WEDNESDAY 12/12-THURSDAY 12/13
'CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOM: THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE CASE'
7 p.m. Wednesday, Argenta Community Theater. Free.
6 p.m. Thursday, Clinton Presidential Library. Free.
To call "Paradise Lost" one of the most important documentary films of the last 20 years is no overstatement. Indeed, without the film, it's difficult to imagine that the case of three West Memphis teen-agers who were railroaded and wrongfully convicted for the horrific murders of three 8-year-old boys would've turned out the way it did — with their eventual release last summer after 18 years behind bars. The HBO film, by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, includes a wealth of footage from the two trials of the three — a rarity in the American judicial system — that helped to spark widespread interest about the case and foster the grassroots effort to free the young men. The same could be said of journalist and Arkansas Times contributing editor Mara Leveritt's tireless work on behalf of the West Memphis Three, including her book about the case, "Devil's Knot," which is the basis for a film to be released soon. In conjunction with Leveritt's recent cover story, "Cameras in Court," the Times is co-sponsoring two events this week with the Clinton School of Public Service and the Little Rock Film Festival: A Wednesday screening of "Paradise Lost," with Times editor Lindsey Millar leading a post-screening discussion with Leveritt and Jason Baldwin, one of the West Memphis Three wrongly imprisoned for 18 years. On Thursday, Millar will moderate a discussion on the argument for courts of law allowing video recording with Leveritt and Baldwin at the Clinton Presidential Library. Both events are free, but require RSVPs. At press time, the "Paradise Lost" screening had a wait list. Find links to RSVP at arktimes.com/cameras. LM
103.7 THE BUZZ CHRISTMAS CELEBRITY KARAOKE CONTEST
6 p.m. UALR's Jack Stephens Center. $50-$65.
A Central Arkansas holiday tradition continues with this star-studded celebration. The 103.7 The Buzz Christmas Celebrity Karaoke Contest is your chance to see local and national celebs belt out some of their favorite songs. Alongside all your Buzz personalities (including Tommy Smith, David Bazzel, Justin Acri, Pat Bradley, Joe Franklin and others), you can hear Gov. Mike Beebe stretch his vocal cords, as well. This is the seventh year that The Buzz has organized this celebration, which benefits Youth Home, a nonprofit psychiatric treatment center for troubled adolescents. After the karaoke contest, head on over to Cajun's Wharf for the official after-party. Hang on to your ticket stub and you can get into Cajun's free. RB
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
For a certain type of young-ish, scruffy, artsy musician type, Isaac Alexander is one of those guys who'll make you feel not only untalented, but lazy too. He is quite the gifted hand when it comes to visual art, sure (he's one-third of the ad agency Eric, Rob & Isaac), but he's also a multi-instrumental wiz on the fret board, keys and behind a drum kit as well. He plays and has played in numerous groups (Big Silver, Greers Ferry, The Easys, The Boondogs). Alexander's new solo album, "Antivenin Suite" (on Max Recordings), is the follow-up to his 2008 long-player "See Thru Me." That album was voted No. 6 in the Times' Arkansas Music Poll of the all-time best Arkansas albums. Times music editor John Tarpley called the record "an instant classic that's a tastefully spare, devastatingly melodic trip through surviving adulthood." So how does "Antivenin Suite" stack up? Very, very well. At 10 songs and just over a half hour, the album is like that first warm breeze of spring. It's reassuring and pleasant. It's laid-back rock that's not straining at some high-flown concept or blog flavor of the month. Mark my words: Put this album on this spring when you're driving somewhere with the windows down. Highlights? The whole album is a highlight, but OK, some of my favorites are "Changing up the Skyline" and "What Love is All About," lively numbers, the latter a particularly appealing, perfectly brief number with what sounds like some EFX-ed Spanish guitar and piano swirling around and then it's over before you know it. Other faves: the "Chewing Gum Wrapper" and "Kitchen Windows," which has a stabbing Farfisa that's just right in the mix. This record gets better every time I listen to it. Mark it, dude: One of the best albums of 2012. Also on the bill at this show are Adam Faucett and Nashville's Luella & The Sun, several members of which played on "Antivenin Suite." RB
FRIDAY 12/14- SUNDAY 12/16
ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: 'HAPPY HOLIDAYS'
8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $18-$58.
