Vax up, mask up, and support your local creatives however you can. Gathering safely these days is hard; be on the lookout for policy changes or date changes, and handle them with all the grace you can summon. Also: Note that the Jason Isbell and Lucinda Williams concert previously scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 4 has been rescheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14. Note, also, that the White Water Tavern’s reopening is this weekend; more on that here and here.
‘PRIDE AND THE POWER OF LOVE’
THROUGH THURSDAY 8/29. ESSE Purse Museum. $10.
Oh, you thought Pride Month was over? Good news: It’s here, it’s queer and it lasts all damn year. ESSE Purse Museum art director Steven Otis has curated an exhibit that is gay as hell and historical to boot, with photos of RuPaul and Candy Darling, nods to LGBTQIA+ history and a vintage beaded purse modeled by none other than Bert, the felted gay icon of “Sesame Street” that we didn’t even know we had until 2018. (But, I mean, we knew.) The exhibit, ESSE said in a release, is “lively, loving and fact filled, featuring photos and artifacts carefully curated in cases in the colors of the gay pride flag. And, of course, because ESSE is a purse museum, parts of the rainbow flag are created with purses.” Museum hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun., Tue. and Wed.; 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat.
FRIDAY 8/6. Oak Street Vintage. 6 p.m. $10 general admission, $20 reserved seating.
Dazzmin Murry’s not much for sitting still; the multi-instrumentalist from rock ’n’ soul outfit Dazz & Brie (our winner for Best Rock Band in the 2021 Best of Arkansas readers’ poll) established a nonprofit called Creators’ Village that works with rising artists in underserved communities in Arkansas. Now, Creators’ Village is partnering with La Rosa Antigua, a local clothing company helmed by Maxi Dominguez and dedicated to, its mission statement says, “destroying fast fashion and unchaining individuality.” Expect a focus on sustainability and upcycling at this downtown Little Rock fashion show, which features designs and styles from Murry, Dominguez, Taylor Compton of Oak Forest Vintage, Talesha Little of A Little Thriftee and Taylor Alexis of Noble Clothing. Get tickets here.
SATURDAY 8/7. Robinson Center Performance Hall. 8 p.m. $28-$200.
Double dare anyone who thinks they’re not a fan of radio country to listen all the way through Ashley McBryde’s 2020 record “Never Will” and remain unfazed. Her characters are instantly recognizable to anyone who grew up disenchanted and rural — the girl on the side of the road in “Hang In There Girl,” the nagging puritan in “Shut Up Sheila.” Born in Waldron and raised on a 400-acre farm near Mammoth Spring, McBryde started playing mandolin when she was 3, and because, as she told us in 2020, “there was nothing in any direction except whatever you wanted to do” in Mammoth Spring, she became a great player. She’s since made her mark as a sort of Nashville anti-princess or, as she puts it, the kind of country singer you want to have a beer with. Get tickets at ashleymcbryde.com.
SUMMER SOULSTICE X
SATURDAY 8/7. The Rep Warehouse, 714 S. State St. 4 p.m.-11:30 p.m. $20-$45.
Quiet Contender, a record label launched by Seth Baldy and Joshua Asante early in the pandemic, is celebrating an especially hard-earned anniversary of the pair’s “Soulstice” parties, a series of winter and summer solstice concerts held every year at the White Water Tavern. This year, the label is partnering on that concert with the Center for Cultural Community, a local nonprofit that aims to link up artists and musicians with access to things like practice space, mentorship, business savvy and health care. Plan on sets from Asante’s soul outfit the Velvet Kente Arkestra, St. Louis-based BLVCK SPVDE, the jazz-driven Cleveland trio The Katy, and St. Louis-based DJ Makeda Kravitz; plus food from Lili’s Mexican Street Food; and goods from local vendors and artists. The VIP ticket price gets you access to drinks, snacks and a gift bag; get tickets at quietcontender.com. UPDATE: Features from Bijoux, CLEW, Bri Aileen, & AJ Haynes (Seratones ) are on the docket. Get there.
‘GONE TO SEED’
THROUGH 8/22. Trinity Gallery, Historic Arkansas Museum.
When it comes to nature and humans, we tend to think we’re the ones controlling the narrative, but then again, we’re the ones living at the mercy of our daily doses of oxygen to usher us onward to an eventual return to the soil, so who’s really in charge? Maybe the complexity of that cycle is why “Gone to Seed” makes so much sense for this exhibit, despite its verdant glow and vibrant palette. Painter Susan Chambers of Little Rock and ceramicist Aaron Calvert of Russellville turn their eyes (and their hands) to the mystery of nature in “Gone to Seed,” a dual exhibit in the Historic Arkansas Museum’s Trinity Gallery this summer. The works within portray nature not as something placid, but truly wild and, the museum’s description says, “subtly communicate our profound entanglement with the natural world, and the importance of (at least occasionally) relinquishing control and allowing things to go to seed.” Visit 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.; or 1-5 p.m. Sun.
JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT, LUCINDA WILLIAMS
WEDNESDAY 8/4. SATURDAY 8/14. First Security Amphitheater. 8 p.m. $45-$125.
Were it two different venues that Jason Isbell and Lucinda Williams were playing at this particular August night, they’d force a difficult decision. As it stands, you’re spared. Isbell, whose biting wit on Twitter nearly rivals that on his post-Drive-By Truckers solo album “Southeastern,” is bringing his all-star band, named the 400 Unit after a psychiatric ward in his native Alabama, to Little Rock ahead of his run at Austin City Limits. For the uninitiated, you don’t need to go deep in the catalogs to learn why he’s hailed as one of the greatest songwriters of our time; the Grammy-winning “24 Frames” or “If We Were Vampires” should do the trick. (Or, for more of a sense of the pathos that likely got him cast in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming “Killers of the Flower Moon,” see “Yvette” or “Alabama Pines.”) He’s joined by Lucinda Williams — daughter of an Arkansas poet and immutable bender of sung syllables, and someone who we should have fallen in love with the moment Mary Chapin Carpenter recorded “Passionate Kisses” in 1993, but who instead won us over slowly and irrevocably in subsequent decades. And hey, Isbell’s former bandmate Patterson Hood showed up at this tour’s Montana stop; anything can happen. Get tickets at jasonisbell.com.