FRIDAY 8/8-SATURDAY 8/9
SHAKESPEARE AT THE SHELTER
7:30 p.m. Our House Shelter. $20.
The playbill for this weekend's third annual performance of Shakespeare by residents and alumni of Our House includes bits from "Othello," "Julius Caesar," "Antony and Cleopatra," "The Comedy of Errors" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Proceeds will go toward purchasing new appliances and kitchenware for the shelter's kitchen, which serves about 77,000 meals to working homeless men, women and their children every year. A news release about the show notes that the program builds fellowship within the shelter: "The Shakespeare at the Shelter program began in response to residents' needs for community and productive projects during their down-time at the shelter, and Our House staff are aware of the therapeutic benefits of creative endeavors and community-building projects."
A beginner's Shakespeare workshop in June launched this year's program, which will lead up to the two public performances next weekend. Our House Grants Manager Joy Ritchey noted in an email the significance of the venue itself: "The same space where residents come in through intake, often with all of their worldly possessions in tow, often downtrodden, unemployed and afraid, is transformed into a space full of hope," she said. "We have a stage, a set, a curtain and professional lighting. An audience made up of curious community members, Our House supporters, board members, friends and family shows up to bear witness to the hard work, commitment and talent of a group of people who are very often overlooked completely." CG
8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $78-$99.50.
I remember noticing, at a certain age, how strange it was that my mom had so many James Taylor records. She had multiple copies of the same albums. Some still looked brand new, like she'd bought them just in case, as backups. Sometimes I'd find something I actually wanted, only to pull out the sleeve and find another James Taylor record inside. There was something almost pathological about it: Nobody needs more than one copy of "Sweet Baby James." I was so young. What I didn't realize then — and I see this now — was that James Taylor is a treasure. Dismissing his stuff as soft-rock or glossy folk is pure genre parochialism. Taylor spent the mid-'60s in a mental hospital and much of the next decade addicted to heroin ("It's really not so bad to be fading away," as he sang in 1974). The "authenticity" of a singer-songwriter is always a scam, but if anyone is authentic, James Taylor is. He's said that he writes "spirituals for agnostics," and that seems about right. Leonard Cohen was being ironic when he sang, on "Tower Of Song," "I was born like this, I had no choice/I was born with the gift of a golden voice." This is James Taylor's burden, though — his unhappiness always sounded beautiful. WS
STOOGES BRASS BAND
9:30 p.m. Stickyz. $8 adv., $10 day of.
If you've only heard of one contemporary New Orleans brass group, it's probably Rebirth Brass Band. Stooges Brass Band, on the other hand, is the group that, in 2010, turned its horns around and challenged Rebirth to a street fight mid-parade. That's not exactly an endorsement, but it gives you a sense of Stooges' headspace, I think. It's a competitive circuit, and these guys have distinguished themselves over the past several years as standouts in a city tough to stand out in, winning the prestigious Red Bull Street Kings showcase, working with Mannie Fresh, touring Pakistan. Their local classic "Why'd They Have To Kill Him?" was written after former trombonist Joe Williams was shot and killed by the NOPD on his way to a gig. Band leader Walter "Whoadie" Ramsey was there at the scene and, as reported in the newspaper the following day, asked the police, "Why?" WS
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Bonnie Montgomery, who you may recognize either as the composer of that Bill Clinton opera a few years ago (covered by The New Yorker) or as a beloved local country singer-songwriter (she's released two EPs, "Cruel" and "Joy," via Fast Weapons Records), released her full-length self-titled debut July 29. After a series of dates out west, she's coming home to the White Water Tavern for her official album release show, featuring opening act Fret and Worry (Joe Meazle and RJ Looney). If you haven't heard the album, seek it out — Montgomery is a gifted songwriter with good production instincts (every guitar sound seems distinct and distantly familiar, and the orchestration is admirably subtle for someone with a composition background). "But I Won't" is a honky-tonk dark comedy ("I could publicly ruin you, but I won't") and "Take Me Or Leave Me" is an Outlaw Country epic ("I don't want to grow old"). "Black County" seems like it should be a standard by now. Her persona is part Lucinda Williams and part Joan Crawford in "Johnny Guitar," jaded and haunted and unrepentantly cool. WS
POTLIKKER FILM FESTIVAL
6 p.m. The Hive, Bentonville.
Food, food films, foodies and fiddles: That's what the Potlikker Film Festival, an annual event of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi's Southern Foodways Alliance, is all about. For Arkansas's first Potlikker festival, the Foodways Alliance has asked 21c Museum Hotel chef Matt McClure, South on Main chef Matt Bell and Butcher and Public's Travis McConnell to pool their considerable talent to make a great local-food meal; foodstuffs will be supplied by Falling Sky Farm, Armstead Mountain Farm, Cedar Creek Farms and Rios Family Farms. Ozark Beer Co. and Mountain Valley Spring Water will quench thirsts. The two films on tap celebrate Southern cooking: Joe York's "Fish Ribs in Little Rock," about the Lassis Inn, and "Ovens Are for Pies," about McClard's Barbecue. (York's also made films about Southern characters: Arkansas Living Treasures Dallas Bump ["Bump"] and Violet Hensley ["74 Fiddles".) There will also be bluegrass provided by Foley's Van out of Fayetteville. The Southern Foodways Alliance has held Potlikker film fests across the South since 2007. The festival will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 21c Museum's restaurant and bar The Hive (200 N.E. A St., off the square). LNP
DOUBLE FEATURE: 'DEAR GOD NO!' AND 'PENTAGRAM'
9 p.m. Riverdale 10. $7.
"Dear God No!" is a grindhouse throwback about "cop-killing law-haters" and "white trash," focusing on a Georgia motorcycle gang billed as "the sickest sicko gang to ever terrorize a town." They call themselves the Impalers. Don't bring your kids. In true exploitation movie fashion, it'll screen as part of twisted double feature, followed by "Pentagram: When The Screams Come," a concert film highlighting the great Virginia metal pioneers Pentagram. The group was started in 1971 and — following a thousand incremental changes in lineup and a gradual aesthetic evolution that has mirrored the changing definition of the term "metal"— still exists, thanks to their late career rediscovery and to their inimitable wild-man singer Bobby Liebling (the only original member, technically), who stills favors gold lamé and huge hair. The only doom metal band to ever collaborate with Hank Williams III. WS