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The Arkansas State Fair kicks off

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LIGHTS AND LIVESTOCK: The Arkansas State Fair kicks off Thursday evening. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • LIGHTS AND LIVESTOCK: The Arkansas State Fair kicks off Thursday evening.
BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson

THURSDAY 10/11-SUNDAY 10/21

ARKANSAS STATE FAIR

4 p.m. Thu., 11 a.m. daily through Oct. 21. Arkansas State Fairgrounds. $5-$10 admission, $10 parking, $30 ride armband.

For 11 days, a sleepy field just south of Roosevelt Road and north of Fourche Creek will glow with neon and noise. Tiny particles of fryer oil will mingle with the fine dust from the livestock barns. Lines will form outside funhouses with giant claptrap facades; last year's offerings included a multilevel course called "Traffic Jam," themed around classic cars, and another read as a sort of kiddy-appropriate Bavarian beer hall called "Cuckoo Haus," decked out with googly-eyed clocks and accordion music. The Little Miss Rodeo Pageant will pit bow against boot heel, and families will pause momentarily to watch a few moments of bovine-centric illusionist The Moogician. Local FFA chapters will staff the Swine Barn's folding chairs in shifts while pink piglets mosey around, ankle-deep in fragrant pine shavings. Hair metal ambassadors Ratt will peel out vintage hits that seem predestined for performance in proximity to a Tilt-A-Whirl: "Round and Round" and "Nobody Rides for Free." It's a confluence of demographics, a people-watcher's fantasy and your best chance at consuming anything called a Koolickle. General admission to the nightly concerts is included with your ticket, and the lineup is as follows: Charlie Daniels Band, 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12; P.O.D. 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13; Ginuwine, 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14; the fair's Big Talent Show, 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15; Joe Nichols, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16; Ratt, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17; Stokley, 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18; Pop Evil, 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19; Mark Chesnutt and Redhead, 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20; and Twista, 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21. Pro tip: If you're headed to the fair on the weekend, you can dodge the $10 parking fee and catch the free shuttle that runs 6-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 1-11 p.m. Sunday from the designated state government parking lots west of the state Supreme Court building in the Arkansas State Capitol Complex at 625 Marshall St. You'll be dropped off and picked up at the fair's south gate. SS

Sigourney Weaver in "Aliens"
  • Sigourney Weaver in "Aliens"

THURSDAY 10/11

'ALIENS'

6:30 p.m. Crush Wine Bar. Free.

Crush Wine Bar, at 318 N. Main St. in North Little Rock's Argenta Arts District, closes its Classic Films on the Patio series with "Aliens," the 1986 sequel to the 1979 sci-fi horror classic "Alien" starring Sigourney Weaver as iconic badass Officer Ellen Ripley. The special edition version of the film to be screened Thursday night is 17 minutes longer than the original theatrical release, with even more opportunities to be thoroughly spooked by deadly extraterrestrials. "Aliens" picks up where the first installment ended, with Ripley waking after 57 years of hypersleep. Armed with bigger, better guns, and faced with even more aliens, Ripley and a crew of colonial marines head to a deserted space colony and duke it out in this 154-minute gem of the "Alien" franchise. RH

The Studio Theatre's "Evil Dead: The Musical"
  • The Studio Theatre's "Evil Dead: The Musical"

THURSDAY 10/11-SUNDAY 10/28

'EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL'

7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sun. through Oct. 28. The Studio Theatre. $25-$30.

Opportunities to purchase a ticket in the Splash Zone of a performance can be few and far between. But with "Evil Dead: The Musical," opening at The Studio Theatre on Thursday, you'll get to do just that. A comedic take on Sam Raimi's 1980s horror franchise, the musical follows five college students and their disastrous, deadly, bloody weekend at a cabin in — where else? — the woods. Punctuated with un-dead song-and-dance numbers and performed by characters and demons alike, this musical homage to the cult classic trio "The Evil Dead," "Evil Dead 2" and "Army of Darkness" takes elements from all three movies to teach audiences the perils of accidentally unleashing an ancient evil. Ash and his chainsaw will be present, bloody and singing. Splash Zone tickets for the first two rows are $30 and include rain gear. General admission tickets are $25, and student/senior tickets are $20. RH

2017 "Out Loud" storytellers - THE YARN
  • The Yarn
  • 2017 "Out Loud" storytellers

THURSDAY 10/11

OUT LOUD: TRUE STORIES ABOUT COMING OUT

8 p.m. South on Main. $10-$25.

