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Young Gods of America come to Revolution

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SEASON FINALE: Goon des Garcons (Brandon Burris) hosts the final show in his Fireroom series at the Rev Room Thursday, featuring Young Gods of America, Tan the Terrible, Hector $lash, Solo Jaxon and more, Dec. 22, 8 p.m., $10.
  • SEASON FINALE: Goon des Garcons (Brandon Burris) hosts the final show in his Fireroom series at the Rev Room Thursday, featuring Young Gods of America, Tan the Terrible, Hector $lash, Solo Jaxon and more, Dec. 22, 8 p.m., $10.

THURSDAY 12/22

YOUNG GODS OF AMERICA
8 p.m. Rev Room. $10.

The last time I saw Young Gods of America, the rap collective's performance began well before their set started. Swift and wordless, they stacked tables and chairs to clear room in front of the stage, letting everyone know that something was about to happen. Then, despite having zero musical instruments on stage, they occupied every square foot of the space they'd cleared, merging Yuni Wa and Fresco Grey's crisp, spacey production with a punk rock sensibility and sending a small but devout group of fans into a tiny frenzy. #Squadgoals. Even more impressive was the fact that the backup choir shouting along with the words reached critical mass at all, considering that a good deal of YGOA's fans were absent that night, since it wasn't an all-ages show. Goon des Garcon (Brandon Burris) created the Fireroom series, of which this is the final show for the year, as a way to showcase artists in and around the group's collaborative circles. "I loved hosting and organizing all the Fireroom Studios shows of 2016," Burris told us. "We started the live shows ourselves from the ground up with the help of a couple downtown venues and really built a space for the youth of Arkansas to come and see cool things going on in their city and get to interact with kids like them that are trying to change the climate and culture of what is 'Arkansas.' " If that sounds like something straight from the mouths of an early Towncraft-era pioneer, there's a reason for that. Like that early DIY scene in '90s Little Rock, Burris' work owns its bravado and angst, celebrating the fact that a bunch of self-taught kids from Little Rock have created a sound — maybe even a movement — equipped with little more than their own raw creativity and a lot of time on their hands, something Burris hints at in the acronym "L.A.W.W.D." ("Look at What We Did"): "All my life I wanted things I couldn't have, ass I couldn't grab. ... Appreciate what you have 'cause it could all go up so fast." This show features Tan the Terrible, Hector $lash, Solo Jaxon, Lo Thraxx, Pearl Gang, MVK LXUI$, Lil Kiri, Tsukiyomi & Youth, Pega$us, Chizzy Danko, Dez Frio & C-Wil and Keshawn & XP. SS

RETURN OF THE PRINCES: American Princes reunite for a couple of rare shows Thursday, Dec. 22 at Lost Forty Brewing, 7 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 23 at White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m.
  • RETURN OF THE PRINCES: American Princes reunite for a couple of rare shows Thursday, Dec. 22 at Lost Forty Brewing, 7 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 23 at White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m.

THURSDAY 12/22

AMERICAN PRINCES
7 p.m. Lost Forty Brewing. $5 suggested donation.

The last time American Princes played was two years ago (and only once in five years before that). As Arkansas Times editor Lindsey Millar wrote in 2014, " 'Holyshitholyshitholyshit!' is a representative sample" of the reception to the news that American Princes will be putting aside things like children and careers in law to play a rock 'n' roll concert. "One fan, in sharing details of the event on Facebook, expressed reluctance to spread the word since it would make it harder for him to get into the show," Millar reported. That fan was right, as it turned out, as a lot of folks were turned away at the door. Guitarist David Slade later expressed some misgivings about that in a 2015 interview with the Times. "On the one hand, that's awesome: I love you, Little Rock, and I'm so grateful for your support. On the other hand: I apologize tremendously to anyone who wanted to see the show but couldn't. It was our mistake, and we'll fix it, moving forward. We just didn't anticipate the goodness." The band germinated in Brooklyn and toured extensively for much-lauded albums on Max Recordings and Yep Roc Records, eventually dissolving after the loss of bassist Luke Hunsicker to brain cancer, whose death Magnet Magazine's Matthew Fritch noted with the following recollection: "I cannot recall interviewing a band with a more natural sense of friendship and joy than American Princes. It's as if they arrived from Little Rock, Ark., as an idealized version of a touring rock band, with no expectations of the road other than van trouble, convenience-store food, stale beer and 45 minutes each night of playing music with friends in front of strangers." None of those trappings are likely at this Princes show, though, which commemorates the second anniversary of Lost 40 Brewing, co-owned by early-era Princes bassist John Beachboard. (If you miss them there, catch them Friday night, Dec. 23, at the White Water Tavern, which Slade said "has always been our home. ... White Water is a part of us, and vice versa." And there's a mural memorializing St. Luke Hunsicker on the wall to prove it. 9:30 p.m., $10, tickets at last Chance Records.) SS

