Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Michael Warrick’s Mockingbird Tree wins Sculpture at the River Market competition 

Michael Warrick was the winner of the 2015 Sculpture at the River Market Public Art Monument Competition.  His winning piece – Mockingbird Tree – will be installed at the corner of Chenal Parkway and Chenal Valley Drive.  

Mockingbird Tree is a tree with bubble forms for foliage plus a pair of Arkansas’ state birds. It will be 18′ tall by 11′ wide by 7′ deep. The tree will be stainless steel and the mockingbirds will be bronze. 

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Poetry Month: Albert Pike and “Night on the Arkansa”

PikeAlbert_fAlbert Pike was a lawyer who played a major role in the development of the early courts of Arkansas and played an active role in the state’s politics during the middle 19th Century.  He was also a soldier, a national leader of masonry, and poet & writer.

Born in Boston in December 1809, he grew up in the greater Boston area.  Pike was admitted to Harvard, but could not afford it. He began teaching school.  In 1831, he left Massachusetts for Mexico. After spending some time in Santa Fe, he headed east and ended up in Fort Smith.  Based on some political writings, he was invited to Little Rock by Charles Bertrand (a future Little Rock mayor).

In Little Rock he flourished as a writer and attorney. He also became involved in military matters first with the Mexican War and then with Confederate army during the Civil War.  He also married and fathered several children.  At the end of the Civil War, Pike moved to New York City, then for a short time to Canada. After receiving an amnesty from President Andrew Johnson on August 30, 1865, he returned for a time to Arkansas and resumed the practice of law. He then moved to Memphis and later Washington DC.

After he ceased practicing law, Pike’s real interest was the Masonic Lodge. He had become a Mason in 1850.  He held several national posts in the Mason organization.  Pike died at the Scottish Rite Temple in Washington DC on April 2, 1891. He was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery there. His Masonic brothers erected a statute to him in 1901 in Washington DC, making him the only former Confederate general to have a monument there.

The house he built in Little Rock still stands, and is known as the Pike-Fletcher-Terry House.  It was the boyhood home of Pulitzer Prize winning poet John Gould Fletcher.  Though he is buried in Washington DC, there is a memorial to him erected in Mount Holly Cemetery.  It can be seen every day, but especially today during the Mount Holly Rest in Perpetuity fundraiser picnic.

Pike began to write poetry as a young man, which he continued to do for the rest of his life.



Night comes upon the Arkansa with swift stride, —
Its dark and turbid waters roll along,
Bearing wrecked trees and drift, — deep, red, and wide.
The heavy forests sleeps on either side,
To the water’s edge low-stooping; and among
The patient stars the moon her lamps has hung,
Lit with the spirit of the buried sun.
No blue waves dance the stream’s dark bosom on,
Glittering like beauty’s sparkling starry tears;
No crest of foam, crowning the river dun,
Its misty ridge of frozen light uprears:
One sole relief in the great void appears —
A dark, blue ridge, set sharp against the sky,
Beyond the forest’s utmost boundary.


Not so wast thou, O, brave old Merrimac!
As I remember the; as thou art seen
By the Soul’s eyes, when, dreaming, I go back
To my old home, and see the small boats tack
On thy blue waters, gliding swift between
The old gray rocks that o’er them fondly lean,
Their foreheads scarred with lightning.  There, around
Grim capes the surly waterswhirl and bound;
And here and there grave patriarchal trees
Persuade the grass to clothe the reluctant ground
And frowning banks with green. Still villages
Sleep in the embraces of the cool sea-breeze: —
Ah, brave old stream! – thou seemest to infold
My heart within thy waters, as of old.


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Annual Mount Holly RIP (Rest in Perpetuity) Picnic Tonight

MtHollyMount Holly Cemetery is like an aging, but gracious Southern lady. She is in need of ongoing maintenance! Funds raised at the picnic will help maintain this historic landmark. Visitors will walk in Little Rock’s historical footsteps at the 10th Annual Mount Holly Cemetery Picnic this evening from 5pm to 7pm.

The Mount Holly Cemetery Association calls this event Rest in Perpetuity. The Culture Vulture lovingly refers to it as Dining with the Dead.

Festivities will include:

  • Appetizers
  • Dinner
  • Wine
  • Turn of the century picnic “delicacies”
  • Live music
  • Silent auction of tours, elegant dinner parties and opportunities for exclusive events at Mount Holly Cemetery and many other items.

Guests will have the opportunity to join in a historic tour of the cemetery, featuring famous and infamous residents of Mount Holly Cemetery or guests can enjoy a naturalist tour!

This is the annual fundraiser to raise funds to maintain this historic landmark.
Tickets are $100 for adults, $25 for children under 12.

In case of rain, the event will be moved to Trinity Cathedral.

