Kat Wilson debuts her emoji paintings 

And much more.

click to enlarge EMOJI PAINTINGS: Kat Wilson, the photographer behind the "Habitats" series, has been painting under the psuedonyms "Gar," "Neon" and "Charro Dorado" for over 20 years, and opens her "Emoji Paintings" series at the MFA Gallery in Fayetteville Thursday afternoon. - KAT WILSON
  • Kat Wilson
  • EMOJI PAINTINGS: Kat Wilson, the photographer behind the "Habitats" series, has been painting under the psuedonyms "Gar," "Neon" and "Charro Dorado" for over 20 years, and opens her "Emoji Paintings" series at the MFA Gallery in Fayetteville Thursday afternoon.



2 p.m.-9 p.m. MFA Gallery, 546 W. Center St., Unit F, Fayetteville. Free.

Did you know that there are no fewer than 13 platform-specific variations of the red heart emoji? Or that there are emoji for both dromedary (one-humped) camels and Bactrian (two-humped) camels? There are emoji for prayer beads, custard, floppy discs, sauropod dinosaurs, chestnuts, tridents, roasted sweet potatoes and, in case you ever need it, a man in sunglasses and a three-piece suit levitating. In short, the days are gone when anyone could credibly claim emoji are without nuance, or a facile and lazy way of communicating. (That businessman levitating, for example? A holdover from the late '70s ska revival in England. His name is Walt Jabsco, a "rude boy" from the cover of a Japanese import LP by The Specials, turned into Wingdings font form by Vincent Connare, the Microsoft typographer who invented Comic Sans. Thanks, Connare.) Photographer Kat Wilson, who's been painting under the pseudonyms "Gar," "Neon," and "Charro Dorado" for over 20 years, has taken the humble emoji and elevated it, revealing its depth and mystery. It's akin to what the Renaissance painters did with still life renderings of fruit and flowers — except, you know, with a hot dog and a pile of poop. Those paintings (and all the color theory therein) will be on display at this Center Street gallery in Fayetteville for Thursday's opening, with cocktails from Pink House Alchemy. Afterward, you can saunter over to the Walker Stone House (207 Center St.) for the Winter Solstice Art Action, where you and your kids can dance to a performance from Shaky Bugs, 3 p.m., take in some live theater from LatinX at 6:30 p.m., or hang out and play the Stuart Davis piano from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, make an outdoor wreath for birds with the folks from Ozark Natural Foods, make-and-take a succulent from Southside Succulents and stroll around to the neighboring galleries. If you find yourself too far from the Fayetteville city limits to observe the deep purples of the eggplant emoji in person, Wilson is live-streaming the event at facebook.com/katographic and on her Instagram page, @katographic.

click to enlarge Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth - KOREY HENSLEY
  • Korey Hensley
  • Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth



6 p.m. Lost Forty Brewing. $5 suggested donation.

As the parking lot on a Saturday afternoon attests, people find plenty of reasons to go to Lost Forty Brewing even when one of the most sidesplitting trios in town is not playing there. The Sorghum + Black Pepper Pecans, for example. Or the house-made bratwurst, or the Forest King stout or the snack list, which elevates the mundane — pickles, mustards, breads and butters, lavash, pimento cheese — to the notable. This time, though, there's an extra pull: Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth, Adam Faucett's rhythm section with another formidable creative mind at the helm, Andy Warr. Go to belt the lyrics to "Hobo Camp" and "Social Lube" at the top of your lungs and stay for a surprisingly loyal cover of Toby Keith's "Should've Been A Cowboy" from a dude who looks like the Norse god of thunder, wielding a guitar in lieu of a lightning-throwing hammer.

click to enlarge Ruby Lead of Foul Play Cabaret
  • Ruby Lead of Foul Play Cabaret



8 p.m. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. $10.