THURSDAY 12/22

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS VS. SAM HOUSTON STATE BEARKATS
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $25.

Hope abounds in Razorbackland for the prospects of the Arkansas basketball team as it finishes its instate nonconference schedule with its annual holiday trip to North Little Rock. Of course, Razorback fans know too well where early-season hope usually gets them, so maybe cautious optimism is more in order. In any case, before Tuesday's home game against North Dakota State, which happened after we went to press and which surely the Hogs won, the team had won nine of its first 10 games for only the second time since it joined the SEC. The team is led by the preseason conference player of the year, 6-foot-10-inch-tall senior Moses Kingsley, who's had an OK start to the season, but is due to erupt, and perhaps the most stable backcourt trio, in Dusty Hannahs, Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford, the Hogs have had in recent memory. As Macon (Parkview) and Hannahs (Pulaski Academy) are both Little Rock products, look for them to be eager to show out for the home crowd. LM

MATRUSHKA MAGIC: Vaganova Academy graduates Andrey Batalov and Tatiana Nazarkhevich star in Moscow Ballet's "Great Russian Nutcracker" at Robinson Center Thursday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m.  $28-$68.
  • MATRUSHKA MAGIC: Vaganova Academy graduates Andrey Batalov and Tatiana Nazarkhevich star in Moscow Ballet's "Great Russian Nutcracker" at Robinson Center Thursday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m. $28-$68.

THURSDAY 12/22

GREAT RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER
7 p.m. Robinson Center. $28-$68.

Tchaikovsky/Petipa/Ivanov's "The Nutcracker" might just be the last bastion of public adoration in the otherwise gravely imperiled world of ballet. It's the answer that would rank tops on "Family Feud" if the host turned to a participant and asked her to name a ballet. Despite the ballet's being a household name now, it was something of a flop when it premiered as part of a double bill with the debut of Tchaikovsky's opera "Iolanta." Tchaikovsky was recruited for the composition after the tremendous success of his previous collaboration with choreographer Marius Petipa for "The Sleeping Beauty," a task to which he eventually warmed. In fact, he ended up being so proud of the music for "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (or, as most of us know it, the "Music-1" setting on the NES version of Tetris) that he wanted it to be performed in public as quickly as possible so nobody would steal his idea to use the distinctive celesta, a sort of metallophonic miniature piano that's come to be associated with the sound of a music box. The Moscow Ballet's performance is one in a string of dates that will no doubt polish the lavish production to an even brighter shine, featuring principal dancer and balletmaster Andrei Batalov and principal ballerina Tatiana Nazarkhevich. And, if the guy who did the art direction for "The Royal Tenenbaums" designs your set, you're probably bound for beauty. Carl Sprague, whose film design credits include "Twelve Years a Slave" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," created the backdrops of Moscow's St. Basil's Cathedral and, as the company states on its website, a "Magical Snow Forest with sparkling snowflakes that melt away in Act II to reveal Moscow Ballet's signature 'Land of Peace and Harmony.' " SS

MONDAY-SUNDAY 12/23-1/1

KWANZAA
Various venues, times.

