THURSDAY 4/24-SATURDAY 4/26
7:30 p.m. Loony Bin. $35 (sold out).
It's a dull, unavoidable fact that Chris Tucker was great in "Friday," but what is there to even say about his performance in "The Fifth Element"? He plays a cross-dressing deep-space talk show host named Ruby Rhod, and makes one of the great weird entrances in comedy, sliding onscreen in a leopard-print body suit as Bruce Willis looks on in confusion. He spontaneously lurches into Lionel Richie songs and grabs a glass of champagne only to wave it around and throw it away and signs a row of autographs by just walking past them holding out a red paintbrush. It's one of the most incredible things. After the second "Rush Hour" movie he earned a reputation as a recluse that he still hasn't really shaken, even after doing another "Rush Hour" movie. Tucker is probably only appearing in Little Rock as low-key, out-of-the-limelight preparation for some big casino shows he's scheduled this summer in Vegas and Ontario. But we'll take it. WS
8:30 p.m. Stickyz. $12.
The North Carolina-by-way-of-Baltimore synth-pop band Future Islands, initially part of the Wham City scene that spawned Dan Deacon, is now, strangely enough, best known for having made the most popular David Letterman musical appearance ever (at least in terms of YouTube views). It's not entirely clear why, though the song, "Season (Waiting On You)," is good, kind of like Tears For Fears or early Depeche Mode, and front man Sam Herring's angular dance moves are unexpected and a little hypnotic. It might also have been the icy sincerity of the whole thing — Herring gives off a Broadway vibe, balling up his fists and furrowing his brow and pulling out every over-the-top vocal tic that you'd laugh at in a different context. They'll share a bill at Stickyz with Ed Schrader's Music Beat and Fine Peduncle. WS
7:30 p.m. Juanita's. $25.
Doug Stanhope may be best known these days for playing Louis C.K.'s suicidal road-comic friend in season two of "Louie," but he's also a "comedian's comedian" in the Bill Hicks mold, who's been active on the stand-up circuit since the early 1990s. He ran for president once as a Libertarian, regularly drinks onstage and is an expert at the exasperated truth-to-power rant. He is also profiled, interestingly, in the latest issue of Harper's, where writer Adrian Nicole LeBlanc argues, "Stanhope's America isn't the one still yammering on about its potential or struggling with losing hope. For the most part, hope is gone." She quotes a line from his act: "America may be the best country, but that's like being the prettiest Denny's waitress. Just because you're the best doesn't make you good." WS
10:30 p.m. Juanita's. $30.
If nothing else, Lil Boosie's recent release from prison has given the media another reason to highlight the Baton Rouge rap scene, which has long since displaced New Orleans as Louisiana's hip-hop mecca. Aside from Boosie, Kevin Gates has emerged in recent months as the city's biggest local star, with endorsements by the likes of Lil Wayne and Rolling Stone and a record ("By Any Means") in the Billboard Top 20. Gates' mode is telling stories in the nonplussed first-person, often stark accounts of depression and violence. Plus, he just has one of those voices that, to quote one of my favorite YouTube comments on his biggest hit to date, "Satellites," "makes you wanna have a glass of water." WS
PUB OR PERISH XI!
7 p.m., Stickyz. Free.
April means it's time for the Arkansas Literary Festival, and the Lit Fest means it's time once again for Pub or Perish, the Arkansas Times' annual salute to the joys of drinking while listening to people read poetry. This year, our 11th, we'll be at Stickyz at 107 River Market Ave. in the River Market district. While the readings will be great as always, we're doing something a little different with the lineup this year: a (nearly) all-female bill, featuring some of the best writers from Central Arkansas and beyond. On the bill for POP XI: essayist and former CNN contributor Sally Graham, Randi Romo, Kara Bibb, Kim Olson, Hendrix prof Jessica Jacobs, UALR's Nickole Brown, slam poetess Kita Marshall and Atlanta poet Megan Volpert (sponsored by Sibling Rivalry Press). As a special treat, we'll also be featuring Little Rock's own Justin Booth, reading from his soon-to-be-released collection of poems ABOUT women. Got to let the XY chromosome represent somehow. DK
8 p.m. Vino's. Donations.
"Masculin Feminin" is a largely improvised, digressive and makeshift sort of project from director Jean-Luc Godard, who planned it as a starring vehicle for Jean-Pierre Leaud (in between Antoine Doinel films for Truffaut) very distantly inspired by a pair of short stories by Maupassant. Godard called it a "talking film," as it intersperses plot vignettes with direct, unscripted interviews with Paris youth — it's preoccupied with youth culture, with music by pop singer Chantal Goya and long monologues about sex and politics. As one famous intertitle puts it, "This film could be called The Children of Marx and Coca-Cola." Or: "This was the era of James Bond and Vietnam," as Leaud says in one voiceover. As Godard said in an interview at the time, "I chose young people because I no longer know where I am from the point of view of cinema. I am in search of the cinema. I have the sense of having lost it." WS
"NEUROSIS: A SUN THAT NEVER SETS"
7:45 p.m. Market Street Cinema. $7.
Neurosis, who always did things a little differently, who were always open to outside sounds seeping into their hoarse growl-and-doom rock universe, went truly and irrevocably out on a limb with their 2004 album "A Sun That Never Sets." Aside from having one of the great album titles in metal, the record boasts production from Steve Albini, industrial scrapes and scratches and static, a credited violinist and occasional folk influences. In the '90s, they'd toured with visuals with Ken Russell's "Altered States," but for this record they made a full-length film of their own (along the same, trippy lines), which will be screening at Market Street this weekend, followed by a performance from Nate Hall and the Poison Snakes. WS
WEDNESDAY 4/30 – SATURDAY 5/10
THE SECOND CITY
7 p.m. Arkansas Repertory Theatre. $35.
Like The Groundlings in L.A. or, more recently, Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, Second City is both an improv and sketch comedy group and a kind of training program, a system that has proven its value with a venerable list of alumni ranging from Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray to Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell. I haven't heard of any of the current members of its touring company, who will be in town through May 10, but that's sort of the point — it's a great, early-career break. The cast will also participate in an improv panel discussion led by Rep Artistic Director Bob Hupp at the Clinton School of Public Service at noon Tuesday, April 29. WS