Dating to 1843, but with grave sites that date much earlier, Mount Holly is a “living and breathing” historical treasure in the heart of Little Rock’s Historic District. Interred within the rock walls of Mount Holly are 11 state governors, 15 state Supreme Court justices, four Confederate generals, seven United States senators and 22 Little Rock mayors, two Pulitzer Prize recipients, as well as doctors, attorneys, prominent families and military heroes. Also included are Eliza Cunningham, the first female resident of Little Rock (who later became the first First Lady of Little Rock) and her son Charles, who was the first baby born in Little Rock. There are veterans from all wars: Revolutionary, War of 1812, Mexican, Civil War, Spanish-American, World War I and II, Korean, Vietnam and Desert Storm.

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Final day for 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival

2015 ALF 2The final day of the Arkansas Literary Festival kicks off with David Rosenfelt discussing Hounded at the Clinton School at noon.  That will be followed by Arkansas Puzzle Day from 1pm to 4pm at the Clinton School.

The used book sale will continue at both the Main Library and River Market Books & Gifts.

Karen Joy Fowler and Megan Mayhew Bergman will be on a panel at 1:30pm at the Ron Robinson Theatre.

At 3pm, Charles Morgan will lead the final session of the 2015 ALF when he discusses his book Matters of Life and Data at the Ron Robinson Theatre.

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Charles Morgan discussing MATTERS OF LIFE AND DATA to close the 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival

CDM-Book-CoverThe 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival comes to a close on Sunday, April 26 with a conversation between Charles Morgan and Kelley Bass.  These two longtime friends will be discussing Morgan’s book, Matters of Life and Data at 3pm in the Ron Robinson Theater.

Here is how Morgan describes the book:

“I didn’t set out to become a collector of your and your neighbors’ information. When I was growing up, nobody but egghead scientists talked about ‘data.’ It was the mechanical age, and I was a gadget geek, taking apart my cousin’s toys and trying to put them back together again. I was especially crazy about cars and engines, and had it not been for a fateful encounter during college recruiting season, I might’ve lived my life as a race car mechanic instead of learning about computers at IBM. As it turned out, pursuing Big Data allowed me the resources to become a professional race car driver on the side, competing against the likes of Paul Newman, who makes appearances in these pages as well.

“Such are the wonders of this journey we’re all on. Mine has taken me from the frontier of western Arkansas, where my ancestors owned a hardware store selling iron tools to westbound travelers, to the frontier of the digital age, where room-size computers have become eclipsed by the power of smart phones. And in a sense, the story you’re about to read isn’t so different from those of the colorful adventurers who stocked up their wagons at my family’s hardware emporium and headed west to make their fortunes. Data mining is the new gold rush, and we were there at first strike, dragging with us all our human frailties and foibles. In this book’s cast of characters you’ll find ambition, arrogance, jealousy, pride, fear, recklessness, anger, lust, viciousness, greed, revenge, betrayal, and then some.”

“It is a messy story. In the big picture, this could be called a narrative of America since World War II. But in the micro telling, think of it this way: The man who opened your lives to Big Data finally bares his own.”

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Celebrate Earth Day at the Little Rock Zoo with Enrichment Day

Little-Rock-zoo-logo-4-c-with-tagAt the Little Rock Zoo, Earth Day will be celebrated Saturday April 25th in conjunction with Enrichment Day!

Enrichment at the Little Rock Zoo is defined as the process of providing animals with choices and control while eliciting species appropriate behaviors that exercise the body and stimulate the mind. On enrichment day, the Zoo gives different animals throughout the zoo different enrichment items. This year the Zoo chose to have our Enrichment Day theme be Earth Day!

Come watch the animals have some fun and learn all about what you can do to help save our world’s ecosystems and the animals that live there!


10:00     Great Apes – Enrichment with recycled materials

10:30     Elephants (yard 3 by Flossies) – Enrichment

11:00     Big Cats – Enrichment

11:30     Spider Monkey Island  – Enrichment with puzzle feeders

1:15        Penguins – Fish feeding

1:30        Farm (Tunnel area)Horses, Cows, Donkeys – Enrichment

1:30        Anteaters –  Enrichment

1:30        Great Ape – Scatter feed

lrzoo spider monkey artists2:00        Ampitheater – Training flying demo

2:00        Maned Wolves – Enrichment

2:30        Bears – Enrichment

2:30        Primates, Linder exhibit – Enrichment painting demo with Saki primate

3:00        Primates, West Side, Mangabey – Training Demo

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A full slate for the third day of the 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival

2015 ALF 1Many activities today with the Arkansas Literary Festival!

At 10am –

  • Karen Joy Fowler, Janis F. Kearney and Jamaica Kincaid on a panel – Acts of Empowerment at the Darragh Center.
  • Alison Hedge Coke and Casandra Lopez on a panel – Indigenous Grace in the Main Library
  • Stephen Roth, Jay Ruud and John Vanderslice on a panel – Island of Fatal Pride in the Arkansas Studies Institute
  • Karen Akins, John Horner Jacobs and Ann Leckie on a panel – Science Fiction & Fantasy in the Arkansas Studies Institute
  • Michael Barrier will discuss his book Funnybooks on the 3rd floor of River Market Books & Gifts
  • Joe Barry Carroll will give a workshop at Historic Arkansas Museum
  • Arree Chung will discuss Ninja! At the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center.

