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THURSDAY 5/17

MARY FLOWER

7:30 p.m. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. $25.

Until you hear her pick out a mean version of Robert Johnson's "Me and the Devil," Mary Flower looks for all the world like she could be your cool hippie aunt — the one who's a folk musician and lives in Eureka Springs and makes jewelry out of crystals and can fold a fitted sheet like a boss. Flower's background in folk (she was once part of a Denver collective called "Mother Folkers") meant she was met with some resistance when she dove headlong into the study of ragtime music and so-called "Piedmont" fingerstyle blues; there weren't that many women playing blues guitar at the time, and even fewer trying to play like Scrapper Blackwell. Flower's since made a career out of teaching workshops, playing her lap steel and her signature Fraulini Angelina guitar at festivals and on NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion," and she's here in North Little Rock as part of the Argenta Acoustic Music Series. SS

THROUGH 5/26

'STICK FLY'

7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2:30 p.m. Sun. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.

The New Yorker's Hilton Als dubbed it "Schtick Fly," and The New York Times' Charles Isherwood noted that, in Lydia R. Diamond's script, we are fed "large spoonfuls of exposition." And yet, Diamond's "Stick Fly" still captivates actors and audiences 12 years after its premiere. In it, a well-to-do black family, The LeVays, come into our view just as their two sons, Kent and Flip, are bringing their girlfriends home to Martha's Vineyard for the weekend — one of whom is, as Kent puts it, "melanin-challenged." Things get complicated, secrets unfurl and the "meet the parents" scenario, predictably, turns into a frictive symposium on race dynamics, privilege and family. Director Candrice Jones has the formidable task of coaxing nuance out of a play like "Stick Fly" while masterful mindblowers like "Get Out" linger in our collective memory, but if there's a community theater company that can make Diamond's play feel vital and raw in 2018, surely it's The Weekend Theater, whose longtime commitment to plays of social significance and "educationally reducing prejudice, cruelty and indifference" are noted in its credo. SS

click to enlarge 'CHAMPIONS' IN COLORED PENCIL: Linda Palmer's "Arkansas Champion Post Oak" (left) and "Post Oak Leaf" (right) are on display at CHARTS through July 27.
  • 'CHAMPIONS' IN COLORED PENCIL: Linda Palmer's "Arkansas Champion Post Oak" (left) and "Post Oak Leaf" (right) are on display at CHARTS through July 27.

FRIDAY 5/18

'CHAMPION TREES OF ARKANSAS'

5 p.m. Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS), Pulaski Technical College,

3000 W. Scenic Drive. Free.

In 2007, artist Linda Palmer came across a list of the largest known examples of each kind of tree native to Arkansas, compiled online by Arkansas foresters. Since then, she's drawn, photographed and studied hundreds of them and created "Champion Trees of Arkansas: An Artist's Journey," a University of Arkansas Press book now in its second printing. A six-year tour of her large-scale color pencil drawings of those trees comes to a conclusion with an exhibition in the Windgate Gallery of Pulaski Technical College's Center for Humanities and Arts. Friday's opening reception will be ushered in by a screening of AETN's "Champion Trees" documentary at 5 p.m. in the CHARTS Theater. Palmer will give a talk on her work at 6:30 p.m., and the reception and book signing will follow, with music by saxophonist Dr. Barry McVinney and pianist Tom Cox. The exhibition runs through July 27. SS

click to enlarge DUSTYN BORK
  • Dustyn Bork
click to enlarge HEIDI CARLSEN-ROGERS
  • Heidi Carlsen-Rogers

FRIDAY 5/18

3RD FRIDAY ARGENTA ART WALK

5-8 p.m., downtown galleries, North Little Rock.

The 400 block of Main Street in Argenta will be an art lover's heaven as art venues welcome an after-hours crowd to new and continuing shows. Katherine Rutter, whose watery paintings of ambiguous part-human, part-animal creatures has earned her a national reputation as a muralist, has works and a mural on exhibition at the Thea Foundation (401 Main St.). The Latino Art Project has a new show, "In Bloom," at regular host venue Core Brewery (411 Main). Abstract printmaker Dustyn Bork of Batesville and photographer/painter Heidi Carlsen-Rogers of Bella Vista put up a show of new work, "Flowers and Facades," at the Argenta Branch of the Main Library (420 Main St.). Supporters of Argenta's art scene must not skip Argenta Gallery (413 Main St.), where Larry Pennington's "About Face" show of photography is on exhibition; profits from sales benefit the Argenta Arts Foundation. (Adjoining gallery StudioMAIN continues its "Year in Review" show of creative design.) Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main St.) continues its "Southern Abstraction" exhibition of work by Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus, Sammy Peters and regional talent. Unless you're headed to the Main Thing's production of "Orange Is the New White," a comedy about exactly what you think it's about, at the Joint Theater (301 Main St., curtain at 8 p.m.), head north to Barry Thomas Fine Art & Studio (711 Main St.) and watch the impressionist do his thing. LNP