Before you dismiss burlesque as degrading, or a misunderstanding of empowerment or a reinforcement of troublesome tropes that objectify women, consider that, well ... maybe that's not up to you to decide? Burlesque, for the women who perform it, can be a way of meeting the male gaze head on — of grabbing it by the chin, looking it straight in the eye and saying, "I see you, too." Or, as 45-year-old queen of burlesque Dita von Teese put it in the Huffington Post, "How is that degrading to women when there's all the women who are supporting it and they're getting inspiration from it and they're happy to see a different version of sensuality?" She'd know; audiences for von Teese's show tend to be mostly women, as the icon recalled in an interview with Glamour Magazine in 2012: "Recently," von Teese said, "someone that I know came to my show, and she said she couldn't find one group of straight men that were there." In that tradition, the femmes of Foul Play Cabaret are inventive and clever with their costumery, adapting it to the season (Violet D'Vine broke out a gorgeous ivory Christmas angel getup at Maxine's last week) and evidently having a lot of fun doing it. I've seen them completely rock a rousing performance under harsh fluorescent lights at the Statehouse Convention Center Exhibition Hall, but do yourself a favor and go see them at The Joint, where the theater lights and red curtains are built for just this sort of extravagance.

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FRIDAY 12/29


7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $58-$88.

The long, icy rift between "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss and bandmate Tamika Scott has thawed, and the Xscape quartet is touring with openers Monica and Tamar Braxton, reviving the sounds that defined '90s-era girl groups: the minimalist a capella wonder "Tonight," the silky-smooth "Understanding" and the swagger that started it all, "Just Kickin' It." Oh, and they're doing it in fantastically elaborate and glittery jumpsuits. Check this one out for an example of how four soloists-at-heart can bring the house down with a beautiful blend, even 25 years after their heyday on the charts.

click to enlarge BIRTHDAY BASH: Big Piph's annual birthday concert raises funds for the Global Kids Arkansas 2018 summer program. - LUKAS DEEN
  • Lukas Deen
  • BIRTHDAY BASH: Big Piph's annual birthday concert raises funds for the Global Kids Arkansas 2018 summer program.



9 p.m. Revolution. $10.

"You say 'overhype much.' I say check out everybody who's performing and couple that w/ the dope cause of the Global Kids-Arkansas 2018 summer program." That's how the promotional email goes for the birthday bash Big Piph (Epiphany Morrow) is throwing this Thursday, his fourth annual such event. Expect a rapid-fire lineup of the city's foremost soul and hip-hop artists: Bijoux, SeanFresh, Arkansas Bo, Dee Dee Jones, Dazz & Brie, Philly Moo, John Willis, DJ Code Red, Tawanna Campbell, Asylum, Papa Leo and YK, and imbibe knowing that your revelry is helping three young people attend a summer program under the Global Kids missive, as stated on the organization's website — "to ensure that youth from underserved areas have the knowledge, skills, experiences and values they need to succeed in school, participate effectively in the democratic process, and achieve leadership in their communities and in the world."

click to enlarge Ashtray Babyhead
  • Ashtray Babyhead



8 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10-$12.

Here's the bad news: By the time you attend this, Ashtray Babyhead and Trusty's reunion will have — God willing and the creek don't rise — already have happened. Lucky for you, that show, on the prior Saturday, sold out so quickly they decided to schedule another one. Don't sleep on it, though; opportunities to witness the punk-informed fruits of the Little Rock music scene in the '90s are sparse and they tend to come around only at this time of year, when aging rockers get a babysitter and thrash around at the White Water Tavern just like they did at the River Market gazebos in days of yore — except with substantially better odds of making it to show's end without the cops shutting the thing down. For a primer, check out Trusty's second full-length, the Kinks-esque "Goodbye Dr. Fate," from the band's days in Washington, D.C., and Ashtray Babyhead's "O-Rama," an exercise in pop that proves you don't need much more than three chords and some well-placed harmonies to pack a punch. Adam Faucett — whose melodies surfaced in a later wave but likely would have fit right into the Towncraft scene's pith and malaise — shares the bill. Get tickets at lastchancerecords.us.

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9 p.m. White Water Tavern.

