International Greek Food Festival returns 

Also, Legends in Argenta, Clive Carroll, 'The Barber of Seville,' Charlotte Taylor, Most Endangered Places Bike Ride, Miles Davis/Marcus Miller tribute and more

click to enlarge Randall Shreve
  • Randall Shreve



5:30 p.m. Central Arkansas Water. Free.

Downtown Little Rock Partnership's mission with its Alley Party series is pretty straightforward: Find an out-of-the-way corner in downtown Little Rock — a spot you might only notice when you're walking or riding your bike — and throw a party in it. The April 27 party in the East Village went off without a hitch, reportedly, so the DLP is doing it again. This time, Fayetteville's Randall Shreve brings his cabaret-tinged rock to the mix, with brews from Stone's Throw Brewing and food from a new food truck, promisingly titled Count Porkula. (Reviewers say try the ribs and the chicken thighs.) "We are excited to show off another side of Little Rock, the Little Rock tucked-away, off the beaten path. By bringing music and fun and life to new areas we will hopefully spark people's imagination of what else might be possible," DLRP's Executive Director Gabe Holstrom said in a press release. To that end, this throw-down takes place in the alley that runs between Central Arkansas Water and Christ Episcopal Church, between Fifth and Sixth and Scott and Cumberland streets. If you can't make this one, mark your calendars for the next one, June 15. SS

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6 p.m. Bobby's Bike Hike, 400 President Clinton Ave. $25.

Every May since 1999, in keeping with Arkansas Heritage Month and National Preservation Month, Preserve Arkansas has announced a list of places that are in danger of demolition across the state. The goal is to spark appreciation for those pieces of Arkansas history and encourage funding for site rehabilitation. As any hiker or biker will testify, the view from two wheels or two feet is a little more conducive to awe and appreciation than the one from inside car windows, so Preserve Arkansas is hosting this tour at a cyclist's pace. Your ticket gets you a special edition T-shirt from Rock City Outfitters and a pint of Stone's Throw Brewing beer at the end, and if you're inclined to support the mission further, an extra $25 gets you membership to the organization. The ride is 6 miles long, and the organizers stress that it's a leisurely one, suitable for cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Bring your own bike if you like, or if you're without wheels, Bobby's Bike Hike is donating a limited number of bikes for the ride. Reserve your spot at preservearkansas.org. SS

click to enlarge LIFE IN COLOUR: Guitarist Clive Carroll gives a concert at The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse Thursday evening as part of Argenta Arts Acoustic Music Series.
  • LIFE IN COLOUR: Guitarist Clive Carroll gives a concert at The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse Thursday evening as part of Argenta Arts Acoustic Music Series.



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

Chelmsford, England, native Clive Carroll is an anomaly for many reasons. For one, he plays with slivers of ping pong balls underneath his fingernails, a process he says allows him to play "with the glue," as he told Guitar Player magazine last year, instead of against it, as most finger-style guitarists do when picking strings with acrylic nails. His composition process is also a little unusual. Instead of writing solo guitar pieces — oh, say, on the solo guitar — he goes old school and gets out the pen and paper, writing chord progressions and countermelodies according to the sorts of strict music theory rules he learned at Trinity College of Music in London, fingerings be damned. Then, he adapts the piece for solo guitar, changing the tuning if what he's written proves impossible to play. His repertoire ranges from 16th century lute tunes to his own version of the "Mississippi Blues," and his four solo albums have earned admiration from Madonna and Tommy Emmanuel alike. He performs in Little Rock as part of the Argenta Arts Acoustic Music Series. SS

click to enlarge Charlotte Taylor - SAM GIANNAVOLA
  • Sam Giannavola
  • Charlotte Taylor



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

In a video of Charlotte Taylor and her longtime band Gypsy Rain performing T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday" at Thirst N' Howl in 2015, an audience member can be heard behind the camera answering an inaudible question with "That's Matt Stone!" The stellar guitarist, also of string band Runaway Planet, has been part of blues siren Taylor's fold for a while. And, though she's an undeniably generous frontwoman (she's prone, for example, to inviting friends onstage to back her up on "Chain of Fools," and then letting one of them take a line or two themselves) the band ethos seems to be: Say what you need to say when you need to say it, and then get the hell out of Charlotte Taylor's way. She's a seasoned blues rock wailer and a guitarist herself, and if tunes like John Prine's "Angel from Montgomery" and Little Walter's "My Babe" are your kind of party, catch Taylor with Stone, saxophonist Dave Williams II, bassist Bruce Johnston, keyboard player Stuart Baer and drummer John Roach at South on Main. SS

click to enlarge 'BLUE GOOSE STATION, GOTEBO': "We're Not Telling You Everything: Images from the Wichita Mountains," an exhibit from photographers Sabine Schmidt and Don House, is featured at Laman Library's Argenta branch, which will be open 5-8 p.m. Friday for Argenta Artwalk.
  • 'BLUE GOOSE STATION, GOTEBO': "We're Not Telling You Everything: Images from the Wichita Mountains," an exhibit from photographers Sabine Schmidt and Don House, is featured at Laman Library's Argenta branch, which will be open 5-8 p.m. Friday for Argenta Artwalk.



