Entertainment » To-Do List

Ron Robinson hosts Sister Rosetta Tharpe tribute





7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5 (cash only).

This month's Arkansas Times Film Series screening is Otto Preminger's classic film noir "Laura," a 1944 murder mystery starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb. Dreamlike, debonair and deeply strange, the film has persisted in the public imagination as a glamorous Hollywood chamber piece that nevertheless has dark and weird, rough edges, a portrait of seduction and obsession that is itself seductive and obsessive. It's also funny and, of course, tragic. As Roger Ebert once put it, it achieves "a kind of perfection in its balance between low motives and high style."



9 p.m. Juanita's. $25.

Warren G is one of those crucial linking mechanisms in the evolution of pop, a figure whose significance is aesthetic, sure, but also practical, situational — things would be different now without him. He came up as one-third of a rap group you probably haven't heard of, 213, with two other people you probably have heard of, Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg (voice of a thousand rap hooks). At a bachelor party one night in 1991, Warren played their demo tape for a small crowd that included his step-brother, Dr. Dre. You see where I'm going with this. Having poached his brother's friends, Dre introduced G-Funk to the American public the following year with "The Chronic," and Warren followed him a couple of years later with his single "Regulate," which hit No. 2 on the Billboard charts. Spin Magazine wrote that year, "He's a romantic, in love with soft sound," and this is yet another aspect of his contribution to music: He was the type of person to whom it made irrefutable sense to build a West Coast rap anthem on a sample of Michael McDonalds' much-loathed "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)." His music is warm and stoned and slow and brilliant. As he once put it: Mount up.

FRIDAY 10/16


7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. Free.

Of all of Arkansas's musical exports, none is more culturally significant or ineffably cool than Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the daughter of itinerant cotton-pickers and evangelicals who clawed her way first to gospel stardom and, later, to secular legend as the godmother of rock 'n' roll. She played with Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, made fans out of Elvis, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, went from fame to obscurity more than once, and played for crowds all over the world up until the 1970s, when she died of a stroke and was buried in an unmarked grave. The list of black female guitarists who achieved popular, enduring success is short — grimly so, to a degree that puts Tharpe's remarkable achievements in sharp focus. Friday night, concert series Arkansas Sounds will present a tribute to Tharpe that includes a screening of the documentary "The Godmother of Rock and Roll," followed by a tribute concert.

FRIDAY 10/16


9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.

Because community radio is essential to the artistic life of a city, and because our music scene is disproportionately, embarrassingly male, there are more than enough good civic reasons to go to Girls That Rock, a music showcase and benefit for KABF-FM, 88.3, hosted by the radio show "Girls!" Another reason is that the music will be great. The lineup features Hot Springs' post-punk band Ghost Bones, winners of the 2015 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase; Little Rock's Spero, fronted by Correne Spero of Northern State, Lucky Bitch and Paperwork; and Bad Match, who will use the occasion to launch its new, five-song "Mad Batch" EP, coming soon from Max Recordings (and available now on iTunes and Bandcamp). It's a bracing record, full of wry, smart, achingly raw retro-rock, as you will see for yourself Friday night.



7:30 p.m. Walmart AMP. $32-$72.

Among other things, Jackson Browne has been an L.A. icon, Gregg Allman's roommate, a Greenwich Village fixture, a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (which he must have joined when he was about 14), a sideman for Tim Buckley and Nico and Glenn Frey, one of the most successful and era-defining songwriters of the '70s. He was the son of a journalist. He's an anti-nuclear activist. His longtime professional relationship with Warren Zevon has been described as "fractious." His songs have been featured in "Taxi Driver" and "Miami Vice," covered by everyone from The Byrds to Compton rapper Ab-Soul, parodied on "The Simpsons." He once sued John McCain. He dated Daryl Hannah. He's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His son was in "Hackers."



Noon. Hillcrest. Free.

Even for those of us who don't live in Hillcrest — who watch the neighborhood from a distance with a mixture of envy and suspicion — HarvestFest stands as one of the year's most fun and purely gratifying afternoons, a genuinely great neighborhood street festival of the sort I imagine larger cities take for granted. A handful of the Times' favorite bands will be there; The Uh Huhs (1:30 p.m.), Bombay Harambee (2:45 p.m.), That Arkansas Weather (3 p.m.), Marvin Berry (4 pm.), Frontier Circus (5:15 p.m.), Bad Match (6:45 p.m.), Mulehead (8:15 p.m.), and many more. In the morning, there will be a farmers market, a pancake breakfast and a bird walk, and the afternoon will be crowded with food trucks, local vendors and periodic trips to the conveniently located Hillcrest Liquor and Fine Wines.



9 p.m. Discovery Nightclub.

Years before Rae Sremmurd or Migos, the teenage Atlanta rap group to watch was Travis Porter, icons of the swag-surfing generation, who invigorated strip clubs and high school gyms alike. The trio made wild, weird, forward-thinking party rap, carrying the torch for Kriss Kross with anthems like "All the Way Turnt Up" and "Go Shorty Go" and "Bring It Back" and "Make It Rain," songs full of humor and bright vibes built on icy, stilted, impossibly danceable beats. They once accidentally inspired a (surprisingly destructive) riot in my hometown in Georgia, for no other reason than that they were awesome. Due to their confusing name (constantly mistaken for a single person) and industry entropy (they signed to Jive Records several years ago), the rappers of Travis Porter haven't become the mega-stars we may once have expected. But that's good news for Little Rock, because it means we get to see them.

MONDAY 10/19


8 p.m. Stickyz. $15.

Tav Falco was born on a farm in rural Arkansas and today lives in Vienna, where he writes books, directs films and records music with the cult art-rock band Panther Burns, a group he started in Memphis with Big Star's Alex Chilton in the late 1970s. Aside from being a sort of Southern post-punk Zelig — collaborating with The Cramps, legendary photographer William Eggleston, producer Jim Dickinson, appearing in the iconic no-wave film "Downtown 81," etc. — Falco is a vital and perceptive culture-historian of Arkansas and the surrounding regions. His new art film, "Urania Descending," inspired by German Expressionist cinema of the 1920s, is partly set in Arkansas, and his recent book, "Ghosts Behind the Sun: Splendor, Enigma & Death," is one of the most freeform and radical works of creative nonfiction about the area I've ever read. His music, too, inhabits old styles — rockabilly, country blues, punk — in wild and vividly original ways. "It's something apart from sheer revivalism," he told me in an interview published last week (read more at arktimes.com). "Some people say it's a deconstruction. And there is that gradient in what I do. But it's more a matter of living and breathing those earlier forms in today's world, and then expressing something."


Add a comment