Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
GREEK FOOD FEST
11 a.m., Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Free.
After a quarter century slinging baklava and gyros, the Greek Food Fest has it down to a science. Don't want to stand in line? Order online from home in advance. Don't want to leave the hermetically sealed, air-conditioned bliss of your car? Drive through and order from a limited menu. Don't want to battle the parking cluster? Park at Pulaski Academy or Asbury Methodist and catch a free trolley that runs every 10 minutes. Once you figure out the best way to arrive, you're faced with a wealth of options. There's food, obviously. Falafel, gyros, hummus, souvlaki, tabbouleh and all sort of Greek pastries (including chocolate baklava). Plus, tours of the ornate Annunciation Church. An entertainment schedule that runs through the weekend, beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, that includes just about every shade of folk dance to be found in Central Arkansas, with representatives from the Greek American Folk Dance Society sharing the stage with Middle Eastern dancers and, among others, the O'Donovan School of Irish Dance. For the kids, there are the requisite climbing walls and bounce rooms. And for those youngsters not yet indoctrinated into the delicious ways of Greek cuisine, hot dogs. LM.
7 p.m., Market Street Cinema.
For those eager to jump into the Little Rock Film Fest, here's an early preview of what's likely an early favorite to win the Charles B. Pierce “Made in Arkansas” Award. On Friday and Saturday (and Thursday for folks in Conway), “Lost Dogs,” a two-and-a-half-years-in-the-making film noir set largely in Arkansas, celebrates its debut. Hud Dunlap, 35, who works at the Faulkner County Library when he's not making movies, wrote, directed, edited and did just about every other job imaginable in the production. He says the feature-length black-and-white film was inspired by the French New Wave. He characterizes it as a crime drama that follows three characters, whose paths, he explains cryptically with an “I don't want to spoil the plot” preface, “cross in a rather unique way.” From the trailer (which you can see on Rock Candy), murder looks to play a role. The film, which Dunlap says will cost him somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 once it's all said and done, starts its preview weekend at Staples Auditorium at Hendrix College at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, then moves to Market Street Cinema for screenings at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. At 9 p.m. on Friday for $7, there'll be an after-party featuring Rockst*r Jones, who plays a bit role in the film and provides music for the soundtrack, and the new jazz act Hyde and Hyde vs. The Spies, which includes most of the members of The Little Rock Jazz Quintet. DJ Discipline will spin, too. And Dunlap will project footage shot especially for the party onto big screens. LM.
‘PETER PAN: A STORYBOOK BALLET'
2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Arkansas Arts Center. $15-$25.
As fairy tales go, it's hard to think of one that lends itself to a ballet adaptation more than “Peter Pan.” You've got flying, fairies and all sorts of swordplay, all of which add enough of a veneer of action to pas de deux, pirouettes and all the other French terms for moves you've never heard of to keep the kids engaged. And, of course, in this Arkansas Festival Ballet production, there'll be plenty of young folks among the cast of more than 90, many of whom will literally soar through air. AFB artistic director Rebecca Miller Stalcup provides the original choreography. There are three public performances, two on Saturday, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets, in advance, are $15 for students and children and $20 for adults; add $5 for each group at the door. LM.
THICK SYRUP BIRTHDAY SHOW
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $7.
