Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
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.
7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA. $30-$35.
He's back in the saddle again. After 17 years on the “Tonight Show” (and 14 as the leader of the band), guitarist Kevin Eubanks took a few months off and then, along with his boss, shifted this week to a new time slot with, more or less, the old formula. Saturday, the jazz guitarist takes a quick break from his new/old duties to flex his chops a bit more than he's typically asked on “Leno.” Look for original material and plenty of improvisation from Eubanks, who comes along with Bill Pierce (saxophone), Marvin “Smitty” Smith (drums), Gerry “Dr. J” Etkins (keyboards) and Rene Camacho (bass). LM.
GREG GINN'S JAMBANG
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10.
Greg Ginn may be best known for leading the hardcore punk brigade Black Flag, which he founded and fronted from 1976 to 1986, but in no way whatsoever has he faded into obscurity. He's still running SST, the legendary punk label that's released seminal albums by everyone from the Minutemen to Sonic Youth, and he said recently that he still performs about six nights a week. Henry Rollins has said that Ginn's playing is comparable to free-form jazz sax players such as Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. As for other accolades, Ginn made it to 99th on Rolling Stone's list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” and is currently mastermind of JamBang, an audio/visual experience that offers a hybrid of electronic and organic instrumentation that sits on the outskirts of traditional musical realms. Supporting this tour will be the Taylor Texas Corrugators, Ginn's Western swing/jazz/blues project that just released its second album, “Goof Off Experts.” PP.
7:15 p.m., Verizon Arena, $15-$60.
Without question, ours always has been a prime market for the pro wrestling scene. Old-school bouts at Fisher's Armory in North Little Rock and Barton Coliseum were legendary, and wrestlers solely relied upon fists and foreign objects taped to the wrist, or some bad street Angel Dust blown into an opponent's faces to get the three-count. The wrecking crews of yesteryears cracked skulls with no fanfare, props, pyros, PA banter from backstage or soap opera storylines, and the only female drama involved the Fabulous Moolah. If extra weaponry was required, some front-row fanatic had to sacrifice his or her chair until business was complete. Today's is an entirely different bag, variations on themes, but big names headed this way include John Cena, DX, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, the Big Show, MVP, and tag-teamers Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes, both carrying on the legacy of their wrestler fathers. PP.
9 p.m., Juanita's. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
How's this for an embarrassment of riches? Just four months after Richard Buckner made his first-ever appearance in Little Rock, he's coming back. If I made strong pleas based solely on the strength of Buckner's deep catalog then, after seeing him live, I'm imploring: Don't miss this show. The man is as arresting of a performer as you'll see. As before, expect him to take the stage alone, but with an arsenal of guitars and effects pedals. He'll likely work through pieces of his eight albums — this tour is to promote the reissues of his Lloyd Maines-produced debut “Bloomed,” the “Spoon River Anthology”-inspired song-cycle “The Hill” and 2002's “Impasse” — reinterpreting broadly, playing without pause (leaning heavily on a loop pedal) and singing in that voice as weird and rich and harrowing as anything off the Harry Smith Anthology. LM.