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To-do list, July 23 

FRIDAY 7/24

 

VENUS MISSION

9 p.m., The Peabody. $5.

 

The RiverTop Party finale signals the crest of summer, when it's too hot to hang out at night down by the river. The Peabody's send-off, Venus Mission — “the hottest band between Memphis and the Sun” — might be the most popular touring act to come regularly to Little Rock. The seven-piece includes three miniskirt-clad vocalists, a drummer, bassist, guitarist and keytarist. Their repertoire spans the last 30 years, encompassing everything from disco to contemporary pop, but with, as the band's attire suggests, a focus on the music of the '80s. This year's parties have drawn crowds of 800, according to the Peabody. Looking to build on that success, the hotel is considering adding a fall series, with parties in October leading up to its second annual Boo Bash on Friday, Oct. 30. As usual, admission is free prior to 9 p.m. LM.

 

 

SATURDAY 7/25

 

MIKE EPPS

AND FRIENDS

8 p.m., Robinson Center, $37.50-$41.50

 

Mike Epps, best known as Ice Cube's weed-burning accomplice in several “Friday” flicks, offers a sharp stand-up performance. Tearing up the circuit in Atlanta before heading to New York City to star in Def Comedy Jam in the mid-1990s, he's currently headlining a four-man comic posse billed as “Mike Epps and Friends,” featuring Capone, Shawty Shawty and Lil JJ, each well-known in his own right.

Capone is a reformed criminal who served as a home attendant for mentally disabled patients before opening a barbershop where he honed his comic delivery. Shawty dreamed of a dancing career before breaking into the comic circuit and racking up awards. Expect him to bust some moves. But the local angle is Lil JJ, the Little Rock native whose PE teacher guided the class clown into the Mental Buffet, an open mic event at Juanita's where he cut his teeth. Since then, he's starred in Nickelodeon's “Just Jared,” covered the presidential election for the network and toured with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. For those seeking medicinal laughter, this bill looks to be worth the ticket. PP.

 

‘FOLLIE HOLIDAYS'

1 p.m. and 7 p.m., The Rep. $10.

 

Most professional theater companies around the country have programs for young artists like the Rep's Summer Musical Theater Intensive, but few, if any, put those young performers on their Main Stage, which is what the Rep will do twice this Saturday (ages 16 to 23) and twice again Saturday, Aug. 8 (ages 10 to 15). In November, the groups will join to present the program in a two-week run. Don't mistake “Follie Holidays” for just another kid's show, redeemed by cuteness and precociousness. Hundreds auditioned for a spot in the SMTI, and those that make it are serious about acting. Past shows have been hugely impressive. This year's musical revue takes on songs from well-known holidays — New Year's Day, National Dress Up Your Pet Day, National Barbershop Quartet Day, Multiple Personality Day and the like. Don't dawdle: Tickets for the summer performances often sell out quickly. LM.

 

 

BIG SMITH

9 p.m., Revolution. $6.

 

No band owns the Ozarks like Big Smith. Named — under pressure from a bar owner who needed to know how to bill the group — for the Missouri-owned farm wear company whose overalls Mark Bileyu happened to be wearing that night, the band embodies the spirit of Ozark hillbilly music. It's rowdy, filled with lyrics of mean women and the joys of oscillating fans and built on pickin' and grinnin' and harmony. That playing and singing together thing comes naturally to Big Smith. The band's comprised of five cousins, including two sets of brothers (plus lone female Molly Healey). Live, the six-piece's equipment includes cello, drums, fiddle, guitar, kazoo, keyboard, mandolin, mouth bow, resonator bass, spoons, tenor banjo, upright bass and washboard. Shew. With that arsenal, more than a decade's worth of material and an adoring crowd, look for Revolution to get downright sweaty with all the stompin' going on. Springfield Southern rockers the Cropdusters, not to be confused with the Magic Cropdusters, open the show. LM.

 

 

BIG BOOTS/FORMER MEMBERS OF

10 p.m., Pizza D'Action. $3.