Look, you’re gonna listen to dance music on New Year’s Eve, so you’d better get down with some disgustingly heavy noise the night before. Exorcise them demons. The Portland-based duo The Body — native Arkansans Lee Buford and Chip King — land at the White Water Tavern Saturday evening with the amplification equivalent of a horse tranquilizer, the necessary gear to produce diabolical dance music like that on their November release, “A Home on Earth.” Prepare for sonic assault with a listen to The Body & Thou’s collaborative vinyl release “Released From Love/You, Whom I Have Always Hated,” slated for January 2018, or “Mother’s Voice,” a 90-second howl that begs the listener to ask, “Whose mother, exactly?” Lifer and Or share the bill.

click to enlarge AULD LANG SYNE: All The Way Korean (above), Ghost Bones (below) and Big Piph ring in the New Year at Maxine's in Hot Springs. - AARON BREWER
  • Aaron Brewer
  • AULD LANG SYNE: All The Way Korean (above), Ghost Bones (below) and Big Piph ring in the New Year at Maxine's in Hot Springs.
click to enlarge DEVIN CASTLE
  • Devin Castle

SUNDAY 12/31


8 p.m. Maxine's Live, Hot Springs.

In August 2014, at a fundraiser for KUHS-FM, 97.9, in the red velvet digs of Maxine's, four women marched slowly and deliberately up to the stage footlights in DIY military-ish attire, the backs of each jacket adorned with five-point stars. Each one bore a sparkler in hand, gently waving it to the tune of "Aegukka," the national anthem of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (I know, I know, there are two Koreas and it's complicated. To ruminate on that a little more, pair the tracks on ATWK's "All One Korea" with a chapter or two from Daniel Tudor's "Korea: The Impossible Country.") The anthem ended, they departed and a mean bass riff made way for a vocal line, alternately punk-aggro and eerily delicate. Such was the debut of All the Way Korean. From the frontman that brought us the pummeling riffs of Holy Shakes, Bill Solleder (Low Key Arts co-founder and currently at Visit Hot Springs) reprises the trio for New Year's festivities in downtown Hot Springs. It's exactly the manner of loud, wild noise capable of shaking you out of the shitshow that was 2017, coupled with labyrinthian party rhymes and hard truths from Big Piph, as well as creepy, angular boogie from Ghost Bones. If you're not hip to the latter, stop everything you're doing right now and watch the deliciously dark 2-and-a-half minute video for "Nape of My Neck."

click to enlarge ARGENTA VIBES: Four Quarter Bar hosts a show from Dazz & Brie and the Mike Dillon Band on New Year's Eve. - ZACK SMITH
  • Zack Smith
  • ARGENTA VIBES: Four Quarter Bar hosts a show from Dazz & Brie and the Mike Dillon Band on New Year's Eve.

SUNDAY 12/31


8 p.m. Four Quarter Bar. $25-$30.

New Year's Eve calls for a plan, and for revelers that intend to kick it post-midnight, this is one of your best bets. New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday this year, so closing time rules are a little tricky. Four Quarter will be open until 2:30 a.m., with a midnight champagne toast (included in admission) and the Argenta spot's elevated barroom eats available from the kitchen until 1:30 a.m. (Veggie hash, what are you doing New Year's Eve?) Secondly, this bill: Dazz & Brie will bring it girl-gang style with the infectious call-and-response anthems they've honed over countless gigs this year, and the Mike Dillon Band keeps it virtuosic and bizarre with vibraphone-forward experiments in sound. Think: Lionel Hampton's technique, Frank Zappa's weird science. For a primer, check out 2017's "Life Is Not a Football," about which Dillon said: "This is a punk-as-fuck record and has lots of social commentary. These are songs about the acceptance of life, love and death. At 50, you are either cool with the impermanent nature of the universe, or you start a life of serious meds and booze-infused denial. Songs like 'Cremate Me,' 'Man Cunt' and 'Friendship' deal with the happy little deaths that occur daily."

click to enlarge Yuni Wa
  • Yuni Wa

SUNDAY 12/31


9 p.m. South on Main. $15.

The presence of electro-wave guru Yuni Wa and soul siren Joshua Asante (Velvet Kente, Amasa Hines) might be enough to convince you that this dance party is the move for New Year's Eve. Trust that instinct, but also know you're in good hands as pertains to the other senses: Matt Bell is cooking up a "Joshua's Playlist" menu for the occasion, Michael Shaeffer is painting live and there'll be a photo booth to remind you how fabulous and/or tipsy you looked after the dust settled on that first day of 2018. Call 244-9660 to reserve a table, and don't trickle in late; Sunday liquor laws mean this venue's champagne toast bubbles up at 11 p.m.




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