“We're getting older ... but much louder.” That's Travis McElroy's motto heading into the fourth anniversary of his label, which he says has evolved into what he always wanted it to be: “indie rock, noise.” To that broad end, he's released albums by the diverse local likes of Browningham (Michael McDonald-style keyboard pop), Frown Pow'r (Hasil Adkins gone pop), San Antokyo (cowpunk) and The Weisenheimers (bubblegum garage). And, for the last several years, his label's been the home to Baltimore avant-pop cult heroes David and Jad Fair, most famous for their band Half Japanese. Coming up, McElroy promises new projects from the Fairs, including the soundtrack to “The Middle Man,” a film David is behind, and a box set of covers of David's Coo Coo Rockin' Time “Coo Coo Party Time” album. As for local releases, McElroy hopes to net enough at this show to put out new records by Sweet Eagle and Wicked Good (which includes current and former members of American Princes, Moving Front and Smoke Up Johnny) and to master the final Smoke Up Johnny album. He shouldn't have any problem packing the house. Along with avant-noise rockers Androids of Ex-Lovers and local superstars Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth (read all about 'em in a Q&A on page 34), the much-beloved bar rock kings Smoke Up Johnny reunite for the occasion. Plus, two filmmakers, one of whom is an editor for Paste Magazine, will be on hand as part of a project they're calling “40 Nights of Rock 'n' Roll,” where they're traveling 14,000 miles to film the likes of Ratt, The Shout-Out Louds and Drive By-Truckers in a quest to prove that rock's not dead. LM.
THE MOST SERENE REPUBLIC
8:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $8.
The kids are still crazy about that Canadian sound, I hear. You know that sound: It's made by folks that travel in packs called, natively, “collectives.” You usually hear their ruckus before they're close enough to see. First your ears catch some minor chords played on, I dunno, a squeezebox and one of those Ricola horns. Then you pick up on the stomps and claps and high school choir harmonies and, before you know it, you're shimmying along. When they hit your line of vision, you'll know 'em when you see 'em: big collectives of overgrown kids, all rambunctious, often dressed like Mr. Darcy, Frontier Video Store Clerk. Turns out that some years ago, those kids went on a field trip to Scotland and found a like-minded gang, all droll, curled up on a hardwood floor, cats everywhere, listening to Chad & Jeremy records, wearing itchy wool mittens. Long story short, they were reheating some sandwiches, a nuclear accident from the microwave fused their genes together, and boom: there's The Most Serene Republic. My Internet's down so don't hold me to that story, but I suspect that's a completely accurate and scientifically sound representation of their genesis. The precocious mutants will visit Little Rock this Saturday with Annuals, their North Carolinian counterparts and What Laura Said, a playful popcore act from Arizona. JT.
NATIONAL SULAC DAY
10 p.m., Town Pump. $3.
You know, it would be pretty easy to say “all at once, Sulac is to Little Rock what Robert Pollard is to Dayton, Beatle Bob is to St. Louis and what Snarf is to Thundercats.” Then you could say, “he's as if someone embodied all the left-field exuberance of local music and stapled a ball cap to his head.” But that'd be gilding that goofy-ass, hairy, cackling lily of a guy, so I'll just say my old neighbor Sulac can tell you the funniest joke you've ever heard in your life, drink you under a rock and make some of the catchiest music that's ever come out of this state because, well, he's a bit of bonafide twisted genius, ya' see? Saturday, Little Rock salutes the prolific so-and-so for National Sulac Day. He's taking three of his bands to Town Pump for a triple-header with the newest project of the three, Physical Science, the rollicking concept pop of Winston Family Orchstra (whose album, “Valloween” is one of the best, most compulsively listenable LR LPs in years) and the classic local trio that needs no introduction, Hector Faceplant. JT.
9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern. Donations.
Oklahoma songcrafter Samantha Crain has garnered a fair bit of attention lately from Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, New York Times and heavy-hitting songwriting circles for her billowy, dust-bowl take on literary song. A bit Cat Power, a bit Erskine Caldwell, her music is dusted with a magical realism that's amplified by her signature, contemplative voice, an airy timbre that seems to drape from the ceiling and glide on her effortlessly melodic country-tinged backing band, the Midnight Shivers. Maybe that description is a bit over-versified, but she deserves it. Her gorgeously crafted music takes on a timeless rural sound with a quiet rollick that deserves repeated listening. Intrigued? Hopefully so. Hop on YouTube and check out “Get the Fever Out” and “The River” then make it to White Water, a perfect place as any for such a show. JT.