The Mississippi Book Festival is Saturday at the Mississippi State Capitol. Image: Mississippi Book Festival

By Sherry Lucas

I was running late that Saturday morning to last year’s Mississippi Book Festival, but I wasn’t too worried. It was going on all day, and I knew from the packed schedule I’d find plenty to hold my interest. I figured I’d pop in on a panel or two, visit with some cool locals, and drift off after I had my fill. What I hadn’t realized: That fill didn’t happen till around 4 p.m.

I kept meaning to leave, but then another panel topic would pique my interest or another fellow book fan would start to chat or I’d wander over to a food truck for a snack and before I knew it, I’d spent a totally pleasant, very entertaining day hanging out at this literary lawn party. Hot topics, cool comfort, funny and free-wheeling conversations and provocative commentary — all day long.

You can bet, come this Saturday, I’ll do it again. That’s just one event in a stellar weekend that also sees Lyle Lovett and his Large Band in town, and the “With Friends Like These …”  benefit for James Patterson that pulls together pals from Jackson’s rock’n’roll past to put on a great show at Duling Hall for a great cause.

This is NOT a weekend to stay home, folks.

Hear Grant Terry Live Wednesday night at Soul Wired Cafe, 4147 Northview Plaza. It’s free up to 7 p.m. and $5 after 7 p.m. with the music kicking up at 8 p.m.

The Newk’s Cares Lunch & Learn, noon Thursday at the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum, is a chance to learn more about ovarian cancer, as Newk’s Eatery and St. Dominic Hospital team up to raise awareness and support for ovarian cancer prevention, treatment and research through the free event in Sparkman Auditorium. Pre-register and, if you want, submit questions to the panel by emailing NewksCares@Newks.com.

Museum After Hours on Thursday takes an “On the Verge” turn at the Mississippi Museum of Art, when Verge Jxn takes over the Art Lab for “Creativity Never Ages,” a host of collaborative art-making activities in the Art Garden. Covers and original tunes by Krystal Gem lend a soulful sound to the night, 5:30-9 p.m. Wax sculpting, Faces of Jackson mural, marbling paper and more are among the offerings. La Brioche, food trucks and a cash bar offer sustenance while you tap your own creative potential.

Museum After Hours Thursday offers art activities for all. Image: Mississippi Museum of Art.

Thursday’s opening reception for a show of paintings by Noah Saterstrom, Ke Francis and Glennray Tutor at Fischer Galleries is also the kickoff for the 2018 Mississippi Book Festival, 5-8 p.m. in the gallery’s loft space, fourth floor in the Dickies Building.

The August “Network Your Net Worth” Mixer hosted by Jxn Black Pages, is 6-7:30 p.m. at Kundi Compound. It’s free, and guests include Ayanna Kacy Lipsey of Hinds Community Workforce Development and Wendy Shenefelt of Alternate Roots.

“I AND YOU,” a play by Lauren Gunderson, comes to Highland Village Thursday at 7:30 p.m., presented by Fondren Theatre Workshop. Directed by Juniper Wallace and featuring Reese Overstreet and Jeremiah Henry, tickets are $10 cash at door and $5 for students 18 and under. The play is rated PG for some mature language and subject matter.

Grammy-winning country-plus singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett and his Large Band bring great music to Thalia Mara Hall, 8 p.m. Friday. Find tickets, $30.50-$75.50, at ticketfly.com.

Lyle Lovett and his Large Band perform Friday at Thalia Mara Hall. Image: ardenland

Holiday! Madonnarama, 8 p.m. Friday at The Ecoshed, 133 Commerce Park Drive, celebrates the Queen of Pop’s 60th birthday with everything Madonna, including prizes and awards for ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s Madonnas, a lip sync contest at 10 p.m. and a drag show at midnight. Tickets are $10 before 10 p.m. and $15 after that. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Mississippi Human Rights Campaign.

Rock Eupora’s album release show, 8 p.m. Friday at Duling Hall, welcomes the second full-length album, “Soon the Sun Will Come,” from the Mississippi music artist whose blend of gritty rock and shimmering pop addresses time, love, faith and more. It’s $7 advance (ardenland.net), $10 day of show. TWINS and Newscast open the show.

