ART PORTER WEEK
Various times and locations.
The date Aug. 3 would have been Art Porter Jr.'s 50th birthday. The virtuoso saxophonist died in a boating accident in Thailand in 1996, shortly after playing a concert for King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Porter and his father — a musician and instructor — were certainly beloved musical figures in their hometown of Little Rock. The younger Porter recorded several albums for Verve, and had a significant national and international following. He got his start playing drums in his pop's band, but eventually switched to saxophone. In fact, he was so young that it took special legislation — supported by then-Attorney General Bill Clinton — to allow the teen prodigy to perform in the normally 21-and-up clubs. To celebrate his life, the good folks behind Art Porter Music Education Inc., the nonprofit that provides scholarships to budding musicians, have organized this string of performances: Porter's Jazz Cafe is slated to open Aug. 3, with a performance from jazz pianist and composer Alex Bugnon. This event is open only to invited guests and APME sponsors. On Aug. 4 at 8 p.m., The Afterthought hosts a jam session, with several Arkansas musicians paying tribute to Porter. On Aug. 5, Cajun's Wharf hosts world-renowned producer, composer and jazz pianist Jeff Lorber, with whom Porter had performed and recorded. Tickets are $15 and the show starts at 7 p.m. The week wraps up Aug. 6 with a concert from jazz and R&B song stylist Lalah Hathaway at Riverfest Amphitheatre. Tickets are $25 in advance (through Ticketmaster) or $35 at the door. The show starts at 7 p.m.
REVEREND HORTON HEAT
9 p.m., George's Majestic Lounge. $20.
No other single performer has done more to establish psychobilly as an enduring, bona fide musical genre than the Reverend Horton Heat, nee Jim Heath. His trio came roaring out of Texas in the late '80s, signed on to legendary indie label Sub Pop and landed on many a budding, teen-aged music nerd's radar via appearances in the interstitial videos on "Beavis & Butthead." Sure, there are clear precedents for the good Reverend's greaser-punk vamping. The Cramps, Tav Falco, Flat Duo Jets, The Gun Club, X and a number of other acts had all explored the fusion of punk rock and rockabilly. And the primal pounding of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Hasil Adkins and most of the Sun Records roster were all clear inspirations. But the Reverend managed to stamp his own larger-than-life imprint on a musical landscape filled with other wild characters. He's proven to be one of the most resilient and popular of the retro/rockabilly acts that emerged in the last 20 years. George's is probably the best venue in Fayetteville and will be a great place to see this show.
RINGLING BROS. PRESENTS 'ZING, ZANG, ZOOM'
7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $11.75-$50.75.
A lot of descriptors come to mind when I think of PETA: smug, self-righteous, myopic, shrill, sensationalistic, self-important, delusional, holier-than-thou, condescending, self-congratulatory, presumptuous, bratty, careless, tone-deaf, overweening, carping, pompous and so forth. I think these adjectives are suitable more often than not. But I have to concede the whole circus animal argument to PETA. In fact, go right now and search YouTube for "Ringling Bros. + bull hooks." If you've got the stomach, you can watch several Ringling Bros. thugs smack elephants in the trunk, face, ears and hindquarters using bull hooks, which are thick rods about two or three feet long with sharp metal hooks on one end. Look, it's long past time for all circuses to ditch the animals from their shows. If such cruelty is just the price of being entertained, then perhaps we all should reexamine why that is. Maybe you should call up Ringling Bros. at 800-755-1530 and let them know that death-defying acrobatics and sword-swallowers and fire-breathers and exotic dancers and all the other human-based theatrics are entertaining enough and that they can leave the animals out of it.
5:30 p.m. Laman Library. Free.
Some things just go together: peanut butter and chocolate; beer and baseball; Diet Coke and Mentos; rock stars and rehab. And thus it is with lazy summer days and reading. To celebrate the two, The William F. Laman Public Library hosts an out-and-out explosion of family-friendly entertainment options at this, the second annual Lamanpalooza. Allow me to reassure you: Perry Farrell had absolutely no involvement in this festival and will not, I repeat: will NOT be in attendance. But you know who will? A balloon-maker on stilts, McGruff the Crime Dog, Abner the Humane Society Education Dog, Trout Fishing in America, a bunch of insects from the Museum of Discovery, a ton of fish in a 1,500-gallon aquarium from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and lots more. Plus there will be video games, prizes and plenty of indoor and outdoor activities.
10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.
Dang, but it seems like Bonnie Montgomery has been gone forever! She went to New York City so they could stage a reading of "Billy Blythe," her opera about a day in the life of an adolescent Bill Clinton, and stayed for a while and played a bunch of shows at all kinds of hip nightclubs and speakeasies, and recorded a radio concert, and went on MSNBC and appeared in the pages of The New York Observer and Huffington Post and TIME and The New Yorker and whatnot. Meanwhile, all her friends and family and everybody back home in Central Arkansas were all missing her. Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Bonnie is back and she's playing a bunch of shows, both solo and with her Montgomery Trucking outfit (see calendar). If you haven't had occasion to check out her country-rock 'n' roll-hillbilly hybrid tunes, what are you waiting for?
JAWBONE & JOLENE
9 p.m. Cornerstone Pub & Grill. $5.
While its listener demographics have certainly changed over the decades, the blues are nonetheless alive and well in a multitude of flavors, from hidebound purists to wild-eyed, nothing-is-sacred innovators and all points in between. The motto of the Arkansas River Blues Society is "Keeping da Blues Alive for 20 years ... and still counting!" That's a worthy goal, though I'm skeptical that anything short of a world-ending meteor could ever kill the blues, which has long since transcended mere genre to become something more akin to a religion. The fundamentalist devotees are out there shouting the gospel and although most members of the flock are merely Easter observant, it still permeates the culture. Harp 'n hollow body duo Jawbone & Jolene fall into the traditionalist camp, performing classics and originals that touch on evergreen themes: ramblin', gamblin', landin' in trouble and amblin' back home. Jolene's guitar provides a sturdy backing for Jawbone's gravelly singing and wailing harmonica. This is a CD release show for the duo's latest, "Lifestyles of the Poor & Infamous."
REV. MARK KIYIMBA
6 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Church of Little Rock. Free.
The majority of this space in the Arkansas Times is dedicated to entertainment and fun and distraction from the workaday world. What you'll hear about at this event is not entertaining but a situation that you absolutely should, at the very least, be aware of. Right now, much of Uganda is in the grip of a violent paroxysm of homophobia — a bizarre, collective mental illness that reaches to the upper echelons of the government. An evangelical MP in the Ugandan Parliament named David Bahati (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) recently proposed pending legislation that would make homosexuality — already illegal in the country — a capital crime. The sickness isn't limited to legislators. A tabloid called, ironically, Rolling Stone, has published names, personal details and photos of gay Ugandans. "HANG THEM: THEY ARE AFTER OUR KIDS!!!" screamed one headline from early October. Gay activist David Kato, whose photo had been published in Rolling Stone and who had recently won a court victory against the publication, was beaten to death at his home in January. Rev. Mark Kiyimba, an LGBT rights activist and founder of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda, recently left his country, fearing for his safety. Kiyimba is traveling across the United States to raise awareness of the persecution LGBT Ugandans face every day.