- BUNNY HOP: The daredevils at Southern BMX Stunt Show return for Patio on Park Hill this Thursday evening.
PATIO ON PARK HILL
5 p.m-9 p.m. Lakehill Shopping Center. Free-$1.
South Main and Hillcrest don't have a duopoly on block parties, do they? Park Hill Business & Merchants Association don't think so, so they're throwing one in Dogtown, and it's one that's been growing steadily since its inception five years back. Back then, they'd often set up a DJ, but thanks to Dogtown Sound being right there on the premises, there's now a stage with live music all night. Caleb Velasquez is up first; he's a 2016 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase finalist with a honeyed voice, 5 p.m.; then the Gil Franklin Band, a seasoned blues rock outfit with some mean slide guitar licks, 6:15 p.m.; the ever-effervescent Dazz & Brie, winners of the 2017 Showcase, 7:15 p.m.; capped off by a set from peace-lovin' baritone Brian Nahlen and his band, 8:15 p.m. Joe Darr will be playing in the beer garden, and for those who don't do brewskis, there will be wine and margaritas for sale, too. They're bringing back the Southern BMX Stunt Show this time around, and, assuming those sky-high bunny hops and ramp stunts don't make you queasy, it'll be a good time to try a new food truck or two. Count Porkula, Hawgz Blues Cafe, The Popcorn Spot, Repicci's Italian Ice, Tommy's Grill and Cypress Knee Food will be out in force. There's free parking in the lot at Park Hill Baptist Church (C Street and JFK Boulevard), with a trolley running between that spot and Patio on Park Hill from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
DISENFRANCHISEMENT IN ARKANSAS, 1874-1893
Noon. Old State House Museum. Free.
If the results of the 2016 presidential election have done nothing else, they have ensured that phrases like "voter suppression" and "gerrymandering districts" will remain on the tongues of pundits and politicians daily, even in a nonelection year. For a good primer, check out "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle For Voting Rights In America," Ari Berman's 2015 book on voter fraud and voter suppression, its title taken from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Give Us the Ballot" speech. The subject matter of the book resurfaced in the news last week for a couple of reasons: One, President Trump launched, by way of executive order, what he's calling the Election Integrity Commission, the policy correlate to his claim that he lost the popular vote because "millions of people" voted illegally. Two, that executive order was issued on the cusp of the 60th anniversary of MLK's rousing speech. When MLK delivered those words in 1957, Arkansas was one of five states that had yet to fully abolish the poll tax, a fee that voting rights advocates and civil rights activists had long argued placed an unnecessary roadblock in voter's paths, a burden that fell primarily on poor people and people of color. For this lecture, Marie Williams, who teaches American history at Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas history at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, talks about the political climate surrounding the post-Reconstruction era in Arkansas and how policies like the poll tax and Jim Crow laws impacted voter turnout. Soft drinks and water will be provided, and if you can't make it, check the video of the lecture on the museum's YouTube channel afterward.
- Heather Smith
POTLUCK & POISON IVY
6 p.m. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. $100.
Paula Martin — a 2017 inductee to the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame and the former host of the "Tales from the South" radio program — is back in the business of live storytelling. "Tales" ran from 2005 to 2016, and featured the music of Mark Simpson interspersed between scripted stories from a host of people known for Southern storytelling: notably, Kevin Brockmeier, P. Allen Smith, Natalie Canerday, Judge Reinhold and Graham Gordy. Taking inspiration from projects like the New York-based podcast "The Moth," all stories on Potluck & Poison Ivy must be true (if embellished) and told live and unscripted by "everyday people," Martin told us this week. "Not that we might not have the occasional famous person on the show, but reconnecting with each other — actually sharing a personal story, and having an audience listen without helping or injecting our own opinion — that's the core unifying theme." Storytellers for Thursday's event include Kevin Kresse, Tyler Thompson and Susan Elder. Unlike "Tales from the South," in which the broadcast utilized the music during intros and outros, the music for PAPI will be part and parcel of the show. For the series' first two events, the house band will feature Heather Smith, an actress and jazz-inspired vocalist who penned an album of originals in 2015, "Stay Away Love." Admission is $100 for this launch event, which includes dinner and the show (a cash bar is available) and benefits the ACANSA Arts Festival this fall. Future PAPI events will also include dinner, and admission will be $35. You can keep an eye out for those — or pitch your own story — at potluckandpoisonivy.org.
- GIVE THEM SHELTER: Musician and LGBT rights advocate Doomstress Alexis brings her band to Little Rock for a show at the White Water Tavern benefiting Lucie's Place's work with homeless LGBT young adults.
