Rejoice, Little Rock!

Earlier than ever before, we have your exclusive sneak peek at the lineup for this year's Acansa Arts Festival. The annual fest will mark its fifth year on Sept. 18-23, and its list of headliners reflects the occasion.

As always, Acansa will showcase a wide range of performances and events in venues spanning the metro, all designed to broaden public access to the arts and educational opportunities.

A more extensive list is yet to come, but here's your first look at Acansa 2018:

 

A Rowdy Faith

Sept. 18, The Butler Center

A Rowdy Faith is the partnership of Little Rock natives Alisyn Reid and Cate Davison, combining Alisyn’s thoughtful Americana with Cate’s Southern Gothic style. In 2012, Alisyn won second place in the Ozark Folk Festival songwriting contest, and A Rowdy Faith was a semifinalist in the 2016 Arkansas Times Musician Showcase.

 

MilkDrive

Sept. 18, Ron Robinson Theater

This Austin-based acoustic power team features skilled multi-instrumentalists versed in a variety of musical styles. MilkDrive is a musical extravaganza that joins genres and generations. A talented and progressive blend of bluegrass, jazz and folk, the band has been categorized and recategorized over the years by itself and others.

 

Steve Azar & The Kings Men

Sept. 19, Ron Robinson Theater

In April of 2016, Steve became the first artist to record a full-length studio album at the legendary Mississippi landmark, Club Ebony. A long time in the making, Steve cut 13 new original tracks. The album, "Down At The Liquor Store," was made with the participation of The Kings Men, a group of musicians who backed B.B. King, Elvis Presley and other musical kings. Steve has some Arkansas roots as well, with family in North Little Rock.

 

The Upright Citizens Brigade

Sept. 20 & 21, Argenta Community Theater

The Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) is the comedy powerhouse founded by Amy Poehler, Little Rock native Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh. They run a branded content unit/TV production studio and a touring company that performs at theatres and colleges. And their improv workshops are the de facto standard for corporate training.

 

Chuchito Valdes

Sept. 22, The Rail Yard

Born Jesus Valdes Jr., he's known as Chuchito Valdes, the third generation prodigy of a Cuban jazz piano dynasty headed by his grandfather, the legendary Bebo Valdes, and his famed father Chucho Valdes. Chuchito will be Acansa’s first-ever performance at The Rail Yard, a brand new venue opening this summer in Little Rock’s East Village.

 

Momix

Sept. 22, Pulaski Technical College

Based in New York City and known internationally for presenting work of exceptional inventiveness and physical beauty, Momix is a company of dancer-illusionists under the direction of Moses Pendleton. In addition to stage performances worldwide, Momix has also worked in film and television.

 

Warriors Don’t Cry

Sept. 23, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

"Warriors Don’t Cry" is a one-woman play, based on the searing civil rights memoir of the same name by Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals. As one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Central High School in 1957, Melba Pattillo and her eight fellow student-warriors captured the world’s attention as they risked their lives and endured untold hatred and violence in pursuit of an education equal to that of their white counterparts.

 

Along with these performers, Acansa 2018 will also include Jimmy Abegg, Laurence Juber, Kevin Doyle, Voice Play and Tatiana Roitman Mann, as well as visual art galleries.

Expect more announcements about artists and shows in the coming weeks, but this is definitely enough to whet the appetite until tickets go on sale Friday, June 1.

To learn more about the visual and performing arts festival, visit the Acansa website, and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.