'AFRICAN AMERICAN ATHLETES IN ARKANSAS: MUHAMMAD ALI'S TOUR, BLACK RAZORBACKS & OTHER FORGOTTEN STORIES'
6 p.m. Sturgis Hall, Clinton School of Public Service. Free.
Evin Demirel, a former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter and occasional contributor to the Arkansas Times, returns to his hometown to talk at the Clinton School about his first book, "African-American Athletes in Arkansas: Muhammad Ali's Tour, Black Razorbacks & Other Forgotten Stories." The anthology collects historical essays, some previously published in the likes of Slate, Arkansas Life and the Times, on little remembered sports stories involving black Arkansans. It's a noble effort, evinced early in the pages of the book as Demirel reports on Eddie Miles, who led North Little Rock's all-black Scipio Jones High School to four straight championships in the 1950s, and Altheimer's Jackie Ridgle, who led his high school team to a title in 1966. Demirel provides some evidence that each deserves to be included in the Arkansas Activies Association record book's top 10 for season scoring average, but as newspapers did not often cover all-black sporting events during the days of segregation, documentation of the feats of mid-century players can be hard to come by. Demirel does further and fascinating yeoman work digging up stories on the all-black Fort Smith Eagles baseball team taking on Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Monarchs, NBA Hall of Famer and Lonoke County native Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton and Muhammad Ali's 1969 speaking tour through Arkansas. Buy the book and learn more at heritageofsports.com. LM
- Wes Frazer
LEE BAINS III & THE GLORY FIRES
9 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs. Free.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires are Southern rockers, no doubt, hailing from Alabama and writing songs, as The New York Times put it, "steeped in history, local color, memories, everyday life, expectations and paradoxes." But, their comparisons to other Southern rock bands — most notably the Drive-By Truckers — always feels a bit off, mainly because the band's songs drift into a Southern version of Brooklyn's The Hold Steady. Bains' music shares The Hold Steady's propensity for intricate, driving guitars that cannot give up a punk past and lyrics so specific (and yelled so quickly) you forget they're beautifully etching a cultural geography. Take the first song, "Breaking It Down!" on Bains' new album "Youth Detention," which is 100 percent what I imagine Hold Steady lead singer Craig Finn would create if he were from Alabama: "Inside a vine-eaten warehouse, under rust-soured towers/Distorted truth buzzing through a busted P.A./Sons and daughters of bankers and farmers, miners and lawyers/Eyes shut and hollering, hips all asway." Yet, while The Hold Steady chronicled the glory of waylaid pseudo-druggie nights of a Jersey suburb kid in New York, Bains is coming to terms with a torn South and making that process of reckoning into an anthem. And, somehow, not losing the joy. You can even hear Bains confronting his desire to make rocking music about such difficult topics. His song "Whitewash" edges more towards the Jason Isbell influence, of the original Drive-By Truckers lineup, telling a story of not wanting the "power" or the guilt or to hurt anybody, but ultimately knowing, "... you belong to the Free State of Winston. Her pines creak in your words, high and lonesome: 'I've got a people, and a history and a place bearing down on me.' " Lee Bains & The Glory Fires are Southern rockers, no doubt, and they know their music has to reflect that. This is protest music that sounds like a protest — frenetic and exciting and contemplative. Bains has been doing for a long bit, well before President Trump made protest music popular again (but, at times, a bit overwrought). Go check out his well-placed anger in "We Dare Defend Our Rights" from 2014, in which he flipped the Alabama state motto to call out the state's racist policies in policing of immigrants. Also, one last thing: How in the world is this show free? You could easily pay $15 to $20 for a show like this in other cities. Maxine's is doing everyone in Central Arkansas a favor, so please go and buy drinks. JR
- Courtney Pittman
- 'DRAM SHOP GAL': Carson McHone, who's made cameos on tunes for Ray Wylie Hubbard and Shinyribs, brings her solo set to the White Water Tavern Thursday night.