'DOOMED TO DRAG' BENEFIT FOR LUCIE'S PLACE
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Hey, here's something that might make Little Rock's LGBT community/local metalheads alike jealous of Houston. In 2013, then-mayor Annise Parker signed a proclamation declaring July 5 "Alexis Hollada Day." Hollada is better known as Doomstress Alexis, bassist and lead singer for the band Doomstress, who decided to commemorate the day by launching a benefit show for Houston's LGBT homeless youth shelter, Montrose Grace Place. "I'm a transgender woman in the metal scene in Houston, Texas, down here in the Southern Bible belt," she told blogger Stephanie V. Cantu in 2015. "The metal community and the community in general here in Houston has been very supportive. Regionally, as well. ... So having all that support and feedback has really pushed me to be more active in numerous communities here in town." Vocally, she echoes techniques she heard on her older brother's Iron Maiden and Judas Priest records — and later, David Byron of Uriah Heep and Mlny Parsonz of Royal Thunder. Alexis has made a name for herself as bassist for Project Armageddon, and worked as a model for photographer Gary Watson's narrative photo exhibit, "Dear Lieutenant Governor, We're Just People," created in response to efforts to introduce "bathroom bill" legislature in Texas. The model, activist and frontwoman makes her first appearance in Little Rock for the benefit of our own LGBT homeless youth shelter, Lucie's Place. Doomstress is joined by Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass, Iron Tongue (my band, full disclosure), The Cunts and drag artists from the House of Extra, including Greta Garbage, Priscilla Rock, Tom Cotton and more.
- Lindsey Powers
- Sulac of Listen Sister
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.
It'd be a huge mistake to underemphasize bass guitarist Liz Johnson's imprint on Listen Sister's debut album, "Baby Wait" — she's responsible for the well-placed "Surfer Rosa"-esque background vocals on the record as well as its surreal album cover, featuring what looks like a nun from the movie "The Bells of St. Mary's" with a giant ear in lieu of Ingrid Bergman's face. That said, this project is the brainchild of visual artist, guitarist and songwriter Sulac, who was eager to resume making music with Johnson after the birth of her child and the dissolution of their former band, The Winston Family Orchestra. Thanks to Jordan Trotter's sound engineering, the super-catchy pop riffs are easy on the ears but nevertheless weird. Dead simple pop hooks are bookended by moody piano vignettes like Trotter's intro to "The Night You Didn't Want Any French Fries," and the increasingly creepy background noises on the album's opener sound as if the band's on the verge of being consumed by that wall-warping electricity monster from "Stranger Things." "I wanted to have fun with it," Sulac told us last week. "I don't agree with the idea that you have to sound live the way you sound recorded. They can be two separate entities. And Jordan was the best of co-pilots." The album gets an official release with this show, opened with a set from a fellow partner in pith, Kevin Kerby.
- Tempus Terra
FRIDAY 5/26-SUNDAY 5/27
7 p.m. Cadron Creek Outfitters, Greenbrier. $10.
It's a good week for doom rockers. From 7 p.m. Friday til "late as hell," the organizers say, fans of heavy music will stake a claim on a spot out at Cadron Creek Outfitters for Liverfest. Friday's performers include Crankbait, Sumokem, Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass, Tempus Terra, Apothecary and Colour Design with an after-show side tent featuring performances from Attagirl, Jeremiah James Baker and more. Saturday's lineup starts at 2 p.m. and includes Hexxus, Deadbird, Seahag, Copsodomy, Mainland Divide, Napalm Christ, Abandon the Artifice and more. There's a creek where campers can swim and fish, and lots of room to set up a cookout or play frisbee and disc golf. Even outdoors, some of these bands can turn it up to 11, so pack a pair of ear plugs.
- Outloud Artistry's 'Young Stars'
AFRICA DAY FEST
11 a.m. The Bernice Garden. Free.
