- Monica Frisell
- CHAMELEON: Bill Frisell performs with Thomas Morgan and Rudy Royston as part of the Walton Art Center's Artosphere Festival.
BILL FRISELL TRIO
7:30 p.m. Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $30-$40.
In Emma Franz's film "Bill Frisell: A Portrait," people like Bonnie Raitt and Hal Willner and Paul Simon grasp at describing the guitarist's style. In lieu of enthusiastic fawning, there are long silences and furrowed brows. It's as if they want to be careful with the way each word lands, like somehow Frisell's technique has managed to pervade even the sentences people construct to talk about him. It's no wonder: Frisell's style is famously innovative, but just as famously elliptical. He uses seconds and sixths and wild harmonics and eons of space between notes, dodging musical cliche like it's a whiff of the Spanish flu. He scored a bunch of silent Buster Keaton films. He played "Shenandoah" at The Blue Note — with a pedal steel guitarist, at that. He takes boyish, grinning delight in plopping a dissonant note at the end of a tune when he knows good and well how much the ear craves resolution. He's also an absolute master of his craft and there's no way anyone will walk away from this show without their heads in the clouds. This concert, featuring bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston, is a flagship event for the Walton Arts Center's Artosphere Festival, and kicks off the 20th KUAF Summer Jazz Series from the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society. SS
- Melissa Wilkinson
- "Candy Kisses"
ARGENTA ART WALK
5-8 p.m., downtown North Little Rock.
Shake it up Friday night with a trip to Laman Library's Argenta branch (420 Main St.) to see "Fascination," work by members of the Culture Shock Art Collective of Arkansas women artists, for this show including Missy Wilkinson, Tammy Harrington, Louise Halsey, Dawn Holder, Jessica Mongeon, Rachel Trusty and Melissa Cowper-Smith. That's stop No. 1. Other stops for the third Friday after-hours art walk are Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main St.), which is opening its annual "Summer Show"; Argenta Gallery (413 Main St.), where "Midlife Crisis — the First 60 Years," photography by Don Byram, opens; and studioMAIN, which is featuring sketches made by the architects of AMR Architects from the past 10 years. Up Main Street, impressionist Barry Thomas will give a painting demonstration at Barry Thomas Fine Art & Studio (711 Main St.). The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub (201 E. Broadway) will open its screenprinting studio to the public and host other art activities for folks who want to make art, not just look at it. LNP
- CHOKE CHERRY TREE: The Ben Miller Band mudstomps at Stickyz Friday night.
BEN MILLER BAND
9 p.m. Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack. $10-$12.
Let's count the charms of the Ben Miller Band's new one, "Choke Cherry Tree," and the material therein: a tribute to Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa with a children's chorus and a mean riff that syncs up eerily well with "Ikiru" footage; a trailer-park wrestling match with cameos from Smilin' Bob Lewis' red top hat and Rachel Ammons' fierce hair (and fiercer fiddle); echoes of Dali and Joplin, Mo., in a surrealist letter called "Sketchbook"; persisting evidence of BMB's long-term relationships with gadgetry, balladry and fuzz. Go to peep telephone-microphone hybrid contraptions, stay to shout "One More Time" along with Tyrannosaurus Chicken and adopted bandmates. SS
- Orion Landau
- Zware Metalen
FRIDAY 6/15-SUNDAY 6/17
MUTANTS OF THE MONSTER FESTIVAL
7 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Rev Room, White Water Tavern. $15-$18.