"Every draft of my story was different because the more I told it, the more I unearthed." That's what storyteller Denise Donnell says in a press release about her time on stage at last year's "Out Loud," an evening of true tales from members of the Central Arkansas LGBTQ community held in conjunction with National Coming Out Day. "Finally," Donnell continued, "on that stage, the story I told was the most different of all. It had to be the energy in the room. [It was an experience that] led me to become an advocate for LGBTQ people in faith spaces." That performance was also an expression of a credo from a then-new organization in town, The Yarn, which since its 2017 inception has connected audiences and speakers in intimate listening environments to make good on its professed mission to "amplify voices, break down barriers, and build human connection." A note on that barrier-breaking: It's awfully difficult to harbor any ill will for someone who's just stood vulnerably on a stage and offered a piece of their heart to you in hand, as The Yarn's storytellers so often do. Maybe that's why events like this one are such a welcome antidote to the national story right now. SS

EARLY AMERICAN LIFE, IN TECHNICOLOR: This glazed porcelain tureen is part of "History in Color: The Spectrum of Daily Life in Early America," opening Friday at the Historic Arkansas Museum. - HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM
  • Historic Arkansas Museum
  • EARLY AMERICAN LIFE, IN TECHNICOLOR: This glazed porcelain tureen is part of "History in Color: The Spectrum of Daily Life in Early America," opening Friday at the Historic Arkansas Museum.

FRIDAY 10/12

2ND FRIDAY ART NIGHT

5-8 p.m. Downtown galleries. Free.

The Historic Arkansas Museum is offering visitors a new way to time travel to the 18th and 19th centuries with its exhibition "History in Color: The Spectrum of Daily Life in Early America," which opens Friday. Much as old wallpapers and house styles tell us something today about bygone aesthetic values, so do the hues of pottery, textiles and paint reveal antebellum taste as well as the impact of technological innovations in dyes and pigments. The 2nd Friday reception will feature music by Rena Wren and Arkansas craft beer; also see at HAM the mini-exhibit "Ghost Mothers," 19th century photo-portraits that betray the tricks used by mothers to keep their children still, such as disembodied hands. The Galleries at Library Square venue, aka the Butler Center Galleries, is exhibiting photographs of Arkansas blues musicians by Louis Guida and Cheryl Cohen, paintings by the Brewer art dynasty and portraits from the Japanese-American internment camp at Rohwer; Karen and Chris provide the music. Across the square at the bookstore find "Two Ships," works by Meikel Church and Amy Edgington. If you are up for some rural space music on electrified dulcimer (and who isn't?), head to the Old State House Museum to hear Louisiana's Twang Darkly and catch the timely exhibition "Our Fair Ladies: Arkansas State Fair Gowns and Rodeo Attire." Also celebrating the after-hours downtown event: the Arkansas Arts Center Arkansas Repertory Theatre, which will screen a film on sexual assault, "The Tale," at 7 p.m.; the Marriott Little Rock with The Art Group; Gallery 221; the photography studio Mariposa; jewelry store Bella Vita; and Matt McLeod Fine Art, which is showing woodworking. LNP

George Takei's "Allegiance"
  • George Takei's "Allegiance"

FRIDAY 10/12

'ALLEGIANCE'

7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. Free; reservations required.

Your favorite Trump-era resistance hero's life story is at the center of a 2012 musical, and though it may be set in California and Wyoming, it has echoes of Arkansas. George Takei, perhaps known now as much for his political activism as he is for his role as Star Trek's Hikaru Sulu, stars in "Allegiance," the musical inspired by Takei's years in a government-run internment camp in Rohwer in Southeast Arkansas. It's Takei's Broadway debut — which he made at age 78 — and it's been edited into a film, which is what you'll see at the Central Arkansas Library System's Ron Robinson Theater on Friday night. Broadway actors Telly Leung ("Godspell," "Glee") and Lea Salonga ("Miss Saigon," "Mulan") star alongside Takei in the musical that Takei said "can act as a powerful reminder for audiences across America," helping them to "experience and feel first-person the devastating impact that the internment had on families like mine, who lost everything for no crime but that of looking like the enemy who had attacked us." Admission is free, but you'll need to register to attend, which you can do at cals.org/event/allegiance. SS

Deadbird - ADAM PETERSON
  • Adam Peterson
  • Deadbird

FRIDAY 10/12

DEADBIRD, TERMINAL NATION, TRANQUILO

8:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.

There's an online ad in circulation for this weekend's touring Broadway production of "Jersey Boys" that shouts "The Boys Are Back!", alerting Central Arkansans to a stage-adapted Frankie Valli et al. story at Robinson Performance Hall. For Little Rock metal lovers, though, those four words could just as easily apply to beloved "slow and heavy" purveyors Deadbird. Made up of former members of Rwake and other Central Arkansas metal machines, Deadbird's latest, "III: The Forest Within the Tree," comes after a decade without a new album from the band, so it's something fans have been pining for. "III" is packaged in artwork that looks like the artist who did Ozric Tentacles' "Erpland" got a commission to reimagine a scene from "Stranger Things," and the record's foremost prerelease, "Luciferous Heart," is a sunless seven-minute symphony that manages to work in muscular drum assaults, an introspective reprieve, twin guitars in thirds and a final section that sounds like it required a vocal assist from The Babadook's whole family tree. For fans of Neurosis, Rwake (duh) and, evidently, this effusive Bandcamp customer who gave it the best album review I've encountered all year, "This new release is like finding your dead pet alive and/well/i'm just tickled." Deadbird is joined by Tranquilo and by Terminal Nation, a hardcore outfit that's putting out some of the most politically relevant punk rock in the state, a la 2017's "Violator/Violated": "Bring you from the dark into the light, I hope you will put up a fight/She's not your property you macho piece of trash/This time around you won't get far/I hope your letterman jacket's made of fucking Kevlar." SS

