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THURSDAY 10/25

FOUNTAIN FEST

5:30 p.m. Arkansas Arts Center. $25.

Shall we gather by the fountain to see James Hayes' take on a glass pinball machine? The sixth annual Fountain Fest, held by the Arkansas Arts Center's Contemporaries, its group of younger patrons, will unveil Pine Bluff blown-glass artist Hayes' design for the Carrie Remmel Dickinson Fountain, at the entrance to the Arts Center. Hayes gave us a hint recently of his design, which won't be revealed until after our press deadline: Picture glass balls floating on the fountain and glass rays shooting up from the center. But Fountain Fest isn't just about oohing and aahing over installation art: There will be live music by funk-rocker Brian Nahlen and rock-roots musician Luke Johnson, screen-printing with Electric Ghost and a raffle for a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23 year whiskey, which would run you big bucks at the package store. (Raffle is at 8 p.m.; tickets are $10.) There will be food, games and more art-making, all to allow the AAC to add to its permanent collection and for Contemporaries' projects. Though the Contemporaries are throwing the party, patrons of any age are welcome to enjoy the event. LNP

click to enlarge AGGRO ROCK: Bully, from Nashville, comes to Stickyz.
  • AGGRO ROCK: Bully, from Nashville, comes to Stickyz.

THURSDAY 10/25

BULLY

9 p.m. Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack. $15.

Whether or not they asked for it (and I suspect they didn't), Alicia Bognanno's Nashville outfit Bully has been linked with a long, troubled lineage of grunge rock, a genre whose unfinished business has been, mostly, TCB'ed in the spectre of the genre's fallen demigods: Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley. And yet, they're seemingly free of those shackles, perhaps because Bognanno's audio engineering propers have kept the identity/branding/marketing wolves away, leaving Bully's confessional intros and volatile screams to be taken at face value. In the span of time between the band's introductory 2014 EP and its second full-length album in 2017, "Losing," Bognanno's anger has moved from the sidelines to the center spotlight, vocally speaking, and if you'd prefer Bognanno make a return to the hummable la-la-la bits in tracks like "Sharktooth," well, I'd refer you to the final lines of "Hate and Control": "You can't define my meaning/Who are you to stand me still/You don't like it when I'm angry/Tough shit learn to deal." They're joined at Stickyz by the revelations of one-man guitar/loop sage Joshua Asante. SS

click to enlarge MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
  • MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

THURSDAY 10/25

BIG BOOSEUM BASH

5:30 p.m. Old State House Museum.

As if the needle-in-the-caramel apple fearmongering weren't enough, Mr. Chen's is now carrying something called durian candy, so maybe you're just better off toting your little ones to this safe municipal annual trick-or-treat event? "The Big Boo!-seum Bash was created to provide the public free access to our great local museums and cultural attractions," Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau President Gretchen Hall said. "It's a perfect time to visit an attraction possibly for the first time, or revisit one that you haven't been to in a while." Essentially, nine museums around town set up games and kids' activities, and you take your (costumed) family around for monosaccharides and merriment. Stop at any/all of the following: the Terry House Mansion at 411 E. Seventh St., where the Arkansas Arts Center will set up a post; Heifer International at 1 World Ave.; the Historic Arkansas Museum at 200 E. Third St.; the Little Rock Visitor Center at Historic Curran Hall, 615 E. Capitol Ave.; MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History at 503 E. Ninth St., where the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum will also be set up; the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center at Ninth Street and Broadway, where the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site will have a station set up; the Museum of Discovery at 500 President Clinton Ave., where the Central Arkansas Library System will share space; the Old State House Museum at 300 W. Markham St., where the Arkansas Secretary of State will also be set up; and the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center at 602 President Clinton Ave. SS

click to enlarge CITY SCRIBE: Essayist Edward McPherson comes to the Argenta Reading Series to read from and discuss his book "The History of the Future."
  • CITY SCRIBE: Essayist Edward McPherson comes to the Argenta Reading Series to read from and discuss his book "The History of the Future."

FRIDAY 10/26

ARGENTA READING SERIES: EDWARD MCPHERSON

7 p.m. 421 Main St., 317 Main St., North Little Rock. Donations.

In a literary and journalistic landscape littered with earnest, saccharine attempts to capture "the real America," Edward McPherson's essay collection "The History of the Future: American Essays," reads as counterpoint. Perhaps the reason for its acclaim (a PEN Southwest Book Award, for one) is that McPherson doesn't force a singular narrative or try to tie things up too neatly, letting towns be as complicated and bizarre as they are. Completed over the course of five years — and progressively darker "as things in this country seemed to take a grim turn," McPherson told Midwestern Gothic — the book paints personalities of seven cities through their history and cultural touchstones: St. Louis; Gettysburg, Pa.; Los Angeles; New York; the Trinity nuclear test site in New Mexico; Williston, N.D.; and Dallas. His focus, he said in that same interview, was to explore "a kind of American amnesia, how trauma in the past was being forgotten or sanitized." The oil boomtown of Williston, for example, is depicted by way of a headline in The Bismarck Tribune that reads "Bakken pollution catches everyone by surprise," and a Craigslist ad for a room the homeowner will generously rent for free to any woman between 18 and 30 in exchange for a "casual hook up" — presumably on a regular basis," the L.A. Review of Books said. McPherson has, we assume, assembled city profiles that are not wholly one thing or the other — profiles that acknowledge towns' desperate and delusional bits as well as the charming. McPherson, who teaches English at Washington University in St. Louis, is also author of "The Backwash Squeeze & Other Improbable Feats: A Newcomer's Journey Into the World of Bridge" and "Buster Keaton: Tempest in a Flat Hat." He reads at this spot in North Little Rock's Argenta Arts District as a guest of the Argenta Reading Series. Readings begin at 7 p.m., and 107 Liquor provides box wine for prereading conviviality at 6:30 p.m. SS

