Autumn temps are perfect for outdoor activities
OAKLAWN OPENING DAY
10 a.m., Oaklawn.
Oaklawn's website currently offers a “$10 Free Play Coupon,” so print that dude out about 912 times*, nominate a designated driver and go cheer the ponies and place some video-game bets. The 106-year-old venue and the state's largest tourist magnet just got enhanced to the tune of $3 million, finally giving us a long-awaited option to the forced march to Tunica. The recent unveiling of an 850-station electronic gambling parlor with craps, poker and blackjack tables, as well as machines bearing an uncanny resemblance to slots, will give plenty of anxious hustlers their gaming fix. Apparently, Oaklawn's appeal has broadened beyond state boundaries. With last year's introduction of a rating system for North America's 65 thoroughbred tracks, the Horseplayers Association of North America placed Oaklawn ninth in its top 10, but we'd be wise to expect a higher ranking before the season's over.
*This probably won't work. PP
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $10-$14.
The Weekend Theater kicks the year off with a “black comedy about white trash.” From playwright Del Shores, whose “Southern Baptist Sissies” played memorably at the theater in 2008, the comedy is set at the funeral of a family matriarch. That she met her end in a seedy motel after tripping over the wooden leg of her young, secret lover and hitting her head on a bathtub gives you an idea of the tone this one takes. Those gathering for the funeral have names like LaVonda, Wardell and Brother Boy, and they all come with heavy baggage. One's a cross-dresser, long institutionalized by his parents, with a special knack for channeling Tammy Wynette. Another's traumatized for life because of a “pig-bloating” incident. Then, of course, there are all the requisite ex's, preachers, bickering kin, and “de-homosexualizing” psychiatrists you'd expect. Adapted into a cult film (starring Delta Burke, Olivia Newton-John and Beau Bridges) and, later, a cult TV series, the play's likely to draw a good number of folks who'll see the punchlines coming. The play runs through Jan. 30. LM.
‘GRIEG'S ROMANTIC PIANO CONCERTO'
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $20-$58.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra continues its search for a new conductor with a program directed by Fusao Kajima, the fourth of five candidates. Kajima, who helms the Bellevue Philharmonic in Bellevue, Wash., leads the ASO in Heitor Villa-Lobos' “Sinfonietta No. 1 (A memória de Mozart),” Antonín Dvorák's “Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88” and the centerpiece, Edvard Grieg's “Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16.” Acclaimed Ukranian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa guests on the piano concerto, which the ASO bills as a “beautiful melding of virtuosity and lyricism.” LM.
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10.
Jemina Pearl's only 22, but she's a seasoned rock vet. She started her ascent the way indie kids everywhere dream of: When she was a teen living in Nashville, her band Be Your Own Pet broke through in the UK when someone passed a CD-R to a prominent DJ, and before long, labels like Rough Trade and XL started putting out EPs. Back in the U.S., after doing the big festival circuit (CMJ, SXSW) the punked-up pop quartet signed to Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label. After two well-received full-lengths and much rowdy touring, the band called it quits, leaving Pearl to carve her own niche. Luckily she's got some collaborators. On her solo debut, “Break it up Bad,” released last October, she counts not just label head Thurston Moore as a guest, but also TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, Red Kross' Steve McDonald and Iggy Friggin' Pop. Iggy, of course, won't be around on Friday to duet on “I Hate People,” a misanthropic love song with plenty of tweaked girl-group pep. But here's betting Pearl doesn't have any trouble carrying it herself. Little Rock's Flash LaRue opens. LM.