Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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Little Rock Look Back: Charles P. Bertrand, LR’s 21st Mayor

Bertra1Two hundred and six years ago today, on November 23, 1808, future Mayor Charles P. Bertrand was born in New York.  He was the son of Pierre and Eliza Wilson Bertrand; his father died in 1809 in an uprising in Haiti and his mother eventually remarried.  With her new husband, Dr. Matthew Cunningham, she and the family moved to Little Rock in 1820.

After apprenticing with family friend William Woodruff at the Arkansas Gazette, Bertrand opened the Arkansas Advocate newspaper.  He later studied law under Robert Crittenden and entered the legal profession.

In 1835-1836, he served as State Treasurer for the Arkansas Territory, and in 1836 as secretary for the first constitutional convention. He was a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1840-1841 and 1844-1849.

Bertrand followed in his stepfather’s footsteps and became Mayor of Little Rock.  (Dr. Cunningham had been the first Little Rock Mayor in 1831.)  He was in office from January 1855 through January 1857, serving two one-year terms.  He later served on the City Council and filled in as acting mayor. (Another influence on his upbringing was studying under future Mayor Jesse Brown who taught at the first school in Little Rock.)

Bertrand, as acting mayor, was involved in the negotiations of the surrender of Little Rock to federal troops in 1863.  He also later corresponded with President Lincoln on behalf of Little Rock citizens.  Though a staunch Confederate, his good will toward the Union soldiers and federal officials is credited with helping to save Little Rock from the destruction which befell many other Southern cities.  He is also credited with delaying the start of the Civil War.  Prior to the attack on Fort Sumner, members of the Arkansas Militia were planning to attack the Federal Arsenal at Little Rock during the absence of Governor Rector.  This would have been viewed as an act of war.  Bertrand was able to dissuade them from the attack.  Had he been unsuccessful, the Civil War would have likely started in Arkansas instead of South Carolina.

He had put his considerable fortune into Confederate money during the war. At the Civil War’s conclusion, the family was financially ruined. Though they had vast land holdings, those would be sold off in parcels to pay for taxes.

Bertrand died August 27, 1865, shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War.  He, like his mother, step-father, and several other relatives, is buried in Mt. Holly Cemetery.


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Today from 9 to 3, the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School Sale

AAC Mus SaleThe Museum School Sale is the perfect way to stock up on one-of-a-kind holiday gifts or add to your personal art collection!

More than 80 Museum School instructors and students will be on hand selling original artwork at the Museum School Sale.

Plus, enjoy artist demonstrations, food trucks, and drawings for $50 off a Museum School class!

New this Year: a FREE space for children’s art activities! Parents are welcome to drop off their children, ages 4 to 9, at the kids activity area while they shop. The activity area will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will have hands on art activities and refreshments. Space is limited.

The event runs from 9am to 3pm at the ClearChannel Metroplex.


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Kevin Kerby returns to The Undercroft tonight

kevinkerbyBack by popular demand!  Kevin Kerby plays at one of Little Rock’s newest music venues when he performs tonight at The Undercroft. It is located on Capital Avenue just east of Scott Street, in the undercroft of Christ Church.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. The cover charge is $10 at the door. The space is on the campus of Christ Church; the entrance is through the sidewalk-level red door on Capitol Avenue east of Scott Street.

Kerby has long been one of those songwriters about town who has consistently created great music. It’s a streak that stretches back to before his days in Ho-Hum, and includes time in Ho-Hum, Mulehead — with its four albums of Arkansas rock — and other bands. Following the end of Mulehead, Kerby wrote and recorded two solo albums. First came The Secret Lives of All Night Radios, and then, picking up backing band Battery, Beautiful & Bright.


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Scott Dettra on organ tonight

CACAGO DetraThe Central Arkansas Chapter of the Arkansas Guild of Organists hosts another recital this evening.

Tonight’s musician is Scott Dettra. He will play at 8pm at First Presbyterian Church.

Scott Dettra has been acclaimed as one of the leading American concert organists of his generation. He combines an active performance schedule with his post as Director of Music and Organist at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, where he leads a vibrant music program in the country’s fifth largest Episcopal parish. Prior to his appointment in Dallas, he was for five years Organist and Associate Director of Music at Washington National Cathedral, where he served as principal organist and assisted with the direction of the Cathedral choirs. Mr. Dettra’s playing is known for its poetry, rhythmic intensity, and musical elegance. His recital at the 2014 national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Boston was widely acclaimed, and The American Organist described it as “music making of absolute authority and sophisticated expression, one of the week’s high points.”

