Rolling Girls, Snuggie Crawls, And Hot Music

ffw 0121 mikel rouse

Gravity Radio

The Walton Arts Center added a new show last week, Mikel Rouse’s Gravity Radio, and it’s not to miss. The New York experimental musician, composer and filmmaker and his band will perform at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday in the Starr Theater.

Rouse released Gravity Radio last fall. His inspiration for the title pays tribute to physicist Raymond Chiao and his experiments with superconductors and gravity.

The performance is backdropped by multi-channel video projections and audio news reports from AP Newswire. These reports are scattershot, reflecting current events such as the Iraq war, cell phone usage, football and the economy. They are taken from the day’s local and national news and customized for each performance. The combination of the music, audio and video makes Gravity Radio a multi-media experience, not just a multi-media show.

The Gravity Radio tour began last week in New Orleans and will travel to New York, Illinois, North Carolina, Toronto, Ireland and Spain.

Rouse has previously released several albums including CDs with his contemporary chamber ensemble, Mikel Rouse Broken Consort, and his rock combo Tirez Tirez.

The Toronto Globe and Mail compared Rouse’s music to “Laurie Anderson, Steve Reich and occasionally Talking Heads, though Rouse’s love of complex rhythmic patterns far exceeds them all.”

Rouse’s world is large. He has gone from New York’s small venue, the Kitchen to the Lincoln Center. For the last 15 years, he has been developing a trilogy of multimedia operas that have played theatres and festivals around the world. His repertoire has its roots in the high art-meets-popular culture of the ’80s Manhattan music and art scene. He has collaborated with everyone from Delta bluesmen to scientists at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create his productions.

Rouse is continually developing cutting-edge work. In 2006, his International Cloud Atlas was commissioned by The Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the John Cage Trust and Betty Freeman. The piece was scored for multiple iPods set to “shuffle” so that each audience member had a different realization of the score.

Tickets are $10-$15. A deal that you won’t find in NYC.

Snuggie Crawl

Those things (the biggest uglythings since the Chia Pet) Snuggies, aka blankets with armholes, will invade Dickson Street on Friday on the backs of folks who just want to have fun at the Snuggie Crawl. If you don’t have a regulation Snuggie, you’re invited, too. Just wear a blanket or robe and show the world you didn’t fall for the Snuggie hype. Some of the Dickson Street merchants will be offering discounts on food, drinks and merchandise for the wrapped-up crowd. The Walton Arts Center is offering $5 off tickets to Cyro Baptista’s “Banquet of the Spirits,” which should be a fantastic show, “Goodnight Moon” and “The Runaway Bunny” and the Feb. 18 performances of “One Night of Queen” to the blanketed who purchase tickets at the box office between 9 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday. Go to for details.


It’s a scalding hot week for music in NWA. The hot ticket is the sold-out Mark O’Connor Hot Swing Quintet at the Walton Arts Center on Friday night. O’Connor’s quintet includes some of the best musicians in the biz: Frank Vignola (Les Paul, Madonna, Ringo Starr), Gary Mazzaroppi (Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd), Matt Munisteri (Madeline Peyroux, Flying Neutrinos) and vocalist Heather Masse (Wailin’ Jennys, Elvis Costello). Check the WAC on the day of the show, in case tickets become available.

In the clubs, tonight will be a big night with the Wade Ogle CD release party and the John Moore art show at the Dickson Theater. Friday and Saturday night George’s will be packed with fans of Lucero and Cory Branan. Big Smith will be adding to the bill on Saturday. For something more alternative, go for The People in the Paper and Dreamfast on Saturday at Rogue. Dreamfast doesn’t play a lot around town, so get out. Dreamfast vocalist Amyh Hart is one of NWA’s best. Sunday night at Opal Fly’s catch The Strut for their CD release party. George’s has Yonder Mountain String Band Tuesday night and the WakaWinter Classic on Wednesday night with local bands Groovement, Hosta, The Staggering Odds, Whurm and The Smithstonians all vying for a spot on the Wakarusa stage.

There are good shows in store for Americana music fans. There’s Effron White’s “Songs in the Ville” at 7:30 p.m. today at the UARK Ballroom. Joining White will be Nashville’s Brice Long and Ken Hart and NWA’s Marshall Mitchell. Friday night Canadian fiddler, singer and stepdancer April Verch and her band, Clay Ross and Cody Walters, will play GoodFolk. It’s a good week to support live music, so get out and keep it goin’.

Categories: Features