TEDx MARKHAM STREET CONFERENCE
9:30 a.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $15-$75.
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks — those bite-sized parcels of intellectual stimulation with alluring titles like "How Trees Talk to Each Other" or Jimmy Carter's "Why I believe the mistreatment of women is the number one human rights abuse" — are run by the nonprofit Sapling Foundation and operate under the motto "Ideas Worth Spreading." That slogan might be just as aptly applied to the enterprise itself. The set of conferences has branched off into a number of subsets: TED Women, focused on issues of gender; TEDMED, focused on health and medicine; NPR's TED Radio Hour, a podcast that organizes TED according to a shared theme; TED Salon, an abbreviated evening version; and TEDx, the localized, independently organized offspring of the Monterey, Calif.-born symposium. Among Central Arkansas's TEDx speakers are Rupa Dash, whose World Woman Foundation pushes for inclusion and gender equality in film and entertainment; Michael Watson, whose Watson Foundation advocates for children with learning disabilities; and Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira, the UALR professor and Arkansas Times' Festival of Ideas speaker who developed CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), a 3D virtual room, as well as a virtual cadaver for use by UALR medical students.
'BLACK LIVES MATTER IN THE MEDIA' WITH SHAUN KING
5:30 p.m. Philander Smith College, M.L. Harris Auditorium. Free.
Little Rock has had some firsthand experience with the ninth of 25 items New York Daily News Senior Justice Writer Shaun King proposed on his Facebook page as solutions to solving the problem of police brutality: "Require cops to live in or near the area they police. It's too easy to mistreat strangers." The Little Rock City Board voted down a residency requirement for the second time in early September, and other solutions that King has suggested remain, thus far, mostly in the category of theory and not practice: independent review boards to oversee cases of police misconduct, expanded use of police body cameras, required drug testing for police. King, the founder of Atlanta's "Courageous Church," who came to be known as the "Facebook pastor," has been the subject of controversy surrounding his management of the anti-police-brutality group Justice Together, the charity auction site TwitChange and the crowdsourced Hopemob.com, and remains one of the most vocal agents for criminal justice reform in the Black Lives Matter movement. King visits Philander Smith College, the home to several "Think Tank" events revolving around racial justice, in a discussion titled (and hashtagged) "Black Lives Matter in the Media," moderated by the Janus Institute for Justice's Malik Saafir, with panelists Rae Nelson, Ashley Yates, Richard Thompson and Shahidah Jones.
FRIDAY 9/30-SATURDAY 10/1
HOT WATER HILLS ARTS & MUSIC FESTIVAL
4 p.m. Fri., noon Sat. Hill Wheatley Plaza, Hot Springs. Free-$10.
From the brains behind Low Key Arts and the intimate shows that characterize Hot Springs' Valley of the Vapors Music Festival comes the 6th Annual Hot Water Hills Festival, a block party blend of workshops, visual art, live performances on a mainstage and at a busker's corner, children's activities like this year's Art and Tinker tent complete with a paint-by-number mural, and local food and drink from La Taco, Mad Mantis, Hot Rod Weiners, Kettle Corn and Mugshots. This year's musical lineup features the abundantly talented London-born Sudanese crooner Sinkane (Ahmed Gallab), whose session contributions to the work of Caribou and Yeasayer have matured into full-fledged Afropop with a Tom Tom Club dance sensibility, neo-soul with video game noises, never more evident than on tracks like "Young Trouble" and "How We Be." Earlier in the day, catch Ronnie Heart, Big Piph and Tomorrow Maybe, Dylan Earl and The Reasons Why and the Spa City Youngbloods. Friday evening's lineup features Sad Daddy, Bonus, Vodi, Andrew Anderson and the ASMSA Folk Ensemble. While you're in town, drop in on the concurrent Maxwell Blade Festival of Magic at 121 Central Ave., featuring a slew of magicians, mentalists and stand-up comedy.
2 p.m. Pulaski Tech, Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS). Free.
Since the wild success of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway musical, the words "Hamilton" and "free admission" haven't been hanging out much. Fortunately for us, we're only a short drive or bus ride away from AETN and PBS' screening of the documentary "Hamilton's America," which Miranda presented with President Obama alongside him in a trailer unveiled earlier this week. As the trailer suggests, the documentary takes a look at the creation of the musical that swept this year's Tony Awards (a total of 11 awards and 16 nominations), and Pulaski Tech's screening is followed by a concert and panel discussion with trumpeter Rodney Block and rapper-activist Epiphany Morrow.
7 p.m. William J. Clinton Presidential Center. $10-$23.
In a video of a 2011 performance with the Ukrainian Philharmonic Orchestra, Elisso Bolkvadze walks out onto the stage in her trademark fitted black lace blouse, bangs hanging down over her intensely dark eyes, and places her hands on the keys for an imperceptible millisecond before launching into Chopin's Etude No. 24, an exercise so difficult that it nearly tricks the eyes. Were it not in full color — and filmed only five years ago — you'd swear the videotape had fallen prey to an inconsistency in its frame rate, like the old silent films made with hand-cranked cameras, where the action is suddenly sped up for comedic effect. In contrast to other performances of the same etude around the same time by younger pianists like Julian Gargiulo, Bolkvadze's left hand wields a lighter touch, mature and subdued by comparison. Bolkvadze, who gave her first concert with an orchestra when she was 7 years old in her native Georgia, has swept the international piano competition scene, been awarded The Medal of Georgian Government and been named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. She is the founder of the Batumi International Music Festival and of Lyra, a charity devoted to promoting young Georgian pianists. After joining the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra on opening night at Maumelle Performing Arts Center Saturday and Sunday (two of the ensemble's last concerts before returning to Robinson Center), Bolkvadze finishes off her time in Little Rock with this concert, part of the ASO's River Rhapsodies Chamber Series. She will perform Franz Schubert's "Impromptu Nos. 2, 3 and 4," Cesar Franck's "Piano Quintet in F minor," and Prokofiev's "Piano Sonata No. 2." Prokofiev debuted the piece himself in Moscow in 1914, after dedicating it to his friend Maximilian Schmidthof, who had committed suicide several months earlier — a fact that is felt most reverently and heartbreakingly in the sonata's haunting third movement, the Andante.
8 p.m. Clear Channel Metroplex. $30.
They may not have the earworm tendencies of Katy Perry's "Firework" or Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball," but Melanie Martinez's songs are bringin' all that bubblegum on the visual front, often mixing it with a good dose of "Bride of Chucky" (see "Cry Baby," "Dollhouse"). In the video for "Alphabet Boy," she spits on a college diploma, wields a baby pink gun, flips the bird, eats a dictionary, licks strawberry jelly from the blade of a knife, tumbles from the top of a stack of oversized alphabet blocks, eats cereal in a high chair and spells out four-letter words on a refrigerator with magnetic letters. The pacifier-loving, Britney-channeling former contestant on "The Voice" put out a concept album in 2015 called "Cry Baby," a collection of repetitive tracks that's either a brilliant commentary on the infantilization of women or a pastel nightmare with a bloated runtime, depending on how you look at it. Martinez comes to the Metroplex with Handsome Ghost, a Boston native and former high school English teacher whose acoustic guitar tunes have inched further toward The Postal Service-style electropop sheen over the last year or so, especially on the EP he released a couple of weeks ago, "The Brilliant Glow."