More picks June 30-July 6 

OLE!: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan play Thursday on the river.
  • OLE!: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan play Thursday on the river.
Free mariachi concert at amphitheater Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, regarded as the most important group in the history of mariachi music, will headline a free concert at the Riverfest Amphitheatre on Thursday, June 30, as part of 76th National League of United Latin American Citizens Convention being held this week. The LULAC Mariachi Spectacular, show-casing traditional Mexican music, will also feature the all-female mariachis Las Altenas from San Antonio, beginning at 8 p.m. Mariachi Vargas, from Mexico City, is making its first appearance in Little Rock. The 12-piece ensemble is in its fifth generation, originating in 1898 in Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico. Mariachi Vargas is credited with the evolution of the mariachi genre of music, recording more than 50 albums and being featured in more than 200 films and music videos. The group worked with Linda Ronstadt on her tour and recording of “Canciones De Mi Padre” in 1987. The group is composed of two harps, vihuela, guitar, guitarron, two trumpets and six violins.Concert tickets are free but required for admission and are available from sponsor exhibit booths (including Budweiser, American Airlines, Wyndham Hotels, Lowe’s, AARP, El Latino and Wal-Mart) at the LULAC Convention Exhibition Hall in the State House Convention Center. LULAC is the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization in the United States. The convention has brought together about 700 LULAC councils nationwide. For more information on Mariachi Vargas, visit the group’s website at www.mariachivargas.com. Independence revelry The annual Pops in the Park fireworks and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra patriotic concert highlights Fourth of July activities in Little Rock on Monday, July 4, while cities throughout the state will be celebrating Friday through Monday. Information provided to the Arkansas Times is listed in the calendar section (also at www.arktimes.com) from various cities, and includes Hot Springs’ huge fireworks display over Lake Hamilton on Sunday night, July 3, and Heber Springs’ show over Greer’s Ferry Lake on Saturday, July 2. Pops in the Park is free and begins at 6:30 p.m. The music will be broadcast to North Little Rock’s North Shore Riverwalk as well, and fireworks will be shot from the Main Street Bridge. Petit Jean State Park will hold its annual Fourth of July Fun and Games Day on Monday. Events will include watermelon seed spitting, an adults-only egg toss, Frisbee golf and an obstacle course. The events start at 10:30 a.m. and last until 5 p.m., taking place in the ballfield next to the park swimming pool. The park will then salute veterans at the Petit Jean amphitheater beginning at 7 p.m. For a complete schedule, visit www.petitjeanstatepark.com/calendar or call 727-5441. One of the big events in Southeast Arkansas will be Budweiser’s inaugural Freedomfest on Saturday, July 2, at the Lakeview Amphitheater in Pine Bluff’s Regional Park. Highlights include a motorcycle show, bike games, People’s Choice Hamburger Cook-off, live music featuring dance band Ultra Suede, a fireworks display and a movie under the stars, “Independence Day.” Admission is free, while the hamburger cook-off, from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., will cost $5 per sampler plate (featuring a hamburger quarter from four different teams). Gates open at noon. Call 870-536-8175. Murry’s ‘Nunsense’; Weekend’s ‘Ragtime’ The popular musical comedy “Nunsense” opened earlier this week at Murry’s Dinner Playhouse and features Kelly Ponder, Shaleah Adkisson, Randee, Emory Molitor and Brooke Carter Wallace in the story of five irreverent nuns who attempt to raise money to bury the remaining four of their 52 sisters who died of food poisoning after eating Sister Julia’s cooking (these five survivors were out playing bingo, of course, and missed the meal). The show runs through July 31 and tickets range from the $25 Sunday matinee to $29 for Friday and Saturday shows. Call 562-3131 for reservations. The American classic musical “Ragtime” will conclude its run at the Weekend Theater with shows Friday through Sunday, July 1-3. The Tony Award winner is being directed by TWT regular John Thompson, and tells the story of race relations in the early 20th century. Tickets are $18 for adults and $14 for seniors and students. Call 374-3761 for reservations. Latin dance band heats up RiverTop Symbiosis, a hot new band from Memphis with eight musicians and a sound that blends Latin, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and African influences, will play the Peabody RiverTop Party on Friday, July 1. Symbiosis interacts with the audience with the goal of promoting racial harmony and musical diversity, according to the group’s publicity. The band has played at the Istanbul Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, Memphis in May, Philadelphia Music Festival and the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena. Admission is $5 for ages 21 and up. The show begins at 7 p.m. and runs until midnight. Call 399-8059 for more information or visit www.rivertopparty.com.

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