Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
9:30 p.m. The Joint. $20-$50.
One of the more curious entries in "Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists," a self-explanatory 1999 book issued posthumously by the classic hip-hop magazine, is "Kool Keith's favorite places to pleasure himself," a brief, nine-item inventory including locations such as "Across the street from Madison Square Garden," "Sbarro" and "Polygram Records." Keith, who has also gone by Dr. Octagon, Rhythm X, Big Willie Smith and Black Elvis, among other names, was rap's original self-proclaimed extraterrestrial, and has released at least two great albums — 1988's "Critical Beatdown," by his first group, Ultramagnetic MCs, and his 1996 solo reboot "Dr. Octagonecologyst" — plus a few more good ones. About his bugged, paint-splatter lyricism, it's probably enough to point out that there was a meme a couple of years ago called "Who said it, James Joyce or Kool Keith?" With lines like "Coming down the rampart through beam on the street, obsolete computes, compounds and dead sounds," it's a challenge. "I was ahead of my time and now time has caught up," as he told HipHopDx back in 2008, "and people are doing the same shit I've already tried to tell them. Now they seeing it. It took times and wavelengths. ... The seed I planted, it took a long time to grow."
THURSDAY 10/9-SATURDAY 10/11
KING BISCUIT BLUES FESTIVAL
Downtown Helena. $30 (day), $50 (3-day).
The longest-running radio program in the country was started in Helena in late November 1941. It was named for a local flour company, "King Biscuit Flour," and was originally financed by a grocery store. Hosted by "Sunshine" Sonny Payne since 1951, "King Biscuit Time" eventually made fans out of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Levon Helm, Robert Plant and Elvis Costello, and helped put Helena on the map as a blues destination. It's a reputation that's been further affirmed by the King Biscuit Blues Festival, started in 1986 and originally held in the back of a flatbed truck. This year's festival , which will not be held in the back of a truck, offers three nights of concentrated blues: Thursday will feature Guitar Shorty, Jimmy Hall and Wet Willie, Roy Rogers and The Delta Rhythm Kings and Sonny Burgess; Friday will feature Delbert McClinton, Bobby Rush, Paul Thorn, the Black River Pearl Band, Reba Russell and Anson Funderburg and The Rockets; Saturday's lineup will include the Bell Singers of Memphis, the W.C. Clark Band, Jimmy Vivino and The Black Italians, Sonny Rhodes, legendary harmonica player James Cotton (also performing Thursday at the Wildwood Park for Performing Arts) and about a hundred more artists that we don't have the space to list.
"THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK"
5 p.m. Old State House Museum. Free.
"This is a true story," as the opening title card reads in Charles Pierce's 1972 drive-in classic "The Legend of Boggy Creek." And it is: On the night of May 1, 1971, in Miller County, something disturbed Elizabeth Ford while she slept on a couch in a house she and her husband, Bobby, had only just moved into the previous week. Something that returned the following night and attacked Bobby, who was later treated for his wounds at St. Michael Hospital in Texarkana. Jim Powell, then a reporter for the Texarkana Gazette and Daily News, arrived at the scene soon after. "The woman had said it reached a hairy arm through the window," he remembered decades later. "It was breathing hard, and had eyes that were as big as half-dollars and red as coal." Powell named the Fouke Monster and sightings continued — still continue. This is the story of the film, a strange sort of independently produced semi-documentary. The real draw, though, is its striking sense of place, the amplified swamp ambiance and odd, droning rhythms. It's the accents and the color of the woods at night. This is a true story.
FRIDAY 10/10-SUNDAY 10/19
HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
The Arlington Hotel and Low Key Arts, Hot Springs. $20-$200.
