Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.
BICYCLE ADVOCACY OF ARKANSAS: JOE JACOBS AND REX NELSON
6:30 p.m. The Oyster Bar. Free.
The International Mountain Biking Association no doubt raised some eyebrows when it announced that its 2016 World Summit would be held in Bentonville. The organization's been promoting cycling culture and smart, low-impact trail development and management since 1988, and it's bestowed likely suspects like Colorado and California with "epic trail" designations, attracting spandex-clad tourists to the paths in droves. Now, Arkansas is tied with Colorado in its number of so-called "epic trails," and as a result of a $275,000 grant from the Walton Foundation, is the only state with a full-time crew dedicated to maintenance of those trails, which collectively stretch over 200 miles. The summit in Bentonville sold out, an indication of the growing interest from the tourism industry to promote the state's status as a cycling destination. On a local level, the Bicycling Advocacy of Central Arkansas works to bring about public policy that encourages bicycle-compatible means of transportation and leisure, whether that's on the trail or in the city streets. For this quarterly BACA meeting, Joe Jacobs of Arkansas Outside reports on the IMBA summit and how Central Arkansas might benefit from the strategies explored there. His report will be followed by a talk from Rex Nelson, senior vice president at Simmons First National Corp. and author of the blog Rex Nelson's Southern Fried, from which he's dispatched news about cyclist developments at the White River Bridge at Clarendon and Memphis' Big River Crossing, which allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Mississippi River. If you've been curious about the state of cycling in Central Arkansas and want to get involved, or if your New Year's resolutions included increasing your physical activity by way of two wheels and a handlebar, grab a beer and a dozen on the half shell and check out what BACA's up to at this informal quarterly meeting. SS
SUMOKEM, HEADCOLD, TERMINUS
9 p.m. Vino's. $7.
Sumokem's "The Madness of Lu Shen Ti, Vol. 1" is accompanied by the story of "a revered and powerful Chinese Emperor" so overcome by the death of his mother that the doctor tasked with curing him ends up recruiting a witch to help out, who succeeds in healing him by way of a secret ingredient, "an ancient, magical plant called marijuana." There's a generation of tragedy, a "turtle of enlightenment" and a secret stash involved, and the moral of the story is that marijuana will either help you cope with adversity or transform you into a "great and wondrous dragon," or possibly both. That said, the label "stoner rock" was already a pretty likely one to attach to Sumokem's sound, so three cheers for the band for going ahead and embracing that fact with style and fabulous myth. The group was founded in 2013 by Jacob Sawrie, Drew Skarda and the late Josh Ingram, and happens to share a hometown and a general milieu with Pallbearer, giving two solid points of evidence that Little Rock doom metal is in a golden age. Sumokem's joined by Conway punk rockers and manic rhythm-shifters Headcold, and Terminus, a polished Fayetteville-based quartet distinguished by frontman Sebastian Thomas' vocals, which recall Geddy Lee at his grittiest. SS
STEPHEN NEEPER & THE WILD HEARTS
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
In a photo on the band's website, Stephen Neeper is wearing a faded white T-shirt with the Arkansas diamond logo forming the tongue from John Pasche's famous Mick Jagger lips logo, and that's not an entirely inaccurate emblem of what you hear from the band — a trio these days — in live performance. Glen Rose (Hot Spring County) brothers Stephen and Zeke Neeper have been at this thing a while, and they look like they might have just fallen out of a customized van containing everyone who appeared in Leon Russell's 1970 "Homewood Session" TV special (except that redhead with the rolling pin; she's in a league of her own). With drums from Evan Barr, the three have honed their Southern swamp rock sound on ballsy unison riffs that smell like testosterone and Natty Light. They play relentlessly here and elsewhere, and the precision they're locking into lately certainly shows it. Check out the sessions they taped at Springdale's Red Barn Studio, and go hear them live, especially if the likes of Skynyrd or Dirty Streets are anywhere on your playlist mix. SS
NEWBIE COLLEGIUM: THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE SCA
8 a.m. Peace Lutheran Family Center, Conway. Free-$8.
That New Year's Eve party you attended may have been one for the books, but did it inspire an entirely new system for measuring time, as in "time elapsed since this party?" Did it end in a parade of people with fencing foils singing "Greensleeves" in the streets? If not, it probably wasn't as fun as author Diane Paxson's graduation party, the backyard shindig that spawned the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA is a merry band of over 30,000 paid members, organized into 19 kingdoms — and even smaller principalities, regions, baronies, and provinces, cantons, ridings, shires, colleges, strongholds and ports — and its members make it their business to celebrate and re-enact the customs of medieval European cultures. They measure dates in the society in relation to the date of that first party in 1966, now called "The Year of the Society." To help acquaint newcomers with the finer points of heraldry, the Shire of Lagerdamm — part of the kingdom of Gleann Abhann that encompasses most of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi — is hosting a day of Renaissance Faire-style classes, feasting and fighting with segments on herbalism, belt pouches, the rules of fencing, scrollmaking and Celtic knot design. Admission is free for children under 6 and for newcomers for whom this is the first SCA event, although you'll need to have $8 on hand for anyone who wants to dine at the midday feast, featuring cuisine from Israel, India and, as the Shire of Lagerdamm states on the event's Facebook page, "lasagnas, 1400s-style (no tomato sauce here)." SS
If you've been keeping up with "Quarry" on Cinemax, you're already familiar with two-thirds of the "Made in Arkansas" panel that headlines Low Key Arts' Arkansas Shorts Film Festival in its 10th year: Conway native Graham Gordy, "Rectify" writer and "Quarry" creator; and Natalie Canerday, a Russellville-born actor whose credits include "Quarry," "Sling Blade" and "October Sky." Canerday and Gordy join Daniel Campbell, the director with whom they've been filming "Antiquities," the feature-length film expanded from Campbell's short of the same name and shot in Arkansas in less than a month last fall. The panel discussion, followed by a reception with Nashville photographer Thomas Petillo, kicks off four blocks of films under 10 minutes long: a 6 p.m. international block and a 7 p.m. North American block, followed at 8 p.m. by a juried selection of "Arkansas Shorts," films up for awards from the festival, including Donavon Thompson's "Policy;" Geenah Krisht's "Pepper Spray;" Chris Churchill's "Set Pickup;" Jeff Rolzen's "Up On A Cloud;" Hunter Bay's "Frail;" Dan Anderson's "Majestic, 'o to Thee;" Phil Chambliss' "The Dale Story;" Coty Greenwood's "Throwers;" Whitney Butler's "Mud Bugs;" "Kelly Griffin's "Sector 7," which won Best Film at 2016's 48 Hour Film Project; and "Expecting" from Jen Gerber, who curated the block of films for the third year in a row. Saturday night's festival after-party will be held at Low Key Arts, and if you're in town, stop by there the Friday night before, when there will be a gallery installation called "Inception to Projection," featuring a fourth block of shorts from film students. SS
TOMES + TEA BOOK CLUB
6:30 p.m. Arkansas Yoga Collective. Free.
