"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
ARKANSAS VS. LSU
1:30 p.m., War Memorial Stadium. $45.
n So we're not going to a bowl. Our defense has regressed from bad to disastrous. Our star running back, who had a commanding lead in league rushing stats mid-way through the season, only to struggle with injury and O-line ineptness, probably won't play. The seniors on the team who never bought into Bobby Petrino's brusque, no-nonsense style of coaching (the anti-Nutt), have surely, now, really given up caring. Plus, we're likely to get plenty of help self-destructing: After getting creamed by Houston Dale's new squad last week, LSU will be out for blood. It could — probably will — be a drubbing. But! There are worse excuses to escape further family share time than to play bean bag toss and drink Bloody Marys on a muddy golf course. And Nathan Dick, at least in post-game highlights, actually looks pretty good (he can hit a receiver in stride!), so maybe we'll at least get a few fireworks to help send off the season. Even if we get killed, the game's a rite of passage to what many a Hog fan's looked forward to since August: talking about next season. Can't wait. LM.
‘GREAT RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER'
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $25-$65.
n Goodbye Thanksgiving, hello holiday season madness. But before you get overwhelmed, perhaps a little “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” will get you in the right spirit. Chances are you've seen some iteration of this Tchaikovsky classic, but performed by real Russians? Here's your chance. The Moscow Ballet, a touring group active since the early '90s, offers a unique spin on the original ballet. Choreographer Anatoly Emelianov sets Act II in the “Land of Peace and Harmony,” where doves fly and there's no war or suffering. If you miss the doves and don't catch the lack of suffering, a “whimsical, giant, six-handed grandfather clock,” new this year, will signal the transition. The elaborate sets, paired with giant puppets of unicorns and other animals, are likely to be worth the price of admission alone. LM.
‘THE TOYMAKER'S APPRENTICE'
7 p.m., Arkansas Children's Theatre. $11-$14.
n The Arkansas Children's Theatre bills this season's play as a “modern fable.” That might be a stretch. It's a Willy Wonka-ish set-up: In a small house on a peak high above a village, Gideon cranks out the best toys in the land. Even Santa's a regular customer. After one particularly grueling day, Gideon realizes that demand exceeds the supply he can generate alone and decides to hire an assistant. Two apply, Libby and Jack. But there's a hitch. Libby's a girl, and girls don't make toys! But they do, she persists, and Gideon decides to give her a chance. With the wisdom of an exploitative King Solomon, he offers up a contest: Work for a year, after which I'll pick the best employee. Along the way, according to the preview, Jack learns “the value of working hard and having a positive attitude,” and Gideon learns “not to underestimate Libby just because she's a girl.” Life lessons! LM.
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $13 adv., $15 d.o.s.
n Here's where the crowd starts hollering: “Arkansas, my head hurts/I'd love to stick around and maybe make it worse.” That's how Hayes Carll opens a song on his latest album, “Trouble in Mind.” A Texas native who schooled at Hendrix and married an Arkansas woman, Carll's no stranger to showing Natural State love. He named his second album “Little Rock,” and even as his career's blossomed, he's still managed to make it to town once every couple months. Look for Saturday's crowd to be especially swollen. There'll be two bumps: Hendrix alums and old friends home for the holiday, and those newly converted to the singer/songwriter's charms via all the year-end lists in which he's topping out. Not without good reason. Long billed as an heir to twang-y Texas songwriters who made careers out of striking an anti-Nashville pose, Carll's come into his own on “Trouble,” particularly on the song “She Left Me For Jesus.” It won the Americana Music Association's Song of the Year on the strength of lines like, “She's given up whiskey and I've taken up wine/While she prays for his troubles, she's forgot about mine/I'm a gonna get even; I can't handle the shame/Why last time we made love she even called out his name.” Check out the video for the song on Rock Candy. It was enough to get the Onion on board as a tour sponsor. LM.