Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Creative Class of 2015: Katie Campbell

Katie CampbellKatie Campbell is a director, performer, and teaching artist. She is originally from North Carolina but for six years has found an artistic home in Little Rock as a company member with the Arkansas Art Center Childrenʼs Theater (AACCT), director and performer with the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, and improvisor with ImprovLittleRock and The Joint Venture.  She is also the co-founder and co-director of the youth improv comedy company, Armadillo Rodeo.

Campbell is a 2015 Jim Henson Family Grant recipient for her devised and directed shadow puppet play for young people, The Ugly Duckling.  That production recently played to sold out houses at the AACCT Studio Series enrapturing children and adults alike.

She has an MFA in directing Theatre for Young Audiences from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is also an alumna of the North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied acting with Tanya Belov, voice with Mary Irwin, circus arts with Dikki Ellis, and movement/mask work with Robert Francesconni and Mollie Murry.

Some of her favorite roles include Adriana in The Comedy of Errors with the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre (2010); Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac and Barbara in Night of the Living Dead AACCT Studio Series (2008);  Mouse in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, If You Take a Mouse to School, and Merry Christmas Mouse! (AACCT Mainstage 2007-12).

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Creative Class of 2015: Eliza Borné

Eliza BorneEliza Borné was named Interim Editor of Oxford American magazine earlier this year.  She had been the Managing Editor of the magazine.  Currently, she is at work on the annual OA music issue, which this year will feature Georgia.

A Little Rock native and graduate of Central High School, she wrote Children’s Theatre reviews for the Arkansas Times while in high school.  While a student at Wellesley College, she interned for OA.  After graduation, she was an associate editor at BookPage.  In February 2013, she joined the OA as an editor.  When he was in Little Rock earlier this year, author Harrison Scott Key praised Borné’s skills as an editor.  At that appearance, he also lauded her skills as an interviewer. She has also used these skills serving as a moderator for the Arkansas Literary Festival.


While her talents as a writer and editor have been honed through hard work, she is also carrying on a family tradition in promoting Little Rock’s cultural life. A great-grandmother, Adolphine Fletcher Terry, was a member of the Little Rock Public Library Board (a forerunner of CALS) for decades.  Much could be written about what various ancestors have done to help Little Rock, but Borné is not one to rely on the family name as she forges her own career.  Instead, she uses her skills and love of Little Rock to promote good writing, good music and good living.

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2016 season for Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre announced

AST 2016Last week, the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre announced the four titles for the 2016 season, their 10th season of bringing the Bard and more to Central Arkansas.

Actual performance dates and casting will be announced later.

The 2016 outdoor Shakespeare: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Directed by Robert Quinlan
A comic romp of epic proportions, this magical comedy and its lovers, fairies, and oh-so-Rude Mechanicals are the perfect company for an Arkansas midsummer night.

The 2016 tragedy: ROMEO AND JULIET
Directed by AST Producing Artistic Director Rebekah Scallet
Romance, intrigue, and adventure abound in Shakespeare’s timeless tale of the original
star-crossed lovers caught between their
warring families.

The 2016 musical: WEST SIDE STORY
Book by Arthur Laurents, Music by Leonard Bernstein , Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed and Choreographed by Jeremy Williams
This beloved musical transplants the story of Romeo and Juliet to 1950s New York City, where the warring Jets and Sharks stand in the way of true love.

The 2016 Family Shakespeare: TWELFTH NIGHT
This one-hour Family Shakespeare adaptation takes us to the island of Illyria, where shipwrecked Viola must disguise herself as a boy—causing complications in her love life.

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Two authors feted at tonight’s CALS “A Prized Evening”

prized_eveningTwo Arkansas authors, Guy Lancaster and Davis McCombs, will be honored at A Prized Evening, the annual awarding of the Worthen and Porter Literary Prizes, on Thursday, October 1, at 6 p.m. in the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Main Library’s Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street. A book signing and reception will follow the presentation, which is free and open to the public.

Reservations are appreciated, but not required. RSVP to or 501-918-3033.

The Booker Worthen Literary Prize will be awarded to Guy Lancaster, editor of the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, for his book Racial Cleansing in Arkansas, 1883-1924: Politics, Land, Labor, and Criminality. Lancaster, a native of Jonesboro, holds a Ph.D. in Heritage Studies from Arkansas State University and currently serves as the creative materials editor of the Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies. He edited Arkansas in Ink: Ghosts, Gunslingers, and Other Graphic Tales (illustrated by Ron Wolfe) and, with Mike Polston, co-edited To Can the Kaiser: Arkansas and the Great War, both published by Butler Center Books.

