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A&E News, Jan. 19 

New on Rock Candy

We're pleased to announce the judges for this year's Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, which kicks off Thursday, Jan. 27, at Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack: Bonnie Montgomery is the composer for "Billy Blythe" and a local folksinger/songwriter. Travis Hill owns and operates Last Chance Records, a Little Rock-based label that features local and national acts. Mike Brown is a longtime local DJ and promoter who owns Green Grass Rock 'n' Roll Bodega. And Brother Andy Warr is the lead singer of last year's Showcase winner, Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth, as well as a member of Iron Tongue, Pilot Whale and Sweet Eagle.

Each semi-final week, a guest judge will join our panel. We'll announce the guest judges closer to the event.

We're also pleased to announce this year's lineup. All semi-final rounds will be held at 9 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 27-Feb. 24, at Stickyz.

Round One, 1/27

Catskill Kids

Tyrannosaurus Chicken

Zach Williams and the Reformation

Cody Ives Band

Round Two, 2/3

The Year of the Tiger

The Yipps

The Smittle Band

Echo Canyon

Round Three, 2/10

Brethren

This Holy House

Michael Leonard Witham

The Pink Drapes

Round Four, 2/17

10 Horse Johnson

Brown Soul Shoes

Ezra Lbs

Sea Nanners

Round Five, 2/24

No Hay de Que

Mandy McBryde and the Unholy Ghost

Thunder Thieves

Ginsu Wives

Riverfest has confirmed its first acts for the 2011 festival. Saturday, Charlie Daniels will play Riverfest Amphitheatre and Papa Roach will perform on the Bud Stage.

Robert Duvall will star in "Jayne Mansfield's Car," the new indie film we told you about late last year. It's co-written by native Arkies Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson with Thornton slated to both direct and star.

"It's about a guy in between WWI and WWII who raises a family after his wife left him for an Englishman and moved to England," Duvall told Entertainment Weekly. "When the wife dies, she asks to be brought back to Alabama to be buried, and at that point the character hasn't seen her in 20 or 30 years. The two families — her original family she abandoned and her English family — meet and then things get really interesting."

Duvall offers a big co-sign, too, telling EW, "It puts Tennessee Williams in the back seat — it's that brilliant."

One major oversight from last week's feature on the pop cultural highlights to anticipate in 2011: Little Rock novelist Kevin Brockmeier's forthcoming "The Illumination," due on Feb. 1 from Pantheon. The novel is set in an otherwise ordinary world whose inhabitants suddenly begin to project light from the source of their pain. Brockmeier will sign copies of the book from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at WordsWorth Books.

Memphis trailblazing Southern rap duo 8Ball & MJG is coming back to Revolution on Friday, March 18.

The duo put on a killer show the last time it was in town, in October 2009. Here's to hoping the duo returns with the whip-tight Hill Country Revue (Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew of North Mississippi All-Stars) as a backing band.

Tickets go up for sale on Friday, Jan. 21.

Producer/musician Marcus Lowe (Il Libretina, Step by Step, Parachute Woman) has released his first solo album, "What Even Is That?"

Find a link to stream the album in its entirety at arktimes.com/marcuslowealbum.

Get a link to stream Beth Ditto's new EP collaboration with Simian Mobile Disco at arktimes.com/dittodisco.

Last week, Gerard Matthews captured video at an in-store performance at Arkansas CD and Record Exchange by Lucero's Ben Nichols. See footage at arktimes.com/nicholsinstore.

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