Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Lineup for 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival announced

alf maurice               Prestigious award-winners, big names, GRAMMY nominees, filmmakers, journalists, and artists are among the diverse roster of presenters who will be providing sessions at the twelfth annual Arkansas Literary Festival, April 23-26, 2015. The Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library campus and many other Little Rock venues are the sites for a stimulating mix of sessions, panels, special events, performances, workshops,presentations, opportunities to meet authors, book sales, and book signings. Most events are free and open to the public.

The Arkansas Literary Festival, the premier gathering of readers and writers in Arkansas, will include more than 80 presenters including featured authors John Waters, Rebecca Wells, Charles D. Morgan, Andrew Keen, Cheryl & Griff Day, Issa Rae, Ted Rall, Rick Bragg, Megan Abbott, Seph Lawless, Wesley K. Clark, and Bryan Collier.

This year’s Festival authors have won an impressive number and variety of distinguished awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Purple Heart, GLAAD Stephen F. Kolzak Award, Hugo Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Caldecott Honor, American Society of Newspaper Editor’s Distinguished Writing Award, Hammett Prize, Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, Bram Stoker Award, Whiting Writers Award, Plimpton Prize, Shorty Award for best web show, Beatrice Hawley award, New York Times Editor’s Selection, Poets Prize, Romantic Times Legend of Romance, Porter Prize, a James Beard Award nominee, the U.S. nominee for the Hans Christen Andersen Award, and more.

Special events for adults during the Festival include a cocktail reception with the authors, a session with John Waters, special art exhibits, and a workshop on developing a personal style. Panels and sessions include genres and topics such as scientific thinking, Jerry Lee Lewis, the web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, comic art, romance, war, and baking.

Children’s special events include a Tiny Ninja workshop, and a play based on Chicken Little and the Little Red Hen. Festival sessions for children will take place at both the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, 4800 10th Street, and the Youth Services Department at the Main Library, 100 Rock Street. Special events for teens include a session with E. Lockhart, whose book, We Were Liars, was the best reviewed book for young adults in 2014..

Through the Writers In The Schools (WITS) initiative, the Festival will provide presentations by several authors for Pulaski county elementary, middle, and senior high schools and area colleges.

Support for the Literary Festival is provided by sponsors including Central Arkansas Library System, Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL), Arkansas Humanities Council, Fred K. Darragh Jr. Foundation, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, ProSmart Printing, Little Rock Family, KUAR FM 89.1, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Sync, Arkansas Life, William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Windstream, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Arkansas Times, Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP, Hampton Inn Downtown/McKibbon Hotel Group, Capital Hotel, Historic Arkansas Museum , TransAmerica, Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, Arkansas Library Association, Pulaski Technical College, Union Pacific, Sequoyah National Research Center, Gibbs Elementary School, Rockefeller Elementary School, Hendrix College, Hendrix College Project Pericles Program, Arkansas Women’s Forum, Philander Smith College, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, East Harding, University of Arkansas at Little Rock English Department, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of Rhetoric and Writing, Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art, Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, Christ Episcopal Church, and Lamar Advertising. The Arkansas Literary Festival is supported in part by funds from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Author! Author!, a cocktail reception with the authors, will be Friday, April 24, at 7 p.m. and the Fred Darragh Distinguished Lecture with John Waters, will be Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets for both events are $25 in advance, and $40 at the door, and go on sale at beginning Tuesday, April 1. Author! Author! tickets will also be available for purchase at the Main Library and River Market Books & Gifts, 120 River Market Avenue.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is a project of the Central Arkansas Library System.  The Festival’s mission is to encourage the development of a more literate populace. A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival. Katherine Whitworth is the 2015 Festival Chair. Other committee chairs include Kevin Brockmeier, Talent Committee; Susan Santa Cruz, Festival Guides; Laura Stanley, Hospitality Gifts; and Amy Bradley-Hole, Moderators.

For more information about the 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival, visit, or contact Brad Mooy at or 918-3098. For information on volunteering at the Festival, contact Angela Delaney at adelaney@cals.orgor 918-3095.

