Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
AMY GARLAND BAND
10 p.m., White Water Tavern.
It's been a few years since Little Rock could count on hearing Amy Garland's take on soulful Americana on a semi-regular basis. Once a reliable staple of local stages, Garland, one of the best songcrafters in town, has recently busied herself with motherhood, not to mention her weekly gig spinning country and folk every Friday night at 5 p.m. on her KABF radio show, "Backroads." Sure, maybe absence does make the heart a little fonder, but after a quick spin of her 2004 long-player "Angora," it became apparent that it really has been entirely too long since we've seen her do her thing. Even better, that thing will be done with help from dang near every current or former member of Arkansas's best country swing band, The Salty Dogs, and Jeff Coleman, of "and the Feeders" local renown.
6 p.m., Wildwood Park for the Arts. $5-$10.
Wildwood is laid out on a West Little Rock spread that's pretty gorgeous to begin with. But during its annual "Lanterns!" festival, which celebrates the first full moon of the lunar year, the park turns into an illuminated starscape with thousands of paper lanterns illuminating walking trails, ponds and lines of trees. Inside the park, you'll find a mini-Epcot with visitors strolling to Morocco for kabobs and fortune tellers, to Venice for cognac at Carnivale to Asia for crafts and demos from the Arkansas Taekwondo Association, to Elizabethan England for ale and theater from Arkansas Shakespeare Theater, to Russia for music from members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and — this is really cool — to the Moon for riddles and moon pies. Heck, Wildwood even highlights the old West with campfires and music from ex-Damn Bullet Paul Morphis. Gates open at 6 p.m. through Sunday.
MR. BROWN & CORA
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $34.50-$41.80.
I'm not the only one who doesn't get it. For years, Tyler Perry's "Browns"-centric movies, plays and sitcoms have been a target of scorn for a nation full of pasty-white critics. What I've seen of "Meet the Browns" has been somewhere between wholesome, silly and hypnotically cheesy. But with every release, the hugely successful Tyler Perry aims for (and gets) a well defined demographic that, let's face it, doesn't include this here Ritz cracker. Therefore, I'm really in no spot to dismiss him. So what of Mr. Brown and Cora? The real-life couple of David and Tamela Mann play the pair, a religious father and daughter on "Meet the Browns," the enormously popular TBS soap-sitcom. The billing promises "100% clean comedy" from Mr. Brown; the commercial promises some pretty amazing gospel singing from Cora. If you're into the Browns, you're probably already as good as there.
6 p.m., Grand Ballroom, Peabody Hotel. $32-$42.
I'm not the only one who doesn't get it. For years, the Chippendales' bulge-centric pasties, dances and posters have been a target of scorn for a nation full of loose-stomached dudes. What I've seen of Chippendales has been somewhere between ridiculous, over-the-top and hypnotically grody. But with every thrust, the Chippendales aim for (and get) a well defined demographic that, let's face it, doesn't include this red-blooded American male. Therefore, I'm really in no spot to dismiss them. So what of Chippendales? The real-life crew of hard-bodied lady-killers has air-humped its way across the globe, titillating thousands of women a year. The press release promises a "girls night out" ("girls-only" night out, that is) with special guest Matt Joyce opening the night with his Elvis tribute. The accompanying photo promises oiled chests, Diesel jeans and dudes who can't figure out how to work the buttons on their shirt. If you're into Chippendales, you're probably as good as there. If you're not making the Chippendales or Friday night's "Meet the Browns" show, you'll probably spend your weekend doing what the rest of us white dudes in Little Rock will be doing: goofing out over that new Radiohead album.