The Culturalist

A month's worth of blooms, bicycles and the blues

Son Volt | March 2

LITTLE ROCK | Sprung from the ashes of pioneering alt-country group Uncle Tupelo almost 23 years ago came two other much-loved bands: Wilco and Son Volt. Wilco moved progressively toward more experimental territory, but Son Volt frontman Jay Farrar took his band headlong into the genre he helped create. Now, as acts like The Avett Brothers, Justin Townes Earle and Sturgill Simpson dominate the scene, Son Volt is moving on in a slightly different direction, but one that’s still distinctly American and mired in history: the blues. With their eighth record Notes of Blue, released last month, the band uses the genre as a jumping-off point, with a little Skip James here and a little ZZ Top there, but the end result is pure Son Volt. Hear the evolution of the band’s sound over its decades-long career when they stop by Rev Room this month. (

39th Annual Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival | March 4-5 & 11-12

WYE | Jonquil, narcissus, daffadowndilly—it seems the only thing sweeter than the yellow bloom known to poke its sunny head up this time of year are the names used to describe it. Here locally, there’s hardly a better place to surround yourself with sweet-as-sugar daffadowndillies than up on Wye Mountain outside of Little Rock. It would also seem, based on such metrics as, well, Instagram, that there’s no better place to snap a selfie or a shot of your kiddos looking Easter-ready. So grab the seersucker, the smocked dresses, the wicker baskets and the neighbor’s pet bunny—along with a fistful of Claritin—and head up to this annual small-town festival, where you’ll find 20-plus varieties of the blooms as well as barbecue, arts-and-crafts vendors and all the awwww-inducing photo opps you can handle. (

Cabinet of Curiosities: Treasures From the University of Arkansas Museum Collection | Opening March 11

LITTLE ROCK | There are 388 items that’ll be on display, every one with a story, but maybe let’s just start with one: a 1917 Marlin Arms Corporation, 30-caliber machine gun with a tripod. Back in 1934, the story goes, when the outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were gunned down in their cordoba gray Ford V-8 by 167 bullets, there were 14 guns found in the car. (“Two sawed-off shotguns, two machine rifles, 10 automatic pistols and 1,500 rounds of ammunition,” according to the newscaster from a scratchy 1934 newsreel.) In later years, according to the Old State House Museum, one of those guns—the 30-caliber machine gun—was put on display at a movie theater in Fort Smith. After its removal from the theater, it was acquired by an individual who later donated it to the University of Arkansas Museum. And now? It’s alongside the skeletal remains of a mammoth found near Hazen during construction on I-40 and the Bendix G-15, the first computer in Arkansas, on display at the Old State House Museum. Because, really, where else would it be? (

First Ever 14th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade | March 17

HOT SPRINGS | It takes a wee bit of mental gymnastics, imagining how it all fits. Because on one hand, you’ve got thousands of attendees decked out in every conceivable shade of green, dozens of dancing Irish Elvis impersonators, a half-dozen Clydesdales, a dozen Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, 40 floats and a slew of eclectic and varied participants including the “world’s largest leprechaun,” “Lards of the Dance” and, kicking things off as the official parade starter, wrestling legend Ric Flair. On the other hand, you’ve got the comparatively diminutive staging venue: a 98-foot-long street. But difficult as it might be to conceive of so much Irish goodness in such confined, condensed quarters, Hot Springs manages to pull it off every year. Luck of the Irish, as they say. (

40th Joe Martin Stage Race | March 30 – April 2

FAYETTEVILLE | Ah, spring. Time for rebirth. Time to stop and smell the flowers. And, for a certain section of the two-wheeled set, apparently time for the mind-bendingly difficult task of riding 168 miles through Ozark hills over the course of four days. Named in honor of its late founder, the Joe Martin fêtes its 40th this year, having begun in 1978 as the Fayetteville Spring Cycling Classic. Four decades later, it’s one of the nation’s preeminent pro-cycling events, attracting 750 cyclists (and upwards of 10,000 spectators) from 50 states and 25 countries. And even if you aren’t, say, particularly race-ready (the Joe Martin offers a “gran fondo” event for amateurs, letting you play pro for the day), you can still cheer on those who are from the scenic sidelines. Because dangit, it’s spring. (