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

For this month's after-hours gallery stroll on Main Street in Argenta, you can start in the 400 block with photographs of Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains paired with poetry by a Native American poet and end in the 700 block with a sculpture demonstration and a display of handmade knives, making for a hearty sort of art night. Laman Library's Argenta branch features photos by Sabine Schmidt and Don House and poetry by Sy Hoahwah in "We're Not Telling You Everything: Words and Images from the Wichita Mountains." The three artists will return to the library on Saturday at noon for a walk-through and poetry reading. Across from the library, Core Brewery will present "Faces by Chalino," showing the work of Luis "Chilino" Atilano, as part of the Latino Art Project of North Little Rock. Next door, StudioMAIN will host a "show-and-tell" at 6 p.m. and serve local beer, and Claytime Pottery will show work by Gailen Hudson of Springdale and new work by Larry Pennington. A few doors down, Greg Thompson Fine Art continues its spring exhibition of works by Southerners, including new gallery artists Jed Jackson and Alan Gerson. In the 500 block, Mugs Cafe shows "Nightflyers," paintings and drawings by Greg Lahti and Robert Bean inspired by things that happen in the dark. In the 700 block, you'll find the art demonstration at Barry Thomas Fine Art & Studio, where the artist will sculpt and show paintings, and his brother, Bob Thomas, will show his knives. Off Main Street, S.W.A.G. (Southern Women Artisans Guild) will host the Local First Social Hour for local business owners and art walkers. LNP

click to enlarge Darren Drone - NOOR EEMAAN
  • Noor Eemaan
  • Darren Drone

FRIDAY 5/19, SUNDAY 5/21


7:30 p.m. Fri., 3 p.m. Sun. UA Pulaski Tech's Center for the Humanities and Arts, 3000 Scenic Drive, NLR. $10-$50.

About 30 years after Mozart topped the charts with "The Marriage of Figaro," Rossini stuck his nose in with another Figaro, the titular "Barber of Seville." With it, he scored what is quite possibly the best-known (and probably most parodied) baritone aria of all time, "Largo al factotum." Essentially, it's an exercise in narcissism. Rossini's Figaro was the predecessor to Disney's Gaston: "Everyone asks for me, everyone wants me: ladies, children, old men, the young girls ... Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!" Warner Brothers released a short called "Rabbit of Seville" in 1950, complete with the time-honored arms race (axes, then shotguns, then cannons) between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. The aria's a beast to sing. Sherwood native/Tulsa resident Darren Drone has his work cut out for him, but his comedic timing, animated face and warm, rich tone are perfect for the part. Mezzo-soprano and Searcy native Alice Ann Light sings the part of Rosina; David Malis, the first American to win the prestigious Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, sings the part of Dr. Bartolo; Dover native Jonathan Ray is Count Almaviva; Dallas native Andrew Simpson sings Don Basilio; Ferris Allen sings the role of Fiorello; and Suzanne Loerch adds her velvety mezzo soprano to the cast as Berta. Basso buffo David Ward directs, and Louis Menendez conducts members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. The opera will be sung in Italian, but English supertitles will appear above the stage to help out during all the parts where Figaro isn't just repeating his own name over and over in self-admiration. SS

click to enlarge OPA!: Ballet Quetzalli, the Dabkeh Middle Eastern Dancers, the Greek-American Folk Dance Society and the O'Donovan School of Irish Dance are among the performers at this weekend's International Greek Food Festival.
  • OPA!: Ballet Quetzalli, the Dabkeh Middle Eastern Dancers, the Greek-American Folk Dance Society and the O'Donovan School of Irish Dance are among the performers at this weekend's International Greek Food Festival.



11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 1100 Napa Valley Drive. $3 or three canned goods.

