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Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase kicks off 

Also, Intimate Apparel, Ansel Adams, Rachmaninoff, High Plains Jamboree, Black Oak Arkansas and more.

click to enlarge MULTITALENTED: The Weekend Theater finishes out its run of "Intimate Apparel" this weekend, Lynn Nottage's "feminist lament," 7:30 p.m. through Saturday, Jan. 28, $12-$16.
  • MULTITALENTED: The Weekend Theater finishes out its run of "Intimate Apparel" this weekend, Lynn Nottage's "feminist lament," 7:30 p.m. through Saturday, Jan. 28, $12-$16.

THURSDAY 1/26-SATURDAY 1/28

'INTIMATE APPAREL'
7:30 p.m. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.

Lynn Nottage has referred to herself as a "schizophrenic writer," a word often used when an artist's aptitude outgrows the pot in which it's been planted. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll never be able to accuse Nottage of writing the same play over and over: She's written a children's musical, a play about Congolese women surviving civil war and a comedy about racial stereotypes in Hollywood. She does her homework, too — in 2009, she spoke at a reception following a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations joint subcommittee hearing, "Confronting Rape and Other Forms of Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones," based on the research she'd done before writing her play "Ruined." Nottage didn't have to look abroad for inspiration for "Intimate Apparel." After discovering a photo of her great-grandmother as a seamstress while cleaning out her grandmother's brownstone, she dug her way into the resources at the New York Public Library, trying to piece together an idea of what her ancestor's life must have been like at the turn of the century. The result was this play, her best-known work, which the New York Times' Anita Gates called "a rich, vivid portrait of turn-of-the-last-century New York; a feminist lament of intelligent, talented women defined and controlled by men; a soft-focus glimpse into the beating hearts behind the archives of African-American life a century ago." The Weekend Theater presents its final three performances of Nottage's play this weekend; catch it while you can. SS

THURSDAY 1/26

ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE: ROUND 1
8 p.m. Stickyz. $5.

From a pool of over 50 submissions, 16 semifinalists were chosen to battle it out over the course of four rounds at Stickyz for a spot at the Showcase finals on March 10. We received everything from disco beat-laden, Scissor Sisters-style falsetto to rap-as-prayer to sweet balladry, and our four judges are ready to take it all in. At this first round of semifinals, you'll hear the '60s-inspired five-piece Brian Nahlen Band, with tunes from its November release "Cicada Moon"; Spirit Cuntz, a Russellville-based punk duo that defines its namesake as "the juju that you channel that is reminiscent of a Great Woman"; Mike Mullins' (Mothwind, Year of the Tiger) latest project, Recognizer; and Southern rock revivalists DeFrance. Next up: Mortalus, Youth Pastor (formerly Comfortable Brother), Solo Jaxon (of Young Gods of America) and Dazz & Brie. Keep an eye out on our entertainment blog Rock Candy for updates and details. SS

FRIDAY 1/27

'THE LAST WALTZ': 40TH ANNIVERSARY
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5.

The Robbie vs. other-members-of-The Band tussle regarding authorship of The Band songs may never be resolved. Less disputed is Marty Scorsese's worshipful treatment of Robertson in the original Band's 1976 farewell concert film, released in 1978. Drinking game: Take a shot every time the camera gazes longingly at Robertson. For designated drivers, you're safe to take a drink at every shot of Rick, Richard or Garth ... or the audience. As part of last year's 40th anniversary of the "Last Waltz" Thanksgiving concert — and yet another Band reissue — the Ron Robinson Theater screens the film in "DCI-compliant Barco digital cinema projection system" with a 32-foot-wide screen and a Dolby 7.1 surround audio — all of which means you can see Muddy, Joni, Bob and Van et al. perform with the quintet once known as Levon and the Hawks — and with a bit more clarity than the VHS copy you got for your dad. SK

FRIDAY 1/27

ANSEL ADAMS, HERMAN MARIL
Arkansas Arts Center.

