Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
KENT BABB: 'THE INCREDIBLE RISE AND UNTHINKABLE FALL OF ALLEN IVERSON'
Noon. Sturgis Hall. Free, but reservations requested.
Allen Iverson's career has long been one of the NBA's most compelling spectacles, an arc that has been equal parts inspiring and tragic. Named Rookie of the Year in the 1996-97 season, Iverson went on to spend years racking up scoring titles and awards during his long association with the Philadelphia 76ers, despite an infamous distaste for practice (and passing) and the media's fixation on his appearance and demeanor — he refused to pander to middlebrow respectability politics. Since his retirement from basketball in 2013, the narrative has become a spiral of alcoholism, divorce and mounting debts, complicated by legal troubles and a well-known gambling problem. Award-winning Washington Post sportswriter Kent Babb attempts to capture the whole equation in his new biography, "Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson," which has made headlines for its brutal revelations about Iverson's personal life. "He's a man of extremes," Babb told NPR recently. "He would either be wonderful or terrible." This is confirmed by the book's reports of abuse, neglect and an overall indifference toward routine or rigor. The portrait is a complex one. Babb will discuss the book and sign copies at Sturgis Hall as part of the Clinton School of Public Service's lecture series. Reserve seats by email (email@example.com) or phone (501-683-5239).
9 p.m. Revolution. $20 adv., $30 day of.
Young Dro is among the most talented and periodically inspired members of the generation of Atlanta rappers now in their late 30s, a group that includes Gucci Mane, T.I. and Shawty Lo. For several years, about a decade ago, it seemed like he might break out and become as big and as relevant as any of them. Like Gucci, he painted abstract word portraits, choosing words for their sonic and emotional properties as much as for their meaning — rhyming "Arm & Hammer propaganda" with "salamander sandals," say, on the biggest song of his career, "Shoulder Lean." (Say the tongue-twister "I lay by my banana, dumping and punkin' monkeys," out loud and if you don't enjoy it for its own sake, for the sheer joy of language alone, then maybe Dro isn't for you.) His songs are melodic earworms, deliberately danceable and triumphant. I can still get drawn into his 2002 anthem "Yes Sir," on which he calls himself "hysterically classy," and resigns himself — only partly tongue-in-cheek — to a life in the black market, over Casio orchestral swells. He's been on a tear lately, with songs like "We In Da City" and "Ugh" that seem a little like bids for attention from the kids, on which he's audibly scaled back his ambition. To revisit his 2006 album "Best Thang Smokin'," though, is to remember one of Atlanta rap's peaks.
FRIDAY 10/2-SATURDAY 10/3
HOT WATER HILLS MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
$5. Hill Wheatley Plaza, Hot Springs. Various times.
Bill Solleder was a refugee from the Chicago music scene (and a record deal gone sour) when he landed in Hot Springs with his wife, Shea Childs, in 2003. Before long they'd founded the beloved underground music festival Valley of the Vapors and a nonprofit umbrella group, Low Key Arts, for their various and sundry cultural efforts. In an effort to, as Solleder told me last month, "embrace the whole town," and to further the bourgeoning Spa City music scene they'd helped shepherd, the group started the family-friendly Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Festival in 2011, attracting many of Central Arkansas's most popular and promising young acts to the center of downtown, Hill Wheatley Plaza. This year's festival will feature art exhibitions, vendors, kid-oriented crafts, workshops and live performances by Ghost Bones (winners of the 2015 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase), Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass, Daniel Romano, Big Piph, Sad Daddy, Magnolia Suns and more.
FRIDAY 10/2-SATURDAY 10/3
THIRD COAST PERCUSSION
7:30 p.m. Donald W. Reynolds Library, UCA. Free.
Third Coast Percussion, the acclaimed and consistently experimental ensemble-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame, was formed by a group of young percussionists at Northwestern University in 2004. Sitting in with more traditional orchestras during the day, they rehearsed at night and played at underground and alternative venues and theaters around the city. They gravitate toward modernists — they've recorded a whole album of John Cage compositions — and toward modernity, collaborating with architects, astronomers and app-designers. They've played with and premiered work by contemporary composers like David T. Little, Marcos Balter and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche. They've performed at many of the county's most prestigious concert halls; the New Yorker has called them "vibrant" and "superb" and the New York Times once referred to them as "hard-grooving." They'll visit the University of Central Arkansas this weekend as artists in residence, playing a free concert Friday at the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall (no tickets required) and collaborating with UCA music students on a performance of Terry Riley's famed "In C" at Simon Park at 11 a.m. Saturday. According to UCA music professor Dr. Blake Tyson, the group is known for "constantly hitting, scraping and shaking instruments like bells, gongs, toms, marimbas, tin cans, djembes and hundreds of other things that make fantastic sounds. Not only is it great to listen to, it's a lot of fun to watch."
8 p.m. Juanita's. $15.
José González is a Swedish songwriter best known for covering a Swedish song he didn't write, The Knife's "Heartbeats," a performance that can still bring back vivid memories of circa-2006 TV dramas ("The O.C.," "Scrubs," "One Tree Hill," etc.). He released a popular and critically acclaimed indie folk album, "In Our Nature," in 2007, which he claimed was influenced by the writings of Richard Dawkins, and returned earlier this year with "Vestiges & Claws," his first full-length LP in almost a decade. He works in the pastoral, Nick Drake mode of hushed profundity, a style that many now associate with Starbucks or the self-hating "Garden State" generation. But he remains a good songwriter, cultural baggage aside — the kind of artist destined to soundtrack emotionally formative periods for young people — and the record has been greeted with nothing but goodwill.
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
"I don't know nothin' 'bout Southern belles, but I can tell you somethin' 'bout Southern hell," sings Adia Victoria, a South Carolina native and Nashville resident, on her breakout single, "Stuck in the South." The song earned her plaudits from Rolling Stone (who said she sounded like "PJ Harvey covering Loretta Lynn at a haunted debutante ball") and Rookie Magazine ("Listening to Adia Victoria's haunting Southern Gothic tales is like being dropped right into a Tennessee Williams play, but one that's been updated for right now"). She makes the kind of boundary pushing, dislocating Americana that's become White Water's specialty, and she's working on a full-length with Roger Moutenot, who has produced records by Yo La Tengo and Sleater-Kinney. In interviews, she sketches a musical upbringing that begins with Outkast and Sonic Youth and culminates with an immersion in Nashville country culture: "It is interesting being the only black girl going out to the honky-tonks," she told Rookie.
8 p.m. Hendrix College. Free.
Tig Notaro grew up in the suburbs of Houston and worked as a concert promoter before transitioning to comedy, appearing on "This American Life" and "The Sarah Silverman Program" and "Conan." Her act was transformed in 2012, when she went onstage at Largo, in L.A., and began a set with the words "Good evening, I have cancer." She has since become renowned for her frank and improbably funny discussions of her struggle with breast cancer, the subject of a Netflix documentary, "Tig," and endorsements from Louis C.K., Amy Schumer and The New Yorker.