Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
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
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