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To-do list, Feb. 19 

THURSDAY 2/19

 

ADAM CARROLL AND OWEN TEMPLE

9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.

 

Here's an idea that's got legs. Singer/songwriters Adam Carroll, a San Marcos, Texas, native who's a tavern regular, and Owen Temple, from Austin, Texas, come to town to pay tribute to the songs of Gary Floater. You know, Gary Floater, that great country songwriter, long overlooked? The man behind songs like “A Hero Never Learns,” “Stand Back Boys I'm Fixing to Care” and “That's When the Eagle Screams”? Not ringing any bells? That might be because Floater's a fictional creation of Carroll and Temple aimed at poking fun at contemporary Nashville and all the cliches and jingoism and faux-folksiness it wallows in. It's sharp satire, with no hint of self-righteousness, but moreover, it's really, really funny. Temple, in a John Anderson-style voice of country gravitas, sings lyrics like “It's a sticky situation for ol' Jacques and Pierre/Maple syrup can't stop eagles when they're flying through the air/You can keep your ol' bacon, you can have your natural gas/Look out you old maple leaf, you can kiss this eagle's ass!” And everyone raises his beer high. LM

 

‘AVENUE Q'

7 p.m., Walton Arts Center. $20-$58.

 

There's a disclaimer on the on the Walton Arts page about the show that reads, “Avenue Q has not been authorized or approved in any manner by The Jim Henson Company or Sesame Workshop, which have no responsibility for its content.” In other words, don't blame “Sesame Street” when you find it that its residents (or at least their alter-egos) have grown up to be profane, self-doubting post-collegiates, who've replaced spelling bees and number games with songs and stories about sex, unemployment and crystal meth. The musical debuted in 2003, won almost universal praise (“one of the funniest shows you're ever likely to see,” Entertainment Weekly gushed) and swept the 2004 Tony Awards, winning Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. Theater aficionados will remember “Q” for its Arkansas connection: Fayetteville native Jason Moore directed the musical's original Broadway run (he's currently helming “Shrek”). The traveling production sticks around in Fayetteville through Sunday, Feb. 22. LM.

 

JEFF DUNHAM "SPARK OF INSANITY"

7:30 p.m., Alltel Arena, $44.25.

 

I am a devout lover of comedians, especially those who've challenged the status quo and First Amendment, such as the late Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, George Carlin and Sam Kinison, coincidentally all deceased. I'm not, however, too keen on plagiarizing bastards such as Carlos Mencia, Dane Cook and Denis Leary. But I digress. What little I've seen of Jeff Dunham disappoints, mostly because of his dependence on gender and ethnic stereotypes delivered through puppets, and the terminal lack of originality coming from them. Walter is a retired, grumpy old man who hates his wife. Achmed the Dead Terrorist is a turban-wearing skeletal remain of a suicide bomber. Melvin the Superhero Guy uses his X-ray vision to see thorough bras, and Bubba J digs NASCAR and crappy beer. But what the hell do I know about funny? Larry the Cable Guy's making a fortune off shticks, so Dunham's show could draw a hefty crowd as well. So if you've got a sweet spot for a ventriloquist whose gimmick is to use puppets with least-common-denominator personalities, then Jeff Dunham's "Spark of Insanity" show may just suit your fancy. PP.

 

FRIDAY 2/20

 

CEDRIC BURNSIDE AND LIGHTNIN' MALCOLM

9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern. $10.

 

Last November this North Mississippi duo played the best show I saw last year to only a couple a dozen people at White Water. Everyone I knew from that night has been downright evangelical about the duo since. Expect a full crowd Friday. The genius of the Hill Country blues, from which this pair's sound originates (Cedric is R.L. Burnside's grandson), lies in its complete devotion to rhythm. That means that Malcolm, on guitar and vocals, and Burnside, on drums and vocals, spend most of their time preserving a groove that compels everyone to stand up and stomp. When Malcolm, a doughy white boy with a John Daly starter mullet, solos or hits on a sweet guitar harmony, he has trouble suppressing a toothy smile. Burnside, meanwhile uses his stripped down kit like an ADD kid letting out aggression. He's got a polyrhythmic command that's bound to have folks bugging their eyes all night. Plus, both sing, often in harmony, in natural, deep blues voices. Go to this show. LM.

 

DAVE HOLLISTER

10 p.m., Juanita's. $20.

