Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Jazz in the Park returns Wednesday evenings in April in Riverfront Park

jazzinparkJazz in the Park kicks off its third year in April.  It comes back better than ever through a new partnership with Art Porter Music Education!

Art Porter Music Education, Inc. (APME) continues its mission of keeping the musical legacies of local jazz statesman Art Porter, Sr. and his son, renowned saxophonist Art Porter, Jr. alive with community enrichment opportunities, volunteerism, and the awarding of scholarships. Through music, APME works to enhance education by helping students improve reading, language and mathematical skills. The partnership with the River Market to support Jazz in the Park, a free, family-friendly event featuring jazz in downtown Little Rock, is a natural fit for both organizations.

The concerts will be every Wednesday in April from 6pm to 8pm in the History Pavilion in Riverfront Park.

This year’s lineup features:

  • April 1 – Rodney Block & The Real Music Lovers
  • April 8 – Jazz R Us
  • April 15 – New Era Jazz Project
  • April 22 – Stellar Way
  • April 29 – John Burnette Band

The closest entry point to the History Pavilion is Ottenheimer Drive off of President Clinton Avenue.

In case of rain, the River Market West Pavilion will be the alternate location for the event.

The event is completely free, but no coolers are allowed. Beer, wine, soft drinks and water will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit Art Porter Music Education, Inc.’s scholarship fund.  Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, and there is some seating in the natural stone amphitheater at the History Pavilion.

This event is sponsored by Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the River Market.

For more information about Art Porter Music Education, visit

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Arkansas native, FERC Commissioner – the Honorable Colette Honorable speaks today at Clinton Center

coletteArkansan Colette Honorable was confirmed as a Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and sworn in earlier this year.  Today at noon at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, she makes her first speech in Arkansas since assuming this new position.

Prior to serving as a FERC Commissioner, she served on the Arkansas Public Service Commission.  From January 2011 until January 2015, she was chair of the PSC.  As Chairman of the Arkansas PSC, Commissioner Honorable oversaw an agency charged with ensuring safe, reliable and affordable retail electric service. She participated in rate case proceedings, plant acquisitions, transmission buildout applications, regional transmission efforts and other transactions to ensure the reliability of the Arkansas grid and diversity in generation in the state. During Commissioner Honorable’s time at the PSC, Arkansas led the South and Southeast in comprehensive energy efficiency programs, and electric rates were consistently among the lowest in the nation.

Her remarks today are entitled “The Clean Power Plan and the Evolving Power Grid.”

FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects.

Honorable is past president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and is known by her peers as a fair, pragmatic, moderate and hardworking leader who is able to build consensus across party lines for common goals. Honorable represented NARUC on an array of issues ranging from pipeline safety to reliability and resilience efforts, and diversity. She testified before Congress on multiple occasions and advocated for infrastructure development to ensure safety and efficiency, increased reliability and resilience efforts, and diversity of energy and the energy workforce.

A native of Arkansas, she is a graduate of the University of Memphis and received a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law.

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Women’s History Month Throw Back Thursday: Mount Holly Cemetery Association

Mt Holly ProfileThe Mount Holly Cemetery is a treasure trove of history, architecture and horticulture on the edge of downtown Little Rock.

It was established in 1843 when Chester Ashley and Roswell Beebe donated the land to the city of Little Rock. Feeling the town fathers were not giving the cemetery the attention it deserved, a group of Little Rock businessmen formed a cemetery commission on March 20, 1877. Charter members of the commission were J. H. Haney, Fay Hempstead, James Austin Henry, Philo O. Hooper, and Frederick Kramer. However the private group of men did no better in maintaining the cemetery.

In 1914, a contingent of the town’s women became critical of the cemetery’s unkempt appearance and took over the reins from the men. Following adoption of City Ordinance No. 2199 in June 1915, the ladies’ Mount Holly Cemetery Association was incorporated on July 20, 1915. (It should be noted this action by the women came at a time when women did not have the right to vote.)

The Mount Holly Cemetery Association grew out of a meeting which took place on June 9, 1914 at the home of Mrs. A. H. Scott. Thirty-six women gathered for the purpose of improving the cemetery.

An executive committee was formed, and the women started working on improvements to the cemetery. Though first viewed by some men as an auxiliary to the Cemetery Commission, it quickly became apparent that the women were in no mood to take a back seat in matters pertaining to Mount Holly.

The first executive board (from June 1914 to July 1915) included Mrs. A. H. Scott, Mrs. B. S. Johnson, Mrs. George Thornburgh, Mrs. Moorhead Wright, Mrs. H. M. Bennett, Mrs. George Worthen, Mrs. W. E. Green, Mrs. George Stratman, Miss Louise Gibson and Miss Clara Hotze.

The July 1915 incorporators were Mrs. Scott as well as Julia E. Bennett, Eva C. Shields, Rosa M. Miller, Ruby P. Ratcliffe and Marguerite R. English. Mrs. Bennett, known affectionately as “Scrap” would serve as the first president, and Miss Miller was the first secretary.

Over the years the Association has undertaken countless projects large (construction of a mausoleum) and small (signs on the lanes) to improve Mount Holly Cemetery for its residents and for visitors.

