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The To-Do List, Nov. 18-22 

THURSDAY 11/18

JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER

7:30 p.m., Staples Auditorium, Hendrix College. Free.

The Crain-Maling Center of Jewish Culture, an organization that aims to "enhance knowledge about Jewish culture and raise awareness of Jewish life" at Hendrix, went a long way towards furthering its mission by bringing Jonathan Safran Foer to campus. A writer who's rarely mentioned without the word "wunderkind" trailing near behind, Foer is perhaps most famous for his widely praised debut novel, "Everything Is Illuminated." Published when he was 25, the book follows the travels of a young American Jew who travels to Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis; the Jewish newspaper The Forward called it "the first great American Jewish novel of the twenty-first century." Foer has followed up with another acclaimed novel, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and, most recently, a non-fiction account of his vegetarianism, "Eating Animals." He's currently at work on a new edition of the "Haggadah," the Jewish text that tells the story of the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt. So he's certainly got the bona fides to rep for the Crain-Maling Center and to deliver a lecture called "Why Jews Laugh at Things That Aren't Funny." A reception follows the talk in Mills Library. LM.


FRIDAY 11/19

BRAD PAISLEY, DARIUS RUCKER

7:30 p.m., Verizon Arena. $25-$59.75.

Brad Paisley had a good week last week. He co-hosted the CMA Awards, where he debuted a new, sure-to-be-anthem, "This Is Country" ("It ain't hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns, and mama, yeah that might be true / But this is country music and we do"). And after being nominated five times prior, Paisley finally took home the ceremony's coveted entertainer of the year award. In fact, it's been a pretty good recent career for Paisley. In less than five months, he's played for more than 750,000 fans on his H20 tour. In a little more than 10 years, he's sold 10 million and landed 25 singles on the Billboard country charts, including 10 straight number ones. In 2008, former Hootie and the Blowfish front man Darius Rucker became the first African-American singer to top the country charts since Charley Pride in 1983. He's done it three more times since, most recently with "Come Back Song," the first single off his recently released sophomore album. Poyen, Arkansas native Justin Moore has plenty to draw from in his anthems about country livin': his grandma's name was Faynette, he grew up on 100 acres, he was on a deer stand before he was one. He's sure to get a rousing welcome from the hometown crowd in the opening slot. Double date and save some dough: four pack tickets are available for $79.00 and $199.00. LM.

CODY BELEW

8 p.m., Wildwood Park for the Arts. $25-$50.

n This one's easy to wrap your head around: Do you support the mission of Big Brothers/Big Sisters? Enjoy funk and soul? Well then, this benefit concert's for you. Cody Belew, the blue-eyed soul shouter known for his spot-on renditions of '60s and '70s hits, is bringing his full arsenal to Wildwood, including songs from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Annie Lennox, Chaka Khan, Percy Sledge, James Brown, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Patti LaBelle, Al Green and Prince. He'll be supported by his crack backing unit, The Mercers. The $50 VIP tickets get you reserved seating, a drink voucher, an event poster and access to a VIP after party. Get tickets a wildwoodpark.org. LM.


SATURDAY 11/20

RIVER MARKET ON ICE GRAND OPENING

9:30 a.m., River Market Pavilions. $8 for skaters.

Consider it an antidote to the crass commercialism of the holidays, a celebration, instead, of thrill of the season — the bundling up, the winter sports, the family togetherness — or at least what we've come to recognize as the thrill of the season from commercials. Sure it's manufactured, but given a choice between fake winter wonderland and no winter wonderland, what're you going to choose? I'm thinking it's genius, particularly if we have another stretch of 70 degree temps and they can keep the ice from melting. The gist: From November 20 until January 9, the River Market Pavilions transform into ice skating rinks open to the public. The hours are 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday and noon until 8 p.m. on Sunday until December 17. After that they stretch from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday (and stay the same on Sunday). It's $8 per person, including skate rental. Kids under four skate free with a paid adult admission. The Diamond Edge Skating Club and Radio Disney's Rockin' Road Show celebrates the opening on Saturday. See holidaysinlittlerock.com for more info and special dates. LM.

