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A&E News, Nov. 11 

It's that time again.

We're looking for local acts to enter our annual Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase to be held in January, February and March of next year at Sticky Fingerz and Revolution (we'll announce specific dates shortly). As usual, the contest is open to any act (solo or group) in Arkansas that specializes in original material. We encourage comers from all genres.

Christmas Eve is the deadline for submission. Uploading artist/band info and mp3s of your material online at arktimes2.com/showcase is the easiest method. If you're averse to the digital world, we're also running an entry form on page 18, which you can fill out and mail in with a CD.

The way the competition works: Reps from the Times and Sticky Fingers/Rev whittle the submissions down to a group of semifinalists, then each week, four acts square off before five judges (four regular judges and one weekly guest judge). Each week's winner moves on to the finals.

Holler at me with questions at showcase@arktimes.com.

Mediums Art Lounge, a venue once located in Hillcrest, has reemerged downtown at 512 Center, next to EJ's. Owner Jimmy Cheffen said he got burned-out operating the venue by himself in Hillcrest; when his mother passed away, he decided to take a break. Now, he's revived Mediums with a partner, Cajon Flowers, and associates Bruce James and Roby Warren.

The new space is 3,600 square feet, four times as big as the Hillcrest location. It also features a kitchen and a full bar. So far, the limited menu includes the likes of curried chicken and Mardi Gras wings. Cheffen, who is an assistant professor of English and literature at Philander Smith during the day, said that Mediums will host everything from spoken word events to neo-soul concerts to art parties to zumba exercise sessions. The lounge's phone number is 501-374-4495; the website is myspace.com/mediumsartgallery and the current hours are 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

A preview of Bonnie Montgomery and Brit Barber's self-described "modern, folk" opera about Bill Clinton's boyhood, "Billy Blythe," is just around the corner. At 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, Montgomery and Barber will offer a preview of three scenes at the Woman's City Club. From an official release: "The scenes will include a steamy New Orleans love theme between Roger and Virginia Clinton, an aria with Billy and Virginia about his deceased father, a tableau following big wins at the Oaklawn horse races and a night of domestic drama in the Clinton household." Admission is a $10 suggested donation. Advanced tickets are available at billyblytheopera.com or at White Water Tavern, which will host an afterparty.

Mark your calendars, ninjas. The Insane Clown Posse returns to Little Rock to the Village on Dec. 2. The Faygo will flow.

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