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A & E news, Feb. 21

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Jeff Nichols' debut film, “Shotgun Stories,” is up for an Independent Spirit Award on Saturday, Feb. 23. The drama, filmed in Pulaski and Lonoke counties, is competing against four other films for the John Cassavetes Award, a prize for directors, producers and writers of feature films made for under $500,000. The awards show will be broadcast at 4 p.m. on IFC and again at 9 p.m. on AMC.

The Showcase trucks along, but meanwhile, a handful of Arkansas acts are racking up prizes elsewhere. In January, Little Rock-based hip-hop group Soundchild Crew took home the Indy Rap Artist of the Year Award at the Southern Entertainment Awards at Tunica's Grand Casino Resort. In addition to a shiny trophy, the crew won $30,000 and a distribution deal. OCEAN, an alt-rock band out of Conway, has advanced to the regional finals of the Bodog International Battle of the Bands. The five-piece won three rounds in Dallas in January and February and now, according to the band, is one of 37 bands left out of the original 7000-plus entrants. If the band wins the regional finals, March 9 at the House of Blues in Chicago, they'll go on a world tour with Bodog Entertainment to compete for a $1 million record contract. Cooper's Orbit, which won last year's Showcase, recently won the region's Waka Winter Tour Battle of the Bands at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville. The win earns the band a spot in the Wakarusa Festival, to be held June 5-8 outside Lawrence, Kan.

The American Princes' new album, “Other People,” will be released April 15, not Feb. 19, as we'd previously reported. The Princes perform at White Water on March 8 with J. Roddy Walston and the Business. Thereafter, they'll launch a national tour with Northern State.

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