The Culturalist

A month's worth of bleats, balance beams and (avett) brothers


Arkansas Goat Festival at the Perryville City Park | Oct. 1

PERRYVILLE | The very first thing that comes up when you Google “Goat Festival Arkansas” is as follows: A festival to celebrate everything that is good about goats. And should you doubt the integrity behind the claim …. Well, we wouldn’t recommend it. Because upon clicking through the festival’s website, you’ll likely find more usage of the word “goat” than anywhere else on the internet—including the term “goat check,” which is exactly what you think it is. And so, you may ask, what does said event, ahem, entail? “[A] goat parade, costume contest for goats, goat races, an art show featuring goat art, live music, food for any palate, vendors, and goats, goats, and more goats.” Needless to say, this is an event we all need in our lives—and that here, more than anywhere else, the animal is the undisputed GOAT. (

Ozark FolkLife Festival at Tyler Bend Campground, Buffalo National River | Oct. 1

ST. JOE | Celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in style this month at Tyler Bend with the Ozark Folklife Festival. And what “style” would that be, you ask? Festival attendees will have the opportunity to experience life in the Ozarks just like it would’ve been in the area’s early history, back before the NPS became the organization we know today. Take a walk down to the Collier Homestead for a look at an early 1900s Ozark Mountains dwelling or catch a glimpse of daily life in the era by visiting the folks at the pre–Civil War encampment, faithfully represented by the Early Arkansas Reenactors Association. Perhaps you’d rather engage in some traditional Ozark song-and-dance or settle in for some good ol’ fashioned storytelling. And if none of that tickles your history bone, did we mention the tomahawk-throwing competition? (


Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions at Verizon Arena | Oct. 5

NORTH LITTLE ROCK | If you’re anything like us, you kept an eye on Simone Biles during this year’s Olympics, because hopes were high for the 19-year-old gymnast (and boy, did she ever deliver). That last-second half-twist at the end of her floor routine, aka the “Biles”? Goosebumps, right? When asked about her legendary tumbling pass on the beam, Simone told the New York Times with a sparkle in her eye and a teasing smile on her lips, “It’s also the hardest dismount in the world. And I’m the only one that does it.” But even though popcorn-and-pizza nights watching the Olympics are over (sigh), we need not be forced to relive those glorious moments on YouTube. We can catch Simone and members of her former Olympic team and all-around champions at the Verizon Arena this month. (


The Avett Brothers at Verizon Arena | Oct. 7

NORTH LITTLE ROCK | “We love you, too, sincerely,” Seth Avett says on the band’s Live, Vol. 3 album in response to roaring applause and cheers from the crowd. “It’s real difficult to sound sincere on a microphone. But we love y’all, too, in a very big way.” While most fans would probably agree that The Avett Brothers actually excel at transferring sincerity through a microphone, it’s that sentiment that makes the brothers and their music so appealing. And as for their onstage energy? Well, let’s just say there’s a reason they’ve released four live records over the course of their 16-year career. Here in Little Rock, fans will be treated to another intimate performance from the band when The Avett Brothers return to Verizon’s smaller setting, “The Theater at Verizon Arena,” which only seats a portion of the arena’s 18,000 capacity. Take note: Last time the Brothers visited North Little Rock, the band performed to a sold-out crowd. (

The Crucible at The Rep | Oct. 26 – Nov. 13

LITTLE ROCK | Clowns give you the creeps? Zombies make you uncomfortable? This Halloween, you could cave to your significant other’s rather adamant requests to go haunted house-ing, or you could have a less-up-close-but-just-as-spooky experience at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre: The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s iconic play, brought to life on the Arkansas stage by director Paul Barnes. It’s a different kind of terror, sure—the kind that draws dark parallels between the semi-fictional Salem witch trials of the late 1600s and the present day. Because in looking at today’s political climate and crippling paranoia, The Crucible remains quite relevant. Add to that the madness of mass hysteria, sexual chemistry, exorcism and witches, and it’ll leave you afraid. Very, very afraid. (

hall-thom-sylvia-moskowitzGlass Fantasies: Enamels by Thom Hall at The Arkansas Arts Center | Oct. 7 – Dec. 31

LITTLE ROCK | It’s not something you hear every day, an artist tackling the centuries-old practice of enameling. Enameling itself—the process of applying powdered glass to a metal surface and firing it in a kiln, layer after layer—is somewhat of an obscure practice. But it’s something Arkansan artist Thom E. Hall knows well. Take his piece Sylvia Moskowitz, for example (that’s it above). The opaque washes of color depicting Hall’s outrageous, dance-loving alter ego—who appears nude midway up the stairs, brown curls escaping the turquoise scarf wrapped around her head—characterize the medium that Thom mastered during his 35-plus years at the Arkansas Arts Center, where he soaked up knowledge from its courses, joined its staff, and worked his way up the museum’s registrar before retiring only a couple of years ago. This month, the work he completed between 1977 and 1993 will go on display at the Arkansas Arts Center to complement a nationally traveling enameling exhibition. (