7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $14.99-$49.50.
A week after she appeared on the cover of People locked arm and arm, giggling, with Selena Gomez (“The Disney stars open up about family, fun and being BFFs”), Demi Lovato goes into the books as the first to headline at newly christened Verizon Arena. (The Alltel sign went down last week.) As the latest contender for Disney's tween queen, Dallas-raised Lovato has all the necessary bona fides: She acts, she sings and she loves Jesus. Last week, the debut of her “Princess Protection Program” movie recorded the third highest number of viewers for Disney Channel. It stars Lovato as a princess who, after a dictator grabs power, flees her country for rural Louisiana, where she teaches Selena Gomez to find her “inner princess.” That followed, by a little more than a week, the release of her latest single, an angst-y, surprisingly guitar-heavy pop blast called “Here We Go Again.” It's also the title of her sophomore album, due out July 21. Then there's “Sonny with a Chance,” the latest of Disney's meta wish-fulfillment TV shows. Here Lovato plays the star of a TV show. It's about “following your dream,” Disney has said. David Archuletta, the apple-cheeked runner-up of the seventh season of “American Idol,” opens with songs from his self-titled debut album. LM.
9 p.m., the Peabody. $5.
The Peabody's RiverTop Party switches it up again on Friday. Savoir Faire brings together what's become the necessary elements of any local sophisticated get-down: a fashion show, DJs and live music. The fashion show features clothes by local designer Missy Lipps and from local boutique Magpie and Birdie. The Cool Shoes crew — Deeter, Shawn Lee and Risky Biz — provide the soundtrack. DJ IKE (“I Kill Eternally”) mans the ones and twos, too. Suga City, the Stuttgart-and-Pine Bluff-bred rap duo of Arkansas Bo and Goines, should figure into any conversation about the finest rap talent in the state. Lately, they've hardly performed and not released any new material. Here's hoping this is the beginning of a productive period. Cameron Holifield, Cool Shoes' resident video collagist, beams bright, mostly abstract video, which he says will take a new direction this go round, for those who need a little visual distraction. Admission is free before 9 p.m. LM.
HELLZAPOPPPIN': A SIDESHOW REVIEW
8 p.m., Revolution, $10.
At Lollapalooza 1992 in brutal 103-degree Dallas heat, I first experienced, with sheer fascination, the Jim Rose Circus. The keenest recollection from this human freak show was Zamora the Torture King sliding a hypodermic needle through the entire width of his neck, including his vocal cords. People groaned, screamed, cried and projectile-yacked all over each other's bare legs and sandals. Then he drove a sword through his forearm. Beautifully gruesome. So thank God his latest venture, the human oddity sideshow known as Hellzapoppin', is indoors. This ain't the Broadway musical revue from 1938 or its movie adaptation three years later. Nooooo sir. Expect Angelica, the sexiest fire-breathing woman alive; Penguin Boy (no arms, just hands); Murrugun the Mystic, who's got a fondness for staple guns; contortionism; burlesque hotties; bullwhip demonstrations; sword-swallowing; nail beds and all else “The Greatest Show From Hell” can deliver. In music news, Memphis rowdies Jocephus and the George Jonestown Massacre and Androids for Ex-Lovers launch these Independence Day festivities. PP.
POPS ON THE RIVER
6:30 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre. Free.
Screw the lake. Tell me again the appeal of party barging amidst three jillion other party barges and jet skis and speed boats pulling hot dog shaped innertubes? For most of us, too, the lake involves driving and, according to Tom Vanderbilt's “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do,” the Fourth is, statistically, the most dangerous day to be on the road. Instead, stick close to the river, where the state's largest Fourth of July celebration turns 25. The festivities start well before dark with locals battling it out, “American Idol” style, in a patriotic sangin' contest (6:30 p.m.). Then the Happy Tymes Jazz Band, a Dixieland jazz act that's been active more than 25 years, takes the stage (7 p.m.). At 8:30 p.m., as the sun starts to go down, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra works through all your patriotic favorites. At 9:30 p.m., the fireworks start cracking. Some 30,000 showed up last year. Expect several hundred at Knoop Park in Hillcrest, too. Don't bring pets or coolers to the amphitheater. Do bring nonperishable donations for the Arkansas Rice Depot. Also, beer and food will be for sale. LM.
8 p.m., the Village. $20 adv., $25 d.o.s.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: When a name rapper who's been in the game for 20-odd years comes through, you're almost guaranteed to get a solid show. Certainly last time through, in 2006 at the now defunct Club Bada Bing, Scarface had all the swag and stage presence you'd hope for in the South's most widely respected rapper. The Houston MC, now 38 and pushing “Emeritus,” released late last year and billed (and not for the first time) as his last solo album, came into the spotlight in the late '80s, when he joined Houston's the Geto Boys. Over the course of five years and five albums, the four-man group, which also, memorably featured Jamaican dwarf dancer-turned-rapper Bushwick Bill, carved out a reputation as the hardest, most graphic gangsta rappers in the South, influencing those who followed from Houston to Memphis to Atlanta. Scarface's brooding, existential work in the Geto Boys was always the focal point, and in the solo career that's followed (and in two Geto Boys' reunions), he's positioned himself as a strong candidate for rap's greatest lyricist. LM.
8 p.m., the Afterthought. $10.
International jazz vibraphonist Warren Chiasson recalls hosting weekly jam sessions in the 1960s: “While playing a blazing fast tempo and being totally immersed, my mind became completely detached from my body and I was overhead looking down from another plane at my hands. Quite an experience.” Perhaps it was this particular evening his distinctive “four-mallet technique” was born. Named “one of the six top vibraphonists of the last half century” by the New York Times, this dude has collaborated with some of Coltrane's boys, Cuban phenom Tito Puente and legendary bassist Charlie Haden and had the honor of performing a “Meat Cleaver Concerto” for dignitaries at a Chinese New Year celebration. Commissioned to write a concerto with vibes, marimba and meat cleaver, his conductor used cues from the Chinese chef who hammered away with traditional Asian rhythms. The Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation players are sure to be eager to jam with this esteemed Nova Scotian. PP.
7 p.m., Robinson Center Performance Hall. $15-$39.
“Dora is to kids what the Rolling Stones are to parents — she's one of the biggest stars in the world,” says the vice president of the production company that's putting on the show. It's the kind of hyperbole that publicists push daily. Or, well, is it? While certainly incongruous, the analogy is pretty apt. And all the parents of toddlers nod their heads. Because, in a world not much wider than coloring books and Legos, where fiction and reality are fluid ideas, Dora reigns supreme. She's got a lot going for her. She's seven, but already a full-fledged adventurer. She's bilingual, and she's got a big crew that tags along with her in jungles, beaches and such. Like in the Nickelodeon TV show, in the stage production, Dora and co. run into a lot of obstacles and invite the audience to provide some instructive help. The stage show encores on Wednesday, with two shows, one at 10:30 a.m. and another at 7 p.m. LM.