At 11:30am –

  • Scott Simpson will lead a Dinosaur Odyssey in the Ron Robinson Theater
  • Megan Abbott & Ben Percy on a panel – Thrill Me in the Darragh Center.
  • Morgan Murphy & Desha Peacock on a panel – Social Savvy in the Arkansas Studies Institute
  • Lisa Howorth and James Korne Gay on a panel – Mississippi Two by Two on the 3rd floor of River Market Books & Gifts
  • John A. Beineke & James Presley on a panel – Notorious Crimes at Historic Arkansas Museum
  • Brian Turner discusses Memories of a Soldier at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
  • Tiphanie Yanique and Sefi Atta on a panel – Vital Fusion at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
  • Michele Raffin discusses The Birds of Pandemonium at the Witt Stephens Jr. Arkansas Nature Center

At 1pm –

  • Issa Rae will discuss The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl at the Ron Robinson Theater
  • Michael Kardos & M.O. Walsk on a panel – The Unputdownables at the Darragh Center.
  • Mary Miller & Timothy S. Lane on a panel – Triumph of Youth in the Main Library
  • Jesse J. Hargrove and Janis F. Kearney on a panel – Celia and T.J. in the Arkansas Studies Institute
  • Cheryl & Griffith Day on a panel – Baking Days in the Arkansas Studies Institute
  • Jonathan Darman discusses Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan on the 3rd floor of River Market Books & Gifts
  • Joe Barry Carroll discusses Growing Up…in Words and Images at Historic Arkansas Museum
  • Jeff Allen and Preston Lauterbach on a panel – Beginning in 1866 at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
  • Amanda Petrusich and Kent Russell on a panel at the Witt Stephens Jr. Arkansas Nature Center
  • Spencer Reese discusses The Road to Emmaus at Christ Episcopal Church

At 2:30 pm –

  • Rick Bragg discusses Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story at the Ron Robinson Theater
  • Quan Barry and Brock Clarke on a panel – Luminosity at the Darragh Center.
  • Richard Lange, Thomas Pierce & Antonio Ruiz-Camacho on a panel – Short Stories in the Main Library
  • Maxine Payne discusses Making Pictures in the Arkansas Studies Institute
  • Morgan Murphy discusses Off the Eaten Path: On the Road Again in the Arkansas Studies Institute
  • Meili Cady discusses Smoke on the 3rd floor of River Market Books & Gifts
  • Frank Thurmond discusses Ring of Five at Historic Arkansas Museum
  • Ted Rall discusses Traveling to Afghanistan at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
  • Jamaica Kincaid discusses See Now Then at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
  • Scott Sampson discusses How to Raise a Wild Child at the Witt Stephens Jr. Arkansas Nature Center

At 4 pm –

  • Marck Beggs, Nickole Brown, Hope Coulter, Jessica Jacobs, Sand Longhorn and Jo McDougall headline a poetry panel at the Ron Robinson Theater
  • Kevin Brockmeier and Tania James on a panel at the Darragh Center.
  • Desha Peacock leads a workshop on creating your style in the Main Library
  • J. Hartley discusses Macbeth: A Novel in the Arkansas Studies Institute
  • Sam Quinones and Marilyn Wedge on a panel in the Arkansas Studies Institute
  • Seph Lawless discusses Black Friday on the 3rd floor of River Market Books & Gifts
  • Laura Parker Castoro and Adrienne Thompson on a panel at Historic Arkansas Museum
  • Molly Guptill Manning discusses When Books Went to War at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
  • Guy Lancaster and Andrew Maraniss on a panel – History and Sport at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
  • Michael Largo discusses The Big, Bad Book of Botany at the Witt Stephens Jr. Arkansas Nature Center

Evening activities include:

  • Fed, White & Blue at 5pm at the Oxford American annex (1300 Main) featuring author and TV personality Simon Jajumdar
  • Joshua Wolf Shank discussing Powers of Two at the Clinton School at 6pm
  • Pub or Perish, moderated by Bryan Borland at Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack at 7pm
  • Speak Now at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center at 7pm
  • John Waters discussing Carsick at the Ron Robinson Theatre at 8pm

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