Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS V. ALABAMA- BIRMINGHAM BLAZERS
7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $25.
As appealing as a weekend of lying on the couch or, for the masochistic, finding incredible bargains might sound, make room for the Hogs, Central Arkansas. And not just on Saturday. Friday, the men's basketball team makes its annual visit to Verizon to play its toughest opponent yet, Conference USA's University of Alabama-Birmingham. Yes, we're still a year away from welcoming THE GREATEST RECRUITING CLASS IN THE HISTORY OF ARKANSAS SPORTS. But it's time to hop back on the bandwagon again, Hog fans. Because fair-weather fandom is for pro sports. Because, for the first time in recent memory, this team does not feature an often dazzling point guard prone to ridiculous turnovers. Because Marshawn Powell is the best basketball Hog since Joe Johnson. Because John Pelphrey knows that, even though he's likely to be granted a pass until next year to try to work his heralded freshmen into the mix, if he blows it too terribly this year, he's likely gone; as a consequence, hopefully, that means he's going to get the guys to run an actual offense. And, because football's almost over, and you'll need something else to channel all those unreasonable hopes and dreams into. LM.
BIG SILVER'S THANKSGIVING SPECIAL
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
Late-year holidays in Little Rock — they always bring out some killer local rock shows. This Thanksgiving's big 'un finds dizzyingly prolific Isaac Alexander bringing his least prolific band back to the stage for the first time in so long he couldn't remember when Big Silver last played when asked early this week. Like all bands Alexander fronts, the twang-pop quintet specializes in Fab Four-esque melodies and earwormy lyrical hooks. Friday sees the group getting a little help from its friends. Massive bearded singer/songwriter extraordinaire Adam Faucett, folk-pop chanteuse and opera composer Bonnie Montgomery, Big Cats front man and Max Recordings head honcho Burt Taggart and folk standout and radio hostess Amy Garland are all scheduled to lend their talents to Big Silver for a song or two. In exchange, the band'll back each performer in one of his or her songs. A Big Silver-backed version of "Virginia's Aria" from Bonnie Montgomery's "Billy Blythe," maybe? You never know. LM.
8:30 p.m., The Village. $22.50-$25.
Are you looking for rock 'n' roll fame? Maybe not the sort of everyone-will-know-your-name fame that, say, U2 enjoys. But still a fame that will make you rich, allow you to wear leather pants and not be mocked, possibly employ a weed carrier and have lots of groupie sex? Well, you're in luck. Hinder, the Oklahoma hard rock five-piece that comes to Little Rock days before releasing its third album, "All American Nightmare," has distilled the formula for that sort of modern rock success into three easy-to-follow steps. Step one: Steal liberally. Song titles. Riffs. Lyrics. Why write a song when, as Hinder does on its new song "Put That Record On," you can just string together references to classic rock hits? Step two: Get really, really stoned and fill in the gaps of what's left with your best prison-style poetry about your ex-girlfriend (e.g. "I wanna lay you down in a bed of roses / For tonight I sleep on a bed of nails"). Step three: Shape your voice into an unholy mix of the dude from Goo Goo Dolls and AC/DC's Brian Johnson and make sure every time before you sing, you get completely wasted. On Jagermeister, preferably. Who's ready to be famous? LM.
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS V. LSU TIGERS
2:30 p.m., War Memorial Stadium. Sold out.
The game may be sold out, but a War Memorial tailgate is never full. A grill suggestion courtesy of my cousin: Wrap a thick cut of pork or chicken around sausage and leftover dressing with kitchen twine — and bam! — a game day delicacy. Typically, a War Memorial game is more about drunken revelry and smoked meats than dedicated fandom, but this year, with a potential Sugar Bowl berth at stake (go Auburn!), Hog fans are likely to bring their game faces (which, of course, doesn't preclude food and drink so much as it puts a cap on it). Here are several things I'd be willing to bet on with regard to the game: Les Miles will make at least one stupid — but probably at least two — costly decision(s). LSU's ground game will give us the same sort of troubles Mississippi State's did. The crowd will be the difference maker. For a more astute preview, see A Boy Named Sooie, on page 24. LM.
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $37-$77.
Is it hip to like Mannheim Steamroller yet? If not, can it be? The progressive rockers have been synthesizing Christmas since 1984, providing bottomless laughs and endless opportunities to play air MIDI keyboards over the holidays. Little did Chip Davis, Mannheim Steamroller founder, know he'd change the entire Yuletide soundscape when he decided "Deck the Halls" didn't sound enough like a promotional VHS for Minnetonka, Minnesota's 1982 Chamber of Commerce. The group's annual, cross-country Christmas tour is a yearly staple and their stops in Little Rock are as reliable as their sweet electronic drum fills. It's a one-night-only affair, so get to getting while the getting's good. After all, if you miss this one, you'll have to wait three whole weeks before you get another chance to see hokey prog-rock Christmas when Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes to town. JT.
9 p.m., Revolution/Ernie Biggs. $10.
The tagline, Sin Sunday, is for the party we told you about last week — local promoter, DJ and owner of GreenGrass Rock 'n' Roll Bodega Mike Brown's new weekly shindig at Ernie Biggs aimed at folks who work in the service industry. It's about a diverse line-up of live and DJed music, cheap admission and drink specials and late-night fun on Sundays. This first go 'round, it folds nicely into the return of Pretty Things Peep Show at Revolution. Back in town after a successful show in February, the vaudeville show returns with not just be-tassled, nearly naked ladies, but also a fire-breather, a sword swallower, a contortionist and a fast-talking MC. The Diamond Dames Burlesque Troop and Revolution Go Go Girls shake it in support. The after party at Ernie Biggs features locals Father Maple, Cody Belew and The Break Through downstairs and UK breakbeat star DJ Deekline upstairs. The $10 cover charge gets you in both events. Go to Brown's new social networking site, RSVPsociety.com for special deals. LM.
BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR/ROXY COTTONTAIL
6:30 p.m., Downtown Music Hall. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
After more than a quarter century of indiscriminately sticking random bits of music in my ears, I can honestly say I've never heard anything like Blood on the Dance Floor. Halfway into "Sexting," the biggest single released by the Florida-based glamtronica outfit, I was ready to pack my bags and go live in a cave. It's all kissy babytalk about club drugs and "[verb]ing in your [body part]" on top of the synthesized equivalent of pink sequin. (You got it: that's eight-bit techno beats.) Roxy Cottontail, on the other hand, is a little more digestible. A staple in New York City's club scene for years, the electro princess has ushered Diplo, Spank Rock and Baltimore's infamous Hollertronix crew into the spotlight when not churning out her own, self-described brand of "electro-disco nursery rap." If all these subgenre neologisms weren't gobstoppingly insane enough for you, the night's lineup also features Dot Dot Curve, an emo-crunk duo. Afterpartiers, steer your gears towards Ernie Biggs where Roxy Cottontail, Brooklyn DJ/rapper Jasmine Solano and the night's organizer, DJ Big Brown, man the speakers for the night. JT.