Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Friday Night Lights Cinema: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

fridaynightlightsHigh school football returns tonight. In honor of that, each Friday in September will feature a movie about high school football.  Up first, the eponymously titled Friday Night Lights.

This 2004 film is based on Buzz Bissinger’s book of the same name.  The book is non-fiction, but the movie employs a mix of fact and Hollywood-ization.  It was directed by actor-director Peter Berg, a cousin of Bissinger’s.  It was originally slated to be directed by Alan J. Pakula, who died before filming started.

Billy Bob Thornton, Jay Hernandez and Connie Britton lead the cast.  Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Lee Jackson, Lee Thompson Young, Grover Coulson, and Tim McGraw also were in the cast.

The movie won the 2005 ESPY for Best Sports Movie.  It inspired a TV series which ran from 2006 to 2011.  Connie Britton was in the series playing a coach’s wife, as she had in the movie – but the names and aspects of the character were different.  Brad Leland played a team booster in both the movie and series.  It received 13 Emmy nominations and 3 Emmy awards during its run.

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Runaway Planet at Ron Robinson Theater tonight at 7 with Arkansas Sounds

arksounds runaway_planetTonight at 7pm, the Arkansas Sounds Music Series features Runaway Planet.

Traditional string band Runaway Planet performs hard-driving bluegrass, three-part harmonies, complex arrangements, and original songs. Runaway Planet is an Arkansas four-piece bluegrass group that has performed nearly 15 years. The band’s original music features traditional bluegrass instrumentation with modern lyrics, three-part harmonies, and highly skilled playing showing their rock, folk, and jazz influences.

The concert will take place at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Avenue.  General Admission: $10.  Refreshments will be available for purchase.

Founded in 2001, Little Rock bluegrass band Runaway Planet evolved out of a long-time friendship between members and a mutual love for traditional string-band music. Their music is a mix of hard-driving bluegrass, three-part harmonies, complex arrangements and original songs.  The musicians are Greg Alexander, guitar and vocals; Steve Brauer, banjo, guitar, vocals; Matthew Stone, mandolin, dobro; Michael Proveaux, bass, vocals.

Drawing from traditional influences like Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers, they are also inspired by more progressive bluegrass bands like The Country Gentlemen, The Seldom Scene and New Grass Revival.

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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Music and Food on tap at Main Street Food Truck Friday kickoff today

Foodtruck FridaysMain Street Food Truck Fridays Kickoff

Friday, September 4 from 10:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Main Street Creative Corridor on The Plaza at Main & Capitol


Participating:  Bryant’s BBQ, Hot Rod Wieners, Jackie’s Mobile Café, Kona Ice and The Southern Gourmasian, and Michael Shaw with live music 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


  1. Bryant’s BBQ- Smoked Brisket/Pork/Beef Sandwich Combos with Fresh Cut Fries, Jerk Chicken and Spanish Rice, Fresh Gulf Shrimp and Catfish Baskets and Homemade BBQ Nachos, Loaded Fries and Coleslaw
  2. Hot Rod Wieners- Gourmet All Beef Hot Dog on Boulevard Bun:  Mudslinger- chili, cheddar, onions;  Italian Stallion- meaty marinara, provolone, pepperoni chips, basil;  Hot Cheese Injection- hot cheese sauce, peppers, hot sauce;  MAC Truck- mac and cheese, bacon;  Spicy Daewood- kimchi, mustard
  3. Jackie’s Mobile Café- Old Fashion Artisan Crafted Hamburgers with all the toppings, Farm- Raised Catfish, Finger-Licking Wings, Chick-O-Stick, Nachos and Fries
  4. Kona Ice- Tropical Shaved Ice Experience…  FLAVOR YOUR WORLD!
  5. Southern Gourmasian- Steamed Buns , Shrimp & Grits, Spicy Chicken & Dumplings, Almond Crusted Chicken Sandwich, S’more cookies


Live music:

Performed by Michael Shaw from 11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.  Michael plays a wide variety of acoustic music from the 60’s to today. He plays all your favorite covers mixed with some of his own creations.




Main Street Food Truck Fridays is held each spring and fall with up to five food trucks as an offshoot of the Main Street Food Truck Festival and is presented by the Downtown Little Rock Partnership in support of Main Street revitalization.  The dates for Fall 2015 are: September 4, 11, 18 and 25 and October 9, 16, 23 and 30. There will be no Main Street Food Truck Fridays on October 2 before the Festival. Food trucks and menus are updated weekly on Facebook:

The 5th annual Main Street Food Truck Festival will be held Saturday, October 3, 2016 on Main Street from 3rd to 8th, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is presented this year by Road Runner Stores. This year over 40 food trucks will participate along with art and craft vendors, buskers, beer gardens, Heifer International children’s activities and more. Earlier in the year the Main Street Food Truck Festival was designated by an online magazine called Vacation Idea as one of the “Best Food Truck Festivals in the United States.” (

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Sandwich in History at Shiloh Baptist Church today at noon

ahpp Shiloh Baptist ChurchThe monthly architectural history program “Sandwiching in History” visits Shiloh Baptist Church, located at 1200 Hanger Street. The program begins at noon today.  A historian with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program delivers a brief lecture about the church before leading guests on a tour.

