7:30 p.m. The Joint Theater and Coffeehouse. $25.
It's gotta be tempting for a renowned acoustic fingerstyle guitarist to take all the liberties that come with playing alone — to indulge in florid, meterless cadenzas or to hold notes for eons, knowing the audience will wait it out breathlessly. Sean McGowan doesn't seem to lean that way. Instead of enjoying all the freedoms he could be enjoying without the messiness of collaborators, he just plays as if he is the whole ensemble, dropping in walking bass lines and percussive downbeats, playing the part of guitarist and rhythm section. At times, the cohesion and polish of it all lends McGowan's studio stuff a "hold music" sort of feel, but definitely classy hold music — the kind that plays while you wait for a quote on a replacement rudder for your yacht. It's not likely to come across that way live, though, especially when McGowan dips into his Thelonius Monk repertoire, which he tackled expertly (and notably, without recording any overdubs) on his 2011 album "Sphere." He knows his stuff backward and forward, too; the Denver-based McGowan has studied "injury prevention and health education for musicians," as his bio notes, and writes for Acoustic Guitar magazine about the ins and outs of block chords, fancy gear and Thelonius Monk's guide tone voicings. SS
- Adam Peterson/Restless Photography
8 p.m. Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack. $10.
The list of instrumentalists who played key parts on Mark Currey's first solo record, "Tarrant County," is a formidable one: keyboardist Chuck Dodson, upright bassist Daniel Schoultz, player-of-all-stringed-things Matt Stone, drummer Bart Angel, vocalists Bonnie Montgomery, Mandy McBryde, Amy Garland Angel, Barbara Raney, Pearl Brick and Charlotte Taylor. Though some subtle piano work from Dodson and Rob Shirakbari and sustained string accompaniment from Geoff Robson and Ethan Young would argue otherwise, it's an album most would probably describe as Americana, with whiffs of Steve Forbert and an occasional dip of the toe into the blues ("Mid-Life Crises") or into Texas swing, as on the standout "Genevieve," a tale of incest and escape that — spoiler alert — stops just short of murderous revenge: "Tommy woulda killed him, but Ginny never told him, 'cause there's things that you've just got to do yourself." Currey joins many of those musicians for the album's official release at Stickyz this Thursday; all door proceeds go to support The Van. SS
- 'NOTHING IS PERFECT, EVERYTHING IS FINE': Nashville's Frances & The Foundation land at Vino's, with Notice to Quit and Jaymes Skott.
FRANCES & THE FOUNDATION
8:30 p.m. Vino's Brewpub. $7.
In a video for the song "Hey Man," bassist/lead singer Samantha Frances repeats a mantra that probably sounds familiar to anyone who's been catcalled more than a handful of times: "Hey, girl, let me talk to you for a minute." Though the song's power-pop sheen makes for a pretty wry delivery, Frances said it was one of the more emotion-laden songs she's penned lately. "I was filling up my car one day right outside the city and had a pair of men start yelling obscenities at me and screaming what they thought were compliments when in reality they were just disgusting slurs. I got so pissed that I went home and wrote that song that day, but I wanted to be tongue-in-cheek about it," she told Substream magazine in April. "It frustrates me that we haven't evolved past being inappropriate to one another." The Nashville trio — Frances, Nathan Zumwalt and Wes Cramer — just released its debut album, "Nothing is Perfect, Everything is Fine," and they're joined by Notice to Quit and Jaymes Skott. SS
- John David Pittman
- POPUP: Joshua Asante (Amasa Hines, Velvet Kente) performs for the launch of PopUp Argenta, a project of studioMAIN and Create Little Rock.
THIRD FRIDAY ARGENTA ARTWALK / POPUP ARGENTA
5-8 p.m. (unless noted). Downtown North Little Rock.
