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Kristin Key comes to The Loony Bin 

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click to enlarge IN THE KEY OF KRISTIN: Comedian Kristin Key entertains at The Loony Bin this weekend.
  • IN THE KEY OF KRISTIN: Comedian Kristin Key entertains at The Loony Bin this weekend.

THROUGH SATURDAY 1/27

KRISTIN KEY

7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. The Loony Bin. $8-$12.

Kristin Key is a comedian who, in her spare time, makes stop-motion videos of her wife's Lego collections. She also writes songs to accompany the action – "The Lego Fire Song," its Middle Eastern companion piece, "Lego Snake Charmer" and the seasonal "Rudolph, Don't Go." Really, check it out; they're on a YouTube channel called Happy Go Bricks, and they're great. Check out Key's stand-up, too, which delves into the decidedly more adult, waxing on the aftermath of being a Church of Christ preacher's daughter or explaining why she isn't cut out for motherhood, as she told PBS earlier this year: "No, that would fuck up my Legos, man. You should see the living room right now. ... A baby would die here." SS

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THURSDAY 1/25

'SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER'

7 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $5.

The Argenta Community Theatre, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to "enhance the community by providing arts education and development," is again hosting its lauded Dogtown Film Series, where Arkansans can watch classic films in the comfort of the Sally Riggs Insalaco Theater for just $5. Past flicks have included the 1980s John Hughes standards "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Breakfast Club," but this month they go even farther back — to the '70s! — with "Saturday Night Fever," the soundtrack of which earned the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1979. Released just one year before his unforgettable performance as Danny Zuko in perennial teeny-bopper favorite "Grease," John Travolta played Tony Manero, a Brooklyn teenager who feels like his only chance to succeed is to become king of the dance floor, and the film earned Travolta a National Board of Review Award for Best Actor. Let's face it, though: You don't see this movie for the acting. It's those white bell bottoms and sweet disco finger-pointing that bring you coming back for more. HS

click to enlarge MANHATTAN, AS SEEN BY MARIN: The watercolor is one of 79 works by the painter on exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center.
  • MANHATTAN, AS SEEN BY MARIN: The watercolor is one of 79 works by the painter on exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center.

THURSDAY 1/25

'BECOMING JOHN MARIN: MODERNIST AT WORK'

5:50 p.m. wine bar, 6 p.m. lecture ($15 nonmembers), 6:30 p.m. member opening. Arkansas Arts Center.

In 2014, the Arts Center announced that Norma B. Marin had donated 290 drawings and watercolors by famed early 20th century lyrical painter John Marin to its permanent collection. Marin (1870-1953) was part of Alfred Stieglitz's stable of artists, and as an exhibitor in the famed 1913 Armory Show in New York helped introduce modern art to America. The gift, promised by Marin's daughter-in-law in 2008 and formalized several years later after she met with Arts Center Director Todd Herman, makes the Arts Center's collection of Marin's works second only to the National Gallery's. (The National Gallery, the Arkansas Times reported in 2014, suggested to Norma Marin that she donate the drawings to the Arts Center because of its notable collection of works on paper.) After two years of conservation work, made possible by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, and work to pull the exhibition together, 79 works from the collection, along with works from the Metropolitan Museum, the National Gallery and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will go on view. Thursday night's lecture, by Marin expert and Arts Center curator Ann Prentice Wagner, is open to the public, though nonmembers must buy a ticket; the preview of the show is open only to members, but you can buy a membership Thursday night. The show opens to the public for free on Friday, when there will be another talk about the artist at noon by another Marin specialist, Josephine White Rogers. The University of Arkansas Press is publishing the exhibition catalog, a comprehensive look at the collection. The exhibition runs through April 22. LNP
click to enlarge TWO-PIECE CRUNCH ROCK: Chicago duo North by North plays at Maxine's Friday night with Vagittarius and Spirit Cuntz and at Vino's Thursday night with Us on Fire.
  • TWO-PIECE CRUNCH ROCK: Chicago duo North by North plays at Maxine's Friday night with Vagittarius and Spirit Cuntz and at Vino's Thursday night with Us on Fire.