The historically black congregation of Shiloh Baptist Church was organized in 1886 by Rev. O. H. Redicks and occupied an earlier building at the southwest corner of Hanger and E. Twelfth streets in Little Rock’s Hanger Hill neighborhood. The current buff brick church features elements of the Gothic Revival style.

Sandwiching in History is a program of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.  The AHPP is responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other DAH agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

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Little Rock Look Back: Ike in Little Rock

Detail from UPI photo of General Eisenhower following his address.

Detail from UPI photo of General Eisenhower following his address.

If Ike, Little Rock and September are considered, it is usually in reference to his role in the desegregation of Little Rock Central High in September 1957.  But five years earlier, he appeared in Little Rock on September 3, 1952.

General Eisenhower’s speech to 14,000 in MacArthur Park was the final leg in his swing through the South on his campaign for the White House.  He became the third presidential candidate to visit MacArthur Park in 1952 following General MacArthur (in his ill-fated attempt to gain traction as a GOP candidate during the delegate selection process) and Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson.

He visited every southern state except Mississippi on this campaign jaunt.  In comments that neither he nor his audience could have foreseen as prescient, Eisenhower declared that he deplored the government meddling in areas in which it did not belong.  This remark was made in reference to race relations.  His stance was that some rights of minorities should be protected, but it was not necessarily the role of the federal government.

Ike proffered that if white southerners did not protect the rights of African Americans they were in danger of losing their own rights, too.  In the era of the Cold War when people were worried about the imminent loss of rights, this message seems to have crafted to appeal to those concerns.  While Eisenhower did not shy away from addressing civil rights, his Democratic opponent Adlai Stevenson was silent on the issue.  But with Alabama segregationist Senator John Sparkman as his running mate, it put Stevenson in a difficult position to try to bring it up.

In the end, Ike lost most of the South.  He did carry Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida. The only states Stevenson won were in the South.  Eisenhower’s 43.74% of the Arkansas popular vote was the highest any Republican had garnered since General Grant carried the state in 1868 and 1872.


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Anat Cohen kicks off Oxford American 2015-16 Jazz Series at South on Main tonight at 8

oa jazz AnatTonight at 8pm, the Oxford American magazine welcomes Anat Cohen to the South on Main stage to kick off the OA Jazz Series!

Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. This series is made possible by presenting sponsor, the UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication. Additional partners include The Summer Foundation, Arkansas Arts Council, Capital Hotel, Piano Kraft, Rosen Music Company, and FM-89.1 KUAR.

Tickets are $20 (General Admission), $30 (Reserved), and $32 (Premium Reserved). View the South on Main reserved seating map here. Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets.

Clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen has won hearts and minds the world over with her expressive virtuosity and delightful stage presence. Anat was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and raised into a musical family. She began clarinet studies at age twelve and played jazz on clarinet for the first time in the Jaffa Conservatory’s Dixieland Band. At sixteen, she joined the school’s big band and learned to play the tenor saxophone; it was this same year that Anat entered the prestigious “Thelma Yellin” school, where she majored in jazz. After graduation, she discharged her mandatory Israeli military service duty from 1993-1995, playing tenor saxophone in the Israeli Air Force band.

The Jazz Journalists Association has voted Anat as “Clarinetist of the Year” eight years in a row, and she has topped both the Critics and Readers Polls in the clarinet category in DownBeat magazine every year since 2011. That’s not to mention years of being named “Rising Star” in the soprano and tenor saxophone categories in DownBeat, as well as for “Jazz Artist of the Year.” In 2009, ASCAP awarded Anat a Wall of Fame prize for composition and musicianship, among other honors.

In March 2015, Anzic Records releases Luminosa, her seventh album as a bandleader. Luminosa sees Anat play singing, dancing originals, interpret Brazilian classics by the likes of Milton Nascimento, and even re-imagine electronica as acoustica with an ingenious arrangement of a Flying Lotus tune. Luminosaencapsulates the description Jazz Police offered of Anat in full flight: “She becomes a singer, a poet, a mad scientist, laughing—musically—with the delight of reaching that new place, that new feeling, with each chorus.”

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Go “Behind the Theme” of Ark Rep’s production of The Scottish Play tonight at 7

11217159_10152962291451105_7983945027521499908_nTonight, the Arkansas Rep launches a our new speaker series for their 40th anniversary season, Behind the Theme.

The programs are designed to enhance audience understanding of the themes present in each of our MainStage productions. For the production of The Scottish Play (‪#‎MacbethatArkRep‬), UALR Professor Michael Heil will discuss the nature of kingship and power in medieval Europe at the time of the historical Thane of Cawdor.

The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in Foster’s at The Rep. To attend, please RSVP to

The production opens on Friday, September 11 and runs through Sunday, September 27.  There will also be opportunities to learn more about the production at a September 9 brown bag, September 10 Clinton School Speaker Series program, and pre-show director talks on September 9 & 10 prior to the preview performances.

Through these, audience members can “Brush Up Their Shakespeare.”


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