TEN TRACKS TO WEAR OUT YOUR DANCING SHOES: The Rios celebrate the release of the band's 10-track, self titled-debut album this Saturday night at Kings Live Music in Conway. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • TEN TRACKS TO WEAR OUT YOUR DANCING SHOES: The Rios celebrate the release of the band's 10-track, self titled-debut album this Saturday night at Kings Live Music in Conway.

SATURDAY 10/13

THE RIOS, COUCH JACKETS

8:30 p.m. Kings Live Music, Conway. $5.

Thank the gods of the dance floor: The Rios are coming out with an album. Maybe this means I get to have some song in my head that's not "Smoke and Mirrors?" Even if it doesn't, I'm pretty OK with that; getting ditched never sounded so delicious: "Turns out that you had other plans for the night/Said you were just goin' out/And then I saw his old shitty headlights." If you've not had the pleasure yet, The Rios lay down sugary soul somewhere along the Chi-Lites/The Emotions spectrum. Their vocal lines are from the effortlessly charismatic frontman Hayden Harrington, who Prince and Johnnie Taylor are surely smiling down on from the afterworld, bolstered by a beast of a bass player who, in the words of one of our 2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase judges, "fills all the holes with magic." They're joined by Couch Jackets, fellow Showcase finalists and masterminds of thinky, enigmatic rock songs with multiple movements, electric cello and cited headsprings like Shooby Taylor, Bach and Mild High Club. If you missed Couch Jackets' Audiotree session from July, it's required research. Statistical probability this Conway show won't be tons o' fun: zero. SS

Fresh Fish Season Finale, June 2018 - CLUB SWAY
  • Club Sway
  • Fresh Fish Season Finale, June 2018

SATURDAY 10/13

FRESH FISH SEASON 4 PREMIERE

9 p.m. Club Sway.

Floating in the saltwater crevices of the Google results for "Fresh Fish Sway," just beyond the mountain of pop science articles on reasons to avoid eating questionable swai, are a handful of videos for Club Sway's "RuPaul's Drag Race"-style drag competition, "Fresh Fish." Check out Episode Four from February: Shade is thrown, beards are shaved, ponytails are swished and piscine puns are trotted out. (The few seconds of film featuring Hairy Kate Olsen at the 1:38-1:41 minute marks will suffice as a toe into the competition's campy waters.) The series, inaugurated in 2014, features a cast of queens every second Saturday of the month, who perform for a panel of judges: Sway Nightclub owner Jason Wiest, drag artist Eartha Quake and a rotating group of guests. The winner this Saturday and in subsequent faceoffs will advance to the Winter Semi-Finals, with a chance for audiences to return a (nonwinning) favorite back into the competition by way of a vote. Competing this month are Aria Rye, Bu$ted and Aurora Hiltrude. Lola Colucci serves as guest judge. SS

STOKED ON STOKER: Ballet Arkansas Executive Director Michael Fothergill choreographed the upcoming full-length production of "Dracula," which opens the company's 40th anniversary season. - CRANFORD & CO.
  • Cranford & Co.
  • STOKED ON STOKER: Ballet Arkansas Executive Director Michael Fothergill choreographed the upcoming full-length production of "Dracula," which opens the company's 40th anniversary season.

SUNDAY 10/14, FRIDAY 10/19-SUNDAY 10/21

BALLET ARKANSAS'S 'DRACULA'

7:30 p.m. Sun. Reynolds Performance Hall, Conway, $32-$40; 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Pulaski Technical College, Center for the Humanities and Arts, $15-$35.

The state's professional ballet company is kicking off its 40th year at the barre with a world premiere of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," a five-performance staging with 360-degree surround sound; choreography by Michael Fothergill, Ballet Arkansas's executive and artistic director; and visual projections by Cranford & Co. "Outside of our beloved annual production of 'The Nutcracker,' " Associate Artistic Director Catherine Fothergill says in a press release, "it has been several years since Ballet Arkansas has presented a full-length ballet, which makes 'Dracula' the perfect start for our milestone season." The ballet runs around 75 minutes, including intermission, and costumes are encouraged at the Saturday evening performance at Pulaski Tech's CHARTS. See balletarkansas.org for tickets and details. SS

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