 

Little Rock continues its run of landing high profile R&B crooners with Dave Hollister, who comes pretty seriously pedigreed. The Chicago native appeared on several early 2Pac cuts, like “Brenda's Got a Baby” and “Keep Ya Head Up,” but got his first break as a solo performer on the soundtrack to “Boyz N the Hood.” He subsequently landed in Teddy Riley's Blackstreet, where he appeared on songs like “Before I Let You Go” and “Booti Call,” before leaving for a solo career (pre “No Diggity”). Since then, he's released six albums of smooth soul, breaking into the R&B charts with songs like “My Favorite Girl” and “One Woman Man.” His latest album, “Witness Protection,” finds him exploring more gospel territory. A strong slate of local performers — J-One, Epiphany, Rodney Block, J. White and Terreigh Barnett — share the bill, too. LM.

 

SATURDAY 2/21

 

PBR

7:30 p.m., Alltel Arena, $9.25-$41.75.

 

There's a reason Professional Bull Riders bills its events as "The Toughest Sport on Dirt." Surviving eight seconds atop a raging, foaming, horned beast is no minor accomplishment and merely attempting to do so is a high-risk endeavor. Talk about health care premiums.  But the concept is classic and very simple: man (180 pounds) versus beast (one ton). Occasionally I'll pause to watch this spectacle when flipping channels, and, honestly, more often than not, I root for the bull. Why? Because if I was forced to endure the antagonizing ritual of having Buckmaster Cody strapped to my back, jabbing me with spurs and prods just to piss me off, a rope tightly wound beneath my belly, balls in a sling and five cohorts slapping my loins and punching my ribs, I'd certainly want to send someone to the hospital. And these characters do spend a fair amount of time nursing flesh wounds, cracked bones and bruised limbs. This is not to say I cheer when Buckmaster C gets impaled and sent 30 feet airborne into the iron gate, but as the saying goes, "if you mess with the bull ..." PP.

 

INTERNATIONAL RUGBY CONTEST

12 p.m., Little Rock Rugby Complex. Free.

 

This is the best press release I've gotten in weeks: “Did you know that Little Rock plays home to a United States sports team? Did you know that same team happens to be International Champions? Did you also know that Little Rock is about to host one of the biggest international rugby games of the season? Now you do.” So much drama and passion. And deservedly so. The USA Women's Rugby team is based in Little Rock, and they're really good. On Saturday, they're tuning up for the world cup in Dubai with a match against the New Zealand women's team. Kiwis regard rugby about as highly as we do football, so it should be a good match. The teams will play three matches, at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. In between, the Little Rock men's team will take on the Memphis Blues. The rugby complex is at 14301 Dineen, off Hwy. 65 at the 145th Street/Pratt Road exit, across from Daisy Bates Elementary. Get more info at littlerockrugby.com. LM.

 

REGNAT POPULUS

8 p.m., Vino's. $7.

 

Two new-ish environmental and sustainability initiatives get the benefit treatment with the help of three excellent local acts at this event. The Arkansas Conservation Alliance, the activist group spearheaded by Rod Bryan, and the Arkansas Local Foods Initiative, a program aimed, as you'd guess, at encouraging local food systems, gets your money in exchange for music from arch rockers Hector Faceplant, old-time and boogie rock aficionados the Damn Bullets and indie-rock heroes (and the winner of last week's Showcase round) the See. Come early, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., for family friendly time and deejayed music. There'll be door prizes all night long, too. LM.

 

PUNK BUNNY

2 a.m., Discovery, $10 with admission

 

Talk about one nasty, tongue-in-cheek disco performance. Punk Bunny. Even the name invokes feel-good laughter and deviant chills down the spine. Accolades include being awarded the title "Best Electro Sluts" at the 2009 NME Awards for the video "Purple Mushroom." Bizarre Magazine calls Punk Bunny's first album an "electro-trash masterpiece" saying,  "Luigi makes unimaginable filth sound like birdsong on every track — so much so that Pfizer hitmen will probably start hanging around Punk Bunny gigs trying to get a clear shot at him in case he makes Viagra obsolete." Well, if that doesn't broaden one's perspective as to just what this whole Punk Bunny bidness is all about, it may require actual attendance. Honestly, I'm intrigued, as it's been quite some time since Discovery's booked a live act. This one should intrigue the both the curious and all-too-familiar Disco patrons. PP.

 

TUESDAY 2/24

 

JIM MIZE / ACE SPADE AND THE WHORES OF BABYLON

10 p.m., White Water Tavern. Donations.

 

There are bound to be eight jillion different things going on for Fat Tuesday. I just noticed a big bar crawl, for one low wristband price, advertised in the River Market. But if I don't eat myself sick on king cake on Tuesday, I'm going to White Water. No place is more endearingly weird on holidays. There's bound to be lots of beads flying and a half a dozen stupid-drunk folks hollerin' about some such. And great music! If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, Jim Mize is the finest songwriter currently working in Arkansas. And Ace Spade and the Whores might be the best showmen (and women). Their punkabilly garage-rock is endlessly fun and perfect for Mardi Gras decadence. LM.

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