2 p.m., Statehouse Convention Center and River Market Pavilion. $20-$40.
If you have or aspire to have multiple tattoos or piercings, most likely you've had the second annual Arkansas Inksplosion! on your radar for a minute now — if not, gawkers welcome. For three days, tattoo artists from across the country will gather to tattoo people, compete for best tattoo and give tattoo seminars. Musicians will perform in the late afternoon and evening. Eve 6, the L.A.-based pop-punk trio, headlines on Friday. On Saturday, Michale Graves, who gained fame as the lead singer of the second incarnation of the Misfits, continues to wear face paint and sing about the macabre. Green Jelly has admitted to “disguise their lack of ability with stupid props.” Still, after 15 years, the band's metal and visual weirdness has kept a cult flame burning. They also perform on Saturday night. On Sunday, Machina, the latest project from former Evanescence guitarist John Le Compt, plays just before popular post-grunge act Theory of a Deadman. Also on the weekend's bill: More thematically in-line performers like Enigma, a completely jigsaw-betatted sideshow performer with horn nubs and altered ears, and the SR3K Suspension Team, a group of masochists who allow themselves to be suspended in the air, with hooks through their skin. Oww.
8 p.m., Revolution. $12-$18.
Yes, OK, Marky Ramone was not the Ramones' original drummer, but it wasn't like he was at home ironing his hair, obsessively listening to “Leave Home” and waiting for the day. He was busy drumming for kickass first generation punk band Richard Hell and the Voidoids. When Tommy Ramone (RIP) got tired of touring, the remaining Ramones (RIP) asked Marky to come on board. Maybe he missed the band's fertile period, but he got to play on “Road to Ruin” and “End of the Century.” He appeared in “Rock 'n' Roll High School.” And even though he was replaced, briefly, by Richie Ramone (later replaced by Elvis Ramone), Marky was the longest-tenured Ramones drummer by more than a dozen years. Now the most prominent living connection to the first and arguably greatest punk band comes to Revolution, not with a band, but to DJ. Ramone hosts a show on Sirius called “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg,” so that's probably what you should expect. Two of Little Rock's best and most unpredictable DJs open. Ettiem usually mixes old and new school and Bryan, who for years owned the record store Anthro-Pop, can never be pinned down.
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $10-$14.
The critically lauded and award-winning one-woman drama “Golda's Balcony” tells of the life and times of one of the 20th century's towering figures: Golda Meir, the 75-year-old Russian-born, Milwaukee-raised prime minister of Israel. The action swirls around the Yom Kippur War, the nearly month-long conflict in October 1973 between Israel and a coalition of Arab states lead by Egypt and Syria. During the war, Meir very nearly initiated a nuclear holocaust. Bombs were loaded on planes awaiting her signal to take off when Kissinger and Nixon placated Israel with additional aircraft to defend itself. There's obviously a lot of drama implicit in that history, but William Gibson's play (he also wrote “The Miracle Worker”) doesn't linger too long on the war. Instead, it flashes back to other, earlier significant moments in Meir's life — her journey from Russia to Milwaukee; her development into a socialist Zionist; her immigration to Palestine; the breakup of her marriage; her rise to power in Israel. Samantha Porter stars and artistic director Ralph Hyman helms the production. Unlike most Weekend Theater performances, the show runs only through Saturday.
‘STARS & STRIPES & POPS!'
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $16-$66.
Pull out your stars and stripes tie. Don the Uncle Sam top hat. Summon that patriotic spirit. As part of its regular Pops! series, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents what it's calling a “red, white and blue salute to America.” Gen. Wesley Clark hosts the evening and will narrate Aaron Copland's “Lincoln Portrait,” an orchestral work with lots of brass in climactic moments and excerpts of speeches and writings by Lincoln, including the Gettysburg Address. Additionally, the ASO will present a patriotic selection of folk songs, marches and melodies — “America the Beautiful,” “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and more. Clark and the ASO reprise the show at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 15.
8 p.m., the Village. $5.
There's nothing we love more here at the Arkansas Times than local concerts with diverse and full line-ups of local music. Put it all towards a good cause and that's icing. On Saturday, the Sierra Club presents “Energy Shift,” a night of music and activism focused on their campaign to stop dirty coal-fired plants from being built in Arkansas. In the lobby, show-goers will have the opportunity to sign petitions, film video postcards for the governor and more. But here's probably the real draw: Eight acts will perform, including two Times Showcase finalists, rap/R&B duo Epiphany with Gina Gee and post-punks Kyoto Boom, and two Showcase semi-finalists, rapper Rockst*r and the pop-rock outfit the Reds. Plus: R&B crooner Sean West, blue-eyed soul and synth man Browningham (who's performing a new set), pop-rockers Big Boots and Goines, a Pine Bluff MC who seems to channel every slight and ill inflicted on him into sharp and seductive raps.
7 p.m., Alltel Arena. $26.75-$31.75.
Years ago, in my youth, I attended the “Christian rock Woodstock” in rural Kentucky. All I remember is hearing a Christian rap group goad the crowd with “Go Jesus! Go Jesus! Go!” and seeing the Newsboys' drummer play upside down as he and his rig were rotated in a wheel-like contraption. He never missed a beat. Along with seeing one of the New Kids spin on his head for 30 seconds at Barton, it was the best stage-show stunt I've ever seen. On Saturday, an older, slicker and more popular version of the Newsboys comes to Alltel. Last year, the group released “Go,” a polished album filled with nods to Euro-dance sounds and synth pop and subtle, but pointed lyrics of evangelism. Popular new Christian rockers Rush of Fools open along with newworldson and Article One.
7 p.m., Revolution. $10.
In these days of bio-fueled tour buses and “Live Earth,” where environmental consciousness is as necessary a part of the make-up of any self-respecting rock star as tight jeans or a fancy haircut, no one can claim environmental cred like Minneapolis' Cloud Cult. When he's not leading Cloud Cult, Craig Minowa works as an environmental activist and an eco-consultant to different groups in the music industry. In the early part of the decade, Minowa formed Earthology Records, a label on which the band's released five albums, each made entirely out of recycled material. Additionally, the band has planted nearly a thousand trees in an effort to offset its carbon footprint from touring and manufacturing. And they play music (!) — a sprawling, often experimental brand of indie-pop that's won them legions of fans and critical acclaim in the decade they've been performing. If ever the music grows dull, Cloud Cult travels with two painters, Minowa's wife, Connie, and Scott West, who create original works during concerts. Cloud Cult comes to Revolution just a few weeks before they release “Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying through Tornadoes).”
‘KANYE WEST WAS A NEUROSCIENTIST'
6 p.m., Sturgis Hall, Clinton School of Public Service. Free.
Pop culture mixed with intellectualism likely beyond my grasp? Clinton School, you know the way to my heart. On Tuesday, Jonah Lehrer, a 26-year-old Rhodes Scholar and at-large editor for frequently awesome Seed magazine, comes to the Clinton School to talk about the premise of his book, “Proust Was a Neuroscientist.” At the heart of his argument: the idea that art often presages scientific discovery. Proust and his madeleines revealed the inaccuracy of memory. Post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne demonstrated that the brain fills in what a painting doesn't show. West is someone Lehrer has been mentioning recently in interviews, suggesting that maybe his next book will share the name of this lecture. Lehrer says West makes “use of the same musical principles as Beethoven, the same idea of building toward a pattern but then denying the listener that pattern by injecting randomness, because that unexpectedness is what your auditory cortex really craves.” I'm so there.