SCREAMING FOR THE SCREEN
6 p.m. Argenta Community Theatre. $20.
Argenta Community Theatre wants a new movie screen, and it is in all of our best interests that it gets one. Why would we not want to enable another good, alternative local film venue? Also, rarely do fundraising benefits offer such a variety of entertainment. From 6-7 p.m., country singer and local favorite Mandy McBryde will be playing live in the lobby with Michael Hall. There will be live acrobats as well, and a silent auction. At 7 p.m., Precipice Theatre will present its production of Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love," the play that Robert Altman filmed in 1985 (the soundtrack of which is responsible for the great Sandy Rogers song "Fool for Love"). Following that, there will be an after-party with music by the John Burnette Band, Charlotte Taylor and 2 Lane Blacktop. Here I'll remind you again that there will be acrobats at this thing.
10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $6.
Comparing songs to short stories is usually pretentious, or an indicator of a really boring song — they do different things, use different tools, set up totally different expectations. It sometimes makes sense though, and it isn't a question of genre. The comparison seems applicable in the case of Oakland rapper Too $hort, as well as, say, Country Music Hall of Famer Tom T. Hall. Nashville-based singer/songwriter Kevin Gordon is in this lineage, sharing that sharp and lucid storytelling instinct. He's also been compared to William Carlos Williams by no less than Peter Guralnick, and has an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, which is something he shows off on songs like "Colfax," a remarkable, 10-minute Young Adult epic. Sample lyric: "Staring out at the pine trees and red clay, the country stores where inevitably an old dough-faced man would be standing outside staring at us like his life going by." It works better in context. Isaac Alexander will open.
THURSDAY 6/5-SUNDAY 6/8
Mulberry Mountain. $179.
I took the Pig Trail home from Fayetteville this weekend and got held up by a pair of semi-trucks toting sections of what looked like a Ferris wheel. I was already feeling carsick from the drive (those absurdly winding curves) when the strangeness of this set in, and I turned and noticed Mulberry Mountain to my left. It was like I'd wandered onto the set of an Ozark-themed Fellini film, all bright primary colors and gorgeous, rustic terrain and tents going up — and why the Ferris wheel? Obviously it's because it's time for the 11th Annual Wakarusa Music Festival, which will be held at the mountain this weekend and will feature The Flaming Lips, BASSNECTAR, The String Cheese Incident, STS9, Dr. Dog, Umphrey's McGee, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Rusko and really just so many bands, some of which sound made-up (Cowgirl's Train Set? The Pimps of Joytime?). Tickets and passes of all varieties, prices and hierarchies are available now at their site. There will also be daily yoga, workshops on hooping and world music, theme days (e.g. "Rep Your State," "Friday Night Disco"), interactive installations, hiking, recycling, fishing and, apparently, a Ferris wheel. Also, according to the festival's website, a Sasquatch? For those of you averse to the grime, smeared face-paint and bug-bitten exhaustion of the outdoor music festival lifestyle, Wakarusa is this year offering a special glamping option (that's "glamour camping" for those of you who don't watch HGTV), with room-and-board prices ranging from $650 to $1,000 (plus a $300 renter's deposit). At their gift shop you can purchase a poster of a deer with three eyes or a beer koozie that says "Where music meets mother nature."
ARKANSAS TIMES CELEBRATE THE GRAPE
6 p.m. Argenta Farmers' Market. $40 adv., $50 day of.
Here's your final reminder that over 300 wines from California, Chile, France, Argentina, Italy, South Africa, Germany, Portugal and other places wines come from will be available at the Argenta Farmers' Market Friday night, alongside music by Lagniappe and food from seven participating restaurants: Little Greek, Cucina Italian, Arkansas Fresh Bakery, Lulav, Two Sisters Cafe, Crush Wine Bar and artisan cheesemaker Kent Walker. Proceeds benefit the Argenta Arts Foundation. If this sounds like your scene, don't dawdle; tickets sold out last year.
GLOBAL KIDS CHARITY DODGEBALL TOURNAMENT
10:30 a.m. Henderson Middle School. Donations.
Here's a chance to replace all the deeply embedded, junior-high-based negative associations you have with dodgeball with some much better and more socially productive ones: One of Little Rock's most worthy causes, Global Kids Arkansas, a nonprofit that aims to introduce urban youth to international issues and offer various opportunities for "civic and global engagement," is hosting its inaugural Charity Dodgeball Tournament. Global Kids hosts Youth Foreign Policy Summer Institutes in New York City and Washington, D.C., and Little Rock is a part because of the persistent efforts of local rap favorite Big Piph, who got involved with the program after his recent trips to Africa. "I'm a firm believer that when you do a non-touristy overseas trip you come back impacted, and usually that impact makes you want to have a positive effect on the rest of the world, your immediate surroundings and yourself," he told the Times last year. Individual players can participate for $20, and teams of 6-8 can sign up for $150.
6 p.m. Clinton Presidential Center. Free.
National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Ellis, whom the New York Times has called an "eloquent champion and brilliant practitioner of the old-fashioned art of biography," will be at the Clinton Center Tuesday to discuss and sign his most recent book, "Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence." It's familiar territory for Ellis, who has spent the bulk of his career writing about the Founding Fathers in critically acclaimed bestsellers like "His Excellency: George Washington," "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation" and "American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson."
8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $66-$99.
For those of you who skipped the Super Bowl or have avoided using the Internet (or entering a public space) for the past four years, Bruno Mars is a Hawaiian who looks like Sal Mineo and makes hits that at their best sound like Commodores singles ("Treasure") or Phil Collins singles ("Gorilla"), but sometimes just sound like overdetermined 21st century pop slush. He's upbeat and famous and very wealthy. Scrolling through his YouTube videos (which are surprisingly ambitious), you get the sense that you have to just make a decision on whether you like him or not, that it's totally arbitrary and either alternative makes complete sense. So, I guess I like him. His mother used to be a hula dancer and his father nicknamed him "Bruno" after the legendary WWE wrestler Bruno Sammartino. He also had a cameo in the 1992 Nicolas Cage movie "Honeymoon in Vegas." He's credited as "Little Elvis."
I liked it a lot. People in the theater were laughing out loud.