Recent and upcoming performances include appearances in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Houston, San Diego, Phoenix, Kansas City, Barbados, Canada, and Germany. He has performed at national conventions of the American Guild of Organists (2002, 2010, 2014), the Association of Anglican Musicians (1996, 2005, 2012), and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Festival appearances include the Lincoln Center Festival, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Arizona Bach Festival, the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. In addition to his concert appearances, his performances have been broadcast on American Public Media’s Pipedreams andPerformance Today, the BBC’s Choral Evensong, and The New York Philharmonic This Week.

A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Mr. Dettra holds two degrees from Westminster Choir College, where he was a student of Joan Lippincott, and has also studied jazz piano at Manhattan School of Music. He has previously held positions as Keyboard Artist of the Washington Bach Consort, Assistant Conductor of Washington’s Cathedral Choral Society, and church positions at St. Paul’s, K Street in Washington; St. Mark’s, Locust Street in Philadelphia; and Trinity Church, Princeton.


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Tonight at Ron Robinson – Big Piph and Tomorrow Maybe perform

bigpiph2Big Piph, an emcee formerly known as “Epiphany,” and Tomorrow Maybe, a full band including female vocalists, will perform an innovative hip hop concert at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater on Friday, November 21, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15, general admission, and available online or at Butler Center Galleries, 401 President Clinton Ave.

Big Piph has performed with artists such as T.I., Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, and Ne-Yo. Lindsey Millar of the Arkansas Times has described Big Piph’s style as “existential hip-hop that you’d want to party to.” Big Piph & Tomorrow Maybe play a unique fusion of funk, soul, and rock with a hip-hop foundation. They are currently crafting an “unplugged” EP, and Big Piph is heading up a fundraiser for Global Kids Arkansas to offer educational and hands-on experiences in foreign policy and global initiative to high school students in at-risk communities.

The concert is the latest in the Arkansas Sounds music series. Arkansas Sounds is a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System. Focused on Arkansas music and musicians both past and present, Arkansas Sounds presents concerts, workshops, and other events to showcase Arkansas’s musical culture.


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2014 Mississippi GOP Senate Primary focus of Clinton School lecture today

uacs coch mcdanThe 2014 GOP Primary for the US Senate seat featured longtime incumbent Thad Cochran against upstart State Senator Chris McDaniel. The presence of a third candidate meant that a runoff would be possible in this race, which is what came to pass. This race pitted establishment GOP against dissatisfied Tea Partyers.

The discussion, featuring Austin Barbour who worked on the Cochran campaign, will take place at noon today at the Clinton School.

Few gave McDaniel, a favorite of the Tea Party, much chance of unseating Cochran, but he gradually chipped away at the veteran’s lead until the race became a virtual dead heat.  Trying to avoid repeats of 2010 and 2012 when undisciplined candidates won nominations but lost the general election, the national GOP joined state leaders in coalescing around Cochran.

The primary was also beset by scandals involving supporters of McDaniel and charges of Democratic party interference.  For those on the sidelines it made interesting fodder, but for those in the race it was anything but funny.

Austin Barbour is the nephew of former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and a key strategist for Senator Thad Cochran’s successful primary defeat of challenger State Senator Chris McDaniel. Most recently, Barbour has been recognized as one of the nation’s top fundraisers through his positions as one of the National Finance Chairmen for Romney for President in 2012 and a member of the National Finance committee for the Republican Governor’s Association. Barbour runs a consultancy based in Jackson, Miss. with his brother, Henry.

*Reserve your seats by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or calling (501) 683-5239.


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46th Collectors Show at Arkansas Arts Center

Bill Vuksanovich, American (Belgrade, Yugoslavia, born 1938), Sisters I, 2006, color pencil and Nero pencil on paper, courtesy of the artist and Forum Gallery.

Bill Vuksanovich, American (Belgrade, Yugoslavia, born 1938), Sisters I, 2006, color pencil and Nero pencil on paper, courtesy of the artist and Forum Gallery.

The Collectors Show and Sale is an annual Arkansas Arts Center tradition that brings the vibrant New York gallery scene to Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center Executive Director Todd Herman and curators carefully select the finest drawings and contemporary craft from prominent New York galleries.

This year is the 46th edition.  All works are for sale and vary in price, from $400 to $100,000.  The works also vary in size, styles and media.  This is the perfect time for seasoned buyers to add to their collections and for new collectors to enter the field!

Presented by Landers Fiat; sponsored by Holleman & Associates, P.A.

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