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Red Octopus takes on Valentine's Day 

THURSDAY 2/2

LANTERNS! FESTIVAL

6 p.m. Wildwood Park. $5-$10.

Winter usually isn't the time of year for outdoor festivals, but this isn't your ordinary festival. Coinciding with the first full moon of the lunar year, Lanterns! Festival offers its attendees the chance to wander through the woods along paths illuminated by fire pits and lanterns of all varieties. Gazing into these lights will present one with an occasion for self-reflection and ruminations on the year past, the year to come and all of the years and decades and centuries stretching out before us, eons disappearing into the churning void of infinity, beyond the scope of "time," beyond the ability of man to comprehend, beyond comprehension itself. Looking into the fire pits hearkens back to something deeply, eternally human. Just as our prehistoric ancestors surely stared into the flickering blaze — source of light, warmth, safety — and contemplated their place in the known world, so too are we modern-day homo sapiens entranced by the combustion of carbon-based materials and the resulting warmth and flames. And while our understanding of the universe dwarfs that of our ancient predecessors, our minds can no more grasp the true scope of the cosmos than could theirs. So if you're out there staring at the lanterns and fires and all of a sudden you get real hungry, there will be food and drinks from several great area restaurants available for purchase. In addition to the luminaries, Wildwood and its sponsors have recreated the feel of different cultures and cuisines from around the globe, including China, Paris, India, Venice, Americana with a baseball theme and Shakespeare's England. There will be performances from Ballet Arkansas, Arkansas Shakespeare Festival and more. Check Wildwood's website for the schedule. The event continues nightly through Saturday. RB

THURSDAY 2/2

SIGNING DAY IN THE ROCK

6 p.m. Verizon Arena. $65.

If you're unconvinced of money's centrality in college football — i.e. you haven't been paying attention — try this one on: The Little Rock Razorback Club, the local arm of the almighty Razorback Foundation, is hosting a dinner at the biggest event space in Central Arkansas where Razorback coach Bobby Petrino and staff will talk about the 17- and 18-year-olds who on Wednesday signed binding letters of intent to play for the Hogs in the fall. For this, attendees will pay $65. Monday night, the Razorback Foundation tweeted that 1,200 had purchased tickets. If the Hogs manage to sign Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckman, regarded by many recruiting specialists as the best high school player in the country, expect the arena to be full. LM

FRIDAY 2/3

RED OCTOPUS THEATER: 'THE DATING GAME!'

8 p.m. The Public Theatre. $8-$10.

While Valentine's Day and its attendant last-minute gift scrambling is still a couple of weeks away, it's never too early for some bawdy, romantic skit comedy. Red Octopus promises a "long, hard, turgid look at the primeval setting of the dating world." And with such sketch titles as "Key Swapping? Is This a Good Idea?" and "The Gift That Keeps on Giving" (there's a free one-month supply of Valtrex for the first person to correctly guess what this skit concerns), that description sounds right on the money (shot). Also promised: riffs on "The Dating Game," "The Newlyweds" and "The Brady Bunch." That last one is just ripe with romantic comedy potential. As with many other Red Octopus productions, this one is for grownups that possess a sense of humor, and isn't intended for the young'uns, squares, prudes or scolds. RB

FRIDAY 2/3

WHITE WATER FIVE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY SHOW

10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $11.

Hard to believe it's been five years since Matt White and Sean Hughes bought the White Water Tavern. Of course, the bar is older than that. From a review of WWT in the December 1976 issue of the Times: "There are always lots of guys wearing Buck knives on their belts. There's a lot of nice long hair everywhere. Plus: flannel shirts, a canoe that has been around, a kayak that hasn't, a pool table, pinball machines, a most active shuffleboard table and large speakers — usually playing The Beatles." Writer Leslie Singer described the place as "a mellow country bar. Call it Agri-hip, or whatever." There's no denying that WWT has always been a great bar, but there's also no disputing that White, Hughes and their associates have injected a great amount of vitality into the place. They kept all the best things about the bar, and with their focus on live music, they've put WWT on the radar of some of the country's best touring acts. To commemorate the occasion, they've booked this show, which is a reprise of the first show they hosted there back in aught-seven, including Ben Nichols, Cory Branan and Kevin Kerby, whose names are no doubt familiar to the White Water regulars. You can get tickets over at the Last Chance Records website, and I'd advise you to not dilly-dally around and forget, because this one has a good chance of selling out. RB

SATURDAY 2/4

ME TALK PRETTY, HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS

9 p.m. Juanita's. $13 adv., $15 d.o.s.

