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Highlights for April 19-25

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Arkansas Literary Festival
Little Rock should be the prime choice for a road trip this week. The Arkansas Literary festival will take place outdoors in Little Rock’s River Market district and at other nearby locations today through Sunday. The event features scores of notable authors who will be reading and mingling and just the right dose of exhibits and music—not so much that it is overwhelming. There will be workshops for children and teens and most activities are free.

Celebrated author Nikki Giovanni is scheduled to speak Friday, followed by a martini party with some of the participating authors and fundraiser. Things really kick into gear on Saturday and continue Sunday with author sessions, musical entertainment, a book fair and exhibits. Among the Saturday guests are Pulitzer prize nominated writer Jonathan Reynolds and Milton Viorst, an expert on the Middle East who has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and many other publications. Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens will speak on Sunday. For a complete schedule visit: www.arkansasliteraryfestival.org.

And, while you’re in the ‘hood. Little Rock will celebrate Earth Day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Clinton Presidential Center and President Clinton is expected to be on hand. Food, shopping, games and entertainment for all ages, with a socially responsible twist. www.arkansasearthday.org.

For information on Earth Day celebrations in Fayetteville see 8 Days a Week on page 6. Don’t miss OMNI Center’s Earth Day events Saturday at the Walton Arts Center Rose Garden. OMNI will be giving away environmentally friendly light bulbs that will also help cut down on your electric bill.

Victor Wooten
Often regaled as the most outstanding bassist since Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten is known for his solo recordings and as a member of the Grammy-winning Béla Fleck & The Flecktones. Wooten is an innovator, as well as a talented composer, arranger, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist.

Early on Wooten was influenced by bass mentors, Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham and Bootsy Collins. In 1988 he moved to Nashville, where he met New Grass Revival banjo ace Béla Fleck. A year later, Fleck enlisted Victor, his brother Roy (a.k.a. Future Man) and harmonica-playing keyboardist Howard Levy to perform with him, and the Flecktones were born. With the Flecktones in full flight, Victor set his sights on a solo career, first forming Bass Extremes and eventually launching his solo debut album, A Show of Hands, in 1996. In 1999 his album Yin-Yang was nominated for a Grammy.

Wooten is the only three-time winner of Bass Player magazine’s Bass Player Of The Year. He has recorded and performed with artists like Branford Marsalis, Mike Stern, Bruce Hornsby, Chick Corea, Dave Matthews, Prince, Gov’t Mule, Susan Tedeschi, Vital Tech Tones, the Jaco Pastorius Word Of Mouth Big Band as well as on the soundtrack of the Disney film Country Bears.

Fresh off sold-out tours with the Flecktones and Bass Extremes (with Bailey, Watson and Oteil Burbridge) in 2004, Victor refocused his solo side in 2005 after his Vanguard Records debut, Soul Circus, which featured guest artists, Bootsy Collins, Arrested Development rapper Speech, Howard Levy, Dennis Chambers, Saundra Williams, J.D. Blair, Derico Watson, Flecktone Jeff Coffin, and a who’s-who of bassists, including Bailey, Burbridge, Will Lee, Rhonda Smith, Christian McBride, T.M. Stevens, Bill Dickens and Gary Grainger.

Victor Wooten plays George’s on Tuesday night.

All day 420
How fast can you roll? Among the events scheduled Friday for NORML’s 420 celebration is a joint rolling contest—with tobacco, of course.

April 20, known as 420, is globally recognized as a marijuana day. The University of Arkansas NORML chapter is hosting two events to bring attention to their philosophy that marijuana is safer than alcohol and the laws should reflect that, said Ryan Denham of Fayetteville’s NORML. Denham said that in 2005, 405 people were arrested on marijuana charges in Fayetteville, or more than one person a day. He said that in the U.S. a marijuana arrest occurs every 40 seconds.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday there will be music by DJ Dane, DJ Vaxination, DJ Illectron, Velcro Moonshoe and Truefolk and a screening of the film “Grass” at the Greek Theater on the UA campus. At 4:20 p.m. there will be a drum circle. All events at the Greek Theater are free.

Activities will move to George’s at 8 p.m. for a concert with Blueground Undergrass, Truefolk, Still on the Hill, DJ- Hod-I, Darlene and Velcro Moonshoe. There will also be a joint rolling contest (with tobacco) and a talk. Admission is $10.