Autumn temps are perfect for outdoor activities
BAD MOJO SHOWDOWN
9 p.m., Juanita's. $7.
The plot of “Voodoo Cowboys,” a new independent film set to begin shooting in DeValls Bluff in April, is a little hard to follow. Or at least a little hard for me to follow. It involves cowboys; the voodoo religion; a man called Duvalier, who after Hurricane Katrina has managed to seize control of the gates of hell (in New Orleans, of course), and zombies, who in this film are not diseased, but possessed. When I tell screenwriter Jere Marcella Liles that I'm lost, she distills the movie to its essence: “It's Grindhouse — a lot of blood, a lot of boobs, a lot of blues.” Directed by DeValls Bluff native Sean-Michael Argo and produced by his brother Ian, the film features scream queen Debbie Rochon (“Bikini Bloodbath Car Wash,” “Chainsaw Cheerleaders”) and, according to Liles, is close to having a $50,000 budget, the amount necessary to claim the newly enacted Arkansas film incentive. Which is where this event comes in. To help get the production over that $50,000 hump, local acts Ace Spade and the Whores of Babylon, Hector Faceplant, Iron Tongue (led by Rwake's CT), The See and Vessels of Wrath (from Fayetteville) come together to help raise money with this benefit. Come dressed as a zombie and you might win a prize. LM.
FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL
9 p.m., Market Street Cinema. $10.
Think “The Soup” meets “Mystery Science Theater 3000” meets FOUND magazine meets all the insane pre-digital ephemera people exhume and stick on YouTube and you're on your way to the Found Footage Festival. For almost 20 years, childhood friends Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher have been digging through dumpsters and scouring thrift stores in search of VHS gold. Since 2004, Pickett, a former film technician, and Prueher, a former researcher at “The Late Show with David Letterman,” have toured with highlights of their collection, which today includes some 3,000 VHS tapes, according to Prueher. Friday's stop in Little Rock, for the first time ever, will find the hosts introducing and providing background and jokes on things like a home movie taken at a 1985 heavy metal festival outside D.C., exercise videos featuring Dolph Lundgren and Milton Berle and, if we're lucky, a custom-cut trailer for the '80s Arkansas film “Little Marines.” Advance tickets are available at foundfootagefest.com. Pickett and Prueher encourage folks to bring their own “finds” to the screening. Look for a Q&A with Prueher on Rock Candy, too. LM.
‘PORGY AND BESS'
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $20-$72.
This weekend, for the first time ever, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents Gershwin's “Porgy and Bess.” There'll be no costumes or staging, but otherwise the folk opera gets the full treatment, with four decorated guest vocalists, the UAPB Vesper Choir, the Philander Smith College Choir and, of course, the full symphony. That's a promising slate of collaborators. Coupled with the music in “Porgy and Bess,” which borrows heavily from jazz and folk music idioms, the two performances promise to be among the strongest the ASO offers this season. But is “Porgy and Bess” racist? George and Ira Gershwin adapted the libretto from Southern writer DuBose Heyward's 1924 novel, “Porgy.” Heyward was an early believer in primitivism, the notion of blacks as “noble savages.” And over the years, critics have derided “Porgy and Bess” for promoting racial stereotypes, a notion that gained traction during the civil rights era and continues to hold sway today, even as the opera's defenders frame it as a cultural artifact. LM.
DAVE RAYMOND AND PRESENT COMPANY
9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5-$10.
Now here's a trend I can endorse: longstanding badass sidemen stepping into the spotlight. Last year, it was The Boondogs' Chris Michaels stepping out on his own. Now, we've got Dave Raymond taking the lead. The former Mulehead guitarist and current Kyoto Boom axe man celebrates the release of his debut album, “Familiar Sting,” on Max Recordings. It's an album that reveals Raymond to have a gift for smart, memorable lyrics that rivals his estimable guitar skills. In a voice shaded by hues of his Texas country rock roots, Raymond's put out an album that's bound to please all those folks who used to pack local venues out to catch Mulehead. His backing band isn't too shabby either. It's Geoff Curran on drums (Mulehead, Kevin Kerby and Battery), Josh Bentley on bass (Kevin Kerby and Battery, Big Cats) and Max Recordings' Burt Taggart (Big Cats, too) on guitar and backing vocals. You get a copy of the album with the $10 admission. LM.
HEYPENNY / HOW I BECAME THE BOMB
9 p.m., ACAC Arkansas, $7.
When bands intentionally piece together so many undiluted and disparate components of pop music with no regard to subtlety, it's like diluting cotton candy with syrup or concocting a cocktail out of the strongest liquors (and cleaning solvents) you happen upon in your kitchen. Heypenny works with that type of mad mindframe, throwing everything — horns, staccato chants, synths, marching bands, backup singers — in the blender, then seeing what happens. Surprisingly, the “suicide slush” of songs works really well. In fact, they've received a fair bit of attention from MTV, who ran their video for “Copcar,” for their OK Go by-way-of Go! Team sensibilities. (Also, it should be noted that this band is two-thirds Arkansan, with Ben Elkins representing Fayetteville alongside fellow UA alum DJ Murphy.) Heypenny also brings fellow Nashville pop-rockers How I Became the Bomb. Rap virtuoso 607 and (full disclosure, my band) Frown Pow'r, provide an odd duo of local support. JT.
KIDS IN THE HALL
8 p.m., Revolution, $10.
If you're not familiar with 88 Keys, it's okay. He was part of the massive mid-'00s exodus of producers that followed Kanye (88's shopping buddy) from the mixing board to the microphones. Not that he had any exceptional need to add an emcee credit to his repertoire; he has a string of impressive production credits, using his piano skills to fashion backing tracks for Musiq Soulchild, Macy Gray and, more so than anyone else, Mos Def. Nevertheless, he specializes in self-deprecating, radio-ready tracks with no shortage of piano accompaniment. Think Talib Kweli by way of Ben Folds and you're getting there. He's joined by buzzy skater-rap duo Kidz in the Hall, Atlanta's trouble-making Donnis, and the eccentric Nick Catchdubs and Timberland-produced Izza Kizza. JT.
‘LORD OF THE DANCE'
7 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall, $27.95-$58.25.
Right in time for St. Patrick's Day, the iconic Irish musical featuring traditional — and loud — step-dance comes to Robinson Center Music Hall. While “Lord of the Dance” remains, in retrospect, one of the most headscratchingly random fads to come out of the '90s (it always struck me as Hee-Haw with shamrocks), the production still draws a considerable crowd with each showing. Even without Michael Flatley, the Orson Welles of “Lord of the Dance,” the show dances on with Scott Doherty, world champion Irish dancer, in the lead role. JT.
9 p.m., White Water Tavern.
It's easy to say Those Darlins are Tennessee's response to the Olympia, Wash., grrrl scene. The Darlin girls, Kelley, Jessi and Nikki, have catchy, rock chops like their older genre cousins and certainly retained a healthy chunk of their forbears' attitude. Like a female Black Lips with popabilly tone, they're the girls who are too cool to be the lady in your dude crew, won't hesitate to break a trifling guy's car windows and probably do it all with a switchblade in their boot. When, in “Mama's Heart,” they tell their mom's boyfriend to shape up or ship out (or else), it doesn't sound like East Nashville posturing; they begin to touch a Larry Brown-esque level of sinister charm. With their cover of Uncle Dave Macon's “Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy,” they can make even the most dirty-minded guys blush. Make no mistake, this will be one of the better SXSW-bound shows that Little Rock gets this year. JT.