BEETHOVEN AND BLUE JEANS

8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $14-$48.

In what's become something of a trend throughout the symphonic music world, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra encourages concertgoers to don blue jeans — or simply casual dress — at its typically buttoned-down "Masterworks" series. On the bill: Beethoven's spirited Seventh Symphony, which Richard Wagner described, in 1849, as "the apotheosis of the dance herself"; Manuel Ponce's Guitar Concert, which includes references to Mexican folk music and will feature multi-Grammy Award-winning soloist Sharon Isbin and Stravinsky's Suite No. 2, which includes a conclusion inspired by a performance Stravinsky watched in a "semi-respectable night club." The ASO reprises the performance on Sunday at 3 p.m.; same place and price, though students, grades K-12, can go for free if accompanied by a paid adult as part of the Entergy ticket program on Sunday. LM.

REVEREND HORTON HEAT

8 p.m., Juanita's. $25-$30.

Who knew psychobilly would have such an enduring appeal? Born by The Cramps in the '80s out of an unholy alliance of '50s kitsch, a love of rockabilly and a punk rock sensibility, the genre's survived on a largely unchanged formula for more than 30 years, with psychobilly bands enjoying success all across the world. Even here in Little Rock, we've had Josh the Devil and the Sinners and Ace Spade and the Whores of Babylon singing songs about hotrods and devils and meth for years. But, of course, no one's done more to carry the psychobilly flag than The Reverend Horton Heat, the Dallas-based trio whose "Psychobilly Freakout" helped introduce audiences to the genre in 1990. In the 20 years that've followed, over the course of 10 studio albums, Heath and his mates have barnstormed across the country, plying retro sounds (the Rev's trademark "hurricane" lick allows him to simultaneously play lead and rhythm guitar) and gonzo lyrics to the faithful. Kansas' Split Lip Rayfield punks-up bluegrass in the opening slot. LM.

KURT VILE AND THE VIOLATORS

10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.

Philly's new favorite indie rock son has certainly earned his spot in the upper echelons of lo-fi indie rock royalty. He's nothing if not tenacious. Writing and recording music since junior high, Kurt Vile released a flood of homemade CD-Rs during his 20s before finally picking up traction in the blogosphere and finding himself in the middle of rock royalty after being signed to Matador Records. His sound oscillates back and forth from delicate, finger-picked acoustic dirges, all dunked in reverb, to stomping New York City rockers ala Richard Hell. What's admirable about the songwriter is the way he's managed to stay relevant for so long in the fickle-by-nature indie rock spotlight. Though one to usually tour solo, Vile visits Little Rock with The Violators, the Crazy Horse to his Gen-iTunes' Neil Young. A list of openers fill out the bill with dark, blown-out '70s stoner metal from fellow Philadelphians Purling Hiss, art-garage from Fayetteville with Niall, shoegaze-pop courtesy of one of my favorite local acts, Pink Drapes, and catchy, clever anti-folk from house show all-stars No Hickeys. JT.


MONDAY 11/22

KEN STRINGFELLOW

10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $7.

It's not every week that one of the crowned kings of college rock royalty decides to spend one of their off-dates in Little Rock. It's even rarer that they decide to use it to play a solo show. But this Monday, White Water Tavern hosts the cult songwriter behind power-pop heroes The Posies. Alone, that contribution to music warrants a big-ass gold star, but add in the six years he spent in R.E.M., the great American band, and the 17 years he's spent with Jody Stephens and the late Alex Chilton as part of Big Star, the greatest American band, and you've got a sterling music icon. The man, in the middle of a tour with The Posies and Brendan Benson, trades in arena stages a tiny platform this Monday night. Expect a packed house of power-pop acolytes. Locals David Slade and Brian Frazier provide support with a couple solo sets. JT.

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