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Little Rock and North Little Rock will ignore the Arkansas River that parts them for 10 days in May, when ArtWeek '10 puts painters and poets and partiers in twin spotlights. The river cities will kick off that connection with a party, appropriately, in the middle — on the Junction Bridge, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 13. The party will be hosted by two entities partnering for the first time: the Downtown Little Rock Partnership and the Argenta Downtown Council. Their goal: to advance the arts and add vibrancy to the sister downtowns.

The Junction Bridge Party will serve eats from restaurants on both shores — Boscos, Cregeen's, Reno's Argenta Cafe, Dizzy's, to name a few — and plenty of beer and wine. The Arkansas Symphony Quartet, solo performers Lealon Worrell and Steve Bates and others will make music over the river. Wristbands, available at both north and south entrances to the bridge, are $20.

The celebration of the arts gets in full swing, literally, with country dancing and fiddling Friday night at the Historic Arkansas Museum (200 E. Third). The museum will be celebrating its new public art installation “pARTy for Peg” as well as showcasing exhibits as part of downtown Little Rock's monthly 2nd Friday Art Night that runs 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Big doings at other 2nd Friday venues as well: An art party at the Arts Scene (806 W. Markham) with music, poetry readings, drinks and models (art supplies provided); live music and sidewalk artists along Third Street (at Copper Grill and Dizzy's Grill and Bistro); a dramatic reading of “World War Z” by the theater troupe A Novel Idea at the Arkansas Studies Institute (401 President Clinton); a “poetry free-flow” at Hearne Fine Art (1001 Wright Ave.) … you get the idea. Also on Friday's agenda: A performing and visual arts collaborative show at 6:30 p.m. at the River Market, as well as more live music and exhibit openings.

Saturday's highlights: The ACAC arts cooperative hosts the “Drag the River” drag queen performances/DJs/silent arts auction aboard the Arkansas Queen starting at 10 p.m. (more in the To-Do List, next page). Prior to that, SOMA will hold an art exhibit/garage sale/wine and cheese event on South Main between 13th and 15th streets starting at 4 p.m.; New York artist/dancer Larry Hampton will give an Afro-Funk dance per-formance at Hearne Fine Art, in a gallery hung with his oil portraits of the musical and female influences on his life, starting at 6 p.m.

The following week will feature street performances by the Arkansas Shakespeare Theater in Argenta; a two-part poetry slam at Vino's Brew Pub; the Home Plate Heroes auction fund-raiser for the Jim Elder Good Sport Fund at Dickey-Stephens Park; a performance by the Rockefeller Quartet at Starving Artist Cafe, which will host numerous artist demonstrations and musical performances throughout the festival; a literary evening at the Thea Foundation with local writers; exhibits and demonstrations at 3rd Friday Argenta Artwalk; a Rockabilly Opera Meltdown at the Arkansas Studies Institute; a “Foodie Fest” … and other events too numerous to mention. Luckily, there's a website detailing all the ArtWeek '10 events so we don't have to: go to ?art-week.org.

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