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
When Rolling Stone features you as one of the "10 New Country Artists You Need to Know," I'm going to go ahead and assume your time has come. It must be Carson McHone's time. McHone, visually a cross between Olivia Wilde and Kate Hudson, is one of those rare "unicorns" who actually hails originally from Austin, Texas, and isn't just a transplant to that coolest-of-cool towns. McHone began singing in local bars at the age of 16, and was selected in 2014 to represent Austin in Project ATX6, a music documentary project that each year selects six musicians to showcase at international music festivals. With ATX6, McHone toured as far as Germany, experiencing a sold-out showcase at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. Her vocals are featured on 2015's "Okra Candy" by Shinyribs and on Ray Wylie Hubbard's song "Chick Singer Badass Rockin" which, I believe, is an apt description of her pipes. Rolling Stone describes her sound as "the bridge between Texas tawny and Tennessee country," but when I viewed her "Dram Shop Gal" on YouTube, I just heard a heartfelt, winsome voice and witnessed a presence that so transcended the screen I wanted to instantly buy a ticket to her nearest show even though I don't consider myself a country music fan. McHone once wanted to be George Jones. Based on what I've seen, I think she's surpassed her goal by a country mile. HS
- FROM THE TREES OF STONE COUNTY: Paul Gillam Jr. and Paul Gillam Sr. at Blue Mountain Woodworks are among the artists featured in the Off the Beaten Path studio tour around Mountain View.
FRIDAY 9/15-SUNDAY 9/17
OFF THE BEATEN PATH STUDIO TOUR
9 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. Mountain View and surrounding areas.
Here's how to make a weekend of art: Get in your car and head to the Ozarks, where 30 artists from Fox on the southwest to Pineville on the northeast — hence the "Off the Beaten Path" name for this 16th annual event — will open their studios to visitors. You'll see some of the state's best artisanal creations, from weaving to jewelry, beads to baskets. Some of the participating artists are old hands, like master bead-makers Tom and Sage Holland, potters Joe Bruhin and Dave and Becki Dahlstedt, and jeweler JP Rosenquist. New this year is storyteller Blant Hurt, an author and former newspaper columnist. Pick up a free guide that provides directions to the studios at the Arkansas Craft School, the Arkansas Craft Gallery and the Chamber of Commerce office in Mountain View or go to offthebeatenpathstudiotour.com. All studios are within 30 miles of Mountain View. LNP
8 p.m. The Undercroft, Christ Episcopal Church, 509 Scott St. $10.
You know that fiddle player from Sad Daddy? The one who takes the jug band vibe of songs like "Weed Smoker's Blues" and "Don't Be Messin' With My Mojo" and makes them sound damned near erudite? That's Rebecca Patek. She's a three-time Wisconsin State Fiddle Champion, and she's got a new solo album out, "Come Up and Meet Me," a sweet collection of 12 romantic bluegrass tunes made for hearing outdoors in the fall — or in this case, in a cozy basement-slash-brewery. SS
GENINE LATRICE PEREZ
9 p.m. South on Main. $15.
Genine Latrice Perez, the polished neo-soul singer that fronts the bands Lagniappe and The Sound, spent the summer of 2016 in what she calls a "rebirth mode," reacquainting herself with a music scene bubbling with new talent, one that her schedule of private concerts and corporate engagements had kept mostly in the background. Then, her daughter Olivia died unexpectedly, and that newfound network of musicians, she says, became a support network. "I realized more than anything after she passed that music was sustaining me," she told us. "It was my heartbeat." Perez, under a new collaborative called Purple Palace Productions, has been booking and promoting singers like Samarra Samone and Jasmine Janae, and this Friday, she takes the stage with her own set of jazz and R&B-infused tunes for an "End of Summer Soiree." For a primer to Perez's style, and the ways in which she brings her daughter's memory to the stage, check out the video for "Free Your Dreams" at geninelperez.com. SS
LEGENDS OF ARKANSAS
2 p.m. North Shore Riverwalk. $5.
Now in its fifth year, Legends of Arkansas is an all-Arkansas, family-friendly music and craft festival held on the North Shore Riverwalk in North Little Rock. A true annual celebration of music, art, and independent business in Arkansas, the festival features art/craft vendors, interactive art, performing artists, breweries and food trucks from around the state. If you don't come for the goods, come for the music. This year, indie-rock band Knox Hamilton — fronted by brothers and pastor's sons Boots and Cobo Copeland — will headline, with trumpet king Rodney Block, funk-flecked genre-benders Dazz & Brie and rootsy Brian Nahlen Band rounding out the ticket. Then again, if you don't come for the music, come for the community. The mission of Legends of Arkansas is to build community while tackling the problem of homelessness in Arkansas, and the measly $5 cover charge goes to one of its three fantastic programs: The Van (a mobile program that serves the homeless), The Field (an urban farm to provide produce as well as a day's wage) and Kathryn's House (a temporary respite for homeless women). Legends of Arkansas will take place, come rain or come shine. HS
- UNBREAKABLE: Janet Jackson makes a stop at Verizon Arena on her "State of the World" Tour.