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Sounds of Arkansas celebrated with Arkansas Sounds concert lineup

arkansas_sounds_2013In 2015, Arkansas Sounds’ monthly concert series features diverse artists ranging from progressive jazz to historic folk music. For concerts at the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS)Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave., tickets may be purchased and Butler Center Galleries, 401 President Clinton Ave. Tickets purchased online will not be mailed, but may be picked up in the theater’s lobby one hour prior to the show. For the concert at Hillcrest Hall, 1501 Kavanaugh Blvd., tickets may be purchased at the door one hour prior to the event. For concerts with free admission, reservations are not required. For more information, call 501-918-3033.

Charley Sandage & Harmony

Friday, February 13, 7:30 p.m., Free

Ron Robinson Theater

Charley Sandage and Harmony, a Mountain View trio comprising Mary and Robert Gillihan and Dave Smith, perform original songs that tell stories about people and events that shaped Arkansas. The group plays traditional instruments including fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, autoharp, bass, button accordion, harmonica, pickin’ bow, and spoons.


Bill Frisell & Kenny Wollesen

Monday, February 23, 7 p.m., $20 General Admission

Ron Robinson Theater

Bill Frisell is a jazz guitarist, composer, and arranger whose eclectic style touches on progressive folk, classical, country, and noise music. He has released over 30 albums, received numerous Grammy nominations, and won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2005. Kenny Wollesen, a drummer and percussionist, has recorded and toured with artists such as Tom Waits, Sean Lennon, Norah Jones, and John Zorn, among many others.


Celtic Cultural Celebration Featuring Lyon College Pipe Band

Saturday, March 14, 7 p.m., Free

Ron Robinson Theater

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, celebrate Celtic culture with an Arkansas Sounds concert, featuring the Lyon College Pipe Band, an award-winning bagpipe band from Batesville, Arkansas. The concert will include traditional Scottish bagpipe music, Scottish and Irish dancers, and a ceilidh (Celtic) band with guitars, accordions, uilleann (Irish) pipes, and singers.


Brian Nahlen

Friday, April 17, 7 p.m., $5 General Admission

Hillcrest Hall

Singer/songwriter Brian Nahlen, a North Little Rock native, will perform a few Beatles favorites, such as “Blackbird,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and original music from his debut album, Better Than I Thought It Could Be, to be released in February, 2015.


The Wildflowers (Amy Garland, Bonnie Montgomery, Mandy McBryde)

Friday, May 29, 7 p.m., $10 General Admission

Ron Robinson Theater

Amy Garland, Bonnie Montgomery, and Mandy McBryde have recently formed the Wildflowers, performing music with folk, country, rock, and blues influences. This concert will feature a brief solo set by each artist, followed up with a full set to be performed by the trio with a backing band.


Arkansas Sounds is a project of the Butler Center focusing on Arkansas music and musicians past and present. For more information, visit or call 501-918-3033.

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Movie Lineup at CALS Ron Robinson Theatre announced

cals ronrob intMovie lovers of all ages can plan their entertainment schedule with the Central Arkansas Library Systems (CALS)Ron Robinson Theaters winter/spring line up. Three series have been designed for adults, young adults, and children, and the films will be screened at the theater, 100 River Market Avenue, through May. Tickets are $5 each, concessions are available, and access is near the Main Librarys parking lot.

Combined these films have won 6 Oscars and been nominated for 31.

            From the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, “The Classics”series includes

The Godfather (R)

Thursday, February 12

7 p.m.

Breakfast at Tiffanys (NR)

Friday, April 10

7 p.m.

Some Like It Hot (NR)

Friday, May 1

7 p.m.


            Highlighting some of the best from the 1980s and 1990s is “The Rewind” series includes

Pretty Woman (R)

Friday, February 6

7 p.m.

Annie (1982 PG)

Thursday, March 12

7 p.m.

Fight Club (R)

Thursday, April 9

7 p.m.

Ferris Buellers Day Off (R)

Thursday, May 28

7 p.m.

            For families, the “Kid Flix” series includes

Anastasia (G)

Saturday, January 24

2 p.m.

James and the Giant Peach (PG)

Saturday, February 28

2 p.m.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG)

Saturday, March 28

2 p.m.

