‘BUILDING A COLLECTION: RECENT ACQUISITIONS’
‘DISCOVERING KATE FREEMAN CLARK’
Windgate Center of Art and Design, UALR.
UA Little Rock’s new Windgate Center, built with a gift of $20.3 million from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, inaugurates the gallery season with two exhibitions. “Building a Collection,” in the Main Gallery, features artwork purchased thanks to Windgate’s largesse over the past seven years, including large-scale drawings, paintings, printmaking, contemporary crafts and sculpture. In the Lower Level Gallery, an exhibition of work by turn-of-the-century American impressionist Kate Freeman Clark will include painting, drawings and works on cigar boxes. Clark, from Holly Springs, Miss., was taught by William Merritt Chase in New York and was a prolific artist; her work is collected in a museum in Holly Springs. A grand opening of the Windgate Center is set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16. LNP
7 p.m. Calvary Baptist Church, 5700 Cantrell Road. $29.
Is it any wonder the Pennsylvania-born Samuel Barber chose to set James Agee’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” to music? It’s all right there in the text — the same lush, verdant sounds that inspired Joni Mitchell to name her seventh album “The Hissing of Summer Lawns,” set for soprano and orchestra: “Now is the night one blue dew, my father has drained, he has coiled the hose. … From damp strings morning glories hang their ancient faces. The dry and exalted noise of the locusts from all the air at once enchants my eardrums.” For this concert, as part of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Intimate Neighborhood Concerts series, Barber’s meditation will be sung by soprano Keely Futterer, a Dover native studying for a doctoral degree at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. It is bookended by two other pieces: Respighi’s “Trittico Botticelliano,” the intimate counterpart to the composer’s grandiose “Pines of Rome,” one of the first works the ASO performed upon its return to Robinson, and a suite on Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” from child prodigy turned father of film music, Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Tickets for students or military are $10, and you’ll get the chance to mingle/talk summer lawns and Respighi with Futterer and the orchestra members afterward. SS
JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD
8:30 p.m. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack. $12-$14.
Jessica Lea Mayfield played much of her new album, “Sorry Is Gone,” on a baritone Taylor acoustic guitar tuned A to A — a full fifth lower than a standard guitar tuning — instead of the more popular B to B tuning, a fourth lower than standard. She told Stereogum last October that doing so “just makes everything rattle. It sounds like Satan’s bathroom or something, I don’t know.” That “Satan’s bathroom” sound is part and parcel of the album’s blacker moments, some of which reflect on the abusive relationship that landed Mayfield in a hospital bed in July of last year, Instagramming a plea: “This is not uncommon. I want to tell anyone who is protecting their abuser that it’s not worth it. … My silence helps no one except the person who did this to me.” With “Sorry Is Gone,” Mayfield’s reckons with the trauma in the way that a woman who recorded her first album of original material at age 15 is wont to reckon with it: on tape. “Make My Head Sing” in 2014 may have been Mayfield’s heaviest, musically speaking, but “Sorry Is Gone,” for this listener, is a new pinnacle of heavy. It’s versatile and sage and devastating, and if you haven’t been paying attention to this songwriter and guitarist already, by all means, remedy that Thursday night in person. Sun Seeker, whose sunny debut EP was released on Third Man Records last summer, opens the show. SS
FUNKANITES, THE RIOS
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
There are plenty of U.S. cities where jazz and funk rhythms are relegated exclusively to academia and where horn sections play mostly under the Friday night lights of the football field. Lucky for us, this isn’t one of them. One of the principle outfits performing in Little Rock today, The Funkanites, has the breadth of experience to blend in soul and Afrobeat elements seamlessly — and to play all that under more suitable lighting. If you haven’t heard them yet, make this a date. While you’re at it, go cue up the impossibly infectious “What I Need” by The Rios, who share the bill. That track should give you a pretty good idea of which shoes to wear Thursday night. SS
5-8 p.m. Main Street galleries, NLR.
