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Arts and Entertainment News, Nov. 22 

Fort Smith native Brad Neely served as a consulting writer for the latest season of “South Park,” which wrapped up last week. This season marked the show's best ratings in almost a decade. Neely is the creator of Creased Comics and a regular contributor of side-splittingly funny animated cartoons to SuperDeluxe.com. In May, we profiled Neely in the Times under the headline “The Next South Park.” Just saying.

Local rapper/producer Rockst*r is collaborating with Sixstring, a guitarist and producer who's lately been performing live with Epiphany and Gina Gee in the group One Night Stand. The duo is calling the project Crowd Control. Rockst*r says it features a lot of rock samples and sounds. Look for an EP or full-length in January.

Jeff Nichols' “Shotgun Stories” has piled up yet another award. FIPRESCI, an international association of film critics, recently awarded the film its annual jury prize, “For its mixture of realism and poetry and for giving a fresh visual style and haunting atmosphere to a classical American story.” The Little Rock native, who filmed “Shotgun Stories” in and around Little Rock, will premiere the film locally at Market Street Cinema on Dec. 14 in an event sponsored by the Arkansas Times. Ben Nichols, of Lucero, and Smoke Up Johnny will perform at an after-party at Sticky Fingerz. Combination tickets for both events are $20. Call 375-2985 for more information.

Local production company Skygate Studio will present a free screening of its new film, “Masterpiece,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at Riverdale. Written, directed and produced by Scott Edge, the film, Edge says, is set in “the old world” and follows a potter as he makes a vase that turns out flawed. Edge describes it, ultimately, as a film about coming to grips with imperfection. Filmed in Little Rock over the last eight months, “Masterpiece” employs an all-local cast and crew. Veteran local actor Ed Lowry (“Where's My Close Up, Mr. Thornton?”) stars.

This is Skygate's first major project, though Edge says that he has three to five online TV shows in the works. After the premiere, Edge says he plans to submit the film to festivals across the country. You can see a teaser trailer on www.masterpiecedvd.com.

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