Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
JOHN PAUL KEITH AND THE ONE FOUR FIVES
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
John Paul Keith moved to Bluff City just a few years back, but he's certainly made all the right moves musically on his way down the path of becoming a tried-and-true Memphian. After touring around with alt-country and rock acts like Ryan Adams and the Pink Hearts and the V-Roys, he's taken up with some of the city's finest garage-rock bands, like Harlan T. Bobo; Jim Dickinson's garage rock project, Snake Eyes; and Jack Oblivian and the Tearjerkers (seen recently, awesomely at White Water). On top of all that, he also regularly steps out as the front man of John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives, a garage-rock band that's not scared to twang it up here and there. Expect covers of songs by the likes of Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly mixed with a few JPK originals, notably the single, “Lookin' for a Thrill.” It sounds like a '50s rock 'n' roll version of the Replacements. (You can download it for free at www.myspace.com/johnpaulkeith.) Local singer/songwriter Mat Mahar opens.
MOSIAC TEMPLARS CULTURAL CENTER GRAND OPENING
11 a.m., Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Free.
Almost 100 years after the African-American fraternal organization the Mosaic Templars first opened their doors on Ninth and Broadway and more than three years after a fire destroyed the original building, a new museum celebrates its grand opening in the footprint of what was once the center of African-American business and culture in Little Rock. Fittingly, the new Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is the first state-funded museum dedicated to that legacy and the broader history of African-American life in Arkansas. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. will officially open the museum, with entertainment on Ninth Street to follow. The line-up includes the Hope Drum Ballet, an after-school program in Hempstead County that uses drumming and storytelling to build children's self-confidence; Afrodesia, a local reggae/worldbeat act; the UAPB Vesper Choir and the rhythm section of the 17-time Grammy award-winning Count Basie Orchestra.
‘OPENING NIGHT WITH FIREBIRD'
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra launches its season with works by Ravel, Stravinsky and Dvorak and a guest appearance by renowned cellist Zuill Bailey accompanying the ASO in Dvorak's “Cello Concerto.” Astute TV watchers might remember Bailey from his appearances in HBO's “Oz,” in which he played a cellist imprisoned for murdering a rival with his cello spike. The symphony opens with Ravel's brisk “Bolero,” before moving to Stravinsky's “Firebird,” a suite familiar to fans of ballet and Disney's “Fantasia” alike. The ASO reprises the performance on Sunday at 3 p.m.
POP! IN THE PARK
6 p.m., History Pavilion, Riverfront Park. Free.
Just a few days before summer officially draws to a close, the summer concert series Pop! in the Park finishes its run with another family friendly, BYOB concert featuring a diverse local line-up. Originally from Heber Springs, the indie-rock quartet Grand Serenade has carved out a devoted local following on the strength of its studied guitar rock. After a major label deal didn't pan out, Wynne native Chase Pagan is currently enjoying smaller scale success on the indie label Militia Group. With a Jeff Buckley-ish falsetto, the indie rocker has spent much of the last year touring nationally in support of his debut, “Oh, Musica!” As the head of the local hip-hop label Conduit Entertainment, Chane “Epiphany” Morrow is often out front working the crowd, PRing for his crew. But he's hardly just a face man. Either with his live band One Night Stand or solo, Epiphany's shown himself to be one our most dexterous MCs. Likely in the headlining spot, 607 is Arkansas's most compelling rapper. There's never any telling what might spring from his fecund imagination.
AMERICAN CLASSICS FESTIVAL
10 a.m., Clinton Presidential Library. Free-$25.
