8:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.
It’s hard to ignore the poignancy here. The release for an album called “Come Hell or High Water” from Malcolm Holcombe — a sage whose North Carolina homeplace is triangulated in the space between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests — comes amid that region’s reckoning with Hurricane Florence’s grim, water-logged aftermath. Holcombe’s “Come Hell or High Water” grapples with those same ideas of human catastrophe, self-imposed and otherwise. And, sweetened as it is by assists from Arkansan Iris Dement and her husband/collaborator Greg Brown, it’s Holcombe’s austere, gruff resignation that acts as the album’s through line. His sanguine lens tints the ominous footsteps of a soldier’s march (“Black Bitter Moon”) the same hue as it paints leftover fried chicken on Christmas morning (“Merry Christmas”). If you haven’t given it a spin following its Sept. 14 release, consider foregoing it until you see Holcombe live. Dude’s delivery is an exercise in teetering at the edge of a precipice; his chair wobbles on two legs as he rocks backward, his guttural mumble-turned-yowl having gripped this listener so firmly during a previous Little Rock stop that she barely had the wherewithal to notice he’s a fingerstyle virtuoso. Dana Louise opens the show.
CRASH BLOSSOM, LUXEMBURG TRIO, PRINCEAUS
9 p.m. Maxine’s, Hot Springs. $5.
R.E.M.-style harmonies, a frontman with a soaring voice and all the sonic variety Fayetteville’s East Hall Recording has come to be known for: That’s Crash Blossom, and with fellow Fayetteville pop confection Luxemburg Trio, they’re taking Fayettenam to Spa City with this show. They are joined by the ever-evocative Princeaus, a classically trained baker/composer/pianist whose electronic, ethereal work draws as much from Korean folklore as it does the stigmatization of mental illness in America, and whose powerful sense of movement and color is going to look stunning against the glow of red lights at Maxine’s. Go let yourself be mesmerized, for one, by the gorgeous sampler of tracks on Princeaus’ Bandcamp page called “Ambient Animal (teaser)” as soon as you’re anywhere near a set of headphones.
THIRD FRIDAY ARGENTA ART WALK
5 p.m. Various galleries, Argenta Arts District. Free.
Thea Foundation’s Arts Reconstruction program, which lends professional development and advanced arts materials to local visual arts teachers, celebrates with a 5 p.m. reception for its new joint media group exhibition, “Connections,” with works from teachers across Central Arkansas, up through Sept. 27. The works of Sandra Marson, Charlotte Rierson and Judith Beale is up at the Argenta Branch of Laman Library for “3 Artists, 3 Visions,” 420 Main St. Greg Thompson Fine Art at 429 Main St. continues “The Best of the South,” an annual showcase from artists of note around the region, with works from Carroll Cloar, Dale Nichols, Mark Blaney, Arless Day, William Dunlap, Charles Harrington, Pinkney Herbert, Richard Jolley, Dolores Justus, John Harlan Norris, Sammy Peters, Edward Rice, Kendall Stallings, Glenray Tutor and Donald Roller Wilson. At Argenta Gallery (413 Main), Michael Shaeffer and Andrea Bolen’s fashion-film mash-up, “Fashion and the Moving Image + 1681,” continues, and at 711 Main Street, painter Barry Thomas turns his paintbrush to the Arkansas sunlight’s rays across swaths of earth at Barry Thomas Fine Art & Studio. At 419 Main, Seis Puentes, Argenta Nutrition and The Latino Art Project present a Pop Up Art Shop at Argenta Nutrition, with another Latino Art Project at Core Brewing with “Into the Blue,” a collective study on the color blue, 411 Main Street. And, though Literacy Action of Central Arkansas has sold out of its team entries for The Bee — an adult spelling bee at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub at 201 East Broadway — you can still go and participate in the audience spell-off, 6:30 p.m., $20-$40.
FRIDAY 9/21-SATURDAY 9/22
FRANK STANFORD LITERARY FESTIVAL
6 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m. Sat. Various venues, Fayetteville. Free.
