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Twista comes to Envy on Thanksgiving

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THURSDAY 11/26

TWISTA

9 p.m. Envy (formerly Elevations).

Among other things, Chicago was the birthplace of house music, the city where DJs like Frankie Knuckles and Jesse Saunders took disco to its hypnotic, synthetic, alien extreme. Chicago rapper Twista grew up going to house clubs like The Factory and The Hole in the Wall — it's where he claims he got his hyperactive flow, trying to keep time with fast and stuttering dance music. Wherever it came from, it's distinctive: He used to hold the Guinness World Record for fast-rapping (he got up to 598 syllables in 55 seconds), maybe the goofiest hip-hop-related accomplishment ever. He's made his flow a crucial, purposeful part of his identity in a way that few other rappers have. It's in his name, "Twista," and his album titles, like "Runnin' Off at Da Mouth" and "Adrenaline Rush" (a great record). He's flirted with the Billboard charts over the years, though he's always been mostly a rapper's rapper; Chicago artists, especially, from Kanye to Chance the Rapper, have often tried to lift him up in tribute. Why is Twista performing in Little Rock on Thanksgiving night? I have no idea — it wouldn't be prudent to speculate. But it's a great opportunity for anyone looking to blow off his extended family. Or, I don't know, bring them along! Little Rock rap legend E-Dubb opens, at the brand new late-night club Envy, formerly known as Elevations. WS

THURSDAY 11/26-SUNDAY 12/13

'THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK CHRISTMAS MUSICAL'

7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Studio Theater. $20.

Armadillo Acres is north Florida's top-shelf "mobile-living community," a booze-soaked, sunny, Southern free-for-all for geriatrics and social misfits alike. Stucco-pink, swaying palms, Miller Lite, plastic patio furniture. This is the setting for Betsy Kelso and David Nehls' "The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical," which imagines a "freak bout of amnesia" striking the trailer park, and the farce that would result. It's the holiday production marking the 60th season of the Community Theater of Little Rock, which proudly considers itself "Central Arkansas's oldest and finest theater tradition." Admission is $18 for adults and $16 for military, students and seniors. They stress: "This show is not recommended for children under 13 years of age." WS

FRIDAY 11/27

DIKKI DU & THE ZYDECO KREWE

9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.

Dikki Du is the alter-ego of Troy Carrier, brother and former bandmate of Chubby, as in the great Grammy-winning Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band. The family is south Louisiana music royalty — Troy claims to have played music since he was 9 years old. His father owned a club in Lawtell, La., called the Offshore Lounge, where Troy spent his childhood playing washboard with aging zydeco veterans. (As far as I know, this is the correct and possibly the only way to learn zydeco.) The band's shows — as you can see for yourself on YouTube — are wild and celebratory and physical. Carrier is an accordion virtuoso, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Also, and this should maybe go without saying, if you're at all interested in seeing live zydeco in Little Rock, White Water is the ideal place to do it. WS

SATURDAY 11/28

VINO'S 25th ANNIVERSARY

8 p.m. Vino's.

They should put it on a stamp, or a plaque, or name a holiday after it: The corner of Seventh and Chester streets is a Little Rock landmark. In the mid-'80s it was Urbi et Orbi, a heady New Wave art gallery and performance space — the novelist Jack Butler wrote about it for the Arkansas Times and called it "Little Rock's little Soho." Then it was DMZ, the local punk scene's center of gravity. (There's a great Facebook group called "I lived at DMZ" that will give you a visceral sense of what it meant to people — it's a nostalgic gut punch whether you frequented the place or not.) For a period of time it was even a vaguely pretentious acid house club called Nemesis, with geometric shapes on the outside walls; its slogan then was, "Little Rock's only key to the future." But for 25 years it's been Vino's — perennial punk incubator and corruptor of the city's youth — and it's been a good run. If you missed the venue's storied '90s heyday, you can get a glimpse Saturday night at its 25th anniversary party, featuring comeback performances by Big Boss Line, Go Fast and Lollygadget, plus sets from Ebo and the Tomcats and Bonnie Montgomery. Also like the old days: Pizza slices and beer will be available for the throwback price of $1.50. WS

MONDAY 11/30

ARKANSAS JUSTICE FORUM

12 p.m. Clinton School of Public Service. Free.

This July, Bill Clinton did a fairly remarkable thing for a former president: He admitted he was wrong about a signature piece of policy, the 1994 omnibus "three strikes" crime bill that helped fuel the rise of mass incarceration in the U.S. "I signed a bill that made the problem worse and I want to admit it," Clinton told the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at the NAACP's annual meeting this summer. Then again, "the problem" — the U.S. constitutes 5 percent of the world's population but contains 25 percent of the world's prisoners — has grown too big to ignore, especially for a family that sees itself returning to the White House a little over a year from now. It's not surprising the NAACP and liberal stalwarts like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for American Progress want to put fewer people behind bars. The remarkable thing is that today they're joined by the tea party-affiliated FreedomWorks and by Koch Industries (yes, those Kochs). It also makes sense: Fiscal hawks see bloated prisons as one more example of government waste, and libertarians are suspicious of restrictions on civil liberties. Thus was born the Coalition for Public Safety, a new national initiative that binds together left and right in a push to reform criminal justice. That the coalition is sponsoring a one-hour panel discussion on the topic at Bill Clinton's own graduate school shows just how much the conventional wisdom has shifted since '94.

Panelists will include two state legislators at the forefront of prison reform efforts in Arkansas, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock) and Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock). They'll be joined by Kelly Eichler, general counsel for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Jerry Madden, a former Texas legislator. BH

TUESDAY 12/1

RYAN BINGHAM

8 p.m. Revolution. $20 adv., $25 day of.

Ryan Bingham grew up all over the state of Texas. He got into bullriding in his late teens and spent several years working the rodeo circuit. According to his (unusually morbid) Wikipedia page, "Ryan's mother drank herself to death and his father committed suicide." His voice has a thorny, gruff, rustic elegance to it — like he's talking down to you, but it's OK, because he's obviously had it much worse. Rolling Stone said Bingham "sings like Steve Earle's dad," which is significant mostly because he is 26 years younger than Steve Earle. It's on account of all of these things that he was recruited in 2009 to write songs for the movie "Crazy Heart," the one where Jeff Bridges played a grizzled honky-tonk legend. Bingham wrote its Golden Globe-winning theme song, "The Weary Kind." His new record is called "Fear and Saturday Night," and, according to Rolling Stone, he wrote most of it "alone in an airstream trailer, parked in the mountains of California without electricity or cell phones." WS

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