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To-do list, May 21 

THURSDAY 5/21

 

‘BIRTH'

7 p.m., Haislip Arena Theatre, UALR. Free-$10.

 

Karen Brody gave birth to her two sons in Little Rock at home with the help of midwives. Since then, she's founded BOLD (Birth on Labor Day), a global activist theater movement aimed at “making maternity care more mother-friendly.” From 2003 to 2004, she interviewed some 100 women across the U.S. about their pregnancy experience. Using that information, she wrote “Birth,” a play that tells their stories. Like Amanda, who yells “my body rocks!” through delivery; Vanessa and Janet, who want an epidural; Beth, who “loves her C-section;” Lisa, who says her C-section felt like “the death of me and my baby,” and Jillian, who's an expert on orgasmic birth (no shame in laughing loudly here). If you haven't gathered, there's an anti-hospital, pro-natural, home birth agenda at work here. The cast includes a lot of local stage veterans, like Angie Gilbert, Monica Clark-Robinson and Alanna Hamill Newton. The play runs again on Friday — same time, same place. LM.

 

FRIDAY 5/22

 

THICK SYRUP RECORDS ANNIVERSARY PARTY

10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.

 

Thick Syrup turned 2 sometime last December, label founder Travis McElroy reckons. But don't call him a slacker for just getting around to throwing a party. He's been busy: hop-scotching from Little Rock to Austin to Baltimore to work with David and Jad Fair of Half Japanese fame; working the phones and the Internet to reach out to his teen-age heroes — bands and artists like Teenage Fanclub, Sebadoh, Don Fleming and Penn Gillete — for a comp, he's pleased to say, that's coming together; and securing the final tracks for a double CD follow-up to the “Arkansas Compilation” Thick Syrup released in 2007. Two local Thick Syrup acts help him celebrate. The Weisenheimers, whose self-titled debut came out last year, specialize in cheeky pop-punk. And Frown Pow'r, who've just put the finishing touches on their debut, make lo-fi (but big energy) garage folk that's made for stompin'. Mr. Bear, the stage name for singer/songwriter Jack Bishop, opens the show with a big voice, a strong sense of melody and a lot of whimsy. LM.

   

 

RYAN BINGHAM & THE DEAD HORSES

9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz, $10.

 

Saddle up for the perfect post-Willie Nelson after-party with this crew, which Sticky Fingerz is billing as one of its most requested acts in the past 15 months. Lead singer Bingham, originally from New Mexico, has a special songwriting depth, likely derived from a knockabout life on the bull-riding circuit in a fractured family that moved often between dusty Southwestern towns. With two albums under his belt, the second and upcoming third produced by former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford, Bingham has been occasionally criticized as cliched, but he's received more than his fair share of praise. Texas Music Magazine compared him to Tom Waits, and Rolling Stone gave his “Mescalito” album three stars, saying Bingham “earns his sepia-toned album cover with a dusty wood-and-steel sound, and despite being twenty-five, sings like Steve Earle's dad.” PP.

 

 

SATURDAY 5/23

 

AMERICAN PRINCES

9:30 p.m., Revolution.

 

This is an inspired idea for a Riverfest post-party. After opening for post-grunge hero Gavin Rossdale on Friday at Riverfest, Little Rock's finest band on the national scene offers what it's calling “120 Minutes of '90s Hits.” That means songs from Alice and Chains, Blur, Counting Crows, the Cure, Foo Fighters, Gin Blossoms, Pavement, Pearl Jam, the Pixies, Presidents of the United States of America, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Toad the Wet Sprocket. And that's just the ones vocalist/guitarist Collins Kilgore could think of off the top of his head. Those who've seen a Princes' cover night know that A) they're committed to dressing the part, and B) they're really, really good at playing covers. I suppose a big piece of that comes with simply being a professional band with all the requisite skill to play a lot of different stuff, but I think the dudes might have a special aptitude for covers. Bonus preparation: Peep the show's flyer on Rock Candy. The band's faces have been attached to the famous photo of the Chili Peppers, nude and junk-cupping. LM.

 

 

SUNDAY 5/24

 

‘HEAVY METAL'

Downtown Music.*

 

For a certain set of folks who grew up in the '80s, this was the film to watch on psychedelics with a crew of buddies when someone's folks were out of town for the weekend. For the uninitiated, here's the gist: five short stories served with generous portions of animated graphic violence, nudity, sexuality and comedy and anchored by one of the greatest soundtracks ever recorded. The voice cast includes John Candy, Harold Ramis and Eugene Levy, and the soundtrack features Sammy Hagar, Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, Nazareth and Devo. If you've never seen animated alien co-pilots (Candy and Ramis) whiff a space-sized rail of galactic cocaine (“Man, that's some great Nyborg”) and then argue over who gets to drive, (“Man, if it's one thing I know how to do, it's drive when I'm stoned”), now's your chance. There'll be 50-cent drafts, $2 well drinks, $3.50 pitchers and half-price food specials at Downtown Music on Sunday, too. PP

 

*Despite repeated efforts, we couldn't get anyone on the horn at Downtown Music to tells us a time or a price for the movie before press time. But it's far too awesome to ignore. Check Rock Candy (www.arktimes.com/blogs/rockcandy) for the lowdown.

 

 

MONDAY 5/25

 

‘ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL'

7 p.m., Market Street Cinema, $8.

 

Don't think you have to be a heavy metal or documentary fan to appreciate this testament to human spirit, perseverance and determination. Since its Sundance premiere last year, this rockumentary has been hailed as one of the greatest rock films ever made. As an added bonus, this special viewing will be followed by a three-song set by the band. Filmmaker Sacha Gervasi, known largely as the screenwriter for Steven Spielberg's “The Terminal,” was a roadie at age 16 for these Canadian metal pioneers, who are widely cited as major influences for bands such as Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. Fast forward 35 years and Gervasi discovers that founding members lead vocalist Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner never quit the band they founded together at age 14, and are still chasing an elusive dream while juggling jobs, families and adult responsibilities. Camera in tow, Gervasi documents the band's attempt at a European tour, complete with empty halls, missed trains and unpaid gigs, while capturing the sentiments of wives, children, fans, roadies and all who come in contact with the two warriors who refuse to acquiesce to a dream that's fading fast, but still might have life in it. With cold beer and wine available, it's hard to pass on such an opportunity. PP

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