The To-Do List, Dec. 2-7 



All day, throughout Little Rock.

Call it Black Friday redux. Except it's on Thursday and it probably won't attract the glut of humanity that the day after Thanksgiving does. In other words, the Times' Readers Night Out is another chance for you to score bargains without having to camp outside your favorite retailer and worry that you'll be caught in a stampede. In the tradition of Hillcrest's Shop and Sip, we've enlisted retail outlets and restaurants all across the city — Hillcrest, Heights, Riverdale and West Little Rock including Market Street Center, the Promenade in Chenal and Pleasant Ridge Towne Center — to offer one-day specials to readers of the Arkansas Times. Find all the details starting on page 32. LM.


7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $45.75-$56.00

I'm already lit up off the words and names surrounding the newest Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus that's coming to town: "Illuscination." It's the best Nas album title that never was and the big, flashing name of this big top show, suggesting a bit of illusion, fascination — maybe even a bit of hallucination — in store for the audience. It's led by David DaVinci, a flashy, spiky-haired fellow who can escape a straitjacket while being hung upside down over a den of lions. Magician? No! Extreme magician? No! He's a "thrillusionist!" (This show is a parade of portmanteaus.) There's Viktoriya and Widny, who dangle 35 feet off the ground, hanging only by their hair; Francleib Rodrigues, who walks upside down; and The Clowning Caveagna Family who, you know, do clown stuff. Expect other circus mainstays like ninjas jumping on, in, around and through stuff on fire, lions going out of their way not to eat people and trapeze artists making you feel inadequate. The show continues with a 7 p.m. show on Friday; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances on Saturday; and a final 1 p.m. circus on Sunday. JT.



7:30 p.m., The Weekend Theater. $14.

The Weekend Theater isn't a house to stray too far from productions with heavy themes, especially when human rights are involved. Their latest offering, "The Controversy of Valladolid," follows the infamous deliberations in 16th century Spain in which the Catholic Church debated whether indigenous Americans were mere savages or actual humans, worthy of the same theological consideration as, well, whitey. It's a period piece with courtroom drama underpinnings, but don't let that dissuade you. "Valladolid" is a psychopolitical thriller at its core. Think "Law & Order: Soul Quantifying Unit." The topic may be half a millennia old, but with all the condom and sex abuse controversies latched onto headlines out of the Vatican, it should have little problem being relevant today. The play runs through Dec. 18. JT.

OLD 97s

9 p.m., Revolution. $16 adv., $18 d.o.s.

Since hitting its stride in the mid-'90s, alt-country has maintained a precarious position in the musical landscape. The standard-bearers of Uncle Tupelo bisected into Son Volt and Wilco, Ryan Adams became a megastar after shedding extra weight of Whiskeytown, and Drive-By Truckers upgraded their three-chord, three-minute songs for epic, ambitious lit rock. But Rhett Miller and his Old 97s have aged slowly and gracefully, toeing that rough shod road of twang and punk ethos while Jeff Tweedy is huddled away with an echo pedal and a pile of Can records. Through 13 releases, an essential best-of compilation and years of critical backslapping, Old 97s have stuck to doing what it knows well and doing it, well, well. Really well. It's a twangy blend of roots rock, British invasion and power-pop, mixed with folk heartache and classic country mope. And their live shows are notorious, shuffling blasts of pure alt-country. Little Rock's proved itself an alt-country town for years and years, so expect an elbow-to-elbow house for this one. The gypsy-tinged Texas sound of Fort Worth's Whiskey Folk Ramblers open the night. JT.



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