Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Free Admission to Clinton Center for Independence Day

CPC july4Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4, the Clinton Presidential Center will feature free admission to the exhibits.

Explore the Clinton Center’s newest exhibit, “Dinosaurs Around the World,” as well as our permanent exhibits. Acoustiguide audio tours narrated by President Clinton are also free.  The Clinton Center is open from 9am to 5pm on Friday and Saturday.

Dinosaurs Around the World takes you back in time on a dinosaur adventure and a tour of an Earth very different from today – a time before the continents as we know them existed, when lush landscapes covered Africa and greenery was the norm in Antarctica! With 13 life-sized animatronics, a multi-layered narrative, fossils, authentic casts, cutting-edge research and immersive design elements, you’ll experience the Age of Reptiles as it comes to life!

The permanent exhibits include:

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Nutcracker and New Pieces are part of 2015-16 Ballet Arkansas season

BA_Visions_PromoImageWhile it is only the start of July, cultural institutions are already focused on their 2015-2016 seasons.  This is especially true for Ballet Arkansas, which has its first event on August 22nd.

Ballet Arkansas starts off with the second annual Visions Choreographic Competition to be held in the Center for Performing Arts at UALR on August 22nd at 7:00pm. Thirty-one emerging choreographers from around the country competed for five spots in this competition of which the winner will receive a commission to create a complete new work on Ballet Arkansas’s company dancers for their 2016 spring show. Selected choreographers include Boston Ballet’s Boyko Dossev, former Houston Ballet’s and current University of Oklahoma dance faculty member Ilya Kozadayev, former Ballet West and Visceral Dance Chicago’s Tom Mattingly, former Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Barry Kerollis and Post: Ballet’s Aidan DeYoung.  The guest judge for Visions is Glenn Edgerton, Artistic Director for Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago. Tickets for Visions will go on sale July 1st on the Ballet Arkansas website.

BA_Nutcracker_PromoImage 2In December, Ballet Arkansas joins forces with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to present the  annual holiday ballet, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.  With music provided by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, a cast of 200+ youth and adult dancers from the central Arkansas area, professional guest artists and featuring Ballet Arkansas professional company members, The Nutcracker will continue its tradition as a holiday must-see. The Nutcracker performance week includes student matinees for statewide school groups on December 10 & 11, along with the four public performances on December 11, 12 and 13th.  Tickets for The Nutcracker will go on sale in early September on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s website.

BA_UndertheLights_PromoImageOn May 20-22, 2016 Ballet Arkansas will present its annual spring mixed-repertory show,  Under the Lights at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. This year’s show contains an eclectic group of works of various dance styles including Nashville Ballet dancer Chris Stuarts’ Under the Lights set to Johnny Cash songs including “Walk the Line” and “Jackson”.  This show also features a world premier of a Kiyon Gaines work and Group Therapy, a comedy ballet created for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago by Harrison McEldowney and the expanded Visions winning choreography. Ballet Arkansas is also delighted to announce that itwill again be performing a George Balanchine work, Glinka Pas de Trois. Tickets will go on sale in early fall on the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s website.

Ballet Arkansas also announced that it has engaged Kiyon Gaines, recently retired Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist, to a 3-year Resident Choreographer Contract.  He choreographed Bolero for the 2013-2014 season.  In addition, Laura Hood Babcock has been named the new ballet mistress.  She worked with Ballet Arkansas last season on the Balanchine Who Cares?  Michael Bearden is the Artistic Director and Karen Bassett is the Executive Director.

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Robinson Renovation Tops Out

LRCV 1The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB), members of the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission (LRA&P), local officials, and members of the design and construction teams hosted a topping out ceremony July 1, 2015 at 10:00 AM for the Robinson Center’s new conference facility, signifying a one–‐year milestone in the 28–‐month, $70 million renovation and expansion project.

Following a press conference and ceremonial beam signing held on the western side of the Robinson Center, local media and special guests were given tours of the magnificent ballroom platform and conference center located on Robinson’s north side. This new addition not only provides some of the most dramatic enhancements of the project, but will also provide groups with spectacular views of the Arkansas River and the city’s illuminated bridges.

Along with additional meeting and pre–‐function space situated above its ballroom, the new conference center will also provide a new connection to the DoubleTree Hotel, with an adjoining lobby and additional pre–‐function space.

LRCV 5For more information on the Robinson Center Second Act renovation and expansion project, visit and follow us on–‐ Center/276515585880 and .

Robinson Construction Facts to Date:

  • Nearly 10,000 tons of material have been recycled, representing 91% of the waste material diverted 1,216 tons of steel has been erected
  • 2,300 cubic yards of concrete has been placed
  • 470 individuals have gone through CDI/Hunt Safety Orientation
  • 73% of the project subcontractors are local
  • 130,000 man hours have been spent.


