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The To-Do List, Feb. 2-8 

FRIDAY 2/4

RICH LITTLE

7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA. $30-$40.

Decades ago, Rich Little found himself at a private fund-raiser in Richard Nixon's backyard. Little's stateside success was due in large part to his impersonation of the disgraced, so, as you would expect, the famous mimicker was pretty much obligated to sing for his supper and launch into a poolside impersonation of the host. He offered up his best Nixon mumble, people laughed, and Nixon just shrugged off the comedian with a Tricky Dick fart face. The Canadian "Man of a Thousand Voices" has spent half a century as a comedy icon, lampooning politicians and movie stars. And over those 50 years, he's accumulated a repertoire of over 200 impersonations, from the My First Imitation standards (JFK and Elvis) to the unreasonably archaic (Van Heflin? Foster Brooks?). Sure, it would be easy to mock the mocker: Mimicry is a holdover cheese act that inspires the same antipathy that Nixon did, but don't load up on old tomatoes quite yet. The Emmy-winning "Man of a Thousand Voices" is to impersonations as Chuck Berry is to rock 'n' roll. He's been outdated since before a lot of us were born, but we'll take him over Dane Cook any day.

SATURDAY 2/5

ELIOT LIPP

9 p.m., Revolution. $10 adv., $15 d.o.s.

I'm never going to learn my lesson. Every single time I go to a music store, I'll absentmindedly pluck at a few guitars or poke at a keyboard while waiting for the right time to dart off toward the sequencers and drum machines. Inevitably, I end up annoying the employees as just another in a long, annoying line of clumsy, beat-illiterate white dudes who maybe, possibly, one day could churn out something listenable on blink-y, button-y doodads if only we had as much rhythm as dumb-ass ambition. Eliot Lipp, on the other hand, is the guy we all want to be. Since 2004, the young Brooklynite has been squeezing a blend of proto-house and '90s hip-hop out of two tables full of vintage, analog equipment. Think Ratatat getting blunted with Madlib in a basement loaded with all the buttons and knobs you don't know how to use. Even better, his songs are obscenely catchy. (Check out "Homework" and "The Area" on YouTube.) He's joined by Ana Sia, a dreamy DJ from San Francisco whose glitched-out take on dubstep wobble goes harder than most of the boys'.

MONDAY 2/7

DAVID GARRETT

7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $30-$90.

Let's be nice. David Garrett is an amazing violinist. A prodigy defined, even. Born in Germany, he took to the instrument at the age of 5, studying at one of the country's finest conservatories before heading to London's Royal College of Music and, soon after, graduating from Juilliard, where he studied under Itzhak freaking Perlman. He's one of the world's fastest violinists, able to execute 13 notes in a single second. And, just to prove that gifts are never parceled out evenly, he has supermodel good looks, which must have come in handy when he worked as a supermodel. Now, let's be real. David Garrett is another cheese-ball metal classicist, cock-rocking in fog and strobe lights to shred AC/DC and Michael Jackson on a Stradivarius. His takes on Debussy and Bizet are fine, if not robotic, but the rock repertoire that looks like your junior high Napster library is why he's here. And that gaudy rock shtick fills every inch in the spectrum between annoying and unlistenable. Slip this one in the "Who Asked for This?" file, right between the third "Big Momma's House" movie and that "no headphones on pedestrians" bill that bombed last week in the legislature. That said, if you know a youngster who needs a little kick-start to get them into violin, this could be your ticket.

SPIKE LEE

7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA. $10.

Rep. Dick Armey famously said "Spike Lee is obviously more stupid than anyone can be by accident." Of course, that's another fundamentally ignorant statement from another fundamentally ignorant Republican. But it's a sentiment shared, if not articulated, by a wide swath of movie-goers who, to reappropriate JFK, take in movies to "enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." With every movie that cowers away from addressing complex, contemporary questions in favor of some pandering, mealy-mouthed Sunday school lesson ("Crash," ugh), the brash tradition of American film erodes just a little more. That's why Spike Lee's provocation is vital, now more than ever. At his best ("Malcolm X," "The 25th Hour"), he refuses to offer up easy answers about race, religion, politics, gender, addiction, family and so forth. Heck, he's one of a few working directors who respects his audience enough to let them find their own conclusions in his "joints." And, as anyone who ever saw "Do the Right Thing" will tell you, no two reactions are ever the same. Simply, he's one of the great, singular voices in American filmmaking. Expect Lee to jaw on everything from his beloved Knicks to the Cairo riots to the effects of urban migration at this lecture at UCA's Reynolds Hall, the latest in the college's "Distinguished Lecture" series.


TUESDAY 2/8

'ABIE'S IRISH ROSE'

6 p.m., Murry's Dinner Playhouse. $22-$30

Critics, myself especially, have a long history of not knowing jack crap. After "Abie's Irish Rose" opened on Broadway in 1922, the marriage farce was detested by critics. When he could find time between gin and whore benders, king critic Robert Benchley spent years slamming the play in the pages of Life, calling it "as low as good clean fun can get." But while Benchley was shaking off his years-long hangovers, his most hated play was continuing its monumental success, breaking box office records and running for five and a half years before springing back to life on film, radio and television. Producers always get the last laugh. The story of a young Jewish man and an Irish Catholic girl getting married in spite of their parents' protests still resonates. And it's still lurching around 21st century megaplexes. Remember "Our Family Wedding" from last year? Neither do we, but it's the same thing, with Latinos and African-Americans. Now the enormously successful, long-running play lands in Murry's Dinner Playhouse, where it stays through March 13.


HAYES CARLL

10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $20.

Whoops. The Rock Candy blog may have become a jumping-off point for a Hayes Carll backlash last week when a crew of commenters laid into the Texas-born, Hendrix-educated country crooner, calling him a "warbling charlatan, shit talking Arkansas to a room full of his fellow smug, chortling Texans" during a live taping of Austin City Limits. The commenter, Barvul, later admitted that he "shouldn't expect a Texan not to act like one."

"I hated it the first time when he went by the name Eddie Rabbit," said commenter tippytom.

Hilarious? Obviously. Widespread? Probably not. For years, Little Rock has provided Carll a second hometown, a title for his best album and a cluster of die-hard fans.

But with every week, Hayes, a dude on a front porch down the street, is becoming Hayes Carll, cult songwriter, guest on "The Tonight Show" and Hollywood songwriter. (He provided music for the recent Gwyneth Paltrow flick, "Country Strong.") But if success has changed the man, it's hard to tell from his music. His new album, "KMAG YOYO (& other American stories)," named after a military acronym ("Kiss My Ass, Guys, You're On Your Own") is a taut, quick-witted romp through the Middle Eastern wars, the recession and boozing. In short, he's not straying too far from the formula that's making him almost famous. Expect Carll, accompanied by his full band, to tear through the upcoming album for his return to White Water Tavern. Isaac Alexander, the local songwriter who needs no introduction, opens the night.

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