Just like there are musicians’ musicians, there are poets’ poets, voices that, for reasons of coincidence or some aggregated aversion to breadth and complexity, are adored by artistic kin, and met by the general public with a resounding “meh” or “tl;dr.” Frank Stanford was one of these voices, obscure to most anthology readers even decades after his suicide in 1978 and obscure even still to some. Those to whom he’s not obscure can probably identify with some of what University of Massachusetts Professor of Poetry Dara Wier said about Stanford — an endorsement I encountered when revisiting Matt Henriksen’s 2015 piece on Stanford for the Arkansas Times. “Every year there are two or three poets who discover Frank Stanford’s poems for themselves for the first time. Their work pauses while they take in his powerful registers and his passionate visions. Then their work starts up again, more urgent, more full of brave announcements and address, less fearful and less tentatively distancing.” In a weekend-long “Salud!” to that spirit, Typo Magazine and the Open Mouth Reading Series will host the second-ever Frank Stanford Literary Festival, 10 years after the first one. Photographer Deborah Luster and poet Forrest Gander — both collaborators of the late C.D. Wright — will be featured on Saturday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, alongside panel discussions of Stanford’s work; a preview of John Burcham Erwin and Zach Harrod’s documentary “You: Frank Stanford’s Life in Film”; a late-night reading of C.D. Wright’s “One With Others”; and actor/filmmaker Graham Hamilton in “As A Friend,” a theatrical interpretation of Stanford’s life as seen through the eyes of the eponymous Forrest Gander novel. Friday night programming is a pair of marathon readings: ” ‘With the Approach of the Oak’: An Open Mouth and Typo Reading,” 6-9 p.m., Fenix Gallery, 16 W. Center St.; and ” ‘Let’s Put on a Pot of Coffee and Write All Night’: A Late Night Poetry Reading” at Nightbird Books, 205 W. Dickson St, 10 p.m. See openmouthreadings.com/frank-stanford-fest for a full schedule.
FRIDAY 9/21-SUNDAY 9/23
4 p.m. Fri., 8 a.m. Sat., 10 a.m. Sun. Hot Springs Convention Center. $10-$25.
For three super-nerdy days, the Spa City is home to all things sci-fi, RPG, cosplay and video games during Spa-Con, kicking what’s already a stellar downtown people-watching opportunity up several levels. Check out our Q&A with Pam Grier on page 28, and see the full schedule at spa-con.org. Grier — action heroine, equestrian and certified badass — is joined by Arvell Jones, founder of the Comic Art Workshop and a comic book artist with a long history at both Marvel and DC Comics; Butch Patrick, best known for his work as TV’s “Eddie Munster”; Sean Maher of Joss Whedon’s “Serenity” and The CW’s “Arrow”; rapper/YouTube star/enigma Froggy Fresh; and voice actress Veronica Taylor, the voice behind an animated April O’Neill on the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series, Ash Ketchum on the English-language adaptation of “Pokemon” and Sailor Pluto on a dub of the “Sailor Moon” series. Comic book and graphic art enthusiasts can chat with artists Byron Buslig, Chad Maupin, David Lasky, Gustav Carlson, Kody Sandwich, Nate Jones, Nikki Dawes, Stacy Bates, Timothy Lim and Yale Stewart, or attend workshops from Low Key Arts Director Sonny Kay, Hendrix College President/Godzilla expert Bill Tsutsui, Henderson State University Comic Studies Program Director Dr. Randy Duncan, gamer/DJ Courier Coleman, leathersmith Beastman Caravan or game designer Ross Watson. There’s an escape room, a virtual reality lab, laser tag, a wildlife meet-and-greet themed around the creatures of the Harry Potter universe, a visit from The Mystery Machine of “Scooby Doo” note, plus a full panel of cosplay stars — Nightingale Vixen, Nipahdubs, Ginny Di, Dominique de Leon, Negan Unchained, Norman Reedesque and a guy who built a giant, elaborate robot costume for Bumblebee of “Transformers” fame. And, something wicked this way comes from the concurrent Hot Springs Horror Film Festival (see the full schedule at hotspringshorrorfilmfestival.com), which presents Spa-Con visits from Michael Berryman (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Weird Science”) and R.A. Mihailoff (“Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III”). Keep your Health Points bar at full charge with a walk around Bathhouse Row or — if your wallet’s flush like that — with a Spa-Con VIP pass, $125, which gets you into after-parties at Core Brewing, Bubba’s Brews and the onsite VIP lounge.
BRAZILIAN PARTY: JUNIOR DO CAVACO
9 p.m. Club 27.