There's probably not another time of year that's as infused with sentimental sounds as what we call "The Holiday Season." Yeah, yeah, everybody loves to kvetch about how much they can't stand Christmas music. Whatever, Scrooge. Maybe you should join the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Philip Mann as they celebrate the season through the majesty of song. You'll hear familiar holiday favorites and carols galore and there's a high likelihood that the sounds will stir your soul, warm your spirit and remind you that it's OK to be sentimental once in a while. The concert is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. RB
KINGSDOWN TOYS FOR TOTS CHRISTMAS PARTY
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $8 or $5 with toy donation.
This is the fourth year in a row that the guys in Kingsdown have hosted a Toys for Tots Christmas throwdown to help make sure that every kid in Arkansas gets something fun for Christmas. It's been another big year for the band, having shared stages with notable rockers both modern and classic. The band has new tunes and a concert DVD in the works, to be released soon. This year, they're joined by blues wiz Stephen Neeper as well as Great Forest and The Revolutioners. Make sure to bring a new, unwrapped toy (or several). In addition to the toy drive, this year Kingsdown will be auctioning off some of the stage art (created by artist Jeff Rose) after the show, with proceeds benefitting Toys for Tots. It's an all-ages show and starts early. RB
9 p.m. Club Xclusive. $20 adv., $35 d.o.s.
Bun B may've reached a point in his career where he's just spinning his wheels, tweaking the same old formula with every new song or guest verse. But what do you expect? He's been rapping for 20 years. That may be a reason not to seek his recent material; it's not, however, one to miss this show. Because few have been more important foundationally to Southern rap than Bun. As half of the Port Arthur, Texas, duo UGK, he became a legend with lyrically complex street rapping that sounds like the natural evolution of Southern soul. Look for him to cover a retrospective of his UGK work, guest verses ("Go read a book you illiterate son of a bitch and step up yo vocab" is my nomination for the greatest verse in the pantheon of club bangers) and solo stuff. Last time I caught him live, possibly at a previous incarnation of Club Xclusive around 2006, it was the best concert I saw all year. LM
Late p.m./early a.m. Discovery Nightclub.
Is there a weirder, wilder figure in all of celebritydom than Flavor Flav? That's a biiiiiig "maybe." Public Enemy's hype-man is one of the most recognizable musicians of the last 25 years, but for folks who weren't around for "911 is a Joke," he's probably known as much if not more from his reality TV antics, which started with the aptly titled "Surreal Life" and bore even weirder fruit on his own show, "Flavor of Love." Lately, Flav's been opening restaurants, because of course he has. The newest location for Flavor Flav's Chicken & Ribs opened at Van Dyke and 15 Mile Road in Detroit. "Sterling Heights baby," he tweeted about the opening. According to promoter Mike Brown, Flav'll be performing tracks, doing some contests, signing autographs and partying at Discovery all night long. RB
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
The trio Color Club (formerly of Fayetteville, presently of Little Rock) has a new EP out and available Saturday, with five tracks of jagged post-punk, dominated by Casio-tones and syncopated, up-tempo drumbeats. The band grafts the chant-along aggression of Riot Grrl pioneers like Bikini Kill onto the loose, No Wave-y funk of ESG or maybe Lizzy Mercier Descloux's album "Press Color." Nowhere is this amalgamation better exemplified than on opener "Color Feel/Miss Communication." That track's funky bass line carries over on the next tune, "Don't Cry," a withering dis to would-be crybabies. Pity the poor sap (or saps) who inspired this track, especially when they sing the kiss-off chorus: "Boo hoooo / let's throw a pity party." "Femmes" informs suitors that they "are second to my girls." The final song, "My Baby," has overlapping singing that sounds like a lost Le Tigre track, probably a welcome proposition for fans of that band. Opening up are the outre rockers Ginsu Wives and Fayetteville's Perpetual Werewolf. RBCorrection: An earlier version of this story contained an error for the 103.7 The Buzz Christmas Karaoke Contest. It has been corrected.