2ND FRIDAY ART NIGHT
5-8 p.m. Galleries and other venues downtown.
It’s the time of year when the desire to acquire swells the heart for art and partying. Galleries participating in November’s after-hours gallery stroll know this, as the lineup of exhibitions of painting, photography, jewelry and music, music, music proves. Four new exhibitions will greet gallery-goers: The Historic Arkansas Museum (200 E. Third St.) is marching two-by-two with “More or Less,” an energetic show of ceramics by Liz Smith and paintings by Katherine Strause, and “Face to Face: Contemporary Portraits,” paired portraits in contrasting styles by such artists as Lisa Krannichfeld and John Harlan Norris. Acoustic duo The Creek Rocks of Springfield, Mo., keeps the theme going. The “Arkansas League of Artists Exhibition,” a juried show, opens at The Galleries at Library Square, aka the Butler Center aka the Arkansas Studies Institute aka the Roberts Library and Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (401 President Clinton Ave.), and the more simply named Jeff and Louisa (of the Floor Also Rises) will provide “eclectic rock.” Photography’s in focus at The Bookstore at Library Square (aka the Cox Center, 120 River Market Ave.), which will feature “Metamorphosis: Becoming I,” works by Jessica Carder, and at The Rep (601 Main St.), where Andrew Kilgore’s portraits of Rep actors, “Developing Character,” will be exhibited. (There will also be turkey-themed art-making at the Bookstore gallery.) Bella Vita Jewelry (523 S. Louisiana St.) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with both a shopping opportunity and live music by Amy Garland and Nick Devlin; not to be outdone, the Old State House Museum (300 W. Markham St.) will feature bluegrass band Runaway Planet on the second floor of the museum. Next door at the Marriott Little Rock (3 Statehouse Plaza), the Art Group Gallery is showing members’ work. Check out what’s at Gallery 221 in the Pyramid Building at Second and Louisiana streets and then head upstairs to see work by Larry Crane, Mike Gaines, Nathan Terry and Shane Wilson in their studios. Matt McLeod Fine Art Gallery (108 W. Sixth St.), around the corner from Bella Vita, will also be open. Participating restaurants are the Copper Grill at 300 E. Third St. and Nexus Coffee and Creative at 301B President Clinton Ave.. LNP
LUKE HUNSICKER SCHOLARSHIP FUND BENEFIT
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. Donations.
Luke Hunsicker may be gone, but his warmth has a way of time-traveling forward anytime he comes up in conversation. The beloved bassist for Little Rock/Brooklyn quintet American Princes died of brain cancer in 2010 at the age of 29. In remembrance of his dedication to making music and art, a group of Hunsicker’s family and friends have, for five years, been throwing concerts to fund the Lucas Clayton Hunsicker Scholarship Fund. It’s awarded every year to a graduate of Parkview Arts Science Magnet High School, Hunsicker’s alma mater, for further education in art or music. The musicians playing the show — Silver Anchors and Or — are among those touched by Luke’s kind spirit. Undoubtedly, too, were some of the artists contributing artworks to a sale benefiting the scholarship fund: Lisa Krannichfeld, Luna Tick Designs, Phillip Huddleston, Olive Branch Woodworking, AR-Ts, Katherine Rutter, Jesse Rhames, Jamie Freedman, Matthew Castellano, John Kushmaul, Joshua Asante, Matt White, Hannah Allen, Stacy Bowers of Bang Up Betty, Miranda Young, Dower, Sulac, Heather Canterbury, Hannah Lavender of Lavender Bakes, Nate Powell, Matt O’Baugh, Easterseals Arkansas, Jordan Wolf and Erin Pierce. All art sale items, the event’s organizers tell us, are priced below $50. SS
FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS
8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $45-$100.
It’s a good year to be Frankie Valli. While touring productions are performing Valli’s tumultuous life’s story around the globe in productions of the Broadway musical “Jersey Boys,” the real-life octogenarian is on tour, pointing his otherworldly falsetto like a laser beam at multiple generations of fans. He’s the solitary through line in the Four Seasons lineup, the reason you had the theme song from “Grease” stuck in your head for a year and, as “The Sopranos” reminded us often, a patron saint of Italian-American culture. Get tickets at verizonarena.com. SS
FRIDAY 11/9, SUNDAY 11/11
DOUBLE FEATURE: A ’50S NIGHT OF COMIC OPERA
7:30 p.m. Fri., 2:30 p.m. Sun. The Studio Theatre. $30-$50.