In an article from May 25, 1963 titled "African states unite against white rule," the BBC described the conclusion of a summit in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, marking the beginning of the Organisation of African Unity. "Its primary aim will be to 'decolonise' the remaining bastions of white rule in Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, Mozambique and Angola," the article noted. "It plans to support African 'freedom fighters' with finance, arms, volunteers and training bases and to close off their airspace to colonial forces." The Organisation was no silver bullet; since, by design, it didn't have armed forces or any power to intervene in state affairs of its members, its goals of improving the standard of living for African peoples was often more ambitious than it was equipped to handle. Still, it was a pretty big deal. The symbolism of nearly three dozen African governments coming together and uniting behind liberation movements was a strong assertion of independence from the vestiges of African colonialism, and initiatives like the Lagos Plan of Action (1980) and The Abuja Treaty (1991) paved the way for the mission statement of the African Union: "An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena." To commemorate the day — now called Africa Day — Little Rock's African and African-connected community will come together to celebrate African culture. Event chair Benito Lubazibwa has invited a long list of vendors and artists to gather under the dome at Bernice Garden, including Korto Momolu, who will lead a fashion and dance show with her Outloud Artistry collective, the Mabelvale Elementary African Drum & Groove Ensemble, Tanzanian singer Erica Lulakwa, poet Chris James and DJ Charles Ray of BantuNauts Radio on KABF-FM, 88.3. There will be food from the Tennessee-based Ethiopian Restaurant & Coffee, and items such as hand-painted earrings from Tresses Au Naturel; Zulu-inspired beaded necklaces from Shamim Okolloh; art from Jatzo Design; eyewear and hats from Alluring Elements; Kwetu Fashion by Tanzanian fashion designer Missy Temeke; Kenya-made children's clothing from Mimi Mwafrika; soaps, hand cremes and facials from Perfectly Posh Skincare Products; hair butter, African Black Soap, sage mist and wood art from FloEssence Naturals; and more. In between live performances, organizers will pump Bongo flava and other African music from artists like Diamond Platnumz, and they'll have a kids zone on site for the little ones. The event organizers stress that people of all faiths are welcome.
- 'CHEAP SUNGLASSES': Texas rock pioneers ZZ Top bring the "same three guys, same three chords" to Robinson Center Friday night.
8 p.m. Robinson Center. $58-$200.
They are bad and they are nationwide. ZZ Top, the nearly 50-year-old Texas trio that guitarist and vocalist Billy Gibbons has alternately called "same three guys, same three chords" and an exercise in "spankin' the plank," are stopping off at Robinson Center on their "Tonnage" tour, and they are bringing their beards (except for the lone shaven band member, whose last name is, hilariously, Beard). Even through the band's fur guitar-and-synth-soaked '80s phase that gave us "Legs" and "Sharp Dressed Man," the band is a lesson in economy, churning out rock radio staples like "Tush" and "La Grange" with little more than a few well-timed stage moves, immovable rhythm and Gibbons' barrelhouse boogie arrangements. Speaking of "La Grange" and "Tush," Top's evidently been playing the pair of hits as an encore, so if you don't hear 'em at first, holler, holler again.
- Eric W. Thomas and Melvin D. Clayton of Central Arkansas Urban League Young Professionals
PROJECT PARK DAY OF SERVICE
10 a.m. Union Park. Free.
If you're a person whose knowledge of the John Barrow Road area is limited to Sims BBQ and Baptist Health, consider joining forces with the Urban League of Central Arkansas Young Professionals group for this cleanup day. They'll be sprucing up Union Park at the corner of 36th and Walker streets, and they'll have water on hand for volunteers. The members of ULCAYP encourage all to dress for warm weather, and to either register online at the event's Eventbrite page or to arrive at 9:45 a.m. for sign-in. ULCAYP's cleanup event is part of a larger initiative to impact housing, health care, education and jobs in underserved urban communities and to, as the nonprofit states on its website, "empower future leaders, develop more qualified professionals of color, and serve the community that we call home."
- 'FARMERS MARKET CHRONICLES': Memphis reggae outfit Chinese Connection Dub Embassy gives a concert at Stickyz Saturday night.
CHINESE CONNECTION DUB EMBASSY
9 p.m. Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack. $6.
You can learn most of what you need to know about Chinese Connection Dub Embassy's sound from two video clips: the band's take on A-Ha's "Take On Me" and a clip from Live from Memphis called "60 Seconds with Chinese Connection Dub Embassy." Backed by a melodica and singing sans microphone in front of a bongo drum instead of his signature bass guitar, frontman Omar Higgins' vocal finesse elevates tunes like "Heavy Meditation" and mashups of Bob Marley's "Forever Loving Jah" with Johnny Clarke's "Moving On to Zion:" "Every day people, are going to Canada/And every day people, are going to America/And every day people, are going to England/And no one is going to Africa/Yes we want to go, to Zion/Yes we're moving out of Babylon." The Memphis quintet's mission, as stated on its Bandcamp page, is "to motivate and encourage the people of Memphis to think more and stop reacting to Babylon's strongholds. This group's force will only move through Jah guidance and that's what we stand for."