The Arts Center opens its major exhibitions of 2017 with exhibitions of works by two American modernists: premier landscape photographer Ansel Adams and style-independent Baltimore painter Herman Maril. Both exhibits will be the first major shows for Adams and Maril at the Arts Center, with 41 original prints in the Adams exhibition and 90 works, including oils, drawings and prints, in the Maril show. "Ansel Adams: Early Works" features photographs made from the 1920s to the 1950s, as he evolved his sharp-focus, high-contrast style in his iconic pictures of the American West. "Herman Maril: The Strong Forms of Our Experience" surveys the painter's career from the 1920s to the 1980s; the artist is the subject of seven years of research by the Arts Center's curator of drawings, Ann Prentice Wagner, whose knowledge she shares in the exhibition catalog and at a noontime talk Feb. 10. The exhibitions run through April 16. A member preview and reception the evening of Jan. 26 begins with a talk by Wagner at 6 p.m. ($10 nonmembers.) Other programming is scheduled around the shows, including Art After Hours talks on successive Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in February. In conjunction with the Adams show, the Arts Center is also exhibiting the works of an Arkansas photographer. "Seeing the Essence: Photographs by William E. Davis" features 25 large black-and-white prints; they along with more than 675 photographs were a bequest to the Arts Center from the estate of Davis, who was Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller's personal photographer for a time and also taught at the University of Arkansas beside having a commercial business. LNP

click to enlarge ANALOG: High Plains Jamboree (Noel McKay, Beth Chrisman, Simon Flory, Brennen Leigh) shares a bill with Joe Sundell at the White Water Tavern Friday, 9 p.m.
  • ANALOG: High Plains Jamboree (Noel McKay, Beth Chrisman, Simon Flory, Brennen Leigh) shares a bill with Joe Sundell at the White Water Tavern Friday, 9 p.m.

FRIDAY 1/27

HIGH PLAINS JAMBOREE

9 p.m. White Water Tavern.

High Plains Jamboree's mandolin player, Brennen Leigh, sings the group's song "Analog," and it's about as apt an introduction to the band's vibe as you could get: "I don't want instant packaged/I want made-at-home/I don't want advertisements on my telephone." The four-piece — on upright bass, fiddle, mandolin and guitar — calls its style "country-grass," and it's a variety show for those of us who may have, at some point in the mid-2000s, liked the song "Wagon Wheel" before its ubiquitous airplay made it the new "Stairway to Heaven." Leigh has recorded with Charlie Louvin and written songs for Lee Ann Womack, and her partner/bandmate Noel McKay co-wrote "El Coyote" with the late Guy Clark for his Grammy-winning folk album "My Favorite Picture of You." The group comes to the White Water Tavern just before the release of its first full-length album, which is sure to secure it at least a half-dozen more gigs on "A Prairie Home Companion." They follow an opening set from fellow string band player Joe Sundell, who makes up one quarter of the band Sad Daddy. SS

FRIDAY 1/27

BLACK OAK ARKANSAS

8 p.m. Four Quarter Bar. $20-$25.

While the Rolling Stones get accolades and endorsement deals for 50 years in business, some sniff at Black Oak Arkansas for its similar achievement. Without benefit of Mr. Jagger's personal trainers, Manila (Mississippi County) native Rickie Lee Reynolds and Michigan (!) native James "Dandy" Mangrum are still at it since they first got together in the mid-1960s for rehearsals in a grain elevator in Craighead County's Black Oak, when they were known as the Knowbody Else. In the interim, long hair, spandex-clad banshees, triple-guitar attacks, double-bass drumming and even washboards became part of the rock vocabulary. The band has been tighter than in years since the 2013 release of "Back Thar 'N Over Yonder," BOA's first major label release with new material in decades. Lately it even has a female singer, Candice Ivory, stepping into the late Ruby Starr's slippers. Kindred spirits Iron Tongue opens. SK

click to enlarge READY TO RACH 3: Maestro Philip Mann continues a collaboration with pianist Norman Krieger in the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's performance of Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 3" at Robinson Center Performance Hall, 7:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., $14-$67.
  • READY TO RACH 3: Maestro Philip Mann continues a collaboration with pianist Norman Krieger in the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's performance of Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 3" at Robinson Center Performance Hall, 7:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., $14-$67.

SATURDAY 1/28-SUNDAY 1/29

RACHMANINOFF'S 'PIANO CONCERTO NO. 3'

7:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. Robinson Center Performance Hall.