The Sandlot (PG)

Saturday, April 11

2 p.m.

            The 315 seat single-screen theater combines the best of the golden age of cinema and todays industry standard in state-of-the-art projection, lighting, and surround sound equipment. We are proud to offer Central Arkansas residents an exceptional cinema experience.

            For tickets or more information contact the Ron Robinson Theater Box Office at 320-5715 or visit the website at

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Best Song Oscar nomination for Arkansan Glen Campbell

Glen_Campbell_I'll_Be_Me_PosterLost in the shuffle of Oscar nominations was the fact that Arkansan Glen Campbell received his first Oscar nomination. It was for co-writing the song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from the documentary Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me.  Unfortunately, due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s this plaudit comes too late in his career for him to relish it.

In 2014, the documentary was screened at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater with members of Campbell’s family and the filmmakers present. It later opened the 2014 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival before it was commercially released.

Though not featured in the film footage, Campbell’s last performance in Arkansas was at Robinson Center Music Hall to a sold out, lovingly appreciative and emotional audience.

Campbell’s previous closest brush with Oscar was as a co-star to John Wayne in the original True Grit, for which the Duke took home the trophy.


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CHINATOWN screened tonight at Ron Robinson Theater as part of Arkansas Times Film Series

chinatownRoman Polanski’s 1974 film classic Chinatown will be shown tonight at the Ron Robinson Theater as part of the Arkansas Times Film Series. This is presented in conjunction with the Little Rock Film Festival.

Here is how the Arkansas Times describes the film:

The quintessential L.A. noir and the best role of Jack Nicholson’s career, the movie was named the greatest film of all time in a 2010 critics poll by The Guardian. Roger Ebert called it a “tour de force” and “not only a great entertainment, but something more, something I would have thought almost impossible.” An atmospheric, totally engrossing mystery involving water and sexual dysfunction, this is rare opportunity to see the classic on the big screen.

The screening will begin at 7pm (January 15). Tickets are $5.

In addition to a starring turn by Nicholson, the film features searing performances by Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman, Darrell Zwerling and Diane Ladd. Nominated for eleven Oscars, it won the Best Original Screenplay for Robert Towne’s haunting tale.

Tonight at 7:30, Arkansas Sounds presents the Velvet Kente Arkestra

velvet_kente2Arkansas Sounds presents the Velvet Kente Arkestra, an expanded version of the band Velvet Kente, on Friday, January 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave. Theater doors open at 6:30 p.m.

General admission tickets are $10, and are available online and at the Butler Center Galleries, 401 Pres. Clinton Ave., Mon.-Sat. 9am-6pm. Tickets purchased online will not be mailed; they may be picked up in the theater’s lobby one hour before the show.

Velvet Kente Arkestra is a genre-dodging collective seeking to consistently make an aural connection with all that will listen with an open mind. Their most obvious influences include Afro-Caribbean music, indie rock, punk, blues mythos, and gospel. But otherwise there’s no transparent consistency in the sound outside of Joshua’s heart-wrenched vocals, which lie somewhere between a coarse scream and a sweat-stained Pentecostal baritone.
Natalie Elliot, Oxford American

Ed Bethune speaks at Butler Center Legacies & Lunch today

EdBethune-580x323Former Congressman Ed Bethune’s diverse career has included service in the Marine Corps, as a special agent in the FBI, and as a prosecuting attorney.

Bethune will provide an “Arkansas autobiography” at Legacies & Lunch, the Butler Center’s monthly lecture series, on Wednesday, January 7, from noon-1 p.m. in the Main Library’s Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street.

Bethune, a native of Pocahontas who served three terms in the United States House of Representatives, will share details about his childhood during World War II and his career. He will also discuss his family and cultural changes in his lifetime. Finally, Bethune will talk about how he and his wife attempted to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in a 31-foot sailboat, detailed in his memoir, Jackhammered. Copies of Jackhammered and Gay Panic in the Ozarks, a novel by Bethune, will be available for sale; Bethune will sign books after the program.

Legacies & Lunch is free, open to the public, and sponsored in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. For more information, contact 501-918-3033.


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