People have been having a lot of fun without you, tucked away in the one place you never bothered to look: the River Market. Even more preposterously, they’ve been doing it with EXERCISE. Specifically, salsa lessons in a ballroom. At Club 27, the passion project of spouses Sarah Catherine Gutierrez and Jorge Gutierrez — whose love connection was made, by the way, in dance class — people gather every Friday night for an informal lesson (no partner/experience required) followed by an open floor for dancing to salsa, bachata, merengue, cumbia, reggaeton and other Latin rhythms. This Saturday, they’ll forego that Friday routine and host a dance party with traditional Brazilian pagadao music from Junior do Cavaco, followed by a DJ set. Once upon a time, it was January and we all swore we’d try new adventures, remember? Here’s one.
6 p.m. Kollective Coffee + Tea, Hot Springs. $5.
Were Puddles Pity Party not headed to Little Rock in December, poet/performer/Title IX Compliance educator Olivia Gatwood might be the most YouTube-famous person to land in Central Arkansas this fall, with slam performances of poems like “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” and “Ode to My Bitch Face” and “When I Say That We Are All Teen Girls” garnering hundreds of thousands of views — and, one can hope, opening a few ears and eyes to the ubiquitous way misogyny pervades our social interactions. Gatwood’s work is deeply — and compellingly — connected to girlhood and womanhood; a poem printed earlier this year by The Missouri Review tackles the way teen girls often find themselves grasping to understand their own worth and sexuality, newly under the male gaze: ” … it didn’t matter if you were a virgin/or not, it mattered how you used it/like currency, a sack of nickels/on the bar top./it was before any of us/believed we were good at anything/so we became good at our bodies,/at talking about them like we were/greyhound bitches, lean & itching/to break through the race.” Gatwood speaks at Kollective Coffee + Tea as a guest of Low Key Arts and Wednesday Night Poetry and will undoubtedly have her latest release, “New American Best Friend,” on hand. According to her website, it “reflects her experiences growing up in both New Mexico and Trinidad, navigating girlhood, puberty, relationships, and period underwear.” Joaquina Mertz opens the show.
SUNDAY 9/23-WEDNESDAY 9/26
BANNED BOOKS WEEK FILM SCREENINGS
6 p.m. CALS Ron Robinson Theater.
In the name of free and open access to information comes Central Arkansas Library System’s Banned Books Week, an annual event from the American Library Association that puts censorship on notice, highlighting books that have been challenged, banned or bound by restrictions in schools and libraries. Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho” gets a 6 p.m. screening at CALS Ron Robinson Theater on Wednesday, Sept. 26, following a performance from vocalist/guitarist Randall Shreve and a discussion on violence culture and the diagnosis of our antihero Patrick Bateman led by psychotherapist Linda Vanblaricom and film/English scholar Felipe Pruneda Senties. “Carrie” will be screened at Ron Robinson at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, with a preceding prom invitation, 6 p.m., and the Thompson Library (38 Rahling Circle, Little Rock) hosts a Hogwarts-themed party in honor of the 20th anniversary of all Harry Potterdom. Being screened elsewhere around the CALS network of libraries are: “Cujo,” “Bridge to Terabithia,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Animal Farm,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Lorax,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “The Adventures of Huck Finn,” “The Color Purple,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Matilda,” “Lord of the Flies” and the entire “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.” See cals.org/banned-books-week for a full schedule of events by location.
SUNDAY 9/23, SUNDAY 9/30
NASTY WOMEN OF COMEDY
7:30 p.m. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. $15.
If there’s a shred of good to come of the president of the United States’ demonstrated contempt for women, it’s that the misogyny pendulum finally swung far enough to rattle people, and to rally groups of people like this — a shared bill of wildly clever comedians who are reclaiming their time on stage. Ashley Wright-Ihler of the club’s Joint Venture improv troupe hosts sets from Amber Glaze of “Hot Mess in the Morning” on KHLR-FM, 106.7, “The Ride”; Playa Mook of Drafts & Laughs; Lisa Michaels of Memphis’ Group Therapy and Midtown Queer; as well as sets from Portia Murphy, Summer Vega and Kayla Esmond of The Joint’s sketch comedy troupe Tyrannosaurus Sketch. See Eventbrite for tickets.