Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
"CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY"
7:30 p.m., The Weekend Theater. $14-$18.
It's funny, it's poignant, it's bittersweet and it's one of the most widely-produced pieces of theater in recent memory. Renowned playwright Lynn Nottage's debut explores racial and moral issues of the 1950s through the perspective of 17-year-old Ernestine Crump, who, after the death of her mother, is uprooted from rural Florida by Godfrey Crump, her widower father, and plunked down in urban Brooklyn. When her sister-in-law, a flighty, gin-headed whackadoo who fancies herself a "free spirit" moves in and butts heads with the newly-religious Godfrey, the mood of the house becomes, in a word, tense. The familial mood becomes taut as the African-American Crumps find themselves with a new matriarch in Gerte, a German immigrant who turns the household multi-ethnic in a racially tense 1950 New York City. From the two productions I've seen, "understatement" and "subtlety" aren't watchwords for this, a play originally aimed at teens, but the sharp, topical issues of politics, blind religion, feminism and multi-culturalism in a less-tolerant society stand as relevant now as ever. The production continues the following night and runs each Friday and Saturday through the month. JT
7:30 p.m., Cabe Theatre, Hendrix College. Free.
Fifty-one years after his death, eccentric Heber Springs photographer Michael Disfarmer has managed to achieve a considerable place in the spotlight. He was the topic of an award-winning 2009 album by Bill Frisell, titled, yep, "Disfarmer"; inspired a full-length piece of Samuel Beckett-like puppet theater in New York called, again, "Disfarmer"; and had his iconic self-portrait nationally broadcast during the 2008 Academy Awards when the Coen brothers needed a photograph during the "Best Editing" nomination for their pseudonym, "Roderick Jaynes." Now, the late folk iconoclast is the subject of another ode to his legacy, this time in — you guessed it — "Disfarmer," a new play from local columnist, playwright (and frequent Times contributor) Werner Trieschmann. The production bounces from decade to decade from the portraitist's career in the '30s and '40s to just last decade, when two New York City galleries rolled into town in a frenzied race to find as many original prints as possible by the newly en vogue photographer. This reading of the play launches Hendrix's 2010-11 Public Events series and is followed by an audience and cast discussion. JT
7 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre. Free.
Look, I'm as Hog-besotted as the next guy. I dream, often, of 12-win seasons and a 500-yard passing game. I plan my week around Saturdays. But a pep rally? Isn't that a tradition that loses its pep after high school (if not before)? Maybe that just depends on the ingredients. Friday's rally, the culmination of a week of Hog-geared boosterism in Little Rock, has some of the traditional elements: the cheerleaders and the pom squad, the live mascot and the marching band will all do their things (the band is doing a rendition of "Ring of Fire"). But then things get interesting. 10 Horse Johnson, the self-described "Ozarks-born/LA-bred/Little Rock-based country comedy band," famous locally for penning a campaign song for Dwight David Honeycutt, will debut its new Hog call, "Woo Pig Fever." After that, the Oxford American will present "A Night of Arkansas Music," with three local treasures performing: honky tonk heroes The Salty Dogs, roots-tinged singer/songwriter extraordinaire Jim Mize and the True Soul Revue, a collection of artists who recorded for erstwhile True Soul Records, Little Rock's finest soul and R&B label. Then, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, the Hogs win 70-0. Woo pig. LM
9 p.m., The Village. $18 adv., $22 d.o.s.
This weekend, I was scouring YouTube, trying to show a friend the single creepiest video lurking on the Internet. As a last resort, I searched "i feel fantastic hey hey hey." Surprisingly, it worked (watch at your own risk). But unexpectedly, Ben Nichols' familiar mug smirked back on the results page, four videos down. It's just another sign of the Little Rock icon's national omnipresence and the ever-expanding success of Lucero. The Memphis-based, Little Rock-loved punk-country act is still the Lucero we know and love: a grunt-sung, wiry bastard son of Bruce and Hank, perfect listening for drinking yourself into a half-blind storm of friend-hugging and ex-drunk dialing. Thanks in part to the success of its last album, "1372 Overton Park," the beloved, whiskey-logged outfit has been praised by Spin, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, MTV and nearly every blogger worth their bandwidth. However, here in Arkansas, fans harbor a wildly different type of affection that borders on unwavering dedication. After all, this town has seen the band go from house shows to Bonnaroo in a whip-flash 10 years. Hometown affection? Call us guilty. Between the Hogs home opener that evening and, this, Lucero's always-welcomed return to Little Rock, expect the night to be a Diamond State flag-flying, outpouring of Arkansas pride. The guys are joined by Glossary, another twanged alt-country act that's no stranger to barhouse venues about town. JT
"PINNACLE OF MUSIC" FESTIVAL
11 a.m., Pinnacle Mountain State Park. $10.
While War Memorial Golf Course is echoing with hog calls, Pinnacle Mountain State Park will be filled with a full day of jazz, blues, R&B and rock. The "Pinnacle of Music" festival kicks off at 11 a.m. with Needles St., a local outfit that was known in the '60s and '70s for reimagining rock standards and has now reunited after a 30-year hiatus. Michael Burks, the Camden-born "Iron Man" himself, takes to the stage at noon for a marathon four-hour set of the muscled, soulful electric blues that's brought him national acclaim. Gerald Johnson, KABF disc jockey and member of the eclectic Tuesday's House, takes to the stage at 4 p.m. for a set of blues, jazz and reggae fusion. At 6 p.m., man about town and, doubtless, Little Rock's favorite master of the trumpet Rodney Block brings his fusion of soul, R&B and jazz to the mountains. JT
6 p.m., Trinity United Methodist Church. Free.
Admittedly, my feet are still tender here in the hallowed halls of the Times building. But during my first week as a crack music writer — when my feet were tender as antique silk — I took afternoon coffee with Jimmy McKissic, the animated piano virtuoso whose warm, laughing banter jumps from Jesus to shoes as quickly as his music jukes from Schumann to jazz-gospel. Nine months and dozens of interviews later, I still haven't met a more colorful, bubbling character. The famed pianist was born in Pine Bluff, was taught (and taught at) at the UC Berkeley School of Music and has played Carnegie Hall a whopping 26 times. This weekend, McKissic returns for the first time since delivering a sold-out lecture at the Mosaic Templars Center and performing to a packed house in the Clinton Presidential Center earlier this year. Given, the animated pianist is anything but predictable, but for this, a free show at the Trinity United Methodist Church, count on a potpourri of Romantic piano, '40s jazz, Southern hymns and maybe even a reconstructed nursery rhyme or two. JT
MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY
2 p.m., Clinton Presidential Center. Free.
This fall marks the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence from Spanish colonialists and the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution against autocrat Porfirio Diaz. This, my friends, calls for a party. La Pantera 1440 AM and the Mexican Consulate of Little Rock are taking the charge, heading up the celebration on the Clinton Library grounds. The day includes food and drink, a traditional "El Grito" ("Call for Independence") ceremony, food, drink, dancing and music from a slate of bands including North Carolina's Lider Musical, the "Prairie Home Companion"-featured Mariachi America and long-time master of the corridor, the famed Los Cadetes de Linares. JT