Davis McCombs, director of Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, will receive the Porter Fund Literary Prize in recognition of his substantial and impressive body of work. McCombs has published two volumes of poetry, which have won numerous awards, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and many other publications.

The Worthen Prize was established by the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) in 1999 in memory of William Booker Worthen, a longtime supporter of the public library and a twenty-two-year member of CALS Board of Trustees. It is presented annually for the best work by an author or editor living in the CALS service area. The Porter Fund was established in 1985 by Jack Butler and Phillip McMath in honor of Dr. Ben Drew Kimpel, who requested the prize be named for his mother, Gladys Crane Kimpel Porter.

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Noon today – Kent Babb discusses new book on Allen Iverson at Clinton School

UACS iverson bookToday at noon, the Clinton School Speaker Series features Kent Babb discussing his new book: Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson.

Kent Babb is a Sports Enterprise Writer at The Washington Post, which he joined in October of 2012, and has had his long-form sports journalism honored eight times by the Associated Press Sports Editors, including first place in feature writing in 2005 and 2010.

In his new biography, “Not A Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson,” Babb profiles one of the America’s most famous athletes and his rise from a troubled past to become one of the most successful and highly compensated athletes in the world, as well as what drove his failures. Babb illustrates how Iverson was both the hard-charging athlete who played every game as if it were his last, as well as the hard-partying athlete who spent more money than most people could spend in a dozen lifetimes – blowing more than $150 million of his NBA earnings alone.

Through interviews with those closest to Iverson, Babb brings to life a private, loyal, and often generous Allen Iverson who rarely made headlines, revealing the back story behind some of Iverson’s both memorable and darkest moments.

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THE COLOR PURPLE shown and explored tonight as part of Banned Books Week

cals bbweek purpleThe Arkansas Literary Festival will celebrate Banned Books Week with an interview reenactment, a film, and a writing contest. A program based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award-winning novel, The Color Purple, will be presented on Wednesday, September 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave. After the presentation, the 1985 film will be shown. The event is free and open to the public.

Actresses Verda Davenport Booher and Vivian Norman will reenact part of an interview with Alice Walker. The interview touches on Walker’s inspiration for the book and on the success it has had, as well as the film and the musical.

Written as a series of letters, the 1982 novel been challenged repeatedly because of language, sexuality, and violence. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg and nominated for eleven Academy Awards. A successful musical based upon the book opened on Broadway in 2005, and was nominated for ten Tony awards. Oprah Winfrey, nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress in the film, was one of the producers of the musical. A pared-down revival of the musical is slated to open on Broadway in December, 2015.

Banned Books Week (September 27−October 3, 2015) is an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association celebrating the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information and the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship and books that have been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

The Festival’s celebration of Banned Books Week is sponsored by the Fred K. Darragh Foundation. This is the Festival’s fifth annual Banned Books Week presentation. Other titles that have been featured include The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, A Clockwork Orange, A Doll’s House, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is a program of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). For more information about the 2016 Arkansas Literary Festival, visit, or contact Brad Mooy at 918-3098. For information on volunteering at the Festival, contact Angela Delaney at 918-3095.

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Happy 50th Birthday to the National Endowment for the Arts & National Endowment for the Humanities

NEANEH50On September 29, 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed into law the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 at a White House Rose Garden ceremony, attended by scholars, artists, educators, political leaders, and other luminaries.

The law created the National Endowment for the Humanities as an independent federal agency, the first grand public investment in American culture. It identified the need for a national cultural agency that would preserve America’s rich history and cultural heritage, and encourage and support scholarship and innovation in history, archeology, philosophy, literature, and other humanities disciplines.

On this occasion, President Johnson said: “Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”

This new law was the fruit of two presidents, several senators and representatives, and four previous pieces of legislation. Separate bills had been introduced, in previous years, into the House by Representative Frank Thompson (D-NJ), and into the Senate by Senators Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) and Jacob Javits (R-NY). Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) had overseen hearings on some of this preliminary legislation, beginning in October 1963, before the death of President John F. Kennedy.

Over the years, the NEA and NEH have awarded millions of dollars to Little Rock based institutions, organizations and individuals through direct appropriations.  They have also impacted Little Rock cultural life through funding of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism, and U.S. Conference of Mayors among others. These groups have either re-granted the dollars to Little Rock entities or undertaken projects which have directly impacted and improved life in Little Rock.



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