Rock Eupora’s album release show is Friday at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

The fourth annual Mississippi Book Festival Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is a daylong indulgence in books, authors, stories, hot contemporary topics and cool conversations, all at the Mississippi State Capitol, its lawn, adjacent streets and Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church. Panels, interviews, Authors Alley, an outdoor mall of booksellers, exhibits, kids’ and teen activities, food trucks and music make this free literary lawn party extra festive. Hobnob with favorites and find new ones in the mix of award-winning writers and fervent readers, celebs and fans. Among the authors: Salman Rushdie, Jesmyn Ward, Rick Bragg, Jon Meacham, Angie Thomas and many more. Find a schedule and more details at msbookfestival.com.

The Mississippi Book Festival is Saturday at the Mississippi State Capitol. Image: Mississippi Book Festival

The Willie Morris After-Party, 7-10 p.m. Saturday in the Big Room at Hal & Mal’s, wraps up the Mississippi Book Festival with music by the Hal & Mal’s Allstars featuring Raphael Semmes and Bill Ellison. It’s $15 at the door (free for book fest badge holders) and is open to the public. Jackson Gypsies dish up free live music in the dining room.

“With Friends Like These … An Evening for James Patterson,” 7-11:30 p.m. Saturday at Duling Hall, is a past-blast of Jackson music that rocked so many good times here in the 1980s. Bands and musicians are coming together again to show appreciation and raise money to go toward Patterson’s medical expenses. The show features The Windbreakers, Used Goods, Beat Temptation, Lee Barber, Radio London, Bark, Wyatt Waters and special guests. Admission is $10 (ticketfly.com), $15 at the door. Love for this acclaimed Jackson photographer runs deep. In addition to all that great music, the evening includes a silent auction of pieces by Ellen Langford, Wyatt Waters, Josh Hailey, Laurin Stennis and more.

“With Friends Like These … An Evening for James Patterson,” Saturday at Duling Hall includes a retro lineup of Jackson rock’n’roll and a silent auction of art, including this work by Laurin Stennis. Image: Laurin Stennis, based on a photo by Tom Roster

Yappy Hour 3 p.m. Saturday on the patio next to Char benefits the Rescue Revolution of Mississippi and celebrates Hollywood Feed Highland Village’s grand opening.

Mind Ya Business, a mixer event for entrepreneurs, is 11 a.m to 1 p.m.Saturday at 201 W. Capitol St. Tickets are $10 on eventbrite.com.

Big Laughs in the City, 7-11 p.m. at the Jackson Marriott, features Kev on Stage. Jackson favorite Rita Brent is performing, too. Music is by DJ Rafe, and there’s a cash bar and security provided. Admission is $30 advance (eventbrite.com), $35 at the door, $40 and up reserved seating.

The Fleetwood Deville and Gallery Show, 7 p.m. Saturday at The Flamingo, includes a performance by Fleetwood Deville, a live improv DJ duo set from Skipp Coon and Silent G, and works by Michaela Fisk and Christina McField.

Get on a live action roll with the Capital City Roller Girls Saturday at the Mississippi Trade Mart, with a 2-for-1 doubleheader. The Steal Magnolias’ inaugural game against North Shore Roller Derby’s  Derby’s Lethal Ladies from Mandeville, Louisiana. Then, see Capital City Roller Girls’ 8 Wheeled Mafia take on Red Stick Roller Derby’s Capital Defenders from Baton Rouge. Tickets are $10 pre-sale (brownpapertickets.com), $12 at the door. Ages 10 and younger get in free.

The DJ Made Me Do It, starting at 9 p.m. Saturday at Last Call, with DJ Finesse, Bigg Shocka and other special guest DJs.

“An Evening in Venice,” 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Old Capitol Inn, promises a Venetian evening from the silent auction and social hour start to the fine dining finish, with beautiful Italian arias from acclaimed opera talents to row you pleasantly through the night. The evening is a benefit for Mississippi Opera. Seating is limited; tickets are $150 each or $1,200 for a table of 8, at msopera.org or 601-960-2300.

“An Evening in Venice” benefit for Mississippi Opera is Sunday at the Old Capitol Inn. Image: Mississippi Opera

Nashville-based comedian, author and singer Heather Land, known for her “I Ain’t Doin It” videos as well as her country tunes, brings all that to Jackson for a 7 p.m. Sunday show at Thalia Mara Hall. Find tickets, $43-$103 and up, at ticketmaster.com.

Singer/comedian Heather Land performs Sunday at Thalia Mara Hall. Image: Landslide Productions

Sherry Lucas, a features writer in Jackson for the last 34 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a curated sampling of creativity and culture from across the metro area. For additional Fondren events, see our online calendar here. Reach Sherry at sherry@finditinfondren.com.

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