In 1993, the Association published a history of the first 150 years of the cemetery.  More recently, they launched the annual RIP (Rest in Perpetuity) picnic held the last Sunday in April on the grounds.  They have also published a cookbook–Recipes in Perpetuity.

Today, the Mount Holly Cemetery Association is still going strong!

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Free ASO concert at Capital Hotel tonight with Rockefeller Quartet


Musicians from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will be performing this evening in the lobby of the historic Capital Hotel. The music will start at 5:15 pm.

The concert will feature the Rockefeller Quartet.  Members of the quartet will introduce the pieces to be performed.

  • Haydn: String Quartet No. 39 in F#, Op. 50 No. 4: Andante and Minuet
  • Mendelssohn: String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80 Allegro, Vivace Assai and Allegro Assai
  • Monti: Csardas
  • McLean: “Fandango”

Unlike concerts in music halls, guests here are encouraged to bring drinks to their seats or to stand and move around while the musicians are playing.  It is a relaxed, informal atmosphere where the audience and musicians alike are able to interact with each other.

In 2011, the ASO started these free concerts in the lobby of the Capital Hotel.  The marble and tile of this historic lobby provide a wonderful acoustic backdrop for the musicians.

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The Science of Paleontology at tonight’s Museum of Discovery “Science After Dark”

0315 science after darkEach month the Museum of Discovery hosts “Science after Dark” for adults aged 21 and up.  This month’s theme is “Science of Paleontology.”

Adults may not get spring break, but tonight is a chance to feel like a student again by learning fun facts about dinosaurs and fossils. And this time, you can learn about science while drinking a beer!

Here’s what you can expect at tonight’s month’s Science After Dark:

  • Dr. Joe Daniel will answer fossil questions
  • The museum’s new dinosaur exhibit will be highlighted
  • A lot of fun exploring the museum and it’s interactive exhibits

Beer sold by Stone’s Throw Brewery and the aptly named Fossil Cove brewing; pizza by the slice sold by new MOD neighbor Damgoode Pies.

The program runs from 6pm to 9pm. Cost is $5, FREE for museum members. (Go ahead and get a membership, it will more than pay for itself within a year!)

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Local Live free music series features Claire Holley tonight at South on Main at 7:30 pm

[*Photo credit: James Patterson]

[Photo credit: James Patterson]

This week’s installment of the free Local Live concert series features Claire Holley at 7:30 pm at South on Main.

Presented by the Oxford American magazine, Local Live showcases the best of local and regional music talent. Call ahead to South on Main to make your reservation and ensure a table: (501) 244-9660. Local Live is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Cosmic Cowboy Music.

A native Mississippian now living in Los Angeles, Claire Holley began performing and writing songs in college, but released her first recordings while living in North Carolina. She began getting regular airplay on WUNC’s “Back Porch Music,” and her self-titled debut from Yep Roc Records was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition. A move to the west coast followed and, soon after, she began collaborating with directors on their film and play projects.

Holley has released seven records, and her powdercoat ep, a collaboration with Kristin Mooney, won the 2014 “Best in Popular Music” from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters—Huffington Post called it “one of the year’s loveliest recordings.” A tasteful vocalist and guitar player, Claire is an engaging performer and has sung at Merlefest, Mountain Stage, and a host of listening rooms around the country. Holley’s forthcoming solo album, Time in the Middle, will be released March 2015.

“…she owes much to the Southern tradition of storytelling, and just as much to the Southern tradition of charm…” —Image Journal

“The slight catch in Holley’s voice can break your heart…” —Time Out New York

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Little Rock Look Back: President Clinton performs with Arkansas Symphony

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton addresses the audience after reciting Martin Luther King's famous speech, 'I Have A Dream', to the music of Alexander L. Miller at Robinson Auditorium March 25, 2003 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton was the honored guest for a performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to benefit the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation. (Photo by Karen E. Segrave/Getty Images)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton addresses the audience after reciting Martin Luther King’s famous speech, ‘I Have A Dream’, to the music of Alexander L. Miller at Robinson Auditorium March 25, 2003 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton was the honored guest for a performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to benefit the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation. (Photo by Karen E. Segrave/Getty Images)

On March 25, 2003, former President Bill Clinton took the stage of Robinson Center Music Hall to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Entitled “Let Freedom Ring – A Patriotic Celebration,” the evening was a joint fundraiser for the Symphony and the Clinton Foundation.

Before a packed house of over 1700, Clinton narrated Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait which weaves excerpts from Lincoln speeches with Copland’s own unique classical take on American heartland music.  Clinton also narrated Let Freedom Ring, a symphonic setting by Alexander Miller of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

The evening also consisted of Broadway veteran and Little Rock favorite Lawrence Hamilton singing “Wheels of a Dream” from the musical Ragtime.  On Broadway and on national tour, Hamilton had previously sung the song.  The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra also performed An American in Paris by George Gershwin and “Jupiter” from The Planets by Gustav Holst.  This final selection was a tribute to the seven astronauts who had died in the crash of the space shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003.

David Itkin, who was then the musical director of the ASO, conducted the concert.



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