From the sprouts of an early-aughts Arkansas metal scene and the ashes of a defunct homebase at Downtown Music Hall comes Mutants of the Monster, a three-day micro-festival dedicated to heavy music. The full list of acts is tied together by pretty much the "heavy" descriptor alone: Oregon-based doom metal outfit YOB is here with its latest "Our Raw Heart" and all the plodding chug therein, Maryland's Full of Hell brings on an inexplicably bouncy assault of textured noise, Arkansas's own Pallbearer presents its rock sensibility and penchant for melody to the mix, and a much-pined-for Rwake makes a return to the stage. Add to that: Living Sacrifice, Sumokem, Gatecreeper, Bell Witch, Wvrm, Minsk, Yautja, Deadbird, Terminal Nation, Reserving Dirtnaps and Christworm. The third night of the festival was sold out when the Arkansas Times went to press, but there were still tickets available for nights one and two, to be held at the Rev Room. SS
- studioMAIN/Create Little Rock
- MAKE WAY FOR POPUP: PopUp Stifft Station will see a "road diet" on Markham Street, with room for a beer garden, a movie theater and retail space for local businesses.
SATURDAY 6/16-SATURDAY 7/7
POPUP STIFFT STATION
Markham Street between Cedar and Booker.
PopUp in the Rock, events by a design collaborative that has made temporary, walkable street changes in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock's Park Hill, is popping up in Stifft Station, which is why drivers are seeing all those orange traffic cones on Markham Street. The PopUp Stifft Station is putting Markham on a "road diet" that will shrink its four lanes to three, with a single westbound lane, a center two-way left-turn lane and a single eastbound lane, with the right-side eastbound lane completely closed, for two weeks. The event, by partners studioMAIN and Create Little Rock, will also see the parking lot at Johnson and West Markham streets turned into a beer garden, movie theater, food truck and music venue at various times. Businesses that will pop up include Stone's Throw Brewing, the Electric Ghost, the Arkansas Yoga Collective, Teaberry Kombucha Co., Stifft Spine Used Books, Crying Weasel Vintage Clothing, Control (a new and used vinyl store from diehard collectors Wes Howerton and Michael Shaeffer) and more. Saturday's events include a pop-up art gallery in the old Buice Pharmacy space (artists include David McRoberts, Ike Garlington, Lucy Towbin, Catherine Caldwell and Becky Botos), the opening of Stone's Throw taproom at 3016 W. Markham (next to the Meteor bike and coffee shop) and other pop-up shopping. There will be more special events on Saturday, June 23. The PopUp in the Rock Facebook page has details. LNP
- Lukas Deen
- Big Piph/Epiphany Morrow
Noon. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Free.
Back in 2008, filmmakers Darrell Scott and Julian Walker documented the scene at what was then the city's biggest celebration for Juneteenth – the holiday intended to commemorate June 19, 1865, the day when Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announced that "all slaves are free" in Texas, and that "this involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor." In those days (2008, not 1865), Power 92 Jams hosted a huge concert at the First Security Amphitheater (then the Riverfest Amphitheatre), an occasion that Scott and Walker documented by asking fans whether they knew the history behind Juneteenth. (Most didn't.) The resulting film, "The Truth Behind Juneteenth: A Paradox of Freedom," took the radio station to task — not for making it a concert but, as a subsequent email from Scott read, "to utterly fail to capitalize on the opportunity to empower 15,000 young black minds." The following year, the celebration moved to Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, where the music continued, but with a renewed focus on the holiday's history. "Especially because our mission is to preserve, to interpret, to collect and to celebrate the history of African Americans in Arkansas," Assistant Director Quantia Fletcher said in 2013, "What better way than with the history of Juneteenth, which is all about the celebration of freedom of African Americans?" This year, Mosaic Templars continues that celebration, with Power 92's Keef Glason as emcee and co-host. Mononymous chanteuse Shanice will perform at 5:20 p.m. (Remember "I Love Your Smile"? Yeah, you do. Pull it on up.); Larry Dodson of the Bar-Kays co-hosts; AETN's "Dreamland: Little Rock's West 9th Street" screens at 1 p.m. and one of the movie's stars, vocalist Bijoux, performs at 4 p.m.; Bijoux's musical cohorts Big Piph & Tomorrow Maybe play a set at 4:40 p.m.; Sir the Baptist plays at 3:20 p.m.; Dunbar Middle School Choir gives a concert at 2:50 p.m.; the Big John Miller Band entertains at 2:10 p.m.; Zae-HD performs at 1:55 p.m.; poets Chris James and Ron MC speak at 1:20 p.m.; 2017 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase winners Dazz & Brie bring the anthems at 12:50 p.m.; a kid's zone will be set up with face painting, a video game truck, laser tag, a rock climbing wall and a water tinkering station; GoodFellas Barber College will be giving free haircuts for kids; living history characters will be wandering around; Byron Hurt's "Soul Food Junkies" will screen at 3 p.m.; and food trucks will be on site. All the while, Mosaic Templar's "Don't Touch My Crown" — an art exhibit examining "the role of hair in how African Americans define themselves and are defined by others, from the late 19th century to the present" — will be up for viewing. SS
- Thomas Beck
- 'DAWN OF THE BLACK WINGS': Yuni Wa's 33rd album gets a release party at South on Main, with special guests Klubhouse and Joshua Asante.
