Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Lineup for 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival announced

alf maurice               Prestigious award-winners, big names, GRAMMY nominees, filmmakers, journalists, and artists are among the diverse roster of presenters who will be providing sessions at the twelfth annual Arkansas Literary Festival, April 23-26, 2015. The Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library campus and many other Little Rock venues are the sites for a stimulating mix of sessions, panels, special events, performances, workshops,presentations, opportunities to meet authors, book sales, and book signings. Most events are free and open to the public.

The Arkansas Literary Festival, the premier gathering of readers and writers in Arkansas, will include more than 80 presenters including featured authors John Waters, Rebecca Wells, Charles D. Morgan, Andrew Keen, Cheryl & Griff Day, Issa Rae, Ted Rall, Rick Bragg, Megan Abbott, Seph Lawless, Wesley K. Clark, and Bryan Collier.

This year’s Festival authors have won an impressive number and variety of distinguished awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Purple Heart, GLAAD Stephen F. Kolzak Award, Hugo Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Caldecott Honor, American Society of Newspaper Editor’s Distinguished Writing Award, Hammett Prize, Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, Bram Stoker Award, Whiting Writers Award, Plimpton Prize, Shorty Award for best web show, Beatrice Hawley award, New York Times Editor’s Selection, Poets Prize, Romantic Times Legend of Romance, Porter Prize, a James Beard Award nominee, the U.S. nominee for the Hans Christen Andersen Award, and more.

Special events for adults during the Festival include a cocktail reception with the authors, a session with John Waters, special art exhibits, and a workshop on developing a personal style. Panels and sessions include genres and topics such as scientific thinking, Jerry Lee Lewis, the web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, comic art, romance, war, and baking.

Children’s special events include a Tiny Ninja workshop, and a play based on Chicken Little and the Little Red Hen. Festival sessions for children will take place at both the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, 4800 10th Street, and the Youth Services Department at the Main Library, 100 Rock Street. Special events for teens include a session with E. Lockhart, whose book, We Were Liars, was the best reviewed book for young adults in 2014..

Through the Writers In The Schools (WITS) initiative, the Festival will provide presentations by several authors for Pulaski county elementary, middle, and senior high schools and area colleges.

Support for the Literary Festival is provided by sponsors including Central Arkansas Library System, Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL), Arkansas Humanities Council, Fred K. Darragh Jr. Foundation, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, ProSmart Printing, Little Rock Family, KUAR FM 89.1, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Sync, Arkansas Life, William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Windstream, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Arkansas Times, Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP, Hampton Inn Downtown/McKibbon Hotel Group, Capital Hotel, Historic Arkansas Museum , TransAmerica, Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, Arkansas Library Association, Pulaski Technical College, Union Pacific, Sequoyah National Research Center, Gibbs Elementary School, Rockefeller Elementary School, Hendrix College, Hendrix College Project Pericles Program, Arkansas Women’s Forum, Philander Smith College, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, East Harding, University of Arkansas at Little Rock English Department, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of Rhetoric and Writing, Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art, Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, Christ Episcopal Church, and Lamar Advertising. The Arkansas Literary Festival is supported in part by funds from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Author! Author!, a cocktail reception with the authors, will be Friday, April 24, at 7 p.m. and the Fred Darragh Distinguished Lecture with John Waters, will be Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets for both events are $25 in advance, and $40 at the door, and go on sale at beginning Tuesday, April 1. Author! Author! tickets will also be available for purchase at the Main Library and River Market Books & Gifts, 120 River Market Avenue.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is a project of the Central Arkansas Library System.  The Festival’s mission is to encourage the development of a more literate populace. A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival. Katherine Whitworth is the 2015 Festival Chair. Other committee chairs include Kevin Brockmeier, Talent Committee; Susan Santa Cruz, Festival Guides; Laura Stanley, Hospitality Gifts; and Amy Bradley-Hole, Moderators.

For more information about the 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival, visit, or contact Brad Mooy at or 918-3098. For information on volunteering at the Festival, contact Angela Delaney at adelaney@cals.orgor 918-3095.

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Service Industry Night at Tales from the South

tfts sinWorking in the service industry gives people the opportunity to see the best and worst.  Tonight, Tales from the South has its first “Service Industry Night” celebrating the people who work in that industry–and the experiences they have had.  The storytellers tonight are Skip Dahlgren, Rhett Brinkley, and Bill Scott.

Music is by the Salty Dogs and blues guitarist Mark Simpson.  Tonight’s event takes place at Sticky’s Rock ‘n Roll Chicken Shack.

“Tales From the South” is a radio show created and produced by Paula Martin Morell, who is also the show’s host. The show is taped live on Tuesday. The night is a cross between a house concert and a reading/show, with incredible food and great company. Tickets must be purchased before the show, as shows are usually standing-room only.