click to enlarge 'BOOMIVERSE': Big Boi lands at the Rev Room Friday night.
  • 'BOOMIVERSE': Big Boi lands at the Rev Room Friday night.

FRIDAY 5/18

BIG BOI

9 p.m. Rev Room. $25.

Big Boi — the man who helped cement Atlanta's reputation as a rap empire, who plays that same city's mayor in a forthcoming remake of "SuperFly" and who's collaborated with everyone from Phantogram to Danger Mouse and still manages to get pigeonholed as the earthy counterpart to Andre 3000's vision quest-y vibes — is coming to Little Rock. It's not too late for some prerequisite listening, but forgo the "Speakerboxxx" tracks, sweet as they are, especially if you've yet to sink into Big Boi's post-Outkast solo career. Check out his latest, "Boomiverse," and 2010's breakout "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty," a lusty, amped collection of tracks that holds up well despite its references to reality TV and an emergent iTunes being squarely footed in the mid-aughts. SS

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FRIDAY 5/18

ERIC SOMMER

10 p.m. Four Quarter Bar. $7.

Here's a seasoned fingerstyle acoustic guitarist whose education includes some pre-Kraftwerk German rock, some time mashing up slide blues and punk rock with a New Wave outfit called Eric and the Atomics, and about a kajillion road miles. He picks and slaps like he's his own rhythm section, as if he's got the drum part in his head with his own guitar melody somewhere in the background. Sommer's rolling into town after picking his way to first place at the Piedmont Blues Society's 2017 guitar challenge and after having a Stratocaster show up in the mail while he was on tour en route to Texas, a making of amends by the same soul who stole a 1969 mint model from Sommer at a party 40 years ago. That should make for a good story, and I bet he's got a few more. SS

MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY
  • Museum of Discovery

SATURDAY 5/19

'MESSTIVAL'

10 a.m.-3 p.m. Museum of Discovery. $10 adults, $8 children.

Kids will get five hours of mess-making, from sculpting with scat to slime time, with no repercussions at MOD's "Messtival" — and they won't even have to clean up. The idea is to let kids learn a bit of science while having unfettered fun with tons of activities. Mentos and Coke geysers. Exploding melons. A mud pie kitchen. A giant foam cannon. Brush-less painting. Wax casting. Viscosity races. And much more. The museum says visitors should wear clothes and shoes that can get messy; there will be cleaning stations set up. In a couple of weeks, grownups will get to mess about, too, with suds from Stone's Throw Brewing and tomato stains from Damgoode Pies. That event's 6-9 p.m. May 31 and costs $10. LNP

click to enlarge CATTYWAMPUS: Shire Post Mint's licensed "A Game of Thrones" coins and O'Faolain Leather's handmade bags are part of the mix at Cattywampus Co-op's "Spring Bizarre" Saturday at Blue Canoe Brewing Warehouse. - O'FAOLAIN LEATHER
  • O'Faolain Leather
  • CATTYWAMPUS: Shire Post Mint's licensed "A Game of Thrones" coins and O'Faolain Leather's handmade bags are part of the mix at Cattywampus Co-op's "Spring Bizarre" Saturday at Blue Canoe Brewing Warehouse.
SHIRE POST MINT
  • Shire Post Mint

SATURDAY 5/19

'SPRING BIZARRE'

10 a.m. Blue Canoe Brewing Warehouse, 1637 E. 15th St. Free.