Who could blame you if, asked to name a handful of great operatic moments, your list leaned toward the morose? The art form’s forever linked with existential crisis, mania and murder. Callas and her tortured beauty! “Cavalleria” and its fights to the death! “Carmen” and its bloodshed! Consider this weekend, then, a lesson to the contrary, as Opera in the Rock gives a mid-century treatment to three comic operas — Igor Stravinsky’s Pushkin-inspired half-hour satire “Mavra” (1922), Liam Wade’s 2012 commission “Part of the Act” and (on Friday night only) Gian Carlo Menotti’s curtain raiser “The Telephone” (1947). All three shows are directed by Kayren Grayson Baker, with musical direction from OITR Artistic Director Louis Menendez. Singers include Sarah Stankiewicz Dailey, Nisheedah Golden, Maxwell Owen, Joylyn Rushing and Christopher Turner. See oitr.org for tickets. SS
BLACK INDIAN AND NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE FAIR
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sequoyah National Research Center.
The Sequoyah center, UA Little Rock’s native press archives and art gallery, is something of a hidden jewel in Little Rock, tucked as it is east of the Big Lots store in the Asher Avenue Shopping Center south of campus. This unique repository, which is showing the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian exhibition “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in the Armed Forces” in its gallery, is celebrating Native American Heritage Month with speakers on several topics, including Black Indians, people of mixed African-American and Native American heritage. The Wampanoag, Pequot, Narraganset and Shinnecock in the Northeast have significant African-American membership thanks to their proximity to ports and seafarers and their acceptance of escaping slaves. Some members of the “Five Civilized Tribes” of the Southeast (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole) enslaved African-Americans; those slaves and their descendants were made tribal members after the Civil War (though there were exceptions). The “Patriot Nations” exhibition includes photographs of the Choctaw code talkers of World War I and Native Americans who participated in the Civil War, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War. Along with the talks there will be arts and crafts, food trucks and tours of the Coleman Creek Trail of Tears Park. The Black History Commission of Arkansas, the state chapter of the Trail of Tears Association, the city’s Diversity and Ethnicity Commission and others are cosponsors. LNP
SATURDAY 11/10-SUNDAY 11/11
7:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. Robinson Performance Hall. $16-$68.
Some masterpieces have a murky point of origin; others’ births are precisely timestamped. Edward Elgar’s “Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36” sprang to life on the evening of Oct. 21, 1898, when the composer had dinner, a cigar and thereafter began to noodle at the piano, happening upon a melodic theme that caused his wife, Alice, to stop him in his tracks. That theme, expanded with 14 variations, would become what we now call the “Enigma Variations.” Elgar wrote “Enigma” at the top of the score, refusing to say what the title meant and offering only in a note on the playbill that “its ‘dark saying’ must be left unguessed. … Over the whole set another and larger theme ‘goes,’ but is not played … .” Fans have spent over 100 years trying to decode the cipher; competing theories have hypothesized the hidden theme was “Auld Lang Syne” in a minor key, or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Those 15 vignettes are preceded by Joan Tower’s “Made in America,” a similarly coded composition after the theme of “America the Beautiful,” and a piece that was performed in all 50 states between 2005 and 2007. The work’s main theme, Tower said, “is challenged by other more aggressive and dissonant ideas that keep interrupting, unsettling it, but ‘America the Beautiful’ keeps resurfacing in different guises (some small and tender, others big and magnanimous), as if to say, ‘I’m still here, ever changing, but holding my own.’ ” That’s followed by Bedrich Smetana’s mysterious, magic-infused “Má Vlast: Vltava (The Moldau), and Šárka.” Elgar’s famous conductor Sarah Ioannides — now in her fifth season as the music director of Symphony Tacoma after long stints at the Spartanburg (South Carolina) Philharmonic Orchestra and the El Paso Symphony — steps up to the podium as guest conductor for this concert. Catch Ioannides at the Clinton School of Public Service on Thursday, Nov. 8, when she’ll give a free noontime lecture on her work. Also not to be overlooked: Violin virtuoso and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Kiril Laskarov plays Brahms’ “Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major” and “Piano Quartet in G minor” at the Clinton Presidential Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, as part of the River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series. See arkansassymphony.org for tickets. SS
ANNN’S BIG DIG: ISAAC ALEXANDER AND STEPHANIE SMITTLE
7 p.m. White Water Tavern. Donations.