In the inaugural edition of a festival devoted to Americana, the Clinton Library skips over apple pie and baseball for an icon borne out of the “Easy Rider” '60s, the quintessence of American badassery — the chopper. Or if you're not up on the lingo: a highly customized motorcycle, altered less for performance than for looks. The centerpiece of this year's festival is the opening of “Art of the Chopper,” an exhibit at the Clinton Library featuring 30 custom-made motorcycles from around the world. On the grounds, in keeping with the theme, the Rib Rally on the River is a barbecue competition open to teams or individuals smoking ribs or chicken or making sauce. Professional barbecue consumers aren't forgotten: $5 buys a tasting pass. Meanwhile, the Chicks that Grill competition features women grilling and decorating chicken and is judged solely on artistic merit, which sounds like you should probably steer clear of samples. There'll also be a display of local artists' depictions of barbecue, motorcycles, pigs and hogs whose sale benefits the March of Dimes. Later in the afternoon, beginning at 5 p.m., the festival turns into a ticketed concert, with classic Southern rock act Little Feat performing along with local cover band Crisis!
3 p.m., Trinity United Methodist Church. Free.
The 50-member River City Men's Chorus kicks off its season with a nostalgic revue of the last 60 years of pop music. Expect songs like “Autumn Leaves,” “As Time Goes By” and “Blue Moon” as the chorus highlights classics from the 1930s to present day. For this performance, the RCMC allows that “a limited amount of swooning, dancing in the aisles, and throwing flowers on the stage will be permitted.” An encore show follows at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, also at Trinity United Methodist.
8 p.m., Revolution. $25.
In the history of pop music, no one can touch Leon Russell as a session man. When he was just 14, he lied about his age to gig at a Tulsa nightclub, where he reportedly played behind Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks (who'd later, of course, become the Band) and later landed a job touring with Jerry Lee Lewis. A couple years down the road, he ended up in L.A., where he did sessions for Glen Campbell and played as a member of Phil Spector's band. He occasionally played and arranged songs like Ike and Tina Turner's “River Deep, Mountain High,” the Byrds' “Mr. Tambourine Man” and Gary Lewis and the Playboys' “This Diamond Ring.” He did sessions with BB King and Bob Dylan, appeared in George Harrison's concert for Bangladesh and toured with the Stones. Since the mid-'70s, he's mostly stayed focused on his varied solo career and prodigious Santa Claus beard. Look for him, Sunday, to warble like a drunk Randy Newman, and venture through a wild mix of genres — Southern swamp, bluegrass, country, rock — likely with his daughters, Tina Rose and Sugaree Noel, backing him.
Juanita's. $16 adv., $20 d.o.s.
Would you call me a cynic if I admitted that the first time I heard Secondhand Serenade, I immediately imagined some covert-ops mix-maker adding its weepy white-boy anthems to a torture playlist? If our government — probably rightly — thinks that Metallica and Dr. Dre represent the decadence of the West (both have been played, repetitiously and deafeningly, at U.S. military prisons around the world), then Secondhand Serenade's a good candidate as a stand-in for our self-indulgence. Like his emo brethren Five for Fighting and Dashboard Confessional, Secondhand Serenade is a band name for essentially a solo artist. Representing Menlo Park, Calif., singer/songwriter John Vesely picked the name, according to his official bio, because all of his songs are directed to his wife, which makes other listeners secondary. So that means lyrics like “my eyes are screaming for the sight of you/And tonight I'm dreaming of all the things that we've been through” delivered in epic arrangements made for faux-climaxes on “The Hills.” The kids can't get enough. He's had a video on TRL, a mention in Rolling Stone and has been MySpace's top indie artist in the past. Thriving Ivory, Cory Lamb and I Hate Kate open.
‘THE PAJAMA GANG'
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $15-$42.
It's an unlikely premise for an award-winning musical. In the heat of the anti-unionist McCarthy era, the workers of the Sleep Tite pajama factory demand a seven and a half cent raise to keep up with other garment workers' pay. Sid, the new superintendent of the factory pushes himself and the workers hard to prove he's worthy to the new owner, but when Babe, a representative from the factory's union grievance committee, makes a visit, she brings out the softer side in Sid. I've not seen the musical, but something tells me you can expect more dance numbers than union wrangling. “Pajama Game” is scored by Broadway legends Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and choreographed by Bob Fosse, Celebrity Attractions presents this revival through Thursday.