The seven-day pan-African holiday of Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community and culture, marks its 50th anniversary this year. Kwanzaa, which has its roots in ancient African traditions, was founded in the United States by Dr. Maulana Karengo. The California State University professor saw the holiday as way to bring dignity to and revitalize African-American traditional culture. Little Rock's Kwanzaa events begin with the celebration of Umoja (unity in Swahili) at noon Monday at Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing at 1001 Wright Ave.; and continue with the celebrations of Kujichgulia (self-determination) at noon Tuesday at the West Central Community Center, 4521 John Barrow Road; Ujima (collective work and responsibility) at noon Wednesday at the Better Community Development Inc. office, 3604 W. 12th St.; Ujamaa (cooperative economics) at noon Thursday at Harambee Market, 2104 N. Main St., NLR; Nia (purpose) at noon Friday at the Josephine Pankey Center, 13700 Cantrell Road; Kuumba (creativity) at noon Saturday at the House of Art, 108 E. Fourth St., NLR; and Imani (faith), a feast at 2 p.m. at Simply Najiyyah's Fishboat, 1717 Wright Ave. Ojima Robinson is the official drummer; Dorcas House was selected as beneficiary of the event's annual donation of books. For more information, call Garbo Hearne at 372-5824 or contact her at pyramidbks.net. LNP

FRIDAY 12/23

FESTIVUS AT THE FIREHOUSE
5 p.m. Firehouse Hostel & Museum.

On Dec. 18, 1997, an episode of "Seinfeld" called "The Strike" showed Jerry, George and Elaine at the coffee shop, George reluctantly explaining the reason for the greeting card he'd just received from his father, who "hated all the commercial and religious aspects of Christmas, so he made up his own holiday." And so, for anybody anywhere who ever tried to slip a reference to a Soup Nazi or a Big Salad into conversation, there was a new set of parodying "Festivus" customs with which to poke fun at Christmas mania. The staff at the Firehouse Hostel & Museum are throwing a real-life version of Festivus at their new Craftsman-style lodge in the MacArthur Park Historic District just south of the Arkansas Arts Center. For starters, they already had the requisite unadorned "Festivus Pole" since the building's redesign incorporates the old fire poles into the mix. The museum provides the Festivus meal mainstays: "a Festivus dinner (meatloaf and spaghetti will be served per the tradition, as well as a bacon-wrapped ham,") as they say on their event page. They encourage attendees to bring a side dish. They've planned Seinfeld-inspired practices such as the " 'Airing of Grievances,' which occurs during the meal with each person telling all the ways that they have been disappointed over the past year (typically begins with the phrase 'I got a lotta problems with you people, and you're going to hear about it!')" and the "Feats of Strength," involving "wrestling the head of the household to the floor. (In our case, we'll do arm wrestling)." And, if you're at your wit's end with visiting family members, book a night — the reviews since the hostel's grand opening have been consistently glowing. SS

FRIDAY 12/23

REELS & WHEELS: 'THE POLAR EXPRESS'
6:30 p.m. Hot Springs Memorial Airport, 525 Airport Road. Free.

The drive-in movie theater's mostly a memory now, a relic synonymous with conical bras and Viceroy cigarettes and gelatin-mold desserts. Arkansas was once home to over 50 of them, including the 70 Drive-In, the Sunset Drive-In and Wheatley Drive-In in Hot Springs, but only three remain in the state: the Kenda in Marshall, the Stone in Mountain View and the 112 Drive-In just north of Fayetteville. Visit Hot Springs is reviving the custom in Spa City — for one night, anyway. "Polar Express," Robert Zemeckis' 2004 animated adaptation of a children's story by Chris Van Allsburg, will be broadcast on an inflatable 32-by-24 1/2-foot movie screen on the grass in front of the Hot Springs Airport, with the voices of Tom Hanks (who does five roles in the film) and the rest of the cast broadcast on the FM radio dial from the city's solar-powered community radio station, KUHS, 97.9. Cars can enter as early as 6 p.m. to find a spot. SS

THURSDAY 12/29

AMERICAN AQUARIUM
8:30 p.m., Rev Room, $12-$15.

