Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH
9 p.m. Stickyz. $12 adv., $15 day of.
What a drag, a decade later, to still be saddled with the unwieldy name of your college rock band, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Worse than that: to still be saddled, a decade later, with the unwieldy reputation of your college rock band, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The band made a good album in 2005 and has been punished for it ever since, becoming the go-to anecdote for think-pieces about the lost promise of independent music blogs or the dangers of independent music blogs or whatever. All because people didn't like their other albums as much, or something like that — I've forgotten, time passes, none of this is important. Anyway, that first record is still pretty good (reminds me of my brother: 10 years ago we lived in the same city and he played this a couple of times in the red Honda Accord we shared, which he later traded in; I'd drive him to work in the car sometimes. He worked at an eBay store back then; I miss that car and I really miss my brother; 2005 seems like a long time ago) and I'm sure the others are fun, too. WS
THURSDAY 6/4-SUNDAY 6/7
WAKARUSA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Mulberry Mountain. $109-$204.
If you are neither easily sunburned nor constitutionally discouraged by large crowds, if you're inspired by the smell of uncut grass and sweat, if you are not averse to banjos and can handle your drugs: Wakarusa awaits. This year's iteration of the outdoor music festival, held on Mulberry Mountain near Ozark, is headlined by Major Lazer, The Roots, Thievery Corporation, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, STS9, Young the Giant, Umphrey's McGee, Galactic with Macy Gray and a number of other artists familiar mostly to the types of millennials who like to party but also sometimes find themselves curious about the meaning of life. Especially promising is the appearance by Chance the Rapper, the Chicago art-rap phenom who combines triumphant horn sections with an inimitable voice that can morph from speaking to singing to laughing in seconds. "Acid Rap," Chance's 2013 album, was a fantastic and strange record, which he topped (in unconventional ambition, anyway) just last week with the release of an album called "Surf," credited to Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment (his friends; it's a long story). It's not an inexpensive weekend, but it's a whole production — Burning Man for Southerners, with trippy art installations and performance troupes and Questlove and camping and infinite opportunities for conversations with tired, friendly, stoned strangers. WS
THURSDAY 6/4-SUNDAY 6/28
ARKANSAS SHAKESPEARE THEATER
If you are a lover of Shakespeare, then the world's your oyster: The Arkansas Shakespeare Theater opens its season with the comedy "The Merry Wives of Windsor" Thursday at the Village at Hendrix. Tickets are "pay what you can," though a donation of $15 is suggested. The wives will be merry at 7:30 p.m. through June 6 and again June 11-12 at the Village before a run at the Argenta Farmers Market June 25, 26 and 28 (curtain also at 7:30 p.m.). The Shakespeare Theater then turns from Falstaff, trickster wives and fairies to Broadway, with "Fiddler on the Roof" at the Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway. "Fiddler" opens Wednesday with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Other dates are June 12, 14, 21, 24 and 27 with performances at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 21, and Wednesday, June 24. All tickets are $28. Upcoming: "The Merchant of Venice," June 19-20, 23 and 27-28, and "As You Like It," June 23, 25-27, both at Reynolds. Rebekah Scallet is artistic director. LNP
CELEBRATE THE GRAPE
6 p.m. Argenta Farmers Market. $30 adv., $40 d.o.e.
More than 300 wines from all over the world — ranging from high-end varietals to some hidden gems — will be featured at Friday's third "Celebrate the Grape" event in Argenta. Sponsored by the Arkansas Times and benefiting the Argenta Arts District, the event features wines from eight distributors and food from eight restaurants and specialty caterers. Wine tents will be paired with restaurants, making it easy to try a wine along with the eats. Featured restaurant/caterers will be the Arkansas Ale House, Arkansas Fresh Bakery, Kent Walker Artisan Cheese, Cocoa Rouge Chocolates, Graffiti's Italian Restaurant, So Restaurant-Bar, Two Sisters Catering and Cafe and Whole Hog Cafe in North Little Rock. Whole Hog will offer pulled pork sliders and slaw, with all six of its proprietary sauces. Graffiti's will serve cold pasta salad at its table. Arkansas Fresh Bakery will provide some basic bread concepts — Arkansas Fresh sourdough, ciabatta and cranberry pecan, along with an assortment of artisan breads — to pair with Kent Walker's cheeses. Arkansas Ale House will have fresh-made brats with caramelized onions, house-made Wisconsin sharp cheddar beer cheese, whole dijonaise and jalapeno aioli; hummus with Greek olives and crostini; and a brie, artichoke and sun-dried tomato dip with grated parmesan. And Cocoa Rouge Chocolates will bring a variety of sweet delights. You can drink your wine and eat it, too, with five variations of Mercer's wine ice cream brought in by Glidewell Distributors in Fort Smith. Along with Glidewell, other distributors providing wines are Glazer's, Moon, Central, Natural State, Custom Beverage, De Nux and Vino of Arkansas. Jazz music will be performed by Little Rock Central High's swing band Reunion. Tickets are available at arktimes.com/grape. JH
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $43-$74.50.
Tim McGraw, best known for playing a NASA engineer in the recent George Clooney film "Tomorrowland," is also the son of longtime New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Frank Edwin "Tug" McGraw, who received his nickname — according to Wikipedia — because of the "particularly aggressive way he breast-fed." The more you know! Tug was a closer, most often remembered for sealing up the 1980 World Series for the Phils, but he was also a sort of spiritual center for the team, coining the rallying cry "Ya Gotta Believe," which he later repurposed as the title of his highly readable autobiography. Asked whether he preferred grass or Astroturf, Tug famously replied, "I dunno, I never smoked any Astroturf." He had a sense of humor about the game, in other words, as well as perspective: "Ten million years from now," he is supposed to have said, "when then sun burns out and the Earth is just a frozen ice ball hurtling through space, nobody's going to care whether or not I got this guy out." Isn't that the truth? WS
9 p.m. Revolution. $22 adv., $30 day of.
E-40's career is as old as I am — no small feat in a genre that thrives on discarding history for novelty. Along with fellow Bay Area rap visionary Too $hort, with whom he collaborated on two excellent albums in 2012, E-40 (born Earl Stevens) has been making music for the better part of three decades. He has stood in the back of the room, with his thin-frame glasses and businessman's demeanor (that make him look not unlike Proposition Joe from "The Wire"), and allowed generations of styles and trends and production aesthetics to float by, diving in to try something out whenever it suited him. He was an elder statesman to Tupac and Master P. He worked with Lil Jon at the peak of his powers. He rode the thizz wave, embraced hyphy in all its vibrancy. He has appeared at the Gathering of the Juggalos and on a song by SNL troupe The Lonely Island. He opened a Fatburger franchise, a Wing Stop and a nightclub in downtown San Jose called the Ambassador's Lounge. He was an early investor in Microsoft. He has his own line of energy drinks, three blends of wine and a "premixed cocktail beverage" called "Sluricane." This is all to say nothing of his music, which has been consistently fascinating and usually great. His voice is one of hip-hop's most iconic — hyper-articulate (he makes you think about the relationships between syllables) and quick and funny, punctuated by grunts and guttural oohs and most at home accompanied by thick, playful basslines. WS