"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA, Conway. $23-$35.
From the Buenos Aires dance troupe Estampas Porteñas, “Tango Fire” comes to Reynolds Performance Hall as part of UCA's “Public Appearances” series. The metaphor in the dance will be hard to miss. Just flipping through the pictures that accompany the bios for the company's dancers — with legs splayed and akimbo, backs contorted into impossible bows and dress slits that come about hip high — is enough, at least for chaste Internet browsers, to get the blood racing. A live quartet, of piano, violin, bandoneon (a cousin of the concertina) and double bass lays down the tango grooves, while vocalist Javier “Cardenal” Dominguez croons. White-hot passion pretty much guaranteed. LM.
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $10-$14.
This one-man show business is catchy. Just as the Rep stages its one-man play starring Lawrence Hamilton, the Weekend Theater attaches its fortunes to another sort of name talent. With apologies to Alan Douglas, who stars and (amazingly) directs himself, it's the playwright, in this case, who's likely to be the draw. Known popularly, depending on your generation, as the son of New Yorker editor William Shawn, the villain in “The Princess Bride,” the oddball philosophical stepdad on “Gossip Girl” or as a voice in name-your-favorite-animated movie, Wallace Shawn has managed a parallel career, crafting work as dark and politically charged as his acting is light and fanciful. “The Fever” debuted in 1990, though you might remember it from HBO's 2007 adaptation starring Vanessa Redgrave. The play centers on a nameless, well-to-do American narrator, who delivers a monologue amidst a fever on a bathroom floor of a hotel room in an impoverished country where a political execution is scheduled the very next day, directly below the narrator's window. Maybe you can guess: The play delves into complicity and conscience and privilege. It's bound to be provocative. LM.
5:30 p.m., Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts. $5-$10.
In what Wildwood is calling Little Rock's only “deep winter festival,” the park undergoes a transformation never before seen in its history: It gets illuminated at night. There's no electricity running through the grounds, so aside from those who've snuck away from an event at Cabe Theater to wander through the grounds under the moonlight, the park's never been explored at night. Timed to coincide with the Chinese tradition of celebrating the first full moon of the lunar year, the festival incorporates eight areas, each with its own style of lantern — American, Asian, lunar, Mexican, Shakespearean, Turkish, Viennese and Victorian-English. There will be entertainment and food (for purchase) at each area, and visitors will be presented with rhymes, riddles, proverbs and poems. Those who unlock the mysteries or successfully deliver a line of verse will earn sweet and savory prizes. Or patrons can simply buy warming treats like cognac, gourmet soups and hot chocolate. There'll be fire pits along the lake for warming. Floating luminaries will light the lake. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Children 5 and under are admitted free. The festival continues on Sunday at 3 p.m. Popular New Age group the Tim Janis Ensemble performs at 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday in the Cabe Theater. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for children and students. LM.
REEL CIVIL RIGHTS
2 p.m., Market Street Cinema. Free.
For the third year in a row, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, in partnership with Market Street Cinema, offers a free film festival focused om civil rights issues. Which is not code for the kind of stuffy documentaries cultural anthropology professors screen. Organizers have assembled an impressive lineup for the two-day festival. For the kids, Charles Burnett's “Selma, Lord, Selma” (2 p.m.), about schoolgirls who join MLK Jr.'s march to Selma, kicks off the festival. The Renaud brothers' fantastic study of Little Rock's most famous high school, “Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later” (4 p.m.), is essential viewing for anyone who hasn't seen it, and I'm sure it would still be rewarding the second time through. “Trouble in Water” (7 p.m.) is bound to inspire the bad feelings of the Bush era; it's a Katrina documentary, and one praised maybe even more than Spike Lee's. The festival continues on Sunday with “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes” (2 p.m.), a documentary that looks at masculinity and sexism in contemporary hip-hop. “Where Water Meets the Sky” (4 p.m.) tells the story of a group of Zambian women who learn how to make a film. Finally, “For the Bible Tells Me So” (7 p.m.) examines the conflict, or lack thereof, of sexual identity and faith. Each day, student-produced short docs will precede each film. LM.
IVAN NEVILLE'S DUMPSTAPHUNK
8:30 p.m., Revolution. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
Little Rock continues to deliver the funkiest, swampiest Cajun-spiced voodoo grooves Louisiana has to offer, and this week's highlight stems from the royal Neville family, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. Keyboardist Ivan, son of famed musician Aaron and nephew of Art, Charles and Cyril, brings his five-piece crew back to town for another highly anticipated show. This crew is pedigreed: Neville, who indicates in the band's biography that his least favorite hurricane is “that bitch Katrina,” has jammed with North Mississippi All Stars and Galactic. Drummer Raymond Weber's resume includes the Mardi Gras Indians. Bassist Tony Hall has worked with Jewel, Harry Connick Jr. and Trey Anastasio. Guitarist Nick Daniels is known for his work with Etta James and Boz Skaggs. What else need be said? If you really dig thick, greasy musical jambalaya, this is your chance to indulge. Founder of Beanland and former Widespread Panic guitarist George McConnell opens the 18-and-up show. PP.
DIVINE PERFORMING ARTS CHINESE NEW YEAR SPECTACULAR
7 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $27.
It's the Year of the Ox, y'all. Just two weeks after the official beginning of the Chinese New Year, a troupe of some 150 performers comes to Robinson to spread the grandeur of Chinese dance, a tradition the Chinese trace to the fourth millennium B.C. The Divine Performing Arts ensemble's history doesn't quite stretch that far, but no one's sniffing at the 4,000 years the group's distilled into this show. With elaborate and colorful costumes, lithe dancers will re-enact histories, myths and religious practices. Dancers will show Mulan's legendary quest in an account that's bound to break from Disney's version. A dance dedicated to the relatively new spiritual discipline Falun Gong will bring the program up to contemporary times. Don't mistake the celebration of cultural heritage for nationalism. The Divine Performing Arts cultural organization, based in New York, exists independently from the Chinese government. LM.
Congratulations Tara, beautifully written!