“Tales from the South” is a showcase of writers reading their own true stories. While the show itself is unrehearsed, the literary memoirs have been worked on for weeks leading up to the readings. Stories range from funny to touching, from everyday occurrences to life-altering tragedies.

Dinner is served from 5pm to 6:30pm, the show starts at 7pm.  Admission is $15 in advance, $20 at the door if any tickets still remain.  Dinner can be purchased separately.

Previous episodes of “Tales from the South” air on KUAR Public Radio on Thursdays at 7pm.  This program will air on February 5.

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Sounds of Arkansas celebrated with Arkansas Sounds concert lineup

arkansas_sounds_2013In 2015, Arkansas Sounds’ monthly concert series features diverse artists ranging from progressive jazz to historic folk music. For concerts at the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS)Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave., tickets may be purchased and Butler Center Galleries, 401 President Clinton Ave. Tickets purchased online will not be mailed, but may be picked up in the theater’s lobby one hour prior to the show. For the concert at Hillcrest Hall, 1501 Kavanaugh Blvd., tickets may be purchased at the door one hour prior to the event. For concerts with free admission, reservations are not required. For more information, call 501-918-3033.

Charley Sandage & Harmony

Friday, February 13, 7:30 p.m., Free

Ron Robinson Theater

Charley Sandage and Harmony, a Mountain View trio comprising Mary and Robert Gillihan and Dave Smith, perform original songs that tell stories about people and events that shaped Arkansas. The group plays traditional instruments including fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, autoharp, bass, button accordion, harmonica, pickin’ bow, and spoons.


Bill Frisell & Kenny Wollesen

Monday, February 23, 7 p.m., $20 General Admission

Ron Robinson Theater

Bill Frisell is a jazz guitarist, composer, and arranger whose eclectic style touches on progressive folk, classical, country, and noise music. He has released over 30 albums, received numerous Grammy nominations, and won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2005. Kenny Wollesen, a drummer and percussionist, has recorded and toured with artists such as Tom Waits, Sean Lennon, Norah Jones, and John Zorn, among many others.


Celtic Cultural Celebration Featuring Lyon College Pipe Band

Saturday, March 14, 7 p.m., Free

Ron Robinson Theater

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, celebrate Celtic culture with an Arkansas Sounds concert, featuring the Lyon College Pipe Band, an award-winning bagpipe band from Batesville, Arkansas. The concert will include traditional Scottish bagpipe music, Scottish and Irish dancers, and a ceilidh (Celtic) band with guitars, accordions, uilleann (Irish) pipes, and singers.


Brian Nahlen

Friday, April 17, 7 p.m., $5 General Admission

Hillcrest Hall

Singer/songwriter Brian Nahlen, a North Little Rock native, will perform a few Beatles favorites, such as “Blackbird,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and original music from his debut album, Better Than I Thought It Could Be, to be released in February, 2015.


The Wildflowers (Amy Garland, Bonnie Montgomery, Mandy McBryde)

Friday, May 29, 7 p.m., $10 General Admission

Ron Robinson Theater

Amy Garland, Bonnie Montgomery, and Mandy McBryde have recently formed the Wildflowers, performing music with folk, country, rock, and blues influences. This concert will feature a brief solo set by each artist, followed up with a full set to be performed by the trio with a backing band.


Arkansas Sounds is a project of the Butler Center focusing on Arkansas music and musicians past and present. For more information, visit or call 501-918-3033.

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Tonight at Arkansas Rep – UALR History Professor Carl Moneyhon will discuss the South at the end of the Civil War

Carl_Moneyhon_smIn conjunction with the current production of The Whipping Man, UALR History Professor Dr. Carl Moneyhon will be speaking at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre this evening. His remarks are entitled “The World Turned Upside Down: The South at The End.

Dr. Moneyhon is a specialist in the history of the American Civil War and the South and is widely published in his field. He is faculty liaison with the University History Institute, an organization that develops closer ties between the department and the community. He serves on editorial boards of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly & the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. He has won the UALR Faculty Excellence Award for Research and the UALR Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching.

The program is at 6:00 tonight in Foster’s at the Arkansas Rep.  The doors open at 5:30; a cash bar will be available.  Admission is free for members of the Rep and $10 for non-members.  Registration is required and can be made by calling the Rep Box Office at 501-378-0405.

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Little Rock Look Back: Voters Approve Municipal Auditorium

muni aud elect ad editedOn January 26, 1937, Little Rock voters went to the polls to vote on three different municipal bond issues.  One of them was the construction of a municipal auditorium (what would become Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium, now Robinson Center Music Hall).

The bonds for the auditorium would be $468,000 in general obligation bonds which would be paid off between 1940 and 1971. This was toward a total cost of $760,000 for the entire project.

The official campaign for the auditorium was sponsored by the Little Rock Forward Committee which was led by W. H. Williams. In campaign advertisements it showed the value of conventions in New York City which was estimated at $100 per convention attendee. Little Rock organizers were estimating a $10 a day expenditure by visitors, which the committee stressed was very conservative. The campaign committee emphasized the importance of acting at that time due to the federal government money involved.

