, though, just sounds like good country rock — you hear the Ronnie Van Zandt, in other words, but they leave the Noam Chomsky to your imagination, fortunately. WS
'BAND OF OUTSIDERS'
8 p.m. Vino's. Donations.
For the second film in their Jean-Luc Godard series (each of which is to be shown on 16mm), Splice Microcinema has picked "Band of Outsiders," which the director has called one of his worst films, by which he probably meant one of his most accessible and generally well liked. Pauline Kael called it his "most delicately charming film." So loose an adaptation of the noir novel "Fool's Gold" that the book is hardly even worth mentioning, "Band of Outsiders" still retains the skeleton of a plot and a handful of what seem like deliberately iconic and fun set pieces. The three characters that make up the movie's love triangle, at the center of which is Godard's then-wife, the actress Anna Karina, do whimsical stuff like break the world record for running through the entire Louvre, and execute a well-choreographed line dance in a cafe. WS