PopUp Argenta and the Innovation Hub will add spring to Argenta ArtWalk stepping this week. Sponsored by studioMAIN and Create Little Rock, PopUp Argenta features music by Joshua Asante (at 6 p.m.), a comedy performance by Red Octopus (7:15 p.m.), artist vendors, Etsy vendors, and food trucks at Fourth and Main streets, next to the Argenta branch of the Laman Library. The space, which includes a stage and seating, will be open to the public for two months. The Innovation Hub, 201 E. Broadway, invites ceramicist Lane Chapman to talk about her work and welcomes people who like to draw to its Community Art Night, where there will be a model (bring your own supplies). Mugs Cafe at 515 Main St. opens "Three Dollar Icon," an exhibition of paintings by Melissa Wilkinson, assistant professor of art at Arkansas State University. Greg Thompson Fine Art continues the exhibition "Southern Abstraction," featuring the work of Sammy Peters, Pinkney Herbert, Robyn Horn, Don Lee, Gay Bechtelheimer, Dolores Justus and others. "Three Stories," mixed media work by Jeannie Fry, Suzzette Patterson and Barbara Rhodes, goes on exhibit at the library (420 Main St.). Across the street, Argenta Art Gallery (413 Main St.) opens "Requiem Dreams," mixed-media work by Jessica Carder. LNP
- Arshia Khan
- 97 PERCENT: Kesha Lagniappe's fiber installation, made from garments worn by women during a sexual assault, goes up at Bernice Garden Friday evening.
"97 [A RECLAMATION OF BODY AND SPACE]"
6 p.m. Bernice Garden. $10.
The annual National Crime Victimization Survey of the Department of Justice estimates that 97 percent of rapists never spend any time in jail for their crimes. In response, Kesha Lagniappe, a survivor of multiple rapes, decided to build a visual demonstration of that number: a 97-foot-long hand-stitched fiber installation in four segments, made of donated garments worn by victims of sexual assault during their assaults. "The significance of the garments is that we were wearing them during a horrible time in our lives," Lagniappe told a blog called "Hidden Reality: the Truth About Sexual Assault." "Using the garments to create awareness is a great way to make peace with the outfit while showing how ridiculous it is that most rapists never go to jail for their crimes." The Forrest City native, a painter by profession, learned to sew in order to complete the project, which she felt "was the only way it could be done to get the point across." It's been photographed in locations meant to mirror the locations of the crimes the work symbolizes — a dumpster, for one, a reference to the high-profile Brock Turner case. "When a woman shares her experience with me," Lagniappe told me earlier this week, "I go to a symbolic place to represent that experience. One woman told of how a co-worker walked her to her car late one night after working long hours, and then he forced himself on her in the parking garage. So, I photographed [the artwork] at a parking garage in downtown Little Rock to give that experience a visual voice." "97" comes to the Bernice Garden Friday evening, with proceeds donated in gratitude to Bernice Garden for providing the space and to Lucie's Place, Black Lives Matter and Arkansas Women's Outreach as a show of support for black women and black LGBT women — those most vulnerable to "rape culture and toxic masculinity and patriarchy," Lagniappe said. "I am an intersectional feminist and firmly believe that the women that need our attention the most should also be brought to the forefront." SS
- FRUNK MASTER: Painter, poet and seven-time winner of Austin Music Awards' Musician of the Year title Bob Schneider performs at the Rev Room Friday night.
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $15-$17.
About the time Bob Schneider began leaning away from his funk ensemble The Scabs and released an album called "Songs Sung and Played on Guitar at the Same Time," people outside of Austin started to pay attention. Well, not exactly. First, they confused him with comedian/actor Rob Schneider. But after that, they paid attention. And how can you not? The man is sort of a polymath. He's radically spontaneous with his set lists (he's written over 2,000 songs, and past bandmates have reported performing tunes they'd never heard before). He creates poems, paintings and collages prolifically and posts them on a blog called Stinking Hand. He makes videos to accompany his songs using aforementioned collage techniques, old Hollywood movies and found footage. Maybe more importantly, he's also managed to abandon any fears that he'll be perceived as "inauthentic" if he hops from genre to genre, project to project — one time around a sugary, autotuned R&B fireside serenade, the next a bluegrass jam, then a Peter Gabriel-esque new wave bop. If you've seen him before, you've got a pretty good chance that he'll play absolutely nothing you heard last time, and if you've never seen him, check out his three-volume EP suite, "King Kong," in which the tracks are interspersed with Schneider's guileless, meandering conversation with himself — or with you, the silent partner. SS
- Hunter Crenshaw
QUEEN ANTHONY JAMES GERARD
6 p.m. Sway.