This year's Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival will open with a screening of the documentary portrait "Glen Campbell ... I'll Be Me," and will close with George Takei's autobiographical "To Be Takei" (about his "playful and profound trek for life, liberty, and love"). A sidebar focusing on mockumentary shorts will feature actor and filmmaker Luke Wilson, who will show his short "Satellite Beach," about the Space Shuttle Endeavour (starring Wilson as a "devoted and unlikely shuttle manager"). There will be award-winners from Tribeca, Sundance and Slamdance, plus a Student Academy Award winner ("The Apothecary") and a new film by Oscar-nominated director Lucy Walker ("The Lion's Mouth Opens"). "Winter's Bone" writer and director Debra Granik will screen her new documentary feature "Stray Dog," about a Vietnam vet and biker named Ron "Stray Dog" Hall. YouTube celebrities and magicians highlighted on the "Tonight Show" will be featured, as will films about Quidditch ("Mudbloods"), films produced by Spike Lee ("Evolution of a Criminal," about a 1997 armed bank robbery case in Houston) and films based on black box transcripts from downed planes ("Charlie Victor Romeo," which A.O. Scott has called "one of the most terrifying movies I have ever seen"). There will also be a 20th anniversary screening of the classic "Hoops Dreams," with appearances by Arthur Agee Jr. (one of the basketball players followed in the film) and producer Gordon Quinn, and "When We Were Kings," with director Leon Gast alongside Muhammad Ali's daughter and grandson. Day passes are $20 and festival passes range from $100 to $200.
FRIDAY 10/10-SUNDAY 10/19
ARKANSAS STATE FAIR
Arkansas State Fairgrounds. $2.99-$5.99.
Fans of children's beauty pageants, Arkansas-bred livestock and REO Speedwagon will be busy at this year's Arkansas State Fair, which will also include an alligator-wrestling showcase, a daredevil high-dive and rare appearances by Dru Hill and "Rock-It The Robot." There will be ample opportunities to show off your prized goats, compete in photography, ice cream-making and flower-arranging contests, and sample the state's best homemade pie, spam, chili and BBQ. "Bad to the Bone" auteur George Thorogood will kick off the musical portion of the event Friday night, followed by country mega-star Travis Tritt, endorsed by the Grammys, the Grand Ole Opry and the NRA. Sunday night will feature So So Def legends Jagged Edge ("Let's Get Married" etc.), and Wednesday, the fair will host Color Me Badd ("I Wanna Sex You Up"). Another great '90s R&B group, Dru Hill, unfortunately overshadowed by member Sisqo's solo career, will perform next Thursday, followed by REO Speedwagon, Pop Evil and Mike Posner.
ADAM FAUCETT, BONNIE MONTGOMERY, JOHN MORELAND, FRET AND WORRY
8:30 p.m. Pro Auto Collision, Conway. $15.
This Saturday, a handful of Little Rock's finest will play at a body shop in Conway. The event, which has been held at Pro Auto Collision Repair and Towing (at 6 Ranchette Road) for the past three years, will be open to the public this year for the first time. "Here is how it goes down," Pro Auto owner Matt Ross explained on Facebook. "I own a body shop and once a year we push out all the cars, invite some amazing musicians, cook some soul food and have an incredible night. This is an intimate show, the audience asks questions, the artists tell stories, jokes, try out new songs. ... Ask someone who has been, there is nothing else like it in Conway for sure." I believe him. And really the venue seems appropriate, ideal even. In addition to the great Adam Faucett and Bonnie Montgomery — two of the state's most celebrated singer-songwriters — the night will feature duo Fret and Worry (Joe Meazle and R.J. Looney) and a special guest, Tulsa's John Moreland.
6:45 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5.
According to Peter Biskind's notoriously unreliable New Hollywood history, "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls," "The Exorcist" was originally offered to Mike Nichols, director of the "The Graduate," who refused, saying, "I'm not going to stake my career and the picture's success or failure on the performance of a 12-year-old girl." Arthur Penn and John Boorman said no, too, as did Peter Bogdanovich and Stanley Kubrick. William Friedkin, coming off of "The French Connection," said yes. "A good part of my motivation was to make a better film than Francis," he told Biskind, meaning Francis Ford Coppola. "We were ambitious and competitive. Someone would always raise the ante." "The Exorcist" raised the ante — some kind of ante, anyway. The film still shocks for its focus on spirituality and sexuality, both overlaid with fear and disgust and the supernatural. It will screen Sunday night as part of the Little Rock Film Festival's new monthly series at Ron Robinson. According to programmer Levi Agee: "We won't confirm or deny that there will be an actual exorcism performed before the screening."
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