click to enlarge TULSA BIG BAND: Combsy, known for its inventive arrangements, plays Four Quarter.
  • TULSA BIG BAND: Combsy, known for its inventive arrangements, plays Four Quarter.

FRIDAY 10/26

COMBSY

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

Sure, Four Quarter Bar has been the spot for ear-splitting concerts from the likes of Black Oak Arkansas and Reverend Horton Heat, but it's also quietly become one of the best venues for hearing jazz in the Central Arkansas area, with experimental throwdowns from avant garde percussionist Mike Dillon and hot club ditties from locals like the Matt Treadway Trio. Case in point: the Tulsa-based Combsy — all of whom I'm not certain will even fit on that cozy stage — returns to the Argenta spot with dirty horns, driving drums and adventurous arrangements. This one's for fans of Snarky Puppy, Charles Mingus or Medeski, Martin & Wood, or anyone else who thinks they hate jazz and is ready to be proven wrong in the rowdiest of ways. SS

FRIDAY 10/26-FRIDAY 12/14

"JUVENILE-IN-JUSTICE"

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon-Thu., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. Windgate Gallery, Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS), UA-Pulaski Technical College. Free.

Last year, the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network, the nonprofit investigative project I run on the side of my Arkansas Times' work, produced a series on juvenile justice in Arkansas. We wrote about the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center, where we reported that children were confined alone in a barren cell for an entire day for small infractions like acting up in class. Two 15-year-old residents said they had been locked in a cell that had blood and urine streaked on the floor and wall. I also reported on two state-run South Arkansas juvenile lockups that failed to provide youths sufficient hygienic supplies and clothing. The heating and air conditioning units in many of the dorms were broken for long stretches. Juvenile facilities in Arkansas and elsewhere are meant to be rehabilative, not punitive. But, judging by the photographs on Richard Ross' website (juvenile-in-justice.com), I suspect his traveling exhibit "Juvenile-in-Justice" will lay bare the cruelty of confining kids in prison-like settings. The exhibit, which will be at the Wingate Gallery in CHARTS through Dec. 14, comes from Ross' more than 1,000 photos of youths housed in more than 300 facilities across the country. Jim McGill, peer recovery coordinator with the state Drug Director's office, will give a gallery talk at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, amid the opening night reception that runs from 6-8 p.m. LM

click to enlarge The House of Art
  • The House of Art

SATURDAY 10/27

WAKANDA FOREVER FEST AND PARTY

7 p.m. The House of Art, 108 East Fourth St., North Little Rock. $15 advance, $20 at the door.

According to the Marvel Comics Atlas, vibranium-rich Wakanda is somewhere between South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. For a few hours Saturday night, though, it'll have a temporary consulate in the Argenta Arts District around the corner from the historic Argenta Drug Co. The House of Art is celebrating Halloween Marvel Comics-style, with a cosplay party/House of Art fundraiser devoted to all things Wakanda, with a class in African dance from Orisha priestess Ifásèyí Bamgbàla, 7 p.m.; a class in African drum practice from Ghanaian drummer Zinse Agginie, 8 p.m.; and a 9 p.m. party with music from DJ Prophet. See Eventbrite for tickets. SS

click to enlarge BE A BIG KID, OR BRING YOUR KID: To Brick Universe, a massive celebration of Legos.
  • BE A BIG KID, OR BRING YOUR KID: To Brick Universe, a massive celebration of Legos.

SATURDAY 10/27-SUNDAY 10/28

BRICK UNIVERSE LEGO FAN CONVENTION

10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Statehouse Convention Center. $15.

Do you have materialist fantasies about what you'd buy if all of a sudden you had near-endless disposable income? I'd start with lots and lots of sneakers and then move on to all fancy woodworking tools I'm missing. But I wouldn't have to go too far down the list to land on "all the Legos." I've got sons who are 8 and 4 years old who love Legos and building blocks of all kind, and it doesn't take much to summon a memory of elementary-aged Lindsey's dreams of building something life-sized with the delightful Danish bricks. But at the same time, a not small voice in my head wonders, "But where the hell would you keep them?" (Also: "It's gross to have these sorts of fantasies about owning a bunch of things.") Finding a place for "just some of the Legos" is already a struggle. If this mental exercise resonates with you at all, this Lego fan convention is probably up your alley. There'll be 20,000 square feet of hands-on Lego play space, where you can build your own creation and not have to worry about cleaning up afterward. More enticingly, there'll be a host of professional Lego master builders showing off their elaborate models and life-sized sculptures. There'll also be merchants selling a wide variety of coveted minifigures. See more info and get tickets at brickuniverse.com/littlerock. LM

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