The Culturalist

A month’s worth of Bald eagles, Brad Paisley and Broadway-caliber Boots

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NATHALIA EDENMONT: FORCE OF NATURE | Jan. 19 – May 1

LITTLE ROCK |  It takes a lot to capture the perfect shot, and photographer Nathalia Edenmont knows this better than most. While admiring her work, it’s almost impossible not to take note of the patience and painstaking attention to detail—which is produced over the course of some 10 to 12 hours and with the help of eight to 12 assistants—that’s been poured into every stylized image. Snakes, rabbits, birds, wilted flowers and branches hug and surround her subjects, all of it designed to explore time, beauty and metamorphoses, ideas that resonate with Edenmont. But even when you’ve adjusted to the curious and bizarre, you start to realize there’s a broader story told by those details. In the progression of her romantically ethereal photos, there’s also the progression of a compressed narrative of the artist’s struggles living in the harsh reality of Soviet Ukraine, her refuge in Sweden after being orphaned at 14, her quest to the United States and more recently, to Arkansas, where she’ll host her first solo exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center this month. (arkansasartscenter.org)


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DAVID WAX MUSEUM | Jan. 27

LITTLE ROCK | What sounds like a peculiar exhibit offering slightly warped wax representations of, say, George Washington or Nicolas Cage is actually a husband-and-wife duo touring the country to share the Mexo-Americana sounds that have reached the (Facebook) likes of nearly 13,000 listeners. Not your typical gig for a pair who met in Massachusetts. After venturing to Mexico to explore folk sounds south of the border, singer-songwriter David Wax returned to the U.S., where he met his now-wife, fiddler player and singer Suz Slezak, who threw in her Irish-Appalachian sounds to create one heck of a fusion that’s been increasingly captivating audiences—including a crowd set to hear their blend at South on Main later this month—since 2008. (southonmain.com)


KINKY BOOTS | Jan. 19-24

FAYETTEVILLE | If you’re a sucker for bravura performances and big-budget Broadway productions, Kinky Boots, which comes to the Walton Arts Center this month, should be on your must-see list of musicals. A story of a shoe-factory heir who becomes eager to save the family business following his father’s death, Kinky Boots flouts taboos and struts past convention, thanks to the thigh-high-red-stiletto-boot-wearing drag queen Lola who comes to the rescue. (waltonartscenter.org)


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EAGLE LAKE CRUISE | Saturdays in January

LITTLE ROCK | When standing toe-to-toe with the dead of winter, it might be tempting to bundle up, hunker down and wrap your fingers around a steaming cuppa. But if you are like us, brave-hearted and thick-skinned, a mild case of winter “blahs” and some frost on the ground won’t get in your way of having fun outdoors this month—especially because it’s the perfect time to spot some wintering bald eagles gracing the landscape of Lake Maumelle. Not to mention, Pinnacle Mountain State Park interpreters will be there to educate you on the majestic raptors. (arkansasstateparks.com)


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REINVENTING RADIO: AN EVENING WITH IRA GLASS | Jan. 16

FAYETTEVILLE | When it comes to radio, Ira Glass has helped listeners rethink their relationship with the AM-FM dial—and their devices. With This American Life reaching about 1 million podcast downloads each episode—in addition to spinning off an Emmy-winning television series and a wildly addictive investigative offshoot—show host and creator Glass, who got his start at NPR in 1978, has plenty to share when he visits the Walton Arts Center this month. Escape your car and ditch your earbuds for this one: Using pre-taped sound bites and music, Glass will construct the sounds of an episode in the flesh. (waltonartscenter.org)


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BRAD PAISLEY CRUSHIN’ IT WORLD TOUR | Jan. 21

JONESBORO | Sure, Brad Paisley had a killer 2014 when Moonshine in the Trunk hit No. 1 on the country charts—and arguably an even sweeter 2015 when the success of his Crushin’ It World Tour wowed audiences throughout the summer and fall. But the new year looks to be starting out strong for Paisley, too, thanks to the 23 added tour dates kicking off winter 2016. First stop: Jonesboro, where the three-time Grammy winner visits the state once more to play Arkansas State University’s Convocation Center. (astateconvo.com)