FRIDAY 1/26

NORTH BY NORTH, VAGITTARIUS, SPIRIT CUNTZ

9 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs. $5.

North by North 's got angular energy like Gossip and prissy angst like The Cure back when all their songs were punchy and less than three minutes long, and they do it with two people. This duo is going to be incredibly fun to see live, and Vagittarius and Spirit Cuntz seal the deal. The former, a sultry soul sound with tons of harmony and a drum-forward urgency, is a Tulsa band that lists as its influences Arkansan outfits like Fiscal Spliff, Adam Faucett and Spirit Cuntz, the Little Rock-based outfit with whom they share this bill, and whose brawny, biting "Two Cents" I had stuck in my head for weeks. SS

click to enlarge TRIBUTE TO TOM PETTY: White Water Tavern hosts a benefit for KABF-FM, 88.3, that doubles as tribute to the late rocker, with Stephen Neeper & The Wild Hearts (pictured) and other local musicians.
  • TRIBUTE TO TOM PETTY: White Water Tavern hosts a benefit for KABF-FM, 88.3, that doubles as tribute to the late rocker, with Stephen Neeper & The Wild Hearts (pictured) and other local musicians.

SATURDAY 1/27

TOM PETTY TRIBUTE/KABF-FM, 88.3, BENEFIT

9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10 suggested donation.

The sorrow surrounding Tom Petty's death was magnified by last week's announcement that it had been the result of an accidental overdose of pain medication. The scope of the guitarist and songwriter's influence was made clear in tributes everywhere — here at home, for example, when Jason Isbell added a cover of Petty's "Refugee" to the setlist for his performance at Robinson Center Performance Hall Sunday night. Add to those tributes this benefit for community radio's "Voice of the People," KABF-FM, 88.3, with a list of acts that bear — to varying degrees — Petty's impact on their sleeves: R.J. Looney, Mark Currey, Trey Johnson, Reade Mitchell, Jason Lee Hale, Nick Bromley, Aaron Sarlo, Dan Butler, Blueflower Skye & Jonathan Howard, The Brian Nahlen Band, The P-47s, 5 point Cove, Going Jessies, deFrance and Stephen Neeper & The Wildhearts. SS

SATURDAY 1/27

JOHN VANDERSLICE

6:30 p.m. Argenta United Methodist Church. 421 Main St. Donations.

Launched in 2017, the Argenta Reading Series — in partnership with the William F. Laman Public Library System of North Little Rock — hosts monthly events with writers of note in the effort "to connect writers directly with their audience, to appreciate the written word, and understand better the person behind those words." Past readers have included Natural State literary luminaries like Bryan Borland, the Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and owner of Sibling Rivalry Press; and Jay Jennings, a writer and editor whose works have run in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Oxford American. This month, Arkansas Writers MFA Program instructor John Vanderslice, whose stories, poems, essays and one-act plays have appeared in literary journals including the Laurel Review and Crazyhorse, will read. His last book, "Island Fog," was a series of linked short stories about Nantucket that was named by Library Journal as one of the "Top 15 Indie Fiction Titles of 2014." His newest release is a work of historical fiction titled "The Last Days of Oscar Wilde," an excerpt of which ran on the prestigious literary-world website, Lit Hub. A dedicated professor with a keen eye for character development (and, full disclosure, a former teacher of mine), Vanderslice makes for a warm, personable reading of well-developed material. HS

SATURDAY 1/27

'I AM EMILY DOE'

7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $17-$32.