YUNI WA, KLUBHOUSE, JOSHUA ASANTE
9 p.m. South on Main. $5.
Some of the most emotive, layered vaporwave music in the world is being made in Stifft Station, although its creator wouldn't call it by that name. And he's probably right. After all, "vaporwave" — or "mall soft" or " chopped and screwed" or whatever you want to call it — was pioneered in the last decade as a sort of meta-commentary on consumerism and pop culture, and Little Rock-based producer Yuni Wa has taken that premise and expanded it to embed not only pop culture concepts, but specific musical genres. Hell, even entire emotions. What's more, he's done that work across a repertoire of 33 "official" albums (and then some) and with a sincerity that vaporwave artists so often eschew in favor of sarcasm. Take, for example, "Don't Look Down X We Only Goin Higher," an absurdly low-end bounce-turned-freewheeling synth pop groove fit for The Skating Rinks of 2052. Or its companion on "Dead Idols," "The Prayer for Inner Peace" — which I'm pretty sure works as well as the soundtrack for savasana as it does for driving down Markham on a rainy Wednesday night. Think: counter-Muzak, the kind of thing you'd hear in grocery stores on Venus. (And, if you're into numerology, consider this: Dude was born in the year that "Block Rockin' Beats" came out. Coincidence?) Yuni Wa is dropping his latest, "Dawn of the Black Wings," at this show with performances from hip-hop collective Klubhouse and the venerable guitarist/photographer/loopmaker/poet Joshua Asante. SS
7 p.m. Riverdale 10 Cinema. $9.
Taking place after the era of major gunfights and the kind of tales depicted when Clint Eastwood was a younger actor, "Unforgiven" (1992) is a revisionist Western that looks at the nature of myth-making — and the violent toll it takes on the soul. William Munny (Eastwood) is an alcoholic and a killer who we're introduced to as he's trying to wrangle some pigs on his farm where he lives with his children and the grave of his wife, who got him to leave his wicked ways behind. But she's no longer there to be his moral compass, and when the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) shows up promising a bounty for dispensing some much needed justice, he barely puts up a fight. Munny enlists his longtime friend and partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and it turns out all the moral growth Munny has been doing hasn't amounted to much. During a six-year stint on TV's "Rawhide," Sergio Leone cast Eastwood as the "Man with No Name" in "Fistful of Dollars" (the first in what has since become known as the "Dollars Trilogy") and made him into the star he's become, but it was "Unforgiven" that earned Eastwood his first Academy Award for best director, and aside from the occasional masterpiece (Kelly Reichardt's "Meek's Cutoff," for one, which the Times screened in 2016 as part of this series) there hasn't been much to add to that "revisionist Western" genre since. Join us Tuesday night for our screening of Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven," part of the Arkansas Times Film Series, and catch our discussion about the film on this week's "No Small Talk" podcast. OJ