Just because it’s the coldest January in years doesn’t mean hibernation is a must. Walking is possible, especially when the destination is to art exhibitions and things to do in a conveniently small area of downtown North Little Rock. Besides, what’s warmer than a sock? Especially a sock monster. You can’t wear Conway art teacher Chris Massengill’s creations in the show “Sock Monster Problems” at Mugs Cafe (515 Main St.), but these handmade monsters will warm you up with their accompanying stories. In the 400 block of Main, come in from out of the cold to spy “Lagniappe” at the Argenta Gallery (413B Main St.), an exhibition of figurative Fauvist oils by Greg Lahti. Next door, fans of architecture will be happy to see StudioMAIN’s display of AIA Design Award boards. Also on the west side of the block, Greg Thompson Fine Art continues its “Best of the South” and holiday sale show and Core Brewery is hosting sports-themed artwork in “The Games We Play.” Across the street, the Argenta Branch of the Laman Library is showing photography by Gary Cawood: Don’t pass this by. Off Main, the Innovation Hub will open its studios to the public and talk about its upcoming Beer, Burgers and Bots Tournament. Other participants in the gallery walk are Barry Thomas Fine Art & Studio, the House of Art and the NLR Heritage Center. LNP
PALLBEARER, SUMOKEM, ADAM FAUCETT
8 p.m. Revolution Taco & Tequila Lounge. $12-$15.
Last March, Pallbearer released one of the most crushingly beautiful albums to come out of the state, ever — “Heartless.” It’s symphonic in its approach, with terrifically complex rhythm combinations and melodies that take minutes and minutes to unfurl. Writers have gone apeshit trying to describe it, and fans have gone apeshit trying to figure out whether it’s metal. Suffice to say, it’s contemplative in a way Pallbearer fans may or may not have been ready for. If “Foundations of Burden” was the sound of the hammer to the glass, “Heartless” is the sound of the glass shattering fractal-style. The band spent much of 2017 touring France, Australia and Scandinavia in support of it, as bass player Joseph Rowland writes in a dispatch for Bandcamp’s “Artist Reflections” series: “Another natural result of releasing “Heartless” was playing shows far beyond the relative comfort of the underground doom scene. That has had its own unexpected — and occasionally outrageous — outcomes.” (That included a nearly amputated index finger and a belligerently sleepy fan, evidently.) Please, please don’t miss this one; Pallbearer’s a Natural State treasure, and it’s been a good while since they’ve been able to put this music in front of fellow Arkansans. Opening the show, as if you needed more reason to be there, are fellow doom rockers Sumokem and songwriting savant Adam Faucett. SS
STEVE HOWELL & THE MIGHTY MEN
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $8.
If the members of this blues outfit look familiar, they are — to fans of Little Rock jazz or boogie, anyway. Guitarist/bassist Chris Michaels, drummer Dave Hoffpauir and keyboardist Jason Weinheimer have an eclectic collective resume: Lagniappe, The Boondogs, Love Ghost and a handful of other projects adjacent to Max Recordings and Fellowship Hall Sound. Here, they back up native Texan, blues guitarist and independent oil and gas producer Steve Howell, whose 2014 release “Yes, I Believe I Will” covers the traditional Irish tune “Rake and Rambling Blade,” the traditional gospel call “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” and plenty of ground in between. For a primer, check out the video for “Aberdeen, Mississippi” on YouTube. The Mighty Men are joined by Cherry Red, a Hill Country blues project from Hoffpauir, bassist Matt Floyd and guitarist Mark Simpson. SS
‘ONE YEAR DOWN’
6-9 p.m. New Deal Studios, 2003 S. Louisiana St.
