"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ‘SALTIMBANCO'
3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Alltel. $40-$90.
Give it up for French-Canadian contortionists in really bizarre costumes! The oldest major touring show of Cirque du Soleil, “Saltimbanco” was the first production in which Cirque narrowed its focus to tell a themed story. The show is meant to be about multi-culturalism and new urbanism, but good luck wading through the allegory.
A taste from the Cirque website: “The Vers multicolores (or multi-colored worms) are symbols of conventionality. They all look the same in their unadorned costumes. The Vers masqués (or masked worms) are faceless and nameless. They are followers who never question the rules. The Baroques are independent, daring, a touch anarchistic and are true urbanites.” So now that you've got that CliffsNote, you can sit back and enjoy the Chinese pole acrobatics; aerial, bungee-propelled ballet; men balancing, on one hand, on other men's heads; high flying trapeze work and of course, a lot more indescribable stuff. The show continues at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
Name me another cover band with at least four dudes who've toured nationally. Or one with a drummer who drives four hours for gigs. How 'bout one that's a side gig for its members' myriad, awesome local projects — like the Boondogs, Big Silver, the Easys, Jim Mize and the Germans, Western Meds. No sense in trying. There's none apart from the Libras, Little Rock's favorite theme-night-obsessed cover band. Last we saw the dudes, they were doing an unpracticed, raw night of dead Beatles covers. Folks got down. The bar at White Water probably pulled in more than any other night of the week, and we weren't at all mad at the band. But where precision helps in Beatle pop, the songs of Bob Dylan lend themselves to the kind of shambolic jam the Libras do best. Look for lead vocals from Jason Weinheimer (Boondogs), Greg Spradlin and Isaac Alexander (Big Silver, Easys). The other guys — Chris Michaels, Dylan Turner and Charles Wyrick — could probably be plied into singing with booze. Or you could probably buy your own way onto the mic with booze. It's a drunkards' marketplace. Bonus points: Dave Easely, the serene and talented pedal steel whiz from New Orleans, opens and sits in with the Libras.
TH' LEGENDARY SHACK*SHAKERS
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $8 adv./$10 d.o.s.
Like Colonel Sanders, Muhammad Ali and Mae West, J.D. Wilkes, the wiry, often shirtless lead singer of Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers, is a Kentucky colonel. It's an honorary designation handed down to famous Kentuckians by the governor — like the Arkansas Traveler, but more provincial and unique. That extra air of gravitas befits Wilkes, whom Hank Williams III has called “the best damn frontman…in America,” though it might seem a bit incongruous when Wilkes takes the stage and starts raving like Iggy Pop in a Pentecostal church. Touring behind “Swampblood,” the third and final installment of the band's Dixie-fried survey of the “new American gothic,” the Shack*Shakers might easily get dismissed as Southern shtick if their stylistically ever-shifting music wasn't so arresting. Look onstage for signs of Wilkes' side gig as a visual artist — haunting, carnival-style paintings. In the opening slot, Little Rock's Josh the Devil and the Sinners, a punkabilly band that treads ground similar to the Shack*Shakers', plays its final show.
Congratulations Tara, beautifully written!