Look, this lineup is plenty reason to come out. Isaac Alexander is one of Arkansas’s finest songwriters and pop craftsmen. He’s so esteemed by his peers, his 2008 solo album “See Thru Me” was voted the No. 11 Arkansas album of all time, alongside the likes of Johnny Cash, Al Green and Louis Jordan, by 100 local musicians, critics and scholars in the Arkansas Times’ 2010 Arkansas Music Poll. Stephanie Smittle, when she’s not working her day job at the Arkansas Times, is one of the most gifted and diverse vocal talents in the state. She splits her time singing Ashkenazic folk music with the Meshugga Klezmer Band, Southern sludge metal with Iron Tongue, sacred music as a cantor and chorister at Christ Church Episcopal and songs of politics and Arkansas history with duo Stephen and Stephanie. She’s also a decorated opera singer, and will star in Kurt Weill’s “Mahagonny Songspiel” at the Sammons Center in Dallas later this month. But on top of that, this event is a fundraiser for the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network, the investigative and public interest journalism nonprofit I run on the side of Arkansas Times. Through the end of the year, ANNN is part of NewsMatch, a fundraising campaign that matches donations dollar for dollar up to $1,000. Additionally, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation is matching the first $5,800 ANNN raises during the last two months of the year. That means that if ANNN gets $5,800 in donations from supporters, the two matching grants will bring that total to $17,400. So bring your credit or debit card or a check (to ensure we get the match) and give what you can to support more deep dives into health care issues and public corruption from the likes of Benjamin Hardy and David Ramsey. Doors open at 6 p.m. and children are welcome. LM
6 p.m. Jack Stephens Center, UA Little Rock. Free, RSVP required.
Steve Inskeep of NPR’s “Morning Edition” fame will present a lecture, “The Rule of Law,” about the initial and continuing impact of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The “Morning Edition” co-host is the author of “Jacksonland,” an account of President Andrew Jackson’s long-running conflict with John Ross, the Cherokee chief who resisted Jackson’s removal of Indians from the southeastern United States. That journey would eventually become known as the Trail of Tears. As Native Americans traveled east to Oklahoma, their routes crossed through Arkansas, and there’s a personal connection between Ross and Central Arkansas: Ross’ wife, Elizabeth “Quatie” Ross, died on the Trail of Tears in Little Rock, and her grave marker, found in Mount Holly Cemetery, where it had been moved from the old city cemetery, is housed at the Historic Arkansas Museum. (A replica cenotaph can be found at Mount Holly). Inskeep’s lecture will be introduced by former U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Morris “Buzz” Arnold, who will also moderate the question-and-answer session afterward. The event is presented by the United States Marshals Museum and sponsored by UA Little Rock, the Sequoyah National Research Center, KUAR-FM, 89.1, and NPR. Admission is free but requires an RSVP by Nov. 9; register at theruleoflaw.eventbrite.com. RH
4:30 p.m. University Theatre, UA Little Rock. Free.
Matthew Desmond is the author of “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” an essential and devastating study on the impact of eviction on the lives of the urban poor. The book won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. Desmond, a social scientist and professor at Princeton University, was also the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 2015 for his work on eviction. At Princeton, he’s spearheaded Eviction Lab, the first database of evictions around the country. Meanwhile, Arkansas notoriously has the worst renter protections in the country. It’s the only state that doesn’t require landlords to provide a habitable dwelling to renters, which means that a negligent landlord can rent a tenant an unsafe space. It’s also the lone state that criminalizes evictions. Arkansas data isn’t included in Desmond’s Eviction Lab. Surely, he’ll explain why. Come with other questions. He’ll offer a lecture and participate in a Q&A, followed by a reception and book signing. LM