ARKANSAS TRAVELERS HOME OPENER
7:10 p.m. Dickey-Stephens Park. $4-$12.
If you squint your ears just right, you can almost hear it: the crack of a bat, the roar of the crowd, the amplified voice of the announcer booming out across the stands. Baseball season is upon us once again. Of course, a lot of Arkansas Travelers fans will likely still have a bad taste in their mouths after the events of the most recent off-season, what with the unceremonious and very unpopular ditching of General Manager Pete Laven and Assistant GM David Kay. Travs President Russ Meeks ousted Laven and Kay back in November, with support from the organization's executive committee. In an interview with Arkansas Business, Meeks offered no criticisms or complaints about Laven or Kay, but spoke only of the need for change. To say that the move angered many longtime Travelers fans, supporters and board members would be an understatement. Irked fans started a Facebook page dedicated to venting their frustration over the firings and providing updates about changes within the organization, which had more than 1,800 members as of Monday. Laven found work overseeing ball clubs in Chicago, while Kay accepted a position with the Tulsa Drillers. But will lingering animosity and anger affect turnout for games this season? We'll probably have to wait and see. The Travs start the season with back-to-back three-game series against the Frisco RoughRiders and the Midland Rockhounds. Three of the Los Angeles Angels' top prospects will be playing with the Travelers this week: Third baseman Kaleb Coward, relief pitcher Nick Maronde and first baseman C.J. Cron. RB
THURSDAY 4/4-SUNDAY 4/7
OZARK FOOTHILLS FILMFEST
Various times and venues in Batesville. $3-$25.
The multi-day Ozark Foothills FilmFest returns to Batesville, with another intriguing lineup of short and feature-length narrative and documentary films, lectures and panel discussions. Of the latter, an interesting one will surely be "The Female Face of Indie Film," which includes, among others, Arkansas native Juli Jackson. With help from a grant from the festival, Jackson made "45RPM," a road movie shot in Arkansas about an obsessive record collector and a young woman trying to find a deeper understanding of her family. Another big highlight includes a screening of Josef von Sternberg's silent 1927 proto-gangster flick "Underworld," accompanied by live music from the Alloy Orchestra, the trio that also played at the festival in 2011 and includes Mission of Burma founder Roger Miller. Also, music geeks should check out "The Lost Souls," a 54-minute doc about The Lost Souls, a Jacksonville-based quartet that cut some legendary garage rock singles back in the mid-1960s. Filmmaker Harold Ott is also the man behind the "Lost Souls" series of compilation CDs, featuring tons of long-lost garage rock ravers from the Natural State. The full festival schedule is available at Ozarkfoothillsfilmfest.org. RB
'DOUBT: A PARABLE'
7:30 p.m. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.
John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt: A Parable," won some pretty hefty awards, namely the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. The play, which premiered in 2004, concerns the tension that arises between Father Flynn, a liberal young priest, and Sister Aloysius, the harsh and judgmental principal of the parish school. The play's full title is accurate; "Doubt" is indeed a parable, one about the bulldozing power of self-righteous certainty, the gnawing, toxic effects of uncertainty and the way truth often evaporates in the midst of the two forces. I haven't seen a stage production of "Doubt," but the 2008 film adaptation — directed by Shanley — was tense and engrossing, with a stellar cast. I don't want to give away too much about the story, but suffice it to say that Shanley, who grew up in the Catholic Church, has some strong feelings about the institution, and the way it exerts control and crushes the individual, planting the seeds of doubt. "Doubt" runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. through April 20. RB
FRIDAY 4/5-SUNDAY 4/7
LITTLE ROCK STARTUP WEEKEND
Various times. Clinton School of Public Service. $50-$60.
Calling all designers, programmers, creative types, idea men/women. Little Rock Startup Weekend is the latest event aimed at fostering Arkansas's tech startup scene. It's pretty straightforward and, like a lot of entrepreneurial-focused special events, fast-paced: Over a weekend, participants meet and mingle, pitch startup ideas, form teams around the best ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then work furiously to flesh out those ideas into something that looks like a workable business model by the time 5 p.m. Sunday rolls around, when it's time for teams to present their startups. Judges, including Stone Ward's Millie Ward, the ARK Challenge's Jeannette Balleza and start-up guru Jeff Amerine, will pick the best of the bunch and award thousands of dollars worth of prizes. Organizer Max Farrell, who's a community builder for the innovative Iowa-based online payment system Dwolla (and whose name should be familiar to longtime To-Do List readers as Little Rock rapper Maxx), said, "Arkansas is at the point where the community is excited about entrepreneurship and excited about technology. I hope Startup Weekend can be a bridge between people who're doing things and people who want to do things." Registration for designers and programmers is still open. Registration cost goes up $10 after Thursday. The presentations and awards ceremony, which begins 5 p.m. Sunday, is open to the public. Register and see more info at littlerock.startupweekend.org. LM
DESIGNERS CHOICE PREVIEW
6:30 p.m. Metroplex. $35-$55.
Now in its sixth year, the Designers Choice Fashion Preview has become what is surely the biggest annual fashion event in the state. This year, the event will be hosted by actor Lamman Rucker, Alice 107.7 host Heather Brown and designer Korto Momolu. Celebrity models include Donna Terrell of Fox 16 and Mark Edwards of KTHV 11. Benefiting from the show will be The Timmons Arts Foundation, whose "core mission is to restore art and music education programs in the public school system. Children deserve a well-rounded education, and learning through the arts is an essential component in all schools for every student." Amen to that. RB
AMP OUT ALZ 2
8 p.m. Revolution. $25 adv., $30 day of.
The second annual Amp Out Alz fundraiser is billed as "A Rock & Roll Event," with live music from Geezer, including covers of favorites by The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and more. It's an all-ages event, and reserved tables are available. Tickets are available at AmpOutAlz.com. The proceeds will go to Alzheimer's Arkansas, which provides support to the families and caregivers who are so vital for folks suffering from Alzheimer's and related dementia. If you've ever had a family member or loved one afflicted with such an awful disease, you can appreciate the fact that there are organizations like Alzheimer's Arkansas to help. The nonprofit support group is not affiliated with any national organizations, so all of the money raised will go to help folks in Arkansas. RB
FUTUREBIRDS, THE WHIGS
8 p.m. Stickyz. $10 adv., $12 day of.
Athens, Ga., has long seemed like some kind of rock 'n' roll faucet, where you just turn the handle full-blast and out comes Pylon and R.E.M. and Love Tractor and The B-52s and Matthew Sweet and Widespread Panic and a bunch of those Elephant 6 bands and The Drive-By Truckers and it just keeps on gushing outta there. On Sunday, you can catch a couple of Athens' current torchbearers, with the languid, gentle psych-country-rock of Futurebirds and the effortless-sounding, Petty-informed power-pop of The Whigs. The Whigs just last year released "Enjoy the Company," quieter compared to the trio's raucous earlier albums, but a totally enjoyable listen, perfect warm-weather driving music. The Futurebirds have a new long-player called "Baba Yaga" coming out on Fat Possum April 16. It's named after this scary Russian forest witch that they probably invoked back in the day to scare little Misha or Evgeny into acting properly. There's nothing scary about the record though. It's a baker's dozen of chiming, leisurely paced tunes soaked in spectral, gorgeous pedal steel. Are you looking to wind down your weekend with a couple of restorative drinks and some excellent tunes? Look no further. RB