In a 2015 performance at Miss Kitty's Saloon (RIP), nee Easy Street (RIP), Queen Anthony Gerard performed Whitney Houston's "I Look to You" as an ode to cigarettes and blow, donning a cig between her lips and puffing between phrases, then dousing herself in what was surely powdered sugar from a Ziploc bag. If that doesn't make Queen a perfect fit for the lead in The Studio Theatre's upcoming performance of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," I don't know what would. Drag performances have a long history of love/hate relationships with icons like Whitney and Britney, and John Cameron Mitchell's "Hedwig" was brought to life at the Squeezebox parties in a tiny dive not at all unlike Miss Kitty's. As Sway's first resident drag artist, Queen has been at the helm of the club's drag talent competition, "Fresh Fish," and at the helm of some controversy, too — her Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr./Noxeema Jackson homage at Club Sway last April (the performer wore box braids and smashed watermelons labeled with the words "racism," "transphobia" and "ageism") sparked a clash between the club and members of the Little Rock chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement at the Central Arkansas Pride Festival. In 2015, Queen performed the lead in the club's first production of "Rocky Horror Picture Show," and the following year, Queen coached fellow Sway artist and "Fresh Fish" winner Symone the Ebony Enchantress to step into the role of Frank-n-furter, for which there was a sold-out run. This Sunday, she'll headline the show at Sway, a new addition to the roster of places to daydrink on the Sabbath. SS
- Eric Levin
- 'CINCO': Jim Gaffigan lands at First Security Ampitheater in the River Market on his "Noble Ape" tour.
8 p.m. First Security Amphitheater. $24-$165.
Jim Gaffigan is a stand-up comedian who's a Catholic and father to five kids. On his TV series, "The Jim Gaffigan Show," canceled last August after two seasons, he played a stand-up comedian named Jim Gaffigan who is Catholic and a father to five kids. So, the man's shtick is a little meta. Like Colbert and Carlin before him, he's grappled with the idea of a stand-up comedian's stage identity being inextricably tied to his own — the one he presumably dons when he's at home with his family. In a January interview on the "Today" show, he went off script, overtly dodging the "now we promote your Netflix special" formula, stubbornly changing the subject to his "disgusting" mustache or his family who, he said, "understands that [he has] a family solely for material purposes." He's "not one of these people who, like, loves his family," he said. "It's business." He claimed to be redoing "Magnum, P.I." and a series of remakes of Wilford Brimley films. He deadpanned a sarcastic bit about believing women "shouldn't have opinions." (It bombed gruesomely. Gaffigan famously writes all his material in collaboration with his wife, Jeannie, but hey, maybe satire works differently before noon.) Things went a little more smoothly on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," where Gaffigan sat across the desk from a fellow Catholic comedian, father and smart-ass. Colbert prodded Gaffigan about his gig opening up for the Pope at Philadelphia's Festival of Families, and he lauded Gaffigan's set for its ability to embody the Everyman, politically speaking. "I happen to be liberal, but I look like a Republican senator from the '50s," Gaffigan explained. Catch him at First Security, and if you got one of the fancy meet-and-greet tickets, try to avoid hot-button subjects like Santa Claus. And Hot Pockets. SS
- Brandon Markin
- BE YOURSELF: In partnership with Electric Ghost Screenprinting, photographer Brandon Markin created this image of Crystal C. Mercer to commemorate the Arkansas Women's March. Mercer emceed the march and will sign posters at the event.
'BE YOURSELF' POSTER LAUNCH
6 p.m. The Root.
In support of the Women's March in January of this year, Shepard Fairey revived the red, white and blue palette he'd used for Obama's "Hope" campaign to frame the faces of Muslim, black and Latina women. The campaign, called "We the People," made its way onto newspaper ads, giant banners and protest signs across the globe. To commemorate our own Women's March here in Arkansas, photographer Brandon Markin collaborated with Electric Ghost to create a limited-edition screenprinted poster featuring the image of one of Arkansas's own activists, Crystal C. Mercer, who emceed at the Women's March earlier this year. Now, Mercer will sign posters at the "Be Yourself" event; sales of the poster will benefit Lucie's Place. Earlier this week, I asked Markin what inspired him to do the project. "My inspiration was the women who have stepped out of the shadows since Nov. 9, 2016 — many of them with no previous desire to venture into the poisonous arena of politics, and at great sacrifice and risk to themselves — who worked to try to stem the tide of antagonistic policies that prevent us realizing the vision of a true equality." Amy Garland Angel, Phillip Rex Huddleston and Daniel Moody will provide the music. SS