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click to enlarge SINGING PRAISES: The St. Mark Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir returns to Wildwood Park.
  • SINGING PRAISES: The St. Mark Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir returns to Wildwood Park.

Little Rock's annual fall arts uplift got started this week with the opening of the ACANSA festival, which is highlighting soul sounds, New Orleans jazz, classical guitar, contemporary ballet, experimental dance, fine art and photographs and drama right here in the river cities through Sunday, Sept 24. Wednesday's opening featured the folk duo Still on the Hill at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, where "Modern Ink" and "The Art of Injustice: Paul Faris' Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration, Rohwer, AR 1945" are on exhibit and where chalk muralist Craig R. Thomas made art in the alley. Barron Ryan capped off the opener with his "Classic Meets Cool" performance at the Ron Robinson Theater. Now, here's what you can catch in the festival's upcoming days; good luck deciding which of the competing events you'll catch:

THURSDAY 9/21

'PARK'S PANTS'
Through Sept. 24. Argenta Gallery, 413 Main St., NLR. Free.

Little Rock photographer Nancy Nolan, inspired by her son's difficult entrance into the world — he was in the neonatal intensive care unit for two months, chronicled his life by posing him in his father's pants every year from his infancy to age 19. Nolan said her goal was to "record and explore this life that Park fought so hard for."

'WILL COUNTS: THE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHS'
Through Oct. 22. Arkansas Arts Center. Free.

This exhibition includes 35 photographs made during the 1957 crisis at Central High by photojournalist Counts, including such famous pictures as the shots of Little Rock Nine student Elizabeth Eckford being heckled by Hazel Bryan Massery and others, and of the beating of African-American journalist Alex Wilson by segregationists. The photo of Wilson won the "News Picture of the Year Competition" of the National Press Photographers Association, Encyclopedia Britannica and the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

PHOTOGRAPHY: NANCY NOLAN
Noon-1 p.m. Simmons Bank, 425 W. Capital. Free.

As part of ACANSA's Lunch and Learn events, Nolan will talk about her photography and how to make better pictures.

ANDREW YORK (SOLD OUT)
7 p.m. The Joint, 301 Main St., NLR. $25.

This Grammy-winning classical guitarist and composer, a former member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, has been described by Soundboard Magazine as a musician of "immaculate technique" whose "intimate knowledge of the instrument provides for some delicious sonorities of authentic quality." That does sound tasty; feast on York's performance, part of the Argenta Acoustic Music Series.

'NOT ABOUT HEROES'
7 p.m., Arkansas Repertory Theatre Annex (also 7 p.m. Sept. 22). $15-$30.

Playwright Stephen McDonald's play is about the friendship of Britain's greatest poets of World War I, Sigfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Rather than flowery tributes to country and sacrifice, the men, who met as patients at a hospital near Edinburgh, wrote about the horrors of the trenches; Owen was killed in action in 1918, a week before the Armistice was signed.

IMPRO THEATRE
8 p.m., Argenta Community Theater, 405 Main St., NLR. $30, $15 student/military.

See "Shakespeare Unscripted," a play improvised on the spot by this Los Angeles-based comic geniuses, whose members include North Little Rock native Brian Jones. The troupe returns Friday night, same time, same place, with "Twilight Zone Unscripted."

SECRET SISTERS (SOLD OUT)
8 p.m. South on Main. $25-$34

Sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers, born near Muscle Shoals, Ala., home of the famed studio that recorded Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson and other greats, harmonize their way though country, bluegrass, gospel and rock. They open the 19 Archetypes & Troubadours Series at South on Main.

FRIDAY 9/22

PRINTMAKING: KATE ASKEW
Noon-1 p.m. Yellow Dog Studio, 3721 Cantrell Road.

Askew will give a studio tour and talk about the art of letterpress printing.

DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND
8 p.m., Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. $25, 10 students/military.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band's legacy reaches back to 1977, when percussionist Benny Jones joined forces with members of the Tornado Brass Band to form The Original Sixth Ward Dirty Dozen, a massive party-in-waiting with tight arrangements played at dizzying decibels. The lineup has changed over the years, as have the musical tastes that brought the Dirty Dozen to prominence; initially, the band's following was strongest in Europe, but as America's crush on New Orleans materialized and spread, so did the popularity of Second Line brass bands. If you've ever held a conversation in the Innovation Hub, you'll understand why such an acoustic is perfect for the orgiastic sounds of the Dirty Dozen; there's nothing to muffle or dampen the effect, leaving listeners with a shot to the vein of Dionysian sousaphone, et al.

IMPRO THEATRE
8 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $35, $15 student/military.

See Sept. 22 entry.

'TO LIFE' WITH TATIANA ROITMAN MANN
7 p.m. New Deal Salon, 2003 Louisiana St. $20, $10 student/military.

"To Life," set in an intimate wood-floored, brick-walled exhibit space in SOMA, features Tatiana Roitman Mann on piano, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra co-concertmaster Kiril Laskarov on violin and Henderson State University Professor Steven Becraft on clarinet. The concert, conceived and directed by Mann, will include Shostakovich's "Five Pieces for Two Violins," Bartok's "Contrasts" and Glick's "Klezmer Wedding."

SATURDAY 9/23

FAMILY ART DAY
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Arkansas Arts Center. Free.

Prep your children for the ACANSA festivals of the future with art and music activities for the whole family.

UA LITTLE ROCK GALLERIES
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fine Arts Center. Free.

The university welcomes ACANSA-goers to its exhibitions "Peri Schwartz: The Artist's Studio," paintings; "Heidi Hogden: Uncertain Terrain," graphite drawings and sculpture; and "Layet Johnson: August-September," drawing and sculpture, in the Fine Arts Center galleries. A reception at 5 p.m. in the galleries will precede the ACANSA presentations on campus: trio 9 Horses at 6 p.m. and the "Complexions Contemporary Ballet" at 8 p.m.

COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET
8 p.m. UA Little Rock Center for Performing Arts. $35, $15 student, military.

This contemporary ballet company, a winner of The New York Times Critics' Choice Award and in its 23rd year, features 15 dancers from different ethnic and dance backgrounds. Founded by choreographer Dwight Rhoden and former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer Desmond Richardson, the company does not confine itself to any one mode of dance, but experiments with new ways to move and inspire. The dancers will meet with the audience immediately after the performance for a "talk back"; the company is also holding master classes for high school students on Sept. 22 and college students on Sept. 23.

9 HORSES
11 a.m. Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library, 6 p.m. Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, UA Little Rock. Free.

The trio — Joe Brent on acoustic and electric mandolin, Sara Caswell on violin and Andrew Ryan on bass — plays a genre-bending combination of folk art and classical music, a style that an All About Jazz reviewer called "emotive" and touching "the essence of what it is to be alive."

SUNDAY 9/24

'CIVIL TWILIGHT: REFLECTIONS ON FEAR, COURAGE AND RESILIENCE'
6-7:15 p.m., Central High Commemorative Garden. Free.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and "Little Rock Nine" opera composer Tania Leon will make remarks at a dance/spoken word event with CORE Performance Company (see 60th anniversary schedule for more information).

LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL HIGH 60TH ANNIVERSARY

See the Central High schedule.

GOSPEL BRUNCH AT WILDWOOD PARK
11 a.m. Wildwood Park for the Arts, 20919 Denny Road. $45.

The St. Mark Baptist Church Sanctuary Czhoir, which has sung at the White House, makes an encore performance for ACANSA at Wildwood. The choir, conducted by Minister of Music Darius Nelson, won the Best Gospel Choir at the How Sweet the Sound competition in Los Angeles. Tickets include brunch.


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