The time has come again for Little Rock to consume more phyllo dough in three days than it does the entire remainder of the year. Admission to the 33rd annual International Greek Food Festival will cost you $3 or three canned goods, and will get you the following: access to performances from Abigail Pappas; Acapella Rising; a ballet and Mexican Folkloric dance group called Quetzalli; Dabkeh Middle Eastern Dancers; the Greek-American Folk Dance Society; I Can! Dancers; LTD Edition Cloggers; O'Donovan School of Irish Dance; and more. Also: evening performances from the Donna Massey Band and the Big John Miller Band; an indoor Old World Market featuring Greek coffee, tahini sauce, halvah (honey sesame paste), pasteli (sesame candy), imported cookies, falafel, Greek olive oil, hummus, dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), and the Orthodox Church's own Pete's Famous Salad Dressing; tours of the Byzantine iconography inside the church; a kid's area with activities like frame making and face painting (and hot dogs, if your kid wrinkles her nose at the word "tzatziki.") The food, of course, is what we all drive over to Napa Valley Drive for, and new this year is the "My Big Fat Greek Platter," which organizers say includes "generous helpings of pastitsio, long macaroni layered with seasoned ground beef and topped with a thick cheese sauce; spanakopita, filo dough layered with feta cheese, spinach and herbs; Greek chicken; and Greek salad." Onsite, they'll sell souvlaki, Armenian pizza, tabouleh salad, loukanikos sausages, Greek fries, calamari, lamb burgers and other delights. Or, you can skip the festivities and order in the drive-through for lamb or gyros chicken platters, chicken kebobs, hummus, baklava and more. See greekfoodfest.com for a full schedule and menu. SS

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Various times, for rally at 7:30 a.m. at the Old State House.

Ozone Action Days' eight-day "Ditch the Keys" event gets in gear Friday with a Ride to Work Day, in which volunteer cyclists will lead convoys of bike riders from eight locations in Little Rock and North Little Rock to the Old State House Museum for a 7:30 a.m. bike rally. Registrants will get digital coupons for discounts at event sponsors, including retail stores (Box Turtle, Domestic Domestic, the Green Corner Store, etc.), eateries (South on Main, River City Coffee, The Pantry Crest, The Root, Boulevard Bread, etc.), bike stores (Arkansas Cycling & Fitness, Angry Dave's Bicycles, Chainwheel, etc.) and other venues (Esse Purse Museum, Flyway Brewing, Stone's Throw Brewing, The Joint Theatre & Coffee House, etc.). The event, to encourage clean air and better health, continues through May 26 with days devoted to biking to play, carpooling, walking to work, telecommuting and taking the bus (free Friday, May 26). Register and find the convoy information, event schedule and discounts at ditchthekeys.com. LNP

click to enlarge Bonnie Montgomery
  • Bonnie Montgomery



6 p.m. Argenta Plaza, 520 N. Main St. $5.

Susie Cowan, executive director of Legends of Arkansas, created the event in 2013 to foster community through music. That seemed a good enough reason, but in a conversation with us last August, Cowan said LOA revelers often asked what particular cause the event was benefiting. She and her colleagues decided to answer that question this year by partnering with Aaron Reddin's The One, Inc., best known for its outreach efforts to Central Arkansas's homeless community with The Van. The Van will receive 100 percent of proceeds from the LOA fall show, which will be funded by Saturday's events. Rain or shine, the organizers say, the Argenta Plaza will host art vendors; music by Bonnie Montgomery, The Salty Dogs and Zakk & Big Papa Binns; and food trucks and beer from the Arkansas Brewers Guild. If you're out the night before, catch the official pre-party with Mountain Sprout at Four Quarter Bar, 10:30 p.m. SS



9:30 p.m. 109 & Co. $10.

Miles Davis fans might foist "Kind of Blue" or "Sketches of Spain" on a new listener as a primer, and rightly so. His catalog is deep, though, and the members of Off the Cuff looked to Davis' later catalog for inspiration when they wanted, as trumpeter and bandleader Jose Holloway told us, to "electrify the scene at 109 & Co.," the speakeasy on Main Street just south of the Statehouse Convention Center. Holloway says the show will pay tribute to the collaboration between Davis and bass guitarist/composer Marcus Miller. "Many people do not realize that Marcus Miller composed many of Miles Davis' biggest hits in the '80s," he said. "In an effort to preserve the unique trumpet and bass duo between these men, I could not think of a better bassist than my cousin Joel 'Jammin JC' Crutcher. No one sounds more like Marcus Miller than Jammin JC, so I decided it was time to have a musical family reunion as we paid homage to one of the most electrifying jazz ensembles the '80s had to offer." Crutcher and Holloway are joined by Off the Cuff vocalist Lasheena Gordon, saxophonist Dr. Danny A. Fletcher, keyboardist Tim Anthony and drummer Darius Blanton. SS

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10:30 p.m. Four Quarter Bar. $10.

Ozark folklore, by definition, was outsider culture. Crafts, songs and stories were often created in isolated places and, if they were passed around at all, it was mostly in tighter circles and often by word of mouth. That might be part of why it's hard to appreciate it until it comes back around in another form, as the collections of folklorists John Quincy Wolf and Max Hunter have been revived by Cindy Woolf and Mark Bilyeu of The Creek Rocks. The last time I saw the band, they were peeling out tunes like "Missouri Girls" and "Muskrat Song" in someone's backyard. That's unquestionably the best way to hear them, but excepting that opportunity, go check them out at Four Quarter Bar, and take a friend that knows how to two-step. SS




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