Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
HOT SPRINGS JAZZFEST
7 p.m., Oaklawn Race and Gaming Theater. $10.
The 18th annual kicks off not with jazz, but with a pair of “Blues Brothers” impersonators from Alabama who are actually brothers. The Crisler brothers — Jamey and Justin — do songs like “Soul Man” and “Stand By Your Man” at Oaklawn's new theater. Friday the Air Force Shades of Blue Big Band and Save the Blues Jazz Combo play a sold-out show at the Convention Center's Horner Hall. Saturday is the meat of the festival. From noon until near dark, jazz acts will gather under the sky bridge on Broadway and Market Streets. Styles range from Dixieland (the Hot Springs Village Dixieland Band, noon) to rock-filtered fusion (Henderson State University's NuFusion, 2 p.m.). Mixed in with the locals, several special guests stand out. Trumpet player DeShannon Higa (2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.), from Honolulu, has collaborated with everyone from Diana Krall to Tower of Power. Vocalist Phillip Manuel (5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.) knows big names, too; he's worked with Patti LaBelle and Dr. John. Get the complete lowdown at hotspringsjazzfest.org. LM.
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall.
Fifty years ago Barry Gordy borrowed $800 to start what would become, a year later, Motown Records. If the label, over the years, has occasionally taken hits for repressing gospel-style emotion with a heavy pop-hand — and for its utter devotion to formula in all matters — it remains perhaps the most influential independent label of the '60s and '70s. For its guiding hand in the racial integration of pop music. For its unprecedented success on the charts. But more pointedly, for the stars: Marvin, Michael, Smokey, Stevie. And for the songs, that not just anyone of the era, but anyone who's spent any time listening to an oldies station, can reel off: “Dancing in the Street,” “My Girl,” “Reach Out, I'll Be There,” “Where Did Our Love Go.” They'll be reeling them off at the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's first Pops concert of the series. The group Jeans 'n Classics provides the vocals with veteran performers Jean Meilleur and Denise Pelley leading the way. The ASO reprises the concert on Saturday, same time, place and cost. LM.
THE CHILL: BOSS EDITION
9 p.m., Revolution. $10.
The Chill, Conduit Entertainment's regular concert series, returns with something to celebrate. Among the label's roster and associates (perhaps even in all of the state), no act has seemed nearer to jumping beyond the local scene than Suga City. The duo, comprised of Stuttgart native Arkansas Bo and Pine Bluff's Goines, long had a distribution deal with national indie Koch Records (the recent word is that Conduit is trying to leverage a bigger deal). Together, they've put out a handful of deeply infectious tracks on Conduit compilations and, apart, they've each released outstanding solo mixtapes. With all the buzz, it's a bit surprising that last week marked the release of their first group mixtape, “Leaks of Controversy.” (Get a download link on Rock Candy.) It's a bit uneven, but filled with promising ideas. Hopefully, it's just the start of a prolific career. The always engaging live hip-hop act Epiphany and One Night Stand and local up-and-comer Rah hoWard share the bill, while DJ KP mans the turntables. LM.
‘MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS'
7 p.m., Children's Theatre, Arkansas Arts Center. $11-$14.
The Children's Theatre opens its season with an adaptation of a beloved children's story. A Newbury Honor Book published in 1939, “Mr. Popper's Penguins,” by Richard and Florence Atwater, builds on a unique conflict: Mr. Popper, a mild-mannered house painter, somehow comes into possession of a dozen Adelie penguins (natives of Antarctica). As the comedy proceeds, Mr. Popper struggles to figure out a way to keep the penguins from eating him out of house and home. The play continues at the Children's Theatre through Oct. 4. LM.
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