Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Miller-Porfiris Duo tonight are first Chamber Music Society of LR concert of season

CMSL MP DupTonight, the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock presents the Miller-Porfiris Duo on it’s season-opening concert. The violin-viola duo will perform a program entitled “Return to the Old Country.” The concert starts at 7:30pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal at the corner of Mississippi and Evergreen.

The program consists of:

  • FRANZ SCHUBERT -Six lieder from “Die Winterreise” and “Die Schöne Müllerin”
  • REINHOLD GLIERE – Eight Pieces for Violin and Viola Op. 39
  • WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART – Duo in Bb Major K. 424
  • ROBERT FUCHS – Five Duets Op. 60
  • VOTTORIO MONTI – Czardas

Praised by the press for their “haunting and picturesque” musical interpretations, the Miller-Porfiris Duo has been delighting audiences in the United States, Great Britain, and Central America since 2005. Anton Miller (violin) and Rita Porfiris (viola) first met over 20 years ago while studying at the Juilliard School. Their musical lineage can be traced back to famed pedagogues and musicians Ivan Galamian. Leopold Auer, Franz Kneisel, Joseph Joachim, and Josef Bohm, close friend and collaborator of Ludwig van Beethoven. In keeping with this distinguished pedigree, the duo has given seminars and masterclasses at festivals and institutions worldwide, and are Associate Professors of Violin and Viola respectively at the Hartt School in Connecticut.

Adult admission is $30 and FREE for students (K-College). Tickets available at the door or at

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Documentary on LR native Florence Price screened tonight at Mosaic Templars

Florence-PriceTonight at 6 p.m. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will play host to the premiere of the new documentary, The Caged Bird. Produced, written and edited by Dr. James Greeson, professor emeritus of music composition at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, The Caged Bird presents an in-depth look at the life and music of Florence Price, the first African American woman to have her music performed by a major symphony.

Born in Little Rock in 1887, Price and her family were the elite of black society or as historian Willard Gatewood referred to them, “Aristocrats of Color.” Through her travels, Price came into contact with some of the most influential African Americans in our nation’s history, including abolitionist Frederick Douglass, writer W.E.B. DuBois,one of the founders of the NAACP, author Langston Hughes and dancer Katherine Dunham. Price became a favorite composer of the great soprano Marian Anderson, whose 1939 concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was a seminal moment in the civil rights movement.

In 1933, the world-famous Chicago Symphony, consisting entirely of white men, premiered Price’s “Symphony in E minor” at the Chicago World’s Fair. Even today this would be a huge achievement for any composer; but during the era of segregation it was a unprecedented feat for a women, in particular an African American woman, to have her music presented on the world stage by a prestigious orchestra. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Dr. Greeson.

The Caged Bird is free and open to the public.

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is a program of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

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Final Wildwood House Concert of Season tonight – Dreaming Sophia

WW dreamingDreaming Sophia will close out the Wildwood House Concert series tonight under the Pavilion on October 8 at 7 pm.

Dreaming Sophia came into being around six years ago.  Ted Williams had been a percussionist and flutist for many years when he picked up a guitar and transferred his knowledge and experience with world rhythms to a new chordal medium.  His wife Sonja would hear him combining chord with time, and inspired, began writing lyrics and melody lines to accompany his rhythm guitar.

The husband and wife song-writing team soon joined with violinist, Jason Choate, and proceeded to create an extensive repertoire of songs with gypsy, folk, jazz and alternative rock roots.   Drawing on universal themes with an Ozark twist, the song list expanded, as did the band.  Marvin Schwartz added mandolin, David Alexander brought in bass and, most recently, the band added Rand Retzloff’s drumming and percussion.

The songs of Dreaming Sophia are eclectic.  They are philosophically lyrical, yet as down to earth as an Arkansas morning.  Whether illustrating rekindled romance, the excitement of a child at a Southern fair, or coming back home, the songs pay tribute to longing, love, remembrance and compassion.

Admissions is a $15 suggested donation; doors open at 6:30 pm.  There will be beer, wine and snacks available for purchase.

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Little Rock Look Back: Mayor W. E. Lenon, father of LR City Hall

OMayor Lenonn October 8, 1867 in Panora, Iowa, future Little Rock Mayor Warren E. Lenon was born.  He was one of eleven children of John D. and Margaret M. Long Lenon.

Lenon came to Little Rock in 1888 after finishing his schooling in Iowa.  He helped set up an abstract company shortly after his arrival.  In 1902 he organized the Peoples Savings Bank.  Among his other business interests were the City Realty Company, the Factory Land Company, the Mountain Park Land Company, and the Pulaski Heights Land Company.

