UPDATE: Congrats to Rock Candy reader Michael McSwain, who won our drawing for two tickets to see Johnny Winter at Juanita's Friday.
Hey there, how about this: you and a buddy get to go see Johnny Winter June 21 at Juanita's PLUS get to go to the meet-n-greet before the show and maybe get your picture made with the blues guitar legend. Sound cool? Well your old pals here at the Times are going to be giving away just such a prize.
All you need to do is send an email to robertbell at arktimes dot com with JOHNNY WINTER in the subject line. Send it in by noon on June 19. I'll draw names later that afternoon and announce the winner here on Rock Candy.
THE NEW 22'
6:30 p.m., MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. Free.
Back in January, when the Arkansas Literary Festival slate of authors was announced, perhaps you scanned it and seized onto "The New 22," featuring hotshot novelists David Abrams ("Fobbit") and Ben Fountain ("Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk") and marked it as a "must-attend."
Then you noticed in the small print that, strangely, the event wasn't scheduled until two months after the literary festival. Well, two months has come and gone. The event's still a must-attend.
I haven't read "Fobbit," but it was one of the best-reviewed books of last year. It's set in a military base in Baghdad ("fobbit" is slang for a soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by hanging at the base). Abrams draws on his experience as an active-duty Army journalist.
"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" is one of the best books I've read. Lots of other people agree. It won this year's National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award last year. It's about the surviving members of a group of Iraq War soldiers who've become minor celebrities after video of them in a firefight with insurgents goes viral. They've been sent home for a Victory Tour that culminates with an appearance at a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day. It's a darkly funny satire written with more style and insight than anything in recent memory.
Juanita's has some buzz-y indie rock, with Brooklyn pop outfit Companion and psychedelic Oklahomans The Evangelicals. Locals Ten Sentences open the show, 9 p.m., and hey, it's $3!
It's going to be a "'90s Throwback Concert" at The Joint, with Rodney Block & The Real Music Lovers, 8:30 p.m., $10-$15.
Pop singer/songwriter Shining Rae is back in town for an all-ages show. She'll be showcasing new material, Downtown Music Hall, 7 p.m., $11.
Singer/songwriter Daniel Amedee might be from New Orleans, but his sound is "more King Crimson than King Oliver, more Mars Volta than Mardi Gras." Also on the bill: Gold Beneath the Highway and James Rose, Maxine's, 8 p.m., free.
"Whoa! What was that?"
"What was what?"
"That! Do you hear it? It sounds like... An episode of SyFy's hit series "Ghost Hunters."
"You mean, here in Little Rock?"
"Exactly, I'm getting a reading that tells me the upcoming new episode on Wednesday, June 19 will include a ghost-hunting expedition to a home once owned by prominent early 20th century banker Edward Cornish."
"Yes, it airs at 8 p.m. and it's called "Ghost Friends Forever."
"Spooky. What else can you tell me?"
"Well, here goes...
On this episode of Ghost Hunters, TAPS is called to Little Rock, Arkansas where a family has inherited a bungalow next door to their home that they believe to be cursed. The bungalow has a tragic history of death, robberies and murder dating back to the 1800s. Paranormal activity has been terrifying their bungalow tenants for years and now activity seems to have spread over to the family’s main house. Have the bungalow spirits traveled next door to the family’s home? Are the family’s deceased close friends, who willed the bungalow to them, to blame for this activity? TAPS is being brought in to get answers for this family in desperate need of answers.
"So where can I watch a very brief preview for this episode?"
"After the jump!"
Jazz legend and "Schoolhouse Rock!" composer Bob Dorough will perform at The Afterthought, 8 p.m., $5.
Magic Springs hosts Contemporary Christian Music star TobyMac, with Capital Kings, Timberwood Amphitheater, 9 p.m., $50-$60.
2013 Simply Red: A Night of Stars is a fundraiser for the Arkansas AIDS Foundation, with live entertainment, heavy hors d'oeuvres, silent auction and more, Argenta Community Theater, 6:30-10:30 p.m., $60-$100.
This year's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner features keynote speaker Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Statehouse Convention Center, 7 p.m.
Vintage goods buffs will want to head on over to the first South Main Vintage Market, which will have vintage and antique goods for sale, The Bernice Garden, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
10 p.m. Juanita's. $15 adv., $20 day of.
Longtime Memphis rapper and Three 6 Mafia associate Project Pat comes to town Saturday. He's been pumping out the Dirty South jams at a steady clip since the '90s, having earned his biggest hit with "Chickenhead" in 2001, after getting a lot of attention for his turn on the Three 6 classic "Sippin' on Some Syrup."
His recent single "Gas," from the upcoming mixtape "Cheez-N-Dope 2," is as fine an example as you could ask for when it comes to banging, slow-rolling Southern hip-hop. It's all booming bass and rattling clicks and sinister synthesizers.
Opening the show will be Little Rock electro-pop outfit Collin Vs. Adam, which should make for an interesting show.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Museum of Discovery. $8-$10, free for members.
This sounds very cool, especially for those with young'uns (or young-at-heart'uns): The 2nd Annual Tinkerfest.
Organized by the Arkansas Discovery Network (a six-museum partnership with the Museum of Discovery as its hub), Tinkerfest will see more than 40 stations set up where burgeoning engineers and inventors can, well, tinker on stuff. What sort of stuff?
According to the MOD, "visitors will have the opportunity to create with 3D printers, disassemble a vehicle, meet robot makers, participate in water balloon catapulting duels, build and launch rockets, learn to crochet, create a cardboard city and much more."
It doesn't cost extra to attend Tinkerfest, but standard admission applies for non-members ($10 for adults, $8 for children).
