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The Dixie Bee-Liners come to Juanita's 

WEDNESDAY 6/15

DIXIE BEE-LINERS
8 p.m., Juanita's. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.

A lot of bluegrass outfits adhere strictly to the traditions of the genre, at times so much so that it feels a little academic and sterile. The Dixie Bee-Liners probably won't be accused of being overly devoted to convention. Their take on bluegrass weaves in other influences and instrumentation, particularly country and some flute playing that recalls British folk acts like Fairport Convention. Lead singer Brandi Hart sings in a clear, clean tone, harmonizing beautifully with the other band members on the group's latest, "Susanville," a concept album about travelers on the interstates and blue-line highways of America. Plinking, plucking banjo and mandolin strings move the songs forward while the fiddle scrapes out beautiful melodies and buzzing drones alike. This show would probably a good bet for anyone who's into that Be Good Tanyas/Avett Brothers indie-bluegrass milieu. RB.

'CHICAGO'
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $22-$52.

Can Celebrity Attractions and Broadway in Little Rock at large continue its successes of the past year? If there's a show that'll keep up the trend, it'll be "Chicago," a tried-and-true classic. For the uninitiated, the musical follows working-girl chorus dancer Roxie Hart, who, after killing her partner-in-adultery, winds up in jail, befriending Velma, a sultry vaudeville star and soon-to-be tabloid superstar. Filling this production's role of sensationalist lawyer Billy Flynn is John O'Hurley, the "Dancing with the Stars" all-star, former "Family Feud" host, and the eccentric J. Peterman, maybe the best supporting character in the entire "Seinfeld" universe.

THURSDAY 6/16

CHUBBY CHECKER

7 p.m., Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs. $20.

Although everybody knows the Jitterbug and the Charleston and the Mashed Potato and Macarena and the Stanky Leg, there's little doubt that the Twist was the ultimate dance craze, evidenced by the multiple chart-topping singles it spawned in the early '60s. Though the original "Twist" was written and first recorded by Hank Ballard, of Midnighters fame, it was Chubby Checker who took the song to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 not once, but twice. Checker had other big dance craze hits as well, including follow-ups "Let's Twist Again" and "Slow Twistin'" as well as "Pony Time," "The Hucklebuck," "The Fly" and "Dance the Mess Around." 2011 finds Checker playing the nostalgia circuit, with upcoming appearances at casinos around the country and a spot on the Malt Shop Memories Cruise alongside Little Anthony & the Imperials, Lou Christie, and that thing Mike Love insists on calling the Beach Boys. RB.

ARKANSAS SHAKESPEARE THEATRE

7:30 p.m., The Village at Hendrix. Pay what you can.

As it has in years past, the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre takes a two-for-us, two-for-the-masses approach with its 2011 season. From The Bard: "Othello" and "As You Like It." From Aesop and Andrew Lloyd Webber, respectively: "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." New this year and much appreciated, the festival splits time between Conway and North Little Rock. Furthermore, in Conway it splits time between Reynolds Performance Hall at UCA and the green at The Village at Hendrix. Shakespeare's comic romp "As You Like It" kicks off the season (and inaugurates the green at The Village at Hendrix) on Thursday night and continues at 7:30 p.m. for the following three nights. Meanwhile, Aesop's "The Tortoise and the Hare" debuts at 10 a.m. Friday at Reynolds. "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" opens Thursday, June 23, at Reynolds. The North Little Rock portion of the program, which includes four performances of "As You Like It," starts on Friday, July 1, at the Argenta Community Theater. For more information and a full calendar, visit arkshakes.com. LM.

SATURDAY 6/19

JUNETEENTH

12 p.m., Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Free.

According to the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Juneteenth is the oldest known commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. In Little Rock, the celebration for years meant a massive Power 92 FM-sponsored concert at the Riverfest Amphitheatre, one that critics claimed de-emphasized or omitted entirely the history and importance of the celebration. But beginning in 2009, local African-American leaders began a new tradition at the intersection of Ninth and Broadway, amidst what once was a thriving black business and entertainment district and where the African-American history-focused Mosaic Templars Cultural Center sits. This year, the celebration, which begins at noon and continues until 7 p.m., features performances by Zinse Agginie and the Drum Ballet of Hope, the Bongo Willie Drumming Circle, the Parkview Players living history program, the Gloryland Pastor's Choir and more. The free festival will also offer cultural face painting and hair braiding, a rock climbing wall, games and food. For a complete list of activities, visit mosaictemplars.com. LM.

NEON TREES

8 p.m., Timberwood Amphitheater, Magic Springs. $39.99-$44.99.

Since The Killers are likely too small for Verizon and too big for any other venue that would have them in Central Arkansas, fans of bombastic New Wave revival will just have to settle for the Neon Trees. The mascara-wearing band of the moment, the Provo, Utah, four-piece comes to Arkansas on the strength of its major label debut, "Habits." The album's first three singles, particularly the Forever 21 anthem "Animal," have landed the band performances on just about all the late-night talk shows and spots opening for 30 Second to Mars and at Lollapalooza. Of all those performing at Magic Springs this season, Neon Trees are likely to attract the biggest glut of young folks. Five or ten bucks on top of park admission gets you a reserved seat for the concert. LM.

CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER

8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall, $47-$58

At any given moment, the biggest standup comics in the business are numbingly unfunny (e.g. Jeff Dunham, Dane Cook, Larry the Cable Guy). Most of these folks are soon relegated to the margins of popular culture, to those straight-to-DVD duds vying for your impulse buck at the grocery store checkout. Eventually, nobody even remembers who Carlos Mencia and Ralphie May were. Of course, many of the most popular comics are actually funny, and manage to parlay their standup acts to enormously successful acting careers and big paychecks. Cedric the Entertainer falls mainly into the latter category. He's been doing standup since the early '90s, some of it very funny, some not so much. He's acted on television and in a raft of movies and even briefly hosted a sketch comedy show on Fox and most recently was tapped by NBC to host the Merv Griffin Entertainment game show "It's Worth What?" He also starred in what has to be one of the top-selling standup DVDs of all time, Spike Lee's "The Original Kings of Comedy." Odds are that if you were to put this down and go to the living room and look under your giant-ass flat-screen TV at that jumble of DVDs, you'd find a copy of "The Original Kings of Comedy" there, tucked in between "Shrek 2" and "The Bourne Ultimatum." RB. 

SUNDAY 6/19

THE ROSEBUDS, THE OTHER LIVES

9 p.m., Stickyz/$8 adv. $10 d.o.s.

The jury is still out on whether it's a good idea to play in a band with your better half. For every John and Yoko or Thurston and Kim, it seems there are several Lindsey and Stevies or Meg and Jacks or Richard and Lindas. Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard started the Rosebuds in North Carolina shortly after they were wed, and the prolific band has earned some good reviews across several albums and EPs. But by 2009, their marriage had been failing for "two albums, maybe longer" according to the band's Merge Records bio, and they split. The good news for fans of strident boy/girl indie pop is that while their marriage is over, Crisp and Howard opted for joint custody of the band. To be sure, the latest Rosebuds offering, "Loud Planes Fly Low," is a break-up album. But "Blood on the Tracks" it ain't. RB.

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