Memory and trauma don't always get along, and when rape survivors are often forced to retell (and relive) their crimes over and over after reporting the assault, that adds up. So read the harrowing 2016 letter written by Emily Doe that recounts the January 2015 assault on her at Stanford University by Brock Turner, and the aftermath: "Instead of taking time to heal, I was taking time to recall the night in excruciating detail, in order to prepare for the attorney's questions that would be invasive, aggressive and designed to steer me off course, to contradict myself, my sister, phrased in ways to manipulate my answers. Instead of his attorney saying, 'Did you notice any abrasions?' He said, 'You didn't notice any abrasions, right?' " This play, written by Henderson State University student Maggie-Lee Preston and presented by the Central Arkansas Library System and the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault, examines the life of Emily Doe. SS

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SUNDAY 1/28

WHOA DAKOTA, NATHAN PERRY

7 p.m. Four Quarter Bar. Free.

You know, there's not a thing wrong with all the layered sounds that come part and parcel with Jesse Ott's dreamy vocals (check out the danceable "Ain't No Good to Myself" on Ott's website, for example), but here's a chance to catch the singer solo — and early enough to get to bed early, even though you'll want to stay and catch Nathan Perry, a singer-songwriter from Benton whose 2016 record "Not Yet Grown" is sweet and meditative, never hurried. SS

SUNDAY 1/28

NASTY WOMEN OF COMEDY

7:30 p.m. The Loony Bin. $10.

Willow Wheeler, Summer Vega, Rachel Mac, Tracy Barkley Dixon, Ashley Wright Ihler and Vala Bird are here to demonstrate that — as Wheeler told The Odyssey online in 2016 — "If you can't make jokes without being 'politically incorrect', then you're just probably not that good at writing jokes." This early Sunday show is going to be a riot and you can be home in time to watch "The Chi." Get there, and get there early for good seats. SS

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WEDNESDAY 1/31

CRYSTAL C. MERCER

6 p.m. Clinton School of Public Service. Free.

Crystal C. Mercer is a true Renaissance woman. Daughter of the legendary civil rights attorney Christopher C. Mercer Jr. (who was an adviser to Daisy Bates during the desegregation of Central High School), Mercer is a performance artist, poet and activist who strives to lift up voices of color. She's created clothing and accessories for SAFI FABric Market, performed in off-Broadway plays and emceed the 2017 Women's March for Arkansas. Now she is launching her new book of poetry, "A Love Story Waiting to Happen," with a reading and a book signing at the Clinton School of Public Service, where she is a second-year student. "A Love Story Waiting to Happen" has been described as "a rhythmic, raw and open movement of poetry that explores love, grief, mourning, freedom, social justice, sex and courtships." Including black-and-white images from Joshua Asante, noted local photographer and member of Little Rock bands Amasa Hines and Velvet Kente, "A Love Story Waiting to Happen" is a pairing of two Little Rock artistic powerhouses you won't want to miss. HS

WEDNESDAY 1/31

BARRED: TRUE STORIES OF INCARCERATION

7 p.m. New Deal Salon. $10-$15.

Some entertainment is pure brain bubblegum: It's delicious and fun, and neither nutritional nor sustaining. However, The Yarn — a local storytelling organization whose mission is to break down barriers, gain greater understanding of others and change hearts and minds through the power of story — has slated a night of narrative that will nourish your soul. "Barred: True Stories of Incarceration" is a thought-provoking show designed to evoke empathy and challenge the status quo with live performances by Arkansans speaking of their lived experiences with the criminal justice system. An event in partnership with decARcerate (a grassroots group focused on reducing the prison population in Arkansas through smart legislation and community action), "Barred" will feature seven stunning storytellers: Eliza Borné, editor of the award-winning Oxford American magazine; Jennifer Horan, an Arkansas federal public defender; Hakim Malik, a member of the Our House Reentry Program and returning citizen; April Derricks, a mother of three and returning citizen; Deangelo Lee, co-founder of H.O.P.E. (a support group for formerly incarcerated people) and returning citizen; Meagan McVay, a resident of Hope Rises; and returning citizen Karen Burkes, the mother of an incarcerated youth. With The Yarn's mission to shine a light on and bring humanity to the social issues that so often divide us, this production will be a must-see. Tickets are $10 online (squareup.com) through Jan. 30 and $15 at the door. If ticket cost is an issue, contact Zachary Crow at xakeryc@gmail.com. HS



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