If you've seen the movie "Shine," you know this piano concerto. Geoffrey Rush, who resumed the piano lessons he'd quit when he was 14 so he wouldn't require a hand double, won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of David Helfgott, a renowned Australian concert pianist who struggled desperately with schizoaffective disorder. In the film, a young Helfgott's coach instructs him as he plays the so-called "Rach 3": "Think of it as two separate melodies jousting for supremacy! Your hands: two giants with 10 fingers each!" The prodigy practices obsessively, cutting out the fingertips of his gloves so that he may practice in his freezing living quarters as two slices of bread toast on the metal grate of the space heater. "Your hands must form the unbreakable habit of knowing the notes so that you can forget all about them," his coach says. The concerto's strict rhythmical interplay with the orchestra leaves no room for laxity, and the frenzied third movement means that the pianist must keep a reserve of energy in his or her back pocket for a maniacal home stretch. Featured pianist Norman Krieger is an acclaimed Los Angeles pianist who worked with Maestro Philip Mann when he recorded Brahms' "Piano Concerto No. 2" with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in 2014. (If you're curious about that recording, there's a neat little 14-minute documentary about it on Vimeo called "Capturing the Essence of Brahms," featuring Mann's thoughts: "We do it because we love Brahms, and quite frankly, we do it because the world digs Brahms.") Speaking of Brahms, the ASO will also perform the composer's "Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Op. 56a" as well as Samuel Barber's "Essay No. 1, Op. 12." If none of this sounds familiar, but you're up for expanding some horizons anyway, catch the Concert Conversations an hour before the concert to get an idea of what you'll be listening to. SS

click to enlarge SUMMERTIME IN JANUARY: Genine LaTrice Perez and LaSheena Gordon mashup opera with jazz and soul at South on Main for Divas in the Rock, 9 p.m., $10.
  • SUMMERTIME IN JANUARY: Genine LaTrice Perez and LaSheena Gordon mashup opera with jazz and soul at South on Main for Divas in the Rock, 9 p.m., $10.

SATURDAY 1/28

DIVAS IN THE ROCK

9 p.m. South on Main. $10.

There are two women in Little Rock whose names you ought to know if you're at all partial to the Gershwin tune "Summertime": Genine LaTrice Perez and LaSheena Gordon. They've both brought down the house with the piece, although they perform it quite differently: Perez with her powerhouse, jazz-infused interpretation and Gordon with her rich, supple soprano on the "operatic" version of the classic. Lucky for fans of "Porgy and Bess," these women make up the bill for this Opera in the Rock fundraiser. Gordon is a UALR graduate and director of the children's choirs at Dunbar Magnet Middle School and Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, and she'll entertain with the likes of Puccini's "Turandot" before her band, Off the Cuff, joins her to show off the other side of her vocal prowess. Fellow UALR alumnus and adjunct professor Perez offers the aforementioned Gershwin staple, and sticks around for a set from her polished jazz ensemble. SS

SUNDAY 1/29

NASTY WOMEN OF COMEDY

7:30 p.m. Loony Bin. $10.

Within hours of Donald Trump's uttering the words "nasty woman" into the microphone in reference to Hillary Clinton, the URL nastywomengetshitdone.com redirected to Hillary's website, T-shirts bearing the phrase were created and sold for the benefit of Planned Parenthood, and the phrase became a battle cry for Hillary supporters everywhere. And, if the phrase "nasty women" went on hiatus after a Trump victory, it was back in spades last weekend during the Women's March on Washington, when the moniker adorned signs everywhere across the Capitol Mall and was heard loud and clear as the epicenter of Ashley Judd's fiery poem. For this one-night-only lineup at the Loony Bin, Amber Glaze, Hannah Malmstrom, Ashley Wright Ihler and Kayla Esmond open for Fort Smith's Desiree Newton. The drinks will be strong and the jokes will be nasty. SS

TUESDAY 1/31

HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS

7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $29-$132.

The Harlem Globetrotters' touring show is sports theater, basketball for people who don't like basketball. But there's no denying the raw talent it takes to goof off at this level. The slapstick montage of trick shots, soccer-style head rolls and Guinness World Record-breaking finger spins is much evolved since 1926 — when the team was called the "Savoy Big Five" — and comes to Arkansas in its 91st consecutive season with a little history in its pocket. Two Arkansans, Charles "Tex" Harrison and Hubert "Geese" Ausbie, were each part of the Globetrotters team for over 20 years, and they'll become the sixth and seventh players in Globetrotter history to be honored with a ceremony retiring their jerseys. "Tex and Geese both richly deserve this tremendous honor," Globetrotters President Howard Smith said. "There's no doubt both were an integral part of making the Globetrotters a worldwide phenomenon, bringing joy, laughter and athletic exploits to millions of fans in every corner of the world. To have these legendary players join the exclusive fraternity of numbers is a tribute to their mark on history and their dedication to the team." If you've got a child who's been working on his or her free throws and layups after school, grab a ticket for this one; the comedy is tailor-made for kids, and yours will absorb a bit of Arkansas history, too. SS


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