From 1895 to 1903, he was a Little Rock alderman, and in 1903, he was elected Mayor of the city. A progressive Mayor, he championed the construction of a new City Hall which opened in 1908.  At the first meeting of the City Council in that building, Mayor Lenon tendered his resignation.  His duties in his various business interests were taking up too much of his time.

Mayor Lenon had been a champion for the establishment of a municipal auditorium. He had wanted to include one in the new City Hall complex. But a court deemed it not permissible under Arkansas finance laws at the time.  He also worked to help establish the first Carnegie Library in Little Rock which opened in 1912.

Mayor Lenon continued to serve in a variety of public capacities after leaving office.  In the 1920s, he briefly chaired a public facilities board for an auditorium district. It appeared he would see his dream fulfilled of a municipal auditorium.  Unfortunately the Arkansas Supreme Court declared the enabling legislation invalid.

In 1889, he married Clara M. Mercer.  The couple had three children, two of whom survived him.  A son W. E. Lenon Jr., and a daughter Vivian Mercer Lenon Brewer.  Together with Adolphine Fletcher Terry (also a daughter of a LR Mayor), Mrs. Brewer was a leader of the Women’s Emergency Committee.

Mayor Lenon died June 25, 1946 and is buried at Roselawn Cemetery.  Lenon Drive just off University Avenue is named after Mayor Lenon.

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Creative Class of 2015: Sericia Cole

sericiaSericia Cole has quietly and quickly transformed the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.  She was named interim director in July 2012 and permanently took the post in November of that year.  Since then, she has expanded programming and outreach efforts of the museum.

Under her leadership, Mosaic Templars has started lunchtime lecture series and has expanded its exhibition schedule.  She has also worked to ensure that special events take place year-round at the museum.  In addition to exhibits on a variety of aspects of African American history in Arkansas, the museum is the permanent home of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.

A Little Rock native and UALR graduate, she has previously worked for Governor Mike Beebe, Philander Smith College, Wildwood Park for the Arts, and KATV.



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Tonight at South on Main – Dana Falconberry headlines Oxford American Local Live

llsom dana gTonight at 7:30 at South on Main, this week’s installment of the Local Live concert series features Dana Falconberry!

Presented by the Oxford American magazine, Local Live showcases the best of local and regional music talent and is always free and open to the public. Call ahead to South on Main to make your reservations and ensure a table: (501) 244-9660.

Dana Falconberry, an Austin songwriter and Michigan native, is best known for her eloquent interpretations of nature and wildlife in her music. Her 2012 album Leelanau, written as an ode to her childhood visits to the Michigan peninsula of the same name, is a more direct example of such inspiration. Leelanau was heralded by critics for it’s gentle but complex orchestration and garnered Falconberry widespread recognition which grew steadily over 2013.

Backed by her five-piece band, Falconberry proceeded to travel all over the United States, touring as support for other acts and blazing their own paths into unforeseen house shows and DIY spaces. The group was also presented with great opportunities to play festivals like ACL Fest, SXSW, and Noise Pop Festival. The critical recognition only grows further as music writers and radio programmers encounter the well-crafted sound of their live show.

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On Walking/Walking On steps out for UALR Theatre Arts & Dance season

7.8.15-3The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s first theater production of the 2015-16 season will take an in-depth look at an ordinary activity  — walking — starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the University Theatre.

“On Walking/Walking On” is an ensemble-based, devised performance on the activity, theme, and significance of walking using improvisation, storytelling, music, and comedy.

Performances run from Oct. 7 to Oct. 11. Wednesday through Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., and the Sunday show will commence at 2:30 p.m.

Ticket prices are $10 for the public and $5 for UALR students, employees, and seniors.

For more information or advance tickets, call the Box Office at 501.569.3456. Tickets will also be available the day of each show one hour before show time.

“This piece is about walking as an activity, walking as a fundamental means of experiencing the world, walking as metaphor,” said Dr. Lawrence D. Smith, director and assistant professor of theatre.

Walking is a commonplace and universal experience, Smith said.  “We seldom really pay attention to it; however, walking informs language and how we think about life.”

“On Walking/Walking On” is a point of departure, a short journey, a number of entrances, crosses, and exits; arrivals, climbs, descents, circles, and returns; the end of a journey, coming full circle, starting anew.

The cast members are UALR students Emily Bruner, Gabrielle Confer, Keaton Duersch, Corrie Green, Katherine Greer, Yannick Ibanez, Dustin Rhodes, Mike Vowell, Cory Watson, Priscilla Webb, and William Wofford.


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