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The top things to do and places to be

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published February 13, 2014 at 3:11 a.m.


Jeff Dunham with Peanut and Jose Jalapeno on a stick.


Friday is, of course, Valentine’s Day, and if you have not already made arrangements - flowers, candy and/or dining - your time is running extremely short. It’s one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, so reservations are a must - that is, if you can still get one. At places that don’t take reservations, pack your patience and be prepared for long waits for a table, and for probable kitchen back-ups anyplace you dine.

Some restaurants are expanding their hours - some advertising it, some not - so it may be worth placing that phone call, or going early or supping late to avoid the chaos, may be your best options.

Oh, and coupons are definitely declasse. Take comfort: Your significant other may never speak to you again, but Denny’s, IHOP, Waffle House and most McDonald’s outlets are open - no reservations necessary.


Comic and “voice artist” Jeff Dunham brings his “Disorderly Conduct” tour, complete with his cast of characters - including Walter the Grumpy Retiree, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, redneck Bubba J, Peanut the purple Woozle, the peppery Jose Jalapeno and Peanut’s own ventriloquist dummy, Little Jeff - to town with a show at 8 p.m. Friday, Verizon Arena, East Broadway and Interstate 30, North Little Rock. Tickets: $55.85. Call (800) 745-3000 or visit


Wildwood Park for the Arts, 20919 Denny Road, Little Rock, journeys around the world for the annual Lanterns! festival, 6-10 p.m.

Friday-Sunday. The park’s wooded paths will be lighted by fire pits and luminarias as guests travel to areas highlighting the cultures of Asia, Jamaica, Mexico, New Orleans, Rome and Shakespearean England, with games, performances and food. Tickets are $10, $5 for children 6-12. Call (501) 821-7275 or visit See story on Page 4E.


The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has a busy weekend in store:

In partnership with the Argenta Community Theater, 405 Main St., North Little Rock, orchestra musicians will play the first 2014 ACT-ASO Concert at 7 p.m. today. The program, titled “ACTing Out in Outrageous Style!

From Steampunk to the Emperor’s New Clothes,” will include Peter Schickele’s The Emperor’s New Clothes with narrator Ann Nicholson; violinist Kiril Laskarov and pianist Carl Anthony playing Fritz Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegroin the style of Pugnani; and Lecolion Washington as the bassoon soloist in Michael Daugherty’s Dead Elvis. Tickets are $20. Call (501) 353-1443 or visit

At 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Robinson Center Music Hall, West Markham Street and Broadway, the entire orchestra will be onstage, with Broadway singer/actors Mandy Gonzalez (just off a run as Elphaba in Wicked) and Destan Owens (Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Rent) and conductor Geoffrey Robson for “Best of Broadway,” the season’s third Pops Live! concert.

Expect tunes, duets and medleys from more recent Broadway hits, including Next to Normal, Little Shop of Horrors, Spamalot, Rent, Chicago, Wicked, Les Miserables and the inescapable Cats and Phantom of the Opera. Sponsors are Magna IV Communications and UAMS. Tickets are $18-$59, $10 for active military and students, free for K-12 students to the Sunday matinee with paying adult. Call (501) 666-1761 or visit


Guests can slurp up some of the best soups and munch some of the finest breads and desserts in central Arkansas at the 33rd annual Soup Sunday, 4-7 p.m. Sunday at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 11301 Financial Centre Parkway, Little Rock. Restaurants participating include Ciao Baci, Capitol Bistro, South on Main and Loca Luna. There will also be a silent auction and music by The Big John Miller Band. Tickets are $50 for the VIP Signature Soup Room. Regular tickets are $20 through Friday, $25 at the door, $5 for children 5-12. Proceeds benefit Arkansas Advocates for Children &Families. Call (501) 371-9678 or visit


See what talented artists can do with simple watercolor paints as the Historic Arkansas Museum, 200 E. Third St., Little Rock, presents the Mid-Southern Watercolorists 44th Annual Juried Exhibition. The selection of 40 watercolors debuts with an opening reception that will include music by Kit & Kaboodle, 5-8 p.m. Friday. The exhibit continues through April 6. Regular gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Monday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday and admission is free. Call (501) 324-9351 or visit See story on Page 4E.


The “universal experience” of three couples over a 30-year span will be onstage as Community Theatre of Little Rock stages the musical Baby (music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr., book by Sybille Pearson), 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 21-22, 28 and March 1 and 2 p.m.Sunday, Feb. 23 and March 2 at the Public Theatre, 616 Center St., Little Rock. Admission is pay what you can for tonight’s 7:30 “Pocket Preview”/ final dress rehearsal. Otherwise, tickets are $18; $16 for members of the military, students (age 10-college) and adults 65 and older; $8 for children 4-9; free for kids 3 and younger. Get a dollar off with a pair of gently used running shoes. Call (501) 410-2283 or visit


The Paul Thorn Band headlines Saturday’s “Live on the Levee”concert at the Malco Theater, 424 Cherry St., Helena/West Helena. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the Reba Russell Band opens the show at 7. Tickets are $35. A special after-party will follow at 10 with music and refreshments at the Manchester on Biscuit Row, 320 Phillips St.; admission is $15, $25 per couple. Call (870) 572-5223 or visit See story on Page 5E.


Petit Jean Mountain State Park in Morrilton is for romantics this weekend during Hikes, Hearts & Hugs. Friday-Sunday, the park will offer a series of hikes, dinners and programs designed specifically for couples who want to spend their Valentine’s Day in nature. All hikes and programs are free. The Valentine’s dinner is sold out. Call (501) 727-5441 or visit


Cacao fans will be heading to Eureka Springs this weekend for the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce’s 10th annual Chocolate Lovers’ Festival, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center, 207 W. Van Buren St. (U.S. 62 West), Eureka Springs. Sample a wide range of confections; there will be cash-prize contests for chocolate recipes and decorating; a silent auction; and displays by area merchants. Admission is $12, $6 for children 6 and younger. Proceeds will be shared with area students and nonprofits. Call (479) 253-8737.

Weekend, Pages 31 on 02/13/2014

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