Some people march in protest and lobby their lawmakers, others run for office to toss the scoundrels out. Another response to a year in which America saw the revival of anti-immigrant, anti-poor, anti-LGBTQ, anti-gun control, racist, misogynistic and other policies once considered to be shameful mistakes of the past, is the making of art. New Deal Studios opens a two-day poetry and art event that, it says, “seeks to provide a thoughtful and mature visual dialogue as artists respond to events and issues during the first year of the Trump administration.” Notice the word mature; participants do not resemble the president in any way. Poets Kai Coggin, Bryan Borland, Seth Pennington, Jeannie Snow, Karen Hayes, Bud Kenny, Susan Elder, Zachary Crow, Jessica Hylton, Akau Anyieth, Sarah Burns and C.S. Carrier will read poetry starting at 6:30 p.m.; work by 44 artists will give visual testimony to this most nasty era of American politics. The show will be open again from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday to coincide with the Women’s March On The Polls and the Rally for Reproductive Justice (see cover story). Depending on interest, the gallery may open Sunday afternoon, too. LNP
BALLET ARKANSAS: WINTER WINE TASTE
7 p.m. The Space @ Ballet Arkansas, 520 Main St. $50.
If you have ever clicked on a link leading to an amazing tango video, dreamed of clutching the rose in your teeth yourself, or just really dig some Astor Piazzolla, this one’s for you. Ballet Arkansas is throwing this little milonga as part of its Motion on Main series, inviting people in for Argentinian food from Buenos Aires Grill and Cafe, wines from Colonial Wines & Spirits, Latin American repertoire from cellist David Gerstein and violinist/conductor Geoff Robson, a tango performance by 2016 Dancing into Dreamland Dance Competition Argentine tango winners Sarah and Rick Pinedo and a tango finale by the Ballet Arkansas company dancers. Find tickets at balletarkansas.org. SS
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $40-$130.
A few weeks ago around lunchtime, I was doing two things I do on a fairly irregular basis: driving down University Avenue and listening to KMJX-FM, 105.1 (“The Wolf”). In a glorious moment of synchronicity the likes of which I’m not bound to experience again, the fizzy click of an aluminum can opening echoed through my car’s speaker to cue the opening of Alan Jackson’s “Pop A Top” just as I caught the vintage sign for Popatop Wine, Spirits & Beer in my peripheral vision. Thanks, universe! Thanks, also, for bringing Alan Jackson our way this week. If you’re a child of the ’80s and you grew up Arkansas, your chances of avoiding “Tall, Tall Trees,” “Gone Country” or “Chattahoochie” are next to nil, which means you’re in prime position to pop a top and sing along. SS
‘BULLETS INTO BELLS’
3 p.m. Clinton School of Public Service.
As Arkansas college students head off to campuses where guns are now allowed, thanks to one legislator’s notion that concealed carry will halt crazed shooters, the Clinton School of Public Service and the Oxford American will host poets and others speaking on America’s gun culture. The audience will hear from Brian Clements and Alexandra Teague, poets and editors of the poetry anthology “Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence”; poet Tarfia Faizullah; poet and Clinton School student Crystal Mercer; activist and former gang-banger Leifel Jackson; state Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock); Hendrix College professor Dr. Jay Barth; a representative from Little Rock Police Department; and Austin Bailey of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. The volume “Bullets into Bells” pairs poems by such celebrated writers as Billy Collins with responses by gun violence survivors, activists and politicians. For example, “When I Think of Tamir Rice While Driving” by Reginald Dwayne Betts: “in the backseat of my car are my own sons, still not yet Tamir’s age, already having heard / me warn them against playing with toy pistols, / though my rhetoric is always about what I don’t / like, not what I fear, because sometimes / I think of Tamir Rice & shed tears … . LNP
Noon. Sturgis Hall, Clinton School of Public Service. Free.
Think of Ibram Kendi’s National Book Award-winning treatise on racism as a sort of social expression of Newton’s third law. “Somebody who challenges discrimination,” Kendi writes in “Stamped From the Beginning,” “that has an effect, somebody who maintains it, that has an effect, and somebody who does nothing has an effect.” The book, subtitled “The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” landed on dozens of revered bestseller and best book lists when it dropped in 2016, and examines the lives of five individuals who effected the degree to which racist ideas were (or were not) able to gain a foothold in American identity and history — Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. DuBois and Angela Davis. And, maybe more urgently, it asks us to consider how inaction with regard to racism equates to complicity, challenging the idea that anyone can ever truly be “apolitical.” SS