A few years ago, this British inventor named Howard Stapleton created a device to help shopkeepers ward off packs of unruly teens. The Mosquito Teen Deterrent is essentially a box that emits a high-frequency tone that most adults can't hear — owing to the gradual hearing loss inherent in aging — but which is extremely unpleasant to young people. Apparently it works pretty well, though there is some degree of controversy about whether it violates the rights of the young. I'd like to posit that there is some sort of reverse Mosquito effect whereby sounds that are enjoyable to the fresh, un-jaded ears of the young are nonetheless intolerable to the older and crankier among us. Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk about this, and I'm not saying Hawthorne Heights is a bad band. They've been around for more than a decade, they're one of the most popular acts in the emo/pop-punk genre and this show will probably be packed with attractive young folk. But I've listened to a good deal of the group's 2011 album "Fragile Future," and I literally cannot take it. Most of the songs are made up of your basic distorted guitar crunch and catchy leads and palm-muting and whatnot, but the singer seems to always hit this baying, adenoidal tenor in the chorus that just makes me want to have my ears ripped off and fed to starving wolves. Me Talk Pretty is a New York quartet that plays bombastic alt-rock with all the sheen and gloss and loudness of contemporary Top 40. Call it make-out music for the Warped Tour crowd. Although the powerful voice of singer Uliana Preotu is easier on these cobwebby old ears than that of Hawthorne Heights singer J.T. Woodruff, the overall effect is much the same. Again, I'm not saying these bands are bad; just that their music will make me leave wherever it is being played. So teen-agers take note: if you want to disperse a crowd of shiftless, out-of-touch old-timers from your immediate vicinity, well, you know what to do. The opening band is Madina Lake. RB

TUESDAY 2/7

GEENA DAVIS

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

We all know actress Geena Davis from her award-winning performances and iconic roles in such classics as "Thelma and Louise," "Beetlejuice," "A League of Their Own," "The Accidental Tourist," "The Fly" and many others. But you might not know that Davis is also a member of Mensa, and she tried out for the U.S. Olympic archery team in 1999. She didn't make the team, but she finished 24th out of 300 contestants. Not bad for someone who had picked up archery only two years earlier. Davis is also a major proponent of gender equality, and has worked with the Women's Sports Foundation to promote Title IX issues. She heads up the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which commissioned a study by the Annenberg School for Communication that found that male characters outnumbered female characters by three-to-one in the 400 films studied. The institute works to correct that imbalance. RB

TUESDAY 2/7

HEARTLESS BASTARDS

9 p.m. Juanita's. $12 adv., $14 d.o.s.

Erika Wennerstrom has long subscribed to the slow-build school of rock 'n' roll. And why not? With a voice as subtle and affecting as hers, starting softly and finishing forcefully (with chunky guitar riffs at her wings) always leads to anthems. Thankfully, that formula lives on in "Arrow," the fourth album from Wennerstrom's band Heartless Bastards (stream it before it's released on Valentine's Day at NPR.com). But not exclusively. The arrangement on the "The Arrow Killed the Beast" sounds like a mournful take on Lee Hazelwood's baroque desert pop. Elsewhere, there are bongos, guitar parts that sound like Big Star at its most bombastic and Wennerstrom doing her best Marc Bolan impression. Heartless Bastards are known for touring relentlessly, so even though this show marks the kick-off of the band's tour and it comes with an added guitarist, look for them to be sharp. Fayetteville gets a chance to see the group March 8 at George's. San Antonio's '60s-obsessed rockers Hacienda open. LM

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