Various committees and organizations endorsed the auditorium project including the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, Little Rock Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the Young Business Men’s Association.

The thrust of the campaign focused on the economic benefit to Little Rock as well as the fact that the auditorium would be for all citizens. This message was picked up in editorials by both the Democrat and Gazette. In editorials on January 23 and 25, the Democrat opined that the benefits of the auditorium would be distributed among all classes of the citizenry. The next day, both papers ran editorials which touted the economic boon an auditorium would bring through conventions and meetings.

The Democrat’s approach broke down the current value of conventions to Little Rock with, what it termed, the city’s “existing inadequate” facilities. The paper emphasized a conservative estimate of what the added value to Little Rock’s economy would be with the new auditorium.

In expressing support for the auditorium the Gazette stressed the values for local, statewide and national groups. “An auditorium would provide a more convenient and better adapted community center for all kinds of local gathering,” and continued that it would make Little Rock “the logical meeting place for state conventions of every sort.” In discussing the value of state, regional and national meetings the paper stressed that the outside money spent by convention attendees has an impact beyond stores, hotels and restaurants.

Both papers also echoed the importance of the federal government financing to make this possible. The Democrat noted that the Public Works Administration grant and federal low cost loan made this an ideal time.

On January 26, 1937, Little Rock voters approved the auditorium bond by a vote of 1,518 to 519. It passed in each of the city’s 23 precincts. Little Rock Mayor R. E. Overman expressed his pleasure at the outcome of the vote and extended his thanks to the voters.

After the election, a Gazette editorial commented on the low turnout for the special election by commenting that the weather had been nice and there were no other barriers to voting. The editorial writer opined that those not voting in the election must not have been opposed to the endeavor.

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Little Rock Look Back: General Douglas MacArthur

MacArthurOn January 26, 1880, Douglas MacArthur was born in the Arsenal Building while his father was stationed at the Little Rock Barracks.  Though he left Arkansas a few weeks later when his father was transferred, he returned to his birthplace on March 23, 1952. On that day he was greeted by crowds welcoming one of the USA’s most famous military figures.

Though Gen. MacArthur spent only a few weeks in Little Rock, he was baptized at Christ Episcopal Church.  The location of the baptism remains a mystery today because the church was meeting in temporary locations due to the first structure having been lost to a fire.

When the General returned to Little Rock in 1952, he did pay a brief visit to Christ Church.  He also spoke at the Foster Bandshell in the park which bore his name.  He was one of three presidential candidates to speak at the Foster Bandshell in 1952, the others were the eventual Democratic and Republican nominees Adlai Stevenson and Dwight Eisenhower.

When General MacArthur died, he was granted a state funeral.  He was one of the few non-Presidents to have been given this honor.

Today, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is located in the Arsenal building.  It was created to interpret our state’s military heritage from its territorial period to the present.  Located in the historic Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal–the birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur–the museum preserves the contributions of Arkansas men and women who served in the armed forces.  Exhibits feature artifacts, photographs, weapons, documents, uniforms and other military items that vividly portray Arkansas’s military history at home and abroad.

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Movie Lineup at CALS Ron Robinson Theatre announced

cals ronrob intMovie lovers of all ages can plan their entertainment schedule with the Central Arkansas Library Systems (CALS)Ron Robinson Theaters winter/spring line up. Three series have been designed for adults, young adults, and children, and the films will be screened at the theater, 100 River Market Avenue, through May. Tickets are $5 each, concessions are available, and access is near the Main Librarys parking lot.

Combined these films have won 6 Oscars and been nominated for 31.

            From the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, “The Classics”series includes

The Godfather (R)

Thursday, February 12

7 p.m.

Breakfast at Tiffanys (NR)

Friday, April 10

7 p.m.

Some Like It Hot (NR)

Friday, May 1

7 p.m.


            Highlighting some of the best from the 1980s and 1990s is “The Rewind” series includes

Pretty Woman (R)

Friday, February 6

7 p.m.

Annie (1982 PG)

Thursday, March 12

7 p.m.

Fight Club (R)

Thursday, April 9

7 p.m.

Ferris Buellers Day Off (R)

Thursday, May 28

7 p.m.

            For families, the “Kid Flix” series includes

Anastasia (G)

Saturday, January 24

2 p.m.

James and the Giant Peach (PG)

Saturday, February 28

2 p.m.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG)

Saturday, March 28

2 p.m.

The Sandlot (PG)

Saturday, April 11

2 p.m.

            The 315 seat single-screen theater combines the best of the golden age of cinema and todays industry standard in state-of-the-art projection, lighting, and surround sound equipment. We are proud to offer Central Arkansas residents an exceptional cinema experience.

            For tickets or more information contact the Ron Robinson Theater Box Office at 320-5715 or visit the website at


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