MEET AND GREET WITH BROOKS ROBINSON
5:30 p.m. Lamar Porter Field. $10.
Little Rock's Lamar Porter Field is a treasure. The WPA-built ball field on Seventh Street was constructed in 1936 and is the oldest actively used baseball stadium in the state. It's got such a classic ballpark look that it was used as a location for the 1984 WWII-era film "A Soldier's Story."
It was where Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson — widely regarded as one of, if not the, best third baseman of all time — played as a youngster. Robinson will be returning to his hometown to celebrate the field's 77th birthday and kick off the fundraising effort to fully restore the park, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Tickets also include a hot dog, soft drink and a bag of popcorn, because this is a baseball park, after all. Robinson will be available to sign autographs for fans as well. Who could ask for a more wholesome, all-American time to be had this Saturday afternoon?
JOHN MCATEER AND THE GENTLEMEN FIRESNAKES
8 p.m. Vino's. $5.
John McAteer — known to more than a few folks as Johnny Mac, solo artist and frontman for The Reds — released the album "Dark Houses" last summer, but hadn't gotten to playing a record-release show until now (he did play an acoustic solo show). This one will feature a full-band lineup, with Josh Bentley on bass, Brian Bush on keyboards and Brad Brown on drums.
If you haven't yet picked up a copy of "Dark Houses," I recommend it. The album hits a total sweet spot hybrid of nervy post-punk and classic power pop. Check the blistering, epic "Cipher" or the slyly infectious opener "Waste of Time." And the fist-pumping-inducing "I Hope He Understands" just slays, pausing for a breath in the middle to get set up for some blistering, bitchin' guitar soloing. Seriously.
Check out "I Hope He Understands" after the jump. It's awesome.
Chicago hip-hop legend Twista comes to Discovery Nightclub. He'll go on stage late-ish, and all the regular Discovery fun is on the docket too, 9 p.m.-5 a.m., $10 before midnight, $15 after.
Arkansas actor Wes Bentley has been cast in the starring role in the HBO pilot "Open" that Ryan Murphy ("Glee," "American Horror Story") is executive producing.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Open" is "a multi-character exploration of the complex, ever-evolving landscape of sexuality, monogamy and intimacy in relationships."
Bentley, who recently starred in "The Hunger Games" and will appear in an upcoming Linda Lovelace biopic, will play "the handsome but arrogant Evan Foster, a bit of a blowhard who loves espousing his theories on human sexuality."
The singing, dancing, foul-mouthed, sex-having puppets of “Avenue Q” (and their human counterparts) put on a fun, sweet and funny show in the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production of the smash-hit musical.
At the center of “Avenue Q” are Princeton, a recent English grad, and Kate Monster, a kindergarten teaching assistant. Both are trying to find their way in the world of post-collegiate life, and are abetted by a menagerie of monsters, puppets, slackers and, of course, Gary Coleman.
The whole cast was incredibly solid, with great singing and some very impressive puppet work. Will Holly, who played Princeton and Rod, was particularly adept at making his puppets come alive with animated, inspired movement. He deftly switched between voice characterizations for the uptight closeted Republican and the wide-eyed young college grad who’s trying to find his purpose in life. Kathleen Choe, who plays social worker Christmas Eve, is a fantastic singer and was hilarious as the nagging moral compass of the show. Really, there’s not a weak link in this entire cast.
The choreography was also impressive, especially considering that at any time, several of the actors have not one but two puppets on their hands, or two of them are operating the same puppet. That it all came off so effortlessly is a testament to the hard work the cast put in preparing for this show.
“Avenue Q” is filled with memorable tunes — it didn’t win three Tony Awards for nothing, after all. These will be stuck in your head for a while, so hopefully you’ll like them. There were a few regional references worked into the script (Whole Hog Cafe and Pine Bluff, for example). That kind of thing can easily come off as corny, but in this case they all were legitimately funny.
The audience Wednesday night was, by this reviewer’s eyeball estimate, about 70 percent close to or north of 70 years of age. For anyone remotely familiar with the musical that might sound like a recipe for, if not disaster, at least a couple of walk-outs, especially here in the Bible Belt. But the somewhat risqué material caused no seats to be emptied. In fact, the mostly older crowd erupted loudly and often, frequently repeating particularly funny lines back to their friends and spouses. At the end of “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” a man behind me said to his wife, “It’s true!” So there’s that. On the other hand, “The Internet is for Porn” seemed slightly lost on much of the crowd. Perhaps their connection speeds need to be upgraded.
A couple of the naughty parts did fall flat, particularly one line delivered by Rod at the end of his song “Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada.” It’s super awkward — purposefully so, to illustrate how ridiculously uptight and closeted he is. But still, one woman in the row behind me did not look pleased.
However, for all but the wettest of wet blankets, The Rep’s “Avenue Q” is a sure bet for a fun night out. Check out a trailer for the show, after the jump.
“Avenue Q” runs through June 30, with performances at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $25-$50.
Photographer Grav Weldon, who braved the mud and crazy storms of Wakarusa two weeks ago, provides the Times with shots from the very, very, very different festival that took place at that same venue the next weekend. That would be Thunder on the Mountain, of course, and from what he sent, it looks like a boot-scootin' good time was had by all.
More photos after the jump, including Arkansas native Justin Moore, Gretchen Wilson, Colt Ford and one of Toby Keith that has all of the things that make him Toby Keith: cowboy hat, red Solo cup, product endorsement, explosions.
Glad TobyMac found
A Backstreet Boys garage sale
Scored that sweet get-up
Worth noting that the original director of Avenue Q, Jason Moore, is from Arkansas. Might…
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