Together for a decade, alt-country stalwarts American Aquarium have become an institution, as chronicled in songs like "Losing Side of Twenty-Five." Fans know they are from Raleigh, N.C., but the quintet's been playing Little Rock for enough years that casual adherents to the scene could be forgiven for thinking AA's local. In fact, the group's album output since '09 has been on Little Rock's Last Chance Records. "Burn. Flicker. Die." (2012) — an album "about not making it," according to leader B.J. Barham — on Last Chance Records was to be the band's swan song, but instead made them more popular. Strangetowne of Amarillo, Texas, opens. SS

NOONTIME TOAST: Hot Springs' Mid-America Science Museum rings in the New Year with sparkling cider and educational activities for Noon Year's Eve, Saturday Dec. 31, 9 a.m., $8-$10.
  • NOONTIME TOAST: Hot Springs' Mid-America Science Museum rings in the New Year with sparkling cider and educational activities for Noon Year's Eve, Saturday Dec. 31, 9 a.m., $8-$10.

SATURDAY 12/31

NOON YEAR'S EVE
9 a.m. Mid-America Science Museum. Adults $10, children 3-12, $8.

New Year's Eve is one of the few holidays for adults only, but Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs has found a way to bring young folks into the mix, add some science and still maintain the revelry. The science museum's Noon Year's Eve, held at the other 12 o' clock that day, features make-and-take light-up party hats and noisemakers and a complimentary noontime toast ... of sparkling cider, of course. The countdown to 12 culminates with the awesome-to-any-demographic lighting up of the "world's most powerful conical Tesla coil." It then leaves parents and guardians with plenty of time to prepare for their midnight bacchanals and ringings-in. But will the grownups' stupid parties have the world's most powerful conical Tesla coil? No, they will not. Those parties will not have the world's most powerful conical Tesla coil. SK

DOGTOWN RESOLUTIONS: Brian Nahlen, Mandy McBryde (above), Adam Faucett and Peckerwolf play New Year's Day at Dogtown Sound's 1st anniversary celebration, 5:30 p.m.
  • DOGTOWN RESOLUTIONS: Brian Nahlen, Mandy McBryde (above), Adam Faucett and Peckerwolf play New Year's Day at Dogtown Sound's 1st anniversary celebration, 5:30 p.m.

SUNDAY 1/1

PECKERWOLF, ADAM FAUCETT, MANDY MCBRYDE, BRIAN NAHLEN
5:30 p.m. Dogtown Sound. Donations.

Dogtown Sound, the independent music shop in Little Rock's Park Hill District, turns a year old on the first day of the New Year, and owners Adrian Bozeman, Jason Tedford and Andy Warr are throwing a party to celebrate. They'll have everything from Arkansocks to Arkansas-made birdhouse dulcimers for sale, as well as a wall lined with standout guitars, offerings they hope to grow in the upcoming year. "I hope people dig our little store and continue to support it through the new year, and hopefully we'll do a little more, get a little bigger and have more to offer the local music community," Tedford told us. As a toast to that promise — and a chance to utilize the "micro-venue" part of the business — the shop will become one of a handful of places to catch some live music on New Year's Day ... once you brush the prior evening's cobwebs off. Following an afternoon open mic session, resident peacenik Brian Nahlen brings acoustic tunes from his Dec. 8 release "Cicada Moon," inspired by — as he told KUAR's "Arts and Letters" — "the idea that humans got their sense of rhythm and synchronization from the world of insect sounds that have surrounded our species over the millions of years we've evolved." Then, a solo set from Mandy McBryde, something that's been entirely too hard to come by since her honeyed alto voice became one-third of The Wildflowers. Adam Faucett follows, no doubt filling every square foot of a shotgun space with his powerful bellow — and probably ensuring at least a dozen people get a little weepy before the first 24 hours of the year have even passed. Finally, Peckerwolf — Bozeman's self-described "precious metal" outfit — swaddles the newborn year in primal howls from Ryker Horn on tunes like "Love Your Baby" ("I wanna love your baby/I wanna love her so") and "Cave City Swimsuit." The show is all ages; expect the owners to shake the donations jar around, as Bozeman told us, for the artists performing. SS


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