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Little Rock Look Back: President Truman returns to LR

trumansmallOn July 1, 1952, President Harry S. Truman returned to Little Rock for the last time in his presidency.  He landed at Adams Field. After a short ride to the Missouri Pacific train station, he boarded a train for Newport where he made remarks.  Later that evening, the presidential train arrived at Norfork where Mr. Truman spent the night on the train.

The next morning, he went by car to the Norfork Dam before heading to Bull Shoals Dam where he gave an address.  An outdoor luncheon followed the Bull Shoals address.  After lunch, he got back on the train.  Truman made a whistle stop visit in Batesville before arriving back in Newport.  He boarded a plane in Newport and returned to Washington DC.

Congressmen James W. Trimble and Wilbur D. Mills accompanied the President on the entire trip from and to Washington.  Governor McMath joined the party once they were in Little Rock.  The press corps on the trip included the New York Times, Washington Star, Baltimore Sun, New York Herald-Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, CBS Radio, NBC Radio, ABC Radio and NBC Television.  The local press included reporters and photographers from both the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat as well as KLRA Radio and the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.

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SHERLOCK HOLMES is tonight’s Movies in the Park feature

MITP070115 SherlockThanks to tonight’s sponsor, CDI Contractors, there is no mystery where filmgoers in Little Rock can enjoy Sherlock Holmes.

Little Rock’s own Movies in the Park, brought to you by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Little Rock, continues its 11th annual season tonight, Wednesday, July 1 at the First Security Amphitheatre.

Movies are shown every Wednesday during the season and begin at sundown.

Guy Ritchie’s 2009 take on the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle creation stars Robert Downey Jr. as the title sleuth and Jude Law as his faithful sidekick Dr. Watson.  In this film, Holmes and Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.  The film also stars Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Geraldine James, Robert Maillet, Kelly Reilly and Clive Russell.

Families, picnics and pets are invited to the park to enjoy movies under the stars, no glass containers please. A parent or adult guardian must accompany all children and youth under the age of 18 and an ID is required. The amphitheater will open an hour before film showings and movies will start at sundown each week. For more information please visit

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Martinez and Binns present evening of song tonight

emm mbStarting tonight at 7:30pm in the Lobby Bar, there will be an evening of music featuring the amazing talents of Erin Martinez on vocals, Mark Binns on vocals and piano, Pat Lindsey on drums, and Brian Wolverton on bass.

It’ll be a relaxed evening filled with jazz, soul, rock, musical theatre, and some other fun musical surprises!

There is no cover and no age limit at the Lobby Bar. It’s a friendly environment appropriate for all ages. The bar has a wide variety of wines, beers, ciders, hot cocoa, and soft drinks.

Binns is Musical Director of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.  He has also worked with The Studio Theatre. Martinez has appeared on stage at the Weekend Theatre and the Studio Theatre. In 2013, she performed in New York City with multiple Tony winner Jason Robert  Brown.

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Scottish Play to Strut on Ark Rep Stage for Students Thanks to Shakespeare in American Communities Grant

ark repThe Arkansas Repertory Theatre was one of 40 nonprofit, professional theater companies across 26 states selected to perform the works of William Shakespeare for students through the Shakespeare in American Communities grant. Participating theater companies will present productions of Shakespeare plays to students from at least 10 schools. The Rep has received a $25,000 grant to support a week of student matinee performances of Macbeth.

The awards mark the 13th consecutive year of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The Rep will produce Macbeth in September 2015 on its 377-seat main stage performance space on Main Street in downtown Little Rock as the first of its landmark 40th MainStage Season. The theatre will open the production with a week of free student matinees, attended by schools from across Arkansas.

Shakespeare in American Communities introduces middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare. Since the program’s inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has benefited more than 2.5 million individuals, including 2.1 million students, with live performances and educational activities.

“Arts Midwest is so proud to once again partner with the National Endowment for the Arts to support the activities of 40 outstanding theater companies that will bring Shakespeare’s plays alive for students across the country,” says Susan Chandler, vice president of Arts Midwest. “Shakespeare in American Communities’ goals of introducing students to the art form of theater and to Shakespeare’s timeless themes of love, ambition, jealousy, courage, and betrayal will be brilliantly executed by these theaters.”

One hundred and two theater companies across the United States have taken part in Shakespeare in American Communities since its inception 13 years ago. These companies have presented 33 Shakespeare plays through 8,600 performances and 29,000 educational activities at more than 7,900 schools in 3,400 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, to enhance the educational impact of Shakespeare in American Communities, Arts Midwest and the NEA have developed a comprehensive Shakespeare in American Communities website in order to share resources and grantee spotlights.

View the complete list of the 40 theater companies that have been selected to participate in Shakespeare in American Communities for 2015-2016 at


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