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The Hot Springs Blues Festival kicks off 

THURSDAY 8/30

HOT SPRINGS BLUES FESTIVAL

8 p.m. The Ohio Club. $10-$15.

The 16th annual Hot Springs Blues Festival will once again convert the Spa City into an oasis for blues-lovers. Things get rolling with the festival kick-off party at the Ohio Club, with Jackson, Miss., bluesman Zac Harmon. On Friday, there are a variety of afternoon workshops at Star Gallery that'll no doubt be useful for musicians, with topics such as lap steel guitar, music photography and using the iPad to record music. The music starts at Hill Wheatley Plaza at 5 p.m., with The Eric Hughes Band, Brandon Santini and his band, Ray Bonneville and another performance from Harmon. After-parties start at 9 p.m. at The Ohio Club, The Big Chill and Chunky Dunks. Saturday's workshops start at noon, and include slide guitar, blues harmonica, Arkansas blues history, and a presentation from Joe Whitmer, deputy director of The Blues Foundation. The music starts at 4 p.m., and includes Ben "Swamp Donkey" Brenner, Clover Blue, First Step Blues Revue, the Marquis Knox Band, the Bart Walker Band and festival headliners the Fabulous Thunderbirds. There are more after-parties at the aforementioned clubs, as well as Fat Jack's, starting at 9 p.m. On Sunday, there's the Festival Decompression Party at Fat Jack's starting at 2 p.m.

THURSDAY 8/30

BACK ROOM TO THE MAIN STAGE

8 p.m. Vino's. $5.

Here's the scoop on Back Room to the Main Stage: Each Thursday for four consecutive weeks, up-and-coming bands will face off at Vino's for a chance to win a 10-stack of crispy new hundos (a.k.a., a cool grand or $1,000 U.S.) and a spot playing on the main stage at the Arkansas State Fair, opening for The See on Oct. 17. The four finalists will square off at a date not yet determined to compete for overall winner. This week's lineup includes Little Rock roots/folk rockers This Holy House, Conway-based classic rock revivalists Neon Skin and Little Rock MC Mista Cade. The Arkansas Times is a co-sponsor of this event.

THURSDAY 8/30

MUTANTS OF THE MONSTER FEST II

6 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $7-$25.

All you metal fiends residing in Arkansas, or really anywhere remotely nearby, just need to go ahead and scrap any other plans you might've had for Labor Day weekend, because Mutants of the Monster II is going down and good Lord, it is going to be ridiculously killer. Here's the lineup: Thursday is Vore, Fallen Empire, Dead to a Dying World, Ritual Decay and Severe Headwound. Friday starts at 5 p.m. and includes Rwake, Hull, The Ascent of Everest, Broken Teeth, Dakhma, Beneath Oblivion, Sound of the Mountain and Chronic Ritual. Saturday kicks off at 1 p.m. and features Pallbearer, Biipiigwan, Laser Flames On The Great Big News, Holy Angell, ((Thorlock)), Snakedriver, Tyrannosorceress, Peckerwolf, God City Destroyers and Madman Morgan. Sunday also starts at 1 p.m. and closes out the weekend with Deadbird, Yakuza, Epoch Of Unlight, Sons of Tonatiuh, Savagist, Black Pussy, Red Shield, Fister, Crankbait, and Mainland Divide. Whew! That right there is four days' worth of whiplash-inducing riff carnage. If you need something to help ease you through the mornings on Saturday and Sunday (and this seems likely), Downtown Music Hall is having breakfast and Bloody Mary specials, with acoustic tunes from Candler A. Wilkinson IV of Austin. The daily cover charge ranges from $7-$10, but you can get a four-day pass bracelet for $25 and save yourself some money.

THURSDAY 8/30

BEST OF THE LITTLE ROCK 48-HOUR FILM PROJECT

7 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $10.

Well, another 48-Hour Film Project has come and gone, the teams of exhausted filmmakers have finished their mad-dash scurryings about and their last-minute tasks, the films have been edited and screened and last week, audiences voted on the top 10 films. Actually, make that the top 11. There was a tie this year. As per the ancient protocols of the 48HFP, the teams of filmmakers — 27 of them this year — agreed to write, film, edit and score a movie of between four and seven minutes in length over the period of 2,880 nonstop, action-packed minutes. On the first night of the project, the teams are given a character (this year it was Tammy or Tommy Shuttles, singer), a prop (a melon — cue Gallagher-style hijinks) and a line of dialogue ("What do we have here?") that must be used in the film to ensure that no one gets a head start. Full disclosure — this year, as in many years past, the Arkansas Times has a filmmaking team up in the mix. Our own tireless scribe David Koon somehow found time to write "Left." In addition to that film, the others vying for the top spot are "La Petite Mort," "Snipe Hunters," "Faith," "God & Jesus Living in a City Apartment," "Reboot," "Love is in the Hair," "Fire Engine Red," "A Touch of Death," "Chime" and "Hey Kid."

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