Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries
THURSDAY 10/23-SUNDAY 10/26
YOUNG GODS OF AMERICA
Various venues: Little Rock, Fayetteville, Conway and Memphis.
"I don't think people know that, like, it's actually happening for us," the local rapper Goon des Garcons told me in July. "The city is getting better, the ball is in motion. It's a renaissance." By "us" he meant himself and the rest of the members of the rap collective Young Gods of America: Fresco Grey, Reggie Gold, Taylor Moon, Mach Soul and Cool Chris. They've spent the year releasing a series of consistently strong mixtapes, videos and singles, many of which — like Taylor Moon's "Final Fantasy MMXIV," Fresco Grey's "Twin Turbo" or Goon's "Dirty Boyz 2K14" — are among the best local releases of the year. Like Odd Future before them, they're trying to shape their own self-enclosed world, which we are invited to join in or ignore at our own peril. This weekend they're leading a micro-tour of the state called ARKENSAW along with fellow Little Rock rappers Lo Thraxx and Vile Pack, performing at Vino's Thursday night, Fayetteville's Syc House Friday night, Greenwood Studios in Conway Saturday night and Memphis' Carcosa House on Sunday. "We're ready to show people what we've been working so hard on," Goon said of the tour in an email.
'BEVERLY HILLS COP'
6 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $7.
The Times is collaborating with the Little Rock Film Festival to present a new monthly film series at the Ron Robinson Theater. We're kicking it off on Thursday with a special screening of "Beverly Hills Cop," featuring Little Rock's own Judge Reinhold, a.k.a. Detective Billy Rosewood, who will do a Q&A to answer all of your burning questions about the making of the film. "My handle on the guy was — somebody who wanted his life to resemble the movies that he'd watched," Reinhold told USA Today about his character, his best known in a career that also included roles in "Ruthless People," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Stripes," "Gremlins" and more. "I remember that Martin, Kingsley and I all had dinner, and then we went to see 'Beverly Hills Cop,' " the late Christopher Hitchens once told the New York Times for an article about the great British novelists Kingsley and Martin Amis. "All through the movie Kingsley was laughing with what we assumed was pretend mirth, and afterward he announced, 'Yes, an absolutely flawless masterpiece.' Suddenly it became clear he wasn't joking." Tickets are $7 and are available now online at arktimes.com/filmseries.
ARKANSAS TIMES CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
6 p.m. Argenta Farmers Market. $35 adv., $40 day of.
One of the more annoying and inevitable byproducts of the American craft beer boom was the instantaneous rise of beer elitism, a kind of posturing that seems to imply craft beer has always been around and the masses are only now figuring it all out. The truth is, it's an incredibly recent phenomena: There were fewer than 90 breweries in the U.S. in 1980, compared with the thousands in operation today. Especially in the South, most of these beers would have been illegal to produce only a few years ago, given the recently overturned restrictions on alcohol by volume. So, of course, Arkansas has a lot to learn and plenty of catching up to do. And this weekend is your chance: There will be over 250 beers on offer at the 3rd annual Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival, beers from all over the country plus local upstarts like Blue Canoe, Moody Brews and Stone's Throw. There will also be food courtesy of Butcher & Public, Whole Hog, The Fold, Cregeen's, Cafe Bossa Nova and other restaurants, and live music by local folk-rock group The Cons of Formant.
8 p.m. South on Main. $3.
"Rosemary's Baby" exists on film due primarily to the efforts of William Castle, the great novelty-horror filmmaker who pioneered a set of brilliant theater gimmicks to help market his low-budget horror films in the '50s and '60s: life insurance policies for audience members, vibrating buzzers installed under seats, cellophane ghost-vision glasses, etc. It's a strange historical footnote, because the film that resulted is such a departure from Castle's era, a supernatural thriller steeped in domestic and emotional realism rather than studio artifice — starring John Cassavetes rather than Vincent Price. Castle had read the book in galleys and sold his house to buy the film option before it was even published, but the studio that finally financed the film insisted on a younger director, Roman Polanski, a Polish filmmaker who was just then trying to transition to working in Hollywood. Though not as existentially terrifying as other Polanski films like "Repulsion" or "The Tenant," "Rosemary's Baby" is frightening in a different way, playing on fears about marriage and ambition and social uncertainty.
9 p.m. Clear Channel Metroplex. $30-$60.
"I like moments of staleness and mildew, simply because it creates the lane for change," Lyor Cohen, former president of Def Jam and Warner Music Group, has said. "That's my favorite moment — when I sit on a porch in the summertime and the air gets really thick ... And then all of a sudden a violent storm comes through — raindrops as big as cups; lightning and thunder. I know when things get stale there's someone making an opportunity." Cohen was talking about DMX, but he may as well have been talking about Atlanta native Young Thug, who went from being a local hero to a national figure this year, working with T.I. and Lil Wayne, appearing on "The Tonight Show" and now headlining a national tour. If he didn't quite come from nowhere — the influences of Wayne, his former mentor Gucci Mane and his peers in Atlanta's swag rap generation are significant — he sounded new from the beginning, twisting his voice into strange registers, sliding in and out of coherence and embracing the dissonant, outer limits of trap-rap production. He has different modes — from the wildly exuberant ("I Know") and catchy ("Keep in Touch") to the starkly avant-garde ("Haiti Slang") and left-field pop art ("Picacho") — and I like all of them.
8 p.m. Juanita's. $20-$75.
Yelawolf was born Michael Wayne Athea, and grew up in small rural towns in Alabama and Tennessee. He heard Souls of Mischief on skate videos, Three 6 Mafia from his neighbors, Johnny Cash and Bon Jovi from his parents. He was painting murals in Rainbow City, Ala., when he scored a slot on a reality TV show hosted by Missy Elliott, and two years later he was signed to Columbia Records. He is white. Much of the early hype around him focused on his post-Twista fast-rap wordplay — he's genuinely talented — and especially the way he packaged it Kid Rock-style, with classic rock samples and countrified slide guitar over 808s and that sort of thing. The idea is that he can appeal to both demographics — rap fans and the backwoods white working class — and if all else fails, as it did with Kid Rock, he'll always have the latter. "There's something so pure and raw and hardcore about the working class man," he once told Spin. "The hunter — that shit is just hard."