'THE NEW 22'
6:30 p.m., MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. Free.
Back in January, when the Arkansas Literary Festival slate of authors was announced, perhaps you scanned it and seized onto "The New 22," featuring hotshot novelists David Abrams ("Fobbit") and Ben Fountain ("Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk") and marked it as a "must-attend." Then you noticed in the small print that, strangely, the event wasn't scheduled until two months after the literary festival. Well, two months has come and gone. The event's still a must-attend. I haven't read "Fobbit," but it was one of the best-reviewed books of last year. It's set in a military base in Baghdad ("fobbit" is slang for a soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by hanging at the base). Abrams draws on his experience as an active-duty Army journalist. "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" is one of the best books I've read. Lots of other people agree. It won this year's National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award last year. It's about the surviving members of a group of Iraq War soldiers who've become minor celebrities after video of them in a firefight with insurgents goes viral. They've been sent home for a Victory Tour that culminates with an appearance at a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day. It's a darkly funny satire written with more style and insight than anything in recent memory. LM
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
The Body's been out on the road for a minute now, or, well more like several weeks to be accurate. The dudes also somehow made time to stop off at their buddies' studio Machines with Magnets to record three full-length albums, including one that's going to be released on the Thrill Jockey label, which is also home to Barn Owl, Guardian Alien, The Skull Defekts and many other totally badass artists, so good work guys! The Body's latest release, the EP "Master We Perish," is boss. I really dig how they go into some seriously Neurosis-esque territory for a sec on the last third of the nearly 10-minute closer "Worship." The whole thing is really killer though, and points to more great stuff to come. Oh yeah, for all of you The Body newbies, make sure to bring some earplugs. Openers Iron Tongue and Mothwind are gonna tenderize y'all. Should be a good'n. RB
OPERA IN THE OZARKS
7:30 p.m. Inspiration Point. $20-$25.
Opera lovers of Arkansas, one of your favorite seasons has rolled around once more: Opera in the Ozarks. Situated at the stunning Inspiration Point near Eureka Springs, Opera in the Ozarks is an annual intensive month-long training program for aspiring opera professionals that culminates with a month of performances of some of the most beloved works in the world. There are typically three different productions each season. For 2013, audiences can enjoy Gaetano Donizetti's "The Elixir of Love," one of the most-performed operas ever written; "Madama Butterfly," Puccini's tale of love and betrayal, and Gilbert and Sullivan's comic classic "The Pirates of Penzance." The season kicks off Friday with "Madama Butterfly" and continues this week with "The Pirates of Penzance" on Saturday and "Elixir of Love" on Tuesday. The season runs through July 19. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. at Inspiration Point, with one-time performances of each opera at Bentonville's Arend Arts Center on June 30, July 7 and July 14. RB
9:30 p.m. Juanita's. $25 adv., $30 day of.
It's just not every day that you get a real-deal living legend playing in town. I mean, even if the blues isn't your jam, you've got to admit that Johnny Winter is a badass. For my money, Winter eclipsed most of his guitar-god peers in some pretty important ways. Neither Jeff Beck nor Eric Clapton came close to capturing the raw sound and emotion that Winter conjured from his instrument. His playing was fluid and sophisticated ("Be Careful with a Fool"), but could also be real nasty when called for ("Silver Train," "Fast Life Rider"). Winter's latest album is "Roots," which finds the guitar slinger teaming up with a who's-who of current blues virtuosos, including Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Warren Haynes, as well as his brother Edgar Winter and a host of others. As you might surmise from the title, it's a collection of blues classics, with tracks by T-Bone Walker, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and others. Critic Steve Leggett wrote of the album: "He sings here as well as he ever has and his guitar playing is powerful and brilliant, like it always is, and he's diving into songs and material that he's always emulated — the end result is a coherently shaped, explosive, vibrant, and joyous set of Winter at his best doing what he loves the best." Sounds awesome. Don't miss this one folks. Opening the show will be Steve Hester & DejaVooDoo, Low Society and Joecephus & The George Jonestown Massacre. RB
9 p.m. Clear Channel Metroplex. $30-$100.
It's been a good couple weeks for local fans of Memphis hip-hop legends Three 6 Mafia. Longtime affiliate Project Pat was in town last week, and now comes Juicy J, who, along with fellow Three 6 founder DJ Paul, is arguably one of the most important figures in Southern rap. Oh yeah, he also won an Academy Award for "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp." That was crazy. Anyways, Juicy J notched another hit with last summer's "Bandz a Make Her Dance" (feat. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz and produced by Mike WiLL Made It) on Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang label. There's an album pending, "Stay Trippy," his third solo record. Its release date has moved around a bit, but it'll have tracks with Yelawolf, Young Jeezy and The Weeknd. Also on this bill, fellow Memphis rapper Young Dolph along with Lil Cam, Kronic and Beatking. RB
8 p.m. The Phoenix (formerly Rogue). $25 adv., $30 door.
To be honest, the more I think about this, the more I feel really conflicted about it. There might not be another band that was as important as Black Flag was in my own personal development as a very angry young man. "The First Four Years" and "Damaged" were just earth-shatteringly important records for me and no doubt for many thousands of other very angry young men as well. I still get ultra-pumped up hearing "Revenge" and "Thirsty and Miserable" and "Depression" even now, nearly two decades after I first heard them. I missed Black Flag in the band's heyday. Being anywhere from 1-8 years old at the time, I was not exactly ready to tear it up in ye olde moshe pitte. As such, I always had to endure these stories from the older punkers in Fayetteville about how they'd seen the band "back in '86 maaan." (In retrospect, at least a couple of these people were way too young to have gone to the show and were just lying). So the idea of Black Flag touring in 2013 and playing in Fayetteville is beyond weird. And when you consider the fact that another iteration of the band — called simply Flag — is also touring, well, it gets ... I don't know, it's just weird. Henry Rollins, in what I believe to be a wise and classy move, is staying out of all of this reunion business. In a 2011 interview, he told Nardwuar that "since Gregg Ginn has never paid any member of Black Flag a royalty, or given any member of Black Flag even a royalty statement, I think there's probably quite a bit of animosity between himself and some of the band members. There are some of these people who are owed money. If anything, they're at least owed an accounting. I mean that's just good principle." He's right. And maybe that's one reason why I'm unable to get excited about Black Flag in 2013. Ginn gets to cash in and call Flag "the 'fake' Flag band currently covering the songs of Black Flag in an embarrassingly weak 'mailing it in' fashion," all the while those guys and Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth and other bands that released albums on his SST Records are still owed money. Or at least an accounting. Ginn's other band, Good For You, opens. RB
BOW WOW WOW, GENE LOVES JEZEBEL
8 p.m. Juanita's. $15 adv., $20 day of.
Everybody knows Bow Wow Wow's cover of the '60s garage rock nugget "I Want Candy," and rightfully so; it's a perfect slice of punky early '80s pop. But the band was much more than a one-hit wonder. There's "C30, C60, C90, Go," the ode to the beloved blank cassette ("Now I don't need no album rack / I carry my collection over my back") and "Do You Wanna Hold Me?" (Answer: Yes, Annabella Lwin, yes we do). And then you've got Gene Loves Jezebel, the undisputed masters of goth-lite guitar rock ("Desire" and "Jealous" were hits). For rockers of a certain vintage, this bill will be a ticket straight back to mascara-streaked early '80s pop heaven. The Big Dam Horns open the show. RB