Bass fishing stars hit the Arkansas River 

click to enlarge BASS MAN: Tourney this week.
  • BASS MAN: Tourney this week.

The biggest names in bass fishing will take to the Arkansas River from the North Little Rock side Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 24-27, when the inaugural Bassmasters Legends is held here. One fisherman among the 55 top anglers from the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series will walk away Sunday with a $250,000 first price and the Bassmaster Legends trophy. Six of the fishermen are from Arkansas: Kevin Short, Mike McClelland, Mike Wurm, Jimmy Mize, Stephen Browning and Scott Rook. Big names in the field include Kevin VanDam, Aaron Martens, Dave Wolak and inaugural Bassmaster Majors winner Peter Thliveros. Forty fishermen qualified based on three-year combined Angler of the Year standings, and the top 10 active anglers from the BASS all-time money list also qualified.

Admission is free to all the Bassmaster Legends events, with daily launch at 6:50 a.m. from the North River Landing on Locust Street and daily weigh-ins at the Statehouse Convention Center at 3 p.m. through Sunday’s final round. Anglers have the whole river to fish on the first two days, then fish a marked-off, six-hole course on days 3 and 4.

The ESPN Outdoors Expo will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 26-27, at the Statehouse Convention Center beginning at 10 a.m. each day, with interactive games and hundreds of fishing and outdoor vendors operating booths and giving away products. Visit the BASS booth and get a free gift. The first 100 children through the door on Saturday and Sunday get youth goodie packs, which include a rod and reel. The Georgia Wildlife Experience also will be on display with interesting animals.

And while the men are fishing around Little Rock, Lake Dardanelle outside Russellville will play host to the Mercury Marine Women’s Bassmaster Tour running Thursday through Saturday. Weigh-ins are at 2 p.m. at the Lake Dardanelle State Park Thursday and Friday, while the women will bring their final-round catches to the Statehouse Convention Center for a 3 p.m. Saturday weigh-in to determine the champion.

Poison, Cinderella go outdoors for show
The quiet summer concert season at Riverfest Amphitheatre gets awakened in a big way Sunday, Aug. 27, when power rock bands Poison and Cinderella bring their “20 Years of Rock” tour to Little Rock.

The concert, featuring two of the bigger players in the heavy-rock days of the late 1980s starts, at 7 p.m., with Fort Smith-based Starkz opening. Poison is touring in support of its “best of” CD released in April. Poison has sold 25 million CDs and DVDs in its two-decade career, and the band is one of the stars of VH-1’s “Heavy: The Story of Metal,” which premiered in May. Los Angeles-based Poison is comprised of Bret Michaels on vocals and guitar, C.C. Deville on lead guitar, Bobby Dall on bass and Rikki Rockett on drums, and its hits include “Talk Dirty to Me,” “I Want Action,” “I Won’t Forget You,” “Nothing But a Good Time,” “Fallen Angel,” “Something to Believe In” and probably its most celebrated anthem, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”

Tickets range from $27 for the lawn area to $35 for the reserve and pit sections and are available through all Ticketmaster outlets (Harvest Foods stores, 975-7575 or www.ticketmaster.com) or at the amphitheater box office the day of the show.

Hot music, auctions in Quapaw Quarter
The Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church will hold its fifth annual summer celebration, the “Some Like It Hot” Fiesta, on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 16th and Louisiana streets. Music acts will include singer-songwriter Amy Garland; Isaac Alexander, who’s in several local pop groups, and Conway acoustic rock group Stone Mountain Crew. Food and drink will be available, and art, restaurant certificates, sports memorabilia and other items will be part of silent and live auctions. Kids will have several activities to keep them busy as well, including the breaking of a piñata.

The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and under, and the price includes the food and entertainment. Call 375-1600 for tickets or more information. Proceeds benefit the church and its HeARTworks mission that promotes spirituality through the arts.

Last RiverTop party
The Peabody Hotel marks an end to the summer with its last RiverTop Party on Friday, Aug. 25, featuring Memphis party band the Venus Mission. The group covers a wide range of danceable hits with its three women singers and strong backing musicians.

The party starts at 8 p.m. and admission is $5 for ages 21 and up. Call 399-8059 for more information.

‘Beautiful Thing’ opens at Weekend Theater
“Beautiful Thing,” written by Jonathan Harvey, is a working-class social documentary of young love, domestic violence and homophobia that is brought to the local stage by the amateur Weekend Theater beginning Friday, Aug. 25, and running for three weekends.

The play is based in London during a long, hot summer when two teen boys (played by Jackson Stewart and Gabby Smoller) develop a relationship that is hard for a mother (Samantha Porter) of one boy to accept. The other teen is trying to escape from an abusive, alcoholic father and brother. Their mutual friend Leah (Amanda Taylor) has been kicked out of school and spends a lot of her time listening to Mamas and the Papas records. The cast also includes Jeremy Estill.

“It is very funny, very witty, and at times charming, and there are intense moments of anger, fear and self-discovery,” director Tucker Steinmetz says. “While it is a gay-themed show about a beautiful adolescent romance between two boys, it is neither preachy nor didactic. It doesn’t get into an examination of societal attitudes or public policy, it just invites you to share the joy of two teen-agers falling in love.

“The romance gives hope and joy to more than just the boys. When people leave, if they’ve had their doubts about same-sex romance, they might modify their thinking a little.”

Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $14 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Call 374-3761 for reservations.

Travs wrap up games at Ray Winder
The Arkansas Travelers finish the year with a spate of games at Ray Winder Field before shuttering the gates on the 74-year-old facility on Sunday, Sept. 3. The Travs are home beginning Saturday, Aug. 26, with the Tulsa Drillers.

Game times are 7:10 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and Monday, and 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. The Springfield Cardinals follow the Drillers into town and help the Travs celebrate the last days at Ray Winder. The final weekend will include a 1 p.m. Saturday game and 2 p.m. season finale as part of “GameWeek in the Rock.”

Katrina vigil on Tuesday
Marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, which wreaked havoc in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, area churches and other sponsors will hold the “Counting Our Blessing” Prayer Vigil and Celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at the River Market pavilions and Riverfest Amphitheatre.

The gates open at 6 p.m. and events will run until 9 p.m. The state, the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock, the Clinton foundation, UAMS, Project AR-K, the Catholic Charities of Arkansas, Promiseland Ministries and the Arkansas Inter-Faith Long Term Recovery are joining with the local churches to lead the event, which will bring together survivors, people and agencies who assisted in the hurricane recovery, and anyone who wants to join in the marking of the occasion. A New Orleans jazz quartet will perform along with a gospel choir from First Baptist Church, and local political officials will speak. Children’s activities are also planned.


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