Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
6 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheater. $10-$99.
Kenny Loggins kicks off “Music in the Park,” a new concert series in the Riverfest Amphitheater that's piggybacking on the success of “Movies in the Park.” Presented by Chesapeake Energy (which, among Fayetteville Shale drillers, has been the most eager to engender public good will), the series runs for two weeks (see our Calendar for more info), and all the shows, save this one, are free. But $10 for Kenny Loggins? That's a steal. He's given smooth pop music at least four phases of awesomeness. First, as a songwriter, working for a $100 a week, he wrote the greatest Winnie the Pooh song of all time, “House at Pooh Corner,” initially made famous by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Then, on the strength of that lite rock jam and others written for NGDB, he attracted the attention of Jim Messina, late of Poco and Buffalo Springfield, and the two formed Loggins and Messina, the softest rockin'est duo of the mid-'70s. When egos grew beyond the mutual joy of writing ballads about livin' free and easy and ladies with angry eyes, the duo split and Loggins tapped into the raw edge of '80s commercial rock, scoring hits with theme songs to your favorite movies of the decade: “I'm Alright” (from “Caddyshack”), “Footloose” (from “Footloose”), “Danger Zone” and “Playing with the Boys” (from “Top Gun”), and “Nobody's Fool” (from “Caddyshack II”). He's stayed active since; though, aside from appearing on that summer reality staple, “Don't Forget the Lyrics!” in July and being the father of Crosby Loggins, the winner of children-of-musicians reality contest “Rock the Cradle,” you probably haven't noticed. The most recent phase of smooth pop awesomeness: Inspiring the hilarious web series “Yacht Rock,” the stories behind some of the greatest smooth pop songs of all-time. Go there now: yachtrock.com. LM.
10 p.m., Sticky Fingerz, $3.
The Effects have been praised as an “eight-legged groove machine of the highest order” by MTV's Buzzworthy. It's a surprisingly accurate description, especially coming from a soulless corporate cog machine. For the curious or doubtful, a taste of the audio/video offerings at the band's website could whet the appetite for an economical Thursday outing. Think 1970s ass-shaking sweat rock. The Effects' songs invoke a T-Rex-White Stripes-Neil Young-ish vibe, with a splash of the Black Crowes at their heaviest. And featuring a lead vocalist whose pipes range from simply carrying melodies to delivering solid primal screams. The Effects are independently seasoned road warriors to boot, claiming 200 gigs in '06 alone in the U.S. and Canada. They've shared bills with the likes of Kings of Leon, Cowboy Mouth and Velvet Revolver, and have played festivals such as Austin's South By Southwest and the ever-so-aptly-named Mobfest in Chicago. Special guest Anxiety opens the show. PP.
‘SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES'
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $10-$14.
Never one to shy away from controversy, the Weekend Theater takes aim at the Huck and them — that is, Southern Baptist fundamentalists, particularly of the fire-and-brimstone variety. Del Shores' tragicomedy centers around four teen-age choirboys in a Southern Baptist church struggling (or not) with their homosexuality. One, a military brat, doesn't consider himself gay; another suffers in the closet; another loves the military brat and narrates the play with a solid helping of snark, and yet another rails against his upbringing and becomes a drag queen. The play follows them to adulthood, interweaving Bible verses that support and contradict the Baptists' teachings about homosexuality. The satire continues through Sept. 6. LM.
JACK OBLIVIAN AND THE TENNESSEE TEARJERKERS
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
Finally! Or at least, for the first time in a while! One of Memphis' greatest garage rockers makes the short trip to Little Rock. Oblivian, born Jack Yarber in Corinth, Miss., might be the most important figure in Bluff City's vibrant '90s garage-rock revival. He set the tone in the Compulsive Gamblers, a raw but knowing trio co-founded by Greg Cartwright (who'd go on to found the hugely influential Reigning Sound) that borrowed liberally from '50s pop conventions and Memphis roots. When that group broke up in 1995, Yarber and Cartwright formed the Oblivians, a band that only expanded the duo's garage-punk sound. The Compulsive Gamblers later re-emerged, but for most of the aughts, Oblivian's toured as Jack O and the Tennessee Tearjerkers, which has meant everything from Oblivian and a full band with a horn section to just Oblivian. Expect less visceral and more sing-along garage rock this time through, and look out for new music; Oblivian is apparently at work on a new album. The Thomas Jones Duo and Coach open. LM.
8 p.m., Old State House. $35.
Marty Stuart is a stylistic vulture, scooping up bits of bluegrass, rockabilly, rock 'n' roll and traditional honky-tonk and selling them to Nashville as country music. Born in Philadelphia, Miss., he learned violin and mandolin as a child; by the time he was a teen-ager, he'd joined bluegrass legend Lester Flatt's band. After that band petered out, he kept pickin' and grinnin' with the greats, playing with Vassar Clements and Doc Watson and later joining Johnny Cash's band. At 24, he had a lifetime of experience, a solo album and a formidable mullet. A weaker man would be content to hang it up, but Stuart has only broadened those early accomplishments: He's become a first-rate country music scholar and collector (his collection “Sparkle & Twang” on exhibit at the Old Statehouse is the reason for the performance). He's released 13 more solo albums, most recently a live album recorded at the Ryman in Nashville. And his mullet's endured, though his pompadour looks more and more like Tina Turner's '80s wig every day. You might want to practice surreptitious dancing pre-concert. Anything beyond a foot-tap is strictly prohibited in the Old State House's historic 1885 House Chamber. LM.
POP! IN THE PARK
6 p.m., History Pavilion, Riverfront Park. Free.
The penultimate Pop! in the Park continues along the same path of the first two: A diverse, four-act local bill provides a nice excuse for families and folks of all ages to commune and head nod for free. The line-up includes 4X4 Crew, a young hip-hop crew who always make sure to involve the audience; Suga City, a slow-roll duo from Stuttgart and Pine Bluff, who seem to be one of Arkansas's best chances at national rap stardom; Browningham, a one-man-band who channels Prince and Michael McDonald and Kyoto Boom, a post-punk/new wave band that sounds like it should be headlining arena stages. Coolers and lawn chairs are welcome. LM.
MORRIS DAY AND THE TIME
8 p.m., Timberwood Amphitheater, Hot Springs. $45.99.
Morris Day's career will always be inextricably tied to Prince. Day wrote “Partyup,” an anti-war, pro-party song Prince covered on “Dirty Mind.” You'll remember it for lyrics like “fightin' war is such a fuckin' bore/party up.” He played the antagonist in the film version of “Purple Rain.” And, of course, he led the Time, a side-project for the Purple One. It's long been speculated that all of the material on the band's first three albums was written and composed by Prince and sung by Day. Still, Day's no shill. He's always had a confident, comic charisma — think of a modern day Rufus Thomas — which he's infused into timeless jams like “Gigolos Get Lonely Too” and “Jungle Love.” Day and the Time are the penultimate concert of the season at the Timberwood Amphitheater. The Spin Doctors close out the season on Aug. 30. The ticket price is park admission. LM.
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