8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $30-$110.
A year after postponing her "Unbreakable" tour to have her first and only child, 50-year-old Janet Jackson resumes the trek, scheduling 56 shows across 101 days. The tour, renamed State of the World, is "not about politics," according to Jackson. "It's about people, the world, relationships and just love." Her 11th studio album, "Unbreakable," reunited Jackson (after a decade apart) with songwriting/production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the masterminds behind such Jackson hits as 1986's "When I Think of You" and 1993's "That's The Way Love Goes." The record also included cameos from rappers J. Cole and Missy Elliott and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. "Unbreakable" was well received for its diversity of sound and for Jackson's vocal technique, placing it amongst the best records of 2015 by several publications. With sales of over 160 million records worldwide, Jackson stands as one of the best-selling artists of all time. Which, we hope, she'll showcase by performing some oldie-but-goodies. Who would want to miss a live performance of "What Have You Done For Me Lately" or "Because of Love" or anything — and everything! — from 1989's "Rhythm Nation" album? Does the new quinquagenarian have the same energy that earned her six Grammys, two Emmys, a Golden Globe, a nomination for an Oscar and dozens of American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Award and Billboard Music Awards? Our guess is she does, and if you think otherwise, you can call her Miss Jackson. Because you're nasty. HS
'INCARCERATION NATIONS: A JOURNEY TO JUSTICE IN PRISONS AROUND THE WORLD'
Noon. Sturgis Hall, Clinton School of Public Service. Free.
America is, in many ways, exceptional in terms of how it imprisons: home to 5 percent of the world population and 25 percent of the world's prisoners, having four to eight times the incarceration rate of other comparable nations and consisting of a complicated patchwork of state, local and federal jails and prisons, all distinct in their policies from each other and also distinct from an entirely separate juvenile justice system. To understand the American system — even simple things like the vast difference between a jail and a prison — takes effort. Dr. Baz Dreisinger, author of "Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World," will give a talk at the Clinton School that may shed some light on how the world deals with incarceration. She toured prisons from Singapore to Uganda to study the best methods for rehabilitation. Dreisinger is a professor of English, and she writes in a first-person narrative style, which means she discusses criminal justice reform with specifics and anecdotes, but without too much statistical analysis of the big picture (if you're interested in that sort of thing, though, check out "Locked In" by John F. Pfaff). Dreisinger's arguments are not from the aloof professor, but from someone who wants to see change for prisoners and is trying to figure out how to create it. She is activist and the founder of the Prison-to-College Pipeline, a project aimed at getting the formerly incarcerated college degrees by providing classes in prison. Whether you're new to learning about what happens in prisons around the world or have a long time interest in criminal justice, you'll likely get something from Dreisinger's stories. JR
- ARKANSAS MADE: Mark Thiedeman's "Sacred Hearts, Holy Souls" (pictured), Alison Boland's "Night Shift" and Michael Carpenter's "Spoonin' the Devil" are next up in the Arkansas Times Film Series.
ARKANSAS TIMES FILM SERIES: SHORT FILMS
7 p.m. Riverdale 10 Cinema. $8.50.
For the next feature in the Arkansas Times Film Series, Film Quotes Film and Riverdale 10 Cinema are partnering to bring you some rarely screened films that showcase homegrown talent from the Natural State. "Sacred Hearts, Holy Souls" tells the story of a boy in Catholic school who's struggling with the tension between who he is and what his religion tells him is wrong. The film is fiction, but is based on director 's experiences at Little Rock Catholic High School. The second short film comes from Alison Boland, an Arkansas native whose 2014 short film "Night Shift" follows a university's night cleaning crew, made up of immigrants from Vietnam, Egypt and Mexico. The film, which won Best Documentary Short at the Austin Asian American Film Festival, is a humane portrait of people who often go unseen, doing work that the people around them take for granted. The third film, "Spoonin' the Devil," is Arkansas native Michael Carpenter's University of Central Arkansas master's thesis film, and follows a woman on a journey with her niece to dispose of the ashes of her recently deceased husband. Natalie Canerday ("Walk the Line," "Shotgun Stories," "Quarry") plays the widow. OJ