Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
CODY BELEW & THE LOCALS
9 p.m., Bill St. $5.
Cody Belew is one busy, multi-talented cat. He jumps from blue-eyed soul gigs at Afterthought, spreading it on Frankie and Ella, to neo-country sets around town that call to mind Gillian Welch or Justin Townes Earle. Regardless of what genre he's working in, he takes to the stage naturally, with a signature, animated self-confidence that brands him a showman. This time around, Belew has constructed a formidable backup band in The Locals, featuring members of Hanky Pank, Father Maple, half of Damn Bullets and a splash of feminine touch in local denim chanteuse Bonnie Montgomery; according to Belew, they work in a soundscape of “White County country with a twist” that sounds like Roy Orbison one minute and Old Crow Medicine Show the next.
PEABODY RIVERTOP PARTY
8 p.m., Peabody Hotel. $5.
The opportunity to drink and dance among a throng high above the river, usually with a cool breeze blowing: It's yet another sign that summer isn't only upon us, but ready to take off full blast. The six-week Peabody Rivertop Party series — Little Rock's answer to Memphis Peabody's legendary, generations-old Rooftop Parties — kicks off this Friday with Tragikly White, Little Rock's premier party band, who can break out Garth Brooks' “Friends in Low Places” one minute and Kanye's “Stronger” the next. Attendance is several hundred a week. Join the crowd; if you RSVP by 5 p.m. Friday on the party's Facebook page (facebook.com/rivertoppartyatpeabodylittlerock), you can get in for free.
‘GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS'
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $10-$14.
If there's been a more quoted piece of non-musical theater released in the last 30 years, I haven't heard of it. Since David Mamet's four-letter-word-filled take on greed, masculinity, desperation and competition hit stages in 1982, it's become a part of the American consciousness, from the dialogue (“Nice guy? F**k you; go home and play with your kids!”) to poor ol' Gil in “The Simpsons” (an ode to the play's Shelley Levine character). A catch-all metaphor for all the nasty bits of humankind, the play follows a boiler-room team, frantically pawning off hunks of shoddy Floridian real estate to their unfortunate marks, all the while hustling to keep their necks an inch away from the chopping block. It's an unbelievable piece of theater, thrilling on the page alone; we have faith in the Weekend Theater to do it all the sweaty, smarmy justice due to it. The play runs Friday and Saturday nights through May 29 with a 7:30 p.m. curtain.
‘THE ARKANSAS FLYER'
6 p.m., Wildwood Park for the Arts. $20.
KUAR's annual celebration of Arkansas Heritage Month, “The Arkansas Flyer,” is back for its fourth year. This year's live variety show (a foray into the old-time primetime, a la “A Prarie Home Companion”) celebrates our state with an evening called “Roads Less Traveled: The Enduring Heritage of Rural Arkansas.” Featuring music by emcee Amy Garland, one of the area's finest singer/songwriters, and celebrated local country-swingers The Salty Dogs, the audience should expect a fair bit of, well, maybe not pickin' and grinnin' … how about strummin' and gummin'? And, naturally, the night will feature the “Invisible Radio Theater,” which promises to lampoon local politicians and pundits. The night kicks off at 6 p.m. with a barbecue dinner before the entertainment gets underway.
LUKE HUNSICKER BENEFIT
9 p.m., Juanita's. $10.
On one hand, it sucks that these are happening; on the other, I wish they'd happen all the time. These shows bring out both the better angels of our nature and the better bands of Little Rock. It's the third in a series of fund-raisers for Luke Hunsicker, the American Princes bassist who's battling the whole nine yards of brain cancer, a pretty pricy endeavor by anyone's pocketbook. But not only is it a helluva time for a helluva nice guy, it also offers up a pupu platter of local bands. This time around, the benefit features honey-harmonied indie-pop with Whale Fire; the immediate college rockers Bear Colony; rural garage ne'er-do-wells Frown Pow'r; bullseye Americana from Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass; hands-down, this writer's favorite Arkansas band, Life Size Pizza and — you know them, love them — Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth.
‘DRAG THE RIVER'
10 p.m., Arkansas Queen. $15 adv., $25 d.o.e.
When one of our favorite local arts non-profits, the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative (a.k.a. the ACAC), comes out to raise some bread to keep its doors open, the group does it right. And boy, does the joke ever write itself for this one: They're loading up the Arkansas Queen with female impersonators. The steamboat will be hoppin' with a handful of ladyboys on the main deck, not to mention a DJ atop the boat, spinning the fierceness. The whole shebang is emceed by Miranda Meridian and all proceeds go towards keeping the ACAC up and movin'. Boarding begins at 10 p.m. with a prompt 10:30 p.m. departure; docking at 12:30 a.m.
‘PAWS ON THE PAVEMENT'
8 a.m., Murray Park.
This morning found another one of those forwarded, jokey e-mails in my inbox. The subject was “Who is your real friend?” and inside it said “Put your dog and your spouse in the trunk of your car for an hour. When you open the trunk, which one is happy to see you?” Yeah, it's an old chestnut, but it still brought a laugh. Regardless, Saturday brings the 11th annual celebration of man's best friend: Paws on the Pavement. It's an all-day festival to benefit the volunteer-based Central Arkansas Rescue Effort for Animals (CARE). The day kicks off at 8 a.m. with a 5K run, a 1-mile fun run/walk for both owners and their pets and a volleyball tournament at 10:30 a.m. The day also offers a “doggie fashion show,” microchipping for the overly curious family hound (for only $25 dollars) and, my favorite, miniature therapy horses. Take your pup out on a date. He/she deserves it. (By the way, never put your dog in a car trunk, OK?)
JEWISH FOOD FESTIVAL
10 a.m., River Market Pavilion. Free.
Just the names of different Jewish desserts sound like exaggerated, Homer Simpson drooling: rugelach (a nutty, cinnamon strudel roll), hamantashen (a triangular, fruit-filled cookie). The annual, day-long festival of the best food Judaism has to offer returns to the River Market Pavilion. With tables upon tables of latkes, corned beef, brisket, pastrami and bagels (not to mention a wide selection of arts and crafts and seven Hebrew bands, including the Meshugga Klezmer Band) this yearly market is a rare chance to get a thorough taste of some savory traditional food not usually available in our state. An early bird breakfast is open to the public at 8:30 a.m. while the festival officially opens at 10 a.m. Proceeds go to various charities supported by the Jewish Federation of Arkansas.