 

Almost five months to the day that the roof came down in Pizza D's dining room, two local bands come together to celebrate its repair. Better believe the regulars will be out, marveling at all the room and extra air to blow smoke into. They'll have a local, and likely bar favorite, to help them along. Led by former Sugar and the Raw front man Mason Maudlin, Big Boots offers a strange, but usually effective, stylistic mix. Maudlin's mewing and phrasing often sound indebted to Thom York, but the band's music leans more toward Southern rock and Brit-pop. Co-founder Mike Motley (drums) and new addition Trevor Ware (bass), who local band adherents will recognize from Grand Serenade, round out the line-up. The Former Members Of is a new band, making its debut on Saturday, that features Motley, former Soophie Nun Squad and Sugar and the Raw member Mark Lierly and Murdock Jones, whose former bands have only played private parties. Based on Jones' drunk strumming and singing in the film “Slumberland,” he's more than due for a public debut. LM.

 

 

RICK SPRINGFIELD

8 p.m., Timberwood Amphitheater, Magic Springs, $35.99-$45.99.

 

Calling all cougars, cubs, and “Tiger Beat” readers. While owning the charts from 1981-84 with “Jessie's Girl,” “Don't Talk To Strangers,” and “I've Done Everything For You” (written by Sammy Hagar), Richard Lewis Springthorpe simultaneously charmed soap opera viewers on General Hospital as Dr. Noah Drake, having taken the role because he didn't figure his soon-to-be multi-platinum was going to sell. The Australian-born musician ditched his high school diploma in 1967 to build a career Down Under, entertaining Vietnam troops before scoring his first No. 1 hit in 1971. Hollywood-bound a year later, his image was plastered across pages of “Tiger Beat” soon after, and by 1973 a Saturday morning cartoon series on TV called “Mission: Magic!” was centered around Springfield. Quite a storied career, with movies, TV, pop anthems and such. And he's still on his game. Park admission price includes the show. PP.

 

 

WEDNESDAY 7/29

 

JIM ROSE CIRCUS VERSUS JAKE ‘THE SNAKE' ROBERTS

9 p.m., Juanita's, $15 adv., $18 d.o.s

Sweet and sour Jesus, ours seems to be the go-to city for sideshow attractions these days, and serious high fives all around. But perhaps the Jim Rose Circus that charmed outdoor Lollapalooza crowds and earned second billing after Marilyn Manson on the Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral Tour is, regrettably, not the sheer freak-force of its former self. And mad squared-circle props to the 'rasslin scene, but the same may apply to Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who was THE MAN in 1980s pro wrestling. He not only turned opponents into cold Cream of Wheat with his signature finishing maneuver, the DDT, but added insult to victim injury by applying his 15-foot python, Damien, over said opponents, who writhed with broken bones and utter fear. So don't nix the rare opportunity to experience the “When Legends Collide Tour.” The Jim Rose brand still delivers human dartboards, and power drills up the nose, and other wicked business, so consider The Snake tangling with a circus crew an added bonus for this Hump Day action.  PP.

 

 

‘FERRIS BUELLER'S

DAY OFF'

Sundown, Riverfest Amphitheatre. Free.

 

Movies in the Park planned to launch its season with John Hughes' greatest teeny bop film, but rain in the forecast got in the way, so here we go again. Surely there's no greater wish fulfillment movie from the ‘80s. Here's the gist, for those of you who've managed to resist the film's charms on TBS every other week: High school senior Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) skips school with his girlfriend, Sloane, and dour best friend, Cameron, to travel to Chicago in a Ferrari. There, the threesome catch a Cubs' game, visit the Sears Tower, lead a parade crowd in a rendition of “Twist and Shout” and dine in a fancy restaurant after convincing the maitre d' that Ferris is the “sausage king of Chicago.” Meanwhile, back at school, Ferris' sister (Jennifer Grey, in her breakout role) and the dean of students try to expose Ferris as a truant, and Ben Stein launches his career with “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” LM.

 

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