It must be that books are too damned reliable. Multilevel warehouses full of them are open for extended and weekend hours, offering them in meticulously organized multitudes for free. Books never give you a 404 error message. They never have other plans, they are never "not really in the mood to be read right now, sorry," and they never set an out-of-office reply pronouncing themselves unavailable. They sit there waiting, seemingly content to be taken for granted in favor of media that requires less of us: quote memes, reruns of "Roseanne." Then, when the shit really hits the fan and they start showing that season where Blues Traveler performs the theme song and Dan and Roseanne win the lottery, we imagine what it would be like to read a whole, actual book, and then maybe talk about it with other people who read that same book. (Like college, but with tea instead of Papa John's, and you really do read the book!) If that sounds like a breath of fresh self-discovery — or maybe if self-discovery is already at the forefront of your mind, as it is for so many of us this time of year — sit in with Samantha Harrington, Claire Hodgson and Kayce Johnson for what the group calls "a free, open-to-all community call to unite those who ask: 'Who am I?' " For their first book club meeting, they'll be discussing Michael A. Singer's "The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself," which the Oprah-approved author says on his website is intended to help the reader "put an end to the habitual thoughts and emotions that limit your consciousness ... by tapping into traditions of meditation and mindfulness." The group's organizers note that though the event takes place in a yoga studio, yoga practice is not a prerequisite, that tea will be provided and that "finger foods and other beverages of your choice to share are welcome but not necessary." SS
6 p.m. Arkansas Arts Center. Free.
The architect who designed the American Taekwondo Association's world headquarters on Riverfront Drive will be the first speaker of the year in the Architecture and Design Network's "June Freeman Lecture Series: The Art of Architecture." Chad Young is a principal in the Wittenberg Delony & Davidson architectural firm. The ATA, which holds its World Expo tournament every June in Little Rock, received city and state grants totaling $1.2 million for the $13 million, 45,300-square-foot building, which opened in November. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m. before the lecture. LNP
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Portland duo The Body, composed of native Arkansans Lee Buford and Chip King, is traveling in support of its latest album, "No One Deserves Happiness," and the merch lineup for the tour includes a patch depicting a cartoon gentleman perched upon a toilet labeled "music journalism." The whole affair sounds like 45 minutes of sinister communication between vultures in some evil electronic vulture language, and I love that it came out in the spring, because it is the musical opposite of everything springtime represents. The lyrics on "Adamah," which Buford told Fact magazine represent "the first time you can tell what any lyrics are on any Body record," were written and sung by Maralie Armstrong (formerly of Soophie Nun Squad), who gave a compelling and theatrical performance last year at the White Water Tavern as part of her project "Valise." Listening to The Body live — especially in a smaller space, where your body physically reverberates from the decibel level — one gets the sense that the equipment they use to produce their sound might go into overdrive and disintegrate at any performance. (If you got a pair of good earplugs for Christmas, this is an ideal time to test their mettle.) It's expansive, spectacularly physical, and performance art you should witness even if you're someone who routinely avoids anything referred to as "metal." The Body is joined by Minneapolis' Aziza, who reports on its Bandcamp page that it plays "buttrock for the thinking man's metal head." SS
'MARCH OF THE BONUS ARMY'
6:30 p.m. MacArthur Museum of Military History. Free.
With the support and partnership of Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Amnesty International and the NAACP, the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21 — the day following the inauguration of President-elect Trump — is expected to draw over 200,000 participants, and dozens of "sister marches" across the country will march in the name of protecting human rights. The spirit of protest is at high tide after a year of divisive politics, and so it was in the summer of 1932, when around 43,000 demonstrators confronted police and government forces and set up a makeshift camp in what is now Anacostia Park in Washington, D.C., until their demands were met: the immediate cash payment of $1,000 bonus certificates the government had issued in 1924 to veterans of World War I, many of whom had since lost their jobs in the Great Depression. In a violent eviction attempt that would prove disastrous for President Hoover's reputation, soldiers serving under Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Maj. George Patton charged on the veteran protestors with tear gas and bayonets, burning the shanties in the encampment, killing two men, injuring 55 others and arresting 135 people. The PBS documentary telling the Bonus Army's story kicks off the MacArthur Museum of Military Museum's "Movies at MacArthur" series — the second Tuesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. — and comes at a time rife with struggles that parallel the conflict between vets and the governments that sent them to war a hundred years ago. SS