Handmade art has an (undeserved) reputation for being tame. Maybe it's because so many of us in the South encountered it first at church bake sales, those small-town hotbeds for lackluster knit trivets and potholders? At any rate, the people making bejeweled beetle brooches, crocheted cacti and "Fouke Monster" T-shirts are, evidently, busy enough dreaming up oddities that they don't often get a chance to congregate under one roof, and this is the antidote. Blue Canoe Brewing's Warehouse in the Hanger Hill neighborhood will, this Saturday, be home to the first gathering of artmakers in Central Arkansas from the Northwest Arkansas-based Cattywampus Co-Op. Here's your chance to get acquainted with a whole bunch of (un-tame) handmade art at once: Shauna Henry's creepy fairy figures! O'Faolain Leather's blue-lipped handbags! Jenn Perren's stout little Devil Jars! Maggie Ivy's painting of a fish in fishnets! Bang Up Betty's "Smash the Patriarchy" pendants (complete with hammer)! Shire Post Mint's "A Game of Thrones" coins! Sally Nixon's tableau vivants! Upcycled thrift store art by Jason Jones! Arkansocks! Plus, there's beer, food truck fare, live printing from Electric Ghost and an after-party with the gorgeous sounds of Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo, winners of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. SS

SATURDAY 5/19

KYLE BOSWELL, KATHY BAY

6-9 p.m. Boswell Mourot Fine Art, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Kyle Boswell's blown glass vessels in luminous color are given handles of heartier stuff from nature, like copper and hardwoods wrapped in fabric and leather: Such handles invite you to pick up what you might otherwise never handle. Like the blown glass, Kathy Bay's paints are also translucent, forming abstract lines and other geometric shapes in brilliant hues. Now these identically initialed Central Arkansas artists are exhibiting together at Boswell's gallery; a reception opens the show, which runs through June 9. LNP

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SUNDAY 5/20

LITTLE ROCK KICKBALL ASSOCIATION CHAMPIONSHIP

3 p.m. Interstate Park, 3900 S. Arch St. Free.

For 28 seasons, people have been congregating in the name of friendly competition and Sabbath daydrinking as part of the Little Rock Kickball Association, organizing themselves under 80 or so teams with names like "Suck My Kick" and "Taj Mah'Balls" to — as the LRKA's CEO and founder's statement puts it — "kick da funk out of a child's 8.5 inch red playground ball!!!" These are the playoffs for that massive tournament, and they happen across four tiers of play varying greatly in the seriousness toward the endeavor: Novice, Intermediate, Competitive and the "Laidback League." Bring sunscreen, water and a cooler, buy Stone's Throw brews and grub from the food trucks onsite for these final rounds of LRKA's 29th season, and consider whether your vision of 2019 needs the sort of psychological redemption only kickball can offer: "The first and foremost rule of the game is to have fun. Remember we are all just a bunch of grown-ups playing a kid's game and are probably over compensating for the fact that all of us at one time or another were picked last as kids and it sucked." SS

DOWN A RIVER OF TIME: ASO oboist Lorraine Duso Kitts takes the lead on pieces by Eric Ewazen and Alessandro Marcello.
  • DOWN A RIVER OF TIME: ASO oboist Lorraine Duso Kitts takes the lead on pieces by Eric Ewazen and Alessandro Marcello.

TUESDAY 5/22

AN EVENING WITH SPANISH MUSIC

7 p.m. Highland Valley United Methodist Church. $15 suggested donation (or $25 per couple).

In late March, oboist Lorraine Duso Kitts led a performance of Eric Ewazen's "Down a River of Time" at the Clinton Presidential Center, evoking spring in all its exploratory green tendrils. It's a three-movement work by a living American composer that Kitts and colleagues from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the faculty at the University of Central Arkansas will reprise in Granada, Spain, this August as part of the 47th annual conference of the International Double Reed Society (raise your hands if you knew there was such a thing!). This concert is in preview (and in support) of that trip. Duso Kitts will be joined at Highland Valley United Methodist by violinists Kiril Laskarov and Algimantas Staskevicius, violist Tatiana Kotcherguina, cellist Stephen Feldman and pianist Laura Hanna Cruse for the Ewazen piece, as well as Alessandra Marcello's "Adagio for Oboe and Strings," Marin Marais' "La Folia" variations for cello, Manuel Ponce's "Sarabande et Allegro" and Pable Sarasate's "Andalusian Romance," a piece whose setting is connected to the autonomous Spanish community this group will visit in August. Come enjoy it before they go, and soak up a little of what ASO's musicians cook up when they're not onstage at the Robinson Center Performance Hall. SS

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