Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.
Shara Worden, who performs as My Brightest Diamond, comes to town with quite a pedigree. Her grandfather, a traveling evangelist, played an Epiphone guitar. Her parents, a classical organist mother and a national accordion champion father, lived all over the country. Much of Worden's childhood was spent in El Dorado, where her father served as a music and youth minister. After gaining a degree in opera from the University of North Texas, Worden moved to New York to continue her studies, and soon became immersed in the city's underground baroque pop scene, which has produced bands like Antony and the Johnsons and Nina Nastasia. In 2001, Worden formed an avant-rock band, Awry, which released several albums, before evolving into My Brightest Diamond, a loose collective that featured wind chimes and wine glasses along with traditional instruments. Along the way, she met indie hero Sufjan Stevens and took time off from her own music to tour as one of his Illinoisemakers (which, apparently, included doing splits and round-offs). Post-Sufjan, Worden's career's taken off. She's put out two well-received albums as My Brightest Diamond, most recently “A Thousand Shark's Teeth” on Asthmatic Kitty. Live, she's known for vocal theatrics, an affinity for costumes (superhero capes, Tudor corsets) and a strange coterie of backing players. Thursday that'll mean a string trio, a saw, a kalimba and a ukulele. Sonic kin Clare and the Reasons — strings, ethereal vocals — open the show. LM.
RINGLING BROTHERS AND BARNUM AND BAILEY CIRCUS
7 p.m., Alltel Arena. $11-$45.
Here's betting the nearly naked tiger woman, who protested the arrival of the circus a couple weeks back for PETA by hanging out in a cage in the River Market, doesn't dissuade the masses. This particular strand of RBABAB, “Boom a Ring,” is all about interactivity and intimacy. The audience sits close to the action. Kids get picked out to do tricks with clowns. White Bengal tigers stalk just feet away from the front row. Plus: zebras, clowns on flaming bikes, an exotic tiger tamer in a flesh colored body suit, trick elephants, jugglers, amazing feats of balance, gymnastics, Dachshunds, William Tell-style shooting and high flyers. The circus stays in town for five more shows: 7 p.m. Dec. 5; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 6; and 1 p.m. Dec. 7.
‘THE HISTORY BOYS'
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $14.
The Weekend Theater's artistic director Ralph Hyman directs this Tony Award winner, a drama set in a fictional grammar school in northern England in the early '80s. At the center of the action are eight history pupils who're trying to get into college with the help of two iconoclastic teachers. One, a veteran English teacher, questions the education system and aims to imbue his students with knowledge for knowledge's sake. He's presented in contrast to Irwin, a generation younger, who serves as a special coach to the boys, teaching them that supporting an argument is more important than historical truth when it comes to the college examination board. Along the way, the play delves deep into the chaos of adolescence and the broader purpose of education with, the theater promises, “superb one-liners.” The production runs Friday and Saturday through Dec. 20. LM.
7:30 p.m., the Village. $17 adv., $20 d.o.s.
At least for now, the gears that propel the music-industrial complex lurch along. The record industry may be imploding, but we still have radio (for now) and bands that'll go to some length to get their music played (for now). In our neck of the woods, that translates into 100.3 “The Edge's” “Twisted Christmas Show,” featuring, as these confabs typically do, both bands on the rise and bands whose stars have dimmed. In the latter camp, Cali post-grunge purveyors Hoobastank came of age in the early part of the decade, infusing a strong sense of melody into their angst, with anthemic songs like “Crawling in the Dark” and “Running Away.” Two albums and seven years later, the band comes to town trying to distinguish itself within the post-grunge glut. They're armed with a new single, “My Turn,” and a new menu item to promote — the Hooburrito at Denny's. The other acts, hard rockers Trapt, Aranda and Silverstone, fall into the rising talent category. LM.
Good analysis, something completely lacking from the daily newspaper's sports reporters/columnists.
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